Page 1

Art by Gary Blomgren

Volume 29 Issue 1

Winter ~ 2019

Free • Since 1990

Pre-K is Coming to Dummerston School

Profiles of dedicated service

By Jo Carol Ratti

There’s Only One “Shorty” By Joyce Marcel Sylvio “Shorty” Forrett remembers a time in Dummerston when members of the selectboard seemingly served forever; he himself put in 29 years. The board’s most significant decision during the time he served? Deciding to restore the covered bridge over the West River so it would forever remain the town’s most significant landmark. We owe him and the rest of that board a huge “Thank You!” Now 91, Forrett has finally left the town he loves so much. He and his wife of 66 years, Mary, now live in different units of Vernon Green; they join each other for lunch three or four times a week. “The reason I’m here is my leg,” Forrett said. “It’s hard walking. And people were afraid I would fall at home and no one would know. So I was talked into coming here.” Forrett has been “Shorty” so long that he forgets where the nickname came from. “I’ve been that way for years,” he said. continued on page 9

Unflappable Andrew McFarland

The Dummerston School community believes that a high-quality public education begins in preschool. We’ve heard this many times over the past years and it has been this belief that has motivated our work for a Dummerston School Pre-K for 4-year-olds, beginning next year (2019-2020 school year). By outlining what we know and what we still need to accomplish, my hope is that families who are looking for preschool options for their 4-year-olds next year will be better equipped to make informed decisions. Successful pre-Ks begin with a solid continued on page 11

Creating and updating town plans always stirs controversy and summons passions. Will they let me subdivide my land so I can give a piece to my kid? Will I have to keep an undisturbed parcel of woods for some bears to walk through? Can I open that quarry I’ve been planning? Will I be able to open a business on this busy road? What, you may ask, does this have to do with Andrew MacFarland? Well, the planning commission had gone through the lengthy and intensive process of rewriting the town plan, as they are required to do every ten years, after holding numerous planning sessions and public input meetings, and they had gotten to the point where they could say the plan was ready for approval, which then required them to pass it over to the selectboard for their review and approval. Part of the selectboard process is a public hearing, and on August 21, 2010, such a hearing was held in the Dummerston Grange Hall, a venue large enough to hold the expected continued on page 2

Max Rago-Marker and Hailey Cogliano (in background) All photos for this article are of kindergarten students at their Brattleboro Retreat Farm winter activity.

By Roger Turner

2 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston The Views of Dummerston is a quarterly publication of The Dummerston Community Center, and the citizens of Dummerston. The first issue was published in 1990 thanks to the initiative and drive of Mary Lou McBean. Original masthead art created by Gary Blomgren. The steering committee for the Views includes: Roger Turner, Michelle Cherrier, Fred Lee, Bob Sherwood, Sara Ryan, Linda Rood, and Lee Ives Tice. Subscriptions: The Views is mailed free of charge to all Dummerston residents who are registered voters. If you are not a registered voter in the town of Dummerston, you may subscribe to the Views by sending a check in the amount of $5, made out to the Views of Dummerston, with your name and mailing address, to: Lee Ives Tice, 230 Schoolhouse Road, East Dummerston, VT 05346. SUBMISSIONS: Articles: Please email to: Please save as either “Word Document” (Microsoft Word), or as “Text Only”, using Times New Roman font, size 12, in single-spaced lines, with no “all caps” or paragraph formatting. We also accept typewritten submissions sent to Michelle Cherrier, 72 Miller Road, East Dummerston, VT 05346. Calendar: Email to Michelle Cherrier at views@, or by note to Michelle at 72 Miller Rd., E. Dummerston 05346 NEXT ISSUE: Submissions due:

March 26, 2019


May 16, 2019

Ad Rates: All rates start in January and run for a term of four issues; the Views is published quarterly. A large or small box ad may be placed for one issue only at an adjusted rate. Checks are to be made payable to the Views of Dummerston. Small Box Ad $55 Large Box Ad $85 Sponsor $25 To place an ad or for more information please contact: Sara Ryan 387-0110 The Views of Dummerston Mission Statement Providing reports of town organizations, and stories of townspeople and their good deeds, in promoting cooperation and understanding toward creating a more “ideal” Dummerston. “All who read may also contribute!”—Mary Lou McBean, founder,Views of Dummerston

Digital Views Available To receive the Views in digital format only, send an email with your name and mailing address to:

Dummerston Selectboard Meetings Recorded and televised by BCTV and online at (Select “Watch”, select “Watch On Demand”, select “Playlist”, scroll to “Dummerston”, select meeting.)

Unflappable Andrew McFarland continued from page 1 turnout. Andrew was the moderator of that meeting, and therefore responsible for both accomplishing the business at hand—giving the plan a hearing—and maintaining an atmosphere of civility in the room. I remember leaving that meeting thinking that something pretty extraordinary had just taken place. The passions were high, and all the expected issues were to some degree or another, thrown in the face of the selectboard. And there, sitting in the middle of the table at the front of the room, managing and keeping it all under control, and making sure that everyone got to make their point relative to the proposed plan, sat Andrew. Sam Farwell was on the planning commission at the time. He recalls: “There were some personal attacks - people venting their frustrations on members of the planning commission, which Andrew quickly snuffed out by saying this is not about the people but about the plan. He said it very calmly. I saw him do this at other meetings. He was unflappable He could diffuse situations by telling a little joke or by refocusing the discussion to the issue at hand which somehow diffused the tension in the room.” That’s what I had noticed in the selectboard’s public hearing that night—an emotionallycharged meeting that had been masterfully deescalated and kept on focus by a skilled facilitator. Steve Mindel served with Andrew for awhile on the planning commission, and he similarly remembers: “I watched him at meetings and always felt that he was a calm voice of reason. He was able to make things go better. If there were issues around planning, zoning, whatever, he had a calm, dispassionate way of looking at issues to make sense out of them for himself and for others.” Cindy Jerome served on the selectboard with Andrew. “He struck me as a wise soul from the beginning. He seemed to think deeply but live lightly. He was very thoughtful and took his role seriously, but he did it with a smile and was always kind and pleasant with everybody. He was a wonderful addition to the board.” When talking to people about Andrew, there are words that come up repeatedly: wise, kind, gentle, unflappable. But Jack Manix tapped into another side of Andrew, who besides serving with Jack on the selectboard played on the Walker Farm basketball team. “People said he wasn’t such a good golfer, but he was a worse basketball player. He played on our Walker farm team. He had a very astute understanding of the basketball rules which he never failed to let the refs know about. He was fun.” Something both Jack and Cindy Wilcox recalled was Andrew’s

ability to deeply understand an issue and express his understanding of the issue clearly. Jack reminisced about how well-written the summations and letters he prepared for the board were, “for instance about the Yankee evacuation plan. He got into and did his homework, and I couldn’t believe his depth of knowledge on the subjects he got into.” Cindy recalled that when the town first had to face the issues caused by the burgeoning telecommunications infrastructure, Andrew took the lead for the planning commission on “a subject that was unknown to the rest of us,” and worked “from scratch” to create an ordinance. Jody Normandeau worked with Andrew for a short while on the school board, and found him a “very kind, good-humored, intelligent, caring person to work with.” Another side of Andrew that Cindy Jerome recalls is that “children were important to him. When we had requests for the Miller fund, Andrew thought that helping kids was always a good thing.” Andrew grew up in Newfane, and he and wife Nancy Polseno moved to Stickney Brook Road in 1979 where they raised their son and daughter Gabe and Siena. The 2016 Dummerston Town Report was dedicated to Andrew, and in it Sam Farwell summarized Andrew’s contributions to the town. “Between 1980 and 2016 Andrew served consecutively on the School Board, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Development Review Board, the Selectboard, and the Planning Commission, serving as chair of the School Board and the Selectboard. Fellow board members remember Andrew’s ability to listen attentively, and to argue his point with respect for those holding different opinions, as well as his wit and use of humor to diffuse debate. He skillfully managed contentious public hearings on the 2010 Town Plan and led the Selectboard to a compromise they could adopt. Dummerston honors Andrew’s contribution to the town through his years of service.” Cindy Jerome moderated the 2016 town meeting. “He and Nancy came into the meeting, and Andrew got a standing ovation. It felt good to honor him in that way, and it was good for him to know that we all appreciated him so much.” Sam Farwell also noted that, as wife Nancy alluded to at Andrew’s memorial service, the level of public service that Andrew committed to takes a certain toll on the family—of meals missed and evenings at meetings not spent at home. “It’s good to honor that,” Sam observed. “He was a great team mate,” Jack Manix told me. “That’s something you could say about Andrew no matter what he did—he was a great team mate, such a great guy. We’re really going to miss him.”

Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 3

town government Dummerston Selectboard

Budget and Gravel Pit Occupy Selectboard By Hugh Worden

The last few months have been busy for the selectboard. We met weekly as we developed the budget to present to the voters at Town Meeting. This year, like every year, presented challenges. There is no shortage of ways to spend the hard-earned tax dollars of our residents. While the majority of budget requests for money were kept flat year over year, or in line with inflation or COLA (1.5%-2.0%), several budget requests this year came to us with unusually high increases. I personally believe these requests, with year over year increases of 5% or more, far outpaced the actual wage/salary increases of the majority of our residents. All these requests were discretionary in nature and smaller approved increases were appropriate when balanced with the overall budget. We should not be decreasing your standard of living with unnecessary tax increases. At the same time, we must absolutely ensure our employees, elected officials, boards, and committees have the resources they need to carry out their responsibilities and support our residents. I believe the budget we have constructed and will present to the voters at Town Meeting accomplishes both. Please attend Town Meeting, voice your thoughts and vote. At the end of the day we’re all in this together! Keeping the budget in mind, these past six months have brought us a very significant opportunity to do some long-term planning for our town in regards to highway budget stability. The resources of gravel, sand and ditch stone (look into VT Act 64) availability is decreasing and expense is increasing. We have the opportunity to purchase the 32+/- acre gravel pit on US Route 5, behind ABF trucking in a joint inter-local agreement with the Town of Putney, thus sharing all associated cost and material. Since August

your selectboard has been working with the land owner, Putney, a local engineering firm, and our town attorneys to determine if the purchase is in the best interest of the towns. Background. The towns of Dummerston and Putney along with the current owner Mike Renaud worked together several years ago to get the required permitting in place to open a 16-acre gravel pit just east of AFB trucking and north of the Campfires campground. The selectboard at that time recognized the declining availability of material to maintain our roads and ditches and proactively sought additional local resources. At that time the voters approved funding, which was matched by Putney and Renaud Inc to get the required state and local permitting in place. With the successful opening of that gravel pit we secured a local source thus reducing trucking and labor cost. This joint venture has worked out well in the near term. Subsequently, Renaud Inc bought an additional 16-acre gravel pit (known as the SB pit) which is collocated. Renaud Inc worked with the Dummerston Development Review board and combined the operations of the two pits. Dummerston and Putney have been purchasing road material from Renaud Inc since the initial opening. This pit also sells material commercially. In addition, the two towns also jointly operate a sand pit off Route 5, known as the Carpenter pit. Current Status. Dummerston and Putney currently purchase our sand from the Carpenter pit and our gravel from the Renaud pit. Recently it has become clear that as a commercial operation the Renaud pit will exhaust some of its more easily accessed material sooner than antici-

pated and expenses for the towns will increase significantly due to the commercial cost of the processed ledge product. As the selectboard and road foreman look to the future needs for sand and gravel a definitive shortfall in sourcing issue became evident as well as a very steep rise in cost, if the Renaud gravel pits continue as a commercial operation. We will see our first significant budgetary increases as soon the year 2024 due to a switch in material available for gravel production, followed by another large budget increase in 2033 when the Carpenter pit is exhausted of sand and we must commercially purchase sand. Option to Purchase. The initial estimate from our engineering firm indicates the following material amounts are in the combined Renaud pit: 600,000 cubic yards of ledge, 200,000 cubic yards of sand, and 100,000 cubic yards of bank-run gravel. The estimated material in the Renaud pit, if the towns purchase it, would last: Sand until the year 2056 (we would continue with carpenter pit until 2033), Bank-run gravel until 2033, ledge product crushed to gravel and ditch stone until 2088. Associated Cost. The purchase price is set at $2,000,000, with each town contributing $1,000,000. The recommendation of the selectboard is to purchase the gravel pits with a 25-year bond. This length of bond balances interest paid and principle cost to be fiscally responsible to our residents. Estimated tax increase would be in the $20 range per $100,000 of assessed value for the first 5 years, dropping to the $10 per 100,000 range from year 6-14. After that taxes would decrease (for the highway fund) each year based on estimated budgetary increases continued on page 8

Sponsors Gordon & Linda Evans Heather & Gene Rostov Akara Draper & Linnie Jones Elizabeth Catlin & Jared Flynn Cliff Adler & Lynn Levine

How Are We D o i n g ?

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4 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

town government Dummerston Conservation Commission

Area Commissions Seek Regional Cooperation By John Anderson The Dummerston Conservation Commission has had a busy quarter, addressing citizen concerns, gathering first-hand information about the greater biotic community, and presenting an array of educational programs. In October, Vermont State Archaeologist Jess Robinson presented An Archaeological History of Vermont focusing on the Native American Woodland and Early Contact periods that covered the span of 3,000 to 300 years ago. Using evidence as sophisticated as radio carbon dating, pollen studies, and clay sourcing, much has been learned about the pre-European communities of the state. Post holes from long houses have been documented and evidence of agriculture has been found in trash middens. While archaeological studies are mandatory for state projects, the greatest deference is always shown to

native peoples, especially if human remains are uncovered. In such cases, remains are immediately turned over to tribe members for proper, respectful reinterment. In November a regional meeting of environmental groups and town conservation commissions was held at the Dummerston church. Sam Farwell opened the meeting with a presentation on attempts to conserve the Wilson property on Camp Arden Road. Commission people from Guilford, South Londonderry, Rockingham, Putney, and Marlboro then made presentations on the very impressive and forward-thinking array of initiatives they are undertaking. They also outlined areas where they thought more focus was needed. Among those was facilitating wildlife connectivity by linking West and Connecticut River habitats with unfragmented Green Mountain forest blocks. Another area needing focus was flood zone

Dummerston Planning Commission

Hoping for a Tentative Public Hearing in April By Deb Forrett

The Dummerston Planning Commission is hopeful that by late spring we will have several proposed zoning bylaw amendments to bring to a public hearing. The Commission completed a total rewrite and update of this document in 2015 which was formally adopted in September of that year. We then worked on improvements and amendments and made our last approved amendments last March. We spent much of the last year continuing to refine these bylaws, clean up our definitions, and make sure we are aligned with state statute. The input of our zoning administrator, Roger Jasaitis, has been tremendously helpful. He helps us understand the day to day implementation of these bylaws and how our work can help

or hinder his work, as well as the work of the Developmental Review Board, as they review and decide the requests of residents. The Planning Commission is ultimately committed to giving property owners the freedom to use and enjoy their property as they see fit, while also setting reasonable expectations for zoning restrictions. It makes for some complicated discussion, and the current Commission does its best to consider varying viewpoints and make balanced decisions. We do rely on the feedback of residents and encourage you to attend our public hearing in the spring. Current members of the Planning Commission are Joe Little, Sam Farwell, Annamarie Pluhar, Bev Tier, Maria Glabach, Sarah Berg, Brian Richardson, and Deb Forrett. We meet the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the town office and the public is always welcome.

protection and the cost to communities when ill-advised development in flood-prone areas leads to erosion and property loss, costly situations that can end up degrading the waterways common to us all. Many conservation issues can only be addressed regionally and these bi-annual meetings are our best chance of identifying those issues. In December, Sam Schneski, Windsor and Windham County Forester, offered a workshop on The Basics of Forestry Plans and Logging Operations. Long-term production of quality timber was the goal stressed by Schneski. Secondary objectives such as wildlife habitat and aesthetics were outlined. Sound business practices, legal contracts, bond posting, and time of harvest completion agreements were stressed as important ways to limit potential misunderstandings between landowners and logging contractors. According to Schenski there are 18,723 parcels totaling 2,479,871 acres of land enrolled in the Current Use program statewide, almost all of which will be logged on a regular basis. And woodlot owners should be actively involved in, and knowledgeable about, every part of the process. Now having reported on Conservation Commission events I’m going to ramble off into a tale about a moth, a butterfly, a plant, and the uneasy balance the three may eventually achieve. The moth, Hypena opulenta, is a native of southern Europe. The plant, black swallow-wort, is also from southern Europe. The butterfly is this continent’s much loved monarch, best known for its long distance migration to the mountains of Mexico where it over-winters. Black swallow-wort was introduced on this continent in the 1800s. It has spread from the east coast to the Midwest, as far south as Kentucky and Missouri, and well north into Quebec and Ontario. It is aggressively coninued on page 8

Sponsors Carolyn Mayo Brown & Gregory Brown Len Oppenheim Tonia & Whit Wheeler Cheryl Wilfong & Bill McKim Mary Lou & Bill Schmidt

Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 5

organizations Dummerston Historical Society

Historical Society Screens Pie Festival Film By Muriel Taylor The DVD Behind the Pie was shown at our quarterly meeting on January 17th. Produced, filmed, and edited by Theresa Maggio in September and October of 2011, this documentary reminded us of the hard work and dedication required to produce those many luscious apple treats that represent the foundation of the Dummerston Apple Pie Festival. Hearts were touched, especially as we saw and listened to those who are no longer with us as they happily rolled dough, mixed apples, and baked pies. Additional Apple Pie Festival stories were shared by those in attendance, which augmented the film and delighted all. Rot: The fight against moisture damage at our historic Schoolhouse continues. We are winning the war, although it is a long, difficult battle. Brian Lewis has completed his work repairing the underpinnings of a section of the

crawl space. We thank him for his professional attention to this job. It was not easy. Now we are making plans to divert rainwater from the roof away from the building and to address the needs of the rest of the crawl space. A capital fund account has been created and our goal of raising $25,000 to accomplish the needed repairs is under way. We are grateful to those of you who have responded and look forward to additional support as others of you are able. For more information, call Chuck Fish at 254-2554 or Muriel Taylor at 257-9358. Donations will be gratefully received by the Dummerston Historical Society at PO Box 8064, N. Brattleboro, VT 05304. Donations are tax deductible as the Society is a registered 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We appreciate your help. Thank you! The Dummerston Historical Society welcomes donations of historical interest to Dummerston and we encourage you to join us in

