“The people of Johnson embrace inclusiveness and together we will build bridges to understanding, ensuring that all who live, work and visit our town feel welcome and safe. We reject racism, bigotry, discrimination, violence and hatred in all its forms. Together we commit to growing a cooperative, sustainable and thriving community.”
This statement was brought to the Johnson Select Board by a small group of community members, most of whom are self-described by their leader Katie Crown as “hippy liberal,” to be adopted as the town’s mission statement. The motion was passed by four members, with one abstaining.
Though it would be difficult not to support this statement, Rob Rodriguez voiced the opinion of many townspeople when he posted his thoughts on Front Porch Forum: “ I personally don’t understand how a small group of people with non-varying views can write a statement that is supposed to ‘speak’ for the town to the outside world and how an even smaller group of people (four select board members) can vote to accept that statement for the entire town. That is not to say I’m for or against the statement. It just seems quite ironic to me the process to create and adopt the ‘Town of Johnson Inclusivity Statement’ wasn’t very town-inclusive.” The same feeling was evinced when the endorsement of nonsupport for the present administration was passed at town meeting. A long discussion around the question can be found in the select board’s Nov. 19 meeting minutes.
As usual, many standout Johnson volunteers stepped up to help folks for the holiday last week. Martha Corey reports, “The Johnson Food Shelf gave out 53 turkeys and food boxes to families in Johnson, Eden, North Hyde Park, Waterville and Belvidere for Thanksgiving. We want to thank Krista Swahn and her crew from NVU-Johnson for putting together all the food boxes and delivering them to us for distribution. Also, the employees of the Vermont Electric Co-op generously donated several turkeys, other food items, and the money to pay for the turkeys we had purchased. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who volunteered or donated in any way to make this annual endeavor a huge success!”
The Historical Society has had a fine piece of luck: It was able to answer a request for a picture of the round barn that once stood on Route 100C. Research found what’s likely the only one in existence at the Vermont Historical Society, hidden in the back of a scrapbook of covered bridge pictures that had been donated to them years ago. The barn was owned by Wendell Jones’ father, then Wendell Jones, then the late Gerald Lehouillier; it burned in 1963 or 1964. This terrific picture, probably taken in the 1950s, can be seen on the Historical Society’s Facebook page.
The number of thankful comments from the barn’s “family members” are proof of the Historical Society’s value to our community. Their next project will be a talk on Dec. 16 by Paul Rogers, who recently retired as the town’s doctor. It will be at the Holcomb House at 2 p.m. That will also be the day on which the society will announce the winners of its ongoing silent auction. Take a look at the items being auctioned on the society’s Facebook page or website.
Kylie Hill and Greg Tatro have been appointed to the Johnson Planning Commission. The commission is currently working toward an energy plan, and will study riparian issues next.
The village has received a grant that will cover 50 percent of the cost of sidewalk reconstruction on Pearl Street next year. It will also restore a grass strip on the east side of the road. A site plan is posted on townofjohnson.com. The village would like to hear your ideas and thoughts, so will hold a meeting for discussion on Dec. 10 at the Municipal Building at 6 p.m. If you can’t make it and have an opinion, call Meredith Birkett at 635-2611.
It’s winter and the parking ban is in effect. Until April 1, there’s no parking on any village street between 1 and 6 a.m.; till April 15, no parking on Main Street from 1 to 6 a.m.; no parking in any municipal lot from 2 to 6 a.m.; depositing snow in any roadway is a definite no-no; and, except where specifically allowed, parking in any right of way (25 feet from the center of the road in both directions) and town turnaround is prohibited. Any damage to anything left in the right of way, such as a car, fence or mailbox, is not the town’s responsibility. Town salt and sand is available only to individuals, not commercial contractors.
Longing for spring already? As of Thursday, Nov. 29, it’s 111 long days away. If you check out days.to.com, it’ll tell you how many hours, minutes and seconds as well. That’s real desperation!
— Sue Lovering, 635-8315