Monday December 3, 2012

Furniture store unveils 20-foot chair

BENNINGTON (AP) -- A 20-foot-high ladder-back chair has reclaimed a spot outside a Vermont furniture store.

Dozens of people showed up in Bennington on Saturday for the unveiling of the "Big Chair," as it’s known locally, outside LaFlamme’s furniture store.

The chair marks the return of a local landmark that has been missing for more than a decade.

A similar-sized chair sat in front of the Haynes and Kane Furniture Store from 1969 until 2000. Haynes and Kane closed in 2006, but the building reopened this year as LaFlamme’s.

Residents said the chair once served as a landmark for giving people directions.

Vermont National Forest offering $5 Christmas trees

RUTLAND (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service is offering $5 tree permits for people who would like to cut their Christmas trees in the Green Mountain National Forest.

The Forest Service’s Vermont office says that in recent years the Green Mountain National Forest program has continued to grow in popularity. Last year, 431 permits were sold.

The permits can be purchased at Forest Service offices in Rutland, Middlebury, Manchester Center or Rochester.

The permit must be attached to the tree before it’s transported, and it’s up to the permit holder to know the boundaries of the National Forest.


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Trees over 20 feet tall cannot be cut, and the stump left after the cutting must be less than 6 inches high.

Vt. muzzleloader deer season runs through Dec. 9

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state’s 9-day muzzle loading deer season is getting under way.

The muzzle loading season that begins Saturday and runs through Dec. 9 coincides with the state’s second archery hunting season.

The department says preliminary reports indicate that hunters are tagging heavy bucks with big antlers this year.

Archers may take antlerless deer during archery season in all but one of the state’s wildlife management units. The exception is what is known as WMU-E in the Northeast Kingdom.

Winners of the antlerless deer lottery may take one deer during the December muzzleloader season. Lottery winners are reminded that the orange postcard that was sent to them earlier this fall is their antlerless deer tag.

Vt. National Guard planning live-fire exercises

COLCHESTER (AP) -- Things could get a little noisy in some Vermont towns.

The Vermont National Guard is planning live-fire exercises at its facilities in Jericho and Underhill and in Westminster. The guard also says exercises involving blank ammunition and "pyrotechnics" are being planned for Camp Johnson in Colchester, the location of the headquarters of the Vermont National Guard, until Dec. 15.

Small arms training is currently scheduled for this weekend and Dec. 8 and 9 at the Westminster training site.

Small arms training will also take place between Dec. 10 and 14 at the Ethan Allen Training Site in Underhill and Jericho.

The guard says the training schedules could change.

The exercises will be held during daylight and conclude late afternoon each day.

Dec. 7 deadline for watershed grants

MONTPELIER (AP) -- There’s still time for Vermont communities and groups to apply for grants from the state to help protect and restore the state’s watersheds.

This year, $120,000 is available for grants of up to $15,000. The deadline to apply is Friday.

The money is available to municipalities, government agencies and nonprofit and citizen groups for work such as protecting or restoring water quality, shorelines or fish and wildlife habitats.

Rick Hopkins of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation says in light of the damage from Tropical Storm Irene and other flooding, the state is interested in projects that put in place practical measures or involve education on stream habitat protection, restoration, flood resiliency and related topics.

An application guide and forms are available on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources website.

Windsor family donates Christmas tree to Vermont

WINDSOR (AP) -- A Windsor family has donated a 40-foot balsam fir to the state to be Vermont’s official Christmas Tree.

Next Thursday at 4:30 p.m., residents will gather for the lighting and Gov. Peter Shumlin will honor the Vezina family for its gift.

The search for the right candidate tree began in early October. Ira Moser, Montpelier’s building and general services ground supervisor, says there were two other close candidates in Arlington and Waterbury. But Moser says the shape set the Vezinas’ tree apart.

Lenoura Vezina and her husband Ron stood teary-eyed Thursday as they watched Vermont state workers, aided by a rope and crane, prepare to cut down their tree. But it had to come down because its branches grew so wide they blocked access from one side.

Town history center to move into old armory

ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- The town of St. Johnsbury is going to lease an abandoned armory on the Main Street of the Vermont community so a new History and Heritage Center can open a museum of local artifacts.

Town officials approved the $1 lease for the building at a recent meeting.

There is an option to buy the property, but that decision would depend on the results of a study to determine if there is any contamination on the site.

The group’s Peggy Pearl says progress has been slow because they didn’t have a commitment from the armory. Now fundraising efforts can move forward.

Some of the artifacts that would be housed at the museum would come from the town’s Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, which is shifting its focus toward astronomy and natural history.