Weathersfield News Dec 24 #WeathersfieldVT #VT

Weathersfield News December 24, 2014
Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

As I write this, I'm waiting to celebrate the Winter Solstice, December 21, the shortest day of the year. The Solstice is an important astronomical occurrence and celebrates the subsequent “return” of the Sun in a variety of different ways. I thought I'd do a little research to see just how people "honor" the return of the sun through festivals of light.

Many cultures and many people around the world celebrate but in very different ways.
Here are a few samples I found:
Soyal is the winter solstice celebration of the Hopi Indians of northern Arizona. Ceremonies and rituals include purification, dancing, and sometimes gift-giving.

The Persian festival Yalda, or Shab-e Yalda is a celebration of the winter solstice in Iran that started in ancient times. It marks the last day of the Persian month of Azar. Yalda is viewed traditionally as the victory of light over dark, and the birthday of the sun god Mithra. Families celebrate together with special foods like nuts and pomegranates and some stay awake all night long to welcome the morning sun.

Saturnalia The ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia is perhaps the most closely linked with the modern celebration of Christmas. This festival happened around the time of the winter solstice and celebrated the end of the planting season. There were games and feasts and gift-giving for several days, and social order was inverted—slaves did not work and were briefly treated as equals.

St. Lucia’s Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice. Although it is now meant to honor St. Lucia, a Christian martyr, it has been incorporated with earlier Norse solstice traditions, such as lighting fires to ward off spirits during the longest night. Girls dress up in white gowns with red sashes and wear wreaths of candles on their heads in honor of St. Lucia.

Dong Zhi, the “arrival of winter,” is an important festival in China. It is a time for family to get together and celebrate the year they have had. Based on the traditional Chinese celestial calendar, the holiday generally falls between the 21st and 23rd of December. It is thought to have started as an end-of-harvest festival, with workers returning from the fields and enjoying the fruits of their labors with family. Special foods, such as tang yuan glutinous rice balls, are enjoyed.

We are familiar with Chanukah-the lighting of the Menorah,  and Christmas-lights on houses, lights on trees, Advent Wreaths with candles, both are also celebrations of light, gift-giving and family gatherings. I guess however you choose to celebrate the Winter Solstice I hope that you and your family and friends enjoy the return of light to our dark winter days-albeit slowly over the next few months.

Select Board
FY16 Budget preparation-Town Budget for health insurance coverage in calendar year 2016-The Town Manager met with the town employees to discuss ways of containing insurance costs. The Board discussed changing from the Platinum plan to the Gold plan or asking employees to contribute a portion of the premiums.

General Fund Budget-The Town Manager, Jim Mullen told the Select Board that the general fund budget must be reduced by $74,624 to stay within the recommended increase of no more than 1.7%, a recommendation made by the Budget Committee.
The Manager offered several suggestions, including reducing one full time police officer to 29 hours per week and making changes in the insurance plan. The Board did not support the reduction in the police officer’s hours, preferring to allow the police chief to offer cuts where he finds them most practical.

Highway Fund Budget-The Town Manager stated that $62,000 must be cut from the Highway Budget to keep within the 1.7% increase cap. Various suggestions were discussed including putting the cost of the new heating system and the pickup truck on separate articles. Highway Department Manager, Wes Hazeltine stated his top priority is to have an eight-man crew.

Weathersfield Proctor Library Budget-Ernest Shand, Library Trustee Chair presented the Library’s budget. The Trustees would like to increase the librarian’s hours and her hourly rate of pay. They are also asking for two cents on the tax rate for the reserve fund. The Town Manager was asked to bring the Town’s policy on insurance opt-out to the next meeting.

The Select Board will have an article on the March Ballot in the amount of  $35,000 for stabilization of and repairs to the 1879 School House.

Hammond Engineering was awarded the contract bid to provide engineering services for the 1.1 Mile Baltimore Road Concrete Box Culvert Project.

Weathersfield Directory-The Weathersfield Directory Committee met Dec 16 and decided that due to lack of submissions and interest, there would be no 2015 printed directory. The online version will be kept current and maintained. Please email them with any changes to your current listings. Email:

Weathersfield Knit/Crochet Group
Beginning Dec. 1 1-2:30 p.m. Perkinsville Community Church. Bring your current project or your own supplies to get started. Not sure what to create? Come help create an afghan! (Yarn and instructions provided.) Contact Lynn Esty at 263-9441 or if you have any questions.

Food Shelf
The Weathersfield Food Shelf is located at 7303 Route 131 - the former "World of Discovery" daycare. Thanks to the generosity of their donors, the Weathersfield Food Shelf will now be open every Thursday from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. 

Senior Exercise Program in Ascutney-FREE sponsored by RSPV- Wednesdays 10-11 a.m. in basement of Martin Memorial Hall, Route 5, Ascutney, VT. Classes are led by Geraldine Rudenfeldt. If interested call 674-5254 for more information.

Weathersfield Proctor Library-FREE Programs
FREE Computer Tutor - Fridays 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Do you want to learn how to use a computer? Sign up for email or facebook or learn more about internet safety? Did you know the library offers downloadable eBooks and audiobooks? Sign up required. BYOL (bring your own laptop or smartphone if you have one).

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