• Talk of the Town
    April 25,2013

    Farmers market heads outdoors

    MONTPELIER — Farmers Market Manager Carolyn Grodinsky had just decided to move Saturday’s market from indoors at Vermont College of Fine Arts out onto the College Street lawn when she received an email from an outfit trying to sell her a plaque.

    It was the first notification that the market had been chosen to receive one of 317 “editor’s choice” awards in the annual Best of New England issue of the venerable Yankee Magazine.

    “I can’t believe this,” she said before segueing smoothly into what’s going to be happening at the market this spring. She’s also excited at being able to get outside one week early, although the market won’t move to its downtown location until May 4.

    “We looked at the weather and decided to go for it,” she said. “We’ll be able to have a few more vendors, and we’ll be able to have someone here to sell plants.”

    Grodinsky said there will be new activities galore when the market gets underway downtown.

    “We always used to hear that we start off at a trickle and end at a trickle, but that’s not the case,” she said. “We’re starting up with a full market, and it will keep going.”

    Among the activities will be cooking demonstrations by New England Culinary Institute students and staff, guidance on affordable meal preparation, and activities for children.

    The market will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the college lawn. It moves down to State Street next week.

    (OUR) ‘House money?’

    MONTPELIER — Some area restaurants made flat donations to OUR House of Central Vermont, but two have decided to sweeten the pot by pledging to contribute 5 percent of tonight’s proceeds to the Barre-based organization that assists children who are victims of sexual abuse.

    It’s all part of a fundraiser that has been dubbed Dine Out With OUR House, and if you’re interested in making a difference and getting a good meal along the way, we’re told you have two choices for dinner tonight.

    You could swing by Julio’s Cantina on State Street in Montpelier or drop by Arvad’s Pub & Grill on South Main Street in Waterbury.

    Both are solid choices any night of the week.

    Don’t take our word for it. Just ask Will Roberts, executive director of OUR House.

    Roberts said he appreciates the fact that two quality restaurants were willing to participate in a somewhat novel fundraiser.

    “They’re just doing it to support the work that we do,” said Roberts, who has a choice to make tonight.

    Arvad’s or Julio’s?

    “I really like Arvad’s, but I live in Montpelier,” said Roberts, who, based solely on geography, will likely be eating at Julio’s tonight and hoping he has to wait for a table.

    Pump up the volume

    BARRE — There appear to be some lingering technical difficulties, but city councilors who have been battling a chronic case of “Can you hear me now?” are rapidly running out of excuses for their public access audience.

    Responding to the concern, the folks at CVTV have pulled out all the stops. They’ve deployed a shotgun microphone to pick up folks in the audience and a new microphone for visitors, and installed individual microphones for all seven council members, as well as City Manager Steve Mackenzie and City Clerk Carol Dawes.

    That’s a lot of new microphones, and it was Dawes who drew attention to the one that was sticking in her face earlier this week.

    “It makes me want to sing, but I won’t,” she said.

    At least not until mid-June, when Dawes (a shameless self-promoter) will be performing a solo recital at the local Universalist Church.

    Back downtown

    BARRE — A popular car show, the one featuring some of the fastest rides in central Vermont, will be back in downtown Barre on Saturday.

    Nearly 100 freshly painted stock cars — all of them revved up and ready to race at Thunder Road International SpeedBowl this weekend — will line Barre’s newly reconstructed North Main Street between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday.

    Last year the road reconstruction project forced organizers to hold the car show at Thunder Road, skipping the parade of cars from Barre to Barre Town that has come to signal the start of racing season at the “nation’s site of excitement.”

    With Barre’s Big Dig all but out of the way, the cars and their drivers will spend some quality time on North Main Street on Saturday before parading up to Thunder Road at noon for an afternoon of practice sessions in the run-up to Sunday’s 15th Annual Merchants Bank 150.

    The popular “pit stop contest” will be held downtown at 10:30 a.m.

    Race fans and any other interested residents are encouraged to swing downtown, check out the cars, and chat with the drivers.

    In a move reminiscent of the Big Dig, North Main Street will be closed to through traffic between Depot Square and City Hall Park between 7 a.m. and noon.

    No debating their talent

    MONTPELIER — Montpelier High School students Nina Merriam and Tom Nowlan will be heading to Birmingham, Ala., in June to compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

    The annual competition involves more than 120,000 students around the country who compete for more than $200,000 in college scholarships in a variety of speech, debate and performance events.

    Montpelier High School teacher Marijke Russo, who coached the students to the top of the regional competition and will accompany them to Alabama, said her two students worked hard to earn their place in Birmingham.

    “They did an incredible job,” she said. “It takes a lot of work to get to where they did.”

    Under the guidelines of debate, the teams must be prepared to argue both sides of an issue.

    In a brief appearance before the School Board, the two debaters demonstrated their chops by successfully arguing with two board members in favor of government-provided health care.

    “It’s impressive to have students take up debating and stick with it,” said Russo.

    The students are hoping for donations of cash or credit card miles to pay for their hotel. Anyone interested in contributing can address donations to: MHS Debate Fundraiser, Marijke Russo, Debate Coach, MHS, 5 High School Drive, Montpelier, VT 05602.

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