Around the Towns

Condos: Ballots will be mailed to all active registered voters

MONTPELIER - Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos issued a reminder to active, registered Vermont voters that they will automatically receive a ballot for the Nov. 3 general election in the mail this week.

The ballots will be sent to the mailing address on file with the voter's registration or pending ballot request.

“Voting by mail is simple, safe, and secure,” said Condos in a news release, noting that his office will do so to “preserve the voting rights of all eligible Vermonters during a pandemic, while protecting the public health by reducing high-traffic in-person voting on Election Day.”

Voters who do not receive their ballots by Oct. 1 should contact their Town Clerk to get one.

A recent nationwide postcard mailing by the U.S. Postal Service suggested that Vermont voters must actively request an early absentee ballot. Any active, registered Vermont voter will be automatically mailed a ballot, including new registrants.

Voters who newly register before Nov. 3 will receive a ballot automatically from their town clerk, but they are still encouraged to contact their town clerk and ensure the information they have provided is complete.

Ballots can be returned by mail, hand delivered early to the voter's town clerk's office (which might offer a drop-box return option), or bring their ballot to the polls on Election Day.

Polling places will be operating as usual, under proper social distancing and sanitization guidance issued by the Secretary of State's office and the Vermont Department of Health.

Voted ballots must be in the possession of the Town Clerk by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, to be counted. Condos is encouraging voters returning ballots by mail to do so no less than 10 days before Nov. 3, to allow the ballot to be received in time.

RFPL celebrates Banned Books Week

BELLOWS FALLS - During Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, browse a display of some formerly banned or challenged books at the Rockingham Free Public Library, then borrow one to celebrate the freedom to read.

The display includes such titles as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling; George, by Alex Gino; And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

To set up a time for a visit, call the library (802-463-4270) or click on the “Book an In-Person Visit” button on the home page of Also, patrons are encouraged to call the library for their streamlined curbside service.

Putney Public Library reopens

PUTNEY - The Putney Public Library reopened to patrons last week as part of its phased reopening plan.

The library is now open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. A limited number of people can visit to select books or use a computer for 20 minutes.

The library will be closed for cleaning of high-touch surfaces 10 minutes before each hour, and it will reopen on the hour. Staff members will issue reminders about timing.

Most of the furniture has been removed to make space for social distancing. At this time, the library can't offer comfortable chairs and newspaper sharing, but browsing is back for all who have missed it.

Masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for all patrons, and social distancing guidance will be in place once inside. Patrons ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Patrons will still be able to pick up holds outside the building during pickup hours, which have been expanded to Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Laptop lending will also continue for anyone who wishes to use one outside on library grounds.

SEVCA offers money management workshop

WESTMINSTER - Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) is offering an online workshop series on money management.

This program is free to Vermont residents, and those affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to attend. An incentive is available for participants who meet the program goals of attending all three workshops on budgeting and credit.

Dates vary from Tuesday, Sept. 29 to Wednesday, Oct. 21. For more information, visit or contact Diane Heileman at [email protected].

If you or someone you know is finding it challenging to make ends meet, SEVCA might be able to help in other ways, with many programs available for income-eligible Vermonters.

To make an appointment to speak with staff, call 800-464-9951.

Newfane Congregational Church plans online auction

NEWFANE - Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Newfane Congregational Church's traditional Heritage Festival has been canceled for 2020. In order to replace some of the revenues lost, the church will conduct an online auction beginning Sept. 28.

Among the items donated by local businesses, community members, previous vendors and crafters, and church members: gift certificates, stuffed animals, jams and jellies, jewelry, paintings, pottery, books, handmade items, a bicycle, dollhouse kit, skin-care products, wine, and glassware.

A 50th Anniversary Heritage Festival Cookbook features 200 recipes, plus helpful hints and tips.

Bidding for the auction, at, starts at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 28 and ends at 11:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12.

All proceeds go toward local outreach and ministry efforts.

Flu shots available at Grace Cottage

TOWNSHEND - Grace Cottage Family Health, 185 Grafton Rd., will offer a flu vaccine clinic on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. No advance appointment is needed. You do not need to be an established patient to participate.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the flu and spreading it to others, the practice noted in a news release. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. Two flu shots are offered this year: one for those ages 6 months through 64 years, and another for those who are 65 years old and older.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine. People over age 65 or those with any chronic disease, such as diabetes or asthma, have a higher risk of contracting the flu and are especially urged to get the shot.

Flu shots are also available to Grace Cottage patients weekdays by appointment. Call 802-365-4331 to arrange one.

If you are not insured, payment will be expected at the time of service. Most insurance covers this preventive health measure; be sure to bring your ID and insurance card with you.

For more information about flu shots or the flu in general, visit the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, the Vermont Department of Health (, or call the Vermont helpline at 2-1-1.

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