ROSES to local and state law enforcement agencies for partnering to bring 16 suspected drug dealers into custody on Wednesday. Operation Strike Two married the efforts of the Bennington Police Department, Manchester Police Department, Bennington County Sheriff’s Department, Vermont State Police, the Vermont Drug Task Force and the Bennington State’s Attorney’s Office as well as Bennington Superior Court judges and personnel who worked to collect, process and get to arraignment these individuals, ages 18-41, within a single day. We hope these efforts will help to curtail drug traffic in Bennington County. Since this was Strike Two, wouldn’t it be great if we never had to have "Strike Three"? ROSES to Judith Pennock and Kathi Marcoux who organized a free job interview workshop at Evans’ News in Bennington this week for local high school students. A dozen students in grades 10-12 enrolled in field study with Mount Anthony Union High School School-to-Work Coordinator Brooke Remington, attended the workshop, which included skits performed by Pennock and Marcoux demonstrating both good and bad job interview behavior. "There is a disconnect between students and the community," said Pennock, office manager at Evans’ News. "We decided to do what we could in a small way."

THORNS to the Vermont man who shot and killed a woman following a road rage incident in St. Albans on Wednesday afternoon. Matthew Webster, 30, of Swanton, is accused of fatally shooting Anna Alger, 30, of Highgate. Webster’s wife told police that Webster, at the time of the incident, had just broken up with the woman he’d been having an affair with, and had a gun in his hand as he drove that day, intending to kill himself. Per an Associated Press report, Webster ran a red light and Alger -- a stranger to him -- followed him, got out of her car and had began yelling at him when he shot her, expelling 11 rounds after reloading his 9mm gun once, police said. You never know what’s going on in the mind of the person who just ran the red light. Drive on.

ROSES to the fortuitous weather conditions that are making this year’s apple season a lip-smacking success for local growers. "The apple crop is phenomenal this year," in terms of yield and flavor, Marie Walk of the Apple Barn told the Banner this week.

THORNS to an on-field fight at the Berkshire Kings vs. Southern Vermont Storm football game in Manchester last Saturday. The Storm won 21-0, and that apparently didn’t sit well with their opponents. The Banner reported that fists were thrown by members of both teams, helmets ripped off, people tossed to the ground. What ever happened to good sportsmanship? It’s not even hockey season.

ROSES to another successful Pumpkinpalooza, held in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., last Saturday. The seasonal fun-filled event, now in its fifth year, included a pancake breakfast served by local Girl Scouts, a 5K race in memory of Rolf Max Sternberg -- a community member, father and avid runner who died this year, a Pumpkin’ Chuckin’ competition and a chowder cook-off. The festively-named Pumpkinpalooza was sponsored in part by the Hoosick Armory Youth Center and Community Coalition.

~Michelle Karas