Ash Wednesday, Reach-out Luncheon, and Kowalski Kids Achievements — Margo’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard.


Amazing twists and turns in the weather.  We ventured down to the roast beef dinner at the Catholic Church in Ludlow on Saturday night and when we checked the temperature as we were leaving there, it was 57 degrees!

This almost seems like a transition time. Snowshoeing on Patch Brook Road on Friday was delightful with warm sunshine, yet a cool breeze.  Today (Sunday) our grandsons played outside past 5:00 PM with the new family that bought the Jarvi house, having fun in the “cave” they carved out of the softening snow bank.   Also, the sap is running!

I have been meaning to thank the United Church in Ludlow for hanging those cheerful hearts outside the church.  It is also fun to see where they will pop up next!  Nice to be able to share them with others, as well.

A note of appreciation is also needed to the staff at the Echo Lake Inn for clearing the walk to the church.  That has been no small feat the past few weeks!  Please make note of the Ash Wednesday service at Tyson Church at 5:00 on 3/1.  They also made a path to the basement for the Reach Out Luncheon.  Delicious beef stew and salad was the perfect meal with mini strawberry shortcakes for dessert!  Kathy Lynds gave out thought-provoking cards and most people read and responded to the questions, setting a nice tone for the gathering.

Congratulations are in order for Julia Kowalski, a sophmore at WUHS for her Magna Cum Laude academic achievement this school year and for Colton Kowalski who is in the 4th grade and just earned his yellow belt in karate at the VT Martial Arts Academy.  By the way, Paul says music will still be happening at the Pub on Saturday evenings.

You can read the warning for the 3/6 upcoming Plymouth School Meeting (7:00 PM) and the Annual Town Meeting (7:30 PM) on the town website.  Voting by Australian ballot will take place the following day.

Mark your calendar for 4/22 when Senior Solutions will be presenting a free program at the Community Center with lots of helpful information.  More to follow.

Posted in Community News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Midwinter Plymouth Student Activities, and Reachout Luncheon — Margo’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard

Plymouth Snow Yesteryear

Plymouth Snow Yesteryear


I just came inside after pushing the snow off the deck.  Light and fluffy, so it was not hard work, plus the sun was shining. It is beautiful and looks like a winter wonderland, which can be appreciated if you don‘t have to get somewhere in a hurry today!  Of course the bulk of the snow removal falls to Tom.  I imagine that everyone with a plow is out there this Monday morning.  Having had to plow on occasion several years back with our old Jeep truck, I realize there is an art to it – one I am glad that others have mastered…..

Schools are closed and I hope the students and staff are enjoying their day off.  I did want to mention that Anna Hepler is on the ice hockey team and former resident, Theresa Steward is playing basketball.  Any other students whose school activities should be mentioned?

It seems that some places have vacation this week and many families have traveled to VT.  After Owen’s basketball game on Saturday, I ventured into Shaws and found the shelves rather empty!  Most of our schools will be closed next week.  Some of our students will be journeying to other shores and it would be nice to hear about their adventures!

I visited John Wheeler at the Gill Home the other day.  He is always open to visitors.  Dana Dolloff took a short stroll with Bill Jarvi at the Meadows last week and said he is doing well.  If you are in Rutland, think about paying him a visit.

This Thursday is the Reach Out Luncheon in the downstairs Community Room at the church.  Folks usually start to gather around 11:00 and the meal, which is beef stew, salad, and dessert this time, is generally served around 11:30.  It is jointly sponsored by Tyson Ladies Aid and Tyson Church, so there is no charge.  I don’t believe there is a speaker this time, but I understand there will be a special Valentine dessert.  All are welcome!

This Sunday, 2/19 will be our Children’s Sunday at the church.  We will have a special story, then a craft activity downstairs.  Feel free to join us at 10:30 AM.

Posted in Community News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bouldering Sage Allen, Carol Coyne Farewell, and Vermont Phil’s No-Show — Margo’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard.

Meet Vermont Phil. He's still in his burrow...under 3' of snow...sleeping.

Meet Vermont Phil. He’s still in his burrow…under 3′ of snow…sleeping.


Did you know that there are actually several furry friends who predict whether winter will continue or spring will emerge?  In Manitoba, groundhog Winnipeg Willow is closely watched.  Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam and Staten Island’s Chuck are all touted for their weather prediction skills.  Anyway, I think we all realize that winter is not finished with us yet.

