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  • May 20, 2022 5:50 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    By Luca Paris

    We've tried some new things since I joined as CEO of the Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (GKPC):

    • Four sessions of our Regional Issues Series, where we've focused on stabilizing our workforce.
    • Networking opportunities, from our Chamber Night Out series to our Business After Hours events.
    • Our Peterborough office grand opening, with an overflow crowd that brimmed with energy and enthusiasm.
    • Our “Promote the Region” initiative, which is soon to launch a new website, marketing plan, and regional brand.

    Thank you for all you’ve helped us achieve.

    Now please support our latest effort!

     
    The GKPC continues to collaborate with the community, and our latest endeavor is sponsoring The Thing in the Spring, a four-day music festival happening this week right in downtown Keene at Brewbakers/Nova Arts!
     
    To multiply our impact and support events that benefit our businesses, residents, and increase tourism, we’re giving you an opportunity to help us meet our vision. Even a $5 donation supports our mission to ensure our businesses continue to grow and our region thrives for generations to come.

    Support Our Campaign Today!

    The Thing in the Spring has already been shared with more than 100,000 social media followers via the artists performing. It’s generating the exact buzz we hoped it would. Equally important, this festival is for all ages, so our high school students can come together to celebrate at a time when they’ve never needed it more.
     


    I am grateful for all you’ve helped us achieve and the difference you’ve made in our local economy. Let’s keep the celebrations going and please donate today!

  • May 14, 2022 6:41 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Twenty years ago, locally owned businesses in Tampa, Florida, came together to celebrate the very first Independents Week. Soon after, American Independent Business Alliance helped bring Independents Week to independent business alliances throughout the United States.  Now, twenty years later, American Independent Business Alliance invites communities to come together to celebrate Independents Month!

     

    Independents Month

    Independents Month is a time to recognize our locally owned and independent businesses and the community values they embody:

    • Their spirit of entrepreneurship, individuality, uniqueness, and character.
    • How they give back to our community with their time, talents, goods, and services.
    • How they fulfill community needs that make us healthier and wealthier.

     

    Multiplier Effect

    Independents Month, part of AMIBA’s Shop Indie Local Initiative, is the perfect time to shine a light on the Local Multiplier Effect and the Monadnock Indie Impact Study. Together, we’ll inspire our communities to take positive action and boost the positive ripple effects our neighborhoods, towns, and cities receive when we spend more of our dollars at locally owned, independent businesses.

     

    It Starts With You

    Independents Month is a time to reflect on your ability to think and act independently and embrace your part in shaping the future of your community. Shop Indie Local and boost the multiplier effect in your region.  Also, take time to acknowledge the independent business owners you know.

     

    Take the Indie Challenge

    Another way to celebrate Independents Month is to take the Indie Challenge. Pledge to make all of your purchases at locally owned businesses for one day, one week, or the entire month. Sign on to the Indie Challenge today!

    Traveling during Independents Month? Enjoy what locally owned, and independent businesses have to offer wherever you’re visiting. Ask locals where their favorites are and look for independent business alliances in the areas you’re visiting.

     

    The History of Independents Week

    Carla Jimenez, co-owner of Inkwood Books and co-founder of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance, created the first Independents Week in 2001. In 2005, AMIBA began promoting the campaign nationally, providing tools to help communities organize their own Independents Week celebrations.

    This July, let’s celebrate our independence and our independents together. 


  • May 12, 2022 6:22 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The Monadnock Farm Share program makes farm shares more accessible to limited-income community members who otherwise would not be able to participate in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

    CSA programs are an opportunity for community members to enjoy farm-fresh produce while supporting local agriculture.

    Community members pay 50% of the total farm share cost through the program. View program eligibility here.

    This year's applications are due by May 30, 2022, and Cheshire County Conservation District will review applications on a rolling basis (first come, first served).

    Community members choose from a listing of participating farms throughout the region.

    Access this year's program information & eligibility, application, and participating farm list below:

    2022 Application

    2022 Participating Farm List

    Program Information and Eligibility

    What is a CSA?

    Farmers face many costs in the operation of their farms. Community Supported Agriculture programs alleviate the financial burdens of farmers before the season begins. CSA customers provide an upfront payment to reserve a share of the season's harvest.

    The cost of the CSA serves as a deposit for the season! This upfront cost allows farmers to purchase needed seeds, materials, or equipment for the upcoming season. At the same time, customers can reap this investment by taking home delicious produce once the farm season begins!

    Many farms offer half share or full share CSA options. These options vary from farm to farm, but half shares are smaller to feed smaller households, while full shares can feed a larger household or households that eat a lot of vegetables.

