Inside Seven Days | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Find Jobs, Make Connections and Learn About Local Innovation at the Vermont Tech Jam

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 10:26 AM

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Vermonters will learn about drone swarms, corporate data breaches and new innovation spaces at Seven Days’ Vermont Tech Jam, a free event on Friday, October 19, at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction. The state’s top tech firms will be there, too: Dozens of Vermont’s fastest-growing companies are expected on the Expo floor, along with local colleges and training programs. Most exhibitors are hiring.

The schedule includes nine presentations organized along two tracks: one for entrepreneurs and business owners; a second for professionals who want to take their careers to the next level. Several researchers, artists and makers will also set up demos and displays in an Emerging Tech Showcase.

The 2018 Tech Jam is presented by Vermont Works. "A fundamental pillar of Vermont Works is job creation and talent retention,” said Robert Zulkoski, chairman and managing partner of Vermont Works Management Co., “so supporting Tech Jam was an easy decision for us. We're looking forward to working with the Seven Days team to continue to develop this flagship event over the next few years, bringing in influential keynote speakers and highlighting the breadth of innovation happening throughout the state.”

“And,” Zulkoski added, “in just a couple of years, we hope to host events like this in the Vermont Innovation Commons at Cambrian Rise, a hub for the state's entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

The 12th Vermont Tech Jam is also sponsored by an array of Vermont companies and organizations: Logic Supply, VIP, the University of Vermont Medical Center, SunCommon, Data Innovations, Dealer.com, GW Plastics, Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development, Department of Labor, Vermont Tech Council, Norwich University and Green Mountain Power, with additional support from RESOLUTE Partners, Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Technology Alliance.

The 12th Vermont Tech Jam offers:

  • Dozens of exhibitors, including all of the sponsors, plus companies such as Beta Technologies, Vermont Systems, Revision, NRG Systems and Vermont Mechanical.
  • Emerging Tech Showcase: Discover exciting local projects under development, see dramatic data visualizations, and experience an immersive 3D soundscape.
  • Keynote Address: Choreographer, entrepreneur and Brown University professor Sydney Skybetter will describe his peculiar professional trajectory from ballet dancer to technology expert. He’ll explore a gamut of emerging phenomena — including drone swarms, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. Using choreography as a frame, Skybetter will discuss some of the risks and economic opportunities of our unfolding technologic era.
  • Anatomy of a Data Breach: Your company has been hacked. How do you respond? Experts in law enforcement, cybersecurity, legal affairs, cyber insurance and public relations go step-by-step through a data breach scenario at a mid-size Vermont company in this workshop, organized by Vermont’s Office of the Attorney General.
  • Reinvent Yourself: Attention, experienced workers re-entering the workforce or seeking a new field! In this hands-on workshop, career marketing specialists Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan and Jane Taylor of FromWithin Coaching explore ways to rebuild your résumé — and your confidence.
  • If You Build It: Representatives from two new developments on opposite sides of the state — Vermont Innovation Commons in Burlington and the Black River Innovation Campus in Springfield — explain how they intend to boost economic activity and investment in Vermont.
  • Power Up: Women in Tech Roundtables: In this small group breakout session, facilitated by Vermont Works for Women, experienced women in tech fields discuss how to get started and how to get ahead in male-dominated STEM fields. Discussion leaders include Janette Bombardier, chief technical officer of Chroma Technology Corp.; Meghan Purvis, scrum master at Dealer.com; and Tasha Dickinson, product manager at Logic Supply.
  • Artificial Intelligence Gathering: Advances in AI will create new opportunities for Vermont researchers and entrepreneurs and new challenges for workers and regulators. Hear from experts about what’s at stake for Vermont.
  • Tech Jobs in Journalism: Vermont’s media outlets still need reporters and editors, but they also employ data crunchers, online community managers and web video producers. In this panel discussion, tech-savvy staffers from Seven Days, Vermont Public Radio, VTDigger and the Valley News explain what they do, where they learned to do it and how they keep up with whatever’s next.
  • The Tech Jam Awards: On Friday afternoon, BTV Ignite, the Vermont Technology Alliance and Seven Days present the three Tech Jam Awards, for the leading local innovator, tech ambassador and startup.

The Vermont Tech Jam was conceived in 2008 by Seven Days, the Vermont Technology Alliance and a coalition of public and private sector partners who sought to increase the visibility of the state’s vibrant, and growing, technology sector. The event is produced by Seven Days, with organizational support from the Vermont Technology Alliance.