Evening Star Grange #154

Senior Meals Helps Overflow Shelter by Sallie J. May, Secretary Brrrrrr. Winter is creeping through the cracks in my drafty old farmhouse as I sit and ponder the workings of the Grange in the coming months. January and February are usually quiet; we pray for good weather on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays so that our area seniors can get out and come for a hot meal, a bit of conversation, and to get their blood pressure checked, or to borrow a book for a couple of weeks. On the third Tuesday we help plan and present a home-cooked meal to upwards of thirty-five people at the Brattleboro Overflow shelter, located in a former Austine School dorm. While a very old and dingy building, it provides a warm, safe place where thirty-three area homeless people can sleep in a real bed, and have a hot supper provided by area church groups, non-profits, and even individuals who bring in meals every night. Thanks to the Dummerston Congregational Church for co-sponsoring this meal each month with the Grange. We start in November and go thru March or April, depending on the weather. We have started talking about our second annual Sugar on Snow Supper, which we plan

to serve the last Saturday in March (3/30/19). Anyone who would like to help with the planning, and/or execution of this meal (formerly sponsored by the West Dummerston Volunteer Fire Department) is asked to contact Larry Lynch at 802-310-0799 or his mom, Carol, at 254-2517, and volunteer. Help with planning, prep work, serving, or clean up; we have a job for everyone, no matter how much time they have available. Please consider joining the fun. Looking ahead to later in the spring, we will be hosting the Vermont Theatre Company the first two weekends in May for their production of Gaslight. Also, we hope to again have a traditional Memorial Day program for the people of town to participate in. Do you sing, play an instrument, or speak on a specific subject relative to Memorial Day and what it stands for? Call Larry at the above number and volunteer! This is for everyone in the area, not just Grangers, and we would love to have you come and join in this activity. To learn more about the grange, call either number above, and we’d be happy to speak with you. Wishing all a safe and healthy winter, and we look forward to sharing a little more information with you in the next issue of the Views of Dummerston.

2019 as a member, a volunteer, a participant in our programs, or as a viewer of our exhibits. (Please note that you do not need to be a member of the Historical Society to attend any of our functions.) Our Schoolhouse is handicapped accessible. You are always welcome.

Donations Sought for Quarry Wagon By Ann Davis Quarry wagon update: the trees are down and the swings moved. Next phase—order wheels and build a structure to house the wagon. We’re still accepting donations for this project. This fall we hosted a Zumba class; boy was it successful! Watch for more information on another class. December brought Christmas and ginger bread houses! This was something new this year and will probably be a keeper. Everyone had fun and made many tasty houses. We even had a photographer present to record the progress. The front room is still available for long term rental. Call Jean at 802-254-9212 for more info. Upcoming events: The Pampered Chef party will be the first Saturday in March—March 2nd from 12:58 to 3 p.m. Join us to check out new cookware and gadgets and sample some yummy goodies. Our tag sales will be different from now on; we will rent space to those who wish to sell their wares—whether tag sale merchandise or craft vendors. The first sale will be held on Saturday March 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call Melody at 802-254-2594 for more information and to reserve your spot. We are looking into holding a CPR and AED (defibrillator) class at some point in the future. Please remember to be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your pet. Keep the center in mind when planning those get-togethers, classes, parties, whatever those gatherings may be. We are handicapped accessible which make us a space for all to enjoy. There is a kitchen, playground, and ample parking to complete the package. Call Jean at 802-254-9212 to make your reservation. As always, thank you to all of you who support us. Without you we wouldn’t be here.

6 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

organizations Lydia Taft Pratt Library

Library to Host Monthly State Rep Meetings By Karen Cawrse Librarian

“With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one—but no one at all—can tell you what to read and when and how.”  —Doris Lessing Did you know? When you’re interested in reading a book that’s not in our collection, we can request it through the Vermont Department of Libraries’ interlibrary loan program, Clover, through which we have access to books from all Vermont libraries’ collections. When we can’t locate it in state, a wider search takes over; I’ve borrowed books from Boston Public Library, New Hampshire, and Maine, and I’ve sent a DVD off to Louisiana. In the past year, we’ve borrowed 87 books and lent 40. We pay shipping at an average cost of $3.50 per title to send books requested from us to borrowing libraries and to return titles we borrow. Currently, we spend an average of $37 a month on this program and donations from our borrowing patrons help offset this expense. New at the Library: State Rep Visits State representatives Nader Hashim and Mike Mrowicki, representing Windham district 4, are available at the Library, 150 West Street, to discuss your legislative concerns on the last Saturday of every month from 11:00

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Annamarie 802-451-1941

Sponsors Paul & Jody Normandeau Gincy Bunker Michelle Cherrier & Philip Goepp Eleanora Patterson & Gordon Faison

a.m. to noon. Book Club Updates The Lydia Taft Pratt Library’s book club meets monthly on the third Thursday, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Community Center. Books are available for pickup in advance at the library. Recent titles we’ve read include The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (January) and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (February). The selection for March is Jane and the Waterloo Map (a Jane Austen Mystery) by Stephanie Barron (compliments of Reader to Reader and the Vermont Department of Libraries). If you’d like to join the group, contact me at or stop by the library. Latest arrivals include A Star is Born (DVD), Bohemian Rhapsody (DVD), A Spark of Light (Jodi Picoult), An Irish Country Cottage (Patrick Taylor), The Empire of the Blind (Louise Penny), Killing Commendatore (Haruki Murakami), Unsheltered (Barbara Kingsolver), Red Scare in the Green Mountains (Rick Wilson) and many more. Enter to win a gift certificate for a free book from Everyone’s Books: We’d like your feedback regarding our current hours/days of operation. To be entered in the drawing, please complete the brief survey at the bottom of page 15, either by copying into an email to (one entry per email address), or drop off your survey at the Library (but be sure to include your contact information). One winner will be randomly selected on Thursday, March 21. Currently, we are open Tuesdays 2:30-7, Thursdays 10-5, and Saturdays 9:30-noon for a total of 14 hours. To better serve the needs of the Dummerston community and to assist us with future planning, we’d like your suggestions. New Time! Little Ones Story Time meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at 10:30 a.m. Relax with other moms and caregivers while the little ones play, enjoy stories, songs, and crafts. Wish List Subscribe the library to a magazine like National Geographic, Readers Digest, or Highlights for Children. Buy a new release hardbound book online or at a bookstore and have it sent to the library. Our patrons favor mysteries and other popular fiction. If you’re a writer, consider donating your latest work to our collection. We’d be delighted to offer it to the Community. Librarian’s Winter Pick Sit down with Vermont author Katherine continued on page 15

Friends of the Library Needs Help By Linda Rood A longstanding and unique tradition of the Dummerston Town Meeting has been the Adopt-a-Book fundraiser in the library, which has raised thousands of dollars over the years to supplement our school library’s resources. This event began in 1973, inspired by Margaret and Frank Irsch along with Martha and Al Morgan, who organized a group, held a yard sale to purchase the first books, and the Friends of the Library was born. The group of ten to fifteen volunteers, who included Esther Falk, Viv Little, Althea McBean, and Winnie Vogt among others, chose and purchased books, covered and catalogued them, helped in the library, went into classrooms to give “book talks”, sponsored writers in residence visits, and provided a graduation award for creative writing. When I first joined the Friends, our young (at the time) daughter Liz loved to join me at the

Adopt-A Book operation where she got to know and share the wisdom of those wonderful older Dummerston women, help with the adoption processing, and enjoy the toffee treats Esther made each year. In recent years, technology has made book purchasing and cataloging much simpler and the Friends no longer have those responsibilities. Only the Adopt-a-Book program is surviving at this point. The original group of volunteers dwindled as members passed away or moved away, and the group now consists of only two people, Susan Wilmot and Linda Rood, who are finding that they need a few new volunteers to keep the tradition going. If you are interested in helping to revitalize the Friends of the Library, keep the organization alive, and possibly provide a nice opportunity for community service to a younger person, please get in touch with Linda Rood at 257-5608, email, or let school librarian Melissa Petroski know of your interest.

Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 7

organizations Dummerston Cares

Cares Creates Programs in Response to Survey Results By Bill Schmidt Programs of interest to almost 200 residents were identified in Dummerston Cares’ November Election Day survey. Quite a few responders also said they would like to help Cares in some way, some as teachers or facilitators of new programs. At the top of the list of programs receiving the most attention are hiking groups, tai chi, gentle yoga, social gatherings, and a book group. Other subjects include downsizing/letting go, the artist within us, end of life planning, meditation, bullying, cultivating gratitude, grief/loss, and children and technology. In all, these topics relate to most town residents to one degree or other, some having to do with aging well, others to children and families, and still others to general enrichment. The survey results are being acted on by the Cares board. Program planning in January resulted in decisions to begin an eight-week Gentle Yoga class, a ten-week Tai Chi class, and workshops on Aging in Place with Company and The Joys and Challenges of Living Alone. Also, a Cares book group may be formed and a series of spring hikes is being planned. The Gentle Yoga class, which began January 29th, is led by Judith Carpenter P.A., a certified yoga instructor. This class is appropriate for beginning and intermediate students who want

to learn or refresh restorative yoga techniques. Equipment is loaned to those who do not have their own. Depending on interest, this program may be repeated. The Aging in Place with Company program focused on social isolation as one of the dangers of growing older as a person living alone, and shared housing as one solution to this danger. This program was led by Annamarie Pluhar, author of Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates. The Joys and Challenges of Living Alone program, led by Claire Halverson, was an interactive session in which participants shared what they liked about and the challenges of living alone, and some of the ways in which the challenges can be dealt with.

Dummerston Cares and Emergency Planning By Lesley Fishelman, Akara Draper, Susan Daigler As of the writing of this article, some of our friends and neighbors were into the fourth day of a power outage. Dummerston Cares had already been interested in helping the selectboard, the Dummerston Emergency Manager, and the fire department enhance the level of emergency preparedness in our town and that long outage brought this effort to the forefront. So we have been developing an approach to move this effort forward. continued on page 16

Dummerston Cares Upcoming Programs By Bill Schmidt A Tai Chi Class will begin on March 11. It will be held on Mondays, 3:30-5:00, at the Dummerston Center Grange and led by John Hury. John is an experienced Tai Chi teacher with an interest in the relationship between Tai Chi practice and health, including for example concerns that some people have about balance and the fear of falling as they age. This class is appropriate for beginning

students as well as Tai Chi practitioners who would like to approach their practice with a “beginner’s mind.” Register or get more information by leaving a message with your name and contact information at the Cares Message and Helpline: 257-5800 or by email at info@ A Cares Book Group is in the planning stage in response to thirty-eight residents who expressed interest in the Cares election day continued on page 16

Dummerston Community Chest

Community Chest has New Web Site By Cheryl Wilfong Take a look at Dummerston Community Chest’s new website,, and let us know what you think. While you are there, you will see the list of local people who meet together three times a year to keep this organization running. The Community Chest invites you to join us in supporting our community. The Community Chest grants small amounts of money to our tiny and very local Dummerston organizations, such as Dummerston Cares and Alice’s Summer Lunch program for children who would otherwise go hungry. The Community Chest also offers some financial support to

six or eight other Dummerston organizations. The Community Chest was founded in 1940 toward the end of the Great Depression when rural communities depended on local resources for safety nets for the needy, which at that time included many residents. Over time, town Community Chests gave way to regional United Ways, so that now, only two community chests remain in the state of Vermont. We are proud that, thanks to your generosity, Dummerston Community Chest continues the tradition of “helping thy neighbor.” Follow the Dummerston Community Chest on Facebook. Cheryl Wilfong is the treasurer of Dummerston Community Chest. You can email her at

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8 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

Area Commissions Seek Regional Cooperation continued from page 4 invasive and nearly impossible to eradicate. It’s also closely related to milkweeds which are the host plants for monarch butterflies. However, any monarch caterpillars that hatch from eggs mistakenly laid on swallow-wort do not survive. Swallow-worts are agricultural pests, they crowd out native species and they are a threat to monarchs. The search started for a biological control and it was found that in Europe the caterpillars of Hypena opulenta (a moth) feed voraciously on the leaves of swallow-worts. However, there were a lot of concerns that, if H. opulenta was introduced here to control swallow-wort, it might feed just as voraciously on milkweeds, and milkweeds are vital to monarchs. They will successfully reproduce on no other host plant. Lab-raised H. opulenta caterpillars were offered a diet of those plants closely related to swallow-worts. If the caterpillars refused the substitute diet, if they didn’t survive, it was considered proof that in the wild the caterpillars would be no threat to those species. Every imaginable native milkweed was offered. The caterpillars refused them all. Testing spanned a period of ten years. Finally in 2013 H. opulenta was released

on a test plot in Canada. Since then releases have happened in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. So far results are too preliminary to judge. Populations of the moth are surviving our harsh winters. Numbers are increasing, at least somewhat. Some minor feeding damage is being seen on the leaves of swallow-worts. Researchers are cautiously optimistic. Scientists speak of these early releases as “the experimental phase.” However, H. opulenta is out there and surviving on its own. It is in all likelihood here to stay. Its range may increase, perhaps aided by further releases, until it’s found wherever there are dense populations of swallow-wort. Including Dummerston. Black swallow-wort is a scourge to mankind and a threat to native plants and to monarch butterflies. The caterpillars of H. opulenta

Budget and Gravel Pit Occupy Selectboard continued from page 3 if we had to commercially purchase material. Conclusion. This is a very significant opportunity for our town to ensure we have the resources we need to maintain our roads long into the future. By locally sourcing material from an already established pit we will minimize our needs to haul material, thus reducing future costs of trucking, fuel, and labor. Additionally, we will eliminate the need for large budget expenditures to finance permitting required to open new gravel and sand pits. Known cost of highway funding will also stabilize our budget, as we own the material and will be protected from increased commercial cost of material. We have a rare opportunity to secure a future

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may very well be a safe and effective control. However, the experiment is out of the hands of scientists now and I can’t help but be a little uneasy. Lab tests showed that there is almost zero chance that the caterpillars of H. opulenta will feed on any native plants. Put another way, there is a very slight chance that H. opulenta caterpillars will attack native milkweeds. Only a very slight chance, but … I’m glad that the decision on whether or not to release H. opulenta did not rest on my shoulders! Such tough decisions result when we introduce non-native species such as swallowworts and unfortunately more such species are introduced every day. For more information on the Conservation Commission go to http://www.dummerston

need for many years to come! There will be a public informational meeting on February 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the Dummerston School. This will be a joint meeting for residents of Dummerston and Putney. We look forward to sharing more details and getting your questions. At that time, if we don’t have an answer to a question, we will research it and get an answer for our final information meeting scheduled for February 27th. This is an opportunity for our Town. It’s a large purchase for all our benefit. The more input and questions we receive, the better. We are all looking to our town’s future. The final vote of the land purchase, bond and interlocal agreement will be on Town Meeting day. The vote regarding the gravel pit will be done by Australian ballot. Therefore, voting on this issue will be available the entire time the polls are open on March 5th. Please come out and vote, not only on this but for the open town positions. On a personal note, I am not running again this year. I have appreciated this experience, opportunity, and learned a lot. Thanks to all our elected officials, employees, and volunteers who make this a town I’m proud to call home. See you on March 5th!

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Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 9

There’s Only One “Shorty” continued from page 1 “Matter of fact, if I have to sign something, I sign it ‘Shorty.’ Part of the fact is that I was a very short person.” Forrett was one of the seven children of Fred and Alice Forrett and grew up in Brattleboro. He went to St. Michael’s School, was in the Boy Scouts, and weekends liked to climbed Mt. Wantastiquet. “We were always doing something,” Forrett said. “There was nothing in the Boy Scouts I can say I disliked. The training was great. They did everything possible to really be right there. We had meetings at the gym at St. Mike’s, and it was always very active. I feel that Brattleboro and Dummerston have been very fortunate as far as educating their children. They’ve done a fantastic job.” Forrett remembers working from a young age. “When I was just a kid in school, I worked at Bailey’s Greenhouse up on Canal Street,” he said. “I worked for Old Farmer Bailey. I always considered him the strongest man in the world. He was a wrestler, but he was also one of the nicest men to work for. If you worked for him you couldn’t swear and you couldn’t drink.” When he finished school in the early 1950s, Forrett went into the service. “I didn’t go to Korea, although my mother had five boys in the service at one time,” he said. “That was something. My older brothers were in combat. But I was in the Army Air Force. I was very fortunate that I went to radio school and my training was basically in Texas.” After the service, Forrett returned to the area. His first job was for a company that produced the heels for women’s wooden shoes—the same place his father had worked at for 30 years. “I was working there when I met Mary in the early 1950s, Forrett said. “She worked at the Book Press, running the bindery. She had anywhere from 50 to 70 women working under her. She always said, ‘People don’t work under me. They work with me.’” After the Forretts were married, they chose to live in Dummerston.

