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

Monday, February 18, 2019

Seven Days Wins 11 First-Place Awards, Including General Excellence, in Regional Media Competition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 2:24 PM

General Excellence Award
  • General Excellence Award
Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won 11 first-place awards in this year’s New England Better Newspaper Competition — including for general excellence and top honors for health, crime, government, arts and entertainment reporting, political columnist, infographic, personality profile and niche publication. The paper also won eight second-place and six third-place awards — 25 total.

The contest is organized by the New England Newspaper & Press Association; winners were announced at NENPA’s annual convention this past weekend in Boston.

NENPA members submitted more than 3,000 entries, split among five categories: daily newspapers with circulation up to 25,000; daily newspapers with circulation more than 25,000; weekly newspapers with circulation up to 6,000; weekly newspapers with circulation more than 6,000; and specialty publications. Seven Days — which circulates 36,000 copies every Wednesday — competed against numerous other large, New England weeklies.

Here’s what judges had to say about Seven Days’ 11 first-place awards:


Seven Days received second-place honors for best overall website, its investigative reporting series on the nonprofit sector, Give and Take, and for Kids VT, Seven Days’ monthly parenting magazine. Alicia Freese won second place for her education reporting on Saint Michael’s College and health reporting on inmates and addiction. Molly Walsh received second place for her human interest feature on Ryan McLaren, who experienced a life-altering ski accident. Eva Sollberger brought home a second-place award for her video on the “March for our Lives” in Vermont’s capital. Lastly, Kym Balthazar came in second place for her cover illustration on the March 21, 2018, issue.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Seven Days Hires Kate O’Neill for a New Reporting Project on the Opioid Epidemic

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 10:52 AM

Kate O'Neill - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Kate O'Neill
Burlington-based weekly Seven Days has launched a yearlong reporting project chronicling the opioid epidemic in Vermont and efforts to address it. The designated writer of “Hooked: Stories and Solutions From Vermont’s Opioid Crisis” is Kate O’Neill, who has personal experience with the crisis: Her sister, Burlington mom Madelyn Linsenmeir, died last October after years battling addiction.

O’Neill described her sister’s struggles in a heartbreaking obituary published locally in Seven Days. It spread quickly on social media, shared by national reporters and celebrities — even Ivanka Trump. Millions of people worldwide read it, and more than 1,000 left online comments describing their own experiences with addiction.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Seven Days Wins 18 Awards in Vermont Press Association Contest

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 2:22 PM

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Alicia Freese
  • Alicia Freese
Seven Days newspaper won 18 awards Thursday at the Vermont Press Association’s annual meeting in Montpelier. Those included six first-place prizes and the prestigious Mavis Doyle Award, which went to staff writer Alicia Freese.

The paper swept the “Best State Story” category. First place went to the entire Seven Days news team for its five-week “Give and Take” series, which examined Vermont’s nonprofit economy. Staff writer Taylor Dobbs, political editor Paul Heintz and political columnist John Walters jointly took the second-place prize for their coverage of a pitched battle over the state’s gun laws. Third place in the category went to Heintz for a story documenting the decline of Vermont’s dairy industry.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Seven Days Hires Three Staff Writers

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 12:18 PM

Vermont’s independent newsweekly, Seven Days, has hired three experienced writers to join its editorial staff.

Kevin McCallum
  • Kevin McCallum
Kevin McCallum, who shared in the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, will join Seven Days’ Statehouse bureau in January. The veteran journalist spent 13 years as a business and then city hall reporter for the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California. There, he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer for its coverage of the wildfires that devastated Sonoma County in October 2017. McCallum spent the past several months driving his family east in an RV in hopes of resettling in his native New England.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Social Sentinel, Burlington Code Academy and Maureen McElaney Win Awards at 12th Vermont Tech Jam

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 2:07 PM

BTV Ignite executive director Dennis Moynihan with Social Sentinel team, 2018 Innovation Award winners - STEPHEN MEASE
  • Stephen Mease
  • BTV Ignite executive director Dennis Moynihan with Social Sentinel team, 2018 Innovation Award winners
Social Sentinel, a Burlington-based company that identifies threatening content on social media, was among the winners of the 2018 Tech Jam awards, presented last Friday at the 12th Vermont Tech Jam. The prizes,  given annually by the Vermont Technology Alliance, BTV Ignite and Seven Days, recognize leaders in the state's tech ecosystem.

Social Sentinel won the Innovation award. Burlington Code Academy, a 12-week coding bootcamp, won the Startup award after triumphing in the  LaunchVT competition in the spring. Maureen McElaney, founder of the Burlington Chapter of Girl Develop It, is the area's top tech ambassador.

Each received a statuette of the Tech Jam mascot, handcrafted by clay artist John Brickels.

Also honored from the podium were the winners of BTV Ignite's first Reverse Pitch award, who each received a $10,000 grant to pursue their work. The prizes went to Code Shepherd, a teaching platform that brings subject matter experts, teachers and students together via a live video chat, and Learning Portals, which uses augmented and virtual reality technologies to let learners join classrooms and other experiences remotely — in the case of extended illnesses, for example.

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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.

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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.

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