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Westport Column 8-20-11

As we come up on the exciting opening of the new Champlain Bridge, don't miss the rare opportunity this weekend of hearing the bridge's award-winning designer, Ted Zoli, talk about the history and construction of our much-awaited link to the other side. Mr. Zoli will appear at Camp Dudley's Witherbee Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m., and will give this year's annual author address, the fifth in the superb series sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of Essex and Franklin counties. Call 546-3008 for info.

Our lack of bridge reminds me of the headline in a British newspaper when a massive storm in the English Channel knocked out communications between Britain and the rest of Europe: "Storm in Channel—Continent Isolated." It will be a fine thing, no doubt, for Vermonters to be allowed back in.

Then, starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, you'll want to mosey on up to the Whallonsburg Grange block party, which promises large amounts of food, music, and fun for all ages. The street down to the bridge will be closed to accommodate the crowd, and the Whallonsburg Volunteer Fire Department will be cooking up hot dogs and Whallonsburgers. All proceeds will go to support the Grange hall, which is looking so gorgeous these days.

And back at Camp Dudley next weekend, on Saturday, Aug. 27, High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care will host its inaugural Willie Schmidt Lake Champlain Swim for Hospice. Registration starts at 8 a.m. for paddlers and swimmers. This is not a race but a friendly way to have fun and raise money for an outstanding cause, and to honor the memory of long-time Camp Dudley director Willie Schmidt. Volunteer paddlers (both canoes and kayaks are welcome) will be deployed around the course to help keep the swimmers safe. All you need to do to register to swim is get together $75 in sponsorships from your friends, family, employer, landlord, the guy next to you in line, wherever. If you're interested in taking part, call Darsie at 891-9631 ext 116 or visit swimlakechamplain.org.

Congratulations to Jane Preston, this week's $50 Heritage House raffle winner.

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