Ready for Teddy?

BARRE — One of Barre’s newest city councilors has more than progressive credentials in common with the dead president whose foreign policy philosophy was: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

They also share a nickname, but that isn’t why Councilor Teddy Waszazak (his first name is Edward) is bullish on the idea of forever marking the spot where former president and then presidential hopeful Teddy Roosevelt delivered a stirring speech when his historic “Bull Moose” campaign came to Barre on Aug. 31, 1912.

Waszazak wasn’t living in Barre when local residents celebrated the centennial of that speech seven years ago, but he noted it in a resolution requesting the placement of a “Vermont Roadside Historic Marker” on the Church Street side of City Hall Park.

Waszazak, who read the resolution aloud during Tuesday night’s council meeting, said he believed marking the spot of Roosevelt’s speech would foster community pride and be an added attraction for tourists.

Councilors approved the resolution, but not before one of them wondered whether anything in Roosevelt’s history might come back to haunt them for honoring him in a what-were-they-thinking-when-they-erected-that-statue-of-Robert-E.-Lee kind of way.

Councilor Rich Morey said it was possible that that something in Roosevelt’s past might be viewed differently today or tomorrow than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

“It would be nice to know if there are any skeletons in his closet,” he said.

The search for “skeletons” quickly commenced with Councilor Michael Boutin turning to Google and Waszazak noting that Teddy Roosevelt “was a Roosevelt.”

“I’m sure there are skeletons in his closet, but T.R. was pretty cut and dried,” Waszazak said of the other Teddy even as Boutin concluded his 30-second search with a nothing-to-see-here before acknowledging the obvious.

“I didn’t do a real exhaustive search,” he said.

Councilors approved the resolution none-the-less — aiding Waszazak’s effort to secure a state-sanctioned marker.

‘Flag poll’

BARRE — With Flag Day approaching (it’s Friday) Mayor Lucas Herring decided publicly poll councilors about the possibility of opening future meeting by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Herring noted the Barre Town Select Board opens its meetings by saluting the flag and the Barre City School Board, which met for the last time on Monday, historically had.

Why not the council?

That depended on who you asked in what turned into an awkward round-table.

Councilor John LePage recalled “dutifully reciting the Pledge” as a child, but noted the phrase “… one nation under God” was potentially problematic.

“Some people kind of have an issue with that,” he said, suggesting it might run afoul of the separation of church and state.

Councilor Teddy Waszazak was more blunt.

“I’m not a fan of doing the Pledge,” he said.

Councilors Jeffrey Tuper-Giles and Rich Morey echoed the concern expressed by LePage.

“I’d be OK if it didn’t say ‘under God,’” Tuper-Giles said.

Councilor Michael Boutin and John Steinman said they would comfortably recite the Pledge, Steinman said he respected others’ reluctance, while Boutin argued their concerns weren’t rooted in the Constitution.

Right or wrong, unless some minds change council chambers will remain a Pledge-free zone.

Pay-per-view?

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Select Board’s decision this week to invest up to $2,000 in four security cameras for the town offices led to a light-hearted exchange started by the man who lives next door.

Art Kramer didn’t quibble with Town Manager Jackie Higgins’ recommendation the board purchase the cameras that would capture images she and Town Clerk Barbara Graham could view from their cell phones.

“As your southerly neighbor will my dogs and I be stars of your movies?” Kramer asked.

Chairman Matthew Rouleau acknowledged that was a possibility, prompting Horace Duke to chime in.

“Do you do things on your lawn that you’d rather weren’t on film?” Duke asked, prompting a quick quip from Kramer.

“I was thinking of charging you,” he said.

Three of the cameras will be installed on the exterior of the town offices. One will face north on Route 14, another south and the third — a dome camera — will be positioned at the entrance. A fourth camera will be located just inside the door to the offices, which have been broken into a couple of times in the last several years.

Parting gift?

BARRE — Joe Zickmund isn’t going anywhere, but rules are rules, and after three years as commander of the American Legion Post #10 in Barre the organization’s term limits required he be replaced.

Zickmund was last month, when Melvin McKnight was elected the post’s new commander and the two teamed up to honor its long-serving club manager, Katina Franks, last week.

Technically, it was more Zickmund than McKnight though the former predicts the latter will quickly come to appreciate what a valuable commodity Franks is. Not, he says, because of the job she was hired to do 10 years ago, but for her institutional knowledge and the countless ways she contributes.

“She spends a lot of time and a lot of energy helping with things she doesn’t get paid to do,” Zickmund says of Franks.

“Her insight and knowledge are invaluable and she’s always helping out,” he says.

