January 13th, 2011
Before this December, my mother knew very little about Shakespeare — and almost certainly not enough to teach Shakespeare.
She was forced to confront the Bard by the will of a higher power. The faculty at Centre College, in my hometown of Danville, Ky., had decided it was her turn to teach Humanities 101, a year-long whirlwind introduction to the Western literary and cultural canon.
This past Sunday my wife, Deborah, and I put on our cross-country skis for the first time of the new calendar year. Cross-country skiing is one of our favorite outdoor activities — one of the reasons we love winter in Vermont, and are often praying for snow.
But, although we did manage to get out on our skis over the Christmas break to wrap up 2010, not long after New Year’s Day along came the thaw and heavy rains, and all the lovely snow was washed way.
I’m not opposed to New Year’s resolutions. I just don’t think Jan. 1 is a good time to start anything that requires self-motivation.
In Vermont, the deepest part of winter is just beginning. People may feel obligated to make New Year’s resolutions to exercise and lose weight and get organized, but right now all anyone really wants to do is curl up on the couch and eat. Anything. With extra butter.
Even my cat gets fat in January.
MONTPELIER — Agriculture employs an estimated one in six people in Vermont. On Wednesday a statewide economic development organization released a strategic plan that looks to strengthen this critical component of Vermont’s economy.
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s “Farm to Plate Strategic Plan” — 18 months in the making — lays out a roadmap to encourage growth and new infrastructure in Vermont’s food and farm sector, create new jobs in that sector, and improve access to healthy, locally produced foods.
MIDDLEBURY — With expectations to triple production over the next several years, Green Mountain Beverage CEO Bret Williams confirmed Tuesday that the hard cider company plans later this year to move from Pond Lane into much larger headquarters — the Connor Homes building on Route 7 in Middlebury.
Connor Homes will move into the Vermont Tubbs complex in Brandon within the next several weeks.
BRISTOL — The snow-covered field behind the red schoolhouse off Hardscrabble Road in Bristol was filled with the sounds of industry and eager voices Monday morning. A young boy wielded an axe as another stood by critiquing his stance.
“Legs wide so you don’t chop off your feet,” the second boy said, and the first boy brought the axe down deliberately on a piece of wood, splitting it down the middle. A young girl took the splinters to the outdoor cob oven for kindling.
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday endorsed the concept of providing $25,000 in town money to pay a portion of the cost of a new local events marketing coordinator who would draw out-of-towners to spend money downtown and in other local businesses that serve visitors.
The goal of coordinator would be to produce more in town revenue through increased rooms and meals tax collections than the cost of the position.
“We look forward to this being not an expenditure but an investment,” said selectboard chair John Tenny.
LEICESTER — October 2011 will mark the 250th anniversary of Leicester’s town charter. The selectboard and the Leicester Historical Society are each planning ways to observe the occasion.
Last September, a member of the Brandon Police Department contacted the Leicester selectboard concerning a letter that had appeared in the Brandon Reporter suggesting that the Brandon police were patrolling Leicester. The officer made it clear that Brandon police do not patrol Leicester unless asked by another authority, or if they are investigating a case.