Author Archives: GrowingInArt

Grant Opportunities for VT Communities Struggling from Decline in Forestry Industry

MONTPELIER, Vt.  – Governor Phil Scott (R) and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) on Tuesday encouraged Vermont communities struggling to overcome the decline in the forestry industry to consider utilizing a new $7 million grant program to spur new economic opportunities.

The NBRC (Northern Border Regional Commission) is seeking grant proposals through its newly launched Regional Forest Economy Partnership from governmental units and non-profit organizations across the four-state region from New York to Maine, including Vermont. The grant program aims to address the economic shift produced by the consistent decline of the forest products industry that has contributed to the displacement of workers and outmigration in the region. Through his work as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy directed the NBRC to support initiatives related to the forest-based economies and set aside a collective $7 million for this work.

Leahy said: “For generations, many communities across Vermont, northern New York and New England relied heavily on the economic benefits of the forest economy. But recent down-turns in wood markets have taken a toll. We need new solutions, new markets and sustained federal investment to ensure our rural communities can capitalize on new opportunities and retain their vibrancy. This new initiative will allow for demonstration for new wood products, such as mass timber construction, while also looking to help communities with critical needs such as closing the digital divide.”

Leahy included language in the 2018 Farm Bill expanding the Northern Border Regional Commission territory to include every county in Vermont. This new program will be the first NBRC grant round open to communities across the entire state of Vermont.

“As a competitive global market has put pressure on our forest-based businesses, Vermonters are doing great work to reinvent the forest economy. This includes investing in outdoor recreation, developing new forest-based products, like wood pellets for modern wood heat, and looking for ways to bring broadband and other modern infrastructure to rural communities,” said Governor Scott, who is the state cochair of the NBRC. “This federal-state partnership provides financial support to bring new ideas to scale. I want to thank Senator Leahy for his continued support of Vermonters and Vermont’s rural economy, particularly in response to these challenging circumstances,” Governor Scott added.

Applicants may apply for up to $1 million if they can demonstrate that any one of four criteria are met:  an industry change in employment due to a decline in the forest industry, a wage reduction, a mill closure in the past 20 years, or county level outmigration. The NBRC is encouraging applications that have a multi-state benefit.

Interested applicants should visit for more information. The NBRC has announced multiple application rounds, with the first deadline for letters of intent on March 15.

Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, the NBRC is a federal-state partnership with a mission to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation throughout portions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Since its inception, the Commission has awarded just over $30 million, which has leveraged $87 million to support 155 grants across the four states. In Vermont it has funded 58 projects totaling $10.6 million.


Lebanon Police Department is Hiring

Lebanon NH – The Lebanon Police Department is now accepting applications for the position of Full-Time Police Officer with a deadline for submission of Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 11:59PM. Minimum qualifications include: United States citizen, high school diploma or equivalent, must be 21 years of age at the time of appointment, and the ability to pass awritten, physical agility, and oral board examination in addition to an extensive background check. Starting salary for non-certified candidates is $54,163. Full-time certified officers are encouraged to apply and will be compensated according to experience. Certified officers can earn a bonus of up to $5,000 upon hire! New Hampshire

Full-Time Certified applicants are waived from the written test. The 2019 salary range
for Patrol Officer is $54,163 to $65,332, along with a comprehensive benefits
Interested candidates can register for testing through
no later than 11:59PM on Thursday, February 14, 2019. Additionally, a City of Lebanon
application can be downloaded from our PoliceApp site, or from, and must be completed and brought on the first day of testing.
Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications will be invited to the first step in the
process, the written and physical agility tests, scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The Lebanon Police Department reserves the right to limit candidates eligible to take the
physical agility test to those scoring 70% or higher on the written test. Candidates will be
tested at the 35th percentile for physical fitness and the standards can be found at
Officers in our employ are eligible for a number of specialty assignments based upon
performance and experience. These assignments include a police K-9 Unit, which
currently has three teams, full-time School Resource Officer, SWAT trained Tactical
Containment Team, Field Training Officer Program, Accident Reconstruction, Firearms
and Use of Force Instructors, Rape Aggression Defense Program (R.A.D.), Mountain
Bike Patrol Unit and Motorcycle Unit. Additionally, officers may work toward
assignments in our Detective or Training Division along with various promotional
Join a department on the move! Want to know more? Call Lt. Matt Isham, at (603) 448-
1212 or visit our website at


Hartford Police Investigating Early Morning Robbery

Hartford VT –  Hartford Police are investigating the robbery of the Holiday Inn Express located along the 100 block of Ballardvale Drive early this morning.

Just after 3am, a white male, approximately 6-4” tall, wearing a dark colored hoodie with his face covered by a black bandanna approached the hotel clerk with a black handgun and demanded money. The clerk complied and the man fled the hotel on foot towards North Hartland Road with an undisclosed amount of cash.

