On November 22, 2016

Rutland Region – News Briefs

CSJ hires, promotes administrators
RUTLAND—The College of St. Joseph has hired Nanci Gordon as director of development and alumni relations. Both an alumna and a dedicated advocate for the school, she will oversee the annual fund, the college’s efforts to seek grant funding, and its work to cultivate alumni.
The Rutland High graduate received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from CSJ in 1983 and worked 21 years in local media. She is widely recognized for her non-profit work, both professionally and as a volunteer.
The college has also promoted Elicia Mailhiot to associate director of communications. She has served the school for nearly two years as marketing-communications associate and project manager.
James Lambert has also changed positions at CSJ, becoming vice president for external affairs. He will lead efforts in business and community outreach, marketing and branding, and utilizing the college’s physical assets, following his role as director of communications and associate vice president for marketing and external affairs.
Member of “The Greatest Generation” impersonates Wonder Woman
RUTLAND—The Rutland Halloween parade received a somewhat unexpected visitor in the person of Wonder Woman. Wonderful she was, pushing a walker along Rutland sidewalks, accompanied by the Norse god Thor. Cell phone videos of the costumed retiree sparked across the Internet as October ended, hopefully encouraging other seniors to abandon sedentary solitude.
A World War II Women’s Army Corps veteran who saw deployment in the South Pacific, 93-year-old Laicita Cook survived dengue fever and the New Guinea jungle. Married to attorney George Cook after the war’s end, she studied art at American University and made Korean War relief maps. She also bore five children, four of whom became medical doctors.
She’s also been a logger, running a business on the family’s 500-acre farm. Wonder Woman is a fitting sobriquet.
Greg Cox named Business Person of Year
RUTLAND—The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce chose West Rutland farmer and entrepreneur Greg Cox as its 2016 Business Person of the Year at its 118th annual meeting, Nov. 15. Chamber CEO Mary Cohen praised his mentoring young farmers and instigating promotions on the economic impact of locally grown and produced foods.
“He has envisioned an educational greenhouse for the Vermont Farmers Food Center property that not only teaches farmers but community members,” Cohen commented.
But Cox’s influence extends beyond agriculture and the food industry. “He is attracting a well-educated young demographic, which is exactly what this region needs,” she said.
Internet video innovator Rocket delivered the meeting’s keynote address, likening Rutland to an attractive woman who lacks confidence as a result of her awkward youth.
“The positive, excellent side of that is, you people care,” he said, but the community can gain a lot from engaging the Rutland area folks who were not at the meeting. Rutland’s future is bright, he said, it’s “turned the corner” and must “keep its foot on the gas.”
Stuff-a-Bus exceeds expectations
RUTLAND—Local donors crammed 15,500 pounds of food into three buses during the two-and-a-half Stuff-a-Bus food collection drive that ended Nov. 12. The Salvation Army, Rutland Community Cupboard, and BROC-Community Action in Southwestern Vermont will share the bounty.
Among the food collecting organizations were all the city’s elementary schools, Heritage Family Credit Union, Rutland Discount Food and Liquidation Center, Price Chopper, and Hannaford Supermarket. The Bus loaned two vehicles downtown and one at Hannaford in Rutland Town, while WJJR’s Terry Jaye broadcast from the event he initiated 22 years ago.
The event was a spectacular success, with a goal of 10,000 pounds exceeded by more than half again as much. BROC CEO Tom Donahue praised the generous monetary donations, “$6,000 so far,” which will help the Vermont Food Bank expand its purchasing power, filling in gaps in its inventories. He gave extra credit to the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Vermont chapter, and Rutland Area Vehicle Enthusiasts for the generosity of their donations.
This is the first year that all three Rutland food shelves have worked with the Stuff-A-Bus campaign. The Salvation Army worked with the schools to bring in food on school buses, Nov. 10. Capt. Maureen Lawliss said the Salvation Army plans to give out its Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes again this year. “Community Cupboard and BROC have agreed to help out if we have a shortfall from our food pantry,” she said, noting that the organizations are working together to assure that needs are met across the local landscape.
RAFFL performs valuable services
RUTLAND—The Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL) Glean Team and volunteers harvested more than 12 tons of fresh, locally-grown and -produced vegetables, fruit and fresh bread from 21 regional farm and food producers and distributed that bounty to 25 organizations that serve area communities. That was by Nov. 1, Executive Director Elena Gustafson announced Nov. 14.
During 2016, RAFFL’s Everyday Chef program taught cooking skills, food preservation, and nutrition, emphasizing natural, seasonal food, to more than 500 participants. Many of these classes were conducted in recovery homes, shelters, work sites, and schools, and in partnership with other organizations.
The organization gave financial and planning aid to 35 farms and food businesses in Rutland, Bennington, and Windsor counties. The online market Farm Fresh Connect grew more than 45 percent as it worked with 16 farms and food processors, delivering to more than 12 sites in the region.
In its 11th year, the Locally Grown Guide has a print run of more than 20,000 copies, promoting 400-plus farms, food producers, and businesses that are part of the local agricultural economy.
More “locally grown” shared over holiday
RUTLAND—Local young people showed what they and their doggy companions have learned to do together in For the Love of Dogs: A Canine Variety Show held Nov. 12 at Rutland Intermediate School on Library Ave. The program featured the work of more than a dozen dogs and their owners, exhibiting their ability to follow directions. And they raised money for the Rutland County Humane Society.
The Rutland County Humane Society’s Waggin’ Tails winter auction began Nov. 18 and continues through Nov. 29. All the money raised helps in caring for homeless animals in the Rutland area.
“Varmints” shut down
RUTLAND—Rodent visitors recently left a mark on the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Rutland. Staff found nibbled packages, which they threw out before setting traps, which caught four members of the species Mus musculus. Although the problem appeared to be solved, someone had put in a call to the Vermont Department for Children and Families. The state made the facility close until an official exterminator could treat the building.
Dream Center promises busy holiday season
RUTLAND—Dream Center at 197 West St., starts the holiday season on Thanksgiving Day by hosting a free community dinner from 1 to 3 p.m. The following Saturday, the Center hosts the third Kids and Family Fun Day at Giorgetti Ice Rink with free skating, food, transportation if needed, broom ball, and a scavenger hunt. Volunteers are needed for the Saturday event.
The Center also hosts a free Once Upon a Christmas gift day Dec. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. It is an opportunity for people who might have a very lean Christmas, providing toys, food baskets, clothing, cookies and punch plus wrapping paper and a Christmas tree.
From January 1 to March 31, the center will be open from 1-3 p.m. seven days a week for a hot meal and to get out of the cold for a few hours. Games, magazines, a computer for job hunting and a shower will be offered. Volunteers are always welcome to help with cooking, food and clothing donations as well as other ideas for community service.
To find out more about the Dream Center, its programs and volunteer needs, visit the website dreamcenterrutland.com or its Facebook page. To volunteer, call 236-0407.
Rutland Town and West Rutland working on Act 46
West Rutland and Rutland Town are among the towns struggling to forge acceptable merger agreements to give to the state Board of Education in January so that they can be approved in time for town meeting votes March 7. The forum in Rutland Town is scheduled for Nov. 28; the one in West Rutland, Dec. 5.
Both are part of the Rutland Central and Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union study committee, along with Proctor, Poultney, Wells, and Middletown Springs. Ira is an informal member.
West Rutland is working with Poultney and Proctor to create the pre-k to 12 Quarry Valley Unified Union School District. This second round of community forums follows compiling input gathered at the community forums held in September.

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