Agency of Education renews Teacher Feature on social media

The Vermont Agency of Education is bringing back the Teacher Feature on the agency’s social media accounts.

The Teacher Feature social media campaign, originally started in 2011, is a way to spotlight Vermont teachers doing great things in their school communities. All Vermonters are encouraged to nominate educators who deserve recognition for their hard work.

To participate, contact Haley Jones at [email protected] with a paragraph describing a remarkable teacher and a photo. The submission and photo may be shared on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. — from the Vermont Agency of Education.

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Deadline for watershed grants is January 15

The Vermont Watershed Grants Program is now accepting applications for projects that protect, restore. and enhance the state’s lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, including Vermonters’ ability to understand and enjoy these treasures. Applications are due no later than Monday, January 15, 2018.

Program grants are available to municipalities, local and regional government agencies, sporting clubs, non-profit organizations, and water-related citizen groups. The range of past projects is just as diverse, and has included invasive species education, shoreline vegetation restoration, and the removal of old dams and replacement of culverts to improve fish movement.

For the 2018 grant year, $85,000 is available to fund three categories of projects. The three categories and the maximum amount for each project type are: education and outreach ($5,000), planning, assessment, inventory, monitoring ($3,500), and on-the-ground implementation ($10,000).

Vermont Watershed Grants Program is a joint project of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Department of Environmental Conservation. It was established by legislature and funded by sales of Vermont conservation license plates.

“When Vermonters purchase a conservation license plate they’re helping protect healthy streams and lakes as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Proceeds from the sale of conservation license plates fund the watershed grants program and help support the Fish and Wildlife Department’s Nongame Wildlife Fund.”

The watershed grants application guide and application forms are available on the web at: dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/grants/watershed-grants. Please note that the application process has changed from past years.

Applications for Vermont conservation license plates are available on the Department of Motor Vehicles website at: dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/documents/VD-154-Conservation_Plate_App_0.pdf. — from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Scammers target PayPal accounts

Scammers have found several ways to target people with PayPal accounts. Con artists have been e-mailing fake payment confirmations claiming to be from PayPal that contain links that, if clicked, allow them to install malicious malware.

Phishing scams look like legitimate e-mails, and they are getting more sophisticated every day. What these con artists are really after is banking and financial information. And they won’t mind destroying a user’s computer to get it.

Here’s how the scam works: An account holder will get an e-mail claiming to be from PayPal. The message says that they have recently sent a payment through the PayPal account. Since the payment will sound foreign, there is an option to “cancel the order” if the transaction wasn’t made by the user. By clicking that button, the scam artist is given complete access to the victim’s computer and all the files and information stored on it.

“Allowing a scammer to access your computer can open you up to the risk of identity theft,” says Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). “Scam artists can install malware that records passwords or hunts for personal information, such as bank account numbers, on your computer.”

There are steps people can take to protect themselves from phishing e-mails:

— Call before clicking: If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the company or checking the company website. Type the URL directly into the browser or do a web search. Don’t click on any links in unexpected messages.

— Look for misspellings: Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes when dealing with a suspicious-looking e-mail claiming to come from well known companies. Additionally, check the copyright at the bottom of the e-mail. If it looks even slightly different, then it is most likely a fake.

— Be cautious of generic e-mails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake e-mails. Recipients should always be wary of messages that don’t contain their name, last digits of their account number, or other personalized information.

Check out more BBB Tips: Many phishing scams use similar techniques; click here for more advice on how to avoid these scams.

Anyone who suspects they have received a fake e-mail confirmation from PayPal, should forward the e-mail to [email protected], and report the scam to BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us.

For more information, go to bbb.org. — from the BBB.

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Burke celebrates the holidays on December 10

A visit from Santa is just one event in a full day of holiday festivities scheduled throughout the town of Burke on Sunday, December 10. It starts off with Santa’s annual pilgrimage to Mike’s Gas in West Burke from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa will have gifts for all the kids and, of course, there will be plenty of cookies, cider, and cocoa. A pair of beautiful horses will be there to take folks on wagon rides through the village.

Afterwards, at the Burke Mountain Club/East Burke Library in East Burke village, a holiday party and tree-lighting celebration will run from 2 to 5 p.m. Snacks, cookies (you can’t have too many of those at this time of year), and cocoa will be available inside the library, along with live music, including a performance from the Newark Balkan Chorus.

As evening approaches, a display of Christmas trees will light up on the green. Each tree was adopted by a local school or business, and the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce will choose winning trees in various categories, including best lights and best decorations. Winners will each get a $100 check made out to their charity of choice.

Both events are free, but people are asked to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the local food shelf.

To learn more about the day’s events, visit www.burkevermont.com, or contact the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce at 626-4124, or [email protected] — from the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Charleston students get hands-on ecological instruction

On September 26, fifth- and sixth-graders from Charleston Elementary School visited Echo Lake to celebrate the conclusion of the hands-on ecological program run by Siskin Ecological Adventure during the 2016-2017 school year. Siskin Ecological Adventures is a division of the Coutts-Moriarty Camp. The project was funded by the Echo Lake Protective Association through a generous anonymous gift from one of its members.

During the project, students were given the opportunity to learn, explore, and make real life connections with the Echo Lake Ecosystem. Siskin instructors made three one-hour classroom visits at the school and conducted full-day field trips in the fall, winter, and spring. Students learned about plants and animals living in and around the lake, the good and bad effects of native and non-native species on the lake, and the health of the ecosystem and how citizens can help. Students used microscopes to examine the natural organisms in Echo Lake’s water. They learned about R‑selected and K-selected species, about how crayfish help keep the water clean, and about Eurasian water milfoil, and more.

