ROSES to the Second Chance Animal Center in Bennington for finding homes for more than 800 dogs, cats and other animals in 2012 and for honoring volunteers and contributors at its annual meeting this weekend. The shelter saw a more than 25 percent increase (from about 600 animals on average per year) of animals in need of homes last year and is looking to expand. We hope they are able to find an appropriate site soon as it's obvious their services are in high demand and they need more room. THORNS to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for denying Bennington's and Woodford's requests for reimbursement for repair work done following Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA claimed the work, which was completed to protect the public from further flooding and damage, should be funded by another agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bennington is still awaiting reimbursement of $4.2 million; Woodford is seeking $500,000.
ROSES to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife for researching and trying new strategies to save bats from White Nose Syndrome (a fungus that kills 95 percent of those it infects), which has been killing off bat populations in the state and has landed a number of bat species on the state's endangered species list. If bats were to continue to die off in Vermont and elsewhere, the bug population would likely skyrocket. Bats are a major control against insects, including mosquitoes.
THORNS to Manchester publisher Peter Campbell-Copp for bilking a number of aspiring authors out of a total of $200,000. In a Ponzi scheme, Campbell-Copp used money from later clients to pay earlier clients. He was sentenced this week to jail time, probation and will not be allowed to work as a publisher in the future.
ROSES to those who participated in and contributed to the 26th Annual Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bennington County. The event, held last Saturday at Bennington Lanes, raised an estimated $45,000 for the mentoring program, which is sponsored by United Counseling Service of Bennington County. It was a well-organized, family-friendly event that was fun for all, even if your team (hint: Banner newsroom) didn't have the highest score.
ROSES to Shaftsbury cross country skier Andy Newell who recently finished his best World Cup campaign since 2010, finishing fifth overall in the sprint and 29th in the world across all disciplines -- tops among American men. It was the best showing for the two-time Olympian since his decision to change his off-season training program after the last Olympics.
THORNS to Friday's freezing rain and wintry mix that made area roads treacherous. We're ready for some sunshine.