Heard on the Street 2.21.13

Cabot to Move Montpelier Operations to Waitsfield

Agri-Mark, the parent company of Cabot Cheese, has decided to move Cabot’s Montpelier operations to a new location in the Waitsfield Industrial Park sometime later in the year. Agri-Mark spokesman Doug DiMento told The Bridge that the reason for the move has nothing to do with whispers that the company could not quickly get a permit for a new location in Montpelier or ensure parking for its employees at a new Montpelier location. The Waitsfield location “best suits the growth of the company,” DiMento said. “The company has grown tremendously—from $40 million in sales in 1992 to over $500 million last year—and we don’t have enough space” in the Montpelier location. The Waitsfield location is over 31,000 square feet and “will meet our present and future needs as well.” DiMento said that “right now we’re going through due diligence with the new location, and nothing will be final at least until March, but it looks like we’ll be moving.” The 61 jobs at the Montpelier location will be relocated to Waitsfield, with other positions added. Agri-Mark is a dairy cooperative headquartered in Metheun, Massachusetts, with member farms in six different New England states.

City Clerk’s Office Raising Funds for Pet Microchip Reader

Montpelier city clerk John Odum’s office is partnering with The Quirky Pet on State Street to raise money to purchase a pet microchip reader for the Montpelier Police Department. The Quirky Pet will contribute to the yearly cost of notices for dog license renewals, and the money that the clerk’s office saves will be applied to the purchase of the microchip reader. Dog owners can also opt to donate an additional dollar toward the microchip reader fund. Microchip readers typically cost between $100 and $400, and the type of reader the office purchases will be determined by the amount of money it can raise. Currently, Montpelier police take loose pets to the Humane Society in East Montpelier. According to Cindra Conison, owner of The Quirky Pet, this is “a time-consuming trip that takes our police out of Montpelier for at least an hour.” With a microchip reader, Conison says, “our police [could] scan the dog’s chip, call the worried owner and quickly reunite the two, eliminating the costly middleman.”

Local Schools Receive Farm to School Grants

Two local schools recently received 2013 Farm to School grants from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the Vermont Farm to School Network. Berlin Elementary School received an implementation grant, while Washington South Supervisory Union received a planning grant. In its seventh year, the Farm to School grant program works to educate students and communities in the dynamics of local food production by linking school cafeterias and classrooms to local farms and food producers. “It is wonderful to hear that students understand Farm to School is not just about healthy food, but also about economic development for our farmers. That is when we know they’re connecting the dots between the educational, nutritional and economic aspects of the program,” said Jolinda LaClair, deputy secretary at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Arts Council Awards Grant to Plainfield

The Vermont Arts Council has awarded the town of Plainfield a $28,370 grant for improvements to the Plainfield Town Hall Opera House. The grant is earmarked to improve exterior drainage and address mold abatement in the building. The Vermont Arts Council awards grants of $1,000 to $30,000 every fiscal year to Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities “to enhance, create, or expand the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public.” The town also received a matching grant from the State Division of Historic Preservation to correct the building’s structural deficiencies and has identified additional potential grant funding through the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to help offset the cost of additional improvements that must be completed in order for the Town Hall Opera House to be reopened.

Vermont Joins Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has announced that it will join 38 other states in sharing information about suspended hunting and fishing licenses via the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Through the compact, the 39 member states recognize license suspensions in other member states. Thus, any license holder whose privileges are suspended in one member state will have his or her license suspended in all member states. According to Vermont chief game warden Colonel David LeCours, the compact will deter Vermonters with suspended hunting or fishing licenses from hunting, fishing or trapping in other states. Currently, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania are the only northeastern states participating in the compact. New Hampshire and Massachusetts have already voted against joining the compact, and Maine has passed supporting legislation but has not formally joined.

Veteran’s Small Business Center Opens in Randolph

The Vermont Tech Enterprise Center (VTEC) has opened a “business incubator” in Randolph for veterans and service members who are interested in starting or growing a small business. The space, located at 1540 Route 66 in Randolph (off I-89), provides vets and service members with high-speed Internet access, workspace, meeting rooms, copiers, video conferencing and a hospitality area. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly one in 10 small businesses are owned by a veteran, and the latest census showed over 51,000 veterans living in Vermont. Studies show that veterans are about 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than those in the general population, and the resource center, according to U.S. Representative Peter Welch, is ‘‘about empowering vets to be the best people that they can be.’’ The services at the center are free to veterans and service people. For more information, call VTEC at 728-9101 or e-mail vtec@vtc.edu.

—compiled by Max Shenk