Classroom visits built the scientific language necessary to utilize outdoor investigations to instill a deep appreciation of both the ecological and economic importance of Echo Lake. Familiarity with college level “nerd words,” — such as “oligotrophic,” “poikilothermic,” “benthic macro invertebrate,” “zone of hypoxia,” and “biomagnification — fostered an increased sense of academic self-confidence among students.

This fall’s culminating field trip was devoted to enjoying the lake. Students and instructors launched a flotilla of kayaks and canoes from Jean and Bob Wilson’s shoreland property at the north end of the lake and paddled to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife access. They were then bused to the east side of the lake, where they wrapped up their visit by participating in a “learning chain” and hiking the beautiful shore trail of the Lydia Spitzer Demonstration Forest held by the Vermont Land Trust and managed by the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston.

Coupled with hands-on investigations, science inspired art, and seasonal trips to Echo Lake itself, the project has instilled a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role Echo Lake plays in the Clyde River water system and in the Charleston community.

To read about the students’ personal experiences in their own words, visit www.echolakeassociation.net/activities/community-outreach/. — submitted by Susan Czerepak.

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Skida gear sale will benefit Craftsbury library

Skida Headwear is partnering with the Craftsbury Public Library for a holiday sale. During the Craftsbury Holiday Market, the library will have a booth selling Skida hats and headwear, with the retail profit from each sale going directly to the library.

“We are passionate about being outside, being life-long learners, working hard, and having fun along the way,” said a statement from Skida. “We do our best to support other folks that think outside the box, push the limits, and to us, are really really cool.”

There will be a range of products available at the library’s booth at the market. Skida is best known for their colorful and warm hats, neckwarmers, and headbands. There will be a cacophony of colors to choose from in these popular designs. While supplies last, there will be some exceptional deals on irregular items.

The holiday sale runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, at the Craftsbury Academy gym. For more information, contact the library at 586-9683, or view the Skida website at www.skida.com. — from the Craftsbury Public Library.

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The Music Box hosts a benefit concert for Puerto Rico

The Music Box at 147 Creek Road in Craftsbury will host a concert to re-grow Puerto Rico on Friday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. All funds raised will benefit agriculture and artists in Puerto Rico. The concert will feature music from Randy Bulpin and Rik Barron, Can Am Jazz Band, Christine Malcolm and Friends, Howie Cantor and Jeremy Harple. Admission is by donation. Call (802) 323-4581 for more information. — from Monte Verde Cultural Exchange.

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Fish and Wildlife Department to host moose meeting

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will hold a public informational meeting about Vermont’s moose on Wednesday, December 13, at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, 154 Leadership Drive, in West Charleston.

“We are holding the meetings on the status of Vermont’s moose population, including information about new challenges facing moose and current research efforts here in the Northeast,” said Mark Scott, Vermont’s director of wildlife. “We want to share information and educate Vermonters about Vermont’s moose population, and get a better feel for what other information the public would like about Vermont’s moose herd. Anyone interested in Vermont’s moose population will want to attend one of these meetings.”

The meetings will include information about historical moose populations in Vermont, the impacts of climate change and winter ticks on Vermont’s population, and the current three-year moose study in which moose cows and calves are being monitored for survival.

Wildlife staff will be on hand to show pictures of Vermont moose and their habitats. The meeting is free and will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. — from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Brownington 12-year-old to be in Spectacular Spectacular

Zoey Copp, 12, of Brownington, recently attended an audition in South Burlington where she won a spot in the live performance of Spectacular Spectacular to be held on December 9 at the Higher Ground ballroom. The event is sponsored by Kids VT magazine. Zoey will be one of 15 talented kids. She will perform a lyrical dance routine that she choreographed herself.

Zoey is the daughter of Christopher and Jennifer Copp. She attends St. Paul’s School, and is in the fifth grade.

She has been involved in dance since the age of three and is an active member of Vermont Family Theater. — submitted by Jennifer Copp.

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Goodrich to hold thirteenth annual Christmas celebration

The Goodrich library is at its best during this time of year. Every room is ablaze with seasonal splendor in the form of decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands. Seasonal books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines abound. The display cases on the third floor are full of various collections including: Victorian toys, cooking utensils from around the world, advent calendars, vintage postcards, antique dolls and more. The addition of music to this mix can only enhance an afternoon of entertainment and wonder.

The Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport will host its annual tree lighting and open house on Saturday, December 2, starting at 1 p.m., with the sounds of the season as the United Church of Newport Hand Bell Choir offers Christmas classics and a sing-along.

At 4 p.m., Mark Shelton will grace the scene with his wonderful musical talent. He will perform traditional Christmas carols and other seasonal favorites to sing along with.

Following the bell concert, delicious homemade cookies and drinks will be served for all. Children will be invited to make a Christmas-themed craft to take home.

Raffle tickets for a beautifully handmade “grand-mére” doll in her chair, with her knitting basket, will be available for purchase. Many warm and cuddly items, from mittens to toys, created with love by our own Knifty Knitters will also be for sale. All proceeds benefit the library.

The library invites everyone to get in the Christmas spirit by joining them for the event. The library is handicapped accessible. This program is free and open to all. For information call 334-7902. — from the Goodrich Memorial Library.

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