WRC NEWSLETTER                                           FEBRUARY 2015
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WRC Commissioners

February 3, 5:30 pm:

Project Review Committee


February 5, 5:30 pm:


February 12, 2:00 pm:

Natural Resources Committee


February 17, 5:30 pm:
Local Emergency Planning (LEPC)
Brattleboro Fire Department 


February 23, 12:00 pm:

February 24, 7:00 pm:

Marlboro College Graduate Center, Brattleboro, VT


WRC will be CLOSED on the following dates:
Monday, February 16, 2015


**All Committee Meetings take place in the WRC Conference Room unless otherwise noted.


**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.

Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Crosby-Gannett Fund (Brattleboro and Surrounding Area)

Deadline: April 15 and October 15, 2015

For more information click here


Dunham-Mason Fund (Brattleboro and Surrounding Area)

Deadline: April 15 and October 15, 2015

For more information click here.


National Endowment for the Arts

Art Works

DEADLINE: February 19, 2015 and July 23, 2015
Challenge America

DEADLINE: April 16, 2015
For more information click here.

USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans & Grants

DEADLINE:  Ongoing (contact USDA office)

For more information click here.

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund

DEADLINE:  Rolling (Seed Grant) and March 15 and September 15, 2015 (Grow Grant)

For more information click here.

Vermont Arts Council - Project Grant

DEADLINE:  May 15, 2015

For more information click here

Vermont Community Development Program

DEADLINE:  Rolling

For more information click here.

Vermont Community Foundation

Small & Inspiring

DEADLINE:  April 1, August 3, October 1, and December 1, 2015

Special & Urgent Needs

DEADLINE:  Rolling

For more information click here.

Vermont Urban and Community Forestry - Caring for Canopy Grants

DEADLINE:  Expected April 2015

For more information click here.


Windham Foundation

DEADLINE: February 11, 2015, May 11, 2015, and August 5, 2015

For more information click here.  


Upcoming Grants will be a regular column in the WRC Newsletter, for a complete list please click here
For additional information about grant possibilities for your projects please contact Susan at 


In observance of the 50th anniversary of the Windham Regional Commission, we'll be sharing perspectives about the history the Commission and our service to our towns.



Windham Regional Commission's 50th Anniversary Celebration


In June 1965, Windham Regional Commission became the 1st regional planning commission in the State of Vermont. WRC is very proud of its achievements and impact over the past 50 years.  A committee of Bill Schmidt, Lew Sorenson, Jim Matteau, Greg Brown and Piet Van Loon has been busy planning a year-long celebration.

Last month in Newsbriefs you heard from Bill Schmidt, WRC's first Executive Director, on the founding and origins of WRC.  Bill and Corky Elwell will further discuss this at the February WRC Meeting.  Over the next year we will bring you a series of articles and speakers that will include WRC's involvement in Act 250, Human Services, Natural Resource Planning, Act 200, Transportation, Energy and the Future of the Region.


At the end of June we are planning a celebration and will be premiering a video about WRC and a book on its history.  Stay tuned for further details about this event. 

Please let us know if you have any photos or memories that you want to share about WRC's 50 years of service.  Contact Susan at x 114 or susan@windhamregional.org.


Mount Snow - Circa 1960's 

The opening ceremony
for I-91 in 
Brattleboro, VT
August 1965
Executive Director

Associate Director

Office Manager

Finance Manager

Senior Planner

Planning Technician

Senior Planner

Senior Planner


Assistant Planner
Save the Date - March 19th!!

Windham Region Selectboards Meeting on Inter-municipal Cooperation


WRC has been working with town officials to explore the potential for inter-municipal cooperation for shared municipal services. We've also met with Franklin Regional Council of Governments in Massachusetts to learn more about their shared procurement and finance management programs.  Many exciting ideas have been generated but further discussion is needed to gain a deeper understanding of what service (s) will be most beneficial to towns in the region.  We ask that Windham Region Selectboard members and town administrative staff please save this date for the following meeting:

March 19, 2015

6:00 p.m.

Location:  Townshend Town Hall

Light Dinner will be provided


More information about the meeting will be coming out in late-February.  In the meanwhile contact Susan McMahon (susan@windhamregional.org or x 114) if you have questions or suggestions about the meeting or opportunities for shared municipal services.

