Vermont Tax Commissioner Promotes Free Income Tax Filing

Wed, 03/09/2016 –

Vermont Business Magazine On Thursday, March 10, Mary Peterson, the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Taxes will be joined by Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon, local government officials and local community leaders in Montpelier to urge eligible Vermont residents to use the IRS and Vermont Free File programs to save money and time during this tax season. Free File is a public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax preparation software companies, which provides millions of people access to brand name software to prepare and securely file their taxes at no cost.

The software uses a simple interview-style process to help people identify all the credits and deductions for which they are eligible. Each year, tens of thousands of taxpayers receive a smaller refund because they fail to claim these credits and deductions. For instance, those who are attending or whose children are attending college are eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which allows them to receive up to $2,500 to cover education expenses ranging from tuition to textbooks.

Vermont is one of 20 states plus the District of Columbia that have formed state Free File programs, enabling eligible taxpayers to file both their federal and state tax return online for free. Since its debut in 2003, over 40 million taxpayers have saved more than $1.3 billion in tax preparation costs through the IRS Free File program.

WHO: Mary Peterson, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Taxes

Mayor Thom Lauzon, Barre and local government officials

Grant Peterson, Internal Revenue Service

Cristina Munoz, Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation

Dave Macklin, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

WHAT: Encouraging eligible Vermont residents to use the IRS and Vermont Free File Programs and save money this tax season

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 2016
10:00 AM EST

WHERE: Vermont State House

Battle of Cedar Creek Room

115 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05633

To access the Vermont Free File program, visit is external). For the IRS Free File program, visit is external). More information about the program is also available at CCIA’s website, is external), where taxpayers can also submit their Free File success stories.

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GMUW Receives Donation from Dead River Co.

Through the Dead River Company’s Share the Warmth fuel assistance program, Green Mountain United Way (GMUW) recently received $3,500 for distribution to local low-income families. This contribution has been placed toward the local United Way’s Basic Needs initiative to help with critical heating costs for those unable to afford the needed energy during Vermont’s long winters.

“At Dead River Company, we’ve always believed in giving back to the communities in which we serve,” said Gary Haines, Dead River Company Area Manager. “One of the ways in which we do this is through our Share the Warmth program, which provides support to heating assistance programs offered through organizations like Green Mountain United Way. Northern New England winters can be really tough, especially for the thousands who struggle to heat their homes. Supporting Green Mountain United Way allows us to deliver on our promise to support our neighbors and the communities we serve.”

The funds provided to GMUW will be distributed in the Dead River Co. catchment area in collaboration with Umbrella, Inc. of St. Johnsbury. GMUW is grateful to the folks at Dead River for their commitment to the less fortunate in Caledonia Co.

For more information about GMUW and its Basic Needs programs, call Nelson at their St. Johnsbury office at 745-0101 or visit

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Vermont Environmental Health & Safety Seminars

FYI, from the Vermont Safety & Health Council –

Upcoming Vermont
environmental, health and safety seminars from various providers:

(Non-VHSC events are posted in this list serve as a service to our members.  VSHC is not responsible, nor has any involvement in these training)



Vermont Safety & Health Council – Fall Prevention Day Workshop

to help you prevent falls and to be OSHA / VOSHA Compliant!

March 9, 2016  ,
Swanton, VT Times 8:00 a.m. to 12:00, and then lunch,


OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Course 2 Day , Thu, April 14, 7am – 4pm,
Fri, April 15, 7am – 11am, 346 Shelburne Rd, Burlington, V

Ergonomics Tue, April 19, 9am – 11am, 346 Shelburne Rd, Burlington, VT

Machine Guarding,
Thu, May 5, 9am – 11am, 346 Shelburne Rd, Burlington, VT

OSHA 30 Hour Construction,
Tue, May 17-20, 346 Shelburne Rd, Burlington, VT 05401

Green Mountain Safety,
Burlington, Register Online at:

OSHA 7505
Incident Investigation:  March 24-25, 2016 in South Burlington at Hickok & Boardman Building.

