April 2021 DVFiber update: Funding for fiber advances in the legislature: Think of it. The Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (DVCUD) was established by five towns in April 2020. In just one year ago, 16 more towns joined--including Vernon in July of 2020 as the 15th town--a governing board formed and established three all-volunteer working committees, and nearly 60 people in three counties are working to secure broadband access for every premise and business in the district. The Chicken and the EggOne of the most intriguing challenges facing DVFiber (DVCUD’s public persona) is how to begin work while securing the promise of necessary funding. “We cannot build an infrastructure without major investment, and it’s extremely difficult to secure initial funding without a proven track record.” That’s Ann Manwaring, chair of DVFiber, musing on the conundrum facing all communications union districts (CUDs) in Vermont. Many extremely complicated issues must be addressed at the same time, especially centered on the goal of serving all residences and businesses, even to the last mile. DVFiber is not alone: This puzzle of how to obtain initial investment offers the most strenuous challenge to all of Vermont’s CUDs.Well, it appears that help may well be on the way. Thanks to the ardent leadership of the House Committee on Energy and Technology (and the heroic efforts from Rep. Laura Sibilia, from DVFiber’s district), it seems that significant funding is likely to move from the federal government to the state and on to CUDs, through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the latest round of COVID-19 assistance from Washington, DC. The Vermont House has advanced H.360, a sweeping, game-changing bill intended to support the groundwork of Vermont’s CUDs. “We need a paradigm shift in order to build broadband to the last mile in Vermont. This bill intends to provide coordination, to require accountability, to focus on universal service, not just connectivity to the most profitable customers,” said Rep. Laura Sibilia, vice chair of the House Committee on Energy and Technology, which is sponsoring the bill that calls for significant investment in the state’s CUDs and for the establishment of appropriate infrastructure to oversee development and support. While specific funding details were not available at press time, there can be no question about the intent of this legislation and the support behind it. What’s the latest news?Three important developments:1. Despite DVCUD’s expansion having slowed a bit, Winhall was welcomed into the district on February 24, 2021., and there are other towns considering joining.  DVCUD now encompasses 21 towns in Windham, Bennington, and Windsor counties. To get a sense of the reach of all nine CUDs in Vermont, visit the statewide map at https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/CUDs_v2_March24.pdf. This map reveals which towns are currently working in a communications union district, as well as which towns are currently unaffiliated. We recently learned that nearly 400 expert volunteers are at work on broadband projects statewide!2. To reach its goals, DVFiber will soon enter a public/private partnership with an existing Internet service provider. On February, 4, 2021, DVFiber issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from interested potential partners. The response deadline was in late March and nearly a dozen companies submitted proposals. DVFiber’s governing board, on advice from the Vendor Committee, will select a partner soon with the intent of beginning work this summer. While there remains much to negotiate, there is strong reason to believe that DVFiber is on a clear path to securing broadband service for all residences and businesses in the district. And yet, patience will be required. (You will hear this repeatedly!)3. DVFiber recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Southern Vermont Communications Union District (SoVT CUD). You may not know that two towns in DVCUD are also members of SoVT CUD, Londonderry and Winhall. While there are historical and cultural differences between the two districts, the two governing boards determined that working cooperatively and openly will advance the statewide goal of providing last mile broadband technology for all Vermonters.Intrigued? Want to get involved?Soon, there will be an enormous amount of work required to secure customers for DVFiber right here in Vernon. We will need your help: The district is powered solely by volunteers. Contact Munson Hicks at debandmunson@mac.com or Bronna Zlochiver at bronna.zlochiver@gmail.com to learn how you can help.Visit DVFiber’s website at dvfiber.net and subscribe to the DVFiber newsletter. DVFiber now has a Facebook page. If you use Facebook, please Like the page (search for DVFiber, or follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/DVFiber-113984150471692) and watch for more news of DVFiber’s growth and progress in the Vernon Community News and on the Vernon Facebook Group page.


Historians’ corner, April 2021: “Early Milkman”

By Heather Frost

After much deliberation,, I decided to share “Early Milkman”, by Vera E. Vaughn Rena Martindale Reed, for the similarities of past and present. I had also discovered a 1900’s Vernon Dog License of Vera Vaughn’s grandfather, Arthur Martindale, the milkman, among donated items for the museum. The April 1st 1900, Dog License registered a small, 1 ½ yr male, brown and white spaniel. In 2021, Vernon once again has a “Milkperson” the Miller Farm, selling bottled mik and other dairy products. Also in Vernon, Pine Ledge Farm offers locally raised meats and there are numerous road side stands selling local eggs, baked and canned goods, building community and some sustainability like past Vernon residents did.

Vera Vaughn lived in her grandparents’ (Arthur Martindale and Bertha Miller Martindale) farmhouse in South Vernon on Fort Bridgman Road, a stone’s throw from the present day corn stand (unfortunately the stand was not open last summer and was greatly missed). I remember there was an unused farm stand near Vera’s house almost in the same spot as the present day stand. It was identical to the unused farm stand going towards Brattleboro on Route 5, just past Tyler Hill Road. The house and stand were torn down. I do not remember the farm stands being open in my 50 plus years in Vernon but I am sure they were a valued within the community for local produce and goods at one time in history.

“Early Milkman” was published in the December 2006 Historians first Quarterly Newsletter to members.

Early Milkman

Grandpa Martindale peddled milk (today they call it delivering) in the Vernon – West Northfield area for nearly 40 years, until his death in 1935. He had a small herd of high grade Jersey stock. Mostly he farmed alone with help from his grandson, Victor Vaughn. At times, during haying, he might hire a man for a short time.

Up at 4 a.m., 7 days a week he went to the barn and did the morning milking. He did miking again at 4 p.m. After milking he strained the milk, putting it into 8, 10 or 12 quart cans, which were then submerged in a copper lined tank with water and huge 80 to 100 lb. cakes of ice. Some milk was put into quart “creamery cans” with glass on the side and a spigot to draw off the skim milk (for calves and pigs) and leaving the cream (for sale in half pint bottles, or made up into delicious ice cream). When the milk cooled, Grandpa would pour it into glass bottles and seal with cardboard caps.

Ready to peddle the milk? Hitch up the horse and wagon or sleigh, load up the milk and head out. The customer would return the empty bottles and put out tickets for the day’s needs. Before the days of bottles, he took the large cans and a metal quart measure with him and measured out the sale into the customers containers, Mag Finn had a beautiful white pitcher covered with a white towel, Cecil Wilson had his milk bottles sunk in a barrel of running spring water, tethered by a rawhide loop, others had pans or crocks.

The horse knew the route as well as the driver. Grandpa had a small driving horse that he used on the route. She would stop without command and start up when the milk had been left. The last time he peddled, he used a Ford truck. All this for 10 to12 cents a quart! He also sold eggs, ice cream, poultry and vegetables.