Fish Tale

Sculptor Sean Williams looks over a recently completed granite piece, “The Origin of the River” at his studio in Barre. The six-foot long spawning brook trout will be installed at the Roxbury Fish Hatchery in August and was commissioned by a Vermont Arts Council Art in State Buildings grant.

‘Decoration days’

BARRE — Fun fact: Memorial Day got its start as “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1868.

Funner fact: Fresh flags are now fluttering over the graves of every veteran buried in Barre and Barre Town thanks to the efforts of a group that took over the then-century old tradition nearly two decades ago.

Led by Mike Jarvis, a retired JROTC instructor at Spaulding High School, the group — Flags for Veterans — just lived up to its name. Again.

Sure they spread the annual exercise out over a few days, but that is their custom, and decorating more than 2,600 graves is a tall order.

Still, they’ve got it down to a science and the fact a small crew, including Jarvis and Whitney Maxfield took care of Wilson Cemetery in Barre Town last Thursday, was part of their regular routine.

Typically they get an assist from JROTC students from Spaulding, but with schools in remote learning mode because of the COVID-19 crisis, those extra hands weren’t available this year.

Still we’re told nearly 30 folks joined Jarvis at Barre’s Hope Cemetery last Saturday morning, even as a separate crew was decorating veterans’ graves at Maplewood Cemetery in Barre Town.

We’re told the last of the flags were placed Sunday, when Jarvis, Maxfield and a few others took care of Elmwood Cemetery in Barre before calling it a day.

‘Decoration days II’

BARRE — Fun fact: Memorial Day got its start as “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1868.

Funner fact: Members of the Barre Area Veterans Council spent last Saturday installing brackets on the lamp posts that line North Main Street so they can return this Saturday to hang American flags on each of them.

Funnest fact: COVID-19 may have forced the veterans groups to cancel their annual Memorial Day parade, but they are still planning to hold a ceremony in City Hall Park at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30.

With all due respect to federal holidays and three-day weekends, that is when Decoration Day and then Memorial Day was celebrated until 1971 and that’s when it is still celebrated in Barre.

We’ll provide you with the details for this year’s socially distant ceremony, which will include laying a wreath at the base of the “Youth Triumphant” memorial next week.

Hooves on mouths?

BERLIN — When you’re wearing a cow on your face it’s hard to keep the hooves off your mouth.

Don’t take our word for it. Just ask the 220 employees at Central Vermont Medical Center who recently became human billboards for Middlesex artist DJ Barry’s “World Cow Project.”

Regular readers will remember Barry as the man who has gotten a lot of mileage out of a simple Holstein cow with a creative black and white coat resembling a world map. Conceived in 2016, Barry painted one of the huge Holsteins on a barn near Rumney Memorial School in 2016 and the mural, which has since gone global, has been repeated in several other states and last year one was painted on the back of the Allen Lumber warehouse in Montpelier.

What’s that got to do with folks who work at the hospital?

Nothing, unless you count the fact that some are now wearing miniature versions of the mural that were screen printed on face masks by New Duds in Colchester.

Barry is pretty pleased with how the face masks turned out and was happy to donate 220 of them to the local hospital.

Meanwhile, Barry tells us work on 10 giant World Cow murals is starting in India this week celebrating the lifting of that country’s stay-at-home restrictions.

Flower power?

EAST MONTPELIER — An annual perennial sale, which is a relatively young tradition at the oldest church building still standing in central Vermont, is set for this weekend.

Though Sunday services and other programs at the Old Meeting House are now being conducted online as result of the COVID-19 crisis, there’s no reason that, with some precautions, the folks at OMH can’t sell veggie starts, herbs and perennials on the parish house lawn.

Sure, now isn’t the time to host a chicken-pie supper, but the plant sale that started a few years back is the kind of fundraiser you can pull off in the middle of pandemic.

Donations of plants — from sedum and Lily of the Valley to tomato and cucumber starts — are beginning to roll in for the sale that is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

The timing isn’t accidental. Sunday’s online worship service starts at 9:30 a.m. and should end in time for parishioners to scoot over to the church and set up shop for the rain-or-shine plant sale.

For those unfamiliar with the church, which has stood in East Montpelier Center since 1823, it’s just 3.5 miles from downtown Montpelier. Just head out County Road, bear right on to Center Road after the cemetery, drive 1.6 miles and look for the white church on your right. Or Google 1620 Center Road, East Montpelier, and let your cellphone take you there.

If you’re planning to check it out, please bring a mask or other face covering and observe social distancing guidelines.

E(V)T phone home?

BARRE — Apparently it will take more than a pandemic to disrupt Efficiency Vermont’s plans to conduct 100 home energy audits for interested Barre residents.

Sure, the COVID-19 crisis has forced the folks at EVT to get creative, but the good news is, they have.

In fact, it’s possible they will be able to conduct more than 100 energy audits in Barre without after setting foot in a Granite City household.

Seems virtual home energy visits are actually a thing and, thanks to cellphone and other technology, they work better than EVT expected.

The way Brad Long explains it, residents using their cellphones can give EVT engineers a virtual tour of their home, pausing to focus on areas of concern. The engineers see through the phones in real time and can provide energy saving recommendations based on what they observe. It’s less intrusive than showing up at the door and walking through someone’s home, and it gives residents complete control over what engineers see and don’t see.

It’s also a time-saver since it takes travel out of the equation and should increase the number of daily visits EVT can conduct between now and the end of the year.

Bag man!

BARRE — Mayor Lucas Herring has long said Green Up Day is one of his favorite days of the year, and it seems he wasn’t joking.

This week, Herring challenged fellow members of the City Council to collectively try to fill more Green Up Day bags than he has ... already.

All agreed they would give it a whirl before Herring explained he’d made the most of the four-week delay caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

In honor of Green Up Day’s 50th anniversary, Herring set out to fill 50 of the Green Up Day bags.

As of Tuesday night, Herring had filled 51 of the familiar green bags and counting. He’s got time to pad that number between now and May 30 when Green Up Day will belatedly occur.

For Herring, it was worth the wait.

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