Saturday March 23, 2013

ROSES to the Green Mountain Christian Center in Bennington and its founders, John and Linda Goyette, for being a Bennington institution for 35 years. After a July 2007 fire devastated the church’s former Harwood Hill location, the congregation met in a tent for several months before finding its current home in the former First United Methodist Church building at 440 Main Street -- a lovely landmark structure located across the street from The Banner.

ROSES to the Hoosick Falls Church Association for, through its nine member congregations, continuing to feed the needy, provide free tax preparation, and collect school supplies for students. The HACA food closet served nearly 4,700 people in 2012. HACA also delivers food to homebound seniors and donates backpacks filled with school supplies to area school students. And, in the weeks leading up to tax day, the association runs a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program staffed with volunteers trained by the IRS. We think these are extremely valuable and appreciated services in our community.

ROSES to Danny Hollister, 15, of Searsburg, for medaling in the Giant Slalom, Slalom and Novice Slalom at the recent Vermont Special Olympics alpine ski event at Suicide Six. Hollister, a freshman at Twin Valley High School in Wilmington, has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome. The effect skiing has on Danny has been transformative, according to his mom, Tammy Hollister, who noted her son’s disability seemingly disappears when he’s on the hill.

THORNS to those who blamed the 13-year-old female victims of rape in Torrington, Conn., this week. Police confirmed Wednesday that charges against two 18-year-old Torrington High School football players, as well as another 17-year-old boy, stemmed from the alleged sexual assaults of the two girls. In the days before and after the arrests of the football players, several students offered support for them on social media, and some blamed the victims. References included calling a 13-year-old who hangs around with 18-year-olds a "whore," and claiming the victims "destroyed" the lives of the players. The case drew comparisons in media coverage to the recent rape conviction of two Steubenville, Ohio football players, where social media also played a major role. We think this sort of online bullying is not only horrifyingly wrong, it re-victimizes the young victims every time a comment is posted.

~ Michelle Karas