THORNS to Thursday's announcement by Plasan Carbon Composites that it will be closing its 139 Shields Drive Bennington plant and consolidating operations into its Grand Rapids, Mich., facility. "We just wanted to consolidate all our assets and resources into a single facility," said Jim Staargaard, company president. He said it was purely a business decision, but the consequences of that decision weigh heavily on the Bennington community The company, which makes carbon fiber components for vehicles, employs 143 in Bennington. Losing any employer is a blow to the town. Losing one that employs so many is devastating.

ROSES to Bennington's newest centenarian, Irene Herrick. A Bennington native and resident of Emeritus at Fillmore Pond, Irene turned 100 on Thursday. She's seen a lot of Vermont winters ... and springs.

ROSES to the Hemmings Motor News Great Race, an antique car rally which runs from Maine to Florida. The race will draw attention and tourists to Bennington when it comes through town on June 22.

ROSES and good luck to Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team who defeated Spaulding Wednesday in Vermont Division I playdown game and face Brattleboro at home Saturday at 2 p.m. for a spot in the semifinals.

ROSES to a new free program introduced by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont that will provide support for family members of Vermonters who died from heroin use. The three-hour program will be held in Burlington on March 26. Anyone interested in signing up may contact Aimee Stearns, victim-witness coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Vermont, at 802-651-8261 or Aimee.Stearns@usdoj.gov. Additionally, a free Vermont documentary on heroin abuse is available at http://vimeo.com/41741770. The heroin addiction problem in Vermont is only getting bigger. We need all the support and education we can get.

ROSES to two Stratton Mountain School graduates who performed exceptionally well in the Olympic games in Sochi, Russia, this week. Manchester's Alex Diebold won an Olympic bronze medal in men's snowboardcross Tuesday. Peru, Vt., native Sophie Caldwell made history by finishing in 6th place in the women's cross-country sprint final at the Olympics with a time of 2:47.75 -- the best U.S. finish ever by a female athlete in the event. Minnesota native Jessie Diggins, another member of Stratton Mountain School's elite team, took eighth in the skiathlon.

ROSES to the Town of Bennington for proclaiming March as Myeloma Awareness Month. Jan Martin Bopp, a local sculptor and educator, recently accepted the proclamation from Bennington Select Board Chairman Joseph Krawczyk Jr. and Town Manager Stuart Hurd on behalf of the International Myeloma Foundation. Bopp was diagnosed six years ago with the form of cancer that attacks plasma cells in blood marrow and continues to battle it while also leading a local support group, the Multiple Myeloma Networking Group, Southwestern Vermont Region. To learn more about the disease, visit www.myeloma.org.

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team heavyweight Jesse Webb on winning his 220th match last Saturday (and now boasts 223 wins), and to Hoosick Falls Central School's Nolan Foster for winning his weight class in the New York State Division II sectionals last weekend.

~Michelle Karas