Black River Today to Cease Publication

Due to health problems, I have decided that I can no longer maintain the Black River Today blog to the level of satisfaction it deserves.

Consequently, this will be the last post to the blog.

I want to thank everyone who has been contributing posts to the blog over the past years.  It has been a pleasure editing this blog and I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefitted from it.

If there is anyone out there interested in taking over this blog, please contact the Rutland Herald at


Ralph Pace

Cavendish to Host Button Up Home Weatherization and Solar Power Workshop

Submitted by Peter J. LaBelle

The Cavendish Community and Conservation Association in conjunction with the Town of Cavendish will host a weatherization and solar power workshop on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the town office meeting room, 37 High Street in Cavendish. Residents of Cavendish and adjacent towns are invited to attend.

The workshop will begin with a presentation and discussion by a representative of the NeighborWorks/Heat Squad who will talk about how to best weatherize homes and how to finance the project. The presentation will be both informational and educational, focusing on the steps to take in order to make homes more energy efficient. There will be plenty of time for Q & A and at the end of the workshop, you will understand more about the way homes use energy and what you can do to make your home more efficient.

A representative of SunCommon Solar who will talk about using the sun to make electricity will give the next presentation. If you have thought about solar panels for your home this is a talk that you want to her. If you can’t use solar panels where you live, but would like to know more about joining with others in a community solar array to make electricity from the sun please come, listen and ask questions.

Finally, attendees will hear from the Solaflect Community Solar Park about how to invest in solar without putting equipment on their own property. Different community solar projects have different ownership structures and styles of participation. Solaflect’s community solar project guarantees that participants buy or lease solar power – getting the real thing.

After attending this Button Up workshop, you will have the information necessary to get a home energy assessment or audit, including a solar power evaluation. You will also better understand what steps you can take to make improvements, and you will know about how to make solar power work for you.

For more information about the workshop, please call Cheryl Leiner at 802-226-7820 or Peter LaBelle at 802-226-7250.

“UP”, An Animated Story of Youth and Age, Next Movie, November 8

Up movie photo 1

The next FOLA movie at the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium will be “Up” on Saturday, November 8 at 7 PM.
Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner) and an earnest young Wilderness Explorer named Russell (Jordan Nagai). By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfill his dream to see the wilds of South America and to complete a promise made to his late lifelong love. Another masterful work of art from Pixar, Up is an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth.

Edward Asner was praised for his portrayal of Carl, and a montage of Carl and his wife Ellie aging together was widely lauded. The film received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, making it the second animated film in history to receive such a nomination (and Pixar’s first Best Picture nomination), following Beauty and the Beast.

A young Carl Fredricksen idolizes explorer Charles F. Muntz. However, Muntz has been accused of fabricating the skeleton of a giant bird he says that he discovered in Paradise Falls, and vows to return there to capture one alive. One day, Carl befriends Ellie, who is also a Muntz fan. She confides to Carl her desire to move her “clubhouse” — an abandoned house in the neighborhood — to a cliff overlooking Paradise Falls. Carl and Ellie eventually get married and grow old together in the restored house. Though they planned to have children together, Ellie is diagnosed as infertile. Carl therefore wants to fulfill their promise of travel to South America, repeatedly pooling their savings for a trip to Paradise Falls. An elderly Carl finally arranges for the trip, but Ellie suddenly becomes ill and dies.

Some time later, Carl still lives in the house when he accidentally injures a construction worker over damage to his mailbox, and a court orders him to move to a retirement home. However, Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie: he turns his house into a makeshift airship, using thousands of helium balloons. Russell, a young Wilderness Explorer, becomes an accidental passenger in his effort to earn his final merit badge for assisting the elderly.

The relationship between Carl and his wife Ellie has been praised in several media outlets. In his book Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Message of Children’s Films, author M. Keith Booker described the love between Carl and Ellie as touching. While also describing the scene of the two of them aging as a “masterpiece of its own kind,” he was not sure how much children would appreciate the scene, commenting that his son was squirming in his seat during the scene. Reelviews editor James Berardinelli praised their relationship, stating that it brought a tear to his eye in a way no animated film has done, including anything by famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki. Ann Hornaday praised the prologue, describing it as “worthy of Chaplin in its heartbreaking poignancy.” Chicago Tribune editor Michael Phillips praised the scene, describing it as an emotional and cinematic powerhouse, and that he also was nearly moved to tears.

As with all FOLA movies, the film is free; donations are appreciated. Popcorn will be provided by Berkshire Bank and water by FOLA. For information, call 802-228-729 or

Ballads of the West and Celtic Tradition Come to Ludlow Auditorium Nov. 15


BRGNS Starts Preparing for the 2014 Version of the “Stick Season Social” Planned for November 1 at Sam’s Restaurant

Black River Good Neighbor Services is geting ready for that outstanding social event of the fall!

Plans will shortly be detailed for the 5th annual Stick Season Social which will be held on Saturday, November 1 at 6 PM at Sam’s Restaurant.

You can get a jump on ensuring that you and your family and friends have a seat at the table now. Since there will only be 130 tickets sold, now is the time to get yours!

Click HERE to find out more about getting your tickets! You can also get your tickets by contacting BRGNS at 37B Main Street, Ludlow, VT 05149 or at the Thrift Store at the same location or by calling 802-228-3663.

Remember how much you enjoyed last year’s SSS event! Great food, wonderful silent auction and raffle, plus great company.

Don’t miss this great social event that helps BRGNS help others!


Ludlow Resident Asks VT Attorney General If Gas Price Fixing Exists in Ludlow

(The following series of emails, initiated by an email from Allen Seiple of Ludlow to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office alleges possible price fixing by Ludlow Gas Stations.  It is printed by BRT in the interest of advising area residents and seeking their input on this matter.  Please let us know your opinion on this question by sending it to – The Editor)

Sent Oct. 15

To whom it may concern

Ludlow Vermont has 4 gas stations within walking distance of each other.   For the past year, we have been paying a 20 – 30 cents/gallon premium to singular stations located in more rural areas.   While the wholesale price of gasoline has fallen 20% during the past 3 months, the retail pricing in Ludlow has almost remained almost unchanged.   You can travel to Rutland and get gas for $ 3.17/gallon while we pay $ 3.49.   I would like you to investigate that we do not have price fixing in Ludlow.   With multiple outlets, it would seem that competition would allow for lower prices than you would find at a lone station 10 miles away in a more rural area.


Allen Seiple

Sent in reply to Seiple’s email by Ralph Pace on Oct 15

Thanks, Allen, it is a question that deserves an immediate and unambiguous answer.  Ralph Pace, Ludlow

Sent Oct 16 from the VT Attorney General’s Office

Mr. Seiple, 

Thank you for contacting us. If you can provide us with the names of the businesses that you reference, I can enter the concern into our system where it is available to our attorneys and investigators. 

Please note, Vermont law requires that investigations be kept confidential, so we would not be able to disclose whether or not an investigation were being undertaken, or the results of any investigation, except as part of a court filing. As such, an “unambiguous and immediate answer”, at least in regards to the question of investigating, is unfortunately not something we can provide. However, as you may be aware, the Attorney General has spoken recently about concerns regarding gas pricing differentials around the state, and the office takes anti-trust and unfair competition concerns very seriously. 

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions. 

Best Regards, 

Jason M. Duquette-Hoffman, M.S.

Program Coordinator 
Vermont Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Assistance Program
146 University Place
Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-8755 (Direct line)
(800) 649-2424 (Consumer Hotline, toll free in VT)
(802) 656-1423 (FAX)
(Sent Oct 16 from Seiple to VT AG Office)
Here are the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the 4 stations in Ludlow.

Sunoco   224 Main St   802.228.8662
Mobil   195 Main St   802.228.7362
Ludlow Shell  129 Main St   802.228.4299
Cumberland Farms 143 Main St   802.228.4693

The large price disparity to other more rural geographic locations, along with the consistency in pricing should be of concern.


Allen Seiple

2nd Annual Black River Folk & Blues Fest Brings Top Musicians to Ludlow

On Saturday, October 11, at 7 p.m., the 2nd Annual Black River Folk & Blues Fest will bring an eclectic group of musical acts and talented musicians to the stage at the Ludlow Town Hall auditorium. Hosted by the non-profit community group, FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium), the music fest has lined up three top-notch, New England-based musical acts for this, its second annual event.

Bruce Farr, Program Director for FOLA, said the lineup for the upcoming music fest is first-rate.   “We’re bringing three excellent musical acts to our stage this year—all of them from New England,” he noted.   “For this event, we really seek out the finest our region has to offer musically, and this year will be no exception; I’m very excited about it.”

The three performers at this year’s event are as follows:

Meadows Brothers

The Meadows Brothers, from Chester, Connecticut, are as the critics say, “Talented and polished, their sound somewhere between the ‘high

Pictured above are The Meadows Brothers who will perform at Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Oct 11 as part of the 2nd Annual Black river Folk and Blues Fest.
Pictured above are The Meadows Brothers who will perform at Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Oct 11 as part of the 2nd Annual Black river Folk and Blues Fest.


lonesome’ of Bill Monroe, the simple sophistication of Woody Guthrie, the haunting melodies of the Appalachian Mountains, the backwoods blues of Robert Johnson and the hard driving country of Johnny Cash. It’s American music in its truest sense, drawing heavily on a myriad of influences to create something new and authentic.’”