I can’t believe how many folks are traveling to VT these days.  We went into Ludlow for dinner on Saturday (big mistake) and all of the restaurants were packed.  Well, at least it is good for the VT economy and we chatted with some very nice people who were visiting our area – most of them skiers.

Four of us went to snowshoe near the Coolidge Homestead Education Center reception center and across the road today.  It was difficult turning north on Rte 100 because of the steady flow of out of state vehicles, probably heading back down country to be sure to catch the Super Bowl!

Speaking of sports, please remember and encourage Sage Allen, who will be heading to Salt Lake City shortly to compete in the National Sport Climbing competition.  This will actually be her first try at “bouldering”, where no equipment is used in the climb.  We wish her well!

I guess there are many of us who are struggling with the Act 46 issues.  I thank Keith Cappellini for providing his understanding of the situation both in the PP and Front Porch Form.  According to Julie Dupont, Option 1 (WSCU) may include Killington, Barnard, Reading, Prosper Valley (Bridgewater/Pomfret), Woodstock for pre-k-elementary and then Woodstock Middle and High School, but each district has yet to vote, leading to a degree of uncertainly.  Option 2 (TRSU) seems to be in even greater turmoil at the moment, with some of those schools being Ludlow, Mt Holly, Springfield, and GMUHS.  There are many plans being [put] forth in those towns.  It is also unclear what the incentives will actually be for joining a union, plus there is a possibility that more changes are being considered on the state level.  What that helpful?  I doubt it!

Carol Coyne (2nd from left) and Ladies Aid friends serve strawberry shortcake at the annual Strawberry Festival, June 2015.

Carol Coyne (2nd from left) and Ladies Aid friends serve strawberry shortcake at the annual Strawberry Festival, June 2015.

At the Tyson Ladies Aid meeting we happily began planning for upcoming events such as the Good Friday Bake Sale, the Strawberry Festival, and the August Bazaar.  There was a note of sadness, however, that one of our very active members is moving to FL shortly.  Carol Coyne has been an enthusiastic participant in so many activities both in TLA and also within our community.  She will be greatly missed!

Posted in Community News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

About ACT 46

K.T. Capellini, a Plymouth resident who unsuccessfully ran for State Representative last year, recently offered up two Facebook posts to help clarify the options being presented by the State in its drive to consolidate schools under ACT 46. What follows are both posts verbatim. It’s a bit of a long read, but if you are confused about the legislation and plans this information will help clarify the options for you.

K.T. Cappellini

K.T. Cappellini

1.What Plymouth Residents Need to Know about the ACT 46 Vote this March 7th:

This coming March 7th, on Town Meeting Day, the townspeople of Plymouth will get their first chance to vote on Act 46 school district consolidation.

In a nutshell, there are currently three possible options for consolidation: join the Windsor Central Supervisory Union, which currently serves Barnard, Bridgewater, Killington, Pomfret, Plymouth, Reading and Woodstock; join the Two Rivers Supervisory Union, which currently serves Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Mount Holly and Plymouth; join neither, and wait and see what happens if/when the state steps in a few years down the road.

Of those those three options, only the first one – join WCSU – will be presented on the ballot, as WCSU has finalized it’s plan, sent it to the state for approval, and warned it for a vote. TRSU has not yet done so with their consolidation plan, which is still mired in debate, and looks like it will not be ready in time.

As concerns the WCSU plan for consolidation, the highlights are as follows, which in my view, are all positive for Plymouth:

1. Provides definitive representation on the new Board for Plymouth – most of the smaller towns like Plymouth will get two seats out of a total of 18 on the newly-consolidated school board; the townspeople of Plymouth will also vote for these two new representatives on Town Meeting Day.

2. Forms new parent advisory committees for each school – Parents will still get to maintain an active role and offer input on how things are done in the new union

3. Preserves elementary-school choice for all Plymouth students WITHIN the membership of the newly formed union – For example, if Killington, Pomfet, Reading, Woodstock, and Plymouth all vote to join the WCSU, then Plymouth students can attend elementary school at any of the five schools.

4. Protects elementary-school choice for students already enrolled outside the newly-formed union – Those students already enrolled outside the WCSU will be allowed to continue their enrollment there until the highest grade allowed in that school. So Plymouth students already attending school in Ludlow or Mount Holley can finish there.

