ROSES, and lots of them, to the lovely, gracious, hilarious, quick-tongued and multi-talented Harriette Leidich, the beloved Banner columnist who celebrates her 102nd birthday Saturday. "I've had a wonderful life, and I wouldn't take back any of my stories ... they're all true," she told the Banner on Friday. Don't take back a single one, Harriette. Have a very Happy Birthday!

ROSES and godspeed to the three area athletes who are headed to Boston to compete in the Boston Marathon on Monday. Jesse Robson of Bennington; Danielle Fogarty of North Bennington; and Jan Rancatti of Readsboro will be among the 36,000 runners. "I wanted to be a part of something that big, to prove that we're not scared to be there to run down Boylston Street," Robson told the Banner.

THORNS to the fact that Vermont's homeless population is on the rise, according to the 2014 Point-in-Time survey. The survey found that the state's homeless numbers grew by 9 percent this year, but officials say that number is actually much higher.

ROSES to Project Against Violent Encounters, which is helping to put prepaid cell phones in the hands of victims of domestic violence through a grant from Verizon's HopeLine cell phone recycling program. Every six months, PAVE receives about 20 refurbished phones from Verizon with 3,000 prepaid phone minutes and 9,000 text messages each. Stop by Verizon Wireless at 359 Main St., Bennington, to donate an unwanted cell phone to the HopeLine program, or go to verizonewireless.com to have a postage-paid envelope mailed to you to send in a phone.

ROSES to Bennington resident Kevin Hoyt for being nominated by the National Youth Hunting Association for the ninth annual "Heroes of Conservation" award by Field and Stream magazine and Toyota. Hoyt is one of six people in the country to be nominated. The award honors the efforts of those involved in habitat restoration, protecting threatened species and inspiring a new generation of hunters. Hoyt has done just that via his conservation program "The Future of Hunting" and television show on CAT-TV.

ROSES to the Americorps VISTA program for bringing together Teens for Change and members of Mount Anthony Union High School's Youth Ambassador Service Program for Global Youth Service day last Saturday. The youths prepared the Morgan Spring Community Garden for the growing season. Twenty of the 200-square-foot garden plots are used by the nearby Kitchen Cupboard food pantry to provide local organic produce to those on food assistance. "By working on this garden we are heping people eat that aren't able to. Being able to help people really feels good," said MAUHS student Catherine Butler. The garden still has raised beds available for seniors as well as some plots for the season. Email morganspringcg@gmail.com to obtain an application for a plot, which costs $20 for the season, plus a $5 deposit.

ROSES to the Bowl For Kids fundraiser, which raised more than $40,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bennington County. Nearly 500 bowlers participated in the April 5 event.

~Michelle Karas