Editor of the Reformer:

We are so grateful for the fine job done by the Reformer through Howard Weiss-Tisman’s May 28 article describing The Goat Girls first visitation to control invasive glossy buckthorn on Putney Mountain, and for the May 29 editorial which followed.

Hope Crolius, owner and proprietor of The Goat Girls, transported the 15 goats to Putney May 24. When she returned June 6 to take the goats back to Amherst she specifically commented on how healthy they were by the end of their two week stay. Such good fortune for all of us in the community: grazing goats getting healthier and glossy buckthorn becoming weaker.

Projects require support from many sources. Our thanks go to the neighbor who gave access to a shortcut for leading goats to the summit, and to the volunteers who transported fencing, camping gear and supplies for the goat herders. Thanks to those who loaned 700-plus feet of garden hose for water to be pumped from the neighbor’s well to a loaned 150 gallon tank near the summit so the goats would have water. Thanks to the dog owners who brought visiting dogs on leashes, keeping the dogs at a distance which allowed the goats to keep working. Thanks to the goat herders who moved fencing and goats from one area of buckthorn to another for maximum coverage, and who welcomed curious visitors and answered their questions. (The herders felt fortunate to be camping on such a beautiful site.


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) And thanks to the visitors for their interest!

For funding the project, we are grateful to the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, the Vermont Grass Farmers Association, several individuals including visitors to the site, and an anonymous granting organization. We have funding for a second visit from The Goat Girls for them to go over the same area, probably in July, and are working on funding for goats to return at the end of the growing season. To discourage buckthorn, grazing needs to be persistent!

Putney Mountain Association is dedicated to keeping the summit an open area for all to enjoy its peace and tranquility, with beauty in all directions. We are pleased to do this in a way that links us to the grazing practices of our ancestors.

David Ritchie

Putney Mountain Association’s Goat Committee, June 17 ***

Editor of the Reformer:

I want to thank all of you for another year of amazing support! This past year I was able to do so many amazing things in my training for skiing, and a large chunk of that was allowable thanks to the amazing support provided by Harris Hill Ski Jump. I am forever grateful for your generosity, encouragement, and willingness to help support and fund my dreams and athletic endeavors. I was able to wisely use my available sponsorship funds to travel to Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and the Czech Republic to train and compete at the highest levels of Nordic Combined. It was an amazing experience to be able to jump so many great places around the world and be exposed to unique cultures that my sport touches.

The funds also helped pay part of my club membership and coaching fees at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club in Steamboat Springs, CO. Being part of that infrastructure was invaluable and gave me the tools and support I needed to train full time. Being in Steamboat Springs helped me cultivate many new relationships and be part of a great team.

As most of you probably know, the US Ski Team has dropped the nordic combined program effective this year. That has been a huge setback for many in the sport but I believe it will strengthen club programs around the country and I hope the sport will continue to thrive. As for myself, I am more motivated than ever to prove that our sport and our athletes deserve to be part of the US Ski Team and we have medal potential in the years to come. I am extremely motivated to keep training hard and to be a great athlete.

This year I am shifting myself away from Steamboat Springs and I will be training and working in Lake Placid and at home in Vermont with a new coach. I also will be starting my education, which I put on hold to live in Colorado and train full time. I believe that I can still do some great things, and being young still, my best years have yet to come.

I believe that Harris Hill is one of the best clubs in the country and you have gone far and above to help support and sustain ski jumping and it has been amazing to be apart of everything. You guys are so warm and welcoming to the sport and every athlete I know loves coming to Brattleboro, and that makes me so proud to be part of this great club. When I first started ski jumping and nordic combined, Harris Hill was closed down, I was really unsure if I would ever get to jump again in Brattleboro. My biggest goal I ever dreamed to accomplish as a 10-year-old in the sport was not to go to the olympics, but to jump Harris Hill. Thanks to your hard work that dream was made possible, and out of all the places in the world I have jumped, Harris Hill is still the most exciting and thrilling and I can never contain my smile each chance I get to fly to the bottom of the hill in Brattleboro. As I have outgrown my expectations in the sport, my goals are constantly shifting and now I hope to become an Olympian in 2018. There are a lot of years to come until the next games, but I am very motivated. Harris Hill has layed the foundation for my future success and I will be forever grateful for your amazing support and I look forward to continuing my journey.

Thank you all!

Spencer Knickerbocker

June 2

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Editor of the Reformer:

Having only won prizes that I can count on one hand over my 62 years, was I ever surprised to receive the phone call on Friday night, June 6th. I was informed by Abby Mnookin of Brattleboro Time Trade that my name had been drawn as the winner of their raffle gift basket! And what a beautiful and overflowing gift basket it was - chock full of locally made items donated by those that hand-crafted them. The items included a variety of foods and candies, mittens, sparkling cider, gifts bags and not to mention the lovely hand-woven basket itself.

So, thank you to the Brattleboro Time Trade organization and particularly to Abby, Beth McKinney and Tad Montgomery. It was Tad who had offered raffle tickets to me and others at our weekly Wednesday morning breakfast at the Royal Diner. It just so happened that our conversation that morning was on the "gift economy." And so, it was a natural segway for Tad to mention the fundraiser and the raffle tickets that he had for sale. After hearing what he had to say about the time trade concept (which I was only vaguely familiar with) and the local group that had started not so long ago, I was more than happy to help a little with the fundraising. From what I have learned so far, Brattleboro Time Trade is providing a very valuable service to our community and its growing list of members. And so, I too have begun to spread the word to family and friends that might be interested in joining. It is a wonderful concept and I’m sure will continue to thrive with so many talents and willingness to share them here in our corner of southern Vermont. For more information, please go to their website: www.brattleborotimetrade.org.

The Wood family is still enjoying the bounty of our gift basket. Thanks so much,

Ken Wood

West Brattleboro, June 24

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Editor of the Reformer:

We would like to express our gratitude to all those who attended the Opera Theatre of Weston benefit concert on June 22 or who generously contributed items to the silent auction. Proceeds will help towards the production costs for the East Coast premiere of The Secret Garden, to be performed in January 2015 at the Paramount Theatre, Rutland and at the Weston Playhouse. Composer Nolan Gasser and San Francisco Opera scenic designer Naomie Kremer will be joined by the Opera Theatre of Weston creative team and cast to present a "behind the scenes" lecture on The Making of The Secret Garden, part of the Green Mountain Academy of Lifelong Learning (GMALL) series, on Sunday August 24 at 7:00 pm at the Riley Center, Burr & Burton Academy, Manchester. For more information, phone Gloria at 802/867-0111 or view the GMALL website.

Lise Messier and Nan Nall,

co-founders and directors,

Opera Theatre of Weston, June 26