The WCSU plan also proposes to do a lot in the way of cost savings, educational opportunities for students, etc, etc, as most of these ACT 46 plans do. I’ll spare you the details, as you can read about them for yourself at However, in the case of Plymouth, I know that the above four issues were the most important to folks at all of the study groups/forums I attended.

And while I’m still not convinced that ACT 46 is the right solution to the problem of financing education, I can at least say that WCSU’s consolidation plan is a step in the right direction towards maintaining a decent amount of local parental control in Vermont’s educational process.

2. Recommendations on ACT 46 Survey for Plymouth Residents:

Of the three options outlined in the survey, only one (join WCSU) will be on the ballot March 7th, as the TRSU plan will not be completed in time. The option of joining neither union obviously requires no formal plan.

What this survey does is let our two school directors (we no longer have a school board because we don’t have a school) Julie Dupont and Rebecca Geary know which direction we’d like them to lean in, as per their recommendation to the town and its residents regarding consolidation.

That said, as I campaigned to be your State Rep. on a strongly anti-ACT 46 platform, I recommend that Plymouth residents choose the third option, i.e., join neither union, as their primary or “#1” option. As it’s been pointed out many times previously, not just by me but by scores of pundits, journalists, legislators, even the ACT-46 study group members themselves, the cost-savings benefits potentially gained through consolidation are negligible. Moreover, they’re only temporary, and will disappear after four years.

In the meantime, we will have sacrificed school choice, a valuable tradition in Vermont that allows parents to have an ultimate say in where and how they’re kids are educated. Given that the language of ACT 46 allows any non-operating school district to retain school choice “if it so chooses,” there’s no real need to give it up now.

The projected cost benefits accruing to Plymouth through consolidation are not nearly enough to outweigh the importance of retaining school choice in a rural area with a small number of students scattered throughout it. If the state eventually wants to lump us in with another choice district, great, then we’ll get whatever “projected” cost benefits accrue from that merger at that time. As a non-operating district with no real skin in the game, i.e., no school to close, no teachers to fire, no independent school board to sacrifice, there’s no value-added to acting now.

Yes, it’s getting more expensive to educate Plymouth’s small number of students. Yes, a viable solution is needed to remedy the reliance on property taxes to finance education. No, ACT 46 is NOT that solution. It’s merely an income-distribution measure masquerading as a “save the children” initiative. Good for the teachers and administration centered in bigger towns like Woodstock, bad for the children and parents of Plymouth.

The previous battle over closing Plymouth’s own school is illustrative in this regard. Residents were told that closing the school would result in a large net cost cost savings, thereby reducing their property taxes significantly. Fast forward to several years later; Plymouth now has no school, and property taxes are higher than they’ve ever been.

Let’s not make the same mistake twice.

As regards the two options for consolidation, I favor the WCSU plan, and recommend that you choose it as your secondary or “#2 option.”

Of the proposed unions that would be created by each plan, the WCSU union would consist of better schools, including Killington Elementary, which is favored by many Plymouth residents. As both plans would contain the same provision for allowing students already enrolled to finish at the highest grade in their current school, kids from Plymouth going to Mount Holley or Ludlow wouldn’t have to leave their friends in either case.

I’ve enclosed a photo of my survey outlining the three choices. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

See you at the polls.

Image may contain: text
Posted in Community News, Opinion, Plymouth School District | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Been a Quiet Week in Plymouth Lakes — Margo (Garrison Keillor) Marrone’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard

This is Garrion Keillor (to help any who don't know the reference...)

This is Garrison Keillor
(to help any who don’t know the title reference…)


I don’t know if I have been too busy to hear any news or if things have been pretty quiet around here lately.  A couple of weeks ago there was a bit of excitement as a mink was devouring bunnies on Dublin Road, but thanks to Joan Day, one little guy has been kept safe and well fed.

I noticed that there was an article about the new musical instrument station at the Montshire Museum.  When we took our grandsons there a couple of weeks ago, they couldn‘t wait to try out all of the various instruments.   The drum and cymbals was a biggest hit!

I wish I had a better understanding of Act 46 Planning Survey, but I am afraid that I don’t.  I missed the informational meeting that happened several weeks ago, so I am not sure about the ramifications of these choices or even what schools are included.  Maybe I can get some clarification for next week!

Make sure to offer Happy Birthday greetings to Eric Johnson (2/2), Scott Hepler (2/17), Laurie Marechaux (2/21), and Naomi Moyer (2/25).

A friend and I attended a very interesting workshop and tea at Northern Naturals and Gardens in Belmont this past Saturday.  Gretchen Gregory has opened a darling little store (only open a few hours on the weekends) with a focus on herbs – teas, dips, skin products.  She is a wealth of information and loves to share what she has learned about the health benefits of herbs and how to incorporate them into our lives.  You can reach her at


Editor — More on Garrison Keillor, for your mid-winter entertainment. This from February, 2014:

Posted in Community News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Winter Activities at Bethany Birches Camp and the Plymouth Schoolhouse Activity Center — Margo’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard.


Tubing at Bethany Birches Winter Camp


Warm temps and rain – does this qualify as the January thaw?  Although the main roadways are clear, secondary roads can be slippery and driveways are often hazardous because of the rain, melting and freezing.  I am wearing my yaktrax just to get from the house to the garage these days!  I have noticed more ice fishing on Echo Lake this year, despite water on the surface of the ice this weekend.  However, I understand that snow will likely blanket us again before this issue comes out!

These conditions are not a worry for those attending the Bethany Birches Winter Camps.  There will be Family Fun Days on two Saturdays – 1/28 and 3/4.  The weekend fun for grades 3-6 is Bobcat and takes place 2/10-12.  Grades 4-7 can attend Lynx, 2/18-21.  Then 2/24-26 is Polar Bear for grades 7-9.   For more information, go to or call (802) 672-5220.

What a lively and enjoyable discussion of The Outside Boy, took place this past Thursday during the Book Club meeting.  We also spent some time catching up on news around town!  Our next book is Mink River by Brian Doyle.  We will be gathering to chat about it on 2/23.

I don’t believe it was icy conditions that caused a car to careen into that yellow house on Rte 100, just north of the 100A intersection, but it certainly caused some major damage.  The good thing is that I don‘t believe there were any injuries.


Saturday Mindfulness program continues at the Activity Center

I attended Susan Mordecai’s Rise and Shine with Mindful Movements at the Community Center on Saturday morning.  What a lovely way to start the day with gentle stretches and mindful breathing.  It is taking place on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 8:00 – 9:00 AM.

Also at the Community Center, you can take voice lessons from Dan Laubach, a recent graduate of Cairn University’s music education program with a concentration in voice.   The cost is only $20 for a 30 minute lesson or $35 for a 45 minute lesson.   Contact him for more details or to set up a time –, or call 802-332-3324.

January is National Radon Action Month, and the Vermont Department of Health is giving away FREE radon test kits! To get your free kit, send an email with your name, mailing address, physical address and phone number to, or call 1-800-439-8550.

Posted in Community News | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Reachout Luncheon, Reading Club, Mindful Movement Program Coming Up — Margo’s Plymouth Report

Reprinted by permission of The Vermont Standard.


Still struggling to write 2017 – where do the years go!  Trying to organize my calendar.  The Reach Out Luncheon is Thurs 1/19 in the Community Room at the church.  Since I wasn’t at the Tyson Ladies Aid meeting on the 5th, I have no details, but I assume it will be delicious as usual and I heard there will be a speaker.  How’s that for vague information!

The Book Club is meeting this Thursday at 6:30 PM at the Community Center to talk about The Out Side Boy.  I am really enjoying it and hope to finish it in time for the discussion.   Of course, a priority for this week is the Montshire Museum with my grandsons – first things first!

Don’t forget the 1st and 3rd Saturday mornings from 8:00-9:00 AM for Rise and Shine with Mindful Movements at the Community Center with Susan Mordecai

The past week at church was busy with memorial services for Mark Stocker on Wed and for Roy Pierson on Friday.  It is so wonderful the way the community rallies to provide refreshments – Tyson Ladies Aid for Mark’s and the neighbors and friends for Roy‘s.  Both were well-known in the community and will be missed.  Heartfelt condolences to both families.

Happy Birthday to Cindy Vosburgh on 1/20.  I am sure there are more causes for celebration, so please let me know about them!

Posted in Community News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment