‘Skip stops?’

MONTPELIER — Instead of readying to celebrate what would have been the Vermont Mountaineers’ 18th home opener on Wednesday, the team’s brass and its memorable mascot, Skip, made the most of a season sidelined as result of the COVID-19 crisis by hitting the road.

General Manager Brian Gallagher, a few fellow board members and Skip didn’t travel far.

Central Vermont Medical Center is a short hop from Montpelier, and Gallagher and crew showed up at the hospital’s south entrance bearing gifts early Wednesday afternoon.

Though the Mountaineers’ 2020 season literally ended before it began, the team donated 2021 game day tickets, autographed baseballs, hats and other apparel for the CVMC to raffle off to employees, along with 10 cases of Vermont Mountaineers Root Beer for them to enjoy.

According to Gallagher, it’s the least the Mountaineers could do for the 1,700-member team at a regional hospital that bills itself as “the primary health care provider for 66,000 people who live and work in central Vermont.”

“Even though we’re not playing baseball, the Mountaineers organization wants to honor and support the ‘essential workers’ at CVMC,” he said. “As their mission statement puts it, they play a huge role in: ‘strengthening our communities, our economy and our collective well-being.’”

The show of appreciation and support in the midst of the ongoing pandemic that cost the team its season was timely. and Gallagher says it isn’t confined to the hospital.

Emergency personnel in Barre, Montpelier and Berlin all received root beer donations courtesy of the home team that didn’t have a game to play on Wednesday.

“Under ‘normal’ circumstances, our police and fire department members, and our EMTs and other medical professionals work tirelessly 24 hours a day to keep us safe,” Gallagher said. “During these difficult times, the need has increased tenfold and their efforts have, too. Like the employees of the hospital, we are indebted to them.”

Gallagher said he planned to make a Skip-less stop at the East Montpelier Volunteer Fire Station on Wednesday night to deliver root beer for firefighters there.

“It’s the least we can do,” he said, noting the final delivery hinged on his ability to hook up with East Montpelier Fire Chief Ty Rolland.

That shouldn’t be hard.

“Ty is my neighbor,” Gallagher said of Rolland.

‘Cup’ runneth over?

MONTPELIER — Is the Corporate Cup half-empty, or half-full?

You decide.

September may seem like it’s forever away, but organizers of the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race have decided the 37th edition of the beloved Vermont event will be decidedly different from the first 36.

Guess why? Rather than risk an in-person race amid ongoing uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic organizers have decide to shift to a virtual format this year.

We’re not precisely sure what that will entail because they’re still finalizing the details, but a couple of things are clear.

For starters, there will be no street-clogging, crowd-drawing 5K in Montpelier on Sept. 10 and those who have already registered for the in-person race will have the option of either transferring their registration to the virtual event or receiving a full refund.

The current registration system is being closed and will be modified and relaunched at vcccsar.org/#registration on June 13 to allow new registrations for the virtual event.

The virtual format will provide an opportunity for runners and walkers to complete a 5K (3.1 mile) course of their choosing any time during the month of September while supporting Vermont wellness initiatives and receiving a commemorative, multi-function headwear/mask “buff” and a finishing medal.

Mike Feulner, co-director of the race, says the changes will ensure the safety of participants, who will be asked to abide by public health and physical distancing guidelines.

“Transferring the original race from an in-person event to an all virtual structure was a monumental and hard decision to make, but implementing these measures will help keep the health and wellness of Vermonters and our neighbors safe in respect to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, and that was the only answer that mattered,” says Feulner.

“We look forward to seeing photos of runners and walkers crossing their virtual finish lines and welcoming everyone in-person in 2021,” he adds.

Again, details are sketchy, but the virtual version will allow participants to choose their own course (treadmills are actually an option) and run individually or in teams of up to three. It’s virtual so team members can run or walk in person together or hook up using technology to complete their chosen 5K courses.

Shadroui serenade

BARRE — Barre Rotarians are a technologically savvy bunch, and while they haven’t missed one of their Wednesday meetings since the COVID-19 crisis hit they sure have been missing their oldest member.

How old? Dick Shadroui turned 96 on Wednesday and spent a bit of his birthday briefly attending his first Zoom Rotary meeting thanks to some technical assistance from the folks at Woodridge Nursing Home.

Seems Shadroui has been laid up at the nursing home since for the past couple of months, and while club members considered an outside-the-window visit to bolster his spirits back in April, they were told that probably wasn’t a good idea in the early days of the pandemic.

Shadroui has since been feeling better and club members decided to loop in their past president and reigning music director for what we’re told was a cringe-worthy rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

“Even on our best day it’s not a pretty thing,” club member Bob Pope conceded, noting having Shadroui to accompany them on the piano — as is his longstanding custom — surely wouldn’t have hurt.

Still, it’s the thought that counts and Rotarians have been thinking about Shadroui an awful lot in recent months.

Sharing the wealth

BARRE — When it comes to meeting, the Barre Kiwanis Club has been slow to embrace the new virtual reality, but members assure us they are still managing to get things done.

Sure, they’ve only held two conference calls since their last in-person meeting in March, but the club has approved a series of $500 donations, while contributing to the Barre Partnership’s “Banners for Seniors” campaign and also has provided financial assistance to a Kenyan family now living in the area who lost their income when the pandemic hit.

Thanks to the club’s generosity the Vermont Foodbank, the Family Center of Washington County, the Washington County Youth Service Bureau, and Good Beginnings of Central Vermont all received $500 donations.

Free parking

BARRE — Parking meters throughout the Granite City will remain on their pandemic-induced diet and a moratorium on parking tickets will continue through at least Aug. 1.

City councilors this week agreed requiring folks to feed the meters in a fragile downtown that is reopening amid uncertainty about COVID-19 would be a mistake and parking will remain free in Barre through the end of July.

Councilors may opt to extend that accommodation as the picture becomes clearer, but for now they are willing to forego the lost revenue and with parking enforcement personnel on voluntary furlough at least through the end of the month, tickets aren’t being issued. Though the employees are expected to be recalled, tickets won’t be issued before Aug. 1.

Maple twig

BARRE — Some day it will be a maple tree, but the seedling that made its Granite City Zoom debut this week thanks to the folks at Green Up Vermont has an awful lot of growing to do.

That didn’t stop Jeff Bergeron, the city’s director of buildings and community services, from repeatedly referring to the mini maple as a “tree” during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, though, he conceded it will be easier to plant the commemorative granite paver engraved with the words “Thank You, Green Up Vermont.”

Truth be told Bergeron was expecting something a little bigger, but the paver and the maple will both be planted next to the recently created community garden on Brook Street.

Mayor Lucas Herring, who filled a whopping 75 Green Up bags this year (he had already filled 51 two weeks ago), mistakenly predicted the tree would one day grow into a “mighty oak.”

Looks can be deceiving.

“It’s a maple tree,” Bergeron replied holding the twig-like “tree” in his palm.

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