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100th Day of School

100th Day of School

Students in Ms Caggige's Kindergarten class at Northwest School in Rutland dressed as if they were 100 years old to celebrate the 100th day of school on February 10th. Photo provided by Donna Caggige.

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New Field Producer hired for ACCESS News Magazine

Amber Dumas

PEGTV, Rutland County’s public access television station has announced the addition of Amber Dumas as Field Producer for ACCESS on channel 15. Amber will be producing segments for the news magazine along with taping school board and select board meetings.

“We are excited to have Amber working with us. With her familiarity and ties to the community and her skills as a producer she is an excellent fit to work on ACCESS,” boasts PEGTV Executive Director, Michael Valentine.

Amber will receive her BA in Communications from Castleton College this spring. Amber’s interest in communications began in high school where she was part of the Stafford video production program for two years and was also the recipient of PEGTV’s Courcelle Scholarship her senior year. During her years of study at Castleton she help direct and produce several documentaries including one on bullying that was shown in schools across the county. She was a participant in the Castleton Video Magazine, a show the students produce about news in and around the college, and she also interned at PEGTV.

“There are a lot of great people in the community that have some really cool stories to tell and I am looking forward to bringing them to ACCESS, especially those who are not always recognized for the good things they do.” says Amber.

ACCESS focuses on positive news and events that are happening in Rutland county and airs weekly on PEGTV channel 15 on Thursdays at 7:30 and 9:00 p.m., Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 & 9:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 & 5:30 p.m.

PEGTV is comprised of Channels 15, 20 and 21 and is available throughout Rutland County to all cable and VTel subscribers. Streaming programming and video on demand services are also available online at

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Helpful Volunteers

People’s United Banking Commercial Division of Southern Vermont staff

On Friday January 23rd, People’s United Banking Commercial Division of Southern Vermont donated l.5 hours of time to help BROC move fixtures and do an inventory. The helpful volunteers from around the state are shown here (l to r) Deborah Quirk, Commercial Banking, Rutland; Deborah Boyle, Commercial Banking, Brattleboro (back); Lindley Dannaway, Commercial Banking, Rutland (front); Mary Lonczak, Treasury Management, Rutland (back); Jody Cole, Commercial Banking, Burlington; Amy Mayhew, Wealth Management, Rutland; Daniel Johnson, Commercial Banking, Burlington; Craig Arsenault, Wealth Management, Rutland; David Estes, Commercial Banking, Burlington; Christine Diekel, Wealth Management, Rutland; Sean Long, Commercial Banking, Brattleboro

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Supporting “The Bus”

By Samuel J. Gorruso

Ladies and Gentlemen maybe you can do it, but I’m way too busy and I am sure there are others in the same boat – who just don’t have enough time to do all we need to do. For example, to take your elderly aunt who never drove a car to her doctor’s appointment or an transport your uncle who can no longer drive to his eye doctor. We are all way too busy. But there is a solution.

One day several years ago I was leaving the medical center when I saw a Marble Valley Transit Bus parked outside loading up with passengers. Among them was my father’s sister who was the only surviving sibling whose children live miles away. All her life her husband, Uncle Al, took her everywhere until he passed away. She stayed in the Rutland area because she grew up here, enjoyed living here, and knew so many people here.

I stopped for a minute to get a hug from Aunt Joe and when I walked away I realized that The Bus had been their for my aunt while I and other members of the family were going about our own business.

Years later my next oldest brother who didn’t have a drivers license, but he too needed to get around town. He was going for treatments at the medical center and he had to go to the pharmacy, the grocery store and even downtown to get a haircut. Not only could he rely on Marble Valley Transit to take him places, but I could feel free to go about my day at work knowing he could safely take care of his errands.

Today, both Aunt Joe and brother Tom are gone, but I ask you, please don’t let The Bus have to leave us too. Marble Valley Transit is worth every nickel in my tax bill and I’m darned proud to pay it, because I know they may be assisting one of your relatives so not to inconvenience you.

Please vote yes for Marble Valley Transit, The Bus on Election Day, March 3, 2015.

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West Rutland Variety Show for The Mentor Connector

A choir performs at a previous West Rutland Variety Show

A choir performs at a previous West Rutland Variety Show.

