Food for thought

MONTPELIER — Central Vermonters interested in participating in the nation’s largest single-day food drive should leave their nonperishable food donations in bags by their mailboxes Saturday morning.

It’s called “Stamp Out Hunger” and on Saturday area members of the National Association of Letter Carriers will participate the 27th edition of the one-day food drive that netted nearly 72 million pounds of food nationwide last year.

Since the drive began in 1993, total donations have surpassed 1.67 billion pounds of food and that number will rise as letter carriers make their rounds Saturday.

Though it is a national initiative, food collected in central Vermont on Saturday will be delivered to local churches, food banks and community food shelves for distribution to needy families in the area.

While all non-perishable donations are welcome, foods that are high in protein are most needed. Canned tuna, salmon, beans and peanut butter are all strong choices, as are canned fruits and vegetable, whole grain low-sugar cereals, macaroni and cheese dinners and 100 percent fruit juices.

Residents are urged not to donate food in rusty or unlabeled cans or glass jars. Perishable or homemade food items food that has past its expiration date, alcoholic beverages or mixes and soda should not be donated.

Good deed doer

MONTPELIER — We had news of a Union Elementary School student receiving a commendation from Montpelier police last week for turning in a wad of cash she found on her way to school.

Even better news for the student — she got to keep the cash!

Principal Ryan Heraty posted the news on his weekly “Swoop Scoop” online bulletin, saying that the school was proud of the actions by Haley, a student in Sarah Voorhis’ third-grade class.

“Haley exemplifies the values we cherish at UES,” Heraty said. “She was recognized with this certificate and the good fortune of getting to keep the money!”

Cpl. Matt Knisley, the school resource officer in Montpelier, confirmed Haley was commended for her honesty and community spirit.

“It was a large amount of money to her, not necessarily to everyone,” Knisley said. “I can tell you it was not a lot of money, but it was double digits. It was not into the triple digits.

It was an amount, Knisley explained the department could comfortably cover if someone were to show up and say: “I lost this exact amount of money in this place.”

In the interest of fostering good citizenship, Knisley said Haley’s good deed was rewarded.

“We wanted to send that message to the student that she had done something right,” he explained.

Message received, according to Knisley.

“The two things she said to us the day she turned the money in was: “‘That’s a lot of groceries,’ — and that’s coming from a 9-year-old — and when we gave the money back to her, she said, ‘Oh, I’m going to take my family out to dinner.’”

‘Chair man?’

BARRE — Unlike select boards in several neighboring communities, the Barre City Council doesn’t have a “chairman.” However, it did have a “chair man” Tuesday night and Councilor Jeffrey Tuper-Giles wasn’t interested in sharing.

Perhaps we should explain.

Seems Mayor Lucas Herring (the closest thing the council has to a chairman) took a small step toward addressing what has been a long-standing complaint among council members since City Manager Steve Mackenzie was one of them.

The comfort level of the council’s chairs has been questioned off and on for more than a decade and Herring, who makes lists of such things, decided to do something about it this week bringing a chair to Tuesday’s council meeting for members to test drive.

Enter Tuper-Giles (literally).

The first to arrive, Tuper-Giles promptly staked claim to the chair and later proclaimed “no musical chairs” as if swapping seats in the middle of a council meeting might actually make sense.

Herring suggested councilors take turns sitting in the chair during a meeting-ending executive session. He said some did and liked the chair, others didn’t but indicated “anything would be better than what we have.”

Cost-conscious residents in a city staring down a six-figure deficit should know the chairs aren’t new, they’re from the state surplus sale and will cost $22.50 apiece.

“They will be ‘new to us’ chairs,” said Herring, who has arranged for nine (one for each of the council’s seven members, one for Mackenzie and another for City Clerk Carol Dawes) to be delivered this afternoon.

May flowers II

EAST MONTPELIER — We jumped the gun last week by making a Green Up Day connection to a plant sale that, since its inception 11 years ago, has always been held on the Saturday before Mothers Day.

Let’s try again.

The Twin Valley Senior Center will be hosting its annual plant sale and flea market on Saturday as has been its custom since Linda Fowler started the event in 2008.

Fowler, who lives in Barre Town, is an avid gardener who thought a plant sale would be a good way to raise funds for the senior center and has watched the event grow through the years. A few years ago a flea market was added and, thanks to Tom and Jackie DiMatteo there has always been food.

The DiMatteos, who live in Marshfield have been manning the grill on Mother’s Day weekend since the beginning and will be selling burgers and hot dogs again on Saturday.

Plainfield’s Valerie Roberts has donated dessert — chocolate chip cookies — that like the plants and the flea market items will be available for sale Saturday at the senior center on Route 2.

Like Roberts’ cookies, the plants are all donated — some from area greenhouses and others from local residents and senior center supporters.

And ... we apologize for the confusion.

