Friday January 4, 2013

From Brattleboro...

WINTER COASTAL BIRDING: Join Chris and Nissa Petrak on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Fisherman’s Monument in Gloucester, Mass., at 9:15 a.m. Participants will search Gloucester Harbor for wintering ducks, gulls, alcids, and grebes, then go around Cape Ann stopping at Eastern Point Lighthouse, Niles Pond, coastal stops, Granite Pier, Andrews Point. Mid-afternoon, those attending may return home, or continue 30 minutes north to Plum Island to look for hawks and owls hunting for their evening meal.

Highlights off Cape Ann often include Harlequin Duck, Black Guillemot and Razorbill, Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, many additional sea and puddle ducks, Purple Sandpiper.

The emphasis will be on identifying birds close to shore. Very little walking. Dress for winter "breezes" along the shore. Bring lunch.

For more information and to sign up contact Petrak at chrsptrk@svcable.net.

In Brattleboro...

MERRY MULCH PROGRAM: The Brattleboro Union High School Music Department is once again offering the Merry Mulch Christmas tree collection service to Brattleboro residents. This program, in its 22nd year, is endorsed by the Vermont Department of Agriculture, as well as the New Hampshire/Vermont Christmas Tree Association.

For a $10 donation, members of the band and chorus will transport undecorated trees from homes to a community garden in West Brattleboro where they will be chipped into mulch to be used by the community.

Since the town does not offer curbside pick-up of trees, the service saves residents the hassle of transporting their own trees. Three Saturday pick-up dates are being offered: Jan. 5, 12 and 19. All pick-ups must be prearranged by calling one of the following numbers at least two days prior to the desired date: 802-579-1577, 802-387-3794, or 802-254-3360. Proceeds will benefit a planned trip to New York in May, 2013.

WINTER SWAP PROGRAM: The Swap Program at the Windham Solid Waste Management District is now on winter hours. The program will be open the second Saturday of each month, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to noon. The next scheduled opening will be Jan. 12.

Swap Program information is available at www.windhamsolidwaste.org, e-mail questions to swapshop@windhamsolidwaste.org.

LIFE SKILLS WORKSHOPS: Turning Point of Windham County and the Phoenix House are collaborating on a series of Life Skills workshops designed to help people get ready for job hunting. Anyone who is looking for work or who needs help with resume writing or interviewing may benefit from these workshops.

The two-hour, twice-weekly sessions are co-facilitated by a Phoenix House counselor and a Turning Point recovery coach. People are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions, more than once if they would like. The four-topic series will be repeated several times over the coming months. The specific topics covered will be:

Session 1: Employment Readiness and Community Resources.

Session 2: Developing a Resume, Cover Letter, and List of References.

Session 3: Employment Application; Scheduling Interviewing.

Session 4: Interviewing; Practice Questions; Mock Interviews.

The life skills workshops will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 8, 10, 15, and 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Turning Point, 112 Hardwood Way (off Putney Road, near exit 3 behind Taco Bell and KFC). Guests may use the center computers to work on their resumes and cover letters, and to do online job searches.

In Chesterfield, N.H. ...

2013 CALENDARS: The 2013 Chesterfield Historical Society calendars feature three of Walter "Winky" Wall’s sketches. The cover is a scene of Centre Village from Wetherbee Hill with a number of recognizable buildings such as the town hall and church.

The Maynard and Grimes Farms as they looked with all their buildings in the 1960s and ‘70s are another special addition. The calendars, a fundraiser for the historical society, have become great keepsakes and collectibles and are often given as gifts.

The calendars are available at Toadstool Bookstore and at the Chesterfield Library and Chesterfield Town Clerk’s Office for $12.

In Dummerston...

CALENDARS AND T-SHIRTS: The 2013 Scenes of Dummerston Calendar featuring color photographs by 11 talented photographers is now available. The calendar contains scenes from East Dummerston to the West River.

Also available is the new black, short-sleeved Dummerston T-shirts with a graphic of the West Dummerston Covered Bridge. The writing on the shirt says "Dummerston ... the longest one in Vermont."

Calendars are $10 and T-shirts are $18 for M-XL and $20 for XXL. Both will make great gifts for family and friends, near and far, and are available at the Dummerston Town Office or by calling Muriel at 802-257-9358 or Gail at 802-254-9311.

In Saxtons River...

FOREIGN LANGUAGE SUPPERS: Main Street Arts begins it winter series of foreign language potluck suppers with a potluck for Spanish speakers on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.

Potlucks for French and German speakers will be Sunday, Jan. 13 and 20, respectively.

The next month’s potlucks will be Feb. 3 (Spanish), Feb. 10 (French) and Feb. 17 (German).

The potlucks are generally a small group of friendly people with a wide range of proficiency in the language who join in an informal sharing of culture and language practice. Those who want to listen more than join in the conversation are also welcome. Native speakers are often present to lend encouragement. Previous participants have come from all corners of Windham County and New Hampshire.

There is no fee, and potluck contributions need not be ethnic. A beverage is provided.

Information is available by calling MSA at 802-869-2960, e-mailing info@mainstreetarts.org visiting the Web site at www.MainStreetArts.org.

Now beginning its 25th year, Main Street Arts is a non-profit arts center dedicated to serving the creative needs of the greater community, encouraging creative exploration and expression through a wide range of experiences.

In Vernon...

TRAIL BREAKERS: The Vernon Trail Breakers will meet Monday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at Nesbitt’s Portside Tavern on Governor Hunt Road. Club events and workbees will be planned.

In Walpole, N.H. ...

FRUIT/VEGETABLE WORKSHOP: The Cheshire Conservation District is hosting a free workshop for fruit and vegetable growers at Alyson’s Orchard on Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Topics will include: Marketing and packing produce; harvest, postharvest handling, and safe food handling practices; food safety self-assessments and food safety plans; and packing shed tours.

A free manual and a free lunch will be provided.

To register or for more information, e-mail amanda@cheshireconservation.org or call the Conservation District office 603-756-2988, ext. 116.

In West Dummerston...

WINTER BIRDS: The Dummerston Conservation Commission will sponsor a presentation by Chris Petrak, "When the Snow Flies -- Winter Birds in Windham County," on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Drawing on the records of the Brattleboro Christmas Bird Count (the first count was in 1903), Petrak will take a photographic look at the changes in the birds that have been, and are being seen, in southeastern Vermont during the winter months. This illustrated program will take place at 7 p.m. at the Dummerston Community Center, 166 West St., in West Dummerston.

Petrak has been writing about birds for local newspapers for over 12 years. For further information: www.dummerstonconservation.com.