By Senator Alice Nitka, Windsor CountyApril 18, 2014

These are the days of Spring school trips.Children are “exploding” off of school buses onto the front lawn of the State House, having been sitting on the bus for long hauls to get to Montpelier.It’s not easy to be quiet in the State House after a long trip and to listen to a tour guide talk about history and an old grey building but they are doing it almost every day here. One of the first things they do is try to find the many fossils that are in the marble floor in the entry way. If possible, students are introduced as a group to the members of the House of Representatives.They also get to hear from some of our 8th grade pages who are working at the State House. Many students are following certain bills and the older ones are preparing reports and interviewing legislators. They want their opinions on bills and why they might or might not vote a certain way on a bill. Some issues in bills that were raised by students today as one passed them in the hallways were about: eyewitness identification involving a crime, food labeling, drunk driving penalties, requirements to work and serve alcohol and bullying consequences. They’ve been doing their homework and are ready with their questions.
Issues directly affecting children are topics undergoing study every day here. In addition to all the education bills that will affect our 89,000 students in grades K-12 are other bills such as H-581 re Guardianship of Minors. This bill was presented following a report by a study committee, comprised of parents, relatives of children, judges, social workers, lawyers and other interested parties who worked for almost two years to get consensus where ever possible on issues affecting children who needed guardians and to have it be in the best interests of the child. There are approximately 3000 children under guardianship in VT. Some are due to parents in the military and deployed overseas, incarcerations, substance abuse situations, mental illness, disabilities and deaths. The majority of guardianships are with relatives but many are with other parties. There are also financial guardians for some children as well. The bill spells out responsibilities in consensual and non-consensual arrangements, powers and duties of the guardian, etc. while keeping with the presumption that the interests of a minor child are best promoted in a child’s own home if possible. This bill gives clear guidance and will hopefully reduce conflicts. It protects the rights of parents while addressing the best interest of the child. The bill is most likely to pass this month and become law on September 1, 2014.
Many bills are moving around so if you are trying to follow a particular bill you can see its status on the web or feel free to give me a call. Contact me at home at 228-8432, the State House at 1-800-322-5616, or PO Box 136, Ludlow, VT 05149.

OPUS 28, State-Wide Student Music Feature, Takes Center Stage in Ludlow, April 30

Pictured above are the students, teachers, and performers at the OPUS 24 performance on the stage of the Ludlow Town Hall auditorium in 2012.

Pictured above are the students, teachers, and performers at the OPUS 24 performance on the stage of the Ludlow Town Hall auditorium in 2012.

Three area students have been selected to join 21 other state-wide students at OPUS 28 on Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 PM at the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium as classical musicians play the original compositions created by the selected students. The area students honored by having their original compositions selected, out of the more than 80 students who competed for this honor, are Erik Heitsmith, Grade 5 and Rosie Saccardo, Grade 5 both from Ludlow Elementary School, and Abby Crowley, Grade 6 from Mt Holly

Pictured above are, from left to right, Erik Heitsmith, Grade 5 and Rosie Saccardo, Grade 5 both from Ludlow Elementary School, whose original musical compositions will be included in the OPUS 28 concert at Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, April 30.  Abby Crowley, Grade 6 from Mt Holly Elementary School, photo not available, is also included in the concert.

Pictured above are, from left to right, Erik Heitsmith, Grade 5 and Rosie Saccardo, Grade 5 both from Ludlow Elementary School, whose original musical compositions will be included in the OPUS 28 concert at Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, April 30. Abby Crowley, Grade 6 from Mt Holly Elementary School, photo not available, is also included in the concert.

Elementary School. 

The students, with the help of music teacher Constance Wilcox and the on-line musical composition computer program, ‘Inside Music’ and ‘Noteflight’ located on the web, created their own compositions that were submitted to Music-COMP. Statewide, over 80 students participated in the competition. Ultimately, about 24 of these compositions were selected for the April 30 concert in Ludlow. The compositions will be played by professional classical musicians, some members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, Ludlow also hosted the OPUS 24 concert in the town hall auditorium. FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) will assist Music-COMP in arrangements for the concert. Selected student compositions will be played at the concert. 

Here’s how it works: Each student is mentored by a professional composer on our online forum throughout the school year. Then, we choose around 24 of these student works to be performed at each Opus concert. The selected students travel with their music teachers to the event to participate in day-long workshops, interviews, and even get the opportunity to rehearse their piece with the ensemble leading up to the evening’s performance. 

The entire OPUS program is run by Music-Comp. Music-COMP, formerly known as the Vermont MIDI Project, serves over 7,000 students each year to explore music composition in music classrooms and independently at home. Our community involves professional composer mentors who respond to student work-in-progress posted in an online forum. Teachers in participating schools play an important role too, introducing students to music composition and supporting their work. Music-COMP hosts two live performance concerts each year; a winter event featuring brass, percussion, piano and voice and another concert in the spring featuring strings and woodwinds. Throughout the year, the work of individual students is featured in numerous other concerts in collaborations with other performing organizations such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, Champlain Philharmonic, Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and others. 

FREE American Red Cross Babysitter Training, May 11

Submitted by Lynne Herbst

Still Time to Sign Up!  FREE American Red Cross Babysitter Training.

Calling all kids age 11 to 15

The Mount Holly Town Library on Sunday, May 11 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Reserve your spot by calling Lynne Herbst at 802-259-2823 or by emailing

A pizza lunch will be provided.

Glow in the Dark 5K run/walk, May 10


Submitted by Katie Cloutier
Join us! On May 10th a 5K glow-in-the-dark walk/run will be hosted in Ludlow to benefit the Down Syndrome Research & Treatment Center and the Black River Valente Scholarship funds.
Registration is 6:30 PM at the Ludlow Community Center with a start time of 7PM!   
Child: $ 15.00 (ages 6-13) Adult: $ 25.00 (ages 14-50) Senior $ 20.00 (ages 51 and up).
Glow in the dark shirt decoration at registration!   Bring your headlamps and reflective gear!  Please, for safety, no strollers or dogs!  Interested in volunteer hours? Need more info??   Contact Katie: (802) 770-0308.

Cavendish Calendar Looking for Sponsors

CCCA 2014 Calendar Cover

Submitted by Peter J. LaBelle

The Cavendish Community and Conservation Association produces a calendar each year that celebrates some aspect of life in Cavendish.  Community members take pictures and the best twelve are selected to grace the pages.  The calendars sell to the community in time for the holidays each year.  The 2015 calendar will be in production this summer and the organization is looking for sponsors.  Sponsors can be businesses, or individuals can sponsor a page in honor of a group, an organization or a special person. 

The next one will be the tenth annual calendar.  “Each year the print run sells out and the calendars are distributed all around the greater Cavendish area,” said Robin Timko, President of the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association.  “We always have room for more sponsors.  The money raised helps us produce a number of programs and events, including our nature talks and summer concerts.” 

Sponsorship is $120 for a month or $65 for a shared month.  Sponsors name and logo are prominently shown on the page.  To sponsor a month, or for information about the organization, please call Robin at 226-7736.


Submitted by Mary McCallum

On the first Saturday in May, Cavendish will join hundreds of communities throughout Vermont to support the 44-year-old tradition of picking up roadside trash accumulated over the previous winter. Green Up Day is a time honoredgreen up vt 2014 logo volunteer opportunity that unites communities, raises environmental consciousness and results in cleaner roads for us all.

While volunteer participation has fallen in recent years, Green Up Day is alive and well and needs your support! It’s early enough to mark the date on your calendar and come to Cavendish Elementary School on May 3rd with friends and family to pick up special green trash bags, protective gloves and your user-friendly road assignment. The big sweep begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at noon with a free town sponsored barbecue on the Proctorsville Green. Rain date is Saturday May 10.