“It’s one of the nicest small towns adjoining Brattleboro,” he said. “I bought the old farmhouse on the hill on Roel Road. Then I bought the house down on Leonard Road, and I just sold that about a week ago. Dummerston was really a very nice town. When I came, Rena Reed was the town clerk. She’d been the clerk for years, and she knew everything about Dummerston. And when Rena retired, Janice Duke took over and she also did a fabulous job.” After the wooden heel factory, Forrett became a service technician for Montgomery Ward. “When you stop and think, all the outfits like Montgomery Ward, Sears & Roebuck, they’re all just about gone,” he said. “A&P, Grand Union, First National. They were the old standbys, always right there. And the wooden heel business was a good one.” After Montgomery Ward, Forrett became a salesman for Brown & Roberts in Brattleboro. He stayed there for 20 years where he achieved some notoriety in The New York Times. Here’s part of a 1992 New York Times profile of musician and Dummerston resident Will Ackerman, where they show his “impish streak”: “Once, a Japanese television crew traveled to Vermont to interview (Ackerman). During their stay, they pressed him about who his teacher was. He mentioned his father, some professors. No, his teacher! They meant in the spiritual sense. ‘Oh,’ Mr. Ackerman said. ‘That’s Shorty Forrett.’ He gave them directions to the Brown & Roberts hardware store in Brattleboro, where Shorty Forrett worked as a salesman. He had sold Mr. Ackerman all his chain saws. The Japanese crew spent 45 minutes interviewing Mr. Forrett. He told them a lot about chain saws.” Forrett doesn’t remember why he ran for the selectboard, but he’s glad he did. The biggest issue the board faced back then was having two bridges broken across the West River. One was iron and one, covered, was wood. The inconvenience of not having a bridge meant that people from West Dummerston and the West River Valley had to go into Brattleboro and circle around on Putney Road to get to Dummerston Center. “People actually adjusted to the inconvenience,” he said. Getting the state to put up a temporary bridge took a lot of work, he said. Then the board had to make a controversial decision about how to replace the covered bridge. Some wanted to tear down the covered bridge and put up a modern one that could handle truck traffic. Others saw the covered bridge as a

landmark that needed protection. “In the end, we remodeled it,” Forrett said. “It is a fantastic piece of property and I hope it never leaves the town’s care. That was probably the most interesting part of my many terms on the board, rebuilding the Dummerston bridge. It was surprising that the covered bridge won out. People wanted that covered bridge. And they got it, and it was a beautiful job of restoring. I always figured that covered bridge was Dummerston. No matter what happens, it will still be there. When you see something like that with such a strong influence on the town, it’s something amazing.” Forrett said he was the man who brought cable television to West Dummerston. “I didn’t live there, but my sister did,” he said. “And the top of that mountain fits between two other mountains, and you couldn’t get television, even with an aerial on your roof. It just wasn’t there. So one day I got to fooling around, and I said, ‘Well, we know there’s television on top of the mountain.’ So I took a small TV set up there and the reception was fantastic. So I decided to try and figure out a way to get it down to the village.” He connected with the owners of the mountain just as they put it up for sale. Forrett bid on it and, to his surprise, won the auction. “I bought the mountain,” he said. “I ran a cable up and a cable down and when I got to the foot of the mountain, after all that work, and I turned the TV on, I was amazed. It was a fantastic picture! This was all new back then. So we had cable television in West Dummerston. After a year I turned the cable over to the people of West Dummerston. It’s been very good, because people have their television and they know what is going on in the world. It worked out. There was no big company involved. The people stepped right in and took over and it was a big success.” Dummerston is a small town with a big heart, Forrett said. “It’s amazing how people come around and work together to get things accomplished,” he said. “And they do a great job. I feel I really lived a very good life.” Naturally Grown Vegetables Free Choice CSA Raw Honey 440 Miller Rd, E. Dummerston VT

10 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

school news Dummerston School Board

Act 46 Creates Planning Chaos By Kristina Naylor Act 46, adding PreKindergarten, and very tardy delivery of state budget data created more moving parts than usual in our budget process this year. Thi year, late data from the state changed our budget from the budget we proposed in our warning article, which was our best estimate at the time. The good news is that this late data lowered our budget and tax rate. Additional costs forced us all to sharpen our pencils to improve our programs and manage the tax rate. I am grateful for my fellow board members, principal, and supervisory union staff for working together and keeping our taxpayers and students at the forefront of our work in the face of this year’s challenges. Offsetting external revenue (tuition, rent, and grants aside from the statewide Education Fund grant) are down about $50K this year. Budget revenue has been affected by Act 46 since our district’s existence after July 1, 2019 is in the hands of courts and legislators. For example, our revenue does not include Dummerston’s $60K transportation grant. This was moved to the Windham Southeast Supervisory

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Union (WSESU) budget in anticipation of merging and defrayed transportation costs for all the SU districts. If we do not merge, that grant may be included in Dummerston’s revenue line but in this unchartered water, we have not included it in the revenue for our independent Dummerston School budget. Our tuition revenue is also lower because of the graduation of a tuition student. We do have additional revenue from our Small School Grant which was $37K larger than anticipated. Since our ability to retain this grant was uncertain, this was welcome news. Better late than never, this notification arrived after our articles were warned, but has been included in our budget. Over the past three years we have accumulated a surplus of $67K which we have used to lower our tax rate. Though we had planned to use surplus to lessen the impact of the PreK start-up anyway, fund balances will become property of the possible merged district, which gave an additional impetus to apply them this year. Our expenses are up, primarily from $133K in PreK costs, $31K in SU assessment increases for special education and administrative costs, and contractual obligations for salary and healthcare throughout the budget. Despite PreK fiscal soundness, the Vermont funding formula doesn’t make it easy on the tax rate. The student count that drives the tax rate (Equalized Pupils) uses the average past two years enrollment. PreK will bring more students that aren’t included in the Equalized

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Pupil count. PreK will bring $113K in additional costs that are included in expenditures. PreK is an important fiscal undertaking for the long term and so our board has made some difficult choices to assure our taxpayers can afford it in the short term. These include several reductions from last year’s budget: the guidance counselor position from full-time to an 80% position (this was increased from 60% to 100% in FY 18), our instrumental music position from 60% to 50%, and one para position. Smaller reductions include $4K for technology staff, $6K in debt service, $4K electricity savings from our solar agreement, $7K in fuel oil costs and $2K in lowered groundskeeping costs from our new contract. These reductions helped us budget for PreK and maintain our excellent K-8 programming. In determining the tax rate, there are many steps beyond budgeting for K-8. Our actual preK-8 per pupil spending increased 3.9% but the threshold penalty increases overall per pupil spending to 4.9%. A favorable statedictated “property dollar equivalent yield” results in an initial tax rate increase of 0.5%. Our Common Level of Appraisal, or CLA (a statistically-based adjustment to local real estate sale prices to achieve equity in realestate sale prices statewide) remains favorable, though slightly lower than last year. The BUHS assessment is up 1%, which slightly increases our tax rate. The resulting tax rate is anticipated at $1.68, up 1% from last year. This budget, of course, may not come to pass. If we merge because of an Act 46 ruling, this budget will be Dummerston’s portion of the merged budget. If we remain independent, we ask you to support this budget on town meeting day. In what may be our last budget, we are proud to defy the notion that small town boards can’t provide fiscally sound budgets while improving their schools as independent districts.

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Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 11

school news

Pre-K is Coming to Dummerston School continued from page 1 vision and a passionate teacher. Our pre-K teacher will have the experience and licensing endorsements that the State of Vermont requires. In addition, our pre-K teacher will be well-versed in Vermont’s Early Learning Standards (VELS), and how these instructional standards are aligned with the Head Start Early

need to be addressed, like playground space, for example. However, we also know that once the funding was in place for the necessary

Evan Sherburne Bridger Brickley

Learning Outcomes Framework, Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, as well as Next Generation Science Standards. The pre-K classroom will be located in our kindergarten wing alongside our dynamic kindergarten classroom teaching team. It has been very important to all of us at

Dummerston School that our pre-K is part of our school community. By doing so, our 4-year-olds will reap the benefits of a lot of the educational programming that already occurs here, though modified, of course, to address the needs of our preschoolers. In addition, but more importantly, we wanted to develop a program that acknowledges 4-yearolds for the unique individuals that they are. Our main objective is to provide a positive learning environment that promotes the social, physical, intellectual, and emotional growth of your child. We believe children learn by doing. We also believe children learn through play. Our pre-K classroom will offer an environment for children to learn and grow through active exploration and interaction with adults, peers, instructional materials, and nature. Individual differences are anticipated and will be planned for within an inclusive classroom setting. As we continue to work through the licensing requirements for a public pre-K class, we are aware that there are requirements that still


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teaching and support staff, there was little else that could derail our progress. We plan to have our pre-K/Kindergarten brochure available for families beginning in March. The brochure will outline the enrollment policies and procedures for next year’s pre-K program. Also, our Kindergarten registration date is Tuesday, March 19, 2019. We will have more registration information on our website. • • •

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12 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

Proposed FY19 Dummerston School Budget Compiled by Kristina Naylor

These tables show the changes in revenues and expenses for Dummerston School if Dummerston remains an independent school district, and we need to present and approve a budget for our school district at our town meeting.

Figure 1. Proposed FY19 Dummerston Town School Budget Revenue and Expense Summary REVENUE Tuition Interest Earnings

FY 18 Actual

FY19 Adopted


FY20 Proposed


$ Change


% Change






Rental Fees





Health Services—WSESU








Transfer in from Food Svs Fund Medicaid Sub Grant











Title II A Sub Grant (WSESU)





General State Support Grant


EPSDT Medicaid Sub Grant




Act 60 Small School Grant




Transportation Grant (State)





Total Revenue EXPENSES Pre Kindergarten Elementary Instruction Elementary Prog Improv. Middle School

FY18 Budget

FY18 Actual

37,910 (60,354)

$3,000,460 FY19 Budget


FY 20 Proposed

-72% 0% 17% 0% -44% -100% 0% -15% 30% 4% 76% -100% 1.9%

FY20 vs 19 $ Difference

% Change











288.7% -3.5%













Technology Education














Health Services













School board














Office of Superintendent Services







Office of Principal Services







Operation Maint of Plant







Program Improvement

Care and upkeep of Grounds Student Transportation Field Trips Debt Service Co-Curricular Activities Winter Activities Special Education Food Services

Total Expenditures























































Figure 2. Education Residential Tax Rates—FY16, FY17, FY18, and FY19 Estimated FY17 Actual

FY18 Actual

FY19 Budget

FY20 Proposed

Dummerston Tax Rate





BUHS Tax rate





Combined Tax Rate CLA (common level of appraisal)









Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 13 Good Books

Winter 2019 Good Books by Reader’s Choice By Linda Rood

Once again, another year gone by, and it’s time to hear from some of Dummerston’s readers about books they especially enjoyed in 2018. You’ve been reading about what I’ve been reading for the last three issues, and now here’s a chance to find out what your neighbors have been enjoying. As always, there is a wonderful variety and I appreciate all who shared their lists of favorite books of the year with me and you. I met Debbie Doubleday in the supermarket not too long ago, and she tipped me off to The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking, 2018). The subtitle of this book is “Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century”. That alone should be enough to tweak your interest. The book is a non-fiction account written by an investigative journalist of the 2009 theft of rare bird skins from a British natural history museum by a young American who intended to sell his loot to fly-tying fishermen and other collectors of rare feathers. It includes a history of scientific expeditions to Malaysia to collect bird specimens, the high demand for exotic feathers during the Victorian period for use in the fashion world, and the Victorian art of flytying. According to Debbie, it’s a crime story, a mystery thriller, and a history combined, and makes compelling reading. She says she couldn’t put it down. Debbie also recommends the mysteries of Louise Penny, most recently Kingdom of the Blind (St. Martin’s Press, 2018), the fourteenth book in the Inspector Gamache series. Marcy Hermansader’s list of favorite reads includes Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press, 2017), which she says is a surprising and unsettling story collection which she enjoyed for the originality of the writing and the unpredictable ways the stories unfolded. The Big Sea by Langston Hughes (Hill and Wang, 1940, 1993) is the “fascinating, plain spoken, and disarmingly honest” autobiography of the great poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Tin Man by Sarah Winman (Putnam, 2018) tells the story of the friendship of two men and how their relationship evolves through the arc of their lives, and Marcy says it was refreshing to read this after reading so many novels about women’s friendships. The New York Times reviewer says it’s a “three-hankie weeper.” Sounds great to me. Solar Bones by Irish writer Mike McCormack (Soho Press, 2017) is a novel that is “one continuous unspooling inner dialogue

that connects interior and exterior worlds in a way that mirrors lived experience.” Marcy’s final choice is Affluence Without Abundance: the Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman (Bloomsbury, 2017), a nonfiction account by an anthropologist, based on his twenty-five years of field work among the Bushmen tribes of Southern Africa. Marcy says: “Reading about their culture, so opposite to ours, invites reflection on how and why we live so differently, and what possibilities there are for change.” A check-in with Jim Bombicino revealed that in 2018 he has been immersed in Steven King’s The Dark Tower series, a group of seven novels which combines the good and evil of the gunslinging Old West with time travel. He also enjoyed reading David Sedaris’s Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) published by Little, Brown in 2017. Finally, Jim recommends the Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston Pendergast series, ten thrillers featuring an eccentric, wealthy maverick FBI agent. These well-written and suspenseful stories started with Relic (Tor Books, 2005) and a new hardcover will be out soon. Betsy Whitaker tells me she has sworn off mysteries for a while, but she enjoyed reading Barbara Kingsolver’s new book, Unsheltered (HarperCollins, 2018), is a dual narrative focused on a brick house in New Jersey, occupied alternatively by a contemporary, 21 st century family suffering economic disaster, and a 19 th century schoolteacher’s family struggling with the teacher’s wish to share the radical ideas of Charles Darwin with his students. Kingsolver finds a way to link these two stories so that they reflect each other in their characters’ common quest for survival. The other book Betsy suggests is Where the Crawdads Sing a debut novel by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018), a New York Times bestseller and the September pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. The author is a wildlife scientist, and this book about a ten-year-old girl who must fend for herself in the North Carolina marshes after her parents abandon her explores how human behavior in times of stress and isolation mirrors animal behavior. Sounds good. Steve Mindel has some great suggestions for history buffs. He says To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 (Penguin Books, 2016) by British historian Ian Kershaw is an amazing book that he didn’t want to put down. According to Steve, Kershaw sees WWI and WWII as essentially one continuing event. Kershaw

asserts that WWI could have been avoided; it resulted in the destruction of normal German society which was highly educated and cultured, and led directly to WWII. Steve says the description of 1930s Germany sounds eerily similar to the US of today. Steve also recommends Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power by Andrew Nagorski (Simon & Shuster, 2012), accounts of Americans, mainly journalists, who lived or traveled in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and wrote about what they saw. This group includes Donald Watt of the Experiment in International Living. Finally, Suzanne Weinberger sends a report on Michael Pollan’s latest book: “One of the books that stands out from my 2018 reading is Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. (It also gets my Longest Subtitle of the Year award.) Pollan’s journalistic style has always appealed to me, with his emphasis on intellectual discernment, focus, and curiosity; accurate & engaging language; and satisfying balance of research and personal experience. This book includes a lot about the history, politics, and public policy around psychedelic “molecules” — not just the new science. (For one surprising example, he details how Bill Wilson’s 12-step approach to alcohol addiction — that includes finding one’s “higher power” — grew from a trip Wilson had on LSD.) The historic fine print about a time when I was a teenager was engrossing, including analysis of how Nixon largely shut down research that was pointing the way to many successful therapeutic uses of psychedelics, largely as a reaction to Timothy Leary’s “turn on, tune in, drop out” message. According to Nixon’s advisors, the cultural enthusiasm about Leary’s mantra meant the president would no longer have anyone to fight his wars. Pollan also explores the current research into the areas listed in his subtitle and, alongside, takes us on his personal experiments with several psychedelic substances in various settings and with different guides. He does a great job of conveying them and simultaneously exploring the difficulty of describing such ineffable experiences. Highly recommended!” That’s it for this year. I’m impressed by the eclectic tastes of our readers, and I’m looking forward to reading some of these. Good reading to you in 2019.

14 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

Election 2019: Candidates’ Statements

There are no contests in this year’s election; all candidates are running unopposed. Laurie Frechette and Charlotte Neer Annis are running for town clerk and treasurer respectively, and Cindy Jerome for town and school moderator. On the selectboard, Rachel Glickman was voted in to a two-year term last year, but then moved out of town. The board appointed Lewis White to finish out the remaining first year of her two-year term, and he’s now running to finish out that term. Hugh Worden is leaving the selectboard, and Terry Chapman is running to serve in the three-year term slot he’s vacating, while Jerelyn Wilson is running for another two-year term. On the schoolboard, candidates include Jody Normandeau and Emily Evans for one-year terms, and Kristina Naylor for three-year term. Michael Silberman has been an appointed lister during the past year

Terry Chapman

Selectboard, 3-year term

My name is Terry Chapman and I am running for the three-year seat on the Selectboard. I am running for this position because I want to be an active participant in the future of this town. I am a life long resident of the area as I was raised just north of here in Williamsville. I moved to West Dummerston in 1989 after graduating from the University of New Haven and marrying my husband, Paul. Throughout my time here I have kept myself involved with the town government. Currently I serve on the Cemetery Committee and also served as Town Auditor for one year. If elected I look forward to putting the time and research into making educated decisions as well as listening to the residents to make decisions that are best for the future of Dummerston. I would appreciate your vote.

Michael Silberman

Lister, Completion of 3-year term

As a resident of Dummerston for 30 years I am running for the 3-year Lister position. Over the past year I have been serving as an appointed Lister and, with the excellent guidance of Jean Newell and Doug Hamilton, have become educated in listing practices and real estate knowledge. I have seen how committed the Lister team is to maintaining equity among properties on the grand list and look forward to working collaboratively with town property owners to attain it.

in the slot vacated by Charlotte Annis when she was elected to the treasurer’s position, and he is now running to finish out the remaining two of that three-year term. Doug Hamilton is retiring from his long-held lister slot, and nobody has taken out a petition to run for his three-year term. In the auditor department, Ruth Hoffman is running for a three-year term, and there is no candidate to finish out two years of a three-year term that Maeve Jenks held this past year. Susan Kern is running for a five-year term as library trustee, and Jeanne Bristol for the final year of a five year term. Nobody is running to complete three and four years of two additional five-year terms. Finally, Ruth Barton is running unopposed for both town agent and town grand juror, both positions that are voted on annually.


