News bites from around Windham County and the surrounding areas:
-- A benefit chamber concert by Unity Hill Arts Center with works by Mozart, Bach, Milhaud and others is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 29, at the Athens Brick Meeting House.
Internationally renowned violinist Joseph Swensen and members of the Amphion String Quartet and Ensemble U-HAC will perform.
The concert is to support efforts to restore the Athens Brick Meeting House.
Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Village Square Books in Bellows Falls, Townshend Common Farmers Greenberg Market, Athens Town office, and online at www.tafthill.com.
During his manager's report at Tuesday night's Trustees meeting, Tim Cullenen said he has been in discussion with Mike Hines of the Rockingham Highway Department about work that will be conducted on the village's sidewalks this summer. He said the two biggest projects will done at Temple Place and on School Street in conjunction with renovations.
He added there are two or three smaller areas that require some patchwork.
"There's a lot of work to be done, relative to sidewalks," he said. "At some point prior to the following year's budget, I think it might be very wise to include in a joint meeting the amount of funding devoted to sidewalk because it's probably not adequate to meet the need of what's going on."
-- He mentioned that residents will see an increase in activity around the middle school starting on Monday, June 18, as new temporary crosswalks will be painted and the loading zone will be changed. The spots where people usually cross the street will be blocked off.
He said this work will slightly alter the traffic pattern.
Brattleboro is collecting proposals from engineering firms for the design of the new skatepark at the Crowell Playground.
Companies have until 10 a.m. on July 11 to turn in their proposal for the new 8,000 to 10,000 square foot skatepark which will be built in the northeast corner of the park on Western Avenue.
The town is looking for an "innovative, interesting and durable skatepark," according to the official posting that can "provide a range of features and components for skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced riders."
The Parks and Recreation Department and the Skatepark Committee will review the proposals and the Selectboard will have final approval for choosing the design firm.
The project may begin as soon as the bid has been awarded by the board and the funding is secured.
During a June 6 Selectboard meeting, the Windham Regional Commission gave a presentation of its review of the town's flood hazard policy. Commission representatives recommended the board thoroughly review the policy. The Commission also recommended the town conduct a cross-town discussion about the policy and water quality issues.
-- The board will soon be in the process of reviewing bids for a replacement for the Cornish Bridge on Grassy Brook Road. According to meeting minutes for June 6, the bridge's iron beams and wood deck are in bad shape. A grant has been applied for to replace the bridge and install a cement deck. A road closure will go into affect this summer, but no date has yet been set.
-- Also on Grassy Brook Road, the board approved up to $1,200 to replace Culvert #31, which has been plugged by beavers.
-- Road agent Bart Bevis road surfacing is scheduled to start on Monday, June 25.
He said it will take about three to four days. He said seven or eight miles of resurfacing is done every year.
-- A trail system linking the Hermitage Inn and the Haystack resort could soon be underway.
According to Town Manager Andy Mclean, Dover's Development Review Board is considering the request but there are some residents with concerns about access.
With 2,400 acres of National Forest along the spine of the Mount Snow and Haystack Ride, the Conservation Commission has asked that a condition be added to the request, which would give permission to build public parking and a trail-head along Handle Road as well as a foot trail through Haystack's land connecting the National Forest to other public trails.
"Trails are a major asset in a community like ours and this is the Holy Grail," Mclean said. "The public's access is more or less controlled by the ski areas and subject to their needs and they don't provide for the classic Northeast mountain hiking experience. This would provide something very different and valuable."
Mclean said the town of Dover receives roughly $5,000 a year from the federal government for the land.
"That's all well and good too, but it would be great if the people of Dover could access this land in this unique and valuable way as well."
Town Selectboard meetings will be held earlier in the evening. Selectboard members voted Wednesday to move the meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting with the next session scheduled for June 27. Selectboard member Zeke Goodband said the change will remain in effect until the next town meeting, when the board reorganizes.
-- The 4th Annual Grafton Music Festival is slated to last from Friday, June 29, until Tuesday, July 3.
It is a music festival that is appropriate for all ages.
The schedule is as follows: June 29 -- Skip D, light rock & pop at 6 p.m.; June 30 -- Festival Day with local artisans, food vendors and kid's activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Outdoor concerts with the Sweetback Sisters (at 1 p.m.) and Corvettes Doo Wop Revue (5 p.m.). Evening concert with The Nines (at 7:30); July 1 -- Concert with The Dynamic Two-O (11 a.m.); July 3 -- The 22nd Annual VSO Concert & Fireworks at 7:30 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30).
-- Some construction work is being done on the culvert on Hinkley Brook Road.
-- Bike riders soon may find Guilford Free Library a bit more convenient as town officials are seeking to install a bike rack there. Katie Buckley, town administrator, said she will submit an application to the Vermont Agency of Transportation. "They have a grant program for it," Buckley said. "They give you the equipment. You have to install it."
-- The federal government has agreed to pay $1.9 million for repairs along Green River Road associated with the damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Christina Moore, project manager for the post-Irene recovery group, said the receipts for the town's expenditures were turned over to the state on Thursday.
The town has already been paid $650,000, which was used to finish repaving the Green River Road last week.
Moore said the remaining $1.2 million should be paid to the town in the next few weeks.
"It's a tremendous sigh of relief," she said. "We've spent about $2 million and getting that back allows us to pay back our loans, get ahead on a few of bills to start construction replacing three of our bridges that were washed out."
She added that the town has also received $307,000 in reimbursements for repairs made to the Stowe Mountain and Brook roads and partial payment for the Deer Park temporary bridge.
-- A free lawn/pool party is planned for Heritage Park and the town pool on Saturday, June 30.
