Monday October 1, 2012

Editor of the Reformer:

The Abene African Dance and Drum Festival was held in Brattleboro Aug. 24-26. Four Senegalese teachers -- Pape Ba, Demba Sene, Pape N’Diaye and Malang Bayo -- taught seven high-spirited dance classes, Namory Keita taught West African drumming and a spectacular performance was held at The Stone Church in Brattleboro on Aug. 25.

Many thanks for the generosity of all of the financial and in-kind donors that made it possible to bring those fantastic teachers here, to cover some of the expenses of the festival and to provide some delicious food and drink for the dancers and drummers. Thanks go to financial sponsors: The Brattleboro Retreat, Community House Inc., Friends of the Sun, Altiplano, Ray Warren and The Church, The Brattleboro Food Co-op, The Putney Food Co-op; and to The Brattleboro Food Co-op, The Putney Food Co-op, United Naturals Inc., Price Chopper, Subway, Frankie’s Pizza, Staples and Spartan Copies for their in-kind donations.

Thanks also go to Pape Ba who invited the guest teachers who brought their skill, style and grace and for inspiring us and the passion of their dancing; to the drummers Namory Keita, Babcar Sek, Jason Graves and others for the important job of keeping the beat and energy going; to Gena Corea for being the initial creator and visionary for the Abene Festival; to Ingrid Burrows and Petra Langner for their beautiful graphic work; to Dieneba Macalou for bringing her delicious African food; to Anne Koplinka Loehr and Moutarou Diallo for MCing the performance and to all of the individuals who volunteered their time to making the festival happen; and to all of the dancers and drummers that came out and participated in the classes!

The joy of African dance continues every Wednesday evening at 7:00 at The Brattleboro Stone Church.

The Abene Festival Planning Committee: Melissa Alosso, Pape Ba, Gena Corea, Ricia Gordon, Jason Graves, Naomi Lindenfeld, Lauren Reedy, Ingrid Sell, Jan Thompson

Brattleboro, Sept. 11 ***

Editor of the Reformer:

The rain held off until the end and over 1,000 children, parents and grandparents came to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital parking lot on Sept. 8, for the fourth annual BMH Touch a Truck event. Children and adults explored more than 60 vehicles including a limousine, Hummer, race car, motorcycles, fire trucks, semi-trucks and many more. The children were wide-eyed and awed by the huge trucks and the opportunity to sit, operate and "drive" in them.

Thank you to the many generous businesses that sponsored this event and the numerous individuals, businesses and towns who made your trucks and employees available. Without you there would be no trucks and no event! The enthusiasm by drivers and businesses for the event, your patience with the children and willingness to give a day of your time is heartwarming. Thank you.

A special thank you goes out to the wonderful committee members who worked so hard to pull this together. Thank you especially to the guys on logistics: Tony and Chad Farnum, who year after year organize the arrival times and placement of all the vehicles. They know how much space a boon crane takes and how to time its arrival so it doesn’t cause a traffic jam on Belmont Avenue. And Tony Farnum, once again your loan of the tent saved us the expense of renting and enabled us to designate more dollars to providing care to our community. The loan of golf carts by the Brattleboro Country Club is especially valued, saving our volunteers’ legs from the many, many trips up and down the length of the parking lot the day of the event. Thank you also to those who volunteered the day of the event selling raffle tickets, hard hats, ball caps and t-shirts, putting temporary tattoos on kids, photographing, registering families, setting up, breaking down and just kicking in where needed. This labor-intensive event could not happen without all of the dedicated volunteers. Thank you.

Many popular activities returned this year: a mulch pile to play in, face painting by Hilltop Montessori School and equipment demonstrations by Rick Derrig, GPI Construction, Dynamic Landscaping and Turner & Renaud. Once again Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary sold hamburgers and hot dogs and they were joined by the BMH Auxiliary selling baked goods. A special thank you also goes out to Commonwealth Dairy for the donation of yogurt. These freebies went quickly.

We continue to appreciate the work of WTSA and WKVT, with other radio stations, schools, ibrattleboro, Parent Express and the Brattleboro Reformer in helping to get the word out about the event. You did a great job -- there was quite a buzz around town. Thank you also to the many businesses that provided in-kind support of munchkins, coffee, use of coffee cambros, the loan of golf carts, mulch, and much more. And lastly, thanks to our generous raffle donors - the anonymous donor of the John Deere Gator, Brattleboro Fire Department, Walmart, Monadnock Speedway and GPI.

Approximately, $30,000 was raised for Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Visit us on the BMH website http://www.bmhvt.org or on the BMH Facebook page to see photos of the event.

Again, thank you. We look forward to seeing all of you and more next year when we do it all again.

Ellen Smith, executive director of
development & community relations

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Sept. 13

***

Editor of the Reformer:

Many thanks to Hannaford’s manager, Art Messenger, and his staff for having a food collection box for the Guilford Food Pantry at the store over the summer months. Thank you to the community at large for the very generous donations that consistently filled the box! Food insecurity is a major national problem that is also felt close to home. The Guilford Food Pantry, a service of Guilford Cares, provides supplemental food to an average of 45 families each month. The Pantry is open every Thursday, except the first Thursday of each month, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Broad Brook Grange.

Heartfelt thanks on behalf of all those who benefited from the generosity of our community

Pat Haine, director

Guilford Food Pantry, Sept. 15