    Some farms offer on-farm pick-up days, while others provide delivery! Some farms pre-package their CSA shares for a quick pick up, while others allow customers to pick-your-own (PYO!). Pick-up days offer a unique experience to see where your food is grown and interact with other community members! While delivery offers a convenient way to bring fresh produce to your household!

    By purchasing a CSA, you support local agriculture while also eating delicious, nutritious, and locally grown produce!

    For additional information, questions, or assistance in completing your application, contact Benée Hershon at benee@cheshireconservation.org or 603-756-2988 x 3011.

  • April 27, 2022 6:31 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    What better way to kick off this year’s Bike Month than by participating in the second annual National Ride a Bike Day on Sunday, May 1. It’s THE day to celebrate the joys of bicycling!  Wondering how to celebrate?  Go for a ride.  

    “We firmly believe that life is better for everyone when more people ride bikes,” shared the League of American Bicyclists. “On National Ride A Bike Day, let’s all ride bikes together, wherever we are and at our own pace, to take part in a collective action and kick start making life better for everyone.”

    Why bike?  Bicycling offers a fun and healthy way to get around.  Studies show cycling elevates mood, memory, and metabolism. Cycling also reduces our carbon emissions and overall environmental impacts. All great reasons to get rolling!

    “When all of us who ride bikes ride together on National Ride A Bike Day,” continued the League of American Bicyclists.  “We can show our neighbors and our leaders why making it easier, safer, and more accessible to ride a bike is so important to so many people.”

    Please join us on Sunday, May 1, for National Ride A Bike Day and then keep celebrating Bike Month all month long.


    More Ways to Celebrate Bike Month

    Following Bike Day, schools across the country will celebrate Bike & Roll to School Day on May 4.  Over 800 schools will participate to call attention to making routes to schools safer and kids more active. 

    Learn more about Bike & Roll to School Day

    The Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event will happen on May 7, from 10 am to 12 pm, at the Keene Recreation Center.  Kool Wheels is a free family event where kids ages 4-12 may select a new bicycle helmet and learn about bike safety.  Kids can bring their bicycles to the event for a tune-up.

    Learn more


    Put these dates on your calendar: Bike to Work Week is May 16-22, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20.

    Discover more about Bike Month

    Track all your bicycling miles on Love to Ride's website.  Once you're registered, you can also sign up for their National Bike Challenge.  Create your own goals, connect with other bicyclists, and perhaps even win a prize. 

    Register today 

    What’s New Locally in Bicycling?

    Keene’s Transportation Heritage Trail project will connect the rail trail from Eastern Avenue to the Swanzey town line.  While we can’t enjoy this project until 2027, we can help fundraise for the trail by participating in Pathways for Keene’s 4 on the 4th Road Race.

    Learn more

    This summer, the City of Keene begins work on the Ammi Brown Trail and sections of the rail trail between the intersection of Hurricane and Aldrich roads to Summit Ridge Drive.  Once completed by July 31, we’ll have a new bicycle and pedestrian loop that runs along West Street, Park Avenue, Summit Road, and Summit Ridge Drive, linking to the Cheshire Rail Trail.

    Another important development in bicycling this year, UNH Cooperative Extension recently wrapped up a report called “Strengthening Connections: Downtowns & Trails,” highlighting how we can better connect Keene’s rail trails to downtown businesses.  Assessors walked the trails and interviewed trail users to discover ways people do (and could) connect with our downtown assets.

    “For a small city, Keene seems to offer a wide variety of businesses with numerous restaurants and a variety of retail as well as office space,” cited the report.  “Assessors, by and large, found the business amenities available in Keene to be great assets. From a variety of restaurants, sporting opportunities, to general shopping, there were a number of places a trail user and any visitor or resident for that matter, might frequent.”

    The report recommends adding more wayfinding signs to direct people towards these attractions.

    “One main feature that will help with this connection is the inclusion of information about businesses and services on signage about trails,” stated the report. “Simple statements such as ‘downtown businesses are x miles from this point and include food, retail, and services.’ There is a great display in Railroad Square that could be further enhanced with information about general downtown amenities.”

    The report also calls for amplifying the amazing community art near the trails, plus adding more art along the trails.

    “Community art can be a powerful value-add to a user’s or resident’s overall experience in a community. Keene is fortunate to have a strong commitment to community art,” shared the report.  “The Walldog Murals are the most vivid display of this effort and are visible from the trails. In addition to this clear asset, assessors noted a potential opportunity to enhance the community art space behind the Monadnock Food Co-op and right on the Cheshire rail trail. Others also noted that there were places along the trails that could be enhanced by the addition of some community art-such as sculptures.”

    Read the full report

    Happy bicycling!