The sixth annual West Rutland Variety Show will be held Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm at West Rutland Town Hall. The event will showcase local talent to raise money for The Mentor Connector. Terry Jaye from WJJR will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Members of St. Bridget's Church and St. Stanislaus Kostka Churches in West Rutland will perform, as will the Rutland Curbstone Chorus and students from local schools in West Rutland and surrounding areas. The event will also feature a 50/50 raffle and a bake sale. All funds raised will go directly to The Mentor Connector. For Variety Show tickets, call (802) 438-2490. Tickets: $8 for adult; $5 for children/seniors ($20 family cap)

The Mentor Connector is a non-profit organization serving all of Rutland County with a volunteer mentoring program for youth kindergarten through the end of high school. The volunteer commitment is for one hour per week for the duration of one year. The volunteer serves as a positive role model for the child. Examples of activities shared by mentors and mentees include fishing, hiking, going to the farmer’s market, tinkering with bikes or cars, cooking, reading, or simply listening. One mentor and mentee go to the humane society every other week to visit the cats. Our matches give to each other and to the community! All volunteer mentors are background checked and trained.

Studies have shown that children who are mentored do better in school, are less likely to skip school, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Just one hour per week can provide a young person with a feeling of importance and belonging. Donations help provide the crucial resources for mentors and mentees, including ongoing support for mentors, background checks, and training programs. Because The Mentor Connector provides these necessities, the organization’s average match lasts over 5 years. Mentoring data shows that the longer the match, the more effective the result in kids’ lives and the more rewarding the experience for mentors. To learn more, visit www.mentor

The West Rutland Variety Show for The Mentor Connector is the sixth show organized for charitable causes. In 2010, St. Bridget’s Church hosted a Variety Show to benefit relief efforts in Haiti, with Terry Jaye from WJJR as Master of Ceremonies, and in 2011 the benefit was for Japan, after the devastating tsunami the country experienced. 2012’s Variety Show enabled the construction of a well for orphaned children in Kampala, Uganda. The following year (2013) the Variety Show benefited the Rutland Dismas House and was the first year the event sponsored a local charity. In 2014, proceeds from the show went to Pure Water for the World, a Rutland-based organization providing clean water solutions to communities in Haiti and Honduras. The purpose of the Variety Show is to unite members of the local community in celebration of individual talents to fulfill a critical need in the global and local communities.

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Red Cross honors Gift-of-Life volunteers

Christine Frenette presents GMP employee Bonnie O'Rourke with a dozen roses

Christine Frenette, left, presents GMP employee Bonnie O'Rourke with a dozen roses for her volunteer efforts for this year's gift of like marathon. Photo provided.

Volunteers, organizers and host sites for the Gift-of-LIfe Marathon were feted recently as the American Red Cross held a recognition breakfast to celebrate December's GOLM 12 Days of Giving – the longest blood drive in America.

One year after Rutland shattered the national record for the nation's largest blood drive, collecting 2,350 pints in one day, the GOLM became a countywide series of smaller drives, continuing the region's legacy of unprecedented blood donation.

"No community does what this community does," Red Cross recruiter Ryan Schmoldt said as he and co-worker Chris Frenette presented certificates to key volunteers and plaques to host sites, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and organizers.

The Gift-of-Life Marathon - 12 Days of Giving ran from December 2 to 16 at sites throughout the Rutland region including Castleton College, the U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town, Rutland High School, Diamond Run Mall, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland American Legion, Holiday Inn, College of St. Joseph, Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, Rutland Elks Club, Fair Haven Union High School and the Paramount Theatre.

Steve Costello from Green Mountain Power, Terry Jaye from WJJR and Castleton College President Dave Wolk also thanked the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the event a success.

"This group is what the Gift-of-Life is all about," Costello said, motioning to key volunteers. "These are the people who have made this event the life-saving and community-building event that it is, devoting tremendous time and energy to the cause."

Costello singled out GOLM Volunteer of the Year Bobby Poquette and GMP employee Bonnie O'Rourke, who he said played critical roles this year.

"Look at the people in this room," Jaye said, "These are the people that make this community special, and allow Rutland to do things no one else can do, including setting a national record for blood donation."

Castleton College joined GMP and WJJR as organizers and sponsors of the GOLM in 2013, and is already looking forward to the 2015 version.

“As a Rutland guy, I could not be more proud of what the Gift-of-Life Marathon says about this community," Wolk said. "It's an honor to be a part of it and a thrill to be able to host part of it and give our students the opportunity to volunteer and donate."