No one was injured.

Police are currently following up on information supplied by witnesses. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Hartford Police Department at 802-295-9425. The investigation continues.

New Biomass Plant Will Increase Dartmouth’s Sustainability

Hanover NH – Dartmouth is seeking proposals to build a biomass energy heating facility and transmission system to replace the existing central heating system, marking a major step in the institution’s sustainability commitment to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources by the year 2025.

The new system, estimated to cost more than $200 million, will change how heat is produced and delivered on campus, transitioning from steam heat to hot-water heat, a change that is expected to improve heating efficiency by 20 percent and will mean replacing the existing steam pipes that are in more than 110 buildings on campus.

“With this important initiative, Dartmouth is keeping the promise we made on Earth Day 2017. This work has been eight years in the making, with research and planning from the Sustainability Office, Campus Services, and from faculty, staff, students, and trustees,” says Executive Vice President Rick Mills.

The College is beginning the process of getting the plant built and operating—which includes reviewing design proposals and beginning permitting processes—with the goal of having the new facility operating by late 2025. A site for the new plant is expected to be chosen this spring.

The project will be financed, built, and operated by a private company in partnership with Dartmouth, and will allow the College to stop burning the millions of gallons of No. 6 fuel oil used in the existing heating plant, which is located in the center of campus. Instead, biomass—in this case sustainably sourced waste-wood material from forestry and timber industries—will be burned in the new plant. The materials will be purchased as locally as possible. A review of the availability of wood biomass shows that a sufficient quantity of the material is available in the region and across New England.

When the new facility goes on line, the existing plant, which has been in use in various forms since 1898, will be decommissioned and the land it occupies—approximately one acre—made available for other uses.

A Private Partnership

In the next few months, College officials will begin review of companies and expect to name a project partner in the summer of 2020. The College has chosen to work with a private company to take advantage of the resources and expertise in the energy industry, allowing the College to focus on its core educational mission. Dartmouth will pay the company to finance, build, and run the plant for 30 years, and will consider contracting with a company in the U.S. or abroad.

The 16 Dartmouth employees who currently work at the heating plant will be offered positions with the private company. The workers will receive pay and benefit packages comparable to what they receive from the College.

Meeting and Exceeding Sustainability Goals

The project is part of the April 2017 pledge made by President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 to transition Dartmouth to a low-carbon future by making strategic investments in sustainable energy, waste management, food systems, land use, transportation, and water systems. Progress has been made in a number of these areas and the work is ongoing.

The pledge includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels by 50 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050; transitioning the heating system from No. 6 fuel oil to renewable sources by 2025; and establishing a better system to distribute energy across campus, improving efficiency by 20 percent.

The new facility will meet the 20 percent efficiency goal and transition off No. 6 fuel oil, and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels by about 70 percent, far exceeding the 2025 goal.

“The plan to convert the campus steam system to hot water is an excellent idea that will achieve a 20 percent improvement in efficiency, and a similar-sized decrease in carbon emissions. A transition away from No. 6 fuel oil will also be a great achievement when it happens,” says Andrew Friedland, the Richard and Jane Pearl Professor in Environmental Studies.

With Rosi Kerr ’97, Dartmouth’s director of sustainability, Friedland co-chaired the Sustainability Task Force that President Hanlon appointed in 2016. In 2017, the task force produced a report called “Our Green Future: The Sustainability Road Map for Dartmouth,” which informed Hanlon’s 2017 Earth Day call for Dartmouth to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources, among other goals.

“Dartmouth has been on a good path since we submitted our task force report on Earth Day 2017. Perhaps the most visible sign of commitment and progress is the large number of photovoltaic panels that are visible around campus that weren’t present in 2017,” Friedland says.

There are solar panels on 11 campus buildings. Solar energy currently generates about 2 percent of the College’s electricity.

Designing for the Future

The College’s sustainability goals have officials aspiring to get to a zero-combustion future, hoping to eventually use an energy source to create heat that doesn’t involve burning anything or contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Engineering analysis indicates that this isn’t achievable now due to Dartmouth’s energy reliability and budgetary requirements.

The new energy plant is designed to serve a 30-year window, after which it is anticipated that technologies such as solar, wind, or geothermal energy will have developed enough to deliver the energy and reliability the College requires at an affordable cost. The new distribution system—transmission lines from the plant to central campus locations, and new piping to be installed in most buildings—will be designed to serve a much longer timeframe—as long as 100 years—and be able to be adapted to work with future technologies.

“This new plant represents a huge step forward for Dartmouth,” says Kerr. “And it meets two important goals of the green future roadmap. It gets us off No. 6 fuel oil and it establishes a more efficient system to distribute energy across campus. This puts us in a very good position to look decades ahead to what types of systems we might be able to use that don’t require combustion.”

