By the way for Dec. 12

Attention: Open enrollment for the Vermont Health Connect program ends Dec. 15. “Open enrollment” is the time each year when any Vermonter can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through Vermont Health Connect. If you’re already enrolled in coverage through Vermont Health Connect, open enrollment is the time when you can change plans. The Office of the Health Care Advocate is a free resource for you. They can help all Vermonters with Open Enrollment questions or with problems related to health care. Call 1-800-917-7787 or email [email protected] to speak with a Health Care Advocate. Learn more online at
It’s not every day that someone in our midst makes international headlines. This week we learned that Stanley R. Sloan, a visiting scholar at Middlebury College, was scheduled to give a keynote speech at a conference celebrating the 70th anniversary of NATO, until the U.S. ambassador to Denmark barred him from speaking (the U.S. Embassy was a co-sponsor of the event). Why the muzzle? Sloan has been critical of President Trump. With their keynote speaker banned at the last minute, the Danish co-sponsors of the conference cancelled it entirely. Sloan, who has taught Winter Term classes at the college since 2005, has called Trump’s approach to NATO “disastrous.”
Speaking of important leaders, Vergennes Mayor Jeff Fritz is one of 44 mayors throughout the country calling for congressional leaders to pass legislation that would build 550,000 new units of affordable housing nationwide during the next decade. Fritz signed onto the letter — addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — that in part reads: “Our nation is facing one of the worst housing crises in our history. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would have a critical impact in addressing our rental housing shortages and increasing access to affordable housing for hard-working families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.” Most of the other mayors were from the nation’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The New Haven Mentoring Program is seeking community members willing to be a friend to a Beeman Elementary School student for one hour each week through the school year. The program is very flexible with the times mentors meet with their young charges and is tailored to the individual likes and needs of both. Mentors are friends and role models, not teachers or counselors, and the goal is to match children with compatible adults for a positive, on-going relationship experience. The program is coordinated by Beeman Guidance Counselor Jena Zuckerman and offers extensive support in the form of activities, arts and craft supplies, gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants, and lots of ideas for fun things to do with your mentee. There are regular events for the entire group of mentors and mentees as well as occasional pot luck get-togethers and support sessions for mentors only. If interested call Zuckerman at 453-2331, ext. 4007, or email [email protected].
Have some sweet fun for a good cause this Sunday, Dec. 15, for gingerbread house decorating at Holley Hall in Bristol from 1-3 p.m. It’s a ton of fun and the mess doesn’t have to come home with you. Cost is $25 for one house or $20 each for two or more houses. Money raised goes directly to the work of Bristol’s Have a Heart Food Shelf to reach young families in the 5-Town area. Reserve your house by emailing [email protected].
Greg’s Market, on Elm Street in Middlebury, now has a drop box for non-perishable food items for Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects. People shopping at Greg’s can pick up an extra item or two for HOPE’s food shelf. The people at HOPE are very grateful, as the number of people using the food shelf is averaging around 800 people a month.

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