Some banks offer free microwaves, iPods or checking to entice customers. The New England Federal Credit Union is taking a more highbrow approach: It created the Distinguished Vermont Writer Series, featuring the state's "top fiction and nonfiction writers." This Monday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m., Waitsfield author James Tabor will read from his book Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Mysterious and Controversial Disasters, accompanied by original images from the ill-fated 1967 expedition to Mt. McKinley. The event takes place at NEFCU's Williston branch (www.nefcu.com), to be followed by green beer in honor of St. Paddy's Day. Just kidding about that last part . . .
Speaking of speakers: Former Book Rack & Children's Pages owner Elaine Sopchak has just launched Vermont Voices Marketing Services. The speakers' bureau featuring mainly authors is the first of its kind in Vermont, and "possibly even New England," she says. Sopchak is starting with a talent pool of nine names that are familiar to many Vermonters: Joseph Citro, Jay Craven, Rusty DeWees, Archer Mayor, Howard Frank Mosher, Jernigan Pontiac, Marjorie Ryerson and the aforementioned James Tabor. Sopchak aims to be a resource for businesses, schools, libraries or anyone else in need of an entertaining literary type. Visit www.vermont-voices.com for more info . . .
Call to artists: If you buy your brushes at Black Horse, please note that it's galloping down Williston Road. Proprietor John Bates is moving his 10-year-old art-supply biz from its longtime second-floor spot on Burlington's Main Street to bigger digs - with parking! - alongside the Frame Game. Bates says he'll be open to customers next week, and plans a grand-opening anniversary party in the summer . . .
How many of us have stashes of love letters hidden in attics or closets? In the age of email and IMs, such sentimental treasures seem as dated as, well, writing real letters. But if you've got any lying around, the Latchis Restoration Project in Brattleboro wants 'em. No, not to make fun of on the Internet. Rather, to enter their owners in a creative raffle that will earn three lucky couples tickets to a dinner-theater production of . . . Love Letters. The popular 1989 A.R. Gurney play, written before correspondence went electronic, will be performed March 14, 15 and 16 at Latchis 4 to benefit the refurbishment of the historic Latchis Hotel and Theatre. The rest of you can shell out $75 for the romantic event. Tickets, www.brattleborotix.com . . .