"The Gift-of-LIfe has come to symbolize Rutland in a lot of ways," Mayor Louras said. "It's emblematic of the can-do spirit of the community and the willingness to pull together for our friends and neighbors when they need us most."

The Gift-of-Life Marathon collected 368 pints in its first year, 2003, and it quickly grew. The drive collected 1,024 pints in 2009 when New York filmmaker Art Jones filmed the event for the documentary “The Blood in This Town,” and set the New England record. In 2013, after two previous attempts to break the national record of 1,968 pints, the GOLM collected a whopping 2,350 pints of blood and shattered the old mark. Rutland has now held three of the four largest blood drives in American history, and the longest.

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Rutland Young Professionals to host city mayoral debate

RUTLAND, VT — On Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph's Tuttle Hall, Rutland City's three mayoral candidates will participate in a debate hosted by Rutland Young Professionals. Incumbent Mayor Christopher Louras, City Board of Aldermen President David Allaire and Kam Johnston will face off on local issues and answer questions posed by the RYP community.

Vermont Public Radio reporter Nina Keck will serve as moderator. The debate, which is co-sponsored by the College of St. Joseph and Stafford Technical Center, will be streamed live on STC’s website at stafford.rutlandcity
, as well as broadcast on PEGTV channel 21.

“As Rutland’s future leaders, our demographic has a vested interest in the continued growth and success of the Rutland community,” says RYP President Katye Munger. “As such, we want to use this debate to hear these three candidates’ visions for the future of the city.”

“Hosting this debate represents the first step in our plan to apply RYP’s energy to larger, community-based endeavors in 2015,” Munger says, adding that the group is currently working with Castleton Downtown in planning a statewide young professionals symposium in Rutland.

The group also intends to expand its website to include more resources for young professionals currently living in or considering moving to the area.

On February 24, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., RYP will host its 20th monthly mixer at Southside Steakhouse in Rutland. Learn more at rutlandyoung

Rutland Young Professionals brings together young professionals in the Rutland area to connect, grow and help build Rutland's future by creating social and professional networking opportunities, engaging with the community and building a Rutland area that attracts and retains young professionals.

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History is made at Legends Gates Karate Dojo

By Rick Smith

On Saturday January 17th, I, along with a panel of nine other Black Belts promoted the first-ever female Shodan 1st Degree Black Belt in the 25 years the Legend has been in Vermont. It is historic as many woman have joined from 1990 to the Present and a few even made it to their Brown and High Browns but none ever tested for Black Belt in Vermont until Stephanie Bruno of Fair Haven VT.

Renshi Jay Bruno, Deshi Stephanie Bruno and Renshi Rick Smith

Moore’s Auto Sales business partners Bill Moran and Bob Moore shake hands and agree they are going after your business this year by offering great vehicles, great financing and great prices. Like they say, “you get more form Moore’s”. Sam’s Good News Photo

She tested hard for six weeks and when we were done she knew she was not going to ever fight like a woman or a man but like a martial artist. She has now graduated high school as we call it and is starting college where she will truly start to learn Martial Arts inside and out.

Also promoted and making history that day were Jay Bruno, and myself we were promoted by our O’Sensei Rick Lenchus and another Hanshi James Keller to our Renshi level Masters Degree. This is like getting your B.A. and going on to your graduate’s degree then comes the doctorates in a manner of speaking, or the Hanshi, Grandmaster levels.

Attending promotion ceremony were Black Belts

Attending promotion ceremony were Black Belts: sitting Renshi Jay Bruno, Hanshi James Keller, O'Sensei Rick Lenchus, Renshi Rick Smith; standing: Kyoshi Stephen Douglas Jr., Hanshi Stephen Douglas Sr., Sifu Roy Minard, Sensei Martin Hutchins, Sensei Ken Mikkelsen , Sensei John Nguyen, new Shodan Stephanie Bruno. Photo provided.

In one day three people made history for our Dojo system spread throughout many places in the USA and World.

We did have one other that passed his 1st Kyu Brown Belt only two tests away from his possible Black Belt one day; he unfortunately became ill with pneumonia and could not make it. We are saving his signed Diploma for when he is ready. He is the Dojo Sempai now.

