Originally published in the Rutland Herald on Oct. 4, 2012.
It’s been 22 years since Bob Newhart last performed in Vermont, but that changes Friday when the legendary comedian takes the stage at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m.
During his more than five decades in show business, Newhart has enjoyed success not only on stage but also on the big and small screens, including two critically acclaimed network sitcoms — “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.”
For Vermonters, “Newhart” holds a special place as being one of the state’s most notable forays into pop-culture relevance. On the show, which aired on CBS from 1982 to 1990, Newhart played Dick Loudon, owner of the fictional Stratford Inn located in a small Vermont town full of quirky locals and backwoods oddballs.
While the series was shot entirely in California, East Middlebury’s Waybury Inn served at the exterior for the Stratford, adding another point of Green Mountain pride to the show.
While Friday’s Paramount performance will not feature Larry, Darryl and Darryl, it promises to offer a glimpse into Newhart’s button-down mind.
Yesterday, on my way home from work, I came across a couple runaways out for a date on Court Street. Inspired by my photo, friend and occasional collaborator Will White, penned the following lines of verse.
You could say they were in the courting phase
He didn’t mind that she could curse up a blue streak
She didn’t mind that he had an axe to grind
He admired the action on her produce basket
She blushed at his robust undercarriage
Sure, she had a wall-eyed front left wheel, that squeaked when it was cold
And his handlebar grip would slip when it was damp out
But her stately perpendicular lines
Balanced his downtown tweed
And no one could argue their love…
For public free libraries
Originally published in the Rutland Herald on July 18, 2012.
Rutland County GOP Chairman Rob Towle’s offensive Facebook post has become a national news story and sadly has brought the ugly, racially charged rhetoric currently at play in parts of the Republican Party home to Vermont.
While the post was eventually removed after commenters from all sides decried it as racist and offensive, Towle’s half-hearted non-apology only drew more criticism. By Tuesday, Towle found some better words and apologized in earnest for his “bad judgment,” calling the post “stupid and insensitive.”
Rutland City Police investigate a shooting on Cleveland Avenue shortly before 4 p.m. Friday. (Vyto Starinskas/Rutland Herald photo)
[UPDATED (5/1/12): The shooting on Friday, 4/27/12, was accidental and not a drive-by]
(Published in the May 2, 2012, edition of the Rutland Herald) Before we respond to last week’s shooting near Cleveland Avenue with hopeless despair over Rutland’s further decline into darkness, let’s count to five and put things into perspective.
Early reports labeled the incident as a drive-by shooting. Further investigation revealed that it was, in fact, accidental. While this development changes how the shooting is classified, the public’s initial response was no less real.
As word of the shooting went viral on social media Friday afternoon, the tone was dire. Across the Rutland, people clucked their tongues and shook their heads lamenting the loss of town they once knew.
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Photo by Cassandra Hotaling Hahn / Rutland Herald
Originally published in the April 19, 2012, edition of the Rutland Herald.
Last week, Rutland was witness to something unique: A Chamber of Commerce mixer that people were actually talking about. Wales Street became a spectacle as scores of people crowded inside the large tent to mix, mingle and enjoy the complimentary food and drinks.
Donald Billings, chef-owner of Roots the Restaurant — which co-hosted the mixer with Earth Waste Systems — threw down with a menu dominated by locally sourced food. The centerpiece, a pig roast, helped build anticipation as it cooked slowly in Roots’ driveway — its smoky scents wafting through all of downtown a full day ahead of the event.
The buzz around the mixer was unprecedented for these typically humdrum Chamber gatherings. Clearly, the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce knew it had something special, as it was especially effusive in its promotion of the mixer via email, print ads and social media.
- Vyto Starinskas / Rutland Herald photo
In a city so notorious for its potholes, you’d think the road to the Board of Aldermen would be a little bumpier. Yet, again this year, the contest, while robust in number, was lacking in excitement.
Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That, for the most part, our local politics have been able to hold negativity at bay is something we should be proud of. Certainly, outside the rail, rancor and vitriol rear their heads on occasion — all towns have their naysayers — but the board, at least through the last several terms has managed to work together with respect if not always accord.
But come on; it’s campaign season. Where’s the fire? Where’s the feistiness?
A version of this story appears in the Feb. 29, 2012, edition of the Rutland County Express.
Call it a tale of two Naples (Napleses? Napoli?). In Rutland, the connection to towns of this name runs deep — a generationally-embedded locus where, for some, the two have become touchstones of family and heritage.
There is the Naples in southwest Italy, from where, at the turn of the last century, many Rutland families (mine included) emigrated. And there is the Naples of southwest Florida, to where many of them make their second (and final) flight. It’s the Alpha and the Omega: from whence we came, hence shall we proceed.