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Shop Local: The 2nd annual gift guide is out!

For the second year in a row, The Chester Telegraph has traveled around the region to window shop for you, looking for interesting and beautiful gifts to give this holiday season. We've tried to cover everyone on your list. Here, we concentrate on housewares, stocking stuffers and food, many perfect as host/hostess gifts. And, of course, we searched for items to please every budget.

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A Life Among Watercolors

By Cynthia Prairie

Galen Pinkham is a large man with a ready smile, a welcoming laugh and a wealth of stories. He navigates this Grafton home with the ease of someone who grew up among the books, the record albums, the furniture and, especially, the many paintings that hang from just about every wall.

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Mary Bittner: Making strides in race to fight leukemia

By Karen Zuppinger

Mary Bittner is looking for a fight.  Running along the Green Mountain Turnpike, the Chester resident is in training, preparing to battle a grueling half marathon in the fall on the hilly streets of San Francisco.

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Great gifts, great shops in Chester

There are few reasons to leave Chester to shop for that very special holiday gift for that very special person. Chester abounds with interesting items in all price ranges -- if you know where to look. Whether the recipient is your spouse or lover, a child, your pets or friends who love animals, art, learning or food, interesting and unusual gifts can be had within a short distance.

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A healthy wellness community grows in Chester

Ten years ago, few would have thought that Chester could become a Mecca for holistic, naturopathic and alternative medicines. But with more than nine practitioners – in acupuncture, massage and acupressure as well as some of the more controversial fields such as Reiki – this town of more than 3,000 is well on its way.
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Free Summer Concert Series begins July 12

The Chester Rotary's Annual Summer Concert Series will be held five Thursdays in a row starting July 12. All concerts are free and will be held on the lawn of the Academy Building across from the Green. This year's offerings will range from blues to easy listening to boogie woogie and bluegrass.

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Rain, finally and not like before

The first drops were near the wash basin, through a light fixture. A tarp went up on the cabin roof. A bucket on the floor. The next are in the living room, despite the tarps. A bigger bucket. We welcome the rains of April, even within the cabin. Eight months ago, none of us would have said that.
Continue reading is One Year Old!

On Feb. 16th, one year ago, Cynthia Prairie and I set up our computer in the meeting room behind Bret and Nancy Rugg’s office at the Fullerton Inn. Deb Shelby, our web developer, arrived and, while we arranged some chairs, she configured the projector for our show. It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since we rolled out, although at times it feels like it has always been a part of Chester.
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Winter Carnival -- Changes in Schedule Thanks to Weather

The Chester Winter Carnival is still on with lots of activities. But a few scheduled events have had to be canceled thanks to the weather, which over the last year has not been so kind to us. Julie Pollard, who heads up the Winter Carnival, said Thursday that although the Braeburn Siberians had to cancel its dog sled rides because of lack of snow, it's already committed to next year's Chester Winter Carnival. And Pollard added that the nice weather should draw out even more people for the scavenger hunt. Only three other events were canceled. You can find those on the jump.


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Jump into winter with New Voices, 2012 Winter Carnival

Misty Valley Books is presenting its 18th Annual New Voices Authors Weekend this coming Saturday with five new work. Enjoy readings and a reception on Saturday afternoon at the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art and a dinner with the authors at the Fullerton Inn that night.
And get ready for the 2012 Chester Winter Carnival, to be held Feb. 17 through 19. The Braeburn Siberians will be offering dogsled rides again this year and there is so much more.
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Contentious Dollar General Hearing

Monday's hearing on the conditional use permit sought to allow construction of a Dollar General store was more emotional and contentious than previous ones, this time with several members of the Development Review Board expressing doubt about the project and more Chester residents testifying against it. Within the next two weeks, the DRB will meet in deliberative session to discuss the proposed store before reconvening on Monday, Feb. 13 for what could be its final meeting on the matter.
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Jack's Diner Denied Conditional Use Permit

The Chester Development Review Board has denied a conditional use permit for the expansion of Jack's Diner, 521 Main St. Town zoning administrator Michael Normyle said the permit was denied in late November on the grounds that Dodier “missed several hearings and has not been responsive, has not provided the requested information to date.”  In late September, the DRB had asked owner Jacques Dodier to return to the DRB in a month with plans addressing elevation, parking, drainage, lighting, dumpster location and site layout, land contours and landscaping, a floor plan and a plan for a 1,000-gallon tank.