OTIEC Region 1 Instructor:  Ms. Holly LeClair     Tuition: $355.00/pp includes lunch, student materials and documentation of course completion. 8:00 am – 4:30 pm day  1 and 8 am – 11:30
am day #2

OSHA 7845
Recordkeeping Rules:  March 25th following the Incident Investigation Course from 12:30 – 5:00 pm in South Burlington at Hickok & Boardman Building

OTIEC Region 1 Instructor:  Ms. Holly LeClair     Tuition: $225.00/pp

OSHA 511
General Industry Standards:  July 11-14, 2016 at the Windjammer Conference Center, Burlington VT from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm daily.  Tuition: $865.00/pp includes lunch, student materials/manuals, CFR 1910
and documentation upon successful completion of hourly and course requirements.  OTIEC Region 1 Instructor:  Ms. Holly LeClair

Preregistration required.  To obtain a registration form, visit: or call the OSHA Education Center at 800.449.6742


Vermont Associated General Contractors

Our training schedule below is also posted at


Start Date

Start Time

Course Duration


Confined Space


8:00 AM

Full Day


Confined Space


8:00 AM

Full Day


Confined Space


8:00 AM

Full Day













Dig Safe–Damage Prevention/Excavator Training:

Tuesday, April 26th Double Tree Conference Center, 1117 Williston Rd, South Burlington.  Prepare your field crews for a safe excavation season ahead with a free,
3-hour breakfast seminar. Learn about the potential safety hazards of utility damage and excavating, VT “Dig Safe” laws and rules, new methods of call center notification, damage prevention best practices, utility marking standards, what to do if a line is
damaged, and the enforcement process. Space is limited, so reserve your seats now at

Registration & Breakfast 7:00 – 7:30am Class  8:00-11:00am


10 Construction Industry

Date: April 9-10, 2016, Time: 9:00am-3:00pm, Cost: $100 : Randolph Center VT. For more information or to register

Click Here


Forklift Train the Trainer Class  

 Thursday, May 12, 8:30-3:00, $175, Windham Career Center, Brattleboro

Thursday, July 14, 8:30-3:00, $175, Vermont Technical College, Room 401, Blair Park, Williston

Register with Bruce Gray,
, 518-562-1462

Save the Date for the 2016 Annual Vermont Workplace Wellness Conference, Wednesday March 30, 2016, Sheraton,


SAVE THE DATE – October 6, 2016 – The Vermont Safety & Health Council EXPO,

The Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa has been selected as the site for the 2016 VSHC Expo,
1746 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont


Human Resources Seminar –
ONLINE: Health Care  |  Mandatory Paid Leave  |  Marijuana Legalization

Independent Contractors / Employee Classification  |  Key Issues for 2016

For more information Go to the link under Events at<
> or click here<>
to review the agenda register for online access to the seminar and related materials and updates.  Registration is $20 for AIV member organizations and $30 for non-member organizations.


-The Vermont Safety & Health Council, is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting workplace safety education, and
is a great resource for anyone with safety in their job description. Your company should be a member!

2016 Vermont Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence

Application Due Date
March 15, 2016   :


OSHA HAZWOPER Initial – 40 Hour,
May 23-27 2016
All trainings start at 8:00 am and will be located at: Cardno, 171 Commerce Street, Williston, VT 05495
Please call 802-862-1980 or email
for more information or to register.



  • US DOT Training

March 31, 2016

Brattleboro, VT

  • HAZWOPER Training

April 7, 2016

Morrisville, VT

  • RCRA Training

April 21, 2016

Chester, VT

  • RCRA Training

May 3, 2016

South Burlington, VT

  • HAZWOPER Training

May 18, 2016

South Burlington, VT

  • US DOT Training

June 6, 2016

South Burlington, VT

  • HAZWOPER Training

June 22, 2016

Chester, VT

 P.O. Box 240, Albany, VT   05820,,
Tel: (802) 321-9005


– 8 Hour
March 17, 2016, Montpelier, Vermont

Initial Certification – OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER February 22 – 26, 2016, Springfield

Initial Certification – OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER March 28 – April 1, 2016, Montpelier

Initial Certification – OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER April 18 – April 22, 2016, White River Junction, VT

All trainings start at 8:00 am Please call 802-239-4696 or email for more information or to register.


Save the Date – 10th Annual Vermont Organics Recycling Summit (VORS) April 7th, 2016 at Vermont Technical College.

Peter Crawford
Environmental Assistance Program, Director

Vermont Small Business Development Center
PO Box 188
Randolph Center, Vermont 05061
Fax. 802-728-3026
Vermont  Green Business program:
Show your customers you care about our environment!
Green Hotels program:

Reduce Environmental Compliance Risks of your business operations by using the Free VT-DEC & VtSBDC on-line VT hazardous waste tutorial




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Join us March 8, 2016 at 8pm for a Montpelier Public Forum on the Regional Heroin Crisis: An Introduction to Project Safe Catch




For more information, contact:

Chief Anthony J. Facos

(802) 223-3445




February 17, 2016


Public Forum on the Regional Heroin Crisis:

An Introduction to “Project Safe Catch”


In the fall of 2015, the Montpelier Police Chief, along with Deborah Hopkins of Central Vermont Substance Abuse Services (CVSAS) and Ann Gilbert from Central Vermont New Directions (CVNDC) gave a presentation to the Montpelier City Council outlining the criminal and health impacts of heroin addiction in the Central Vermont Region.  One of the needs identified for the council was a follow-up public forum on the area’s drug problem.


On Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 6:30 PM, the police department along with its treatment and prevention partners will be hosting a community forum in the auditorium of the Montpelier High School.  This forum will provide an overview of the health and crime issues related to drug addiction along with explanations of current and future responses to this complex crisis.


Key to this presentation will be the departments’ strategic crime reduction plan that will focus on directly engaging individuals willing to get treatment with appropriate medical services.   This joint effort will be referred to as “Project Safe Catch,” which is a partnership between the MPD and CVSAS–with proposed support from Washington County Mental Health, Central VT Addiction Medicine, and the Emergency Department at the Central Vermont Medical Center.  “Project Safe Catch” is partially modeled after Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello’s initiative of getting drug users immediately to treatment instead of arresting them (see for more information on the Gloucester “Angels” program).  The core of “Project Safe Catch” is to connect addicts with the vital support they need–beginning the treatment process with the ultimate goal of recovery.


This effort is supported by Washington County State’s Attorney Scott Williams, Washington County police chiefs and commanders.  Several community organizations and stakeholders will be present at this forum to answer questions, provide information, and to identify resources.



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FamilyWize Announces $1 Billion in Savings

FamilyWize Logo

The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership, Inc., the national nonprofit that is aligned with the United Way in providing free prescription drug discount cards, has announced that $1 billion in savings was reached on March 2, 2016.

This is $1 billion saved by families across the country since the FamilyWize partnership began in 2005.  It’s cause for celebration when that much money has been saved by people everywhere in this day and age when necessary medications are needed for good health.

In the Green Mountain United Way five-county region, those savings translate to approximately $237,456 helping nearly 2,000 people.

GMUW and FamilyWize look forward to continuing the partnership to improve the health and wellness of our people.

For more information and to acquire a FamilyWize free prescription drug discount card, visit or call one of the GMUW offices in Barre at 802-622-8056, in St. Johnsbury at 802-745-0101, or in Derby Line at 802-647-2148.

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GMUW Receives Donations for Tatum’s Totes

GMUW Receives Donations for Tatum’s Totes


 JoanFBethDonation_2 2016 (1)

The Tatum’s Totes Program being led by Green Mountain United Way in Washington Co. continues to expand with recent donations received from Beth Daut and Joan Fitzgerald, both of Berlin, and Rachel Rich and friends of Northfield.

     Tatum’s Totes focuses on making life a little easier for children and teens entering foster care by providing them with backpacks filled with personal items that they can call their own.  In many instances, these foster kids have only the clothes on their backs when being moved to a new family.  Having one’s own bag or backpack of personal hygiene items, a fuzzy blanket and stuffed animal, and some books can make a world of difference when entering an unknown home.  Many children’s faces simply light up when receiving their backpack.

