Saturday May 18, 2013

ROSES to students at Arlington Memorial Middle School/High School who found a creative way to raise money for additional computer work stations for a new music and media lab at the school. The Kickstarter campaign, "Chromatic: Building a Media Lab for Art, Music & Adventure," seeks to raise enough for 10 $1,000 workstations and will succeed only if the it reaches at least $5,000. Donations may be made at www.Kickstarter.com through June 14. At a time when music funding is often slashed at public schools, we need to get creative to continue vital programs like these. Kudos to these young people for doing so. ROSES to another group of students from Arlington, the Arlington Middle School Robotics Team, which took first place in the 2013 Botball Regional Tournament for Robotics, held earlier this month at University of Massachusetts Lowell. AMMS was the only Vermont School of 23 participating in the New England competition, which was hosted by NASA and UMass. Winning the tournament was quite an accomplishment by the AMMS team, which was formed just last year and was one of just a few teams at the competition comprised entirely of middle school students.

ROSES to Burr and Burton Academy's baseball team, which has achieved a perfect 11-0 record to date.


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The winning streak is partially due to the focus and high standards of the individual athletes on the team, according to Coach Tony Cirelli. "I'll go on the record saying it's probably the best group of high school athletes I've ever worked with totally. Not just athletes, but good people," he said.

ROSES to local cross country ski legend Erlon "Bucky" Broomhall, 82, who was the subject of a feature by Banner Sports Editor Adam Samrov this week. Broomhall's many accomplishments in the world of Nordic skiing include building the cross-country ski trails at Prospect Mountain ski area in Woodford, coaching Mount Anthony Union High School's first Nordic ski team and many, many subsequent teams (retiring with a 210-76 record), and developing the Bill Koch ski league in 1970. Broomhall was inducted into the Vermont Ski Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Maine Ski Hall of Fame last October -- the only person to be honored in both of those states.

THORNS to the prankster who pulled an internal alarm at the Energizer battery plant in Bennington on Thursday, causing a 3-hour lockdown for employees and sending law enforcement officials on a wild goose chase for a non-existent gunman that had been reported on social media. Not only did this stunt lead to an extensive and fruitless search of the building and a waste of officers' and the business' time, it also reportedly caused someone at the plant to have an anxiety attack and necessitated a trip to the hospital for that person. At a plant where someone was fatally shot by a coworker 22 years ago, this joke was especially heinous.

ROSES to the state Legislature for agreeing to extend the statute of limitations on crimes committed against children to 40 years. The current law allows for prosecution of sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, and sexual exploitation of a minor only within 10 years after it is reported or until a child turns 24. Bennington County Chief Deputy State's Attorney Christina Rainville, after reviewing the widely-publicized case of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, recognized that Vermont's boundary was too narrow and approached Sen. Dick Sears to seek the extended limit. "Every year I dismiss cases either permanently or with no ability to bring them within the 10-year period." Gov. Peter Shumlin is expected to sign the legislation into law within days.

THORNS to Mace Security International Inc., which this week announced plans to close its longtime Bennington manufacturing facility and move 30-40 local jobs to Cleveland. Any loss of jobs in the town is a bad one.

~Michelle Karas