The pool party, with pizza and juice, is scheduled to start at noon. There will also be games such as The Easy Striker, Kiddy Striker Clown, Penguin Fish Fling, Cow Milking Contest, the Bouncy House and you can try your hand at one-on-one Electric Basketball.
Fundraising tables, raffle tables and health and wellness information tables are also planned.
There will be a chicken wing cook-off at 3 p.m. Bring your wings to be judged. Call 603-336-6135 to enter the wings contest.
Hamburgers and hot dogs, flipped by town selectmen, will be served at 5 p.m. At around 8, there will be an outdoor family movie. People are asked to bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets.
The event is sponsored by the Hinsdale Community Coalition, Hinsdale PTA, Hinsdale School District # 92, Hinsdale Selectmen, the Recreation Department, S.H.O.C. (Students Helping Our Community), Continental Cable, Shippee Auto and lots of other community organizations and volunteers.
The rain date is set for Saturday, July 7.
-- The Vermont Agency of Transportation will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m., at the town hall.
Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the impacts of replacing bridges along Routes 30 and 100 that were washed away during Tropical Storm Irene.
According to a state spokesperson, the temporary bridges are scheduled to be removed, replaced with new permanent bridges and any properties affected by the construction will be restored to their previous condition.
A copy of the preliminary plans for the projects can be seen at the town clerk's office.
-- The town will be holding a celebration on Sunday, July 1, to recognize the 47 years of service of former Town Clerk Jim Twitchell and former Assistant Town Clerk Shirley Twitchell.
The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the South Londonderry Old Town Hall at 139 Middletown Road.
Though Jim and Shirley have been divorced for 25 years, they continued to work together in the town offices and are now retiring.
People from all over who worked with the Twitchell's over the years will be attending the celebration and special speeches will be given starting at 2 p.m.
Refreshments will be served.
Marlboro has a new animal control officer.
Clarence Boston is bow-wowing out after nine years and longtime Marlboro resident Adam Katrick has taken over animal control duties as of this week.
Boston, who will continue to serve as Constable, worked as a volunteer but Katick will be paid for his duties.
As constable Boston had the authority to issue tickets for animal control offenses and the Selectboard is currently figuring out how Katrick can receive support while investigating offenses.
The final event organized by Newfane Business Association is scheduled for the end of this month. The 10th annual community yard sale starts at 9 a.m. June 30 on the common. Association members previously announced that they are disbanding at the end of the fiscal year due to a lack of funding and member participation.
The town is going to have a surprise going away party for outgoing Town Manager Chris Ryan, who is leaving Putney at the end of the month.
On Wednesday, June 20, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the Selectboard is going to have cake and welcome people into Town Hall to wish Ryan luck on his upcoming retirement.
But it is a surprise, so don't say anything to him.
The Selectboard is reviewing a plan for a new sand and salt shed for the town's highway department. The plan calls for a building with doors on each end and a divide between the two sections to allow salt to be stored in one side and sand in the other. The original design called for the structure to be anchored to the ground but the board asked that the design call for concrete walls instead. The board also considered whether the shed should only have one door with a divide down the center of the building, instead to two doors.
-- The board agreed on a 3-percent wage increase across the board for all town employees.
Paving is planned this summer on Route 35. The work will cover an approximately 2-mile stretch from the town garage to Deer Valley Road. It is scheduled to begin in late July or August, said Kurt Bostrom, town road foreman. Culvert work is happening in the area now.
The town pool opened Wednesday. Open swim hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Sundays. Saturday's open swim begins an hour earlier at noon. There also are adult swims from 11 a.m. to noon on Fridays and Saturdays. Teen nights will begin the week of June 25. For more information, visit www.vernonrec.com.
-- The Walpole Block Party is scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20.
Janet Clough at Town Hall said the event, which will feature music and food, is sponsored by Connecticut River Bank and The Walpole Foundation.
-- Clough also said the town is in the middle of some sidewalk repairs. She said the crew is finishing up work on Elm Street and will continue around town, though she was not sure where they are headed next.
-- According to Town Manager Matt Daskal, the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department is planning a boot drop-in within the next few weeks.
The Windham Community Organization is holding its annual chicken barbecue fundraiser on July 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Meeting House at the junction of Windham Hill Road and Harrington Road. Come early, as it sells out quickly.
-- The Windham Volunteer Fire Company is asking for donations for its annual auction and flea market, which are to be held on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 290 White Road in North Windham. If you would like to donate an item for either the auction or the flea market, call Ralph Wyman at 802-875-3373 or Rick Whitezell at 802-874-4104.
The flea market and auction preview begins at 9 a.m. and the auction begins at 10 a.m., rain or shine. There will be a concession stand with food and drink and the auctioneer is Bob Arbuckle.
Items will include donations and new merchandise from local stores. There will also be a 50/50 raffle.
In addition, there will be a chicken barbecue dinner starting at 5 p.m. ($10 for adults and $5 for children) and a pie auction starting at 7 p.m.
All proceeds benefit the Windham Volunteer Fire Company.
-- Garbage and recycling service my be available soon.
Selectboard members are considering a three-year bid from Trevor Mantce, owner of TAM Inc., of Shaftsbury, which would provide pick-up service to residents.
"We've had some conservations about that possibility and asked for a three-year quote which we turned in on June 12, and we're excited to hear back," Mantce said. "I think it could be a win-win for everybody."
Current service area for TAM includes Dover, Wilmington, Whitingham, Bennington, Shaftsbury, Pownal and several towns in Massachusetts.
The Selectboard is expected to make a decision on whether to approve to bid in the next few weeks.