Author: Tom Benton

Dancers, musicians compete in youth talent show

ST. ALBANS — The audience at the 39th Vermont Maple Festival Youth Talent Show filled nearly every seat. The show lasted nearly three hours, including judging. Multiple participants performed contemporary dances to a diverse song list ranging from Sting’s “Desert Rose” to a Japanese dance number. Singing performances were similarly diverse, ranging from Patience Getty’s rendition of “Rainbow Connection,” from the 1979 Muppet Movie, to an original composition by Bellows Free Academy (BFA) St. Albans students Leah Branon and Ella Simmons. Branon and Simmons called their song “When Stars Collide.” Branon explained that the pair chose the metaphor of...

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Hope for fountain repairs

SWANTON — Hope springs eternal, and fountains don’t — but officials here have unearthed a spring of hope for the fountain in the park. That spring is in the form of state-administered historic preservation grants available for any structure on, or eligible to be on, the National Register of Historic Places. But here, economic development coordinator Elisabeth Nance told the village board of trustees, lies the rub: the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has not determined whether Swanton’s village fountain is eligible for the National Register. Before Swanton’s newly formed Historical Preservation Commission can apply for grant funding to...

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Art with a gothic touch

SWANTON — Moving around the Swanton Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon was no harder than waltzing in a closet. The small building on the end of Canada Street was packed with people taking in the work of young local artist Sophie Bea Nichols. The Nichols display was the Swanton Arts Council’s first art show entirely dedicated to the work of one individual. Previous pop-up galleries have showcased the work of two artists at a time. The arts council called the show “A Pop of Color,” but Nichols’ work was more colorful in imagination than in actual colors. Features in...

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Booze, bootleggers and boats

SWANTON — The Swanton Historical Society’s Jason Barney has popped the cork on Franklin County’s sordid history of bootlegging, nearly 100 years after the Eighteenth Amendment plunged America into a dry spell. The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited alcohol in the United States. The United States is not Canada. But Franklin County, in Vermont, one of the United States, borders Canada. Thus Franklin County became a crucial stop on a smugglers highway, running from our neighbors to the north into Vermont. Border crossings and bays became stages for our local law enforcement to valiantly, tragically and sometimes humorously attempt to foil...

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Farmers, Carmi residents applaud progress

FRANKLIN — Thursday evening’s meeting of the Lake Carmi TMDL Implementation Team ended in a way that might have seemed impossible months ago, when meetings were so tense that unsettled state workers relied on armed game wardens to keep irate residents at bay. Surely the fact that farmers, the missing link in these months of contentious Carmi meetings, filled half the room at the Franklin Homestead last night would only amplify those tensions. Instead, the meeting ended with Judith McLaughlin, a regularly outspoken attendee at these meetings, declaring that everyone, residents, farmers, even state employees, deserved a round of...

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