  • April 17, 2022 11:05 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    by Ethan DeWitt,

    New Hampshire Bulletin

    The New Hampshire Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved a $100 million, federally funded housing investment plan Friday, a critical step for a proposal touted by Gov. Chris Sununu as a means to increase rental capacity and workforce housing.

    Voting 8-2, the committee signed off on a program to devote $60 million to matching grants for housing developments in the state and $40 million to grants to incentivize towns to speed up permitting processes and overhaul zoning laws. The initiative still requires approval from the state’s Executive Council, which meets April 20.

    The new program would allow developers or housing organizations to apply for up to $3 million in matched funding for projects, provided those projects would be used for rental housing and include at least five units.

    If the program is approved next week, the application period will begin in June, said Department of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell, whose department designed the program and would be tasked with distributing the money. Developers will have until June 2023 to apply.

    Meanwhile, towns will be eligible for $10,000 per unit of new housing they approve within six months, and will have access to funding to help demolish dilapidated properties or to hire consultants to help overhaul their zoning ordinances.

    Addressing the committee Friday, Caswell said he expected many of the early grants to go toward developments driven by housing nonprofits.

    “I’m anticipating that the first several rounds of this program would be held exclusively for our nonprofit developers who are developing exclusively those types of affordable units,” he said. “And for smaller developments.”

    But some Democrats have continued to express concern that the initiative does not include income requirements, and urged Caswell to prioritize affordable housing projects when approving applications.

    During Friday’s Fiscal Committee meeting, Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat, asked Caswell why the department had opted to categorize the funds as “revenue replacement,” a designation that exempts the state from certain income limits. Approving the funds under the standard process would have required that the state target them to families making 300 percent of the federal poverty level or below.

    “There’s no requirement for affordability standards,” Rosenwald said. “So I’m wondering why we chose not to build affordable housing with these public funds?”

    Caswell said the state had used the revenue replacement approach in order to maximize flexibility for the projects and avoid limitations. But he said he expected many of the housing developments that apply for the funding to already have income targets because they are receiving external grants that require that.

    Still, he said, the department anticipated a mix.

    “They will be projects that have a zoning requirement that might be forced by locality, like an inclusionary zoning requirement,” he said. “They might be projects that have mixed income within them, so there’s a component that has an affordability piece to it, but then there’s a market rate component to that. And they might be in a rural town where you have an old Victorian house that somebody’s converting into five, six, seven units.”

    Caswell said the department would publish lists of which projects get approved and how much each receives. And he said guidance for how developments could apply would be published ahead of June.

    Rep. Susan Almy, a Lebanon Democrat, noted issues Lebanon has had with building affordable housing; housing developments that have been approved recently have tended to benefit residents making above the median income, she said, and not those who need it most. Still, Almy said she would support the funding due to the extreme need in the Upper Valley.

    Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and a candidate for U.S. Senate, said he supported the intention to make the program as flexible as possible.

    First announced during Sununu’s State of the State address in February, the $100 million plan has received varying reactions from advocacy groups. ABLE NH, a disability rights group, has opposed the structure of the program, contending that it should be targeted to low-income residents and include guarantees for independent living projects, noting that people with disabilities have been burdened by the pandemic.

    But one leading affordable housing organization, Housing Action New Hampshire, is supportive of the move.

    “There are certainly a lot of projects from the nonprofit developer community that are focused on delivering affordable units to New Hampshire’s workforce, that are in the pipeline and honestly have competed for very limited resources,” said Elissa Margolin, the organization’s director. “And so now we have an opportunity to move a lot of those ahead and then partner with municipalities at the same time.”

    The next step, Margolin continued, is to organize applications so that the affordable housing projects are given priority.

    New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence.

    Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: info@newhampshirebulletin.com. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

  • March 28, 2022 7:38 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    This April, celebrate Move Your Money Month with The Local Crowd Monadnock. 

    What’s Move Your Money Month?  It’s a time to inspire you to move your money closer to home -- by banking with a community bank or credit union and investing in locally owned businesses in our region.  Move Your Money Month is part of the Shop Indie Local movement, urging individuals to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we spend and invest our dollars at locally owned businesses.

    Move Your Money: Bank Local

    When you move your money to a community bank or credit union in our region, more of your dollars recirculate throughout our local economy -- building more local jobs and prosperity.

    To back up a bit, what’s the difference between traditional banks, community banks, and credit unions? Traditional banks, publicly owned by stockholders, exist to provide a return on investment to its owners. Typically, these owners do not live where the bank does business. Community banks are privately owned and not publicly traded. These banks usually serve a specific geographical region.  A credit union is a cooperative, meaning its members own it -- the people who use its services and live or work locally.

    “The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.”

    Banking with a community bank or credit union often means getting the same services at lower fees than larger banks. Yup, more value for you and your community.  “Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks,” added Stacy. “Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.”

