BURLINGTON — The Fourth of July typically means gathering with family and friends, firing up the grill and enjoying the unofficial launch of summer. Unfortunately, sometimes it also means an unexpected trip to the Emergency Department due to burns or other injuries. Although this year’s Independence Day celebrations may look different with many celebrating at home, University of Vermont Health Network officials urge caution around fireworks, fire pits and grills.

“We want your summer memories to be happy ones! Make sure they don’t include a trip to our trauma center. Being mindful of potential dangers can limit your risk for injuries and burns this Fourth of July,” said Abby Beerman, injury prevention coordinator at UVM Medical Center.

It’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you are tempted to put on your own show be sure to obey all local and state laws. In Vermont, all fireworks (not including sparklers and other novelty smoke devices) are illegal except for permitted, supervised public fireworks displays. That means bottle rockets, roman candles, fountains and firecrackers are illegal in Vermont.

Keep in mind the following safety tips:

— Before setting off any legal fireworks, completely read the warning labels and performance descriptions. Fireworks should be lit one at a time in an open, level area that is free of structures or flammable materials. Have buckets of water or another means to extinguish potential fires at hand at all times. After a firework is lit, quickly move away. Outside of burns, one of the most common injuries from fireworks is eye injuries.

— Sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal, catch clothes on fire, or cause serious burns. A responsible adult should supervise all use of sparklers and they should be placed in a container of water when finished. Never let a child use more than one sparkler at a time.

— Never carry sparklers or fireworks in your pocket or set them off in metal or glass containers.

July is the peak month for grill fires. When grilling, it is important to make sure your keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grates or trays. When lighting a gas grill, make sure the lid is open. When lighting a charcoal grill, if using a starter fluid, apply it only to the charcoal. Never add lighter fluid or other flammable liquids to flames in a charcoal grill.

Have a child- and pet-free area around the grill to prevent accidental thermal burns. Grills can stay hot for over an hour after cooking.

If having an outdoor fire, always have a way to extinguish the flames close at hand and build the fire so it is completely contained within the fire pit or bowl.

CRAFTSBURY COMMON — Throughout the pandemic, the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Sterling College — home to the campus farm — has been growing and expanding its Community Supported Agriculture program while observing COVID-specific health and safety procedures. But of all the adaptations implemented during this unprecedented time, “perhaps the biggest lesson has been about the importance of local food production and provisioning,” said Farm Manager Gwyneth Harris.

Sterling responded to this call to action by creating a food hub that supports the college’s mission to advance ecological thinking and action, addresses local food security, and supports start-up and micro-scale agricultural producers. As a result, the college is bringing affordable, high quality, and locally produced food to the greater community, including those who experience food insecurity.

In response to the financial stress the pandemic has caused so many, the college doubled the number of CSA shares offered this year, introduced a sliding scale, and gifted a number of shares. In late June, the CSA was approved to accept EBT cards, opening the program to customers who receive benefits from the federal SNAP.

As one of nine federally designated “Work Colleges” in the country, Sterling has long required work from its residential students in exchange for tuition cost credits. When they return to campus in mid-August, many students will play a key role in expanding the food production on the campus farm, allowing Sterling to not only feed its students with wholesome food, as it always has, but also to contribute to increased food security for local residents.

— Staff reports

BURLINGTON — Nearly 300 business and organization leaders from across the Vermont Business for Social Responsibility network joined an important discussion Wednesday on racial justice and equity issues in Vermont.

Speakers Xusana Davis, Sherwood Smith, and Tabitha Moore, shared insights, guidance and perspective for Vermont businesses and organizations to consider as they learn about and work to address systemic racism in their workplaces and communities.

“As a business leader, you have incredible influence which is why it’s so important you be leaders in your community on racial equity.

This is your moment to act, because of the power and privilege you yield in society, it is time to use it for equity,” said Davis, executive director of racial equity for the state of Vermont.

Speakers addressed issues pertaining to white privilege, the effects of COVID-19 on marginalized communities, tokenism, the economic advantages of embracing diversity, equity & inclusion and developing actionable plans for businesses to dismantle racism.

“This is a marathon not a sprint. It’s been shown that organizations that engage actively in working on social justice and inclusivity have better business outcomes,” said Sherwood Smith, senior executive director for diversity and engagement and director of the Center for Cultural Pluralism at the University of Vermont.

Tabitha Moore, President, Rutland Area NAACP said, “Never stop your DEI work – whenever there is a crisis your most marginalized people are going to be hit harder.”

A recording of the gathering can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/434478591

WILLISTON — The Vermont State Police, the Agency of Transportation and partners across Vermont are reminding motorists to drive safely over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.

State troopers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, local and county law enforcement agencies will be visible this holiday season to detect and deter aggressive, distracted and impaired driving — the dangerous driving behaviors that take the lives of Vermonters and visitors to our state.

“Speed, aggressive, distracted and impaired driving are the demons that continue to haunt our roads, and these behaviors will be the targets this holiday weekend,” said Lt. Tara Thomas, VSP’s Safety Programs Unit commander.

“Lives continue to be lost as a result of occupants not wearing their seat belts. Unrestrained motorists account for 60% of Vermont fatalities. We can’t say it enough: Seat belts save lives,” she said. “These beautiful Vermont summer months are a time of year many people look forward to. We have more bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the roadway with motor vehicles. Whether you’re a motorist, a bicyclist or a pedestrian, please be vigilant and share the road this holiday weekend and anytime you are out traveling.”

NORWICH —The Montshire Museum of Science will reopen to the public on Wednesday, July 8, offering an enhanced outdoor experience that includes David Goudy Science Park and miles of nature trails, as well as two new features — the special exhibition Prehistoric Giants and the forest play area, The Play Grove.

To ensure a safe, engaging, and flexible learning environment, the Museum has made some changes to hours, admission, ticketing process, and visitor policies.

Indoor exhibits will remain temporarily closed, while the Montshire focuses on providing a memorable and engaging outdoor experience.

The Montshire will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will be closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays, however summer camps will still take place on these days.

To celebrate the Museum reopening, a promotional rate of $14 for adults and $11 for children will be available for the month of July. Admission is free for members and children under the age of 2.

BERLIN — Central Vermont Medical Center is scaling back some limitations on visitors to the hospital. CVMC and all other hospitals in the state began restricting visitation in March to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Effective July 1, guidelines as part of the new policy include:

— For inpatients, one consistent family member/support person is permitted.

— For pediatric patients, two parents/guardians or one parent/guardian and a visitor may accompany pediatric patients.

— Patients arriving in Surgical Services, the Emergency Department or ExpressCare may also be accompanied by one consistent family member/support person.

— At Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing, scheduled outdoor visitation is now allowed by appointment on certain days.

— For medical clinics, visitors are not permitted with limited exceptions.

Because not all areas allow for visitors to safely distance, patients or their families should check to understand the updated policy, and whether a designated visitor can be accommodated.

MONTPELIER — The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities announced this week that nine Vermont arts and cultural organizations will receive $629,154 in highly competitive direct grants through the federal CARES Act to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NEA Vermont grantees are: Kingdom County Productions, Barnet, $50,000; Dorset Theatre Festival, Dorset, $50,000; Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, $50,000; Community Engagement Lab, Montpelier, $50,000; Yellow Barn, Putney, $50,000; Weston Playhouse Theatre, Weston, $50,000.

The NEH Vermont grantees are:

— Vermont Historical Society, Barre, $133,512 for “Preserving and Expanding Access to Vermont’s History.

— Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, $97,017 for “Listening in Place: COVID-19 Archival Outreach Project.”

— University of Vermont, Burlington, $69,263 for “Virtual Visitor Engagement at the Fleming Museum of Art.”

— Sheldon Art Museum Archaeological and Historical Society, Middlebury, $29,362 for “Archives Alive: Building Primary Source Collections During COVID-19.

— Staff reports

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