ROSES to the Rev. Jerrod Hugenot for his seven years of service at First Baptist Church of Bennington. In June Hugenot will begin a new role in Albany as associate executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of New York. We wish him well in his new challenge, which includes oversight of more than 300 American Baptist congregations in New York State. ROSES to 8-year-old Harrison "Harry" Kim, who won his grade bracket in the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest held by Vermont Public Television for his adorably-illustrated story, "How Marzier the Moose Got His Antlers." Kim, a second-grader at Manchester Elementary Middle School, just "comes up with great ideas for stories," according to his mom, Rebecca Kim. Take a minute to view/read the story, complete with whimsical crayon-colored drawings, at www.vpt.org/writers -- it will make you smile.
THORNS to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its decision to reimburse the town of Bennington for less than half the money the town spent on emergency work in the Roaring Branch following Tropical Storm Irene. According to a decision announced by FEMA Friday, the agency will repay Bennington $1.55 million of the $3.9 million the town laid out for the work. The town, which had to wait nearly two years for FEMA to make a reimbursement decision, will likely appeal.
ROSES to the organizers of the inaugural Bark for Life of Bennington County, to be held at the Arlington Recreation Park on Sunday. The event, unlike its sister fundraising event, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, allows for the participation of dogs and recognizes dogs as caregivers and cancer survivors themselves. Grab your dog and a leash and get over to Arlington -- walk-up registrations start at 9 a.m. Cost is $15 for first dog, $5 each additional.
ROSES to the Steve Zemianek Bennington Road Race, now in its 35th year, which will be held Sunday in North Bennington. The race began in 1978 as a 10-miler around North Bennington. Longtime Mount Anthony Union High School track coach Steve Zemianek was involved as a starter and timer. When Zemianek died in 2000 of a brain aneurysm at the age of 59, the race was named in his honor. It has grown to include three events -- a half-mile kids' fun run, a 3.8 mile-run and a 10K. Cost to register on Sunday morning is $20 and goes to the Zemianek scholarship, which is awarded to an MAU senior track athlete.
ROSES to Home Depot, which donated $2,500 in materials, and the manpower of some "Team Depot" volunteers, as well as to soup kitchen volunteers, who helped to replace a dilapidated porch at the building that serves as Harvest Christian Ministries' soup kitchen Friday. The building, located at River Street and Benmont Avenue, was in need of repair and the Team Depot program, which provides money and volunteers to community projects, stepped up.
ROSES to everyone who participated in Green Up Day activities this week and last. Any opportunity we have to make Vermont even more beautiful is worth the effort.