    Move Your Money closer to home and closer to your heart by choosing a bank more in line with your values. Who do you bank with now?  Search for them at mightydeposits.com and find out what your bank does with your money.  Discover how many dollars your bank invests in your community.

    “The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments,” shared Stacy.  “Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.”

    Learn more about community banking at ilsr.org/banking

    Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union

    Move Your Money: Invest Local

    In addition to moving your money to a community bank or credit union, we encourage you to invest in locally owned businesses. Why? The Monadnock Region Indie Impact Study found that businesses rooted in our region recirculate up to four times more money in our local economy compared to national chain stores. If we invested more capital in locally owned businesses, we’d see a return on investment that included more jobs and community prosperity.

    “Americans now have $56 trillion in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance funds—nearly all of it invested in global corporations,” said Michael Shuman, author and local economist.  “If you and your neighbors could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, your local economy could flourish.”


    Ready to learn more?  Sign up for The Main Street Journal, published by Michael Shuman, highlighting local investing news and events.  Also, we’ll share local investing opportunities on our website throughout Move Your Money Month. 

    Stay tuned!
     

    Invest in Our Planet

     We’ll also celebrate Earth Day in April.  “Invest in Our Planet,” this year’s theme, connects perfectly with Move Your Money Month.  Find ways to share your time, talents, and treasures with our planet by investing in locally owned businesses, sustainable agriculture, alternative transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and equity.  


    Need some inspiration? Join us at Monadnock Earth Festival on April 23, from 12 pm – 4 pm in downtown Keene.  Learn about what others are doing and making to invest in our planet, enjoy performers, and participate in activities from Railroad Square Park to the Monadnock Food Co-op.  Hope to see you there!

    Also, check out how our friends at Vital Communities connect with the Invest in Our Planet Earth Month theme.

  • March 04, 2022 6:30 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We're getting ready for Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local Month that starts April 1.

    One of our first steps: Identify banks that help us keep our money closer to home.

    Our criteria:

    • Independent and privately held (not publicly traded).
    • Headquarted in New Hampshire (or within 20 miles of NH border).
    • Bank branch located in the Monadnock Region.

    Here's who we found (listed alphabetically):

    Bank of New Hampshire (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Laconia, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branch in Antrim

    GFA Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Gardner, MA
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Mascoma Bank (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: White River Junction, VT
    Ownership: Mutual
    About: Certified B-Corp
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Precision Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Keene, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Member Eligibility

    Savings Bank of Walpole (view impact data)
    Part of: NHTrust Financial Advisors
    Headquartered in: Concord, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branches in Keene, Walpole, Winchester

    Service Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Portsmouth, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Hinsdale

    Did we miss any community banks or credit unions?  Send us an email.


  • February 26, 2022 5:31 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    St. Patrick's DayThis St. Patrick's Day, keep the green in your community and choose local first.

    If you plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home this year, order take-out at an independent restaurant or purchase meals ingredients at locally owned market. This year, despite the pandemic, Americans plan to spend $5.87 billion to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Let's shift some of that spending to locally owned businesses!

    Locally owned businesses help us keep the green in our communities. They strengthen our local economy, culture, and well-being. Independent businesses re-circulate more money in our community than chain stores. Moreover, studies show that small businesses create most new jobs.

    Want to do more? Move Your Money

  • February 26, 2022 5:03 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    We’re very excited to share that Monadnock Food Co-op selected Shop Indie Local as a Round It Up Donation Drive partner for March.  Starting March 1, donate your change to us at the Monadnock Food Co-op to help expand Shop Indie Local into a year-round movement in the Monadnock Region.

    Shop Indie Local celebrates locally owned businesses and works to increase spending at and investment in these businesses through events like Plaid Friday and Cider Monday. Supporting independent businesses is the key to building stronger local, equitable, and inclusive economies.

    "The Monadnock Region continues to serve as a model for how communities can implement a strong Shop Indie Local holiday campaign," said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. "We're excited to see this movement expand to include campaigns to boost local investing and eating more locally grown and raised foods."


  • February 25, 2022 10:21 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)


    Register for NH Gives Today!

    Any 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization headquartered in or providing services in NH can sign up to participate in the 24-hour giving day that has raised more than $8 million dollars for more than 900 nonprofits since 2016. Is your favorite nonprofit participating?
     
    NH Gives, an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits, is the Granite State's largest day-of-giving - bringing together hundreds of nonprofits and tens of thousands of donors to raise as much money and awareness as possible for the causes they care about. Make sure your favorite charitable nonprofit knows about NH Gives.  Registration is now open.
     
    Find out more or register today and be a part of NH Gives 2022 at https://www.nhgives.org/info/application-preparation or visit https://www.nhgives.org/info/faq to learn more about it.

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