Saturday June 29, 2013

ROSES -- and welcome -- to incoming Bennington College president Dr. Mariko Silver. Silver replaces longtime educator Elizabeth Coleman, who is retiring from the position after 25 years but will remain on campus as director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action through June 2015. Silver has held prominent roles at Columbia University and Arizona State University and in the administrations of then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and President Barack Obama. ROSES to local Olympian Andy Newell, who hosted a free Olympic Day for children ages 15 and under last Sunday, the national Olympic Day holiday, at Willow Park. "The goal is to get the kids outside and exercising. It’s something important for kids, even at a really young age," said Newell, a two-time Olympian (2006, 2010) in cross country skiing and a Shaftsbury native. After the kids finished six Olympic events, they were awarded participation certificates, decorated their own medals and had the opportunity to stand on the podium for a photo with Newell.

ROSES to longtime Sunrise Family Resource Center social worker Janice Lerrigo, who is retiring after 27 years with the nonprofit, serving underprivileged children and families in Bennington.

ROSES to Charles Letourneau, a Shaftsbury native who is retiring after 37 years with TD Bank in Bennington. Letourneau’s last day was Friday. "He has touched everything in this community and certainly has made our community a better place to live in," State Rep. Mary Morrissey told The Banner.

ROSES to former Southern Vermont College volleyball players Danielle Healis and Jessica Alvarez, who recently competed in Holland on an international tour. They were approached in December to represent the United States on a tour for USA Athletes International, a nonprofit organization that supports overseas tours in 15 sports. Prior to their European tour, the two women helped the SVC Mountaineers to two straight NCAA tournament appearances.

THORNS to the Supreme Court’s decision this week to strike down a major section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- one that required nine states to get Justice Department approval of any election changes in states with a history of discrimination in access to the ballot box. The 5-4 decision leaves the future of the law uncertain because it will be up to Congress to redraw the map, if it can agree on one at all. ROSES to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who intends to "take immediate action to ensure that we will have a strong and reconstituted Voting Rights Act that protects in racial discrimination in voting."

ROSES to the Supreme Court for putting the nation’s legally married gay couples on equal federal footing with married heterosexual couples and paving the way for same-sex marriages in California Wednesday. The high court struck down the federal anti-gay marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act, that has blocked legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, pension and benefits, among others. The court also declared that California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriages there was unconstitutional. Now gay couples who are legally married are eligible for federal benefits. It’s about time.

ROSES to those who participated in the Relay For Life of Bennington County last weekend, raising more than $107,000 for the American Cancer Society to fund cancer research. The Mount Anthony Union High School track was packed with supporters and survivors for the inspirational 24-hour event. ROSES to the national Relay For Life movement that has raise more than $4 billion for ACS since the events began in 1985.

~Michelle Karas