Granite ‘plants’

BARRE — Speaking of plant sales, if you can’t make the one set for Saturday at the Twin Valley Senior Center (or even if you can) the Granite Center Garden Club will host its perennial sale later this month in the converted granite plant that is now the well-established home of the Vermont Granite Museum.

The perennial sale has long been an annual tradition for the garden club, which uses proceeds to underwrite its citywide beautification efforts and to fund its scholarship programs.

It’s a pretty popular sale and while it is best known for its broad selection of affordable perennials, there will also be an assortment of herbs, shrubs, annuals and garden accessories available.

The sale is set for Friday, May 24 and will run from 6:30 a.m. until noon. The plants are always reasonably priced in order to help people garden affordably and the advice from club members is both valuable and free.

She’s got rhythm

BARRE — We’ve decided there are three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and that City Clerk Carol Dawes will sing about the latter for as long as she’s in office.

Dawes has amassed an impressive collection of songs designed to remind taxpayers of looming deadlines like the one that will arrive next Wednesday.

Frugal by nature, Dawes only uses music she doesn’t have to pay for and her latest tax song, which will air on the radio between now and next Wednesday, is sung to the tune of “I Got Rhythm.”

Here are her latest lyrics:

“Barre City, it’s that time

Pay your taxes — they’re due by the 15th of May

Write a check or cash will be fine

Pay your taxes — they’re due by the 15th of May

Do not dawdle or delay

Or the late fees you will pay

Come and visit, or mail them in, please

Pay your taxes – they’re due by the 15th of May

They’re due by the 15th of May!”

But for the “Barre City” reference that song could serve as a reminder to residents in any community, from Barre Town to Montpelier, where taxes are paid in quarterly installments and the last one is due next Wednesday.

Cemetery deadline

BARRE — Even cemeteries have rules and Hope Cemetery in Barre has more than most, which is why folks who have loved ones buried there are reminded now is the time to remove any artificial wreaths, flowers and associated stands they want to reuse next winter.

The rules at Hope are pretty particular and while fake flowers (and wreaths) are only permitted between Sept. 15 to May 15.

What ever isn’t removed after next Wednesday will be collected by the cemetery crew, briefly stored (just in case) and then disposed of as part of the pre-Memorial Day spring-cleaning of the cemetery that only permits real flowers during the growing season that has now arrived.

Money maker

MONTPELIER — In a follow-up to Friday‘s article about the costly prank by former Montpelier High School senior Michael Burzycki, we can report that the GoFundMe drive he launched to benefit the school has nearly hit its target.

Last week, we reported that Burzycki contacted the school to say he wanted to repay the $1,994 it cost to repair the damage to an expensive window in the school’s Smilie Memorial Auditorium after he draped a giant banner from the roof. The banner was a salute to graduating seniors that read, “Live Long and Prosper Class of 1994.”

At the time, Burzycki was presented with a bill for the damage which asked him to pay it by his 25th high school reunion, which is this year.

Burzycki decided to go one better. He paid the bill and also launched the GoFundMe site to encourage other people to support the school with contributions.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the fund drive had reached $4,735 of its $5,000 goal.

And the winners are ...

MONTPELIER — The organizer of the third annual Montpelier Pedestrian Scramble on Saturday reached out to us to announce the winners of the event.

Held as part of Montpelier Alive’s Mayfest celebration, the scramble is a semi-competitive “urban adventure” featuring walking groups locating and answering questions about a series of Montpelier destinations.

The winners in descending order were groups led by Melinda Robinson, Jill Muhr, Molly Hakopian, Rachel Kemple and Hope Ann Ferris. The winner of the “Family Groups with Children” contest was the group led by Honi Barrett.

The event was started and organized by Harris Webster, a member of the Complete Streets Committee, which is committed to supporting walking, biking and uses of streets other than private motor vehicles.

All told, 13 groups and 60 people participated in the event.

Climate curious?

MONTPELIER — How can you be a part of the climate change solution?

Find out — and what soil has to do with it — at a presentation at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center on Wednesday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

“How to Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change” is a movie that will be shown, followed by a talk with the co-founder of Soil4Climate about the importance of healthy soils and trees to combat climate change.

Donations will support the Montpelier Tree Board which organized this TreeCity 2019 event.

Trucks wanted

MONTPELIER — Recreation Director Arne McMullen is still lining up “touchable trucks” and other “fun vehicles” young children might find fascinating.

McMullen doesn’t need them tomorrow, or this weekend, but he sure could use them a week from Sunday (that’s May 19 if you don’t have a calendar handy) when the city’s annual Touch a Truck event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Montpelier High School track.

The event typically features an interesting assortment of vehicles that includes ambulances, firetrucks, police cruisers, tractor-trailer trucks, military vehicles, school buses, backhoes, bucket loaders and cement mixers.

If you’ve got a vehicle to add to display at the family-friendly event, just shoot McMullen an email at

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