Recently, Beth Daut came forth with numerous items for kids of all ages to complete many of these bags.  Joan Fitzgerald has given several beautiful blankets and toddler sippy cups.  Rachel Rich and others in Northfield have provided hand crocheted afghans.

Green Mountain United Way is proud to be leading this Tatum’s Totes effort with the hope of easing the transition of children and teens into new home situations.

For more information about GMUW and how to donate to Tatum’s Totes, call their Barre office at 802-622-8056 or visit


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Read Across America Day – March 2nd

Volunteers Are Changing Lives as they Read Across America

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

–Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go

For the past 18 years, Read Across America, an event led by the National Education Association and embraced by United Way, mobilizes volunteers across the U.S. to celebrate reading with children on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’ birthday. In Phoenix, Arizona, Valley of the Sun United Way is celebrating the event for an entire week, with volunteers reading to children at 20 elementary schools.

There are many reasons why reading to and with young children is important. Chief among them is that children who start to develop strong reading skills when they are young are more likely to achieve success during their school years and throughout their adult life. Many young children do not have the opportunity to benefit from being able to read a book with a caring adult. By the end of 3rd grade, many of those children are still struggling to learn to read, when they should be reading to learn.

Here are just a few examples of communities where United Way volunteers are making a difference on Read Across America Day:

–Volunteers from United Way of Coastal Carolina will distribute books from a book drive to local schools in Bern, North Carolina.

–Volunteers from the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg will read to children and create a Dr. Seuss themed craft with children at six childcare centers throughout their region.

–Volunteers from United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut will read to every kindergarten classroom across Hartford and in two schools in New Britain.

Your local United Way might be involved too; contact them to find out how to get involved in reading with children on March 2nd and throughout the year.

And be sure to check out these general tips for reading with children. When you foster a child’s love of reading, you put them on the path to success in school, work and life.

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Your VFF Newsletter is here!


In this issue: We Care 2- Please vote, VFF Regional Conference, Children’s Mental Health Day in May,

Employment and leadership opportunities for parents

March 1, 2016


Vote for us!

Are you a VSECU Member?  

We are happy and honored to have been chosen by the Vermont State Employees Credit Union, VSECU, as one of five finalists for the We Care 2 charities to be presented to the VSECU membership for a vote.

VSECU will donate a percentage of $20,000 to the five organizations based upon the votes received from VSECU members. Voting is open until March 16 (VSECU Annual Meeting Date) and closes at 5:00 PM.
Double your impact: Once you have cast your vote, VSECU will also donate $1 per ballot to help heat the homes of Vermonters in need through a donation to Vermont’s Community Action Agencies.



Save the dates



 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week
May 1-7, 2016

“Healthy Families, Resilient Children: Mental Health is a Family Affair!”   
Children are an integral part of a family unit and healthy families are better equipped to support resilient children. We all must fully endorse the undisputed importance of full family engagement and participation in the care and treatment of our children. Further, we must advocate for a holistic approach to children’s mental health that includes the provision of supports that strengthen the family as they nurture resiliency.

 Please join us as we create a dialogue about the importance of healthy families and resilient children! 


– Adopted from the National Federation of Families    


Family and Youth Leadership Opportunities



Calling  parents, young adults and advocates with lived experience of Vermont’s child and family serving systems.
Your voice of experience is essential to making our system of care the best and most responsive to the real needs of children, youth and families. Please consider applying to be a Committee member or a regional Parent Representative.



 State Standing Committee for Children, Adolescents and Families
The purpose of the State Program Standing Committee is to involve people receiving services and others not employed by the Department of Mental Health, DMH, in:
  • Reviewing agency-specific performance
  • Planning
  • Decision-making regarding policy
The State Standing Committee is responsible for participating in the development of the state system of care plan and in the agency designation process, and for advising DMH on key issues and developments, such as hiring of key management, evaluation of quality, departmental policy, and other matters. Members are also involved in the re-designation process for the state’s designated mental health agencies. This group meets monthly.


