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Digging into a project

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crew members Tara Rodes, of Cinncinnati, and Dave Richard, of South Burlington begin work this week on a new ADA accessible boat launch on Kettle Pond in Groton State Forest.

Talk of the Town

All warmed up

COVID may have slowed things down for Wheels for Warmth, but the popular annual event is back on track.

Wheels for Warmth is back for its 16th annual tire recycle and resale event, collecting tires from around the state to be either recycled or sold at affordable prices so Vermonters are safe on the road this winter.

Proceeds from the event go to emergency heating assistance throughout Vermont provided by Capstone Community Action, BROC Community Action and Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.

Since its founding in 2005, the annual event has collected over 60,000 tires; recycling 40,000, selling 25,000 safe tires and raising nearly $560,000 to help those hardest hit by winter temperatures, particularly homes with children and seniors through heating assistance.

“Last year, the pandemic separated Vermonters physically, but brought us together as a community, with neighbors helping neighbors,” said Gov. Phil Scott, who founded the program in 2005. “That’s what Wheels for Warmth is all about. Whether you have tires to donate, need a safe way to travel, or simply want to make a difference, this program is a great way to do it.”

There is a need for usable tires this year to meet the demand for safe, affordable tires. Tires will be collected Thursday, Oct. 28, and Friday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. at DuBois Construction in Middlesex; Casella Construction in Mendon; Casella Waste Systems in Williston; and from 1 to 5 p.m. those same days at Stowe Events Field.

The tire sale takes place on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 8 a.m. to noon in two locations: Dubois Construction in Middlesex and Casella Construction in Mendon.

All unsafe tires are recycled at a $5 fee per tire. To learn more about the event visit wheelsforwarmth.org or find the event on Facebook: facebook.com/wheelsforwarmth and Instagram: @WheelsForWarmth

Work to be done

Thanks to a grant secured by the Friends of the Winooski River, the City of Montpelier and its Parks Department are scheduled to begin improvements to the Hubbard Park gravel road system this fall.

These improvements should reduce damage to the roads during rain storms and protect the water quality of the parks stream and the North Branch River.

Heavy rains cause severe erosion of the park’s gravel roads and dump sediment into the “Frog Pond” at the park’s entrance.

The construction was originally planned for summer 2020, but furloughs to city staff delayed the project. Park users can expect to see work beginning on the roads and pond later this month. The construction is expected to be completed in two weeks or less, and vehicle access to the park roads may be limited during this time.

Planned improvements to the road system include three infiltration areas along the roadsides to absorb stormwater, prevent erosion and retain sediment. A small wet pond or “forebay” would help keep sediment out of the Frog Pond. Once these are in place the city will regrade and re-crown the road surface in order to direct the water off the roads and away from the nearby stream.

The Friends of the Winooski River secured State of Vermont Clean Water funding through a Watersheds United Vermont grant to pay for part of the cost of construction, and the work has been awarded to Hebert Excavation Corps of Williamstown.

What Madness!

Moonlight Madness will take place in downtown Montpelier on Friday, Oct. 22. The sales event, including extended shopping hours, restaurant specials and live street performances, will go from 5 to 9 p.m.

Entertainment on the City Hall Plaza “Main Stage’’ includes performances of “The Raven” by Lost Nation Theater at 4:45 and 8 p.m.; a magic show from 5 to 5:45 p.m. by Magicians Without Borders; an “international comic espionage” show by Her Majesty’s Secret Circus from 5:50 to 6:15 p.m.; Tom “Banjo” Azarian’s music and “crankie” show from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and Brass Balagan at 7:30 p.m. Additional performers will take to the streets of downtown throughout the evening.

Masks are required for all event attendees, regardless of vaccination status, both indoors and outdoors.

For the most up-to-date performance schedule and information on all the deals, specials and events, visit www.montpelieralive.org/moonlight online.

Lots in Common

Have you noticed the new banners around the Common in Northfield? Go have a look, folks.

Thanks to Eric Howard and the Northfield 10th-grade art class, Jon Ignatowski, Jeff Schulz and the Town of Northfield, Andrea Melville, Carolyn Stevens, Bonnie Kirn Donahue, Lydia Petty, as well as community volunteers Merry Shernock, Ada Eberle, Tim Swartz, Jeanne Bright, Colin, Warren and Ryan Bright.

The Common Connections is funded by the state’s Better Places Program Pilot, as well as the Vermont Community Foundation. Be sure to check out this public art and beautification project.

Gift for a pope

Last Saturday, a porcelain Peace Bowl handmade by ceramicist Miranda Thomas, of Bridgewater, was gifted to Pope Francis by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during an official visit to the Vatican. “With respect and love, please pray for us,” Speaker Pelosi said to the Pope, reading from the inscription inked on the bowl with a gold pen.

The gift features Thomas’s signature designs, hand-painted with a 22-karat gold luster on a sapphire-blue glaze. Inside the bowl, a traditional symbol of peace — the dove — can be seen flying through the scroll of life — an ancient ceramics pattern representing the ebbs and flows of life.

This is the second Miranda Thomas creation given to a sitting pope. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commissioned one of Thomas’s peace bowls as a personal gift for Pope John Paul II.

Collected worldwide, her works have previously been gifted by President Barack Obama and the United Nations to dignitaries including UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Opening up

In case you missed the front page, the White House gave the word: the Northern Border will once again be open for business.

Gov. Phil Scott issued the following statement regarding the reopening of the land border with Canada for nonessential travel: “Last night (Tuesday) the White House informed me that, next month, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to cross our land border once again. This is a significant step forward on the path from pandemic to endemic management of COVID-19 and will mean a great deal to many Vermonters and our communities.”

He went on: “Vermont and Canada are not just neighbors, our communities are linked by family, friends, social and cultural connections, natural resources, commerce and more. Reopening the land border will allow our communities to reunite, after being separated for nearly two years.”

Just in time for ski and snowboard season!

What pets want

Harold Blake, of Barre, lost his sister to cancer and his mom to COVID-19 in 2020. Now Harold and his wife, Linda Blake, are looking forward to starting a new chapter while honoring the lives lost with their new business — Pet Wants Central Vermont.

“My mom and my sister loved animals and both did quite a bit of volunteer work during their lives. As we were thinking about opening our own business, doing something that would honor their lives and continue their legacy brought us to Pet Wants. We are looking forward to helping families give their pets longer, healthier lives with Pet Wants Central Vermont,” Harold stated in a news release.

Pet Wants’ specially crafted, private-label pet food formulas are made in small batches with fresh, natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced diet.

As a mobile business, the Blakes offer free, personal delivery throughout Central Vermont, especially Washington and Chittenden counties, including the communities of Barre, Montpelier, Burlington, Stowe, Berlin and the surrounding areas.

What else could your pets want?

To learn more about Pet Wants Central Vermont, call 802-622-1188, email HBlake@PetWants.com or visit www.PetWants.com/CentralVermont online.

Shopping, in general

The governor has signed a proclamation declaring, once again, October to be Independent Country Store Month in Vermont, recognizing how important the state’s country stores are to the cultural, economic and social lives of Vermonters.

In signing the proclamation, at the request of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association, Scott acknowledged the integral role independent country stores have as an essential piece of Vermont communities and the tourism industry. He also highlights how they have played an integral role in supporting their communities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Find highlights of country stores, their community efforts, technological modernization, and much more on social media by searching #vtcountrystores. Be sure to use the hashtag to show your support as you visit these community staples through October and beyond.

Vermont Retail and Grocers Association President Erin Sigrist this week noted, “Vermont’s country and general stores represent the best of Vermont — always willing to help nurture and support their communities, and always promoting the best of our state. Visitors can often find Vermont-made products, a delicious and balanced meal, the best of Vermont’s beverage scene, and a sense of the pride for this formidable state found in every corner of the Green Mountains and each country or general store you visit.”

Autumn is one of the best times to get out and explore Vermont’s local treasures. Enjoy.

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