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Archive for July, 2009

Broadband Bill Signed; Broadband Director to be Hired

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The goal of bringing faster and better Internet service to all corners of New Hampshire is clicking into high speed with the signing of a bill that will lead to the hiring of a state director of broadband planning and development.

senator-deb-reynoldsSenator Deborah Reynolds (D-Plymouth) joined Governor John Lynch, business and community leaders last week at Town Hall as legislation was signed into law establishing the new position, which will be paid for with federal grant money.

The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development is expected to act promptly to fill the position. Rural communities like Holderness are among those expected to benefit from improved access to high-speed Internet services.

“This bill will help make broadband deployment one of our state priorities and assist in economic development throughout our state, especially in underserved areas,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds was the lead sponsor on Senate Bill 159 and has worked extensively to create a comprehensive plan for expanding broadband access across the state.

“Ensuring that every household and business in New Hampshire has access to affordable, high-quality broadband service has been my number one priority since coming to the Senate. This bill will allow New Hampshire to develop and implement a state-wide broadband plan that will create jobs, attract businesses, educate our children and help reduce healthcare costs through the use of telemedicine,” she said.

The director of broadband planning will work within the state Division of  Economic Development. The director’s responsibilities will include developing a state telecommunications plan to bring broadband service throughout the state and to seek grants and investigate partnerships with the public and private sectors to advance that goal.

“This position is pivotal to expanding broadband access across New Hampshire. We already have applicants and we hope to begin interviewing candidates in the very near future,” said Chris Way, business services manager for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development.

Meadowbrook Colors the Town Green

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Much thanks to Laura Tiner of the Gilford Steamer for her excellent coverage of our Greenerpalooza event last week. Her story follows below.

Meadowbrook Colors the Town Green
by Lauren Tiner
July 22, 2009

Early Jackson Browne fan arrivals were greeted at the entrance of the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion by clusters of local businesses and utility companies setting up stands for the Greenerpalooza II Energy Efficiency event last Thursday.

Together, Meadowbrook and the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, alongside Public Service of New Hampshire, and Ocean Bank, sponsored the evening’s festivities.

While the “green” vendors worked the entrance to the pavilion, the first ever Greenerpalooza award was given out at Meadowbrook’s Center Stage Buffet. The recipient was Richard Ober, chair of the NH Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board, for his 30-year dedication to energy efficiency and renewable energy causes.

greenerpalooza-ii-019“We are on the road to a new energy economy in New Hampshire, with better jobs, more jobs, less fossil use and dealing with climate change. A clean environment is a healthy economy,” said Ober. “There’s not another state like New Hampshire working together. We develop programs and policies that will help New Hampshire. Private facilities like Meadowbrook show other companies the way, and that is what’s changing the direction right now.”

Although Ober said he finds it a privilege to win the first Greenerpalooza award, he noted that there are still hundreds and thousands of people working toward a green state and green world.

Steve Boucher, legislative director from the Division of Economic Development, presented the first award to Ober and spoke on his ties with Meadowbrook.

“We have a tremendous relationship with Meadowbrook. When they went green, it allowed artists to come in and use biofuel to run generators. Sustainable energy is where it’s at.”

The audience is also educated, said Boucher.

“We reached 5,000 people with last year’s event,” he said, “and we are reaching 3,000 people today.”

Meadowbrook has been known to pick artists who are interested in going green.

Chris Lockwood, marketing director of Meadowbrook, explained that last year, the facility decided to go green, conserve energy, cut waste, and find alternative methods to run concerts on.

“We have a comprehensive recycling program, where we recycle glass, paper, and aluminum,” Lockwood said. “Our biodegradable cups here are made out of corn and take five years to decompose in the earth, versus 70 to 80 years for plastic cups.”

Biodiesel is also available for an artist’s tour bus or machinery on site in order to keep the air clean.

“Artists can use our green option anytime,” Lockwood said. “It’s the artist’s preference. Some artists think it can be noisy and choose not to. Being green himself, Jackson Browne wanted to use it.”

According to Lockwood, Meadowbrook’s Greenerpalooza event also educates the concert goers who receive an e-mail on the matter prior to the concert.