Route 30 Transit Feasibility Study:  Seeking Input from Potential Riders

Who within the VT Route 30 corridor would use public transit if it was available? WRC staff has collaborated with VTrans, Connecticut River Transit and the Deerfield Valley Transit Association to study the feasibility of providing transit service in the Route 30 corridor.  This study is to be completed by summer 2015.  It will identify demographics of current as well as potential users; reasons for travel (pleasure, work, medical, shopping, etc.); where people would travel from and to; specific destinations (employers, shops, stores, medical facilities, recreation); and daily, seasonal and year-round demand times.  It will look at the existing dial-a-ride service as well as possible expanded services along the existing corridor and rank them in order of priority for implementation.  The study will also address the efficiency, effectiveness and costs of each transit alternative, including the local match funds that would be needed to support each alternative.

We want to hear from all potential users: commuters, elderly, youth, disabled, people seeking mobility alternatives; anyone who cannot drive or would like the choice not to drive.  If you think about it, this includes a sizable number of our friends and neighbors: those under age 16, many over age 65, those who have a disability that makes driving impossible or uncomfortable, those who don't feel comfortable driving in winter weather, and those who would like to include walking or biking as part of their commute. 


The first of at least two Public Meetings will be on February 24, 2015, at 6:00pm, at the Townshend Town Hall.  The second meeting will be held in March. 


Please visit our website for more information, or contact WRC Transportation Planner, Matt Mann at (802) 257-4547 ext 120.

 Town Attendance at Project Review Committee Meeting


The January 13th Project Review Committee benefitted from good attendance by representatives from the Towns of Londonderry and Wilmington.  Project Review meeting invitations are sent to towns, and their WRC Commissioners, when a project in their town is on the agenda to be discussed.  Meetings are also advertised on the WRC website and are open to the public to attend.  At the most recent meeting, four Selectboard and development review board members from Wilmington attended to participate in the discussion about the latest Hermitage hearing on permit application 700002-22 and the draft Hermitage Master Plan.  From Londonderry, one Planning Commission member attended to give the town's view on the latest cell tower application from VTel.  Project Review Committee members and staff find town participation a valuable part of the process.  Any questions about Project Review can be directed to Alyssa Sabetto at 257-4547 extension 109.
Windham Region Hosts "A Roadmap to Energy Efficiency" Roundtable

Energy efficiency: less risk than the stock market, often better returns. The economic and environmental merits of energy conservation and efficiency have long been touted, but navigating the process of weatherizing homes and upgrading heating systems can be a difficult and confusing one. On January 20, 2015, citizens from throughout the Windham Region packed the conference room at the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust building in Brattleboro, VT. The event was co-sponsored by the NeighborWorks Heat Squad, Brattleboro Climate Protection, Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, and the Windham Regional Commission.


Ben Griffin from the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) kicked off a series of lightening talks organized to provide homeowners, Town Energy Coordinators, and other interested citizens with tools and resources to improve energy efficiency in our homes and communities. VECAN provides numerous resources and technical support communities in organizing and developing Energy Committees.


Following Ben, Leigh Cameron from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund (NEGEF) shared information about their grant program. NEGEF provides grants (typically in the $250-3,500 range) to grassroots organizations (including Energy Committees) for community projects. Examples of fundable energy projects include an outreach campaign to start an Energy Committee and implementation of a community-wide energy plan.


The Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) provides energy education to elementary school students throughout the state (usually grades 3 and up). Lisa Holderness, VEEP's Energy Educator for southern Vermont, explained that it is a free service to schools. Many schools in the region have not taken advantage of this resource. If you would like more information or to find out if your local school is participating, please visit their website.


A "one-stop shop" for improving energy efficiency in your home, Bruce Whitney and Melanie Paskevich from the NeighborWorks Heat Squad described the many services they provide to help homeowners improve efficiency and save money. The process typically begins with a $100 (subsidized) energy audit in which a certified Energy Auditor will assess the efficiency of your home and provide recommendations for cost-effective improvements. NeighborWorks, a non-profit organization, also provides technical support and financing options to assist homeowners through the weatherization and upgrade process.

Efficiency Vermont provides programs and financial incentives to assist homeowners, businesses, and municipalities improve their efficiency. Jennifer Noraz, Home Performance Program Director of Efficiency Vermont is working to increase Efficiency Vermont's visibility in Windham County. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program allows financing to be attached to the property rather than the owner, allowing transfer of payments with changes in ownership.


USDA Rural Development provides support to municipalities, non-profits, and home and business owners with financial packages to assist with building improvements. Deborah Boyd, Rural Development Specialist, shared that low-interest loans and grants are offered to qualifying entities.

