Hats off

MONTPELIER — So-called “youth author” Katherine Paterson has done it again, being selected for yet another prestigious award for her gifted work for teenagers and young adults.

News came this week that the American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced its 2019 National Awards of Achievements in Literature, with the E.B. White Award going to Paterson.

The award is given every two years in recognition of an exceptional lifetime body of work by a single American author.

A central Vermont congratulations to a wonderful central Vermonter.

To learn more about Paterson and her work and awards, visit www.katherinepaterson.com.

Climate change pow-wow

MONTPELIER — Students in central Vermont — and elsewhere — are being encouraged to walk out of class on Friday, all in the name of a good cause.

They’re being asked to join the “Student Climate Strike,” an international day of action first promoted by Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, by marching on the State House to clamor for a response to climate change and associated issues, such as inequality and justice for all.

Students from U-32 Middle and High School will march down to Montpelier High School at 12:40 p.m. Students from both schools will then march to the State House steps at 2 p.m.

Other participating students will come from Harwood Union High School and Stowe High School, and a similar student strike is being planned in Middlebury.

In Room 11 inside the State House, from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be the first debate about the Green New Deal for Vermont in a town meeting format to craft proposals on addressing climate change, with help from the staff of Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders.

There will also be a news conference in the Cedar Creek Room at 2:30 p.m., and students are expected to give testimonies before the House Committee on Energy and Technology in support of House bill, H.477, the Vermont Equity and Infrastructure Act, introduced by Rep. Diana Gonzalez, P-Chittenden-6-7.

The Green New Deal for Vermont is a local take on the Green New Deal recently proposed in Congress, calling for economic stimulus programs in the United States that aims to address climate change and economic equality.

‘Irish pies?’

BARRE — The City Council enjoyed a festive first meeting fresh off an election that saw two of its seven seats change hands.

Credit Mayor Lucas Herring and Councilor Michael Boutin, or should we say “Michael O’Boutin,” because the council’s senior member came armed with a bag-full of St. Patrick’s Day gear for his colleagues.

Councilors playfully donned the all green gear — from hats, ties and tiaras to over-sized glasses — that Boutin purchased at Walmart, Family Dollar and Dollar General to commemorate the approaching holiday.

That’s how the meeting started.

It ended when Herring produced a pair of fresh pies he’d purchased earlier in the day from Delicate Decadence.

Why? In honor of “Pi Day,” which is technically today, but, like Boutin, Herring saw no harm in celebrating early. He even crafted a mayoral proclamation in honor of the day — March 14 (3/14) that provides “math enthusiasts an annual opportunity to recite the infinite digits of pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat pie.”

Herring skipped reading the proclamation and went right to the pies, which were enjoyed by all after they returned their St. Patrick’s Day wear to Boutin.

‘Rock ready’

BARRE — Conspiracy theorists may wonder how city officials procured a granite nameplate for John Steinman just days after a recount confirmed he narrowly defeated Sue Higby in a race for Ward 1 seat on the City Council.

They can stop, because that didn’t happen.

Seems the granite nameplate Steinman was sitting behind during his council debut Tuesday night was one he used before while serving on the city’s School Board.

Thanks to the recycled rock, Steinman discarded the faux granite nameplate — one made with paper and a state-of-the-art printer — that city officials prepared for him and the council’s other newly elected member, Teddy Waszazak.

Not so fast

WILLIAMSTOWN — Regular readers may recall Becky Watson recently announced plans for what she hopes will be a pretty big family reunion at Lotus Lake Camp in June.

Turns out Watson literally spoke too soon, because the reunion she said was slated for June 8 – the one she’s hoping direct descendants of Aaron Martin Sr. (1742-1819) and Eunice Flint (1748-1810) will attend – will actually occur on June 15.

What was Watson thinking?

Seems June will be a busy month in her family, and there will be a family get-together at Lotus Lake on June 8. Her granddaughter Chelsea Allen (a ninth-generation descendant of Aaron Martin Sr.) is getting married there that day. Allen is the daughter of Rob and Beth Allen of Berlin and works as the athletic trainer at Spaulding High School.

“Lots going on,” says Watson, who asks us to ask those planning to attend the reunion to note that it will be held a week later than she initially announced.

If you have any questions just give her a call at 802-433-5565.

School days

BARRE — The folks at the Vermont Granite Museum are looking to put the “school” back into their Stone Arts School, and they’re starting with a six-week course to be taught by local sculptor Ryan Mays.

Participants will get the chance to create clay models and cast them in plaster as part of the course that will be held at the museum on Thursdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. from March 21 through April 25.

Scott McLaughlin, executive director of the museum, says the course is open to people of all abilities and the $300 cost covers everything from the clay and molding materials to the plaster.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required by calling 476-4605 or emailing info@vtgranitemuseum.org.

“The hope is that we’ll be able to continue offering a number of classes this year,” McLaughlin says, noting tentative plans to work with marble and granite are in the works, but nothing has yet been scheduled.

“The hope is to have classes going on while museum is open so the public can see people working,” McLaughlin says.

The first course will end just before the start of the museum’s May-to-October season.

Banner year?

BARRE – The Barre Area Veterans Council is hoping to purchase 100 new American flags for downtown Barre before this year’s Memorial Day parade goes marching down North Main Street.

Perhaps we can help.

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, requested donations are $25 and can be made in memory of family members or friends who served, a particular branch of the armed services, or veterans in general.

Don’t overthink it. If you’ve got $25 to spare and simply like the look of a street lined with crisp new flags fluttering in the wind, the veterans council will put your money to good use and acknowledge your donation at the Memorial Day ceremony.

Though most of the money will be spent on flags, there are a few poles that need replacing and others that need repair.

Donations can be made at the American Legion Post #10, the VFW Post #790 and the Barre Elks Lodge. The deadline for donations in May 1.

If you’ve got any questions, call Chuck Barney at (802) 522-5639.

Back to school

BARRE — Freddie LaPan makes his living in one of Barre’s old neighborhood schools, but the martial arts master is now volunteering Monday mornings at Barre City Elementary and Middle School.

LaPan (“Master Freddie”) is holding a 7:30 session with fifth-graders, and is meeting with younger students (in kindergarten through second grade) at 9 a.m.

We’re told this week’s first session was well-received by students who are learning about self-regulation and discipline from a man who knows a whole lot about both.

Mock college?

MONTPELIER — Thanks to a helping hand from Northfield Savings Bank, the Community College of Vermont is expanding a program that brings middle school students a taste of college each year.

They call it “Access Days” because it brings middle school students to CCV centers around the state for mock classes, student panels and other activities.

Later this month students from Hunt Middle School will spend three days at CCV-Winooski, and on May 3, students from Barre City Elementary and Middle School will go to CCV-Montpelier.

CCV has hosted Access Days since 2013 to increase the college-going rate of Vermont’s high school graduates, and Cheryl LaFrance, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Northfield Savings Bank, said the financial institution was happy to help with a program that served 1,300 students last year.

“Connecting younger students to the path of possibilities for a college education is so important—Access Days are that connection,” LaFrance said, adding, “Northfield Savings Bank is pleased to partner with CCV and support area middle school students so they are able to explore those possibilities.”

CCV President Joyce Judy said the bank’s support was welcome.

“CCV’s post-secondary initiatives are designed to introduce Vermont’s middle and high school students to their education and career choices, and that introduction begins with Access Days,” she said.

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