“When artists are going green, we can make a bigger impact on the audience,” he said.

Meadowbrook also teamed with local radio station The River for one of their two concerts run on Solar Power with the Crosby Stills and Nash band.

“It went really well, despite the rain,” said Lockwood.

Green savvy New Hampshire stores and utility businesses on site ranged from earth-friendly department stores to Laconia’s Energy Services and Technology Program.

Solar Store representatives Jack Bingham and James H. Gamble ran a video to explain how their energy efficient, solar hot water systems worked as an alternative to fossil fuels.

“It’s actually very simple,” said Gamble, who also had water saving toilets on display.

greenerpalooza-ii-024Many department store stands, such as Real Green Goods from Concord, Mother and Child from Nashua, and 1 World Trading Co., displayed stainless steal water bottles, the seemingly new craze in environmental mindfulness, alongside other local and organic items from t-shirts to jump ropes.

Representative Jonathan Gregory from Real Green Goods, with over 700 products, explained that steel Klean Kanteen products don’t leech into water, while leeching may be possible with plastic bottles.

“There’s a lot of estrogen in some plastics,” he said. “Stainless steel doesn’t rust either, like aluminum. Glass is best, but that doesn’t work for everyone.”

greenerpalooza-ii-030Real Green Goods constantly updates their information and changes their products upon research, said Gregory who hinted the new Smart-strip product may soon become popular in conserving electricity.

Other stores, such as Sundance Solar Co. from Warner, focus on small energy system products, selling cell phone chargers, 12 watt blenders, lanterns, and more run solely by solar power.

Richard Ober Honored With Greenerpalooza Award

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The board of directors that Richard Ober leads is pronounced “easy,” but his work on that body is anything but. For his leadership role on the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy (EESE) board as well as other associated efforts to help the Granite State become more energy efficient, Ober was recently named the winner of the inaugural “Greenerpalooza Award.”

Ober was presented with the award last week at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford as part of Greenerpalooza II, a celebration of New Hampshire’s “green” technologies and initiatives. Sponsored by Ocean Bank and Public Service of New Hampshire, in coordination with the New Hampshire Business Resource Center, WXRV 92.5 “The River” and Meadowbrook, the evening’s festivities included a special “eco village” on the Meadowbrook midway where New Hampshire businesses and members of the general public learned how to “go greener” amidst the backdrop of a Jackson Browne/Shawn Colvin concert.

greenerpalooza-ii-021Ober was recognized for his 25 years of non-profit leadership, public policy expertise and dedication to sustainable energy. As the NH Charitable Foundation’s Vice President of Civic Leadership and Communications, he works to unite public and private partners to address the state’s most significant challenges including energy policy, affordable housing, transportation, state park management, substance abuse, and deliberative democracy.

Before coming to the Charitable Foundation in January 2008, he was Executive Director of the Monadnock Conservancy (2001–2007) and a senior staff member of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (1985–2001). He has served as a member or chair of more than a dozen non-profit and public boards including the EESE where he diligently strives to promote and coordinate energy efficiency, demand response and sustainable energy programs in the state.

“Richard Ober’s impact on bringing energy efficiency to the forefront of public policy is nothing short of incredible,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “I can think of no more fitting recipient of this inaugural award that celebrates those dedicated to ensuring New Hampshire’s sustainable energy future.”

For more on energy efficiency programs and resources for New Hampshire businesses, call the New Hampshire Business Resource Center at 603-271-2341 or visit www.NHEconomy.com.

-Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Manchester/Nashua Region Capture Top Forbes Magazine Honor

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Over the weekend I had the good fortune of being interviewed by WMUR’s Adam Sexton about the excellent news that the Manchester/Nashua region was named first on the list of “America’s 100 Cheapest Places to Live.”

“Among the U.S. cities with the most affordable housing and lowest cost of living, the Queen City offers the best combination of safety, employment opportunity and general quality of life,” Forbes magazine wrote.