For more information, a complete schedule and a list of exhibitors, visit techjamvt.com.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Calories Don't Count During Seven Days Burger Week

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 12:17 PM

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Seven Days, Vermont’s free and independent weekly newspaper, is excited to announce all the juicy details of its inaugural Burger Week!

For seven days, November 2-8, more than 30 participating restaurants will be serving up burger specials that diners will flip for. Think breakfast burgers, triple-deckers, veggie burgers and, of course, good old-fashioned beef patties. There will also be an opportunity for burger fanatics to win epic prizes throughout the week.

For the list of participating restaurants visit burgerweek.sevendaysvt.com.
Want to become a participating restaurant? Email burgerweek@sevendaysvt.com

Burger Week is sponsored by Budweiser, The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa and Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Seven Days Releases Database Driving Its Series on Vermont’s Nonprofit Economy

Posted By and on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 2:01 PM

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Vermont has eight times as many nonprofits as it has dairy farms — and unlike the milk industry, the state’s charitable sector just keeps growing.

For the past two weeks, Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, has been shining a spotlight on Vermont’s 6,044 nonprofits, examining what these mostly tax-exempt organizations have in common, and what their proliferation means for Vermont, in a series called “Give and Take: Examining Vermont’s Nonprofit Economy.” 
Andrea Suozzo - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Andrea Suozzo


To report this series, Seven Days’ news team relied on publicly accessible nonprofit tax filings, known as IRS Form 990s. Digital editor Andrea Suozzo turned those thousands of filings into a database, called the Vermont Nonprofit Navigator. Seven Days reporters and editors have been mining it in search of stories; now readers can, too. Seven Days has made the Vermont Nonprofit Navigator available to the public, for free, at nonprofits.sevendaysvt.com.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vermont Restaurant Week Donates More Than $23,000 to the Vermont Foodbank

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:36 AM

click image Vermont Foodbank
  • Vermont Foodbank
A total of $23,165 was donated to the Vermont Foodbank as a result of Seven Days' 9th annual Vermont Restaurant Week — $1,785 more than last year. This popular annual event was presented by Vermont Federal Credit Union and organized by Seven Days.

“A wholehearted thank you to the Vermont Federal Credit Union, Seven Days, City Market, and all the incredible restaurants and patrons for bringing us another deliciously impactful Vermont Restaurant Week,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “These funds will help make sure that all of our neighbors can put healthy food on the table and enjoy the fresh, local food our state has to offer. This makes a real difference for families, kids, older Vermonters and people throughout the state. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!”  “At Vermont Federal Credit Union, we remain passionate and committed to creating financially strong and vibrant local communities where families and small businesses thrive,” said Jean Giard, VFCU president and CEO. “Vermont Restaurant Week helps us to achieve these goals by supporting local businesses and food purveyors, and encouraging community members to get out and enjoy the Vermont restaurant scene during this annual event. We couldn’t be more proud, as presenting sponsor, to provide this growing annual donation to help the Vermont Foodbank serve the state of Vermont.” Many factors contributed to the total donation. Proceeds from the Brunch Bash, a curated tasting event featuring local chefs, went to the foodbank. Donations also came from a panel discussion at ArtsRiot; from Stretch & Sip, a yoga class for digestion at Switchback Brewery’s Taproom; from Get Cultured, a food writing and sensory evaluation class at City Market; event raffles; and a portion of sponsorship dollars.

City Market/Onion River Co-op, one of the festival’s sponsors, gave the Vermont Foodbank 40 percent of its two stores’ Rally for Change donations during the month of April; the program encourages customers to round up their total at the register and donate the difference.

Finally, restaurants were encouraged to donate $1 from every meal sold to the foodbank during the week. Embracing that initiative were the Gryphon, Our House Bistro, Magic Hat Brewing Co., Café Provence, 3 Squares Café, Bistro de Margot, Bluebird Barbecue, Cork Wine Bar & Market of Stowe, Vermont Pub & Brewery, Michael’s on the Hill, Esperanza Restaurante, the Farmhouse Group, Pizzeria Verità, Hyde Away Inn and Restaurant, the Bench, Hazel, and New Moon Café.

More than 100 restaurants across the state participated in Vermont Restaurant Week this year. Each location offered special, prix-fixe meals during the event, which ran from April 20 to 29.