Dan Mackey from Green Mountain Power (GMP)  wrapped up the evening. He explained that GMP is increasingly becoming a service provider. Besides offering project management servies for weatherization (through eHome), GMP has initiated residential cold-climate heat pump and hot water heat pump lease programs, which allow homeowners to lease heat pumps for space heating and hot water with no upfront costs and with full warranty coverage for the duration of the lease.


Each of these programs fulfills a different niche and can often be combined with other programs to increase the economic benefit. Whether you are looking to start/expand your town's Energy Committee or lower your utility bills at home, there are resources available to assist. If you have questions, please contact Kim Smith at ksmith@windhamregional.org or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108.

Windham County Conservation District Plant Sale

Habitat regeneration in the wake of any disturbance is a natural process, but there's a very real risk that what will regenerate are invasive species that degrade habitat for wildlife and crowd out native species. One of the safest and most effective methods of tackling the invasive invasion is by planting native plants before invasives become established.  Plant Purpleosier Willow and Red Osier Dogwood to cover ground before Japanese Knotweed has a chance.  Plant native spring perennials as a defense against Purple Loosestrife.


The Windham County Conservation District makes it easy and affordable.The 22nd Annual Windham County Conservation District Plant Sale includes plants for their landscape value, conservation value, re-vegetation value and food value, both for ourselves and our feathered friends.   This year they have included a diversity of plants that are used to control erosion along stream-banks to assist you in your re-vegetation efforts.  The best way to maximize your planting success is to match the right plant with the right soil and light conditions. The Conservation District can help you with this, too! 

For order forms or more information, please call (802) 254-5323 ext. 104, and visit the District's


Support Received for the Development or Update of Local Hazard Mitigation Plans


Vermont Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is pursuing a "mega-grant" on behalf of a number of regional planning commission throughout the state.  This grant will fund the development of hazard mitigation plans for numerous towns, including eight towns in the Windham region, that do not currently have a hazard mitigation either in place or in development.  These eight towns are Brookline, Dummerston, Halifax, Marlboro, Stratton, Vernon, Weston and Jacksonville/Whitingham.  WRC's Emergency Planner, Alyssa Sabetto, will provide assistance to the towns in developing the plans.  This a great opportunity and it involves no financial match from the towns.  Alyssa will be reaching out these communities to begin the planning process in Spring/Summer 2015.  Hazard mitigation plans are one of the four required items for maintaining the 12.5% state match for Emergency Relief Assistance Funds.  This stipulation went into the place on October 23rd of 2014.  If you should have any questions, contact Alyssa at asabetto@windhamregional.org or 802-257-4547 ext. 109.

The Importance of Town Assessments

It's town meeting time!  Each year the WRC submits to towns a one-page overview for inclusion in town reports that explains what we are, what we do, how we do it, highlights of the past year, who represents the town on the Commission, and what the town's assessment will be for the year.  This year's per resident rate is $1.88.  While town assessments make up a relatively small percentage of our budget - about 7 percent of a $1.2 million budget for FY 2015 - it is virtually the only funding we receive that has no conditions placed upon it by entities beyond the Commission's borders.  Each town's assessment makes it possible for us to leverage the resources that enable us to serve our region across a range of activities.

Highlights from the past year reflect the range of services we provide to the towns of the region.  We assisted 23 towns at their request with plans, zoning and zoning administration, flood hazard area regulation updates, and community revitalization.  Staff and the WRC's Project Review Committee received and reviewed 109 Act 250 applications and 9 Section 248 applications.  Culvert inventories, road/infrastructure inventories, traffic studies and/or sign inventories were provided for 18 towns.  We assisted all of our towns with the development and submittal of Local Emergency Operations Plans and other requirements to maximize benefits related to the Emergency Relief Assistance Fund, which provides state funding to match federal dollars in the event of a federally-declared disaster.  We have led the region's response to the announcement of the closure of Entergy Vermont Yankee, including understanding what the economic impacts will be and what the decommissioning process will entail.  As part of the Irene Recovery Project collaboration funded by the U.S. Economic Development Agency we completed 17 long-term recovery plans for the hardest hit villages and downtowns.

More information about what we accomplished over the past year is available in our annual report, which can be found on our website (www.windhamregional.org). Click on the heading "About the WRC."  You can also find monthly activity summaries on our website, which highlight specific activities within each of our programmatic areas.  Many town officials tell us that we provide outstanding value for the assessment.  Please let us know what you think.  Where do we perform well, and how can we serve your town and the region better?

Windham Regional Commission 
139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
Fax: (802) 254-6383