Here’s the write-up that appeared on www.wmur.com:

Forbes Magazine has named the Manchester-Nashua area the cheapest place to live in America based on the area’s affordable housing, low cost of living and high quality of life.

Sometimes a list is just a list, but state economic development officials said this No. 1 ranking represents a promotional goldmine, WMUR News 9’s Adam Sexton reported.

manchskyline“Obviously, this is great news not only for Manchester and Nashua, but for the state of New Hampshire,” said Steve Boucher, the state Division Of Economic Development’s communications and legislative director.

Boucher said Forbes Magazine is validating what many locals already know.

“It just speaks to the high quality of life and — even in challenging economic times these days — it just proves that New Hampshire is still ahead of the curve in terms of the economy,” Boucher said.

Forbes wrote, “Among the U.S. cities with the most affordable housing and the lowest cost of living, the Queen City offers the best combination of safety, employment opportunity and general quality of life.”

The article continued, calling the Manchester-Nashua area “a haven for those repelled by the high price of living and doing business in other New England states.”

“I think it’s a great place to live,” said Joanne Novak, of Manchester.

Novak and Darlene Ramsey said they think the ranking could prompt more people to move to the area.

“The more the merrier,” Ramsey said.

Aaron Daigneault said the difference is clear when he travels.

“Compared to New York City and other cities I’ve been to, it’s very cheap,” Daigneault said.

“I know my parents always talk about how it’s affordable and it’s close to other locations, and here, you have the White (Mountains) real close, Boston’s close,” said Peter Scheuermann, of Pittsburgh, Pa., which ranked 10th on the Forbes list.

Boucher is going to make sure the word gets out to businesses, investors and people across the country.

“I know we’re going to be promoting this for a good long time now. This is excellent news,” Boucher said.

With this list, cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Modesto, Calif., just squeaked in at No. 92, but it made a different Forbes list earlier this year, ranking as the fifth most miserable city in America.

To view the televised segment, visit http://www.wmur.com/money/20101927/detail.html.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Great Opportunity for Entrepreneurs – Training & Technical Assistance Funding

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Thanks to our good friend Wit Jones and our great colleagues over at the Small Business Administration, I’m happy to pass on information about the following opportunity for entrepreneurs:

Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs  (PRIME)

Many low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs need training and technical assistance to start, operate, or expand their businesses. PRIME will aid in researching and developing best practices in the field of microenterprise and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged microentrepreneurs. A minimum of 50 percent of the funds available for grants under the PRIME Act must be used to benefit very low-income persons, including those residing in Indian reservations.

sba-logoEstimated total program funding is five-million dollars ($5,000,000). Award amounts may vary, depending upon availability of funds (and performance for option years); however, no single grantee may receive more than $250,000 or ten (10) percent of the total funds made available for this program in a single fiscal year, whichever is less. In general, match is required, although SBA may reduce or eliminate match in certain circumstances (up to a program limit of 10 percent).

The period of performance for this grant is one base year with four (4) twelve-month options subject to availability of funds. The total possible period of performance is five (5) years. Each option year will constitute a separate budget period.

PRIME is now open to microentrepreneur training and technical assistance providers in all 50 states and territories. Due to the competitive process, SBA will be unable to assist with answers to specific questions regarding individual proposals or requests for assistance in completing proposals. Questions concerning budget, cost elements or funding of this grant should be directed to Jan Blackwell-Robinson at (202) 205-7134 or via e-mail at prime@sba.gov.

For more information on the formal PRIME program announcement and the required forms, visit the following URL: 


Note:  the application deadline has been extended to 11:59:59 EST on July 24, 2009.

Online Registration Now Open for WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Governor John Lynch today announced that online registrations are now being accepted for the WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo to take place on Thursday, August 27th from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon.

john_lynch“This job fair is a great opportunity for anyone in the job market, whether they are first-time job seekers or are in search of a new career,” Governor Lynch said. “I urge anyone seeking employment to sign up online as soon as possible.”

