CLiF accepting applications for literacy grants

The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) invites eligible elementary schools in Vermont to apply for its “Year of the Book” grant, which provides $25,000 in literacy programming throughout the school year. Programming includes author and illustrator visits, workshops with CLiF’s 60-plus professional presenters, family literacy celebrations and seminars, and exciting new literacy initiatives. The grant also provides high-quality new books for classrooms and both the school and local public library (selected by the teachers and librarians), and ten new books for each child to choose and keep.

The grant is designed to promote a culture of literacy within a community and to give children the resources and inspiration to enjoy a lifelong love of reading and writing. Schools with at least 25 percent of students scoring below proficient on reading and writing assessments and with at least 30 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch are encouraged to apply today for the grant.

“Being a recipient of the … grant has opened many doors to literacy for our children,” said Susan Greenlaw, reading specialist at 2017 grant recipient Bethlehem Elementary School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. “Author and illustrator visits helped our children to realize the accessibility of words and the power that they possess. Receiving ten brand-new books has put books into the homes of children who previously didn’t have books. The parent seminar demonstrated for parents the educational power they have as an adult in the lives of their children. Money for books allowed us to purchase books for our students to enjoy. As a culminating activity, CLiF grant money allowed us to hire a hot air balloon which was a once in a lifetime experience for many of our children.”

In addition to the initial year of literacy programming, the CLiF Year of the Book grant also provides $1,000 in literacy funding for the year after the school’s grant to keep up momentum with reading and writing. School representatives are thereafter invited to CLiF’s annual literacy conference in perpetuity to connect with past, incoming, and current grant schools, share their ideas and success stories, and network with their colleagues about creative ways to encourage literacy in their schools and communities.

The deadline to apply for the 2018-2019 school year is January 31, 2018. The Year of the Book application, as well as more details on the grant and eligibility requirements, can be found at www.clifonline.org/year-of-the-book. Contact Meredith Scott at (802) 244-0944 or [email protected] with any questions. — from CLiF.

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Moonlight Madness craft fair returns on December 2

It’s that magical time again. Time for the nineteenth running of the Moonlight Madness craft fair. It will start at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., on Saturday, December 2, at the Barton Academy and Graded School. Only items handmade or baked by the vendor will be sold. No “white elephant” items or imported items are permitted.

The craft fair will feature 46, eight-by-eight foot spaces. Soup and sandwiches will be sold by one of the local schools. Each vendor is donating an item to the raffle table. This year, one lucky vendor and one lucky customer will receive a $100 cash prize. No purchase is required.

Santa will visit from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be a children’s craft area and henna artist.

Additional information is available online at moonlightmadness.info, or by calling 525-0084. — from the Barton Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Snowmobile safety course offered at North Country Hospital

A snowmobile safety course will be offered on Saturday, December 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the conference room at North Country Hospital in Newport.

For anyone born after July 1, 1983, this course is required to ride on VAST trails. Vermont State Police certified instructor Roger Gosselin will lead the course. The cost is two food items to be donated to the local food shelf. Lunch will be provided.

Anyone interested should register by December 4. To register, call (802) 274-4502, or e-mail [email protected], or [email protected] — from the Orleans County Snowmobilers Association.

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Girl Scouts donate over 50 items to food shelf

Orleans/Barton Girls Scout Troop #51286 recently contributed over 50 items to the Orleans food shelf and learned how the program works. Brownies, pictured in the top row, from left to right, are: Madison Tinker, Bella Lamonda, Natalie Lawson, McKenna Rowell, and Brooke Wells. Daisies, in the bottom row, from left to right, are: Alaina Graves, Melanie Wells, Leah Wells, Ruth Lawson, Mia Tinker, Ava Roberts, Sienna Shatney, Lydia Atwood, and Amelia Drown.

Orleans/Barton Girl Scout Troop donates over 50 Items to Orleans food shelf program

On November 15, 14 local girls and their families came together to donate over 50 canned goods and non-perishable items to the Orleans Foodbank. The Orleans/Barton Girl Scout Troop #51286 was enthusiastic to learn about the food shelf program, how it works, and exactly how their food donations would be distributed locally. This project was a lesson designed to teach the young girls the value of sharing, caring, and the importance of helping their community.

Eleanor Willis, the Orleans volunteer foodbank coordinator, came to the troop’s bi-weekly meeting on Wednesday night to talk to the girls about the Orleans Foodbank and how it helps the community. She educated the girls about how the food is shelved, distributed, and used by local families.