Kristina Naylor,

Jody Normandeau

Thank you for sending me back to the Dummerston Town Schoolboard last Town Meeting Day. It has been an exciting year and a pleasure to work with my fellow members who bring an equal measure of talent and passion to our board work. This past year, in addition to serving as Chair and on the WSESU board I was also elected by county-wide Schoolboard members. to serve on the Vermont Schoolboard Association as one of two Windham County Representatives. Though I have just begun my tenure on the VSBA board I am committed to making our Windham County and small community voices heard in Montpelier alongside my counterpart for Marlboro, Dan Macarthur. With big changes on our horizon such as possible forced merger and our principal’s retirement I am running for a 3 year seat. I will miss the good relationship our board has had with JoCarol Ratti, and believe a new principal’s tenure will benefit from an experienced board establishing similar rapport. If the budget is approved and we start a PreKindergarten I would also like to assure this program is on good footing. While serving on the Schoolboard might not always be a dream job, I am proud of our board’s ability to work together and find creative ways to improve our school and to support our staff and teachers. It is also a pleasure to serve a community that shares our board’s passion for quality education and careful use of public funds. I ask you again for your support on Town Meeting Day.

I am a candidate for a one year term on the Dummerston School Board. I grew up in the area and graduated from BUHS. My family was fortunate to be able to move to Dummerston in 1970. Our two sons and now our two granddaughters are products of the Dummerston school. I have always been interested in education. I started attending school board meetings right after moving here and soon became a school board member and chair, as well as volunteering in the school in many areas. I have continued my interest in Dummerston’s education and have attended board meetings on and off for many years. After the process of Act 46 began, I attended most of the study committee meetings over the last three years and have been actively involved in fighting forced merger of our wonderful school. Because of my involvement, I joined the school board last year. I am very familiar with all of the issues of the board and school and am knowledgeable of the budgeting process. Dummerston has been very fortunate to have wonderful high quality teachers and an excellent long term Principal, who make all of our students feel like family and see that they are well prepared to go on to high school and beyond. Unfortunately for us, our principal is retiring at the end of this school year. She will be greatly missed. One of the reasons, I am running is to help oversee the hiring and the smooth transition of a new principal. I am also working to maintain our high quality school as a non-merged school district. I have the time and energy to work on this process and really appreciate your support. Thank you.

Schoolboard, 3-year term

Compliments of

Priscilla Svec, P.T.

Practicing Holistic Physical Therapy 126 Main Street, Putney


Schoolboard, 1-year term

Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 15

Election 2019: Candidates’ Statements Cindy Jerome

Susan Kern

Ruth Hoffman

I am happy to again ask for your vote for Town Moderator and School District Moderator, although, due to Act 46, it is possible we will no longer have a Dummerston School District, and therefore no School District Meeting. This March 5th will be the 8th Town Meeting I’ve been privileged to serve; you’ll be voting on whether I serve a 9th time next year. In years past I was a Selectboard member, including serving as chair for a couple of years. I also chair the Social Services Advisory Committee. For work, I’m the director of Alice Peck Day Lifecare, which provides elders with assisted living, independent living and memory care. I love our Town and am honored to play a role in our community. My goals at Town Meeting are to be sure everyone who has something to say is heard, to help the townsfolk enact their will, and to be sure we’re home in time for dinner. Thank you for your trust in me over these years. I hope to earn it again.

I am running for re-election to a 5-year term on the Lydia Taft Pratt Library Board. My husband, Lou, and I retired to Dummerston several years ago. We lived briefly in Vermont decades ago, when Lou taught at Windham College. After the college closed, we promised ourselves we would retire back to Vermont. I am a retired librarian, having spent almost 40 years working in public libraries in the Northeast. Half of that time I served as the library director of a midsized library in the community in which we resided. A public library is an important asset to a town. We have been fortunate to have had a public library in Dummerston for over 100 years. I have been privileged to work with a hardworking group of library trustees and dedicated librarians for the last 5 years who are committed to expanding and improving library services to our community. I hope to be able to continue to serve on the library board for another term to help to continue to this progress. I would appreciate your support at Town Meeting on March 5th.

My name is Ruth Hoffman and I am running for Town Auditor (the three-year term). I live on Miller Road in East Dummerston.I am retired after a long career in Washington DC, first in the public sector as a tax attorney and later in the private sector as a tax consultant at a major accounting firm.My previous community service includes elected positions on a local school board and two homeowner association boards.Also, for many years I was active in my local League of Women Voters.I have the skills needed to perform the duties of Town Auditor:familiarity with financial records, years of experience in writing reports, and the ability to pay careful attention to long documents full of numbers. I would like to put my skills gained through long experience to work for the community so I am asking for your vote.Thank you.

Town & School District Moderator, 1-year term

Library Trustee, 5-year term

Library to Host Monthly State Rep Meetings continued from page 6 Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, a Russianfolktale inspired coming-of-age fantasy epic of which Publishers Weekly says: “Arden’s gorgeous prose entwines political intrigue and feminist themes with magic and folklore to tell a tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.” Our patrons who have read Arden’s first two books, The Bear and the Nightingale (January, 2017) and The Girl in the Tower (December, 2017) have long anticipated The Winter of the Witch (January, 2019), the conclusion to this exciting, moving, and beautifully written tale set in fourteenth-century Moscow and this final installment does not disappoint. “Who is to say, in the end, that the three guardians of

Russia are not a witch, a frost-demon, and a chaos-spirit?” Katherine Arden. Stay informed Join us on Facebook at Dummerston’s Lydia Taft Pratt Library to keep us with the latest news, or check out to view our catalog, sign up for Recorded Books, or explore other offerings like Heritage quest and Universal Class. This is your library. Save the date The Geranium Festival is coming up on Saturday, May 18. Silent Auction, Giant Book Sale, Food, Fun, and, yes, there will be geraniums for sale. If you’d like to offer your time, talents, and energy to this major fundraising event, contact the library at 802258-9878 or email dummmerstonvtlibrary@

COMMUNITY SURVEY 1. Open more days during the week. I suggest___________________________. 2. Open more hours. I suggest__________________________________________. 3. Open different hours on Tuesdays. I suggest _____________________________. 4. Open different hours on Thursdays. I suggest_____________________________.

Auditor, 3-year term

Corum Mabie Cook Prodan Angell Secrest & Darrow Estate Planning and Administration, Family Law, Real Estate, and the General Practice of Law 45 Linden Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301

(802) 257-5292 •

Primary Care  Emergency Care  PT/OT Just up the road in Townshend 365-7357

16 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston

Dummerston Cares and Emergency Planning continued from page 7 One step would be to have as many residents of Dummerston as possible sign up for VTAlert. VT-Alert will notify you about impending severe storms, local flooding, and provide local evacuation information if needed. You can receive these alerts via text, email, or telephone. You can sign up for this service by going to the Dummerston Cares website: https// Another step in this preparedness plan is to

have residents who anticipate needing extra help during an emergency sign up for the Vermont Citizens Assistance Registry for Emergencies (CARE). CARE is a program for those with visual impairment or profound hearing loss, mobility issues, who use home oxygen or other medical devices that require electricity, or who need care for a service animal. If you or someone you know falls into any of these categories, a sign up for CARE would be helpful. Doing so will alert Dummerston emergency

Dummerston Cares Upcoming Programs continued from page 7 survey. Suzanne Weinberg is the point person who is talking with those who would like such a group. If you are one of these folks, get in touch with Suzanne and and let her know your book interests and review with her possible timing for the group, a place to meet, and other organizational details. Suzanne can be reached at: 254-3903, or Spring Hiking: One of every three respondents to the election day survey said they’d like to join a hiking group, making this by far the most popular program request. Planning is therefore underway for an early March announcement that will include a series of six or more hikes throughout April, May and June. The Dummerston Conservation Commission is a co-sponsor for this hiking program. All hikes will take place in attractive locations in Dummerston or adjacent towns, and will vary in difficulty from very easy to moderately strenuous. The easy hikes will be shorter and on more level terrain, thus suitable for families

Sponsors Bruce & Catie Berg Shorty & Mary Forrett Gail & Lew Sorenson Barry & Elsa Waxman David & Nina Hutchison Kevin & Sara Ryan

with very young children and persons of any age who have mobility limitations. The more challenging hikes will be designed for persons of any age who can handle steeper terrain and longer distances. Each hike will have an experienced leader. Alternate dates will be planned in case of stormy weather, late-season snow or ice, or extremely muddy conditions. If the prospect of joining group hikes at easy to moderate level appeals to you, please sign up to receive detailed announcements by leaving your contact info on the Dummerston Cares Message and Helpline (257-5800),or email Also watch for announcements on local bulletin boards, Dummerston Front Porch Forum, and at the website. Call 257-1020 or the Helpline for more information or to offer your help in organizing these hikes. All Cares programs are free to Dummerston residents. Support for Cares programs and services is provided by the town, Dummerston Community Chest, and individual donations. Let us know if you would like to receive announcements of future Dummerston Cares programs. You can do this by calling and leaving your contact information on Cares Helpline (257-5800) or emailing Cares at

managers and first responders so that they can better serve you in an emergency. If you would like to register for this service, you can do so by going to the town office and picking up a form, or if you have a computer, you can access sign up details on the Dummerston Cares website: https// In addition a Dummerston Cares volunteer would be happy to help you sign up for VTAlert or CARE registries and/or to discuss any concern you might have about emergency preparedness for you and/or a family member. Just call the Helpline at 802-257-5800 and leave a message; someone will get back to you within 24 hours. As an additional step, Dummerston Cares will have a table at town meeting with information about these registries and free preparedness booklets from Vermont Emergency Management. Also we are hoping that town meeting attendees who are interested in working with their neighbors and the town’s emergency preparedness team will sign up to help organize their neighborhood to assure that there is good access to help if neighbors need it. Some families have been doing this for one another for years, but we would like to expand this support to as much of the community as possible. All of the steps above will help Dummerston’s Emergency Management team develop an enhanced emergency preparedness system for our neighbors, and reduce the stress in difficult situations.

