The View from Faraway Farm: Taking care of old business

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Not all that long ago I complained about the condition of Route 35 in Chester. I allowed that Irene had done a lot of damage along the brook section that there just wasn't money to repair, but the road was in bad shape from the Grafton town line as well. I heard that the column caused some controversy but at least it got folks talking.

The folks in Chester quietly went about addressing the issue and put down a good skim coat of new material over all the troublesome parts of Route 35 right up to the Grafton town line. It was a beautiful job and was completed before the snow arrived. It was also an expensive job, and as reported it was not the complete job that the town wanted, especially alongside the branch of the Williams River that runs beside Route 35 for a distance. The town had been trying to get state funds for that and was not getting any action from the state. Hopefully, those funds will eventually come through. You've got to give Chester credit for taking the steps they have taken to smooth out Route 35, even if it doesn't last for years and years. What their actions have done is take a big step towards making Route 35 a good ride between two of the most beautiful towns in New England. I think Chester was recently voted the prettiest town in Vermont, and deservedly so. I know that Grafton has had similar accolades for decades.

You might not agree, but the economies of the two towns are probably linked more than we know. People come from all over to enjoy their aesthetics and accommodations and often travel between the two towns to take in both. Paying attention to the condition of Route 35 is important for that cross-commerce. A bad ride is remembered and erodes the overall experience. We depend on a percentage of those millions of people who live just south of us to come here to enjoy something different. Because they are so close, repeat visits are a natural result of a good time. A road that beats the stuffing out of the Range Rover or the Porsche Cayenne gives the whole area a bad rap. Here's the ugly truth: If Vermont isn't going to make it easier for businesses with good-paying jobs to locate here, we still need to hang on to our tourism dollars. Bad roads equal bad PR.

Now for some completely different old business. Springfield area radio listeners may remember when I once did live broadcasts from the Nolin Murray Center for their monthly American Red Cross Blood Drives. My colleagues Bob Flint and Frank Zezza made those broadcasts possible. Together we were able to convince a lot of folks who had never given blood to come out. The numbers really showed it, too. So what happened? Two things. I received a letter from the Red Cross that my blood was no longer acceptable. Tests had indicated liver enzymes that excluded me. I learned that the cause of those enzyme secretions was the combination of taking Tylenol and Losec, a drug used to control acid reflux. I was taking the Tylenol for a cold I had during the last blood donation. We featured other folks for blood donation in subsequent broadcasts, interest waned, and then radio station management changed. If I have any regrets in life, not doing those broadcasts any longer was one of them.

This all happened way back in the 1990s and I was reminded of it when my real estate friend Phil, who has donated over 17 gallons of blood over the years, asked me if I wanted to join him at a blood drive recently. I'm very envious of folks like Phil and Frank Zezza who have given many gallons of their blood over the years. It is a privilege to help others in such an intimate way. When you can't give and you watch from the sidelines, it means even more.

So there it is, some old business discussed. Enjoy Route 35 and if you can, donate blood.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett can be heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 - 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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