BARRE — A pair of Barre Babe Ruth teams, fresh off decisive state championship wins, will take the field on Friday in back-to-back games that will be played in different states.

The 13-year-old team, which last qualified for the New England Regionals when they were 11, will be up first. The team has a 1 p.m. game against Greater Portland, Maine, in Stamford, Conn., where they will be playing through the weekend and possibly into next week.

The second half of the Granite City double header will start at 2:30 p.m. when the local 14-year-old team, which won the state championship as 13-year-olds last year, takes on a team from Nashua, New Hampshire. That game will be played in Rochester, New Hampshire, where the Barre Bombers hope to advance from pool play this weekend to bracket play starting Monday.

Both Barre teams are raising money to cover the costs of what each hopes will be an extended out of state trip.

The 13-year-olds, who swung by Tuesday’s City Council meeting to spread the word, are asking those interested in making donations to Craig Locarno (, who is president of Barre Community Baseball and Softball to make arrangements.

The 14-year-olds are more sophisticated. They’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign, which can be found at

If you’d like to track the progress of both teams through the weekend just visit and you’ll find an all-star team from Barre in both the 13- and 14-year-old tournaments.

Keep cool!

BARRE — It’s going to feel a lot hotter than it is over the next few days and in an effort to stay ahead of the humidity officials in Barre have cobbled together a schedule for cooling shelters when the weather is supposed to be at its worst.

That continues today when breakfast will be served at Good Shepherd the Episcopal (it’s the small stone church at the intersection of Church and Washington streets) the church will be open until 9 a.m. and while Aldrich Public Library won’t open until 11 a.m. those looking to beat the heat in the interim can swing by City Hall. City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a cooling shelter and the library from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

That’s today. But Friday and Saturday are expected to be hotter still with temperatures in the mid-80s to low 90s and the heat index expected to approach (and possibly exceed) 100 degrees at times.

On Friday morning breakfast will be served at the First Church Univeralist (it’s the one with the clock in the steeple at the corner of Church and South Main streets). The church will remain open until 11 a.m. when the library opens. The library will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and City Hall will be an alternate cooling location from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Saturday the library will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Faith Community Church (past the Vermont Granite Museum at the very end of Jones Brothers Way) will be open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The church will have water on hand and plans to show a children’s movie.

Bells will ring!

MONTPELIER — The news is out — Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson is engaged to be married.

The news broke at last week’s City Council meeting when Councilor Dona Bate announced that she couldn’t help noticing that Watson was wearing an engagement ring.

Afterward, Watson fessed up that she is engaged to be married in a ceremony planned for next summer.

Her betrothed is Zachariah Ralph, of Hartland, a Progressive/Democrat who was elected to the Legislature in November as a House representative for the Windsor 1 District. He currently serves on the Commerce and Economic Development Committee in the House.

Since 2013, Ralph has been the program coordinator for Sustainable Woodstock, where he grew up and moved back to after working as a canvass director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment in Syracuse, New York. His outreach and programming focus for Sustainable Woodstock on energy, efficiency and conservation — issues that are also important to Watson.

Ralph previously worked for different nonprofit foundations and in community organizing efforts, including the 2008 campaign of President Barack Obama in Maryland, where Ralph attended college.

Watson said the couple met late last year at a Progressive Party meeting on climate change and decided to get together again when he returned to the Legislature in January.

One thing led to another, Watson said, and the couple were engaged June 3.

Watson — who teaches physics at Montpelier High School and founded Ultimate Frisbee as a varsity sport in Vermont — added that she plans to stay in Montpelier and will run for reelection for a second term as mayor in March.

Shots fired?

BARRE — They haven’t been fired yet, but a 21-gun salute planned in conjunction with a Saturday afternoon memorial service at Hedding United Methodist Church could catch some city residents off guard.

Not to worry.

They will be firing blanks on the lawn of the church during a service for Gordon “Tim” Ayer, a Korean War veteran who grew up in Barre, graduated from Spaulding High School in 1947 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1952.

Ayer, who moved from Vermont to Florida in 1983, died there on Dec. 4, 2018. He was 89.

Saturday’s 1 p.m. memorial service will provide an opportunity for local family and friends to pay their respects and will include a 21-gun salute between 1:45 and 2 p.m.

Done good!

MONTPELIER — The National Life Group’s sixth annual “Do Good Fest” more than lived up to its name on Saturday.

In this case the numbers tell the story.

Saturday’s event attracted a record 10,000 people and raised $50,000 (also a record) for the Branches of Hope cancer patient fund at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.

If you missed it, the festival is a mix of fun, food and five hours of live entertainment in a family-friendly, smoke-free environment. This year’s edition featured music by Soulbrother, Syd, Hailey Knox, Noah Kahan, and headliner Michael Franti and Spearhead, as well as a fireworks display.

