Saturday August 17, 2013

ROSES to the wealth of Battle Day events to be held in Bennington and at the nearby New York State Bennington Battlefield Historic Site this weekend. On Saturday, among other options, you can run a 5K on Saturday, take in the Bennington Battle Monument, watch the Vermont State Firefighters Association Parade at noon, and travel a few miles to the battle site in New York for the Commemoration of the Battle. On Sunday, watch the Bennington Battle Parade, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ROSES to the state of Vermont for waiving fees at the Bennington Battle Monument and all state historic sites Saturday and Sunday.

THORNS to the state for denying a request for a waiver that would have allowed the chairman of the Arlington School District board to continue to serve on the board while coaching the school’s varsity soccer program. Todd Wilkins, a school board member since 2008, has coached soccer for a decade and has received a waiver to also serve on the board in each of the previous years this was required. Wilkins also received an assurance from Vermont Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca earlier this year that he had "never denied" such a request. Why start now? We think it may have something to do with the fact that Wilkins opposes the consolidation of the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union into a neighboring supervisory union. Vilaseca is a proponent of such mergers.

THORNS to the 72-year-old defendant in a sex assault trial who has dragged the trial out more than 25 years because of alleged health problems. Leonard Forte, who has residences in Long Island, N.Y., and Fort Myers, Fla., has literally been phoning in his testimony from Florida to the Bennington Superior Court since 2005 due to heart problems. Only this week has Forte agreed to release his medical records to the prosecution. Twenty-five years of court time seems like a grand waste of taxpayer money.

ROSES and welcome to new Bennington College President Mariko Silver, who has just recently moved with her husband, Thom Loubet, and toddler from Arizona, where she was a senior adviser to the president of Arizona State University. Silver, who is the college’s 10th president, succeeds Elizabeth Coleman, who led the college since 1987.

ROSES to the Town of Bennington for winning and accepting a grant from the Vermont Council on Rural Development to bring free public wireless to the downtown. Providing WiFi in the downtown area will entice visitors to stop and stay a while, and will also allow residents and local businesses to log on at no personal cost.

ROSES to the Good Samaritans who helped to rescue a 10-foot snake, believed to be a boa constrictor, that was found loose on Elm Street in Bennington on Tuesday. Susan Plaisance, who is a Banner advertising representative, and her daughter, Carly, discovered the snake while out walking their dog in the evening. Carly bravely helped to put the large snake into a recycling bin. Then Paul Restino, a middle school teacher, and his son took the snake home. We hope it has been reunited with its owner.

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union Middle School for hiring a teacher who will focus on sustainability. Principal Tim Payne told the Banner the goal is to get students thinking responsibly about managing and conserving natural resources "and about what they want to do with their lives." The lessons will allow for partnerships with the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center at the high school, using its kitchen, trails, and workshops. What a great, timely idea.

ROSES to Hannah Pinkus, 13, of Manchester, who was one of just two soccer-playing girls from Vermont selected to attend a Regional Camp in Buffalo, N.Y. Of the 90 girls attending the camp, 25 will be chosen to attend the U.S. National Team camp in Arizona.

ROSES to Hathaway’s Drive-In Theater in North Hoosick, N.Y., which is in the running for Honda’s "Project Drive-In" promotion, aimed to prevent the closure of classic drive-in theaters across the country by donating $80,000 to five deserving drive-in theaters chosen through a voting process. Through Sept. 9, votes may be cast multiple times a day, every day at Honda’s Project Drive-in website, www.projectdrivein.com/vote_12 or by texting "Vote 12" to 444-999. Help support your local drive-in by taking a minute to vote.

~Michelle Karas