Friday, February 28, 2014

Glimmerstone Mansion Closing March 8, 2014

My name is Mary Jane Abbate and I am the owner and primary Chef of the Inn at Glimmerstone Mansion on Route 131 in Cavendish, Vermont.  I purchased this national historic property on October 21, 2010 and began a historic restoration that has truly been a labor of love.  The Inn opened for overnight accommodations in January of 2012 and our pub opened to the public on May 25 of that same year.  Our casual fine dining restaurant opened shortly after in September, 2012.  It has been a long journey and I have met so many wonderful people from all around the world and so many more that live just up the road in the surrounding towns who have come in for dining and music.  It is with great sadness that I announce the closing of Glimmerstone Mansion.

Starting a business along with restoring a 169 year old property by myself has been wonderful but a very difficult thing to accomplish; after all, I am not located in the hub of the Okemo Resort and the town of Ludlow. My buildings are over 8,000 square feet and have offered a variety of 4 dining areas (a comfortable English Style pub, a casual dining room, our outdoor garden patio or in our newly restored barn) making for some steep overhead expenses.   Although I have tried to keep my prices, quality and quantity of each plate moderate and within the average for our area, it has been difficult to sustain the expenses to maintain this property functioning as a business.  Newly unanticipated costs looming because I offer live music, insurance premiums and difficulty finding staff for our growth (and we were growing indeed) are a challenge that make it near impossible to continue to grow to have a thriving business. Both of my daughters have been working at Glimmerstone and together with the staff that we have trained and seasoned, we have made it work thus far but I continue to be a perfect model of the difficulties one suffers when trying to open a small business in this difficult economy.
Glimmerstone will officially close to the public for dining after our last dinner service on Saturday, March 8, 2014.  We will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4:30-9pm with our pub remaining open until 11 pm and we will offer live music each Saturday night until this final date.  I will see out all of my booked overnight reservations and plan to refund all of those individuals who have not used gift certificates purchased or received.

Glimmerstone will become my permanent residence and I will be placing a temporary sign out in front of the yard to identify this change so that the general public will have knowledge.  I thank each and every person who helped contribute toward the short success that the Inn at Glimmerstone Mansion has had and hope that for the time that we were open to the public that this beautiful historic property was enjoyed by all.

I thank you all for your understanding.

Cavendish Update 2/28/14 Pre Town Info/News/Events/Mardi Gras

There is an error in this week’s issue of “The Message.” The paper reports that the Cavendish School Budget is up by $12,783 or .7% when in fact it is down by that amount.

Information can also be posted on the Cavendish VT Facebook Page.

The 2/28/14 Cavendish Update Includes the Following:
1. Pre-Town Informational Meeting
2. Cavendish Related News
3. CCF Accepting Applications for Spring 2014 Grants
4. Annual Mardi Gras Party
5. The Gram
6. Events

On Tuesday night, the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) provided a forum to discuss the agenda for Town Meeting. Filmed by LPC-TV, you can watch the proceedings on-line and Comcast.

Town Meeting takes place at the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) on March 3, 7 pm and March 4, 10-7,  for Australian ballot. The Town and School District 2013 Annual Report is available on-line. 

The following was discussed at this meeting:

Write in Candidates: Brendan McNamara and Wendy Regier are write in candidates for the one-year select board positions.

Tax Exemptions: Two organizations, the Fletcher Farm Foundation (Article 4) and the Black River Health Center (Article 5), both registered non profits, are asking the town for 5-year exemptions on real and personal property taxes. Rich Svec, town manager, explained that this is not as simple as it’s been in years past. Because of the education tax, the Town will have to write checks of approximately $11,788 for Fletcher Farm and $4,023 for the Black River Health Center (BRHC).

Fletcher Farm has been tax exempt for the last five years. The question was raised whether the town could under write the property tax while Fletcher Farm pays the school portion. Svec said he didn’t know but would have this information for Town Meeting.

 In 2011 and 2012, the issue of the BRHC exemption was heavily discussed at town meeting. In 2012, a motion was passed to exempt the Center unless by June 30, 2012 the lawyers determine it is not feasible for the ownership of the property to revert to the town. (pages 4 and 5 of the 2012 Town Report). George Timko, selectman and chairperson of BRHC, stated that the board felt this it was not in the best interest of BRHC to transfer the building to the town, as the facility is its only asset.

