By the way for Aug. 13

There’s been a lot of blaring on social media about the horn in the former Bristol Fire Department station that used to sound — quite loudly — at noon. Some folks have been yearning nostalgically for a return of the horn, which was installed in 1925. Others have been chiming in with “good riddance.” Well, Bristol Fire Chief Brett LaRose recently weighed in with this explanation of why the horn was retired: “It has been six years since the fire horn last blew at the noon hour. When the new West Street Fire Station was constructed, as part of the history of the fire department the fire alarm horn and the large air tank that supplied the air to the horn were moved and installed in the new station. Today the only time the old fire alarm horn is turned on and blown is for the ‘final alarm’ for a deceased firefighter during funerals. There are no plans to restart and use the fire alarm horn on a regular basis.”
Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley is encouraging people who put signs out on their property — be it “Black Lives Matter” or a political candidate sign — to put a unique mark on them (but not their name or a personal ID number) that could help Middlebury police identify the sign in the event that it’s stolen. Since many of these signs are generic without a “bar code” to trace it back to an owner, tying it to a specific theft would be difficult. Owners of signs that get stolen could report the theft to police, or better yet, give them a photo of the marking, so that it is more easily traceable if recovered.
The Starksboro Food Shelf will be open this week on Saturday (Aug. 15) from 9 a.m. to noon. The food shelf is across the parking lot from the Starksboro post office and is open to all town residents. The building is currently restricted to food shelf volunteers due to COVID-19. When you arrive at the food shelf, please stay in the parking lot and a volunteer will bring groceries to you.
The Department for Children and Families (DCF) has launched a new grant program to help mitigate COVID-related operational expenses and losses for child care and afterschool programs, summer day camps, Parent Child Centers, and to support telehealth services provided by Children’s Integrated Services agencies. In July, the Legislature allocated $12 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funding from the CARES Act to help programs with COVID-related expenses and losses. This funding is being awarded to programs through the Operational Relief Grant (ORG) program. Applications for this program will be accepted through Aug. 26. Questions on the program will be accepted through Aug. 14. Notification of awards are anticipated by Sept. 11. Questions can submitted by emailing [email protected] or calling 802-241-0151 and leaving a message with your question. Questions will be answered by posting the question and answer in the Frequently Asked Questions document.
Are you wondering what this year will look like for your child? Who will look after them while they’re not in school? How will they keep up? What other options are there? The Willowell Foundation is gathering a group of educators and community members to talk about possibilities of new outdoor programming at the Willowell land this school year. The nonprofit is offering a survey to gauge people’s thoughts on this topic. It can be found at
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun following up in person with households in Vermont that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. Non-Response Follow Up operation is one key way the Census Bureau is working to meet its goal of counting everyone once, only once and in the right place. The current self-response rate in Vermont is 56.9%. The Census Bureau will visit the remaining addresses to collect responses in person. Census takers may return to uncounted households multiple times, if necessary. All Census results are due to be collected by Sept. 30 so that they can be processed and released as statistics by Dec. 31, as required by law. Households can still respond now by completing and mailing back the paper questionnaire they received, by responding online at, or by phone at 1-844-330-2020.

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