In 2013 we had 35 motivated folks turn out for this iconic Vermont experience—please help us surpass that number in 2014. For more information about Green Up Day or to volunteer to help with the big push before the day arrives call Diane McNamara at the Cavendish Town Office at 226-7292.

The Lloyds Bring “Love Letters” to Ludlow, May 17

love letters title page photo

Written by A. R. Gurney, “Love Letters” was first performed by the author, himself, and Holland Taylor, opening at the New York Public Library in 1988. It

Barbara Lloyd

Barbara Lloyd

has since been performed by Kathleen Turner and John Rubinstein on March 27, 1989, at the off-Broadway Promenade Theatre. The play grew in popularity and has become a major vehicle for a number of actors.

Among those who appeared in it were Barbara Barrie, Philip Bosco, Stephen Collins, Victor Garber, Julie Harris, George Grizzard, Anthony

Sam Lloyd

Sam Lloyd

Heald, George Hearn, Richard Kiley, Dana Ivey, William Hurt, Marsha Mason, Christopher Reeve, Holland Taylor, George Segal, Christopher Walken, Joan Van Ark, Treat Williams, and Frances Sternhagen.

“Love Letters” will be performed with no intermission.

There will be no charge for admission to the play; however, donations are appreciated .  The Lloyds are performing this play as a gift to the community.

Due to the subject matter and adult content of the play, this play is not recommended for children.

For information, or 802-228-7239.

Ludlow names building for $1.5M benefactors

(The following is extracted from the Rutland Herald)
By Kevin O’Connor, Staff Writer | April 12,2014

LUDLOW — This town will honor late residents William and Phyllis Agan — the latter who bequeathed $1.5 million to more than a dozen local charities — by dedicating a Main Street building to them.

The old armory garage that now houses Black River Good Neighbor Services will be named after the couple, the town Select Board voted unanimously this week.



rummage sale sign
Submitted by Peter J. LaBelle

Black River Good Neighbor Services will hold its annual Spring Rummage Sale at Fletcher Farm, 611 Route 103 South in Ludlow on Friday and Saturday, May 16th and 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday May 18th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  At this time there is a need for all sorts of clothing, but especially summer clothing, housewares, linens and furniture.

Please bring donations to the thrift store at 37B Main Street in Ludlow, or for larger items please call 802-228-3663 to arrange a drop off time at Fletcher Farm.  Donations will be accepted at Fletcher Farm in the week before the sale, but are welcome now.

Proceeds from this sale benefit BRGNS’ food and financial assistance programs.  “This is really a community effort.  Folks donate their unwanted items to us, and we put our earnings right back into the community,” said Audrey Bridge, Executive Director of BRGNS.  “Although the economy has improved, demand for our services continues.  There are still people going hungry and needing help with housing and clothing costs; so we keep running the rummage sales,” said Bridge.  The monies raised will help cover the cost of utilities, heating fuel, food and rent for qualified individuals and families in Ludlow, Cavendish, Mount Holly and Plymouth.

For further details please contact Audrey Bridge at the Black River Good Neighbor Services Thrift Store, 37B Main Street, 802-228-3663, or

Submitted by Peter J. LaBelle


Win a Brand New Dune Buggy

dune buggy spring rummage sale 2014

Submitted by Peter J. LaBelle

Black River Good Neighbor Services, Inc. is raffling a brand new, just out of the box, electric Dune Buggy to benefit the food and financial aid programs that it sponsors.  This vintage-cool ride will give kids and tweens plenty of buggy thrills.  The updated dune buggy features a bucket seat, diamond plate floorboard, knobby tires and terrain following suspension.  For children ages 8 and up, 120 lbs max, it features variable speed, rechargeable electric motor and steel construction.

Tickets are available at the thrift store, 37B Main Street, Ludlow.  Drawing will be held at the Spring Rummage Sale at Fletcher Farm on Sunday, May 18th at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets cost $2 each or 8 for $10.  The buggy has a $350 retail value.

For further information please call Audrey at 802-228-3663.  The buggy is on display at the thrift store.  Store hours are 10-4 Monday through Saturday.