By John Quinney, Publisher & President

As I write this piece for The News, we’re travelling to Washington, D.C. to spend a few days with our sons, daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. Two days ago, my wife and I both received negative COVID test results and, aside from our grandchildren, everyone is fully vaccinated. Except for a couple of outdoor activities and an occasional masked supermarket visit, we’ll spend our time in each other’s company.

Being with our families is especially sweet these days. Over the past year or more, we have all learned that while Zoom and Facetime are useful for virtual communications, software is no substitute for face-to-face gatherings. I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to be with my family again.

Here at The News, we’re also grateful—for the dozens of gifts that we’ve received over the past month in response to our summer campaign. If you’ve not sent your contribution, please do so, in the envelope provided. Misplaced the envelope? No worries, make your contribution here on The Charlotte News website. It’s safe, secure and fast. Thank you.

We’re also grateful for everyone who took a couple of minutes to complete the brief survey included with our summer campaign. The responses are not “statistically significant,” I’m told, but coupled with previous results, the message is, “more town news, please.” Message received.

Looking beyond family and paper, I’m grateful for so much more.

I’m grateful to our town leaders who listen, seek to understand, look for common ground, craft solutions to problems both trivial and intractable, and provide a public forum for those who wish to speak.

I’m grateful to the dozens of volunteers who give our town the gifts of their time, skills and experience—the members of the Selectboard, Planning Commission and Zoning Board, and those who serve on our various committees and commissions, and at Fire and Rescue and the Senior Center.

I’m grateful for the walks around town that wouldn’t be there but for the dedication and persistence of the Trails Committee. I think about our newly expanded Charlotte Library, an elegant response to both climate change and the need for more space. I’m grateful to the energy committee for helping to make sure that this building is heated and cooled by heat pumps alone. I watch the skilled construction crew work to improve ventilation systems and reduce energy use at Charlotte Central. I’m grateful for the volunteer cooks at the Senior Center, our town employees, and the crew that keeps our roads in such good shape. I appreciate the vital service provided by Front Porch Forum, our town bulletin board and community calendar.

There’s much more: the hundreds of acres of land preserved for us by the Charlotte Land Trust and marked each July with those red roadside signs, the volunteers clearing invasive plants from the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge, the views from Mt. Philo and the Town Beach, the flowering goldenrod, Joe Pye weed and asters that mark the passage of summer, the songbirds, bobcats, foxes and deer that have homes here.

Looking beyond Charlotte, I’m grateful to Governor Scott, Dr. Levine, and the health care workers who have led Vermont to our enviable position as the most vaccinated state in the nation.

I’m grateful for the federal stimulus grants that have made such a difference to cultural organizations, businesses, newspapers and towns throughout the state. I expect to be grateful for the impact of the 400,000 dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding that is on the way to Charlotte.

Yes, we have our challenges. Many feel unsafe walking or biking in the West Village. The fate of the health center is uncertain. The town’s response to climate change falls far short of what’s urgently needed. Invasive plants continue to spread. Our permitting and development process is cumbersome and flawed. Many who work here cannot afford to live here. The Town Plan contains dozens of recommendations, but many are ignored. Conflicts of interest have arisen and are not yet fully resolved.

So, let’s all keep working towards solutions that will make Charlotte an even better place to live, play, learn and work.

But let’s also pause awhile to give thanks for the contributions of the hundreds of Charlotters, our friends and neighbors, who in so many ways make this town special.

Thanks to many gifts of all kinds, The Charlotte News arrives in your mailbox every two weeks, with news reports on key events, and stories about new arrivals, food and farms, outdoor activities and the environment, programs offered by the Library and Senior Center, and more.

It’s been that way since 1958. With the generous support of our writers, advertisers, volunteers and donors, you can expect to see The News in your mailbox for many years to come.