Development group elects officers; USDA offers local grants; girl wins health care education scholarship

The Regional Development Corporations of Vermont elected its officers at its recent annual meeting. Bob Flint, executive director of Springfield Regional Development Corporation, was elected president, Joan Goldstein, executive director of Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, was elected vice president, and Ruth Wallman, executive director of the Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corporation, was elected  secretary/treasurer. Regional Development Corporations of Vermont exists to promote the common business and economic interests of commercial enterprises in the State of Vermont.

For more information, contact Springfield Regional Development Corporation by calling 802-885-3061.

USDA offering distance learning, telemedicine grants

USDA logoThe United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grants to provide access to education, training and health-care resources in rural areas. Funding is authorized through the Department’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program, part of the USDA’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“I am pleased that USDA is able to offer these grant opportunities in Distance Learning and Telemedicine,” said USDA-Vermont acting director David Robinson. “Rural Vermonters have gained access to medical care which had previously only been available to those people living in more populated areas. Additionally, both our students and professionals can learn a broader range of knowledge and be connected to the wider world.”

Under this notice, USDA may provide up to $17.5 million in grants. Funds can be used to buy equipment and provide technical assistance. To be eligible, applicants must serve a rural area, demonstrate economic need and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds. Awards range up to $500,000.

In 2012, USDA Rural Development provided 58 DLT grants for projects in 36 states. Since the program began, 1,400 projects have been funded.

As an example of Vermont project that was funded, in 2011, North Country Supervisory Union serving Essex, Orleans and Washington counties in Vermont and Aroostook County in Maine was awarded $499,870. This distance learning and career development project links public schools in the northeast corner of Vermont and Aroostook County in Maine, known as the Northeast Kingdom, with Lyndon State College.

Eighteen elementary, middle and high schools were outfitted with mobile video conferencing carts, enabling them to connect with each other and with a multitude of educational and career development resources. Video bridging and control equipment were installed to unite the various components into a unified network. North Country Career Center offers vocational training and career workshops. Lyndon State College offers dual enrollment classes and graduate-level classes. The college also provides, through its Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, classes on planning, financing and sustaining a small business. The distance learning project incorporates an eLearning software platform that facilitates educators in constructing interactive online courses.

Completed applications must be received by Aug. 12, 2013. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the notice published on Page 38915 of the June 28, 2013 Federal Register:

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Mt. Holly girl wins Lovell health care education award

Megan Blais, a Mt. Holly resident who is in the class of 2013 at Mount St. Joseph High School, is the third recipient of the Dr. E. Sherburne Lovell Health Career Award. This award contributes $1,000 annually toward a student’s studies for a career in health care and is funded by proceeds from the Apple Blossom Cotillion, a project of the Development Office of Springfield Medical Care Systems.

Megan Blais,center, receives the Dr. Lovell award from Peter MacGillivray and Mary Perry, chairs of Springfield Medical Care System’s Development Committee, Melissa (Lovell) Post and Marty Hammond, Southern Vermont AHEC.

Megan Blais, center, receives the Dr. Lovell award from Peter MacGillivray and Mary Perry, chairs of Springfield Medical Care System’s Development Committee who are flanking her, Melissa (Lovell) Post, far left, and Marty Hammond, Southern Vermont AHEC, far right./Photo provided.

Dr. Lovell was long-time physician at Springfield Hospital. His daughters, Melissa Post and Elizabeth David, stated, “While he was a man who never sought recognition for his service in the medical field or in the community, we know he would be honored to have this award named in his memory. We hope recipients of the award will share the same sense of wonder and fascination with the world of medicine that he did.”

Megan will be a nursing student at Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. Megan became interested in a career in health care when she attended the Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center MedQuest and Advanced MedQuest health career exploration experiences.

To be eligible for the award, students must live in one of the towns served by Springfield Medical Care Systems and attend AHEC’s MedQuest and Advanced MedQuest programs. Application information for the Dr. E. Sherburne Lovell Health Career Award is available by contacting Southern Vermont AHEC at 802-885-2126 or



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