ROSES to 4-year-old Bennington resident Natalie Rupprecht, whose wish to visit Disneyworld was recently granted by Make-A-Wish Vermont. On Sunday, Sept. 8, Natalie's first stop on that journey to see Mickey Mouse was at the VFW post in Manchester, where she boarded a Cinderellalike horse-drawn carriage with three "princess" passengers for a trip to historic Hildene. Proceeds from the Scott Thomas Golf Tournament made this wish possible. Natalie, daughter of Lyndsay and Michael Rupprecht, was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2012 and has since endured body-ravaging chemotherapy. We hope this trip to the Magic Kingdom brings this brave little girl some smiles.
THORNS to the soggy weather that's streaking the hand-polished finishes of so many beautiful vintage vehicles at the 47th Annual Bennington Car Show, going on now. Dodge the raindrops, grab $8 for admission and head out to Willow Park to see the show vehicles, hear some music, enjoy fair food and participate in activities for the young and not-so-young. Parking is free in Maneely Industrial Park and shuttle service to the main event and to the 20th Annual Bennington Quilt Show at Mount Anthony Union Middle School is offered. Quilt show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday evening will be the Cruise In on Main Street, and beginning at 8 p.m. at the Bennington Center for the Arts will be a Celtic music concert by the band Shieling. There really is something for everyone this weekend in Bennington.
ROSES to the Mount Anthony Union High School boys soccer team, who won their bout Friday in the 45th Annual John James Soccer Tournament Friday. Hosted by MAU, the tournament honors John James, who started the varsity boys soccer program at Mount Anthony Union High School in 1966. The long-standing tradition includes four teams: MAU, Burr and Burton Academy, Arlington Memorial High School and Brattleboro Union High School. To date, MAU has won this tournament 18 times.
ROSES to Hildene's inclusion on the new Vermont African American Trail. Hildene, the Manchester mansion built by Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary To d d Lincoln, is included on the trail because of Abraham Lincoln's role as the "Great Emancipator" of slaves and also because his son served as president of Pullman Co., which was, at the turn of the century, the largest employer of African-Americans in the country, offering former slaves jobs as porters, according to the trail brochure. Gov. Peter Shumlin visited Hildene on Sept. 6 to commemorate the site's inclusion on the trail, which also includes the Grafton History Museum and the Early Black Settlers Historic Marker in Hinesburg. He said the goals of creating the trail included bringing attention to the history of African-Americans in Vermont and those Vermonters whose lives focused on the issues of equality and freedom, and expanding tourism.
ROSES to the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps for taking on the construction of a 75-foot boardwalk at the Greenberg Conservation Reserve in Bennington. The VYCC, which hires people mainly ages 16 to 24, supplied a crew of eight to build the boardwalk, which will be accessible off the Wetland Lookout Trail and will include a 16-foot observation platform. The project cost of $23,000 is being covered by grants from the local Whipstock Preservation Society, the Windham Foundation in Grafton and the Davis Conservation in Maine.
ROSES to Citizens Bank's Gear for Grades program, which has helped 500 Vermont students this year by distributing school supplyfilled backpacks to children in need, including 20 in Bennington's Big Brothers/Big Sisters. At the bank's 21 Vermont branches, more than 4,250 pencils, pens, notebooks and the like were donated by the public. Citizens Bank donated the backpacks. Nationwide, the worthy program served more than 38,000 low-income children just this year, and more than 253,000 children since its inception in 2003.
THORNS to the reality that one in eight Vermonters are "food insecure." Those numbers, reported by the United States Department of Agriculture last week, are eclipsed here in Bennington County, according to Sue Andrews, executive director of Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services Inc., which runs the Kitchen Cupboard, Food and Fuel Fund and Bennington Free Clinic, said nearly 2,500 individuals were served by the Kitchen Cupboard in July. Of those, 169 were children under 5 and 226 were children between 6 and 12 years old. About a quarter of Bennington families are served by the food shelf, Andrews told the Banner. That is an astounding number. To volunteer for the GBICS, call 802-447-3700. To donate, mail your tax-deductible contribution to us at Bennington Free Clinic, P.O. Box 702, Bennington, VT 05201.