Ms. Willis explained to the troop how 25 to 30 families access the food shelf on a bi-weekly basis, and how some of the families have several children, pets, and a significant need for food to feed their families. She shared how Orleans is one of the only local food banks that allows families to choose and shop for their own items, instead of bagging packages of donated items to give to the families. She talked about how this way, families would choose items that they actually will put to good use, and creates less food waste overall. The girls learned that not only food items can be donated, but also much-needed things like toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, toiletry items, and pet food.

The Orleans food bank is a resource that doesn’t discriminate — any community member or family who finds themselves in need can access this resource. To find out more information about the Orleans food bank, call the Orleans Federated Church at 754-6486.

Anyone can donate to the food shelf, as well. Food is particularly needed this time of year, because of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Canned goods, non-perishable items, and general household items can be dropped off at the Orleans Federated Church in Orleans at any time.

The Orleans/Barton Girl Scout Troop #51286 was established in September of 2017. The group consists of girls from Orleans, Barton, Derby and surrounding areas, and serves girls ages five to nine years old. Currently, the troop consists of five Brownie members (grades two and three), and nine Daisy members (grades kindergarten and one).

Troop leaders and mothers Laura Lamonda, Laura Lawson, and Linsay McCargar volunteer their joint efforts to teach the girls about being strong members of their community, while living by the Girl Scout Law.

The troop has many future plans, including participating in the annual Turkey Trot fund-raiser on Thanksgiving day in support of cystic fibrosis research. The troop has also joined with The Friends of the Jones Memorial Library and the Orleans Recreation Committee to support the first annual Orleans Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the green in front of Ethan Allen Manufacturing on Main Street in Orleans on Sunday, November 26, at 5 p.m. All families are welcome to enjoy the tree-lighting ceremony, Christmas caroling, and delicious cookies baked by the Girl Scouts and fellow community members at the Orleans Fire Station following the event. — submitted by Alice Pitman Drown

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Help with lead testing at schools

The Vermont Department of Health, in partnership with the agencies of education and natural resources, is launching a pilot project designed to encourage schools to test drinking water for lead at each tap used for drinking or cooking, and take actions to lower lead levels.

Sixteen schools that get their drinking water from municipal water systems were invited to take part in this voluntary effort, and all agreed to participate. Over the next few months, Health Department and Department of Environmental Conservation staff will visit each school and work with its facility team to inventory and test taps used for drinking and cooking. Water samples will be sent to the Health Department Laboratory for testing, at no cost to the school.

“Water is a critical resource,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “We are committed to making sure all Vermonters have access to clean and safe drinking water.” Ms. Moore explained that any tap that tests over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level for lead in public drinking water systems will be taken out of use, and state agencies will work with each school to identify fixes and re-test to make sure lead levels have been reduced. In addition, schools will be provided with a toolkit of resources, including information for parents and families.

Schools that have their own drinking water source, such as a well, already test their water for lead in accordance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Approximately 150 schools in the state routinely test a portion of their taps as required by the Lead and Copper Rule.

“Lead poisoning is a serious but preventable health problem, with children and pregnant women at greatest risk,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan. “This is an opportunity to help schools test their water, identify problems, and take often easy and low cost steps to reduce lead exposure.”

EPA set the action level for lead in public drinking water at 15 parts per billion (ppb). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1 ppb as the exposure limit. Because there is no safe level of lead, the Health Department encourages schools to reduce lead levels in drinking water as much as possible. Around the country, recent tests have found many schools have at least one tap with elevated lead levels.

Exposure to lead can damage the brain, kidneys and nervous system, slow down growth and development, make it hard to learn, and impair a child’s hearing and speech. In 2016, more than 600 Vermont children under the age of six were found to have lead poisoning.

“Children’s bodies absorb lead more easily than adults,” said Ms. Dolan. “The major exposure risk is dust from deteriorated lead-based paint at home, but other sources, like certain toys, jewelry, antiques, salvaged goods, and drinking water can add to a person’s overall exposure to lead.”

The Health Department encourages all homeowners served by public or private water to test their drinking water for lead every five years. The Health Department Laboratory offers the test for $12. Visit healthvermont.gov/lab/drinking-water.

Education officials agree that providing schools with the opportunity to get one-on-one assistance will be a valuable service, complementing initiatives already in place to test for lead in drinking water at childcare facilities and homes.

“By taking these rigorous steps to make sure lead levels are as low as possible in their buildings, schools can support public health objectives and continue to provide a safe and healthy environment where every student can grow and thrive,” said Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

Data gathered through this pilot project will help inform decisions about whether to implement comprehensive statewide testing in the future.

Learn more about lead in school drinking water at healthvermont.gov/environment/school/lead-school-drinking-water.

