ROSES to the staff of the William H. Morse Airport for facilitating a special pre-Christmas appearance by Santa Claus and his elves. The free "Santa Drop" event had the jolly old elf jumping out of a perfectly good airplane to the delight of those both young and old on the ground. "We wanted to do something that would create interest in the airport and promote community involvement as well as do something nice for the kids," said Darrin Lofton, airport manager and owner of New England Airmotive. ROSES also to Bennington Rural Fire Company for taking care of safety concerns and being on hand to show firetrucks to the children who came to the event.

ROSES to a recent project by Bennington College students that places plaques commemorating future events around town to spur conversation. This forward-looking idea involved input from some downtown business owners, who were asked by the students "What event or occurrence in the future of Bennington would you look back on proudly if it occurred?" Responses included the opening of a Creative Youth Center and a series of Youth Dialogues -- good ideas that the town could feasibly make happen sometime in the not-so-distant future. THORNS to those who stole a $35 Christmas tree from the NorShaft Lions Club’s tree sales lot. A witness saw two people pull up in a car, place a tree in the trunk and drive away.


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When police tracked them down, they found the thieves had attempted to sell the tree for $20.

ROSES to those who helped an 1891 railcar that had been relatively unused for more than 50 years find a new home at the Railroad Museum of New England, Thomaston, Conn. The 60-foot railcar, The Rutland 260, was donated to the museum by the Vermont Railway. It left North Bennington Station for its new destination earlier this week.

ROSES to brother and sister Sam and Sarah Umphlett of Shaftsbury who are competing Saturday in a Junior Olympic-level cross country event in San Antonio, Texas. Sam, 8, a third grade student at Shaftsbury Elementary, and Sarah, 11, a sixth grader, are part of the Shaftsbury Striders after school running club. ROSES also to the community donations that helped to partially fund the family’s $3,000 travel costs for the Texas trip. With $1,000 raised to date, they are still seeking to raise the remainder. Donations may be made to Shaftsbury Elementary School, 150 Buck Hill Road, Shaftsbury, VT 05262.

ROSES to the Bennington Banner staff for winning seven awards in the 2012-13 Vermont Press Association contest. We do the work we do because we love it, but it’s always nice to get some recognition!

~Michelle Karas