Twenty Mile Stream Cemetery (Article 6): The Cemetery Commission has requested $10,000 to prepare a portion of land donated to the town for future burial use at the Twenty Mile Stream Cemetery.  Like many others in town, this cemetery is close to full. Part of this area was cleared during the Twenty Mile Stream Rd improvements, but $10,000 is needed to finish clearing, stumping and seeding.

Cavendish Recreation Department: Article 7 reads, “ To see if the voters will approve the establishment of a Cavendish Recreation Department and approve an appropriation of $25,500 to support the first year activities of such department and to add said amount to the budget proposed by the selectmen for the Fiscal Year 2014-2015.”

The push to create a formal Cavendish Recreation Department (CRD) is an outgrowth of activities around the rebuilding of Greven Field following Irene. In the past two years, Greven has been expanded to include a walking trail, volley ball court and the testing of water quality on the Black River, so people know when it’s safe to fish, swim and boat.

Currently, the selectmen’s budget includes $4,100 for CRD programs, which is similar to previous years funding, and the school budget includes $1,300 for the program. CRD is asking for an additional $25,500 from the town to formalize the program by having a half time director whose function will include expanding the program beyond its primary offerings of Greven Field and the CTES sports programs. If adopted, this would then become a line item in all future town budgets. More information will be available at Town Meeting.

Use of surplus funds (Item 8): Svec explained that the $30,000 towards the Town Highway Capital Equipment Fund is needed because the Town will eventually need to replace two trucks and a grater. A new furnace  is needed for the town garage as the existing ones posses a variety of problems including the safe storage of waste oil. The proposed furnace will use a combination of wood and number 2 heating oil.

Town Budget: There increase in the Town Budget’s budget over last year is less than 2%. It includes increases in salaries for town employees and for some charitable giving. Cost to maintain the town equipment, general maintenance etc. has also increased. New this year is the money the town needs to pay for the renovation of the Windsor County Courthouse.

School Report: The school budget is down by .7% from last year. George Thomson, Principal, encouraged people to the read his report in the Annual report (pages 110-113). During his presentations, Thomson mentioned three different reports available on-line as follows:

Thomson stated that enrollment in CTES is 91 students this year. Over the least 10 years, enrollment has fluctuated- 2004 (105); 2005 (94); 2006 (97); 2007 (107); 2008 (108); 2009 (115); 2010 (108); 2011 (105); 2012 (97) and 2013 (91).  He also noted that the pre- school collaborative has 25 children enrolled. However, for 2013, the Annual Report only lists three births.

Voting for the CTES and GMUHS budgets take place on Tuesday by Australian ballot. Currently, no one has expressed interest in the three-year term school board position.

Janelle: A Local Artist Profile: From the mismatched socks (family tradition) to the permanently attached hula-hoop meet Janelle Wilfong from Proctorsville. Vermont Journal 

River Valley Tech Budget Down Slightly: The River Valley Technical Center’s 2014-15 budget is down slightly from the current academic year. Under the plan, taxpayers would see their portion decrease a slight 0.56 percent to $2,524,876 and the overall budget drop a slighter 0.036 percent to $2,801,876. Rutland Herald 

Dollar General OKed for Chester: In a much anticipated move, the Chester Development Review Board has issued clarified findings of  fact and conclusions of law in the conditional use permit application of Zaremba Group LLC to build a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General store on Main Street across from the Country Girl Diner. Chester Telegraph 

2014 Doyle Poll Released: It's been testing the pulse of Vermont voters for years. State Senator Bill Doyle's annual town meeting survey has just been released. The 2014 questionnaire asks voters for their take on a number of hot topics. This year it includes questions on whether the state should legalize marijuana and ban cellphone use while driving. It also asks about efforts to combat opiate use and to change the way some foods are labeled in Vermont. The survey appears on-line and can be filled out and returned by mail, or completed at Town Meeting.  WCAX

Campaign for VT’s Education Research Tool Compares School Budgets, Test Scores: Campaign for Vermont has assembled education data into a new research tool in advance of Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 4. The online Education Research Tool (ERT) shows school districts’ total budgets alongside pupil head counts to calculate average spending per student. A separate page shows each school’s NECAP test scores by the percentage of students who score as proficient (or above) versus partially proficient (or below). Press Release

The Cavendish Community Fund is now accepting applications for grants that will be awarded this spring.  The deadline for applying is April 15, 2014.  In 2007 the fund inaugurated its program of giving cash grants to organizations for educational, artistic or cultural projects, programs or events.  Last year grants went to several organizations including the elementary school for a drama-based collaborative project with the Weston Playhouse, to the Raise the Roof concert series at Gethsemane Church, and to the Historical Society to help edit a book on the life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Applications and guidelines are available at the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association’s website under the Community Fund tab.  Hard copies are also available at Crow’s Bakery in Proctorsville and at the Cavendish town office.

