THORNS to the denial of a grant application that would have continued the wonderful work being done by the MOSAIC afterschool/partial summer program at Mount Anthony Union Middle school, the Molly Stark School and Bennington Elementary. The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union learn this week that its application to renew its Century 21 Learning Grant has been denied. Among other initiatives, MOSAIC provides lunches during the summer program and snacks for the participants after school. As a way of giving back, participants have conducted many community service projects through the program. The program gives many students -- who wouldn't otherwise have it -- access to meals during the summer. MAU Middle School Principal Tim Payne told the Banner that he anticipated without the grant funding the summer program will be reduced. This is a good program -- a needed program -- that deserves funding.

ROSES to multiple law enforcement agencies including Bennington Police Department that were able to apprehend three men suspected of drug-related activity at 46 Pageant St. on Friday morning. Residents of that neighborhood were dropping of cards of thanks at the Bennington Police office just hours later, according to Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette. "People are fed up with the drug activity -- they want something done about it," Doucette told the Banner.

ROSES to the reappearance of the catamount statues after their winter hibernation. Several of the "big cats" are at Colgate Park and some are in front of area businesses including Man of Kent, Bennington Welcome Center and The Bennington Banner (our colorful cat is called "Cattitude" -- check it out in front of our 425 Main St. office). These fun statues will only be on display for a short time, until the A Midsummer Night's Prowl & Auction event in July, so enjoy them now or plan to bid on one to take home.

ROSES to Second Chance Animal Shelter on another successful year (its 55th) and a new executive director in Linda Huebner. Second Chance reported at its annual meeting this week that in 2013 there were 559 cats surrendered to it, 174 dogs, 24 other animals. Of those a majority were adopted. With those kind of numbers, the shelter is looking to build a new center soon but will need the support of the community.

ROSES to new turquoise glow on the Bennington Battle Monument that aims to help draw public awareness of lung cancer and women's lung health. The monument has been lit up evenings this week as part of the American Lung Association's "Lung Force Initiative," which coincides with National Women's Lung Health Week. The monument will be host to the Lung Association's annual Fighting for Air Stair Climb on Saturday, June 7; the event raises money for the cause. Learn more at www.lung.org/associations/charters/northeast/ or email VTClimb@LungNE.org

ROSES to longtime Old Bennington trustee and village road foreman Arnold Ricks on his 40 years of service to the village. Ricks, 90, a former Bennington College history professor, announced this week that he will retire after spending several decades helping to shape the character of the roads in Old Bennington. We wish Ricks well as he takes time to focus on some family projects related to the history of the Quakers.

ROSES to students of Sacred Heart School who raised more than $13,000 Monday during the school's annual Race for Education. More than 160 students walked or ran laps -- along with parents and faculty members -- around the Mount Anthony Union High School track, raising the impressive total that will go toward the school's operating costs.

~Michelle Karas