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Cemetery talk SHAFTSBURY — The Shaftsbury Historical Society will hold its annual meeting Sunday, Sept. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the museum on Route 7A. Charles Marchant will speak and show slides on the restoration of gravestones and cemeteries. Marchant, of Townshend, is the owner of C.E.M. Associates and offers cemetery restoration and education programs. He is also secretary of VOCA (Vermont Old Cemeteries Association) and a member of the Association of Gravestone Studies, as well as a leader of restoration workshops for groups planning a restoration project. The public is welcome. Marchant will also answer questions. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. School challenge BENNINGTON — Vermont schools are encouraged to sign up and compete in the third annual 2004-2005 Readers Digest National Word Power Challenge. The competition is open to all Vermont students in grades four to eight. School registrations are due soon, so that schools can hold their in-school competitions over the fall months, in time to qualify for the Vermont State Championship event. Similar to the national spelling bee but focusing on vocabulary knowledge and skills, students from schools throughout Vermont have a chance to compete for an expenses-paid trip to the National Word Power Championship this winter at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The grand prize is a $25,000 college scholarship. Register online at There is a school registration fee. Word Power materials will be sent to registered schools starting Oct. 1. School competitions must be completed by Jan. 21, 2005 to qualify for the state championship. Home-schooled students are also able to participate, providing there is a home-school group or organization that will conduct a competition among home-school students similar to the competition conducted by schools. Interested parties should contact Readers Digest through the above Web address to make arrangements. Last year’s Vermont Word Power Champion was 12-year-old Matthew Christian, a home-schooled student from North Bennington. In the event’s first year, the state champion was a fifth-grade elementary school girl. Once a school has registered, the school will begin holding classroom-level Word Power competitions to find grade-level champions and then a School Champion. School Champions from across Vermont will gather in February, 2005 for the Vermont State Word Power Challenge, which is being hosted for the third straight year by The Tutorial Center of Bennington. Jack Glade, Director of The Tutorial Center, said in a news release, "This is a great chance for schools to emphasize vocabulary skills in a fun way. Of course, this is also a great opportunity for a Vermonter to have a shot at one of the large college scholarships. We have really found this event rewarding for the students, and I hope all Vermont schools give the competition a try this year." Information: Readers’ Digest Web site or call Glade, 802-447-0111. Historic trip MANCHESTER — Thomas Jefferson and James Madison will arrive at Hildene on Friday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the guise of character interpreters William Barker and John Douglas. The legendary American statesmen will deliver a “firsthand” account of their long-ago travels through Vermont and upstate New York. The evening’s discourse will trace a 1791 journey to Lake George and Lake Champlain, Saratoga and Fort Ticonderoga, Bennington and beyond. As secretary of state, James Madison was instrumental in bringing Vermont into the Union on March 4, 1791. A few months later, he journeyed north on a "botanizing excursion" to explore the new state. Jefferson joined him for part of the trip. In addition to documenting the people and landscapes of this region, the two engaged in ongoing political discussions and observations. Jefferson said he was particularly impressed with Vermont's town meeting system, calling it "the wisest invention ever devised ... for the exercise and preservation of self-government." For more on Jefferson and Madison's trip, visit or The travelogue will be held in the event tent and is free for Hildene members and $5 for non-members. Information: 802-362-1788. Readsboro festival READSBORO — The First Baptist Church of Readsboro will hold its 42nd Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. The festival will offer lunch and browsing at tables full of handmade articles, attic treasures, jams, jellies, candies, breads and cakes, as well as a Chinese Auction. A drawing will be held for the Cracker Box Quilt. Information: Barbara Birch, 802-423-5346. Open house BENNINGTON — The admissions office at Southern Vermont College will hosting its annual Fall Open House Sunday, Sept. 26, in the Everett Mansion on campus. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., and events will conclude at 2:30. Prospective students and their families will have the opportunity to learn about educational and career options and tour the campus. Information sessions on academics, financial aid and student life will be presented for current high school students seeking college options. Faculty, staff, and admissions counselors will be available to answer questions about the college's 20 baccalaureate and associate degree programs, conference-winning NCAA Division III athletics and much more. Guests will have a chance to meet current Southern Vermont College students and ask questions about campus life. Families are encouraged to stay the entire foliage weekend and explore the college campus and the local community. Southern Vermont College, at 982 Mansion Dr. on the slope of Mount Anthony, off Monument Avenue, is a private, career-oriented, liberal arts college. Information about the open house: admissions office, 802-447-6304 or 800-378-2782, ext. 6304; or e-mail An open house reservation form is available Archeology talk MANCHESTER — At an open community meeting on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m., John G. Crock, director of the archaeology program at the University of Vermont, will present Maple Street School with the prehistoric findings from the 2002 archaeological site evaluation made at the school’s new campus before construction. Crock was the project director for the archaeological dig, which yielded several fascinating artifacts attributable as far back as the Paleoindian period of Vermont’s prehistory, 9000 to 7000 B.C. Among the artifacts found were a chert scraper (a stone tool used in possible hide, wood or bone processing) chert flakes, lithic flakes, a bifacially prepared knife, the tip portion of a biface, a burned bone fragment, pieces of fire-cracked rock and a possible hammerstone. Crock will also give two presentations to students at the school, to let Upper and Lower School students examine the findings and talk about what they represent. The evening presentation is free, and the community is welcome. Information: the school, 802-362-7137. Book discussion BENNINGTON — "Booked for Lunch" is an informal monthly book discussion group meeting at the John G. McCullough Free Library in North Bennington. The next meeting will be on Friday, Sept. 24, at 11:30 a.m. The group will discuss John Gardner's novel "October Light." Gardner was a scholar of medieval history and literature, a creative writing teacher (many of his students went on to successful careers), and a writer of both children's and adult literature. He taught in Vermont and New York state and wrote "October Light" while living in a house in Old Bennington. It won the National Book Critics' Circle Award in 1976. The book tells the story of an older brother and sister living together on Prospect Mountain. He shoots her TV, and she goes on strike. Copies of the book are available for loan. The group is made possible through the support from the VPLF/Freeman Foundation. To sign up, or for more information: McCullough Library, 802-447-7121. Hildene fair MANCHESTER — The Hildene Country Fair, “Farm, Food and Folk Art,” is seeking entrants for baking contests for the fair, which will be held Oct. 9 and 10 at the Hildene Meadowlands on River Road. This year, the baking competition has two divisions: apple pies and muffins. Prospective entrants must stop by Hildene ahead of time to pick up a free ceramic pie plate or muffin pan, donated by Bennington Potters. The catch? Anyone who takes home the pottery has to promise to enter the competition. Entries are limited to the first baker’s dozen (13) of each category to register and pick up their Bennington Pottery bakeware at the Hildene Visitor Center. Pick up times are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Muffins will be judged on Saturday at 10 a.m., pies on Sunday at noon. Fresh-baked entries are due at the fairgrounds by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Amy Chamberlain, chef/owner of The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern, will judge the pie entries. Muffins will be judged by Michael Drunsic, owner of the Spiral Press Café. The fair will feature the debut of the Hildene Horse Show, with competitions in both English and Western riding skills, on Saturday Oct. 9, starting at 8:30 a.m. Entry forms are available at Hildene. The two-day fair also will include local vendors, farm exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, a horse and oxen pull, a tractor pull, pony rides, plenty of farm animals, crafts and an 1832 schoolhouse for children to explore. The fair will run from 10 to 5 each day, rain or shine. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for members, $2 for children 6 to 14 and free for children under 6. Information about Hildene and its daily tours, exhibits and special events: 802-362-1788, visit or e-mail
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North Adams Celebrates New Downtown Murals

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Valerie Carrigan gets ready to cut the ribbon as Mayor Thomas Bernard introduces her work, 'Emerging,' on Friday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city officially unveiled its newest murals — "Emerging" on Holden Street and "Welcome to North Adams" on Center Street — on Friday with ribbon cuttings. 
The two new "selfie" murals were funded through a Cultural District Initiative Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 
Artists Valerie Carrigan and Amy Coon were selected from more than a dozen submissions for the project. 
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