The plant will be fitted to also burn liquid biofuel on the coldest of days of the year, when the wood biomass system cannot meet the College’s energy needs. Liquid biofuel can be made from materials such as vegetable and other oils, animal fat, and soybeans.

Moving to biomass and biofuel means the College will stop using some 3.5 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil annually, down from about 5 million gallons in 2010. The decrease is the result of various efficiencies implemented in the last several years, including in the way air is cooled to provide air-conditioning in campus buildings.

Overall, the new heating plant will be larger than the current facility, with space needed for biomass storage and handling that isn’t needed in the current plant. The boilers in the new plant are expected to be about the same size or smaller than those in the existing plant.

The plant won’t be the first biomass operation in the Upper Valley. Hanover High School and the Richmond Middle School, also in Hanover, both burn biomass to heat their facilities.

Claremont NH Man Arrested in NC for Interference with Custody

booking photo provided by Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department

Claremont NH – On July 30, 2018, a custodial parent of a one year old juvenile reported to the Claremont Police Department that the 32-year-old Gabriel Croft of Claremont had taken the child and was concealing her from that custodial parent as well as legal process:

After an approximate six month investigation which included obtaining telephone and social media records, a warrant for CROFT’s arrest was issued on January 10, 2019, by the 5th Circuit Court – District Division – Claremont.

Investigators tracked CROFT’s location to Charlotte, NC, where he was arrested on January 18, 2019. The child was also located and taken into custody by North Carolina authorities until she can be returned to the custodial parent.

CROFT is currently charged in New Hampshire with one Class B Felony complaint of Interference with Custody. He is charged in North Carolina with one Felony count of Fugitive From Justice, as well as two traffic offenses. His bail is set at $200,000 as he awaits further extradition proceedings.

Claremont Police were assisted in this investigation by the United States Marshals Service, the New Hampshire State Police Information and Analysis Center, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department, the Huntersville (NC) Police Department, and the Lincoln County (NC) Sheriff’s Department. Prosecution of this matter will be handled by the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office.

Investigation into this matter is ongoing, and further charges are anticipated. Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to call Claremont Police Detective Casey Piehl at (603)542-7010 or e-mail

Governor Chris Sununu and Governor Phil Scott Introduce Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan

Littleton, NH – Wednesday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Vermont Governor Phil Scott detailed their Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan, a bi-state voluntary paid family and medical leave program, in a press conference at Schilling Beer Company.

“As a small business along the New Hampshire – Vermont border, roughly half of our employees live in Vermont, and half live in New Hampshire,” said Jeff Cozzens, CEO and Co-Founder of Schilling Beer Co. “This proposal has the potential to help all of our employees. We are proud to host the Governors today as they outline their joint vision for a family medical leave insurance program that speaks to our ultimate concern: the well-being and advancement of our staff and their families,” Cozzens said.

The Governors’ plan creates an insurance product that is not currently offered in either state. It will be available to all businesses, as well as individuals, and will be anchored by the state employee workforce of both states – a combined 18,500 employees.

Under the Governors’ proposal, the new insurance coverage would provide enrolled public and private sector employees 60 percent wage replacement for six weeks at competitive rates for qualifying events, including:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • Caring for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty,” to care for a covered service-member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service-member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
“We both believe paid family medical leave offers an incredible opportunity to promote a work-life balance for many workers in our states struggling to meet the demands of the workplace while also meeting the needs of their families and their own health,” said Governor Sununu. “By leveraging the economies of scale of each state’s employment base, insurance carriers will be able to write a competitively priced family leave plan.”

“We know Family Medical Leave Insurance plans can improve companies’ ability to recruit and retain workers and increase productivity. I’m pleased to put forward a proposal that will help employers provide employees with greater work-life balance,” said Governor Scott. “I want to thank Governor Sununu and his team for bringing this idea forward, and for this partnership, as we work to improve the lives of residents in both of our states.”

The two states would select an insurance carrier, or carriers, through a coordinated Request for Proposal (RFP) process to assume the risk and manage the benefit and claims under the plan. This carrier, or these carriers, would then develop a “State Rate.” This is the per employee cost that each state would pay to provide a Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) plan to its employees.

Under the joint-proposal, each state would cover the full costs of providing an FMLI benefit to its employees, and employees will not have to incur any additional cost for the product. In addition, the winning carrier(s) would be required to allow all private sector employers in the state to opt-in to the FMLI plan with specified rates for the following categories of employer:

  • Employers that have 100 percent employee participation and have 20 employees or more would receive the State Rate;
  • Employers that have 100 percent employee participation and have fewer than 20 employees would receive a small employer rate which is expected to be modestly higher than the State Rate; or
  • Employers that have less than 100 percent employee participation would receive a scaled rate that would depend on their participation rate and whether they had 20 employees or more.