Projects, programs or events must directly benefit the Cavendish community in some way.  A panel of local citizens reviews all applications and recommends the ultimate grantees based on the quality and feasibility of each proposal.  Grants are not expected to exceed $1,000 each and will depend primarily on the number of applications and the amounts requested.

For further information on applying, on eligibility or on any other aspect of the grant program, or for help completing the application, please call Peter LaBelle at 226-7250 or Barbara Dickey at 226-7187.

Show your support for CCCA and the Cavendish Community Fund by dancing the night away, Saturday March 1, at the annual Mardi Gras party featuring Cajun/Zyedco dance band Yankee Chank. Tickets are $10 at the door. Dancing gets underway at  7:30 pm at Crows Bakery on Depot Street in Proctorsville. Dance instruction provided.  FMI: 226-7736

The Cavendish Historical Society recently received a copy of “The Gram,” a newsletter produced by the Proctorsville Grammar School and labeled Vol.II No. 2, which appears to be the November/December 1937 edition. Some of the names associated with the publication include Lillian Place, Eileen Pickett, Beth Sheehan, Howard Parker (Grade 4), and Vesta Shaw. “Sponsors” include: The Handy Market; Wells Market; “If you need a barber see La Plante;” U.S. Savings Bonds at Post Office; Coal and Wood John Smith; Meals Lawrence’s Restaurant; Rooms Meals Excellent Food New Proctor Hotel; If  a carpenter you need-Joseph Punalla can do the deed; Service thru the__years, Service Now, Xmas goods Pollard’s Store; Visit the Texaco Station. FMI:

This week, the following activities will be taking place:
• Mardi Gras Dance Party (March 1, Saturday): Benefits CCCA and the Cavendish Community Fund. Dance starts at 7:30 pm at Crows Bakery featuring Cajun/Zydeco dance band Yankee Chank. FMI: 226-7292

• Cavendish Town Meeting (March 3, Monday): 7 pm at CTES multi purpose room in Proctorsville. The town budget and associated articles will be first on the agenda.  FMI: 226-7792

• Cavendish Australian Ballot (March 4, Tuesday): The polls are open from 10-7 at CTES in Proctorsville. FMI: 226-7792.

To learn more about upcoming events in Cavendish and surrounding towns go to:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cavendish Update: 2/21/14 News/Lightbulbs/Events

As dedicated as our fire fighting men and women are, let’s help to keep them home by taking the Proctorsville Fire Department’s advise: “With the new snow adding to what we already had we would like to remind you to check all your vent pipes to make sure they are clear. Make sure your CO detectors are functioning, and if they go off immediately call 911 and get out and stay out.”
Information can also be posted on the Cavendish VT Facebook Page.
The 2/21/14 Cavendish Update Contains the Following:
  1. Cavendish Related News
  2. Changing Light Bulbs: Which ones are best?
  3. Mardi Gras Tickets Going Fast
  4. Events

Julia Ford
Julie Ford Competes Today at Sochi: Julia Ford, whose family home is in Proctorsville, grew up learning to race at Okemo. Her brother Willie Ford is a Proctorsville Firefighter. Julie’s races today at Sochi. It will be covered by NBC between 8-11 pm. WMUR 

Vermonters Urged to Check Snow Loads on Roofs: Rain and mixed precipitation forecast for parts of Vermont on Thursday night and Friday are expected to add weight to snow pack. That extra weight could add extra pressure to house and barn roofs, and in some cases cause a roof collapse. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Health are urging farm and homeowners to diligently monitor their roofs and clear off snow if necessary and if it can be done so safely. If there is a concern for personal safety while clearing a roof, a professional contractor should be called in to inspect the roof, or to clear the roof of snow. Press Release 

More Than 1,000 Vermonters Registered for Medical Marijuana: Eight months after the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened, 1,017 patients have registered with the state to receive the drug, the Department of Public Safety told lawmakers this week. A fourth dispensary, Southern Vermont Wellness, is slated to open Tuesday in Brattleboro, officials said. The state’s other three dispensaries are in Burlington, Brandon and Montpelier. A bill in the Senate would add two more dispensaries and allow those businesses to offer home delivery of marijuana. The bill would also eliminate a statewide cap on the number of registered patients who receive marijuana from a dispensary. Press Release 

