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: The Fairfax Blinking Light - Who is responsible??  ( 8075 )
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« : September 22, 2016, 09:39:01 AM »

Who is Responsible?

Who is responsible for the blinking caution light in the middle of Fairfax? The Fairfax Home Demonstration Club now know as the Fairfax Extension Homemakers Club takes the credit. Initiated as a safety project in 1966, the club succeeded in convincing the State Highway Department to install the caution light at a very busy and dangerous intersection in town. Because of this project, the club was awarded the, Distinguished Service Award from the Allstate Foundation, Washington, D.C.  The Club was officially begun June 10, 1934 with eight women who concentrated their efforts on providing health clinics for sphool children. Taken from the June 20, 1935 minutes: Number of children examined at BFA - 303, at North Fairfax - 19, Cherrier district - 24, Recommendations for correction; eyes - 11, lungs - 4, teeth - 11, scalp - 13, tonsils - 43, skin - 17, heart - 16 and goiter - 4." Through the years the club has sponsored many clinics with the latest being a "Brown Bag Clinic" in August 1990.

The club also provides educational meetings concerning the environment, business, government and home related subjects and craft project so in 1986, the club was awarded a 50 year certificate from the National Convention in Washington, D,C. There is only one other club in Franklin County which has a charter older than ours, and that only by one month, The current project for our 30 'member club is assisting in preparations for the National Convention to be held in August 1992 in Burlington, Vermont. Members are handcrafting table decorations and individual gifts to be presented to, over 1000 women and plan to act as hostesses in August when the convention occurs.

Sharon Horr
Joy LeBaron

1210 "H" STREET N. W. RM. 800, WASHINGTON 6, D. C.

August 29, 1966

Mrs. John Weir
Safety Chairman
Fairfax Extension Homemakers
Fairfax, Vermont 05454

Dear Mrs. Weir:

The judges of this year's National Extension Homemakers Council Traffic Safety Contest selected Munford, Alabama; Breckinridge, Oklahoma; and Pleasant Dale, West Virginia, as the clubs to win top honors, but they felt that there were other clubs that deserved special recognition for their outstanding projects in safety. They decided that nine clubs should be honored for their efforts with a Distinguished Service Award. Fairfax Extension Homemakers is one of those clubs, and you will receive your award from a representative of the Allstate Foundation in a few weeks.

MY sincere congratulations to you and to each member of Fairfax Extension Homemakers for the fine work you have done in traffic safety in your community. Through your activities, you have made your area a safer place for all who live or travel there. It is efforts like yours that will make the difference for success in this national problem of constant concern to all of us.

Please give ~ greetings to all of the members of the club who have worked on the safety project. I hope you are as proud of your accomplishment as I am.

MY best wishes to you for a safe and successful year.


Mrs. Agnes D. Beaton
Director, Women's Division

Jean R. Weir, Fairfax
F'airfax Extension Homemakers
Fairfax, Vermont
34 Members


Fairfax, Vermont is midway between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. The rugged face of Mt. Mansfield stands like a guardian over the quiet country village.

Although it has only a population of 1500, Fairfax people accomplish much. Some indications of this are found in a recent six classroom addition to the local school; an active Historical Society with a small museum building; a town library; a fine town band that plays for events in this and surrounding towns; a Little League baseball team for summer fun for the boys--and adults too.

Men and women alike are interested in what makes for a better and safer life. When lVIrs. Dewing, our County Safety- Chairman, announced highway safety as a part of the state and county program, we considered what we could do in decreasing the state's mounting traffic toll. About this time one of our older members was injured in a traffic accident in the center of our town. This was all that was needed to spark our cooperation in the project.

For the past twenty years different people have tried to get a traffic light or blinker installed in the center of town. The town selectmen tried without success. A local woman, whose husband and son run a grocery store on this corner, had worked to have a light installed. A local resident, Mr. Butler, who was an officer in-the legislature at the state Capitol for many years, found his influence of no avail. But you know how it is with a group of women "nothing ventured, nothing won". The group elected two members, Mrs. H. C. Bellows and Mrs. John Weir, to see what could be done.

First I should explain that the traffic congestion in the center of our small town can be considerable at times. The pictures show where the main route 104 is entered by the Fletcher road. Not so easily seen is the side street beside the IGA store. This is also one street leading to the Elementary and High School, Bellows Free Academy.

With three stores, a barber shop, Masonic Hall, post office plus two churches and the school nearby, things can get congested. It was at a time like this When our member was knocked down and dragged by a car backing from the Post Office. (We are happy to report the lady is well on the way to complete recovery.)

Our first act was to attend a meeting of the village selectmen. They were very cooperative and endorsed our efforts. S:ince it has become a state maintained highway, it was out of their jurisdiction. They suggested contacting the District Engineer. Ve decided we should have something concrete to present and came up with three suggestions:

1.   Reduce the speed which was 35 M.P.H.
2.   Install reflector arrows to show curve
3.   Install blinker light.

We felt, being laymen, that maybe these were not all feasible, but we suggested them in our letter of April 4 to Mr.. Blanchard, District Engineer. (Exhibit A) Our letter was promptly answered and was referred to Mr. Coleman, State Traffic Engineer. Mr. Coleman replied (Exhibit B) saying the matter would be studied.

On Friday, May 13, Mr. Everett Tucker, assistant to Mr. Coleman, contacted me in my home. He reported that our suggestion of lowering the speed limit was unrealistic' since we did not have police to enforce it. Reflector arrows are only used on an unbroken curve. The Fletcher road enters on this curve in Route 104. But the blinker light would be installed. He reported that in the past five years a total of thirteen minor
accidents had happened at this intersection. It was on the board for consideration, but a little push from thirty-four women made it a reality in a short time.

Now the sound of brakes are heard as the big trucks slow down as they see the light blinking in Fairfax's busy intersection.

Fairfax, Vermont
April 4, 1966

Mr. Ryron M. Blanchard
District Highway Engineer
St. Albans, Vermont

Dear Mr. Blanchard,

We represent the Fairfax Extension Homemakers Group. Our State Program includes Highway Safety and we are asked to help in reducing highway hazards.

Our group feels that the. present conditions in the center of Fairfax constitute a hazard. The stores, post office, Barber shop, churches and three street intersections all in one small area make for hazardous conditions.

We propose the following changes:

1.   Reduce speed through center of town
2.   Reflector arrows to show curve
3.   Install caution light to show care should be exercised in area.

We met with the selectmen of the town and they endorsed our efforts. We were advised to write to you.

We will be glad to appear before you to discuss this further.  The thirty-four members of our group would be glad to appear also, if necessary.

Very truly yours,

Mrs. H . C. Bellows
Mrs. John Gr. Weir


April 6, 1966

Fairfax Extension Homemakers Group
Attention: Jean Weir
Fairfax, Vt.

Dear Ladies;

I have forwarded your letter of April 4th to Mr. A. W. Coleman the Traffic Engineer for the Highway Dept

I have endorsed your recommendations and sent it to higher authority.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

Yours truly,

B. M. Blanchard
District Highway Engineer





April 14, 1966

Mrs. Jean R. Weir
Etension Homemakers Group
Fairfax, Vermont 05454

Dear Mrs. Weir:

Your letter of April 4 addressed to District Engineer Blanchard concerning the dangerous situation on Route 104 in Fairfax Village has been referred to this office.

One of the obvious corrective measures would be to prohibit parking in front of the stores, particularly on the inside of the curve. Such action has been discussed with previous selectmen without much local approval of the idea.

The present 35 mph. speed limit was established by the Vermont Traffic Committee and appears quite reasonable and safe for conditions. A flashing light, of course, could only add emphasis to the warning signs, but would not compensate for congestion caused by local activity around the intersection.

As a result of your letter, we will make a thorough investigation of the situation during which we will talk with you and with the selectmen. You may be sure that the department is anxious to make every effort to improve the safety of the travelling public.

Very truly yours,

A. W. Coleman
Traffic Engineer
cc: B. M. Blanchard
Board of Selectmen

Thursday, June 2, 1966

Don't Take All the Credit
Ladies, But It Was a FineJob

Fairfax women are asked not to take all the credit, but . . . This past winter, the Franklin County Chairman of the Safety Project for the Extension Homemakers, Mrs. J. A. Dewing has informed the groups of a contest.

If the group with the most I beneficial safety project would prepare an exhibit for the state meeting in June, it would be submitted for a prize of a free trip to Colorado next fall. The trip is to the Annual National
Meeting of American Extension Homemakers, held on the campus of the State University of Colorado.

The Fairfax Extension Homemakers Group discussed the possibilities of improving traffic conditions in the center of town and appointed Mrs. John Weir and Mrs. Herbert Bellows to serve on a safety committee.    I

These industrious ladies went I to the meeting of the selectmen in Fairfax with a three point program. 1. provide a blinker light at the corner; 2. reflector arrows to mark the curve at night; 3. reduce speed through town.

The selectmen felt that nothing could be done about the reduction in speed because of the problem of enforcement. The ladies thereupon wrote to Me. Byron Blanchard District Engineer, who referred the letter to Montpelier, Me Coleman Vt. Highway Engineer, asking for cooperation and information.

They also offered to go to Montpelier as a group of thirty-four to meet with anyone who could help further their safety program. After some correspondence the light was installed on Wednesday, May 18.

The Highway Dept. made it clear the women of Fairfax didn't deserve all the credit for the light because they (the Dept.) had been considering it for some time.

Caution Light Installed In Fairfax Village

FAIRFAX - A flashing beacon light has been installed here in Fairfax Village, as part of the highway department's current program to improve hazardous accident locations. The beacon has a yellow light on Route 104 and a red light on the side road.

The site was chosen because s ate police have investigated 13 accidents at this intersection during a five-year period. This has also been a project of the Fairfax Extension Homemakers for the past few months.



Fairfax Women Sparked Placing Of Traffic Light

FAIRFAX - A blinking caution light began its 24"hour service Thursday at the intersection of Rt. 104 and Fletcher Road, as a plea for caution by motorists. A lot of school children cross at that point.

It was placed there by the State Highway Department in response to a request by the Home-Makers Home Dem Group because of minor injures there in recent years.

The women's action was in accord with the Home Dem's state project this year: highway safety. The group of 35 even considered making a visitation to Montpelier. Mrs. John Weir and Mrs. Herbert Bellows were the project co-chairmen.

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