Zickmund, now the adjutant at Post 10, says he wanted to acknowledge Franks’ above-and-beyond effort amid the transition and McKnight was on board with his plan to present her with a certificate of appreciation last Thursday.

We have it on good authority that the token gesture of appreciation was appreciated by the woman who does more than run the club at Post 10.

Books and bikes?

WILLIAMSTOWN — In keeping with what has become a twice-a-year custom members of the Charity Chapter #57 Order of the Eastern Star are preparing to reward a couple fifth graders at Williamstown Elementary School with brand new bicycles.

What makes them “eligible?”

Besides being fifth graders they must have done some reading, prepared a written book report and deliver an oral version to be entered in next Wednesday’s drawing.

Kathy Moran tells us there are two bikes — one for a boy and one for a girl — and names will be pulled from separate buckets to determine the winners.

“We think it’s very important for children to read more,” Moran says.

One of the bikes that will be given away next Wednesday was purchased with a donation from Barre resident Sharon Lunde, while Williamstown residents Jackie and Alan Carpenter contributed the money for the other.

We’ll let you know who wins.

Tick Talk

RANDOLPH — ’Tis the season to be talking ticks and the risks of tick-borne diseases.

The Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) will host Tick Talk Vermont: Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Tick Borne Illnesses, at the Randolph Senior Center on Wednesday, at 1 p.m.

Topics will include the types of ticks and the diseases they carry, how to identify symptoms that you may experience after a bite and how to be proactive in preventing tick bites.

The chances of contracting a tick-borne illness is very high in the Green Mountain State. According to the Vermont Department of Health, the state has the second-highest rate of reported Lyme disease cases in the United States.

The good news is that tick-borne illnesses are not only treatable, but most are preventable. Tick Talk Vermont will help you prepare to enjoy the warmer months in Vermont without getting ticked off by the little suckers, so to speak.

BugFest 2019

MONTPELIER — Speaking of insects, things get a whole lot more creepy and crawly at the annual BugFest 2019, an insect festival for all ages at the North Branch Nature Center in the Capital City on June 30, from 2 to 10 p.m.

This year’s festival features Vermont’s native pollinators and visitors can join nature walks, explore exhibits, attend workshops by local biologists and participate in activities just for kids.

The program includes: a workshop on pollinator gardening by the Vermont Garden Journal’s Charlie Nardozzi; a world-class, hands-on caterpillar exhibit by The Caterpillar Lab; and field walks by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. The nature center’s educators and naturalists will offer fun-filled activities throughout the event and there will be delicious Jamaican fare offered by Montpelier-based Kool Runninz.

For the full BugFest schedule, visit www.northbranchnaturecenter.org/event/bugfest/.

For more information, call 229-6206 or email info@northbranchnaturecenter.org.

Crack you up

MONTPELIER — If you’re looking for a good laugh for a good cause, then the Mary Mack and Tim Harmston: Happy Camper Comedy Tour in the Capital City is just the ticket.

To be held at the American Legion Post #3, at 7 p.m. on June 22, the show has been coined a “real marriage breaker” as the couple embark on a cross-country ramble in their 9½-foot Scamp trailer. We’re also told the couple remain positive, “if not delusional.”

After performing nationwide individually for 16 years, the married Minnesotan comedians now enjoy appearing as a duet with both staged and impromptu material. They have appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham.

Tim has appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, while Mary has performed multiple sets on Conan and is a favorite on podcasts and radio shows around the country, such as Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

The Montpelier show is a pay-what-you-like event with a recommended $25 value for each ticket. Fifty percent of proceeds will support the American Legion’s local programs.

Advance tickets are available at the American Legion Post, and purchasing advance tickets to the show qualifies you for a drawing for a gift bag from Karen’s Artisan Popcorn.

For more info, visit www.MaryMackComedy.com.

Forensics and fireworks

NORTHFIELD — A two-day forensics exercise for students will be held at Norwich University June 18-19.

The College of Graduate and Continuing Studies will host the third annual Forensics Exercise with local and state law enforcement with a staged campus crime scene created by best-selling author Mayor Archer. The event is for students in NU’s information security and assurance, public administration and criminal justice master’s programs.

On June 20, NU will celebrate its 200th anniversary with fireworks sponsored by the its alumni association. The fireworks can be viewed near the Norwich University Rugby field on Water Street from 8:15 to 10 p.m. with the fireworks display starting at dusk, approximately 9 p.m. Noise will be the loudest near the Shapiro Field House, where the fireworks will be released.

Entertainment will continue through the night with a performance by Vermont singer/songwriter Myra Flynn. The fireworks and music event are open to friends and family of the Norwich community.

Both events are for graduating students and the Norwich community as a whole, as part of the 2019 Residency Conference on the Norwich campus.

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