Sarah Blacker

Boston-based Sarah Blacker was named “Female Performer of the Year”

Sarah Blacker, shown above, is one of the three classic folk and blues performers who will be featured in FOLA's 2nd annual Black River Folk and Blue Fest on Oct 11 at 7 PM in Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium.
Sarah Blacker, shown above, is one of the three classic folk and blues performers who will be featured in FOLA’s 2nd annual Black River Folk and Blue Fest on Oct 11 at 7 PM in Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium.


in the New England Music Awards last year, was the Boston Music Award nominee for inger/Songwriter of the year, and was also a nominee for Songwriter of the Year for her single, ‘Shiver,’ in this year’s New England Music Awards. Her heart-felt version of songwriting has been coined, “Sundress rock,” and she was recently called “one of the brighter artists to grab our attention recently,” by national Roots publication, No Depression. The Boston Herald’s Jed Gottleib said of her, “Sarah Blacker makes some of the most interesting folk music in Boston — mostly by making ‘folk’ the starting point and reaching out toward rock, Americana and progressive music.” She is a prolific singer/songwriter currently in the studio recording her 3rd full-length album.

Dave Keller Band

The Dave Keller Band, from Montpelier, Vt., should be well-known to blues and soul aficionados everywhere. One music critic called Keller

Burlington native Dave Keller and his band will appear in Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Oct 11 at 7 PM as part of FOLA's 2nd annual Black River Folk and Blues Fest.
Burlington native Dave Keller and his band will appear in Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Oct 11 at 7 PM as part of FOLA’s 2nd annual Black River Folk and Blues Fest.


“one of the finest soul and blues men of his generation.” His new CD, Soul Changes, earned a 2014 Blues Music Award Nomination (BMA) for Best Soul/Blues Album. His previous CD, Where I’m Coming From, won the 2012 Best Self-Produced CD Award at the International Blues Challenge (IBC).

Keller has earned the respect of the torchbearers of the blues: recording and co-writing with legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl; touring regularly with Mississippi blues master Johnny Rawls; and spending many years as the protégé of soul/blues singer Mighty Sam McClain, who says, “He’s for REAL!! Y’all check him out!!”

Doors for the event will open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and available at Ludlow’s Book Nook bookstore on Main St.; the People’s United Bank, located in the Shaw’s shopping plaza; and the Wine & Cheese Depot, on Depot Street in Ludlow. Tickets are also available online at the FOLA website:, or at the door on the night of the event.

A Little RiverSweep Update from BRAT

(First photo, credit to Kelly Stettner, featuring volunteers Mark Blanchard, Mo Stettner, and Sean Sullivan with just some of the tires they removed with Bob Bove and Henry Woodbury; additional photo by Lincoln Applied Geology, Inc. featuring Hillside Auto employee standing by the excavated tank-below)

(First photo, credit to Kelly Stettner, featuring volunteers Mark Blanchard, Mo Stettner, and Sean Sullivan with just some of the tires they removed with Bob Bove and Henry Woodbury; additional photo by Lincoln Applied Geology, Inc. featuring Hillside Auto employee standing by the excavated tank-below)

Submitted by Kelly Stettner
As if pulling out 47 tires from the bed of the Black River wasn’t accomplishment enough, volunteers for the Black River Action Team discovered a huge metal tank embedded in the sediment below the Paddock Road Bridge in Springfield during the annual RiverSweep cleanup event held recently.
Since tugging on it with a rope didn’t work to loosen the mammoth piece of metal and released what appeared to be an oily sheen into the water, the 5-person “tire brigade” returned to BRAT HQ to report the location of the tank. BRAT Director Kelly Stettner reached out to the CT River Watershed Council, BRAT-Tank removal, excavated tankwho recommended she talk with the State of Vermont’s Hazardous Materials Division.
Within 24 hours, a contractor was dispatched to the scene to scout and plan the extraction.
A large crane-truck was secured from Hillside Auto, and the fine folks at Lincoln Applied Geology, Inc. tackled the project just a few days later.
The tank, some 500 pounds of heavy metal, was old and rusted open at one end already; the team discovered no oil- or fuel-based contents. The oily sheen observed by the BRAT crew was likely caused by disturbing some decaying organic material inside the tank. A series of ropes, chains, and pulleys were employed to extricate the old tank from the riverbed. It was then hauled away for scrap, leaving the Black River with a bit less junk in the water.
The BRAT wishes to extend thanks to Conrad Zeller for his “boots in the river” efforts; to Lincoln Applied Geology, Inc. for their efficient and careful work; and to the State of Vermont for moving so quickly on this potentially hazardous (and definitely arduous!) task.

Community Service Hours for Mt Holly Kids

Submitted by Karen Leonard

mt holly community service hours

Ludlow Real Estate Activity 2015

Thanks to the generosity of (FOLA) Friends of Ludlow Auditorium, the real estate pixLudlowReal Estate transaction monthly update will continue on Black River Today – based on data supplied by the Ludlow Town Clerk’s Office. The format of the data has been revised to only reflect actual sales in the dollar and transaction count figures and graphs. The transfer data for 2015 is available by clicking this link.

If you wish to be placed on an email list advising you of the availability of monthly updates to the Ludlow Real Estate Activity, please sent an email to indicating your name and email address with “Ludlow Real Estate Activity” in the Subject line of the email. Please take a look at FOLA’s site,, and, if you believe this service is a benefit to you, perhaps you may help FOLA continue its mission of serving the area residents and visitors.