Around the Towns

Next Stage to hold holiday cookie swap

PUTNEY - On Saturday, Dec. 18, Next Stage Arts will hold a holiday cookie swap. Sign up to participate at

How does it work? Just bake your favorite cookies and drop them off at Next Stage on Kimball Hill on Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m.

The Next Stage cookie elves (who will be masked and gloved) will then prepare a cookie box for you with a variety of cookies from home bakers, and you can then pick up your box between 4 and 5 p.m.

They have two participation levels: “Little Elf” (two dozen cookies) or “Big Elf” (four dozen cookies). You get back as many cookies as you put in.

Because the cookies are all home-baked, organizers cannot guarantee that they will be free of allergens or specific ingredients.

If you have questions, contact Ruby McAdoo at [email protected].

Guilford church hosts outdoor nativity pageant

GUILFORD - Guilford Community Church, 38 Church Drive, will hold an outdoor Christmas nativity pageant on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. (weather permitting).

This event will feature song, dance, and a bonfire.

All are asked to gather in front of the church steps at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend and, if they wish, to dress as shepherds or angels. Carols will be sung around the bonfire following the pageant.

The church asks that all attending wear a mask.

In case of bad weather, call the church office at 802-257-0994 to hear a message to find out if the pageant has been rescheduled.

Winter Solstice celebration at Manitou

WILLIAMSVILLE - The Manitou Project will resume one of its favorite rituals of the year, the Winter Solstice Celebration, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Gather around the fire in the Hogan for hot cider and sharing of songs, poems, and reflections about this winter season. Bring your own favorites to share.

And make sure to bring a mask so that everyone will feel comfortable.

Meet at the Manitou parking lot at 4 p.m. for a short walk through the woods; wear warm clothes and good footwear for the conditions.

The Manitou Project is located at 300 Sunset Lake Rd. From Williamsville Village, go 1.4 miles up Sunset Lake Road, and look for the sign on right. Or, from Route 9 in West Brattleboro, Manitou is approximately 5 miles over the top of Sunset Lake Road. For information, contact Fred Taylor at 802-254-2675.

EMBRACE business grant applications now being accepted

WESTMINSTER - The Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) Micro Business Development Program (MBDP) announces that applications are now being accepted online for the third round of EMBRACE (Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the COVID-19 epidemic) from businesses open before Dec. 31, 2020 that have not previously received the grant.

Grants of $5,000 are available for Vermont-based businesses affected by COVID-19 with five employees or fewer, including sole proprietors, and from low-to-moderate-income households.

Businesses that opened after Jan. 1 or that are planned to launch by Nov. 1, 2022 may apply beginning on Jan. 18, 2022 and must have met for a minimum of one hour with an MBDP counselor.

Businesses open before Dec. 31 that have received an EMBRACE grant before may apply beginning on March 1, 2022.

For full rules, eligibility criteria, and to apply, visit, or contact Glen Ohlund, economic development director, at [email protected] with questions or for assistance applying.

Additional information on SEVCA and the free services and programs they provide to Windham and Windsor county residents is available at

GMRSVP needs volunteer drivers in Londonderry area

BRATTLEBORO - Green Mountain RSVP and Neighborhood Connections are looking for volunteer drivers for the new Mountain Town Connector transportation service covering the towns around Londonderry.

By providing rides to those who don't have access to a car, you'll help your friends and neighbors improve their independence, health, and quality of life.

The program needs volunteers who are willing to transport others in either a new 12-passenger van or their personal vehicle.

Volunteers decide how often they can transport folks and how far they're willing to travel. While most trips are local, some appointments can be as far as Lebanon, N.H. or Boston.

Volunteer drivers should have a valid driver's license and auto insurance if using their own vehicle. GMRSVP provides excess medical and auto liability insurance to its drivers while they are volunteering.

Contact the volunteer coordinator at 802-254-7515.

Naturalist to discuss hawk program's history

WEST DUMMERSTON - On Thursday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m., John Anderson will give a talk about the 48-year history of the Putney Mountain Hawkwatch, culminating with an overview of the watchers' record breaking 2021 season when 18,649 raptors were tallied.

Anderson is a naturalist, roaming every nook and cranny of Dummerston and beyond. He has identified 800 flowering plants in Dummerston alone and is the author of numerous articles on natural history.

The presentation will be held at the Dummerston Community Center on West Street. Masking and proof of vaccination will be required. Seating is on a first-come basis and will be limited due to social distancing needs.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates