Out & About: 20 good things from 2023

Emily Strizich, of White River Junction, Vt., compacts soil after a test run of a built-up curve on the pump track at Ratcliffe Park in White River Junction on Sept. 7, 2023. There will be an opening celebration for the new track built for child cyclists on Sept. 13 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Emily Strizich, of White River Junction, Vt., compacts soil after a test run of a built-up curve on the pump track at Ratcliffe Park in White River Junction on Sept. 7, 2023. There will be an opening celebration for the new track built for child cyclists on Sept. 13 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file — Geoff Hansen

Thomas Reynolds, right, talks to his home health aide Nylene Robinson after being picked up from his home for a doctor’s appointment by the MOOver microtransit bus in Windsor, Vt., on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. The pair don’t have another form of transportation and would typically make the 25-minute trek to Mt. Ascutney Hospital with Robinson walking next to Reynolds in his wheelchair. “Every time I’ve called they’ve been right there,” Reynolds said of MOOver. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Thomas Reynolds, right, talks to his home health aide Nylene Robinson after being picked up from his home for a doctor’s appointment by the MOOver microtransit bus in Windsor, Vt., on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. The pair don’t have another form of transportation and would typically make the 25-minute trek to Mt. Ascutney Hospital with Robinson walking next to Reynolds in his wheelchair. “Every time I’ve called they’ve been right there,” Reynolds said of MOOver. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

Orange County Parent Child Center (OCPCC) Assistant Director Monique Braman, left, and administrative assistant Kendra Howe, right, restock the diaper bank at the center in Tunbridge, Vt., on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. The OCPCC was receiving between 1,400 and 1,600 diapers each month from the Junior League of Champlain Valley, a non-profit that supplied local diaper banks around the state, until it announced it would close in early August, leaving a gap in supply. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Orange County Parent Child Center (OCPCC) Assistant Director Monique Braman, left, and administrative assistant Kendra Howe, right, restock the diaper bank at the center in Tunbridge, Vt., on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. The OCPCC was receiving between 1,400 and 1,600 diapers each month from the Junior League of Champlain Valley, a non-profit that supplied local diaper banks around the state, until it announced it would close in early August, leaving a gap in supply. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 12-30-2023 9:15 PM

The year is coming to a close and that means it’s time for the “20 Good Things” wrap-up. Out & About started the list at the end of 2020 to acknowledge the good moments that happened in an otherwise difficult year.

While 2023 was quite different from 2020, it’s always important to take time to reflect on what makes this community special year after year.

With that in mind, here are 20 good things that happened in the Upper Valley this year:

■The Mascoma High bass fishing team, which brought home Mascoma Valley Regional High School’s first state title in the sport. And all the other state title winners including: Woodstock girls hockey, Lebanon boys tennis, Thetford Academy baseball team, Oxbow High softball, Hartford boys lacrosse, Hartford boys golf, Hartford field hockey, Windsor football, Windsor girls basketball and Rivendell boys basketball.

■The Hartford Monument Committee, which raised more than $73,000 to install a monument to the town’s World War I and II veterans. “The public support and the support by the town has really made this a viable project,” organizer Mary Kay Brown told me in October.

■Lyme resident Kate Harrison who donated a kidney to David Beane Jr., also of Lyme, after seeing a request on the town’s Listserv from Beane’s mother, Michelle Sanborn-Beane. This December, Harrison celebrated the second anniversary of her donation by climbing three Guatemalan volcanoes with other kidney donors.

■Emily Strizich and the Upper Valley parents who came together to create a pump track for young mountain bikers at Ratcliffe Park in White River Junction.

■Speaking of recreational amenities, another shoutout belongs to the Bradford Parks and Recreation Commission’s Skatepark Subcommittee, which is working to bring a skatepark to downtown Bradford, Vt. “I think teens especially need a place that’s theirs, to have some ownership,” committee member Mark Rizzacasa told me this summer.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Missing Dartmouth student’s body found in Connecticut River
Dartmouth campus and football communities remember late head coach Buddy Teevens
Developer seeks to convert former Brookside nursing home to apartments
Dartmouth faculty censures college president over response to protest
DHMC union organizers say they have enough signatures to force vote
Rivendell superintendent departure adds to district’s challenges

■Lake Fairlee Association’s new LoonCam, a livestream camera installed in June to monitor a pair of loons on the lake. It quickly gained an international following. “These people, these volunteers, these observers find and get a lot of benefit out of watching these birds in their natural habitat,” Doug Tifft, the Fairlee association’s “loon ranger,” told me in June.

■The Vermont Lions Clubs’ District 45 Lions Diaper Brigade which donated more than 24,000 diapers to Parent Child Centers throughout Vermont after the state’s sole diaper bank closed.

■The establishment of free microtransit programs in Windsor and Hartland; and Advance Transit expanding its evening hours, along with adding Saturdays to its routes, in order to bring more public transportation options to Upper Valley residents.

■The Upper Valley coaches and educators who stepped up to become certified as bus drivers to help with the ongoing driver shortage. And the parents who are stepping up to be coaches to help Upper Valley schools fill coaching positions.

■Third-grader Theodora Turevon, who discovered a paint spill in Hanover’s Girl Brook, leading to a cleanup.

■The Wilder School, which continued its tradition of Hedgehog Day to see if the prickly creature could predict the end of winter better than its groundhog counterpart.

■The myriad nonprofit organizations which celebrated milestone anniversaries this year, including: AVA Gallery and Art Center (50 years), Artistree Community Arts Center (20 years), the Rotary Club of Lebanon (100 years) and COVER Home Repair (25 years).

■The Upper Valley Trails Alliance, which built two wheelchair-accessible trails this year. Also, all the other organizations and individuals who are working to make the outdoors more accessible.

■Upper Valley Smiles, HealthHub and the Mascoma Community Health Center, which are working to bring much-needed dental care to lower income residents in the Upper Valley.

■Authors Nicole Ford Burley, of Lebanon, and Janet Hayward Burnham, of Bethel, who both wrote books about their town’s history. “Because of belonging to the historical society, I thought there were things that needed to be written down and kept,” Burnham told me in September.

■Colleen O’Neill, of Cornish, who owns Langwood Tree Farm and was named New Hampshire’s Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association for her work

■All those who played a role in recovery efforts — from road crews to fire departments to utility workers to neighbors helping neighbors — after July’s historic flooding.

■The Main Street Museum, Sawtooth Kitchen, the Windsor Exchange, Briggs Opera House and all other Upper Valley venues that provide space for musicians and performers of all ability levels to showcase their craft.

■Marjorie Rose, of Hanover, a senior economics lecturer at Dartmouth College who had her first art exhibition at the Howe Library, which featured paintings of her late dog, Bailey. “I think it’s just really important for your mental well-being, having some sort of creative outlet,” Rose told me last summer. Kudos to Rose and all Upper Valley residents who create for the sake of creating.

■Anyone who volunteered for a nonprofit organization, at a school or in the community in some way. It’s people like you who keep this community strong.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.