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Dollar General Offers More Changes

“Lucky I didn't see a meat counter or a deli,” said Lisai's Grocery store owner Lonnie Lisai, after viewing the Dollar General's interior plan Monday night, Dec. 12. “There's a lot of overlap” between what his store offers and what a new 9,100-square-foot Dollar General would offer, he added. “About 90% (overlap) … aside from the meat.”
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26th Overture to Christmas 'best ever'

The 26th Annual Overture to Christmas promises to be the best ever, declares Pat Budnick, of Motel in the Meadow, who helped to organize the weeklong celebration. In rapid succession, she begins to tick off events: “ceramics with Melissa, bow making with Nancy, caroling with Stan, the senior dinner – Jack Carroll helps with that, the Rotary Interact kids, Penny at Inn Victoria doing high teas, readings by Joan, oh, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus …”
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Smart Growth Testifies Against Dollar General

Monday's Development Review Board hearing was to be an opportunity for a local group to testify on a Dollar General store proposed to be built next to Zachary's Pizza House. But, for almost half of the two-hour hearing, it became semantics gymnastics when the developer's attorney repeatedly questioned one witness on her characterization of New England architecture and on the definitions of words she used. But DRB chair Peter Hudkins interrupted, asking the attorney pointedly whether he knew when the buildings he had used as examples of comparable architecture to promote the Dollar General were built, suggesting that they may have been constructed before Chester even had zoning laws in place.
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School Board Won't Alter '07 Stand on Quarry

The majority of the board of Green Mountain Union High School decided Thursday night, Nov. 10, that it would not alter its 2007 position on the quarry next door, on 139 acres owned by O'Neil Sand & Gravel. Owner Amy O'Neil said her company is considering seeking an amended permit for blasting at a gravel pit adjacent to school property. Since Tropical Storm Irene, the state has allowed the O'Neils to aid the recovery efforts by extracting gravel at the site. That permission ends on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
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O'Neils Propose Downsized Pit

Is a curtailed project on the same property the same as an earlier proposal or is it a new project in and of itself? That is the question surrounding a proposal posed by Amy and Mike O'Neil Wednesday night before the Chester Select Board and a small group of concerned residents.

The O'Neils, who live in Chester and own O'Neil Sand and Gravel LLC, which extracts gravel for roads and driveways, are hoping to gain public and state and local government support for a downsized gravel pit on 139 acres south of Green Mountain Union High School.

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Updated Dollar General Proposal

The Zaremba Group returned to the Chester Development Review Board Monday night, Oct. 10, with altered plans for a proposed Dollar General Store for the Zachary's Pizza House site that it claims are in line with the town plan and its zoning regulations.

Before those issues could be addressed, however, the DRB approved the subdivision proposal for the Main Street property pending receipt from the developer of corrections on the site plan.

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Jack's Diner expansion; Dollar General update

Two commercial development issues drew more than 30 Chester residents to Town Hall Monday night, Sept. 26, as the Development Review Board attempted to address construction plans for each, both of which sit along Route 103 South.

The more contentious of the two, an expansion of Jack's Diner, 521 Main St., would allow for seating of 96 as well as add a bar.
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VIEWPOINT: An alternative to Dollar General?

Editor's Note: is seeking to foster civil and thoughtful dialogue among concerned citizens about a variety of topics. Please submit your comments on this Viewpoint column in the Comment section on the jump. If you would like to write a Viewpoint column for the blog, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

By Shawn Cunningham

We've been hearing many valid arguments for and against a Dollar General locating in Chester. One of the arguments for a national discount chain is that there is a need for such a store in town; that a number of our residents can't or don't wish to drive to Springfield or New Hampshire to buy inexpensive goods that aren't offered for sale in Chester.

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