Saturday June 15, 2013

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union High School graduates. Your education has only just begun. ROSES to MAU senior (now graduate) Jon Polen, who last Saturday shattered his own school record and a 19-year-old state record in the 110-meter hurdles at the New England track and field championships. Polen’s time of 14.55 seconds earned him third place at the regional championship and set a new Vermont Division 1 and overall mark in the event.

ROSES to Bennington resident Mary Coulter, who has been bringing her traveling hair salon, Hairs to You, to the homes of the elderly and sick since 1990. Coulter, who said she believes that boosting a person’s self-confidence is integral to the healing process, logs about 25 appointments per week.

ROSES to Burr and Burton Academy’s baseball and girls lacrosse teams that are playing in the Division II state championships Saturday.

THORNS to Bennington Rural Fire Department firefighters who failed to play by the rules at a recent celebratory event known as Mudder’s Day. We don’t begrudge anyone the right to let loose, but setting a hay-filled camper on fire without a permit then driving a car through it is not permitted by law. Permits are required for outdoor burning of wood, according to Gary Kessler, director of compliance and enforcement for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Burning other material is generally not permitted unless it’s a part of a training exercise for a fire department, he said.

ROSES to those who voted for the Bennington School District budget on Tuesday. The $12.48 million spending plan, reduced by about $1 million from the original March proposal, was approved by a vote of 1,016 to 798. Had the proposed budget failed again at this third special election, the future of eight teachers and 12 special education paraprofessionals who received contingent layoff notices last month would have been up in the air. Let’s hope the travails and heated debate that resulted from this year’s budget process will inform the planning for the 2014-15 school year spending plan. As BSD Board Vice Chairman George Sleeman told the Banner: "We’ve got to see what we can do to present the best possible budget we can, offer the best education we can and yet come up with a system that is going to help (those who can’t afford to pay more on their property taxes). ... Convince these people how important education is to our community."

ROSES to the Bennington Police Department for a first place finish in its division for its 2012 highway safety efforts. Chief Paul Doucette, Sgt. David Dutcher and Cpl. Christopher Lauzon accepted the award at the Vermont Law Enforcement Challenge awards presentation in Burlington on June 11. Lauzon was also awarded the Ruby Rainault Occupant Protection Award for excellence as a car seat technician and for 14 years of assistance with child passenger seat safety inspections.

~Michelle Karas