Ice capades

BARRE – This weekend members of the Barre Elks Lodge hope to show off a grant-funded upgrade to an outdoor skating rink that has served as a no-cost recreational resource for generations of Barre youngsters.

Next weekend the Barre Youth Sports Association, more commonly known as BYSA, plans to give the new-look North Barre Rink a good workout.

First things first.

While we don’t know all of the details, we’re told the Elks can claim credit for investing $2,500 in improvements to the outdoor rink on treatment plant drive. The work included replacing many of the rink’s deteriorating boards and removing the wood stove in the warming hut and installing a new electric heater.

We’re assured it’s a safer set up and – weather permitting – the Elks will be hosting a two-hour free event at the rink on Treatment Plant Drive starting Sunday at 10 a.m. They will be serving hot chocolate, coffee popcorn and other snacks and “Elroy the Elk” will be lacing up his skates to try out the ice.

You’re welcome to join him. If you’ve got skates bring them.

No skates? No problem!

Just swing by Thygesen Sports to borrow a pair. Thygesen’s will be open at 10 a.m. and the skates they loan must be returned by 1 p.m.

Now back to BYSA.

Seems BYSA Hockey is planning to hold the Granite City equivalent of the NHL’s “winter classic” on the just upgraded North Barre Rink a week from Sunday (that’s Feb. 23 if you don’t have a calendar handy).

The details are still being worked out, but the event would last for two to three hours and the thinking is people of all ages and abilities would be welcome to participate, or just watch and enjoy some refreshments.

‘Brick’ report?

WILLIAMSTOWN – The books at the Ainsworth Public Library are just fine. The bricks? Not so much.

Seems at least one of the library’s twin chimneys has been shedding some weight this winter and while it has been more of a light flurry than a blizzard a couple of bricks on the ground will get your attention.

It got Helen Duke’s.

Duke, chairwoman of the library’s board of trustees, delivered a brick report to the Select Board Monday night.

“We’re concerned about the chimney,” Duke said. “It’s losing bricks and stuff.”

That’s a problem and, because the building that houses the library belongs to the town, it’s one Duke hopes the Select Board will have repaired before more damage is done.

Food for thought

BARRE – Students in the three-school Barre Unified Union School District apparently aren’t acquainted with the “clean your plate club,” but they do get credit for preventing what they don’t eat from wasting space in a landfill.

How much credit? We’re glad you asked because the folks at Grow Compost of Vermont supplied us with the answer.

Last year students, faculty and staff at pre-K-8 schools in Barre and Barre Town, as well as Spaulding High School, collectively diverted 137,600 pounds of food scraps from disposal.

So says the “Certificate of Environmental Stewardship just awarded by Grow Compost.”

In terms of environmental impact the district’s composting programs amount to the equivalent of providing electricity for five homes for a full year or preventing 5,574 gallons of gasoline from being used. If you’re into carbon sequestration it also equates to the effect 47 acres of forestland can have on helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Salt saver

MONTPELIER — Putting the Capital City’s streets on a low-sodium diet is tricky winter business, but Dan Perry apparently has it down.

We’re told Perry, a streets foreman in the public works department, has done “everything in his power” to lower road salt use while still keeping roads safe to travel. That’s a cost saver for the city for the city and its taxpayers, while helping protect the rivers and the environment Perry is pretty passionate about.

Win, win!

It’s one of the reasons why Perry was last month’s recipient of the “Above and Beyond” award – a monthly tip of the cap to a municipal employee who demonstrates exceptional dedication in upholding the city’s values and exhibiting exemplary behavior.

It isn’t the only reason.

Perry’s supervisor, Zach Blodgett, also credits Perry for working hard to ensure that local road crews get time to rest between shifts during storms to prevent employee burnout.

Perry is the second recipient of the recently launched monthly award that is accompanied by a small bonus and recognition at a City Council meeting.

Doug Jasman, a lieutenant in the Montpelier Fire Department, was the first to be honored with the award in December.

Regular readers may recall Jasman was credited for negotiating a 37 percent discount off the price of power EMS stretchers with load systems for the city’s ambulances. Jasman saved taxpayers nearly $34,500 on what would have been a $93,000 purchase designed to prevent injuries to firefighters when moving patients.

Where there’s smoke …

WILLIAMSTOWN – The only smoke in the Monday evening sky above Williamstown Middle High School was coming from the towering chimney to the school’s woodchip-fueled heating system. So what, folks must have wondered, was up with all the fire trucks?

Training. Volunteer firefighters decided to do some training at the school on a night when a girls’ basketball game against Montpelier drew a crowd to the gym and the Select Board was meeting in the school library.

The parking lots were filled to capacity and the fire trucks and firefighters added a degree of difficulty to navigating the campus.

Let’s dance!

MONTPELIER – International folk dancing will return to the Montpelier Senior Activity Center this week.

The first in a series of two-hour sessions is set to start Friday at 6:30 p.m. and represents a chance to get some exercise, meet friendly people, have a good time and learn about other cultures. You don’t need experience or a partner to join in the fun.

Nancy Schulz will supply the music and the instructions, and there will be refreshments. Participants will learn dances from different countries and the mix will include circle, line and couple dances.

No pre-registration is necessary. The sessions will be held on the second Friday of each month and, while the senior center is the venue, adults of all ages are welcome.

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