ROSES to the House Committee on Transportation and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, who traveled to Bennington on Tuesday for a hearing at which Groups of Bennington Economic Development Partners made presentations. Twenty legislators as well as members of many state departments rode into town on a bus after visiting Rutland earlier in the day. According to Rep. Bill Botzow, the somewhat unusual visit was to hear from people "where we visit, with the agencies and department also visiting and being a resource to go forward." Bringing the committees to Bennington helps them to "gain a clear understanding of Bennington's unique regional development efforts and assets," said Michael Harrington, Bennington's downtown community and economic development director.

ROSES to area legislators who gathered in Bennington Monday to participate in a forum on mental health issues. Sponsored by United Counseling Service, the forum included a look at topics ranging from opiate addiction in Vermont to mental health advocacy. Participants included Sen. Robert Hartwell, Sen. Dick Sears, Rep. Bill Botzow, Rep. Brian Campion, Rep. Timothy Corcoran, Rep. Alice Miller, Rep. Anne Mook, Rep. Mary Morrissey and Rep. Jeffrey Wilson.

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union High School Junior Alexina Federhen for penning the winning essay, "A House Divided," in the 2014 State of the Union Essay Contest sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Federhen's essay will be published in the Congressional Record and she will have the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with other contest finalists Saturday. Among the points Federhen made in her winning essay was that the country faces issues including "a Congress so dysfunctional that it could not even manage to operate the government for the entire year." Well said!

THORNS to car thieves who have made a habit of stealing unlocked vehicles in Bennington. Four cars were stolen from the downtown area recently, according to Bennington police. The link between all of the stolen vehicles is, "The operators have left the keys inside the vehicles ... In some of these cases, the operators left their vehicles running," Bennington Police Lt. Lloyd Dean told The Banner. Lock your cars and take the keys!

ROSES to Bennington resident Molly Carson, who was recently named Miss Vermont International 2014 and has chosen the Wounded Warrior Project as her platform. The Clarkson University student and Vermont Air National Guard member said she is excited to raise awareness for WWP, which serves veterans and service members who "incurred a physical or mental injury, illness or wound co-incident to their military service on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and their families," according to www.woundedwarriorproject.org. We wish Carson luck in the contest, in which she is slated to compete in late July. But first she has to finish basic training for the National Guard in Texas -- where she is now.

ROSES to Mount Anthony Union High School wresting team heavyweight Jesse Webb, who won his 200th match last week, and is now at within reach of tying the state record. "He has worked hard to achieve that goal," said MAU coach Scott Legacy.

ROSES to Air Force veteran Wilfred Rondeau who will soon be taking a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Rondeau, 89, a resident of the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, benefits from the Honor Flight program which works to get World War II veterans to the Capitol to view the World War II Memorial.