Ferrisburgh news for Sep. 10

FERRISBRUGH — The plans for the restoration of the Ferrisburgh Union Meeting Hall are moving forward and volunteers are welcome to become involved in this important effort. The Friends of the Union Meeting Hall is an organization dedicated to the use, preservation and restoration of the historic Union Meeting Hall. The vision is to make this wonderful building return to its traditional center of our town by offering programming and events that will benefit community members all of all ages. 

Over the last few months, the Friends have been working with Silas Towler, Jean Richardson, Rick Kerschner, the Building and Maintenance Committee and the selectboard to formulate a comprehensive plan for the future. In order to carry out that plan we are looking to form a Union Meeting Hall Committee that would support the Board of Directors by helping in various aspects including securing programming and grants, marketing, community outreach and fundraising. 

If you have any interest in joining this committee the Friends would very much appreciate your support. There is more information about the Friends and their plans on Facebook or Instagram @unionmeetinghallvt. Interested individuals need not be Ferrisburgh residents and can contact us via email at unionmeetinghall@gmail.com. Also, those interested can contact Jean Richardson at jeanrichardson43@comcast.net. Additional information will be presented at the Friends upcoming September Board Meeting — date and time is yet to be determined but will be announced soon. 

Much appreciation goes to all these dedicated Ferrisburgh citizens and also to Ashley LaFlam, who is the president of the Friends of the Union Meeting Hall.

September is Library Card Sign Up Month and the Bixby Library reminds use to be sure we have an active Library Card! Library cards open the door to hundreds of stories, such as setting out on a voyage to hunt a whale in the 1800s or traveling the galaxy with a middle aged British man and an outlandish alien. Or we can access recipes for home canning during this fall harvest season and the how-to’s of hiking or snowshoeing. 

Although the Bixby building is closed due to COVID-19, there are still many services for the patrons and library cardholders. Library patrons can borrow physical books, movies and laptops through Bixby’s Curbside Pickup on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Anyone seeking more information as to how to obtain a library card can call or email Ashley (Ashley.bolger@bixbylibrary.org) or Laura (laura.fetterolf@bixbylibrary.org). to sign up for a card. 

Every day, library patrons can borrow e-books and audiobooks through a partnership with the Green Mountain Library Consortium (GMLC) or hoopla. Also, for information on the Kids’ Storytime or the Online Book Club, visit Bixbylibrary.org. And don’t forget the Friday Night Movie Series. The next outdoor movie event will be Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m., with a viewing of “Men in Black,” the classic humans-against-aliens comedy starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Town Clerk Pam Cousino and town residents offer many thanks to a great group of volunteers who have been making facial coverings and masks during the pandemic. More than 1,000 masks have been donated within the town of Ferrisburgh. There are two totes on the back porch of the Town Clerk’s office with different size masks, including children’s masks. The mask-makers are now sewing different sizes of masks and will be concentrating on children’s masks right now to help with schools reopening. If you have any questions please feel free to call the Town Clerk’s office at (802) 877-3429.  

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s regular services remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the staff have prepared a full series of special programs that are available both onsite and online. Visit the museum’s website for full details of the special events and exhibits that have been created by the staff to enable ongoing museum services: lcmm.org. 

Also be sure to read about the highly significant discovery by Gary Lefebvre of Colchester of the remains of one of two paddlewheels from the steamboat The Phoenix. This boat was the second commercial steamboat on Lake Champlain, and was built and commanded by Captain Jahaziel Sherman of Vergennes. The Phoenix was constructed for passenger service and outfitted for their comfort with separate cabins for gentlemen and ladies, a “saloon” beneath the stairs, a barbershop, smoking lounge, luggage compartment, galley, and pantry. The Phoenix was involved in one of the oldest known steamboat shipwrecks in North America. It is part of the Vermont Underwater Historic Preserves and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

According to Chris Sabick, Director of Research and Archaeology at the museum, “Gary’s amazing discoveries bring one of the most tragic maritime accidents in Lake Champlain’s history into sharp focus in an entirely new and dramatic way. They also demonstrate that Lake Champlain still has many stories to tell and archaeological mysteries we can unravel.” There is a virtual tour of The Phoenix shipwreck site lcmm.org/shipwreck-tour-phoenix. 

Our schools are welcoming back students this month with many plans and procedures created to address safety concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our school leaders and staff have worked hard over these last many weeks to create as safe an environment as possible for our students and staff and families. All the updates on COVID-19 and also the school academic offerings can be found on the Ferrisburgh and Vergennes schools’ websites and there has been also messaging to families to help parents prepare for this very unusual school year opening. 

In addition, a reminder that the records and schedules of the meetings of the Addison Northwest School District Board of Directors can be found at anwsd.org/addison-northwest-school-district-board-of-directors.php. We all wish our students a great upcoming school year.  

Rokeby Museum is now open for the fall season. Exhibits, historic farm outbuildings, and walking trails are open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. until late October. Due to COVID-19, house tours of the historic Robinson House are not available at this time, but we are urged to keep checking the website — an alternative way to experience the House may be available soon. A special event about the history of beekeeping will be held in-person.

A number of years ago, several literary-minded beekeepers got together to discuss how they might write the history of beekeeping in Vermont. Fast-forward to 2020, and the publication, “The Land of Milk & Honey: A History of Beekeeping in Vermont,” is now available. “Land of Milk and Honey” co-author and experienced beekeeper Ross Conrad will speak about this fascinating history at Rokeby Museum on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m., outdoors (or indoors with social distancing and masks required.) Conrad will present an overview of the history of Vermont beekeeping with a special emphasis on Addison County, the epicenter of beekeeping in the state. Based on extensive research — including at Rokeby Museum — he will share how beekeeping has changed over the years in response to economic, cultural and environmental changes.

NOTE: We are always interested in including a variety of Ferrisburgh-related news in this column, so if you have news that would be of interest, contact Sally Kerschner at smwkersch@comcast.net. You are also able to access these columns and other information about Ferrisburgh news and events by viewing the Ferrisburgh Town Website at ferrisburghvt.org.

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100