Since 2014, the festival has raised a total of $185,000 for the cancer patient fund.

That’s pretty darn good!

Savory soirée?

BARRE — It wouldn’t be La Soirée Sucrée (Sweet Soirée) without an impressive selection of mouth-watering French desserts, but this year’s competition will include the savory component suggested by one of last year’s judges.

Police Chief Tim Bombardier loves his desserts, but while sampling last year’s entries he suggested the competition be expanded to include a tourtière category

“We could call it ‘Tourtiere and Treats,’” Bombardier said at the time.

Folks at the Barre Historical Society, who host what has become one of the kickoff events for the Barre Heritage Festival at the Old Labor Hall on Granite Street, liked the sweet and savory idea, but are sticking with the familiar one-dimensional name.

Those who know how to make them are encouraged to enter meat pies — a French-Canadian favorite — in a competition that has been attracting a growing number of French dessert entries.

Arguably the most ethnic of Barre Heritage Festival events, La Soirée Sucrée is set for one week from today at the Old Labor Hall. The mix of French desserts and Franco-American music typically draws a crowd and the contest is always good fun.

This year contestants should bring their homemade French desserts and tourtières to Delicate Decadence on Cottage Street by 4 p.m. next Thursday, or to the Old Labor Hall by 5 p.m. No late entries will be allowed so give yourself time to navigate traffic if you opt for the latter deadline.

That’s way more information than you need if you’re just planning on attending an event that is held in honor of the late Chet Briggs, who was the long-time president of the Barre Historical Society.

The doors of the Old Labor Hall will open at 5.30 p.m. for the contest and tasting, which will be followed at 6 p.m. by the music of award-winning Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Michele Choiniere.

A St. Albans native, Choiniere, performs traditional Franco-American and Quebec folk songs, original compositions, jazz standards and an occasional French classic.

Tickets for La Soirée Sucrée are $15 at the door and $12 in advance. Children’s tickets are $6. Seating is limited, so advanced tickets are recommended and may be purchased online at or in person at Delicate Decadence.

If you have questions or would like information you can’t find on the website just call 505-0405.

A work of art

MONTPELIER — A pillar of the art community in the Capital City will be the subject of a film tribute and discussion at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center tonight.

“Ray Brown: Portrait of an Artist” will be the theme of a 90-minute film screening and talk that will start at 7 p.m. and feature Brown and filmmaker Nat Winthrop.

Brown was a co-founder and former co-owner of The Drawing Board on Main Street and is a prolific artist who has lived with his wife, Jody, in central Vermont for 38 years.

As attendees will learn, Brown was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, into a family with deep roots in Boston professional sports. They will also learn he chose to pursue a life in the arts – attending the Massachusetts College of Art, and later, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He taught art – but also coached hockey – for many years in Massachusetts public schools.

Winthrop, who lives in Montpelier and is a member of senior center, produced the bio-doc that chronicles Brown’s resilience in the face of adversity and multiple setbacks, including a debilitating stroke in 2006 that forced him to teach himself to paint left-handed.

The film screening will be followed by a question and answer with Brown and Winthrop.

The event is free and open to the public and no registration is required.

What to read?

BARRE — Duncan McDougall won’t know what to read until he surveys the crowd of children gathered at Barre’s municipal swimming pool early Monday afternoon.

McDougall is the day’s designated reader courtesy of the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CliF) and he subscribes to the theory that the best way to please your audience is to see it first.

McDougall will come with plenty of age-appropriate choices, as well as a lot of books to give away to children 14 and younger who swing by the pool to hear him read a story at 1 p.m. Monday.

All are welcome and once McDougall is done reading those in attendance will get to select two books to take home with them.

The books, like the story, will be free and there will be a variety to choose from.

‘Book-it’ brigade?

BARRE — Speaking of books, the Friends of Aldrich Public Library are getting ready for their version of a bucket brigade.

It’s one that involves hauling countless boxes of books stored in the library’s basement and across the street at L. Brown Printing in preparation for a two-day book sale that is a staple of the Barre Heritage Festival.

Volunteers, headed by Paula Dolan and Adrianne Scucess, have been sorting and boxing donated books for several months in preparation for the sale, and it’s almost time to pitch a tent on the library’s side lawn and set up the massive sale that will open a week from Friday at 8 a.m. and run through Saturday afternoon.

If form holds, they’ll sell thousands of gently used books, CDs, and other media for folks of all ages before its over at prices that are tough to top.

While there will be a “specials” area, most prices range from $1 for hardcovers to 25 cents for all children’s items. Whether you’re looking for a couple of books to read this summer or a stack to get you through the winter its hard to find a more economical options and proceeds from the annual sale benefit the library.

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