Saturday April 6, 2013

ROSES to Shaftsbury School District for having the vision to hire longtime educator Jeff Johnson to replace James Harwood as principal of Shaftsbury Elementary School. Johnson, a Bennington native who worked as both a paraeducator and teacher at Molly Stark Elementary and has taught physical education at Mount Anthony Union Middle School, was runner-up to the Vermont Teacher of the Year in 2012. He was the clear choice among 32 applicants for the position, according to Donna Leep, assistant superintendent for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. "He has an energy that is infectious," Leep told The Banner. The school board is set to officially approve Johnson's hiring as principal at its April 10 meeting. ROSES also to Harwood, who is retiring after five years as principal in Shaftsbury and 34 years in the supervisory union. ROSES to the Bennington Museum for hosting Community Day today, waiving its usual entrance fee and offering free events in supports of its new "Engage" and "More Like You Than Not"exhibits. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, but if you can't make it for the free Community Day events, it's worth the admission price any day.

THORNS to the $85 million in automatic cuts in the federal budget -- also known as the sequestration -- for having a markedly negative impact on at least one Bennington area organization. Lake Paran Association in North Bennington will lose its AmeriCorps VISTA worker this summer. The part-time position cost the federal program $1,500 and Lake Paran Association kicked in another $600. This year, Lake Paran Association Executive Director Marlene Driscoll had hoped to expand summer camps offered to children using the VISTA worker. "It just kind of got chopped off the butcher block," Driscoll said.

THORNS to thieves who broke into the former Mount Anthony Middle School basement and stole more than 1,000 pounds of copper tubing Tuesday. Police said entry was made through a door on the Pleasant Street side of the building. Anyone who might have seen suspicious activity in that area is asked to contact Bennington Police at 802-442-1030.

ROSES to Hoosick Falls Central School senior Frankie Pearson, who averaged nearly 17 points a game this season to earn All-Banner player of the year honors. A four-year varsity player, Pearson finished her career with 79 starts in 80 games, only missing out on Senior Night as a freshman. She amassed 935 points and 142 treys, to rank among the school's all-time leaders. Pearson plans to play at Russell Sage College next year.

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union High School senior guard Aaryngston Bibens, who averaged 19.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game for the Patriots to earn All-Banner Player of the Year honors. In three varsity seasons, Bibens racked up 951 points, good enough for sixth in program history. His 751 career rebounds place him third in the school's record books. Bibens said after graduation he would like to spend a year in prep school to elevate his game.

THORNS to the 23-year-old driver of a box truck that hit the top of the Dummerston Covered Bridge, causing about $6,000 in damage Sunday, and drove away. State police said William Miller of Dummerston didn't realize the bridge's height restriction when he drove a box truck through the 141-year-old structure. Miller was cited for leaving the scene of an accident. He is scheduled for arraignment next month. The bridge, which carries East-West Road over the West River, remains open.

~Michelle Karas