Saturday’s Last Mile Ride – Gifford Medical Center’s annual charity motorcycle ride – attracted more than 180 riders and raised approximately $40,000 for end-of-life care at the nonprofit Randolph medical center.Started in 2006 by Gifford nurse and motorcyclist Lynda McDermott of Randolph, the ride has grown significantly in the five years since in both the number of riders it attracts and the money it raises. This year’s ride took motorcyclists through about 100 miles of central Vermont countryside through Randolph, Northfield, Montpelier, Middlesex, the Mad River Valley, Rochester, Bethel and more. Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak led the ride and combat veterans provided “road guard” services. The ride ended at the hospital with a chicken and rib barbecue and live music from local group “Two for the Show and Company.” Riders were also given free massages and awarded prizes. Riders who raised the most money for the cause received gifts from area motorcycle dealers.Topping the list of riders who raised the most were Tim and Patty Schroeder, who raised $1,847; Linda Chugkowski and Robert Martin, who raised $1,810; and Reg and Rose Mongeur, who collected more than $1,300.Reg Mongeur, a combat veteran, also served as a road guard and rode in memory of his late mother, Caroline Mongeur, who died in Gifford’s Garden Room in May.The Garden Room is a garden-side suite for dying patients and their families. The ride supports free services for those patients as well as for other patients in advanced illness, family bereavement services and special training for Gifford’s staff.“The staff at Gifford and the Garden Room … they made the transition between life and death a lot smoother. Everybody involved from the Gifford side of it, it was like it was their family (member) too,” says Reg Mongeur of how his mother was treated. The experience made Reg all the more supportive of the ride and gave him drive to raise money so others could experience the same service.And Reg – a Vietnam veteran – got a bit of a surprise of his own at the ride.Riders gave the combat veterans a standing ovation for their help at the ride. The act of kindness brought tears to the Vietnam vet’s eyes.This year’s ride also included the raffle of a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low from Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre. Art Peper, a 92-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran and prison of war, won the motorcycle.Ride organizer Ashley Lincoln called Peper with the news immediately after the ticket was drawn.“I didn’t believe it,” said Peper, who had collected antique Indian and Harley motorcycles before selling them a few years ago.Schroeder sold Peper the winning ticket on behalf of the hospital. “When Tim sold me the ticket he said, ‘This is the lucky ticket,’ and it was.”Peper bought the ticket to support the ride, not expecting to win. He’s now not quite sure what he’ll do with his shiny new Harley, which Schroeder delivered on Saturday afternoon. “It’s fun, but I don’t think I’ll ever ride it,” said the Randolph resident who has had visitors and plenty of phone calls – some from people he hasn’t talked to in years – since his big win.“It made him very happy,” notes his wife, Rose.Peper’s says he’s just happy the ride raised so much money for end-of-life care.Other winners included Thom Goodwin, a hospital employee from Corinth, who won a stunning quilt make by Gifford nurses. “I’m thrilled and elated. Five nurses poured their heart into creating this. When I look at the quilt I can be reminded daily of what a caring and compassionate community Gifford is,” Goodwin said.And ride volunteer and pediatrician Dr. Mitsu Chobanian was the winner of a 50/50 raffle.The date for next year’s ride has already been set. It will be held Aug. 20, 2010. Visit the hospital’s Web site, www.giffordmed.org(link is external) for updates on 2011 ride and more photos from this year’s ride.The other Last Mile RideMotorcycles roared through the area on Saturday to raise money for end-of-life care at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. But one rider had a much quieter start and finish. Marci White, a Gifford nurse, wife and mother from Braintree, rode her pedal bicycle 37 miles to Northfield and back Saturday morning to support the cause.Source: Gifford Medical Center. 8.24.2010
BUCKSPORT — The 41st annual Tour du Lac 10-mile road race is slated for Saturday, June 25.The race course travels around Bucksport’s Silver Lake and starts and finishes at Town Pool. The race is one of the few 10-milers in the state, and it is one of Maine’s oldest continuously held races.The race will start at 7:30 a.m., with registration beginning at 6:30 inside the town pool building. The cost of the race is $15, and walkers are encouraged to start at 6:30.Homemade jam will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age group category, and a prize of $100 will be given to the first man and first woman to break the course record.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAfter the race, participants can cool off with a swim in the town pool.Race fliers can be downloaded from sub5.com. For more information, contact Chris or Margaret Jones at 469-9901 or email@example.com.
The proposed Council of Mayors would have been a total disaster. It would have opened school district management to political jockeying by Villaraigosa and the other mayors to get their handpicked choices into the supervisory spot and, ultimately, other school management positions. The plan was so vague, and so muddled, that it gave credence to the school board’s charge that the mayor’s takeover plan was nothing more than a crude ego-driven power play. It would have been much more credible and less messy if Villaraigosa had simply done what his predecessors, Mayor Richard Riordan and James Hahn, did. Riordan dumped money into school board races to elect people who shared his vision of school improvement. He aggressively lobbied state and federal officials for more money for school improvements. Hahn pushed hard to expand L.A.’s BEST after-school program and got several million dollars in funding for the program. Riordan and Hahn’s efforts at reform did not magically transform L.A.’s ailing schools into shining fonts of learning. But they did show that Los Angeles mayors could make a difference in the fight for school excellence without resorting to ham-handed interference. They also showed that they could be partners rather than adversaries with the LAUSD. But Villaraigosa is not interested in a partnership. He repeatedly claimed that big-city mayors do a better job of running poor urban school districts than elected boards, though the reviews of mayor-run school districts have been mixed. Now with an imminent court defeat staring him in the face, Villaraigosa can still play a major role in helping the district turn things around. He can turn his office into a bully pulpit and use his considerable political muscle to prod and cajole the state Legislature and Schwarzenegger to increase funding for reading, math, after-school programs and nutrition programs, and to beef up counseling and violence-prevention programs. He should tap his bigwig corporate donors to put their money into innovative school programs rather than plow it into his political war chest to meddle with the board. He can also keep his pledge to work closely with LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer III to implement the checklist of programs that Brewer’s outlined. Brewer has spent weeks visiting schools, listening to parents and teachers tell of their needs and problems. He has a far better understanding of what it takes to make change than Villaraigosa. Meanwhile, the mayor should backpedal fast from politicizing the May school board run-off election. Finally, the mayor should do what he’s paid to do, and that’s make L.A. a safer and better place to live. That entails police reform, the expansion of the Los Angeles International Airport, empowering neighborhood councils, improving homeless services, traffic relief and economic development. These are problems that require much greater attention from the mayor than the schools do. We’d all be better off if he gave them that attention. And, frankly, so would he. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst and a frequent contributor to Viewpoint. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! At first glance, it seemed strange that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would reach out to a school board member whom he had tried to oust from office by bankrolling his opponent. But that’s exactly what he did March 6 when he called school board member Jon Lauritzen after the election. His call to Lauritzen could be viewed as a common courtesy gesture from one elected official to another. It could have been a tactical political move to soften up Lauritzen, even though he faces a tough May runoff fight against Villaraigosa’s candidate, Tamar Galatzan. Or, more cynically, it was recognition by Villaraigosa that an appeals court will probably uphold the lower-court ruling that vetoed the mayor’s school takeover bid. If that happens, Villaraigosa will have to do more than just pay lip service to working with the school board. He’ll have to do it. If he had done so in the first place, it would have saved months of finger-pointing, name-calling and blame-swapping. It also would have saved the millions squandered on lawsuits, court actions and politicking. From the beginning, the takeover plan was a hastily tossed-together mishmash of programs and ideas that the school board had either implemented or was considering in some form.