Around the Towns

State police plan sobriety checkpoints

WESTMINSTER - During the last two weeks of December, the Vermont State Police will be conducting sobriety checkpoints within Windham and Windsor counties.

According to State Police Sgt. Dan Martin, the patrol commander at the Westminster barracks, an aggressive effort will be made to identify impaired drivers on the highways.

Troopers will also be enforcing motor vehicle laws, including those governing seat belts and child restraints, during this checkpoint.

Vigil marks National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day

BRATTLEBORO - Youth Services' Youth Development team, a program that works with homeless and unstably housed young people, will hold a vigil for those who died while homeless in 2017.

On Thursday, Dec. 21, participants will gather at 5:30 p.m. at Pliny Park, at the corner of Main and High streets, for a candle lighting and silent walk.

At 6 p.m., a facilitated discussion will follow at the Brooks House Atrium. Refreshments will be served.

“All are welcome, especially those who are experiencing homelessness or home insecurity, to attend, participate in any capacity, or just to use the warm space, refreshments, and public restrooms,” the event's organizers write.

Family weaving workshop at Putney library

PUTNEY - Kids ages 7 and older and their grown-ups can come to the Putney Public Library, 55 Main St., on Friday, Dec. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m., to make woven potholders and bookmarks.

Shana Frank and friends will lead children in these simple crafts.

All materials will be provided for this free program.

Winter Solstice celebration at Manitou

WILLIAMSVILLE - The Manitou Project will hold its annual Winter Solstice celebration on Thursday, Dec. 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner to mark the darkest day of the year and celebrate the return of the light.

Sharing the Hogan's woodstove warmth, hot mulled cider, music, and stories, as “we reflect on the richness of the time and the moment,” the event organizers write.

“We'll conclude with the crowd-pleasing 'fire eating ceremony' with brandied flaming raisins. (You'll only believe it when you see it - come and give it a try!) Bring your instruments and favorite songs of the winter season.”

This family-friendly event is free and open to all, and organizers call it “a great way for those new to Manitou to discover its spirit” and “a great way to bring light in the midst of the darkness and feel Manitou's deep connection with the cycle of the seasons.”

Meet at the Manitou parking lot by 4:30 p.m., for the short walk to the Hogan. Participants are urged to dress appropriately for the weather.

“Bring a candle and flashlight if you have one handy, and a favorite poem, reading, song, instrument - anything you may wish to share in the spirit of this night.”

For information, contact Fred Taylor at 802-387-2681 or [email protected].

Strolling of the Heifers hosts Holiday Pop-Up Gift Shop

BRATTLEBORO - Strolling of the Heifers will host a Holiday Pop-Up Gift Shop in the River Garden (157 Main St.) on Friday, Dec. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Products from more than 40 local artisans will be available for purchase.

For more information, visit

St. Michael's Episcopal Church presents Vermont Christmas Pageant

BRATTLEBORO - Toddlers, children, and teens offer a pageant, Vermont-style, on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at 4 p.m. at St. Michael's Episcopal Church.

Several years ago, youth of the parish expressed a wish to make the pageant more personal to them as Vermonters, according to a press release.

“Thus, the church has seen different twists each year from the entrance of a live goat to the delivery of apple pie and Gilfeather turnips; from gifts of cheddar cheese and maple syrup to flocks of free-range angels,” organizers of the pageant write.

All who gather this year will enjoy even more surprises. The pageant boasts a host of favorite carols of the season and concludes with celebration of the Eucharist.

The doors of St. Michael's, at the corner of Putney Road and Bradley Avenue, are open to all.

For more information, contact St. Michael's at 802-254-6048.

Marlboro Historical Society 2018 calendars now on sale

MARLBORO - The Historical Society's calendar is available at the Marlboro Town Office, Whetstone Inn, Vermont Artisans in Brattleboro, or by mail.

The 2018 calendar, which sells for $15 each, highlights many portraits from the society's extensive photography collection and an assortment of photographs depicting various time periods in the town's past and present.

The calendar is created by photographer and local historian Forrest Holzapfel.

Contact Holzapfel at 802-258-2568 or [email protected] for more information.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program seeks helpers

BRATTLEBORO - United Way of Windham County is seeking volunteers for its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA program helps families keep more of their earned income through free federal and state tax return preparation by trained volunteers.

Volunteers - who, according to a press release “don't need to be financial wizards” - are needed in the office to schedule appointments and to greet participants during tax clinics.

The program runs weekly in Brattleboro from Feb. 1 to April 12, 2018, with daytime, evening, and Saturday volunteer shifts available.

Volunteers are vital to the success of the program. No previous experience is required.

A free training session is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4, at the United Way offices, with VITA appointment scheduler training from noon to 1 p.m. and VITA site greeter training from 1 to 2 p.m.

For more information on becoming a VITA volunteer, contact 802-257-4011, ext. 116, or [email protected].

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