Feeling groovy?

MONTPELIER – A last-minute reminder that today is the 50th anniversary of opening of Woodstock, and there will be opportunity to relive the nostalgia of that epic experience with a special presentation at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center.

Capital City resident Allan Mackey will lead a workshop – “The Summer of 1969: From Easy Rider to Woodstock” – from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the senior center on Barre Street.

Mackey, who turns 82 on Friday, is an authority on the subject. He taught a course on the history of rock ’n’ roll at the Community College of Vermont from 1973 to 1981 and is considered an aficionado of the era.

Two years ago, Mackey presented a program at the senior center celebrating the 50th anniversary release of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band” album, the Haight-Ashbury scene and the “Summer of Love 1967.”

Participants are encouraged bring their memories and memorabilia, and share reminiscences with those who missed the Woodstock summer spectacular.

Donations ($5 for members and $10 for the general public) are suggested, but all are welcome and no one will be turned away.

For more info, call 223-2518 or visit www.montpeliervt.org/msac.

Ready to run?

MONTPELIER – It isn’t all about running, but Prevent Child Abuse Vermont will continue a 20-year tradition when it hosts its annual Walk and Run For Children on the State House Lawn come Saturday morning.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. and while runners will be charged a $20 entry fee to raise money for the charitable organization, we’re told you can walk for free.

Before you walk or run, you can listen to Jon Gailmor perform. He’ll start around 8:30 a.m. and wrap up just before the 10 a.m. start of this year’s Walk and Run for Children.

Gailmor will likely be gone by the time walkers and runners complete the State to Elm to Spring to Main to State streets loop.

However, we’re told there will be prizes for runners and team prizes for walkers along with water, hot dogs and other snacks.

They will also be raffling off prizes to raise additional money during the rain-or-shine event.

Picnic in the park!

BARRE – Thanks to the support of some generous sponsors the city is hosting a summer-ending picnic in Currier Park next week.

You’re invited!

The community picnic is set to start at 5 p.m. next Thursday and will feature free food, an interesting assortment of vehicles – emergency and otherwise – and an opportunity to win the grill Police Chief Tim Bombardier and others will use to prepare the hamburgers and hot dogs they’ll be serving to folks who show up.

The grill (like the burgers, dogs, cold drinks and other snacks that will be served) has been donated. While the food is on the folks from Myers Container and Absolute Spill Response, the grill is straight from Nelson Ace Hardware and will be raffled off during the picnic with proceeds going to benefit OUR House of Central Vermont.

Billed as an opportunity to get together and meet people from every corner of the community the picnic will have a touch-a-truck feel.

Vehicles ranging from Thunder Road race cars and police cruisers to firetrucks, ambulances, and plow trucks will be at the park. So will some of the vehicles from Absolute Spill Response.

The family-friendly event is open to all and there will several community partners will have information booths in the park, which will host its penultimate summer concert (Moose Jams) the previous evening.

Walk in the park?

BARRE – Speaking of Currier Park, those who have long complained about the deteriorating asphalt walkways that crisscross the green-space can stop if they haven’t already.

We have it on good authority the walkways will be easy to traverse by week’s end and will be re-paved before Moose Jams takes the stage in the park next Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Quip of the week

BARRE – City Manager Steve Mackenzie proved he hasn’t lost a step this week when responding to a resident who wasn’t super-excited about just approved increases in the city’s water and sewer rates.

Let’s back up.

Berlin Street resident Mark Duquette attended Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to share an idea he believed could spread the pain of rate increases he understands are necessary.

Though Duquette said he is willing to pay his “fair share” he didn’t see why the city couldn’t limit that share by assessing every rental unit the same quarterly service charges homeowners pay regardless of whether they ever turn on a faucet or flush a toilet.

“All I’m asking is for you to look in a different direction than my back pocket,” Duquette explained, prompting a playful responded from Mackenzie.

“Can we look in your front pocket?” he joked.

Easy go, easy come?

WILLIAMSTOWN – He didn’t go willingly, but Arthur Kramer’s latest stint as health officer in Williamstown ended abruptly earlier this week, when Health Commissioner Mark Levine approved the Select Board’s request he be stripped of his duties due to his handling of a recent dog bite.

It didn’t take the board long to find Kramer’s replacement.

Days after requesting his dismissal and minutes after learning that request had been granted, the board agreed to recommend Levine appoint Don Angolano to serve out the balance of Kramer’s latest three-year term.

Calendar call

MONTPELIER – It’s been six weeks since beloved Montpelier High School art teacher Barbara Austin Hutchins passed away.

Still, it’s worth a reminder that there will be a community memorial celebration of her life and work at Vermont College of Fine Arts a week from Friday (that’s Aug. 23 if you don’t have a calendar handy) from 2 to 5 p.m.

Affectionately known as “Barb” to all, Austin Hutchins was born in Montpelier and graduated in 1968 from the high school, where she returned to teach art after obtaining her degree from Ricker College in Maine. Austin Hutchins retired last year after 38 years on the job.

Despite Austin Hutchins passing, there are ongoing efforts to memorialize her.

Sean Williams, of Barre Sculpture Studio, is a former student who remembered and revered Austin Hutchins, and was working with her for the past year on a 10-foot sculpture that will be a lasting legacy to the long-time educator.

Made of Barre granite, the sculpture will be placed on the roundabout in the driveway of the school and feature symbols of owls that are the basis of the school’s Solon mascot.

A GoFundMe appeal to raise the $12,000 to pay for the commissioned work recently hit its target after Michael Burzycki — the school prankster who damaged an expensive school auditorium window during his graduation in 1994 — started his own GoFundMe Page to raise money for the school and donated the proceeds toward the cost of the statue.

Arts aid

MONTPELIER – Cultural organizations throughout the state got a shot in the arm last week, thanks to grants from the Vermont Arts Council.

VAC awarded fiscal year 2020 grants to 16 organizations totaling $224,556.

The grants to both nonprofits and municipal organizations facilitate better access, enhanced infrastructure and increased capacity within existing structures for organizations that provide and promote access to the arts in Vermont.

Recipients in central Vermont included:

Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Montpelier: $10,791 to support the installation of air conditioning in the Hayes Room and on the second floor of the library;

Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, Berlin: $26,126 to support air-quality upgrades to the lower level renovation of the hall;

Jeudevine Memorial Library, Hardwick: $24,000 to support the installation of a physically accessible elevator; and

Phantom Theater, Warren: $3,760 to support installation of LED lights in the theater.

Since 2001, the Arts Council has awarded 294 grants totaling $3,217,431 to 189 organizations and municipalities.

The Cultural Facilities Grant program also provides a boost to Vermont businesses. Since 2014, 77% of grant funds have been paid to local vendors, contributing $2.7 million to local economies.

The program is administered by VAC in association with the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and funded through an annual appropriation in the Vermont state capital budget.

To learn more about the grant program and VAC, visit www.vermontartscouncil.org

Last chance

MONTPELIER – Friday is the last chance to sign up for the fall youth soccer program in the Capital City.

To register online, visit https://web1.vermontsystems.com/wbwsc/vtmontpelierwt.wsc/, where you will need a username and password, or stop by the Community Services office at 58 Barre St.

A coaches meeting will take place Sept. 4, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the senior center.

If you are interested in coaching, contact ewhite@montpeliervt.org before the meeting.

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