ROSES to Bennington's inaugural Arts Weekend this weekend, with many art-related events being held throughout Saturday and Sunday, all coinciding with the popular Southern Vermont Art and Craft festival at Camelot Village. The festival drew 125 exhibitors and large crowds to Camelot Village last year. The planned Arts Weekend events, which you can see here http://goo.gl/b1MkCw in a story published in Thursday's Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont in the Banner, are designed to draw those crowds into town and to surrounding attractions, such as weekend performances of Living Room Theater's production of Anton Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard" at Park-McCullough's Carriage Barn.

ROSES to the Banner's Athlete of the year Kate Goodell, a standout in not one, but three scholastic sports at Mount Anthony Union High School this year. Goodell played soccer, basketball, and softball for the Patriots, exhibiting discipline, leadership, skill and versatility. Said Brian Harrington, MAU girls basketball coach, of Goodell: "No doubt she was the leader on the floor and in the locker room." The 2014 MAU grad heads to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall. Congratulations on a Banner season, Kate!

ROSES to recent MAU grad and wrestling standout Jesse Webb on finishing runner-up at the Fargo Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, N.D., last week.


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It was Webb's final competition before heading off to Ohio University this fall.

ROSES to the 2014 Bennington County U15 Babe Ruth All-Stars baseball team on winning the U15 state crown last weekend. This Saturday the team heads to the New England regional in Manchester, N.H., to compete against Maine champions Central Maine. Good luck, boys!

ROSES and good luck to the Bennington Marauders swim team, which is in Hartford this weekend for the Vermont championships.

ROSES to the conservation group that is planning to buy 140 acres of wetlands off of Morgan Street so that it remains open space and does not get developed. The Walloomsac Headwaters Park and Natural Area -- formerly known as the Friends of the Morgan Street Wetlands -- has a number of activities planned to raise awareness of their mission including a fish tour, mountain bike ride, and clean-up project for the area. See related story on page 1A.

ROSES to Progress Partners for a plan to turn the long-vacant race track in Pownal into a summer concert venue. If they are successful, the space that many call an eyesore could become a tourist attraction, bringing dollars into other area businesses as well.

THORNS to those who have abused the privilege of swimming and playing at Dorset Quarry by illegally clearing brush and trees to make rope swings and paths to high jump access to the popular swimming spot. A man was hospitalized after suffering a head injury this week after swinging from a rope that was too short and into a rock ledge, illustrating the danger inherent in this type of reckless behavior. Police later cut down the rope. His injury was not the first at the quarry this year. The quarry is a treasure -- a reminder of our region's rich marble history, and has been generously opened to the public for swimming by its current owner. The owner has asked the public not to tie up any more rope swings or vandalize his property going forward. And rightly so. If you want to use it, don't abuse it.

~Michelle Karas