Thus far, 105 area employers have signed up to take part in the event. The first WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo held April 9th at Southern New Hampshire University, drew an overflow crowd and resulted in the hiring of at least 450 workers.

bartlett-head-shot“We are happy to do our part to help bring jobs to the people of New Hampshire,” said WMUR General Manager Jeff Bartlett.  “Our Project Economy initiative is all about getting people employed, helping them find ways to save money and thriving during challenging times. Partnering with the State and New Hampshire Motor Speedway on another job fair is a natural fit for WMUR.”

Once again, the Project Economy job fair team has assembled a team of state and local partners that will bring together employers and job seekers for a day of networking, workshops and career connections. Southern New Hampshire University and its State colleagues will join to present resume writing, interviewing and job readiness workshops as part of the day’s offerings.

gappens_193“New Hampshire Motor Speedway is thrilled to be able to do its part to assist local citizens in their efforts to find good jobs and provide for their families,” said NHMS General Manager Jerry Gappens. “Being a community partner is a large part of our mission and we’re very pleased to be part of the great team organizing what’s sure to be a tremendous event.”

Job seekers are invited to register online at http://www.nh.gov/nhes/news/jobfairs_expos.htm. Businesses interested in taking part in the event are asked to register at visiting www.wmur.com/nh-job-fair. All questions about business registration should be directed to Business Registration Coordinator Stuart Arnett at (603) 219-0043.

Wolves Fans “Atwitter” About Social Networking Promotion – Special Offer for “No Bull” Fans

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

From touchdowns to Tweets…..social networking will be on full display during the Manchester Wolves/W-B/Scranton Pioneers game on Friday, July 24th at The Acting Loft Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena. For the first time in North American professional sports history, computer terminals will be set up in a major sports arena’s concourse where fans can “tweet” about their experiences at the game.

4c9d1190“This is an incredible coup for the State of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher, one of the organizers of the promotion. “With social media becoming such an incredible phenomenon, especially with the business community, this is a great way to get the Granite State excited about Twitter, Facebook and other new communications vehicles.”

Developed by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center, the Manchester Wolves and Gilford-based social marketing firm Epiphanies, Inc., the “No Bull Football Jam” will feature creative uses of technology, great football action and personalized assistance in learning more about social media. The “No Bull” moniker refers to the Division of Economic Development’s “No Bull Business Blog” accessible via the www.nheconomy.com Web site.

4c9d3612“We’re really happy to be able to offer something new and fun for our fans – now, not only are they able to cheer every play, they’re also able to share their perspective with football fans worldwide,” said Manchester Wolves General Manager Stephanie Bike.

At specified locations throughout the VWA concourse, computer stations will set up by event sponsor Best Buy to allow fans access to a special Twitter account established specifically for the Wolves/Pioneers game.

epiphanies_logo“The power of social networking is gaining more and more prominence not only nationally, but globally,” said Epiphanies, Inc. Co-Owner Allen Voivod. “Learning the new ways of sharing information is becoming a necessity for all of us and we’re thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking event with our great partners from the State, the Wolves and Best Buy.”

To purchase tickets for the “No Bull Football Jam,” call the Manchester Wolves at 627-9653. In addition to the “No Bull Business Blog,” you can also follow the Division of Economic on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Nobullblog or become a fan of the Division of Economic Development on Facebook at www.nheconomy.com/facebook

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – Thanks to the generosity of our friends at the Manchester Wolves, the first 25 “No Bull” readers to email me at sboucher@dred.state.nh.us will be able to score a free pair of tickets to join us in the “No Bull” section at The Acting Loft Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena for next Friday evening’s “No Bull Football Jam.” See you at the game!!

Great Greenerpalooza Deal for “No Bull” Fans

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Talk about a “No Bull” offer! Readers of the “No Bull Business Blog” have been offered a special $3 off per ticket deal to attend Thursday evening’s (July 16th) Greenerpalooza II concert featuring Jackson Browne with special guest Shawn Colvin at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford.

recycleOcean Bank and Public Service of New Hampshire, in coordination with the New Hampshire Business Resource Center and the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, will present Greenerpalooza II, a celebration of New Hampshire’s energy efficiency efforts. Set against the backdrop of the much-anticipated Jackson Browne concert, the evening’s festivities will include a special “eco village” on the Meadowbrook midway where New Hampshire businesses and members of the general public will be able to learn how to “go greener.”