Additionally, individuals whose employer does not offer a paid leave plan will have the option of purchasing coverage.


Sex Offender Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Porn

Lebanon NH – In July 2018, the Lebanon Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit received information about a sex offender being in possession of child pornography and immediately began to investigate.

As the investigation progressed, the Cyber Crimes Unit served a search warrant at a residence on Hanover Street in Lebanon, NH. Electronic devices were seized from the residence and the content was reviewed. Digital media belonging to John Laybourne, age 56 of Lebanon, NH were found to contain video of very graphic child pornography involving young children.

Laybourne is a Tier III sex offender and is required to register for life.

Laybourne was arrested.

On January 15, 2019, Laybourne plead guilty to 40 counts of possession of Child Sexual Abuse Images and was sentenced to 5.5 years to 11 years in the New Hampshire State Prison.

The Lebanon Police Department is an affiliate of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and will continue to prosecute those who use the internet to sexually exploit children.

See related story here




New Hampshire Candidates Sought for New England Fishery Management Council

DURHAM, NH — The State of New Hampshire has been notified by the National Marine Fisheries Service of vacancies for New Hampshire’s obligatory seat and two at-large seats for the New England Fishery Management Council. New Hampshire’s obligatory seat is currently held by Mark Godfroy who is completing his first term as a Council member. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is one of eight regional councils in the United States established by federal regulation in 1976. NEFMC is charged with conserving and managing fishery resources from 3 to 200 miles off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

To assist in filling these vacancies, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Marine Fisheries Division will host a candidates’ interview night on Monday, February 11, 2019, at 7:00 pm, at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH. Potential candidates should be prepared to present their qualifications at the session. Interested candidates should contact Doug Grout, Chief of Marine Fisheries, NH Fish and Game Department, at (603) 868-1095.

Candidates will be interviewed by the Advisory Committee on Marine Fisheries and representatives of the New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen Association and Coastal Conservation Association–New Hampshire. The public is also invited to attend the session and will be provided an opportunity to ask questions of any candidate.

The process of filling council seats requires the Governor of each New England state to submit the names of at least three candidates to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for consideration. The State of New Hampshire uses a public process to recommend individuals for the Governor to consider for submission.

To learn more about NEFMC visit

To learn more about NH Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division visit

New London Center for Arts to Host Crooners, Cabaret and Chocolate

New London NH – Broadway musical performer Nancy Tripp, will be joined by a trio of instrumentalists to celebrate Valentine’s Day as part of the Winter Performing Arts Series, presented by the Lake Sunapee Region Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 16, at 7 pm.  Whipple Town Hall on Main Street in New London, NH will be transformed into a cabaret for this evening of “Crooners, Cabaret and Chocolate.”

Before becoming a professional singer in New York City in both the worlds of opera and musical theater, Ms. Tripp studied for her master’s degree in voice and piano at Manhattan School of Music.  Her resume includes six Broadway musicals, an off Broadway play, dozens of cabaret and nightclub  performances in New York City, development work with Ray Bradbury and Jonathan Tunick at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center; performances in leading roles at the Goodspeed Opera House, the Minnesota Opera, The Lake George Opera Festival, the Chautauqua Opera Festival (starring as Kate in “Kiss Me Kate” with John Reardon), and performing many leading roles in regional theaters.

A “must see” program and evening for an adult only audience.  Nancy Tripp and her trio will present music from crooners and yes there will be a dance floor, while you eat yummy chocolate and sip champagne.

Tickets for this evening’s event can be purchased on line at www.CenterForTheArtsNH.orgMorgan Hill Bookstore andTatewell Galleries in New London, NH.

Lebanon Police Request Public Assistance in Identifying Person of Interest

Lebanon NH – On January 10, 2019 the Lebanon Police Department received a report from a Woodstock, Vermont resident regarding possible credit card and identity fraud that had just taken place at two stores in Lebanon. The victim stated that his wallet had been stolen from a fitness center in Woodstock, VT and shortly thereafter, charges started to appear on his credit card. An investigation determined that an unknown subject went into Best Buy and Walmart and purchased several expensive electronic items with the victim’s credit card. The subject purchased two Mac Books and three iPads with the stolen card. The total loss exceeded $5,000.

The investigating officer was able to determine through surveillance video that the same male subject was responsible for both transactions. He is described as a white male in his 40’s, wearing a white hat, black North Face jacket, blue jeans and white sneakers. The subject was seen leaving in a white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with an unknown registration.

The Police Department is asking anyone who may have information about the identity of the male featured in the photographs to call Lebanon Police Officer Willie Harden at 603-448-1212. Information can also be submitted anonymously to our Tip Line, 603-448-CLUE, or online at