GMP Announces Greater Reliability, Shorter Outages: Green Mountain Power (GMP) announced that its customers experienced shorter outages and more reliable power service during 2013 according to a reliability report filed with the Public Service Department and the Public Service Board. Press Release 

Green Up Day May Get Trashed: For the past 43 years, volunteers have spent the first Saturday in May plucking litter from Vermont’s roadsides. Green Up Day has become an unofficial holiday in Vermont, one that embodies the environmental ethic of a state defined by its natural beauty. But it takes money to put on the event. And if lawmakers don’t come up with more of it soon, then those telltale green garbage bags that appear on the side of the road every spring could disappear for good. “We are now at a point where we really are facing the reality that if something positive does not happen, that after Green Up Day 2015, we will face planning an orderly shutdown of Green Up Day,” says Melinda Vieux, the president of Green Up Vermont. VPR 

Loons, Deer, Trout to Adorn VT’s Conservation License Plate: The catamount may be cute, regal and quintessentially Vermont, but he’s just not pulling his weight. Through public surveys, the loon, white-tailed deer and brook trout were chosen to replace the catamount and should start appearing on plates within about a year, said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. Burlington Free Press 

With Cavendish’s adoption of zero sort recycling, and partnering for a solar project, it seems fitting that other energy saving options be considered. So what about light bulbs?

Standard incandescent bulbs were once the norm coming in 40, 60, 75 and 100-watt bulbs. Because they lose 90% of their energy to heat, they are being phased out. However, incandescent bulbs still exist, and to meet energy requirements, manufacturers have added halogen gas to the incandescent bulb to save on energy. These bulbs use 28% less energy than their original counterparts.

CFLs (compact fluorescents) use 75% less energy than incandescents, have improved in quality and have dropped considerably in price. CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury and need to be disposed of properly.

LEDs, which use 80% less energy than incandescents, have an estimated life of more than 20 years. Until now, cost has been a deterring factor in their use. However prices are starting to drop significantly making this a very affordable option. Efficiency Vermont offers rebates on LED lighting and Home Depot offers a wide selection of bulbs, some of which have been significantly reduced in price.

For handy reference check out NPR’s Guide to Changing Light Bulbs.


Only a few dinner and dance tickets are left for the CCCA Annual Mardi Gras party/fundraiser on March 1. The good news is that if you missed getting a ticket, or you can’t make the dinner, you can show up at 7:30, pay $10 and still enjoy dancing to Yankee Chank, a Cajun/Zydeco band featuring Cavendish fiddler Bob Naess. Dinner starts at 6:30 with dancing beginning at 7:30. Dance instruction provided. The event is being held at Crows’ Bakery and CafĂ© on Depot Street in Proctorsville. FMI: Robin 226-7736

This week, the following activities will be taking place:

• Introduction to Dyeing with Wool (Feb. 22, Saturday): This two day workshop, for knitters, spinners, weavers and felters, will introduce the joys of custom dyeing using WashFast Acid dyes. The workshop will be at Six Loose Ladies. FMI: 226-7373

• CHS Annual Meeting/Screening The Vermont Movie (Feb. 23, Sunday): The Cavendish Historical Society Annual Meeting, will take place at 5 pm at the Cavendish Elementary School in Proctorsville. A potluck supper will be at 5 pm. The film Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie- A Very New IdeaPart One will be shown at approximately 6 pm. FMI 226-7807 or

• Schools reopen (Feb. 24. Monday): GMUHS and CTES will be back in session.

• Town Meeting Informational Forum (Feb. 25, Tuesday): CCCA will hold an informational meeting for Cavendish voters on the Tuesday before this year’s town meeting.  The forum will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Cavendish Town Offices on High Street in Cavendish. The meeting will address each of the issues on this year’s town meeting ballot, including both the town and the school proposed budgets.  For more information about Town Meeting, candidates and warnings, go to
FMI: 226-7736

CCCA Presents: Health of the Vermont Deer Herd (Feb. 27, Thursday): Adam Murkowsky of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will talk about the current, comprehensive review of deer management, and about results of the current public survey on the health of deer herds in Vermont. The program will start at 6:30 pm at the Parish Hall of Gethsemane Episcopal Church. (Depot St. Proctorsville). FMI: 226-7736

To learn more about upcoming events in Cavendish and surrounding towns go to: