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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Halifax's Blue Plate Special

Last month, Halifax residents Mark Monroe, pastor of the Halifax Bible Church, and his wife Leslie, received a blue plate made by Stone Soldier Pottery, in Jacksonville. The plate was given to them by parishioner Joan Courser, and came with instructions in a small notebook.

Joan gave the plate to the Monroes in recognition of all they do for the people of Halifax. And soon they will pass it along to another townsperson who they believe merits the honor. This quiet recognition of community contributions has been going on for a year and a half in Halifax. It all started as a way for neighbors to recognize neighbors after Tropical Storm Irene. The blue plate is symbolic of a system the people of Halifax devised to help each other navigate the maze of compromised and impassible roads after the storm.

With the main routes washed out, Halifax's back roads had to be navigated to travel to neighboring towns.  To keep folks on the right track, residents affixed plastic plates to roadside trees, like trail markers. Travelers could follow the green plates to Greenfield, Mass., white plates to Whitingham and blue plates to Brattleboro.

According to an article in the April edition of the Halifax News, written by John Kirk and posted on the town website, Tim Putnam was the first to receive the ceremonial blue plate from the Halifax Select Board in October 2012. According to Halifax Town Clerk Patricia Dow, Putnam was invaluable in the days and weeks after Tropical Storm Irene. "He was always there, every day, willing to anything," she explained.

Since then the blue plate has been quietly passed to Christina Moore, Wayne Courser, Lewis Sumner, Ross Barnet and Malcolm Sumner. Malcolm decided to break the silence and, on Town Meeting Day, made a public announcement listing Joan Courser's many good deeds as he passed the plate along to her.

Courser is president of the Community Club, cooks senior meals and founded and still manages the town's newsletter, the Halifax News. Henceforth, Courser says, the passing of the plate is going to be a more public affair in Halifax, allowing the whole community to celebrate the good deeds of their neighbors.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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