Members are Governor appointed through recommendations from DMH.
For more information contact Kathy Holsopple, 



Parent Representatives needed in Bennington, Brattleboro, Hartford and Newport
Vermont’s ACT 264 legislation created a system that supports families at a community level by offering Coordination of Services, CSP, to those families in complex situations needing services from more than one agency or service system.
Act 264 legislation believes that Parents are valuable contributing members of their child’s Individual Treatment Team and know their child’s needs, strengths, and challenges. The Parent Representative, Parent Rep, role brings a parent voice and the parent voice into the process.
Parent Reps can assist families prior to a CSP or LIT meeting, at a CSP or LIT meeting and after these meetings. 
The Parent Rep is a volunteer who is supported by a stipend and mileage.  Parent Reps are chosen by the LIT members. The Vermont Federation of Families assists to find, recruit and train parents for this role. The time commitment for a Parent Rep is usually one LIT meeting of 1-2 hours per month and several hours per month or week to support families around their coordinated services meetings and plan.      
To consider becoming and/or apply to be your local Parent Rep please contact


Employment Opportunity- Project Coordinator


We want to hire someone who understands Vermont’s Mental Health and Addictions treatment systems and parallel peer service systems. We seek someone with project management and computer skills, communication and facilitation skills, experience in strategic planning and evaluation/data, and a demonstrated experience with peer service delivery.
The Project Coordinator will develop a unified network of recovery voices, positioned to advise Vermont’s policy makers as they improve systems of care. This is a 20 hour grant funded position

To apply send resume and 3 references to:

Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
PO Box 1577
Williston VT 05495


Check these out!




Mental Health Always Matters Children’s PSA Mental Health Always Matters Family PSA I Am the World
Diversity Rocks
Vermont Federation of Families, PO Box 1577, Williston, VT 05495


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Vermont Joins National #GoOpen Educational Initiative

Mon, 02/29/2016 –

Vermont Business Magazine – Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Education, today announced the launch of a new statewide #GoOpen initiative, joining the inaugural group of states across the country committing to support school districts and educators transitioning to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools. Vermont will be recognized for its leadership in this arena by the US Department of Education at the #GoOpen Exchange, a gathering of state and district leaders, innovative education technology platform providers, and non-profit organizations working together to share knowledge and experiences to help educators transition to using openly licensed educational resources.


Minecraft mania at Shaftsbury ES Using it to work out area and perimeter exercises for Math. VT AOE picture.

“It’s time we encourage schools in Vermont to begin using and creating Open Education Resources,” say Heather Bouchey, Deputy Director of the Vermont Agency of Education. “This is an opportunity for teachers to access free digital education resources that can be easily incorporated into classroom learning or re-envisioned to support personalized learning here in Vermont. The appropriate use of Open Education Resources is also a lesson in and of itself, demonstrating to students responsible sharing of digital resources.”

Vermont was recognized for its commitment to a statewide technology strategy that includes the use of openly-licensed resources as a central component, developing and maintaining a statewide repository solution for openly licensed resources, and participating in a community of practice with other #GoOpen states and districts to share learning and professional development resources. So far, Drescher has been taking on a campaign of making schools more aware of Open Education Resources and how they can transform the classroom in the Digital Age. Learn more about Vermont’s #GoOpen commitment at is external).

“States are powerful collaborators in supporting and scaling innovation. They can connect forward thinking educators, share effective ideas and approaches widely, amplify successes, and can support districts in leveraging limited resources,” says Joseph South, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “With the launch of statewide #GoOpen initiatives, states are helping districts thoughtfully transition to a new model of learning by facilitating the creation of an open ecosystem of digital resources that can increase equity and empower teachers.”

Since the launch of #GoOpen, school districts from more than 16 states have worked with #GoOpen Ambassador districts and innovators from education technology companies and nonprofit organizations who have committed to create new tools and provide professional learning opportunities to help districts in their transition to using high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools.

Openly-licensed educational resources have enormous potential to increase equitable access to high-quality education opportunities in the United States. “Switching to openly licensed educational materials has enabled school districts to repurpose funding typically spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning,” says Andrew Marcinek, Open Education Advisor at the Department, “We are excited that Vermont is committed to supporting its districts in using openly licensed educational resources.”

For more details on #GoOpen commitments made by states, school districts, and technology companies, visit is external).

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