Year of the dog?
BARRE — Last year was a dog year in the Granite City, or so it will seem to anyone who glances at a copy of the city’s soon-to-be-printed annual report.
This year’s cover photo will be “Mikey,” the handsome K-9 cop who joined the police department late last year and has been busy with his handler, Officer Amos Gaylord, ever since.
Mikey, who also answers to Mike, was named after Mike Zemanek, who once worked as a part-time officer in Barre prior to his sudden death in 2013 at age 22.
Mikey and Gaylord were trained last summer and are now certified in tracking, evidence location and apprehension. They are attending Narcotics Detection School at the Vermont Police Academy.
Born in the Czech Republic, Mikey was acquired and trained with assistance from the Hometown Foundation and local donations — most notably proceeds from a fundraiser hosted by Wilkins Harley-Davidson.
Soon he will be a cover dog.
BARRE — It’s still three weeks away, but Faith Community Church is readying to join one of the hundreds of religious institutions around the world that will host unconventional proms for youth with special needs thanks to the foundation of a former football player.
It’s called “Night to Shine 2020” and the local event, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is set for Friday, Feb. 7, will be hosted by Faith Community Church at the Barre Elks Lodge.
Prom participants — people with special needs who are 14 or older — will all enter the complimentary event on a red carpet and be treated like royalty once inside.
We’re told there will be hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, limousine rides, and corsages and boutonnieres. There also will be prom favors and a catered dinner followed by karaoke and dancing.
But wait, there’s more!
Every guest will have a turn being crowned king or queen of the prom.
That’s the playbook provided by Tebow’s foundation, which has committed nearly $3.5 million in financial support to participating churches around the world.
There are a lot of them.
The idea has blossomed since it was launched in 2015 with 44 host churches and an estimated 15,000 volunteers. Now in its sixth year, Night to Shine is expected to be hosted by some 800 churches on Feb. 7.
That includes the one in Barre, which has locked up the Elks lodge on Feb. 7 for an event that will start when guests are greeted at 5:45 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. after the last kings and queens are crowned.
WILLIAMSTOWN — As has become its longstanding custom, a local charitable organization is readying to turn a foliage season favorite into a mid-winter fundraiser.
It’s almost time for chicken pie in Williamstown!
While the folks at United Federated Church of Williamstown have been serving chicken pie in October for nearly 120 years, members of the Charity Chapter #57 Order of the Eastern Star have been teaming up with Summit Lodge Masons to serve their version of the meal in January for the past two decades.
Rather than compete with the rest of Vermont when it comes to one of the Green Mountain State’s favorite comfort foods, Jennie Brown says fellow members of the Charity Chapter have opted to cede the early autumn and claim winter when it comes to their chicken pie.
“There are so many other chicken pie suppers in the fall,” says Brown. “We’ve got the winter all to ourselves.”
The bold strategy isn’t without risk, according to Brown.
“The weather is always a gamble,” she says.
If chicken pie sounds tempting, you might want to call and reserve a seat (or two or five?) at the Summit Lodge in Williamstown a week from Saturday (that’s Jan. 25 if you don’t have a calendar handy).
Sure the supper is still more than a week away, but folks in Williamstown and beyond have a healthy appetite for chicken pie, and Brown says the mid-winter meal with the all-homemade menu typically sells out.
“We don’t have any competition,” she says.
As always, there will be two seatings — one at 5 p.m. and another at 6:30 p.m. The price is $12 for adults and $6 for children younger than 10. The traditional chicken pie will be served with biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, cole slaw, and your choice of pie — apple or pumpkin.
Reservations are more than appreciated, they’re usually necessary because they can only squeeze 90 people per seating into the lodge, which is right across Brush Hill Road from Williamstown Elementary School.
If you’d like a place at one of the tables, call Barb Smith at 433-5440, and tell her what time and how many to mark you down for.
Proceeds from the supper, which is the Charity Chapter’s major annual fundraiser, are used for its various charitable endeavors in the community. That includes its “Adopt-A-Family” program and its contribution to the Williamstown Food Shelf.
Twice as nice!