In addition to Vermont Federal Credit Union and City Market, this year’s sponsors were Vermont Creamery, Switchback Brewing Co., WhistlePig Whiskey, Swish White River, Shacksbury Cider, the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa, and the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, with media support from WCAX, WNCS the Point and Front Porch Forum.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Good Citizen Challenge Offers Kids an Interactive Summer Civics Lesson — and Prizes

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 5:09 PM

Governor Phil Scott speaking at the Good Citizen launch press conference, with Seven Days deputy publisher Cathy Resmer; Lt. Governor David Zuckerman; Secretary of State Jim Condos; Ethan Sonneborn, candidate for governor; and Liz Gamache, Vice President for Grants and Community Investments at the Vermont Community Foundation - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Governor Phil Scott speaking at the Good Citizen launch press conference, with Seven Days deputy publisher Cathy Resmer; Lt. Governor David Zuckerman; Secretary of State Jim Condos; Ethan Sonneborn, candidate for governor; and Liz Gamache, Vice President for Grants and Community Investments at the Vermont Community Foundation
In 2018, we the people of the United States are deeply divided — by race, gender, socio-economic status and political affiliation. That’s true even here in Vermont, where by some accounts the recently concluded legislative session was one of the most divisive in recent memory.

What better time to focus on the democratic values that unite us?

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This summer, Vermont’s elementary, middle and high school students can learn about our shared civic heritage by embarking on the Good Citizen Challenge. The self-guided Challenge encourages young Vermonters to explore historic sites, engage in conversations with neighbors and elected officials, develop media literacy skills and learn about the rights and duties of U.S. citizenship. Geared toward kids ages 9 to 14, the Challenge is open to all Vermont K-12 students. Activities include visiting the Calvin Coolidge Homestead, attending a city council or selectboard meeting, reading a community newspaper and drawing a cartoon explaining how the three branches of government work.

Participants earn points by completing each activity. When they reach 251 points — the number of towns in Vermont — they send in their scorecard and evidence of their work to receive a Good Citizen medal and T-shirt. Additionally, youth who complete the challenge will be invited to a reception at the Vermont Statehouse where elected officials from across the political spectrum will recognize these “Good Citizens” for their accomplishments. The deadline to complete the Challenge is October 9, 2018.

The Challenge was developed by locally owned newsweekly Seven Days and its free, monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, with underwriting support from the Vermont Community Foundation.

At a Statehouse press conference announcing the initiative, Seven Days deputy publisher Cathy Resmer said it’s modeled after the 10-year-old Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge organized by the Vermont State Parks. “My family loves Venture Vermont. It gives a little structure to our summer adventures, and inspires us to try new activities,” said Resmer, who is also executive editor of Kids VT. “We hope the Good Citizen Challenge will do the same thing, but for civics.”

Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, was one of three state officials who spoke at the event; Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat, and Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat, all offered their support, as did Democratic candidate for governor Ethan Sonneborn, 14, of Bristol. Said Governor Scott: “I’m very pleased to help celebrate the launch of this program, which I hope will encourage young Vermonters to learn more about our state, their communities, government and our civic responsibilities."
Studies suggest that parents could use a civics refresher course, too. In 2016, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania asked adults to name the three branches of government. Only a quarter of all those surveyed knew all three; a third could not name a single one. Even more disturbing, a 2016 Newseum Institute study found that 39 percent of American adults couldn’t name any of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment: freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, of assembly and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

“How can Americans participate in their democracy — or defend it — if they don’t understand the principles on which it rests?” asked Resmer. “As former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, ‘Civic knowledge can’t be handed down the gene pool. It has to be learned.’”

Not all Vermont kids have the same access to civics-related learning opportunities, especially during summer vacation. The Challenge is a way to address that opportunity gap.

“The Vermont Community Foundation takes it as an organizing principle that there is no greater challenge to our communities than the opportunity gap,” said Foundation CEO and President Dan Smith. “Closing that gap is necessary because rebuilding the community bonds that come from common experience is the best hope for a stronger civic, social, and economic future. The Good Citizen Challenge is an activity in which everyone can participate that reminds us of our common civic legacy, and hopefully brings the next generation of Vermonters closer together."

The Challenge will also point kids and families toward existing community-minded resources and organizations: Partners in the Challenge include the Vermont State Parks, the Vermont State Historic Sites, Front Porch Forum, the Young Writers Project, the Winooski Peace Initiative, Phoenix Books and Burlington-based GameTheory.

Find scorecards with the rules and a complete list of activities in the May 23 issue of Seven Days, in the June, July, August and September issues of Kids VT and at goodcitizenvt.com.

About the Vermont Community Foundation

The Vermont Community Foundation is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise to make giving easy and effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community. Visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355 for more information.

About Seven Days and Kids VT

Da Capo Publishing Inc., dba Seven Days, was founded by Pamela Polston and Paula Routly in 1995, and is now owned by Polston and Routly, as well as deputy publisher Cathy Resmer and associate publishers Don Eggert and Colby Roberts. In addition to its seven free publications — including Kids VT — the Burlington-based company also produces several annual events, the Stuck in Vermont video series and hosts a ticketing website, job board and dating service. Its award-winning staff has been recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the Parenting Media Association, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and the Vermont Press Association.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Keep This Newspaper Free For All

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 3:53 PM

ILLUSTRATIONS: SEAN METCALF
  • Illustrations: Sean Metcalf
Boston. New York. Philadelphia. Baltimore.  All of them once had powerful and provocative weekly newspapers that have ceased publication in recent years.

Vermont’s Seven Days continues to thrive, but many of our readers have asked what they can do to assure our locally owned media outfit stays strong into the future.

It’s a tough question for a for-profit company. Since 1995, Seven Days has been a community resource like no other, with cultural criticism and in-depth news, event listings, personal ads and original artwork.

Another unique feature: Seven Days is free, in print and online. Advertising, almost all of which is local, covers the cost of creating, printing and distributing 36,000 copies each week. That includes employing more than 60 talented people.

Our business model has worked because Vermont is an unusual place: The digital trends that have put locally owned shops out of business in other parts of the country haven’t disrupted commerce as thoroughly here. Vermont merchants are crucial to our communities — they employ workers, sponsor events and attract both locals and tourists to our towns. Many independent stores, restaurants, service providers and other businesses advertise in Seven Days and, in return, we ask our readers to patronize them. That symbiotic relationship helps us all.

But we recognize that sustaining our enterprise might call for something more in the age of Amazon, Google and Facebook. We’ve already diversified our operations, adding publications, events, and services such as ticketing and obituaries. Giving satisfied readers a way to show their appreciation for Seven Days is a logical next step. So, to those of you who understand the essential role of local media and want to help, our response is: Thanks, we’ll take it!

If you like what we’re doing, become a Seven Days Super Reader for as little as $7 a month. That’s $1.75 a week, which is less than what it actually costs us to produce a single copy of the print paper — think of it as a voluntary subscription. Along with a guilt-free read, you’ll get our undying appreciation, a monthly email newsletter, swell swag, and invitations to events and discussions.

With your support, Seven Days will continue to flourish. We’ll keep Vermont journalism free and independent, our communities connected and you, our valued readers, in the know.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Seven Days Wins 27 Awards in Regional Media Competition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 4:34 PM

Seven Days' 2017 NENPA awards - COREY GRENIER
  • Corey Grenier
  • Seven Days' 2017 NENPA awards
Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won 14 first-place awards in this year’s New England Better Newspaper Competition, including top honors for its reporting and writing, website, headline writing, design and presentation, and video journalism. The paper also won nine second-place awards and four third-place awards — 27 total.

The contest is organized by the New England Newspaper & Press Association. Winners were announced at NENPA’s annual convention Saturday night in Boston.

NENPA members submitted more than 3,000 entries, distributed among five categories: daily newspapers with circulation up to 30,000; daily newspapers with circulation more than 30,000; weekly newspapers with circulation up to 6,000; weekly newspapers with circulation more than 6,000; and specialty publications. Seven Days — which distributes 36,000 copies every week — competed against numerous other large New England weeklies.

Seven Days’ 14 first-place awards included:

• Three for “Stuck in Vermont” senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger in the video categories. “A high-quality production with top-notch sound and graphics. A+!” wrote one contest judge. The winners were:


• Overall Website, for Seven Days staff. “An enticing front page that manages to elevate both news and culture,” a judge opined about sevendaysvt.com.

• Headline Writing, for story-toppers that, a judge wrote, “invite readers in.” The five headlines that made up the entry included this one: “Surrender Dorothy? Vermont may rename its children’s book award because of Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s ties to the eugenics movement.”

• Overall Design and Presentation, for the Seven Days design team. “Tops in presentation,” noted one judge.