Guests came from as far as New York City. Guests included Grandmaster Rick Lenchus, my and Jay's teacher, Hanshi James Keller, Sensei Ken Mikkelston and Sensei John Nyugen. From Salem NY Hanshi Stephen Douglas Sr. and son Kyoshi Steve Douglas Jr., Sensei Martin Hutchins, with Sifu Roy Minard attending to form our Black Belt Panel.

You can see more images and a video of this Shiai Promotion on Face book under Legend Gates Karate keyword. This is a Not for profit Martial Arts Dojo for the public.

This spring we have many younger students testing for their first or new belts and no black belts but a large promotion. We wish to invite others to our location at the West Rutland Town Hall every Tuesday and Friday from 4:30-6 to train with us. The first two weeks are free to try; there are no contracts and very affordable single and family rates. Give us a try, you will see we are offering something old but also new.

Congratulations to Deshi Stephanie Bruno. Deshi means Personal Student and they use this title for their trial period until testing for Nidan, or 2nd Degree and if they pass will get the title Sensei. Congratulations also to Renshi Jay Bruno her husband and Renshi Rick Smith Owner and Head Instructor of the Legend Gates Karate.

To contact us via phone call 802 438 2750 email: fenris042042@
or like us at Facebook Legendgates042042 then message us.

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February is Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit Month!

The Rutland County Humane Society (RCHS) would like to remind you that February is Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit month! Did you know that rabbits are the third most likely animals to find themselves looking for a new home? Rabbits make excellent companions. They can live eight to ten years and bond closely to their adopters. Quiet but inquisitive, rabbits can also be trained to use a litter box. To learn more about the rabbits at RCHS that are looking for new homes, call the shelter at 483-6700 or visit

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Vermont Actors’ Repertory Presents “The Cocktail Hour”

Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre presents “The Cocktail Hour” by A.R. Gurney as the third production of its 10th anniversary season. Two seasons ago the company produced “The Dining Room” by A.R. Gurney. This time the setting moves to the living room of a similar house in upstate New York focusing on a playwright who visits his family with a play he has written that threatens to blow a whistle on their lives.

The play is about the Northeast establishment and tradition. It’s set in the 1970s in Buffalo, and John is breaking the news to his upper-crust WASP clan, father Bradley, mother Ann, and sister Nina, that he has penned an autobiographical play focused heavily on them, especially on the gruff, remote father.

“I have to call ’em as I see ’em, Pop,’’ explains the son.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,’’ grumbles his father.

There’s plenty of friction, but showdowns and searing revelations do not really form the heart of “The Cocktail Hour,” which premiered in 1988. Whenever these characters do land in a raw place emotionally they don’t stay there long. It’s time for someone to mix another drink and make another joke.

This is a comedy of manners full of martini-dry wit. “The Cocktail Hour’’ is both entertaining and touching, taking us to small-scale, close-quarters encounters where civility is fraying at the seams. The subtly draws our attention to the way Gurney toys with the line between life and theater.

The play will be presented in the Brick Box at the Paramount Theatre, 30 Center Street, Rutland February 26, 27, 28, March 2, 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and March 1 at 2:00 p.m.

Peter Marsh of Rutland, is the director. He is one of two ART producing directors, and the coordinator of the Nor’Eastern Play Writing Contest and Showcase. Marsh has recently directed “Theatresportz” and “Tuesdays with Morrie” for ART. “The Cocktail Hour” features: Jonathan Skipsy as the son, John Sease as the father, Sandra Gartner as the mother, and Beth Wolven as the daughter.

Stage manager for the play is Amberly Soto. Tom Brown is set designer, David Lane is lighting designer, Nancy Ellery is costume designer and Chad Merkert will run the light board.

Other plays for the 10th anniversary season include: “The Memory Palace” by Maura Campbell, a Vermont playwright, (April 23 to May 2); and the 9th annual Nor’Eastern Showcase featuring the three writers who win this year’s annual one-act play writing contest (May 15 and 16).

The Cocktail Hour, presented in the Brick Box, has limited seating for each performance. Reservations are available by calling the Paramount Box Office as (802) 775-0903, stopping by the box office or going on-line at their website: www.Paramount
. Tickets will also be sold at the door and are $20 for general admission.

For more information about Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre visit the Company’s website at and like us on Facebook. You can also reach us at: ART, PO Box 580, Rutland, Vermont 05702 or e-mail at:

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