Director’s Column | October 7th, 2013

By now you all have read the headlines that the Vermont Welcome Center in Bennington is opening on October 11th. The Chamber of Commerce is extremely proud and happy to be able to begin serving the traveling public at that location beginning Friday morning. The Center will be operational throughout the Columbus Weekend. This is important as we catch the last half of the Leaf Season visitors. What a great time to be able to help them toward their destinations while showcasing our town and region!

The Chamber Staff has been very well trained by the Guilford Welcome Center Team. Welcome Center Director, Ed Von Turkovich, Project Engineer Ray Rossi, Commissioner of Buildings and General Services, Michael J. Obuchowski, plus the whole BGS staff have given us wonderful support and encouragement throughout this whole process. I think the results will be well worth waiting for.

As you know, the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce was invited to run this facility for the state. Our administration and Chamber Membership activities will remain where it is and we will function at 100 Veterans Memorial Drive to help the public here in town find their way to their destinations. Please note that the signage will be readable for the Welcome Center and there will be special lighting at night during the Columbus Weekend to help direct traffic to the Welcome Center. Things are moving very quickly this week to facilitate the opening. As a heavily traveled weekend it is crucial to get the Welcome Center open for business and not miss the Columbus Day visitors. The state recognized our need and has responded with extra energy and helping hands.

At some point after we have opened and are operating, BGS will organize an official Ribbon Cutting with the Governor. I will make sure we announce that date as soon as it has been determined.

Please remember that on October 8 from 10-1 there is a Vermont Health Connect seminar at the Bennington Free Library in the BankNorth Room for Businesses looking for additional information and guidance in signing on to VermontHealthConnect.gov for the new Health Care System.

Remember these dates:
Notifications- Sent by October 1st
Employer Enrollment on VHC BEGINS October 1st
Employees should select VHC Plans by November 30th
Employer Payments Due to VHC by December 21st
VHC Coverage Becomes Effective January 1st, 2014

Now – let’s all relax and come to OKTOBERFEST on October 12th at COLGATE PARK. This is run by the NorShaft Lions Club and raises money for their many charitable activiites. It is Great Fun with Music, Food, Vendors and of course Beer!
The views at Colgate Park are worth the $5 admission alone. So come out to the OKTOBERFEST at Colgate Park on Route 9 West, Bennington, Vermont 05201 from 11 to 6 on Saturday the 12th and have the best German food and beer you can find in our region!

OCTOBER 26 – Catamount Prowl Gala and Auction.
From 6 in the evening to 11 that night come enjoy a grand gala party with Cocktails and Catamount Viewing, School Cat Silent Auction Finale, Taste of Vermont, Catamount Street Sculptures Live Auction, plus Desserts and Dancing. Tickets are $75 per person and Black Tie is Optional. This is the party to attend and be seen at. Get ready to bid on your favorite cats. Call 447-3311 to reserve your tickets now. Check, cash or credit card accepted.

Have a great week.

Joann