And The Winners Are ...

The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition held a small celebration on Sunday afternoon to award the winners of its 2020 writing contest. The theme was “What Comes Next?” The winners in each category received $500. The winners were: Adult fiction, M.Z. McDonald and Janice Walrafen; youth fiction, Maya Whitehair; adult essay, Sarah Seidman; and youth essay, Anna Beach. Pictured above are: Susan Ritz, Sarah Seidman, Tino O’Brian, May Whitehair, Dan Jones, Marcia Beach, Elizabeth Parker, Janice Walrafen, Tom Slayton, Barbra Conrey, Elizabeth Courtney, Pat Hinkley, M.Z. McDonald.

And The Winners Are ...

Mower mayhem

WILLIAMSTOWN — Roadside mowing sure seems like a thankless gig, and if recent complaints in Calais hadn’t convinced us, this week’s cool reception in Williamstown would have.

Aaron McGuire gets the passive-aggressive reward for this Facebook post that got the ball rolling:

“I want to say thank you for mowing down my apple trees at the end of my yard whomever is running the roadside mower,” McGuire wrote.

That was a red flag for Thomas Peabody, who promptly posted:

“Guessing when I get home my flowerbed will be mowed down again like last year. It’s all good, I left a couple surprises in there for the mower guy.”

Ouch! Peabody’s post prompted a response from McGuire, who provided a bit more detail about those apple trees.

“Worst part of it is they grew there all on their own. I had no part in planting them,” he said.

Back to Peabody, who wasn’t so sure: “Some may say that’s better than going through the effort of planting them and then having them mowed down,” he wrote. “But I completely understand your frustrations with the guy who mows this town.”

That guy doesn’t have many fans, and judging from complaints around the region, it’s not the person, it’s the profession.

Mamma Mia!

BARRE — The local Rotary Club will continue its successful experiment hosting drive-in movies behind the Barre Municipal Auditorium with a Saturday showing of “Mamma Mia!”

The drill is the same as it was last Saturday when they projected “Apollo 13” on the front of the BOR ice arena.

The movie is free. There is a 50-vehicle limit. The concession set-up, which features hot dogs, grilled cheese, soda and snacks, opens at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is at 8 p.m.

Happy trails!

MONTPELIER — Nearly three years after the Montpelier Area Mountain Bike Association proposed a new multi-use trail system expansion in North Branch park, the group, which goes by the rugged acronym MAMBA is ready to snip the ribbon this afternoon.

The 5 p.m. ceremony at the trail entrance on Cummings Street caps a years-long community effort that enjoyed the unanimous support of the Montpelier Parks Commission and the backing of local businesses, residents, state and federal partners and funders. They collectively contributed thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to create 4 more miles of new shared-use trails and upgrade 2 miles of existing trail within the city limits.

That’s a big deal, according to Jill Olson, MAMBA’s incoming president.

“We are so excited that these trails are finally a reality, and we’re grateful for our partnership with the city, the parks commission, and the parks department who made this project possible,” she says.

Folks interested in celebrating the completion of the multi-year project that was designed and built by professional trail builder Brooke Scatchard, of Sinuosity Flowing Trails, are invited to attend today’s 5 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.

If ribbon cuttings aren’t your thing, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the trails, which are now better and longer than they were before MAMBA did its thing.

Happy trails II!

MONTPELIER — It’s taken a lot longer, will cost a lot more, and is far from finished, but the Cross Vermont Trail Association will be marking an important milestone of its own during a Friday afternoon ceremony.

After decades of planning, the CVTA will celebrate the start of construction of the keystone piece of the statewide Cross Vermont Trail.

It is by far the biggest project the small grass-roots trail association has undertaken and thanks to a federal grant that will cover 80% of the cost Executive Director Greg Western says the group will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for a $1.2 million bridge that will span the Winooski River connecting East Montpelier and Berlin near the base of Gallison Hill Road in Montpelier.

“It’s been a big lift, but over the last five years, hundreds of local individuals, businesses and municipalities have all pitched in, and we are at long last ready to go,” says Western.

The 200-foot-long bridge CCS Constructors of Morrisville has been hired to build a bridge that is the central component of a larger project that is already underway. That work involves building miles of new trail connecting the Montpelier Bike Path (along with the Central Vermont Regional Path, which will eventually run from Montpelier through Berlin and Barre to Barre Town) up to the U-32 Middle and High School and then on across East Montpelier to where the existing Montpelier & Wells River rail trail begins on Route 14. The Cross Vermont Trail continues easterly from Route 14 in various forms to the New Hampshire border.

The new bridge and trail will provide safe travel separated from busy Route 2, access to conserved natural areas along the river, and recreation for people of all ages and abilities including families with children.

Local state and federal leaders, along with key partners are expected to attend Friday’s 3:30 p.m. groundbreaking at the end of the dirt road across from the Central Vermont Civic Center at the base of Gallison Hill Road.

We the People Day?

MONTPELIER — A Supreme Court justice, three trial judges and a law school professor will provide an online overview of a pretty important document today.

Seems it will take more than a pandemic to prevent the Vermont Supreme Court and the Vermont Bar Association from celebrating “Constitution Day,” and we’re assured you are more than welcome to join them for today’s 5 p.m. panel discussion.

The hour-long session — “Your Voice, Your Vote, Our Democracy” — will be broadcast via this remote LINK that was supplied by Vermont Law School.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to all, will feature Justice Harold Eaton, Judges Mary Morrissey, Samuel Hoar and Kirstin Schoonover and VLS Professor Peter Teachout. Elizabeth Novotny, president of the bar association’s board, will moderate.

If you’ve got questions, and those reading this in print no doubt do, just call the Vermont Bar Association at 223-2020 or email them at The remote link is wicked long and super-useless for those who aren’t reading online, so if you’re interested in hearing about the Constitution, you could ask them to forward you the link.

Wait. There’s more! And free!

Anyone wishing to receive a free “Pocket Constitution in the mail can email with “Pocket Constitution in the subject line and let them know where to send it.

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