Tree planting crew

The tree board was joined by 10 Johnson State students from the Call to Action class and their professor, Ellen Hill, for an evening of tree planting and cookies on Main Street last week.

The tree board was joined by 10 Johnson State students from the Call to Action class and their professor, Ellen Hill, for an evening of tree planting and cookies on Main Street last week. As part of a grant from the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry, a 10-foot behemoth of a Dappled Dawn lilac was planted in front of Fisher Auto Parts. That baby was heavy! Though it’s a shrub, it has the stature of a tree, and it instantly gave a more settled and shaded look to the parking area it camouflages.

Five guys with muscles made short work of maneuvering it into the hole and removing the wire basket and burlap that wrapped the root ball while the ladies manned (so to speak) the water and backfill.

The Japanese tree lilac that was run over last year in front of Merchants Bank was replaced at the same time. The village road crew replaced the old soil with structural soil that was specially designed to use in tree pits. A protective cage will eventually be added.

A great big thanks goes to village and town administrators Meredith Birkett and Brian Story who helped facilitate the project, and to the village road crew that pulled the old roots out of the pit and dug the hole. Special thanks to Brian Story for showing up to shovel dirt and take pictures. Some Johnsonites asked what all the activity was about; it was about beautifying our town and making it a better place to live. And it was about having fun. Ellen’s class was as much fun as she is and a pleasure to work with. The tree board’s biggest thanks go to those hardworking tree planters with the happy attitudes.

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I heard a journalist from Utah quoted on the radio the other day. She said, “The world is rotting with hatred and tragedy …” Really? Take another look, naysayers. Real change starts right here at home with the forming of young community-oriented achievers who are willing to work for positive change. I’ll back a couple of dozen enthusiastic college kids who will step up to help make their town a better place against “rot and tragedy” any day.

Watching the JSC kids work as a team and do their assigned jobs so well and so cheerfully gave me a sense that there is a bright future ahead for the human race in spite of all the world’s problems. The formula was this: Tree board plus dedicated students equals community equals hope. How’s that for a win-win?

The original intention was to plant two maples in the cemetery on Main Street, but things went awry at the last minute. So next spring, a three-tree planting extravaganza will take place on Arbor Day. Put the first Friday in May on your brand-new calendar.

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Around these parts, pie is pretty much synonymous with the historical society. Think back to Tuesday Night Live and the frustration of choosing from two dozen kinds of pie — you get the picture. So it’s only fitting that the society should choose a pie to represent its efforts in its just-kicked-off capital campaign.

On Oct. 16, 20 people gathered at the Dr. Holcomb House to unveil the pie-shaped pie chart that denotes 10 slices of pie flavors, each representing $30,000 of money raised toward the society’s goal of $300,000. It’s clever, fun and just plain cute, not to mention artistically swell. It’s Kate Wescott’s creation and she did herself proud. Kate donated 40 hours of her time to the pie chart project.

Six of the pie slices have been installed on the chart, as $180,000 has been raised toward retiring the debt to the town for the purchase of the building and toward developing a fund for programs. All donations go toward paying off the Holcomb House mortgage. Want to have one of our new museum’s rooms named after you? Talk to a board member. This is another awesome community effort. You may not realize that 28 people made and donated pies each week for Tuesday Night Live, resulting in $6,000 worth of pie, hot dog and salad sales and donated tips last summer. Pies plus society and community members equals paid mortgage. Win-win.

Another win-win: Johnson’s got some pretty nifty things going for it.

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A word of caution; ticks seem to be on the rise. Last winter’s abnormal warmth is probably responsible for their upsurge and there’s nothing ticks love more than cool, damp weather. Win-win, not so much.

— Sue Lovering, 635-8315

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