• Crime and Courts Reporting for Mark Davis, for his “Death by Drugs” package that recounted fatal opiate overdoses in Vermont. A judge cited the “masterly article” that “brings home the opioid crisis by profiling 14 victims.”
• Local Personality Profile, also for Davis, for his story about former Vermont judge Ed Cashman, who was attacked for his handling of a sex offender’s case. “Details are rich and the pacing is excellent,” a judge wrote. “It is a solid, engaging and informative read.”
• Commentary, for political editor Paul Heintz, for “Rutland First: Vermont's Homegrown Opposition to Syrian Resettlement.” A judge concluded, “This examination of one group’s resistance to immigration was even-handed and made its points most effectively.”
• Arts & Entertainment reporting, for Dan Bolles, for “From Phish Shows to Breweries, Builder Russ Bennett Makes Magic.” Gushed a judge, “Storytelling devices he used created a smart and engaging piece packed with character and detail.”
• Human Interest Feature Story, for Sasha Goldstein. His “Lucky Bums” piece about Vermont’s pioneering skiing enthusiasts included “well-told profiles of the interesting characters whose lifelines made the region what it is,” a judge commented.
• Racial or Ethnic Issue Coverage, for Kymelya Sari, for her story, “Deaths Prompt Review of Safety, Swimming Programs for New Americans.” A judge called it a “well-written and enlightening report” that “brings together relevant voices and insights.” • Reporting on Religious Issues, also for Sari, for her story “With Imam Leaving, Colchester Mosque at a Crossroads.”
click image ILLUSTRATION: HARRY BLISS/DESIGN: REV. DIANE SULLIVAN
  • Illustration: Harry Bliss/Design: Rev. Diane Sullivan
• Illustration, for Harry Bliss, for a Seven Days cover illustration depicting President Trump, inspired by the classic Attack of the 50 Foot Woman film poster.

In second-place finishes, Heintz had four awards, and reporters Alicia Freese and Molly Walsh each earned one. A news photograph by James Buck and a sports video by Sollberger also claimed second-place slots. And Seven Days won second place for general excellence; a judge noted not only the paper’s appealing design but also its “strong enterprise reporting.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Facebook's Changing. Here Are Seven Ways to Find Seven Days

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Why, Mark Zuckerberg? Why? - ANTHONY QUINTANO/ANDREA SUOZZO
Been reading about Facebook’s News Feed changes? Yeah, so have we. And, honestly, your guess is as good as ours on how they're going to affect what you see when you log in and start scrolling.

What we do know is that we can't rely on Facebook to show you the stories we post going forward. We think you'll still see some of them, but maybe not as often, and maybe not the ones you'd really like to see.

Continue reading »

Monday, December 4, 2017

Seven Days Wins 30 Vermont Press Association Awards

Posted By on Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 4:22 PM

First place photo in the "General News" category - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • First place photo in the "General News" category
Seven Days picked up 30 journalism awards, including 13 first-place prizes, at the Vermont Press Association’s annual meeting Thursday in Montpelier.

VPA officials handed out awards for two separate contests — one covering July 2015 through June 2016 and one covering July 2016 through June 2017 — at the gathering, held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. The VPA includes 11 daily newspapers and four dozen non-dailies.

Continue reading »

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seven Days Hires Award-Winning Reporter Taylor Dobbs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Taylor Dobbs
  • Taylor Dobbs
Award-winning journalist Taylor Dobbs is joining the news team at Vermont’s independent newsweekly, Seven Days. Since September 2013, he’s been a digital reporter at Vermont Public Radio, where he has distinguished himself online and on-air.

Dobbs, 27, has won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his coverage of the opiate crisis, a quadruple homicide and Green Mountain Power’s failure to document expenses. Earlier this month, he won a national Murrow Award for a video illustrating how the Iowa Democratic caucus works — using Legos.
At Seven Days, Dobbs will serve as an investigative reporter and will cover Vermont state government and politics. He’ll start December 6.

Prior to joining VPR, Dobbs wrote several freelance pieces for Seven Days and interned for VTDigger.org. He earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Northeastern University in 2013. Shortly before graduating, Dobbs got some very real-world reporting experience: In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, he joined the manhunt for the men responsible and covered it all on Twitter. His on-the-scene reporting and photography were picked up by news outlets around the world.

“Taylor’s not going to sit around in a newsroom,” said Seven Days publisher and coeditor Paula Routly. “He’s eager, ambitious, inventive and plugged in.”

Dobbs grew up in Montpelier — less than a mile from the Statehouse.

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