Roses to couple who have shared their home with dozens of foster children

Saturday June 1, 2013

ROSES to a Bennington couple who have served as foster parents to more than 100 children over the past 18 years. Helen and Bert Lang became foster parents in 1994, after losing their 18-year-old daughter to cancer the year before. More foster parents are needed locally. Contact Valerie Miner, Department of Children and Families resource coordinator, at 802-442-8138 if your family is interesting in fostering children. ROSES to Arlington resident Kelly Lewin and the owner Lori Congdon and her staff at Studio 210 Salon in Bennington for partnering to collect and prepare wigs for patients at the Cancer Center at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. After Lewin’s mother passed away of cancer earlier this year, Lewin wanted to donate wigs her mother had been wearing through chemotherapy treatments after she lost her hair. She contacted the Cancer Center, learned the center would accept the wigs, then took the wigs to Studio 210 Salon to be washed and styled for local cancer patients who might need them. Congdon discovered a surplus of hundreds of wigs that had been donated to the center but were in need of some TLC. She suggested Lewin bring them to her salon for washing and styling. Because of this ingenuity, 125 wigs were fixed up for area cancer patients. Congdon’s salon is also affiliated with the American Cancer Society to provide free wigs to cancer patients who can’t afford them. We commend these women for their selfless philanthropy. What a fantastic way to help women in need feel better during grueling treatment.

ROSES to the organizers of Bennington’s Mayfest and Memorial Day parade last weekend. Mayfest vendors and visitors turned out in chilly, wet weather while Main Street businesses provided shelter and space for entertainment acts. Monday’s weather was a different story, and provided a sunny backdrop for the town’s well-attended Memorial Day parade. For both occasions, downtown Bennington attracted scores of visitors and was in the spotlight.

ROSES to the Friendship Through Soccer program, which brought together boys’ soccer teams from Arlington and England on Monday. The Arlington Soccer Club faced off against Maidstone, a youth program from England.

ROSES to outgoing Bennington College President Elizabeth Coleman, who is retiring this month after 25 years in office. Coleman’s tenure is the longest in the college’s history. The college’s ninth president, Coleman was the speaker at Bennington College’s 78th commencement Friday. In a letter announcing her retirement, Coleman said presiding over the college had been more than she had dared to dream -- "exhilarating, tumultuous, challenging, heady." Coleman’s successor is expected to be announced by the college in the near future.

ROSES to Sonatina Enterprises of Bennington, which is offering several scholarships to its piano summer camps. Polly Van der Linde, owner and director, told the Banner that the organization’s goal is to raise $10,000 to be able to award 10 local students a scholarship for the 44th season of Summer Sonatina. The organization hopes to award local piano students between the ages of 7 and 16, of all ability levels, with the scholarships by the start of camp on June 23. To donate, visit

THORNS to Gov. Peter Shumlin for making a sketchy land deal with his East Montpelier neighbor. Even if the purchase of his neighbor’s land for a quarter of its appraised value was legal, it has come to light that the seller, Jerry Dodge, who could not afford an attorney to evaluate the deal, may not have understood he could’ve made out better in the deal. Shumlin maintains he was only trying to help his neighbor, who inherited the house from his late parents in 2009 and had fallen about $17,000 behind on his property taxes, according to an Associated Press article.

~Michelle Karas


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