Find out more about lead poisoning at healthvermont.gov/environment/home/lead.

Explore childhood lead poisoning data at healthvermont.gov/tracking/childhood-lead-poisoning. — from the Vermont Health Department.

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Chronic pain management presentation

Better Bones of the Northeast Kingdom, an osteoporosis education and support group, welcomes pain management specialist Dr. Margaret A. Caudill, MD, PhD, MPH, of the Geisel School of Medicine and the Dartmouth Institute as guest speaker for their next meeting on Saturday, December 2, at 1 p.m.

Dr. Caudill is the author of “Managing Pain Before It Manages You,” fourth edition, a patient workbook in print for over 20 years and translated into six languages. All are welcome to attend this free presentation, which will focus on coping skills for chronic pain management. The presentation will take place in the community room of the Community National Bank in Derby.

To register for this event, please visit www.BetterBonesNEK.org, or contact Mary King at (802) 535-2011. — submitted by Mary King.

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Teachout to speak on the lessons of history

Historian and professor Woden Teachout will discuss the many benefits of studying history in a talk at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport on Wednesday, December 6, at 7 p.m.  Her talk, “What We Learn When We Learn about History,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Henry Ford famously said, “History is more or less bunk.”  Ms. Teachout will discuss why history does matter, exploring the intellectual skills and larger cultural understandings that come from studying the past.

Woden Teachout teaches in the master of arts program at Union Institute and University.  She earned a PhD in American studies from Harvard University and has taught at Middlebury, Goddard, and Harvard.  Her research centers on the way that history shapes contemporary conversations, and she is especially interested in the intersection of historical memory, politics, and patriotism.  She is the author of Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism and co-author of Slow Democracy:  Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home.  She has won multiple teaching prizes, including the Alan Heimert Teaching Prize at Harvard and Union’s Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

For more information, contact the Goodrich Memorial Library at 334-7902.  — from the Vermont Humanities Council.

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AARP Tax-Aide program seeks volunteers

Each year from early February through mid-April, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers prepare federal and state tax returns for low to middle income taxpayers through the AARP Foundation.

AARP Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free volunteer run tax counseling and preparation service, is seeking volunteers to assist in tax preparation. Volunteers of all backgrounds are welcome; they do not need to be an AARP member or a retiree.  No prior experience in tax preparation is necessary and volunteers of all ages are welcome.

Tax counselors receive free tax training and become IRS certified by passing an IRS exam. They help residents one-on-one at tax sites in Newport and Derby. Volunteers are needed for coordinating and administrative tasks as well. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and use existing skills to help others in the community.

An information and training session is scheduled for January 8, 9, and 10, at the North Country Career Center in Newport. The session will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, please e-mail Armand Lemieux at [email protected], or call him at 334-5443.

To join the AARP Tax-Aide Program, visit the website at www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/. — from AARP.

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Dailey Christmas craft fair and luncheon on November 11

The Dailey Memorial Library will hold its annual Christmas craft fair and Christmas café luncheon on Saturday, November 11, at North Country Union Junior High School in Derby. The fair will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Over 40 crafters will display and sell their beautiful creations. Included in the festivities will be a turkey basket door prize raffle, instant raffle, rug raffle, and crafter’s raffle. Please call the library at 766-5063 for further information or questions. — from Dailey Memorial Library.

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Jeudevine Library will host Holocaust memorial speakers

Speakers from the Vermont Holocaust Memorial (VTHM) will discuss the importance of history in promoting tolerance, respect, and understanding with a program at the Jeudevine Library on Tuesday, November 14, at 7 p.m.

VTHM’s moving exhibit: “From Generation to Generation …We Are Here! Honoring lives lost and stories of survival,” was introduced in Stowe earlier this year. The exhibit, which included historical photos and stories, touched several hundred Vermonters statewide including students, religious leaders, and visitors of all faiths and backgrounds. VTHM is now in the process of fund-raising to create a new, more permanent, mobile exhibit to showcase Vermonters’ family Holocaust histories in order to promote respect, compassion, and understanding.

Jeudevine Library is proud to be carrying forward the important lessons learned from the Holocaust. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in the fight against ignorance, intolerance, and fear. By sharing stories of survival, and teaching their invaluable lessons learned, the Vermont Holocaust Memorial envisions a time when prejudice, bigotry, and hate are replaced by respect for all.

Additional information can be found on the Vermont Holocaust Memorial website: www.holocaustmemorial-vt.org. There will be refreshments and informal discussion after the presentation. For more information, call 472-5948. — from Jeudevine Library.

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