Dummerston’s First Town Meeting And The Process for Building a Town Meeting House As recorded in the book Dummerston, by David Lufkin Mansfield THE OLD MEETING HOUSE

Births Miranda Jade Giallella


Artemisia James Montes deOca 11-15-18 Shai Tritz Euphrat


Lyda O’Donnell Euphrat 11-19-18 Remy Lee Bryck


The history of building the old meetinghouse began with the first town meeting of the settlers, Mar. 4, 1771. Action was taken to secure a lot on which to build. Isaac Miller and Benjamin Jones were the As committee to choose the lot. Nov. 23, 1772, the settlers accepted the lot chosen by the committee, and appointed Joseph Hildreth and Enoch Cook to forward the building. Charles Davenport and Lieut. Spaulding drew the plan of the house, 50x40. May, 1774, the town took action in regard to hiring preaching the year ensuing. The building of the house had so progressed that the town-meeting was held there on May 16, 1775.

Views of Dummerston • winter, 2019 • 17

1774 Town Meeting “Threatened by New York’s Tyranny” Minutes from Dummerston Records as taken from the book Dummerston, by David Lufkin Mansfield After the record of a town meeting holden on the 17th of May 1774, are the remarks of Dr. Solomon Harvey then town clerk of Dummerston. The reader may observe that no Trustees were chosen at the annual meeting as usual, which, should it excite any speculation, it may be remembered that the Government of New York who had ever since July ye 4th Anno 1764, exercised an unprecidented system of tyrany over all that territory then called State of Vermont and did in almost numberless instances, so cruelly harrass and pillage the poor new settlers in their intolerably, inhospitable

Trustees for the year, alleging that they had no right to it by virtue of any law of the Government, notwithstanding the provision made and provided in such case, and the special injunction to all incorporated societies to comply with it, and accordingly the meeting was dissolved by a majority of votes. The people finding how grossly they had been imposed on in the affair, grew uneasy at the conduct of the artful insinuator, knowing that the next step would be that the New York Judges and Trustees in their Court convened at that blood stained star-chamber in Westminster would appoint some of their immisaries to supply the place of Trustees in the town according to the law of New York made and provided in that case as aforesaid, and of consequence to avoid the

mischief entended a meeting was held on the 10th of June following at 4 of the clock in the afternoon at the house of Enoch Cook in said town previous to which an advertisement had been published by the Clerk exhibiting the articles hereafter acted on, viz: 1stly, After the meeting being opened the Moderator of the former meeting took his place in order to keep silence agreeable to the 1st article, the inhabitants voted to reconsider the vote of the former meeting for dissolving it, and to revise said meeting and 2dly chose Joseph Hildreth, Enoch Cook and Solomon Harvey Trustees for the year ensuing,. 3dly, Thomas Clark as an assessor to be joined with the other two chosen at the former meeting, after which the meeting was adjourned, and to meet at any time or as occasion might require in the judgement of the Trustees, to consider of such business as might be thought sufficient for consideration, the response for a meeting of this nature seems to have been the threatning approach of New York’s Tyranny which might require a more speedy meeting of the inhabitants than what could have been convened agreeable to the usual method. A true record of the aforesaid proceedings. Per SOLOMNN HARVEY, Town Clerk.

Sponsors Linda Rood & Roger Turner Nick & Joan Thorndike Dick & Harriet Virkstis wilderness, as rendered their hard earned pittance scarce worth enjoying, and all under the sacred and auspicious name of administering justice; for a particular account of which see Col. Ethan Allen’s treatise on the monopolizing conduct of New York relative to the New Hampshire grantees and settlers on the West side of the Green Mountains and all to reflect on the conduct of the New Yorkers in the neighborhood from the time of the commitment of Lieut. Spaulding to the common jail for high treason till after their murthering of William French and Daniel Houghton; and no man can be at a loss in regard to the truth of what is here laid down. Governor Tyron and his imps, and the minions of the British tyrant (George the third) had by their hell invented policy, their plans, commissioners and other artful insinuations, extended their influence into every new plantation over which they tyranized, and had not failed even to have some in their interest in this town who by art and insinuation overpursuaded the honest people of the town to omit choosing

Marcy Hermansader & Jonathan Flaccus Paul & Lou Nelson


Glabach Land Management

Kenneth Chamberlin


Ted & Kristen Glabach

Andrew MacFarland


Dummerston, VT 05301

Thomas Johnson


Alonzo B. Kaiser, Jr.


Opening mid-April For Plant Sales Old Favorites, New Hybrids, Rare Beauties Annuals, Perennials, Hanging Baskets Herbs and Vegetable Plants Route 5, Dummerston 254-2051

Landscaping & Excavation 802-536-4025

18 • winter, 2019 • Views of Dummerston PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. Postage PAID PO Box 468 West Dummerston VT 05357

change Service REquested

Community Center Jean Momaney 254-9212 Conservation Commission Web site: Dummerston Cares Helpline & Fuel Assistance

Are you a veteran seeking assistance?

Bill Schmidt 257-5800 email: Dummerston School 254-2733 Web site Evening Star Grange Ruth Barton 254-1128 or Fire Chief Rick Looman 258-1731 Fire Warden Marty Forrett (h)387-2180 (w)254-9877 Deputy Fire Wardens Charlie Richardson 254-6963 Wayne Emery (h)254-8708 Lydia Taft Pratt Library 258-9878 Hours: Tue. 2:30-7; Thu. 10-5; Sat. 9:30-Noon Book Discussion: 3rd Thursday, 2:00 p.m. Story Time: 2nd and 4th Thursday, 10:30 a.m. Web site: Facebook: email: Meals on Wheels Chris McAvoy 257-1236 Selectboard Senior Solutions Ruth Barton 254-1128 Springfield Office 800-642-5119 Town Garage Lee Chamberlin 254-2411 Town Office Laurie Frechette 257-1496 email: Vermont Theatre Company 258-1344 Views of Dummerston WSESU 254-3730 Websites: Official Town Municipal Calendar Local Interest

Dummerston Calendar of Events Ongoing Emergency Fuel Assistance

Cares Helpline at 802-257-5800.

Dry firewood

Dummerston Congregational Church Wood Pantry. Charlie Richardson, 802-254-6963

‘Ask Your Representatives’

Windham 4 Representatives Nader Hashim and Mike Mrowicki, Dummerston Community Center, 11 a.m. to noon, last Saturday of each month

March 2019 2 Pampered Chef Party

Community Center 1:00-3:00 p.m.

5 Town & School District Meeting

Meetings at the Dummerston Town Office:


6:00 pm

Planning Commission

6:30 pm

Every other Wednesday 1st Tuesday

Conservation Commission 7:00 pm 2nd Thursday

Energy Committee 1st Monday

6:00 pm

Development Review Board 7:00 pm 3rd Tuesday at the Community Center

Community Center

7:00 pm

School Board

6:30 pm


6:00 pm

23 Comunity Center Tag sale

BUHS Board

7:00 pm

30 Annual Sugar on Snow Supper

Historical Society

7:30 pm

May 2019 4 Vermont Green Up Day

Story Time

Dummerston Elementary School, 10 a.m.

11 Tai Chi classes

Dummerston Grange. 3:30-5 p.m.

19 Kindergarten registration

Dummerston Elementary School, call school for times Community Center 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Dummerston Grange; time & location TBA

go to for informatio

4-5, Vermont Theater Company’s “Gaslight” 11-12 Dummerston Grange, time TBA 18 LTPL Geranium Festival, Silent Auction Lydia Taft Pratt library, Time TBA

TBA Memorial Day Program

Evening Star Grange, date & time TBA

1st Monday at the Community Center

2nd & 4th Tuesday at the Dummerston School 4th Thurs., BUHS Learning Center library

1st & 3rd Monday at the Historical Society 3rd Thursday of Jan./April/July/Oct. at the Dummerston Historical Society

10:30 am

Every Thursday at the Evening Star Grange

Senior Congregate Meal

2nd and 4th Wednesday at the Grange. Information/reservations:Ruth Barton 254-1128

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