BARRE TOWN — We told you the District 45 Lions Club was planning to double down on last year’s preparation and packaging of 10,000 meals during a weekend session at the Canadian Club, and they didn’t disappoint.
Thanks to the efforts of members from 25 Lions Clubs from Vermont and northern New York, we’re told it was “mission accomplished” on Saturday.
Before they were done, the club members had packed 20,000 meals of dry tomato basil pasta to distribute to the Vermont Foodbank and community food shelves.
Each packet feeds six people, and there are 36 packets in each case. The Barre Lions Club purchased two of the cases and plans to donate them to the food shelf at Capstone Community Action. Local Lions also delivered 36 cases — 6,480 meals — to the Vermont Foodbank for distribution to its many member agencies.
Last year it was 10,000 meals. This year it was 20,000. Next year? Think 30,000 meals because that is the next target.
BARRE — Last week we told you how those who frequent downtown Montpelier collectively contributed $1,250 to the Montpelier Community Fund by feeding parking meters when they didn’t have to. It was a nice haul for the first-of-its-kind fundraiser in the Capital City, but not quite as nice as Barre, which test drove the idea during the holiday season in 2018 and brought it back in 2019.
City Clerk Carol Dawes said the 2019 haul — roughly $1,750 — was slightly less than the $1,800 raised the year before. Proceeds will go to support recreation programs in Barre and those who fed the meters between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are thanked for their contributions.
MONTPELIER — A last-minute reminder that students in central Vermont will have their artwork projected over the stage during a performance in the Capital City Concert series this weekend.
Involved in the project are students from Main Street Middle School in Montpelier, East Montpelier Elementary School, Rumney Elementary School in Middlesex and Berlin Elementary School.
They produced artwork that was scanned and will be projected at a performance of “Pictures from an Exhibition,” a suite of 10 movements for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874 that is a remembrance of artwork by Russian architect and artist Viktor Hartman.
The suite is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It will be performed by Washington, D.C., pianist Jeffrey Chappell at Unitarian Church at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
A second part of the concerts will feature Vermont flutist Karen Kevra, who will join Chappell in works by composer James Koechlin that will feature images from retired Middlebury photographer James Blair’s collection “Our Threatened Inheritance” for National Geographic magazine.
Kevra said she came up with the idea for the multimedia performances after a similar music and art project her son participated in at Union Elementary School in Montpelier.
Kevra said she chose to do the second part of the concert, “Fourteen Pieces” by composer James Koechlin, with the National Geographic magazine images after a discussion with a student of hers who is married to Blair.
For more information, and to order advance tickets ($15-$25), visit www.capitalcityconcerts.org. Tickets are available at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier — check or cash only.
NORTHFIELD — Still on the subject of pictures, Norwich University’s School of Architecture and Art presents the eighth annual juried show of high-school art, on display in the Chaplin Hall through Sunday, Jan. 26.
The public is invited to a closing awards ceremony from 1 to 2 p.m. Jan. 26, with a celebration and a chance to meet the artists.
The exhibition features 80 works of art produced by 30 high school artists from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine high schools. It celebrates talented artists and quality high-school art programs in New England.
This year’s jurors are Jason Galligan-Baldwin, an associate professor of art and the Norwich studio arts coordinator, and Danny Sagan, associate professor of architecture and program director at Norwich.
The Chaplin Hall Gallery is on the Upper Parade ground and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
MONTPELIER — Learning how to detect online fraud, scams and con artists is the subject of a class from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center.
AARP volunteer William April will discuss the basic defenses against online threats and will cover how to recognize malicious emails and pop-ups and also explore the risks associated with the use of WI-Fi on tablets and smart phones.
The event is free and open to the public.
MONTPELIER — If you’re approaching retirement age and have questions about applying for Medicare, there is a workshop at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center to help you get through it from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Organized by the Central Vermont Council on Aging, its staff will walk you through the ins-and-outs of Medicare options and plans, including Parts A, B, and D prescription coverage, supplemental plans, Advantage plans and more.
CVCOA provides information, counseling and assistance to all Medicare eligible people under the auspices of the state health insurance and assistance program. Attendees will receive a copy of the “Medicare for You” handbook.
Pre-registration is required by calling CVCOA at 479-0531.
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