By the way for Mar. 21

It’s official: Vermont’s Best Beard hails from Bristol. The hairy growth on the face of Bristol’s Steve Reilly earned that distinction last Saturday when he participated in the Third Annual Vermont Beardies fundraiser, which surpassed its goal and raised $52,420 for Vermont’s Wish Kids. Reilly won for having the Best Backwoods Beard, and took the top honor by edging out the winners for Best Urban Beard, Best Freestyle Beard and People’s Choice Beard. Congratulations to Steve and his whiskers.
Another man with Bristol connections also was a winner recently. Starksboro resident, Mount Abraham Union High School graduate and U.S. Ski Team member Ryan Cochran-Siegle on Monday won the downhill at the U.S. Alpine Ski Championships at Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Ryan Cochran-Siegle edged Thomas Biesmeyer by 0.13 of a second. Well done, Ryan.
A Ripton author and 1967 Middlebury College graduate, Richard Hawley, has recently published a memoir, “On My Way Out.” Hawley, the former headmaster of the University School in Cleveland, Ohio, has previously written many studies of education and works of fiction, including, “The Headmaster’s Papers.” 
An age-old question could be answered this Saturday: Who produces the best maple syrup in Starksboro? This Saturday’s Sugar on Snow benefit for the Starksboro Meeting House is set to include a “Best Maple Syrup in Starksboro” competition. Entries (a pint of syrup, preferably amber) are due at the Common Ground Center at 473 Tatro Road by 5 p.m. on Thursday. Those seeing this too late to enter can find out the results by attending the events on Saturday and help raise funds for a good cause. Oh, it’s also Maple Open House Weekend, with 138 sugarhouse and partner businesses around Vermont participating, no doubt some in Starksboro and elsewhere in Addison County. The Middlebury Inn is offering out-of-town visitors a maple getaway weekend if anyone has friends or relatives looking for an excuse to visit.
Monkton town officials are advising residents to be careful on town roads, especially considering this weekend’s dicey forecast, because the town’s older snow plow and sand truck is once again on the disabled list. Officials said town crew members will be doing everything they can to keep up with the equipment they have, but might not be able to meet their usual high standards. And, yes, this is the truck residents voted to replace at town meeting, but town officials are just hoping the new truck will be delivered before next year’s plowing season. 
Goshen and Salisbury are also having seasonal road problems. This past Friday and Monday Addison Central School District buses could not drive on the muddy back roads in Salisbury and school kids had to be picked up and dropped off at the nearest paved road. And Vermont State Police were spreading the word last Friday that Carlisle Hill Road in Goshen was closed due road conditions. Did everyone notice that today, Thursday, is the first full day of spring?
Porter Hospital will be offering a free diabetes management program that will begin Tuesday, March 26, at the Bristol Federated Church in Bristol. According to Porter, trained facilitators will be there to help people with Type 2 diabetes learn and receive encouragement to eat better, become more active and decrease the risk of serious health problems related to diabetes. This workshop will run six weeks from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and is free, but registration is required. To learn more or register contact Courtney Thorn at 388-8860 or [email protected].
Intimidated by the pile of stuff in your attic? An Ilsley Library program co-sponsored by the Henry Sheldon Museum is here to help. “How to Weed Your Attic: Getting Rid of Junk without Destroying History,” a talk by authors Elizabeth “Wiz” Dow and Lucinda Cockrell will be offered at the Ilsley on Tuesday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. According to the organizers, Down and Cockrell will help attendees make decisions about what to keep or not keep when cleaning out storage spaces or entire homes — especially when it comes to the historical value of items that could be preserved or donated.

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