Free ride?

BARRE — If “no news is good news” how would we ever call attention to the good work of the Good News Garage?

While you’re pondering that, consider this: since Good News Garage started taking in, fixing up and awarding cars to families in need back in 1996 they’ve kept more than 5,000 vehicles on the road, while providing reliable transportation to folks who can use it.

Folks like Barre resident Joshua Backman, who has been putting his new used car to good use for a couple of weeks thanks to the donation of a generous Vermonter and the work the Good News Garage did to make the 2009 Subaru Outback roadworthy.

That’s a big deal in a state where the lack of transportation is one of the biggest obstacles to upward mobility.

Just ask Backman, who now has a way to get himself and his family around.

For more information about Good News Garage visit The non-profit organization’s ability to help people like Backman is only limited by the number of vehicle donations it receives.

If you’ve got an old vehicle that needs work you aren’t willing to pay for taking up space in your driveway you might consider making the tax deductible donation and accepting the offer of free towing.

Meet and eat?

MIDDLESEX — Camp Meade’s “Eat Up at The Green” weekly event series resumes on Sunday.

Set for 4 to 9 p.m. the sixth installment of the summer Sunday series (like the previous five) will feature a mix of live entertainment and prepared foods for those who don’t want to sweat what’s for supper.

So, what’s for supper?

The food vendors on Sunday will be The Melted Cheesiere, known for their creative grilled cheese sandwiches and Kingdom Creamery artisan ice cream makers. As always wine and craft beer will be served by Farmers & Foragers.

Eric George and his country band, Ponyhustle will provide the live entertainment and we’re told George will be delving into the roots of his early music influences (think The Doors, Syd Barrett and The Misfits).

If that sounds like a way you might want to spend your Sunday afternoon and evening swing by Camp Meade. If you have any questions contact Christy Gerhart at 213-713-0330 or

Easy money!

MONTPELIER — The City Council is considering crafting a policy that would enable them to bill the organizers of large events held in the Capital City for the municipal services they require.

We say “considering” because the council hasn’t actually done it yet, though it did recently send an itemized lists of costs to organizers of two recent events — the Corporate Cup and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign rally.

The response?

Two checks.

According to City Manager Bill Fraser this city received one check for $3,473.63 from organizers of the Corporate Cup and another $2,186.98 from the Sanders’ campaign.

To borrow a line from a company that sells office products: “That was easy!”

‘Old schoolers?’

EAST MONTPELIER — The Washington County Retired Educators Association will hold it’s July meeting at an old school.

Does that make them “old schoolers?”

We’re not sure, but we do know the group will meet one week from today at the Four Corners School in East Montpelier. It isn’t a school any more, but the building will serve as the venue for a potluck lunch that is opened to “all retired individuals who have worked in a school and/or reside in Washington County.”

Organizers say they would especially welcome recent retirees, or as we like to think of them “new old schoolers.”

Next Thursday’s get-together starts with coffee at 10 a.m., followed by a business meeting at 10:30 a.m. and book discussions and reviews of recently read books at 11 a.m.

The potluck lunch will be served at noon and those planning to attend should bring a dish to share, though beverages will be provided.

Paula Dolan, an “old old schooler” is handling the head count and if you’d like to RSVP give her a quick call at 476-7414 or shoot her an email at

Testing the water

BARRE — Hoping to persuade Barre’s oldest and youngest residents to consider enrolling at courses at the municipal swimming pool, Recreation Director Stephanie Quaranta is inviting them to test the water next week.

On Wednesday parents of children ages 3 to 5 are invited to drop by the pool from 11:30 to noon for a free sample of the introductory swimming lessons that will be provided for a fee the following week. The week-long course for adults and their children will be provided at the same time from July 15 to 19. The cost is $30 for Barre residents and $55 for non-residents.

Quaranta hasn’t yet fixed a schedule for a course geared for older adults who need help with water orientation and swimming skills, but hopes to gauge interest based on folks who show up for next Thursday’s free trial from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Regular swimming lessons will be held the week of July 15 to 19. Registration forms are available at online at, at the Recreation Department office in Alumni Hall, or at the pool.

Money matters

MONTPELIER — The Montpelier Foundation recently announced its first three grants since becoming an independent nonprofit.

The largest grant award went to the Montpelier Area Biking Association, which was awarded $15,000 to complete trails it has proposed in the North Branch Park.

The Montpelier Tree Fund landed $5,000 for it’s ash tree management program and the third award — $2,500 — went to Montpelier ArtSynergy to help fund an art installation at the Taylor Street Transit Center.

Now an independent nonprofit, the Montpelier Foundation enhances the community’s ability to make valuable capital improvements to improve the quality of life for local residents and visitors. Created in 1994, donations and bequests support projects that provide long-term public benefits in Montpelier.

Montpelier Foundation funds can be used for costs associated with the design, construction or acquisition of educational, recreational, transportation, public safety, utility, conservation and preservation, and cultural improvements having a useful life of at least 20 years, unless otherwise designated by the donor.

Tax-deductible contributions to the fund are administered and overseen by the Montpelier Foundation Board of Trustees. For more information:

Gifts to the foundation should be sent to P.O. Box 364, Montpelier, T 05601. To discuss other methods of giving, contact foundation chairman Ed Flanagan at

Something borrowed

MONTPELIER — We know how much they collectively borrowed, but because they are private loans we don’t know what they individually owe.

However, we can say with some certainty that a significant chunk of the $522,000 in loans the Vermont Community Loan Fund approved in the first quarter of this year will advance central Vermont projects.

Those projects range from funding renovations and equipment for Vermont Salumi at its soon-to-open new location in downtown Barre (in the former Homer Fitts building). The growing company produces fresh and dry-cured meat products.

Then there is Twisted Roots, a sparkling herbal tea business in Middlesex, which needed funding for refrigeration equipment that will allow the company to expand distribution.

In Randolph a loan will help the launch of a new goat meat business — Goat Town of Vermont, while Hollister Hill Farm owners Bob and Lee Light will use the latest money they borrowed from the fund the sale of their farm bed and breakfast and transition to retirement.

Finally, the Civilian Conservation Corps in Williamstown received a loan to help with the cost of transferring a property that was gifted to the organization and will be sold to raise funds for its programs.

All of the loans will preserve existing jobs and, in most cases, create new ones.

Not all of the loan recipients were from central Vermont. Just most of them.

Other loans around the state also went to Full Belly Farm in Monkton, Walnut Hill Farm in Pawlet, and Georgia Next Generation’s new early care and learning center in Georgia also received financing.

Chinese, anyone?

MONTPELIER — If you have a favorite Chinese dish you’d like to share with others, bring it along with your appetite to Friday night’s potluck at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center.

Hosted by the Montpelier Gourmet Meetup, the Chinese potluck will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday.

It’s a bring food to share event, though cutlery and dishes are provided and there’s a stove and microwave oven to warm already prepared foods.

Alcohol is prohibited and donations ($5 is suggested and the $2 is the minimum) are appreciated.

To register, visit or contact Rod at 236-0893 or

Open enrollment?

MONTPELIER — The Montpelier Senior Activity Center tells us Community Services summer classes began last week but there is still room in many classes and it’s not too late to sign up.

We’re also told that the deadline for ideas for fall class proposals is July 15.

Stop by the senior center for a list of summer classes, and email proposal sheets, also available at the senior center, to MSAC Director Janna Clar at

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