Vendors for this year’s event include Public Service of New Hampshire, Ocean Bank, Lakes Region Community College, Building Energy Technologies, GDS Associates, Hopeworth Design/Wujcik Brothers, Lakes Region HVAC, NH Electric Co-op, Pinkham Building & Solar, Ultra Geothermal, Zetland Homes, 1 World Trading Co., BioHeat USA, ConVerdant Vehicles, Helios Solar Sales, Holloway Mercedes Benz, Homebuilders & Remodelers Association, Intelligent Heat & Power, Real Green Goods, Seacoast Energy Alternatives and Sundance Solar.

To access the $3 off code, simply visit www.meadowbrook.net, select your seats and then apply the following discount code: DREDJB3.

As a special benefit to “No Bull” readers, our good friends over at Meadowbrook have just informed me that they will allow this code to be used for any show from now through the end of the season except for the 9/5 Tim McGraw concert. Thanks Meadowbrook!!!

Acorn Organic Salon Named July “Innovation Rocks!” Winner

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

For some people, the thought of a “green” haircut conjures up visions of Halloween or punk music. However, the type of “green” hairstyling that takes place at a local business has led to Acorn Organic Salon being named the “Innovation Rocks!” Award winner by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center for the month of July.

acorn_logo1Operated by Dover natives Laura MacKay and Allison Degan, Acorn Organic Salon emphasizes environmental responsibility in every aspect of their operation from renovations and products to waste management and consumer education. In addition to vetting all hair care and body products for toxicity, safety and organic ingredients, Acorn reuses shopping bags when processing hair color and promotes onsite book and magazine recycling and swapping.

“Innovation isn’t just about creating a new product, it’s about finding a way to do business differently for the betterment of your customers and your community,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “Not only is Acorn Organic Salon providing great hairstyling to their customers, they’ve incorporated environmental friendliness and community service into their business model. This sends a tremendous message to other businesses who are wondering how they can do their part for the environment.”

Acorn Organic Salon has partnered with Matter of Trust, a company that uses hair clippings to soak up the more than 2,600 oil spills that happened across the globe in just the past year alone. All of Acorn’s hair clippings are shipped to Matter of Trust on a monthly basis.  

For more information about Acorn Organic Salon, visit www.acornorganicsalon.com

“Innovation Rocks!” is an initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center in coordination with Rock 101 (WGIR-FM) and the The Pavilion at the Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Downtown to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of New Hampshire innovators.

Mo’ Grant Opportunities From USDA Rural Development

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Here’s another great grant opportunity from our good friends over at USDA Rural Development.

 The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program provides technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations (grant applicant) to develop the capacity of recipients they identify to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.   $6,256,000 in grant funds are available nationally in 2009 and applications have recently been invited.  Applications must be received in the VT/NH State Office of USDA Rural Development by September 24, 2009 at 4PM. 

usdaKey program points are:

1. The RCDI grant is made to an intermediary. The intermediary provides a program of technical assistance to recipients to build their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas.

2. The intermediary can be a private or public organization that has been legally organized a minimum of 3 years and has experience working with the recipients eligible for this program.

3. The recipients can be nonprofit organizations or low-income (MHI at or below 80% of state or national MHI) rural communities.  Recipients must be located in eligible rural areas (less than 50,000 population and not “urbanized”).  Priority is given to applications which serve smaller communities.

4. Matching funds are required and must be in the form of cash or confirmed funding commitments and be at least equal to the grant amount. In-kind contributions cannot be used as matching funds.

5.  For 2009 the maximum grant award is $300,000 and the minimum is $50,000. 

6.  Additional information, including application forms and a list of prior recipients, are available at  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/rcdi/index.htm

7.  If you are interested in filing an application in VT or NH, we encourage you to contact Jon-Michael Muise [802-257-7878 x106 or jon.muise@vt.usda.gov] or Rhonda Shippee, Community Programs Director [802-828-6011 or rhonda.shippee@vt.usda.gov ] to discuss your proposal.