Around town

Rutland HalloweenA tribute by Royal Barnard

For more than half a century, the City of Rutland has hosted, without interruption, the most famous Halloween Parade in all of America. The dream child of Rutland reporter and comic fan, Tom Fagan, the event has brought Marvel Comics celebrities, ghouls, goblins and thousands of viewers from everywhere to come to the event for decades. In 2020, the pandemic would not allow that.

Initially, there was discussion, but no plan came forth for an alternative. Norma Montaigne, who designed, built and acted with “Drum Journeys of the Earth Skelly Dancers” who have led the parade for years, came up with a proposal. She and friends, Zip Barnard and Claude Derosier, imagined a “Parade of Windows” using downtown venues to show wonderful exhibits and images of parades past. In a great tragedy, Norma died in an auto accident in the middle of the effort. Zip and Claude were left alone to make something work.

In the meantime, Eric Mallette of The Paramount Theatre was working to assemble a group of supporters to at least have a fireworks display at the fairgrounds. There was hope for a celebration. In a frantic effort to create an event, downtown merchants, including property owner and city supporter Mark Foley and others, agreed to make space for giant blowups of past floats to appear in their windows.

Claude worked with Awesome Graphics to reproduce large scale image blowups. Zip worked with many on logistics. Gary Meitrott of Drum Journeys produced an audio presentation. Nikki Hindman of the Downtown Rutland Partnership jumped in for financial and organizational support. The Rutland Herald opened their photo files for choosing great images. There would be a parade — of windows — 27 of them filled with fun and memories.

The Downtown Partnership and the Friends of Norma Montaigne greatly appreciate and thank Killington Resort and Casella Construction with their fabulous lighted windows. Congratulations for all the wonderful displays in downtown Rutland business windows. The fireworks were a perfect finale.

Rutland is a proud city and, once again, has proved we can survive anything that comes our way. Rutland’s #1 in America Halloween Parade survived and it will continue in 2021. Norma Montaigne lives in our hearts and she will be there, too. RIP

Pittsford Halloween

Thank you from

Kelly Connaughton

A huge thank you does not cover how grateful I am as a Pittsford community member. On Saturday, Oct. 31, the Pittsford community came together to create a safe, fun, amazing Drive Through Trunk or Treat! The amount of smiles (under their masks) and thank you’s from the children and adults was wonderful.

Without the Town of Pittsford, Pittsford Fire Department, Pittsford Police, Pittsford First Response, Maclure Library and Lothrop School working together, this would not have been possible.

Many businesses donated candy for this event: Vermont Country Store, Gecha Fuels, CVS, Pittsford Auto and Maclure Library saved the day by purchasing more candy when we were starting to run out! Brandon Blue Seal donated our big scoops for the candy. Individuals donated candy as well: Sarah Graham, Mary Desforges, Courtney Forrest, Hilary Mullin, Samantha Jackson, Donna Hendee, Debbie Alexander, Shelly Williams, Stephanie Jerome and Barbara Hooker.

The amazing trunks from community members were so appreciated: Angela Greeno, Marble Valley Grange, Village Farm Sprouts, Maclure Library, Jennifer Tinsman, Kristie Adams and Stephanie Jerome.

Special thank you to Thom Hooker, Bill Hemple, Daren and Sandy Laughlin, Jason and Katie Davis, Tony Lockwood and Pittsford Fire Department/First Response for their displays. Debbie Alexander, Lothrop principal, and Maclure Library Director Shelly Williams scooped candy and brought smiles all night! Thank you to Winning Image for the signs.

I apologize if I missed your name to thank you but know your contribution was appreciated. I love what we can do together as a community, please consider a donation to Pittsford Fire Department or Maclure Library if you enjoyed the event.

Memorial cleanupMembers of Chapter 1, Vietnam Veterans of America, based in Rutland, gathered for a final cleanup of the Rutland County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Main Street Park, prior to Veterans Day. Rutland’s Recreation and Parks Department assisted with new American and POW-MIA flags, installed by the Rutland Fire Department.

Call for nominations

To honor Vermont environmentalist and osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom, Green Mountain Power is calling for nominations for the 12th-annual GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award. The award is given to one person, business, group or nonprofit that has made a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment. The award includes a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.

Thanks in part to Zetterstrom’s leadership, ospreys were removed from the endangered species list in 2005, and the Zetterstrom Award was created shortly before she died in 2010.

Nominations for the award will be accepted through Feb. 28. For an application and more information, visit

Climate Catalysts grads

The Vermont Council on Rural Development celebrated the graduation of 11 local leaders from the inaugural class of the Climate Catalysts Leadership Program. The program brings together local leaders from all walks of life and all corners of Vermont to build peer connections, strengthen leadership skills and receive support in developing a local project or initiative tackling climate change.

The graduating class included Madison Kremer, Bennington; Stephen Dotson, Brattleboro; Deirdre Holmes, Charlotte; Adam Wechsler, Jericho; Amanda Carlson, Montpelier; Linda Gray, Norwich; Laurel Green, Rockingham; Rob Terry, Rupert; Catherine Crawley, Stowe; Lynn Coale, Weybridge; and Ann Lawless, Wheelock.

Deploying diverse strategies and projects were the participation focus for the Climate Catalysts. Some members are leaders of town energy committees working to select and effectively implement local initiatives. Others focused on specific projects like an E-bike lending library, transforming commuting habits, local food promotion, composting at a workplace, reaching low-income Vermonters with weatherization services, implementing new forest management and regenerative farming practices or working with local schools.

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