Roses to Rep. Anne Mook on a decade of service in the Vermont legislature


ROSES to Rep. Anne Mook, who told the Banner she finds it bittersweet to be retiring from the job she loves as a legislator. "It's fabulous to know that you can be a part of something greater -- that you can have input into an idea ... and that you can be a part of making something stronger," she said. After a decade in the legislature, its someone else's turn to take over where Mook has left off as she looks to spend more time with family.

ROSES to students from Mount Anthony Union High School's Quantum Leap program who used music as a means to defend the school's reputation following a New York Times story about opiate abuse in Bennington. Student Austin Bourn's "Heroes and Heroin in Bennington" was a creative way to voice concern, set the record straight and be heard. The video for the gritty, no-holds-barred song includes appearances by many other students, and was produced by Bennington College student Alex Mendez and filmed with the help of local video marketing expert Jeff Grimshaw. Take a look at the video at

ROSES to the Better Bennington Corporation on a successful Mayfest celebration last Saturday, bringing more than 12,000 visitors to downtown Benningtion and providing fun for area families, food and art lovers. Even the weather cooperated (for the most part).

ROSES to those who organized and participating in Memorial Day parades in Bennington, Arlington and Shaftsbury on Monday. The processions dodged a few raindrops to proudly honor fallen soldiers.

THORNS to the funding dilemma faced by the federal Highway Trust Fund, which, without action from Congress, is set to go bankrupt by the end of the summer, according to Rep. Peter Welch. Projects including the repair of the aging, crumbling Benmont Avenue bridge in Bennington will be stalled when federal funding goes dry. Welch said an increase to the gas tax could be a solution, but it's not a popular option in Congress.

ROSES to the new clinical trials underway at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center that will allow some local patients fighting leukemia, bladder, lung and breast cancers another treatment option. Dr. Orion Howard, SVRCC's medical director, told The Banner that a local patient may now be able to participate in clinical trials within about two or three weeks, when previously the wait may have been about six months.

ROSES to the Cupcake Crusade and Community Remembrance Day set to raise funds for local cancer research. The event is slated for 2 p.m. to dusk on Saturday, May 31, on the grounds of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. The fun event -- which will include a cupcake competition, food vendors, and children's activities -- is dedicated to longtime Molly Stark teacher Gail Harwood, who died in January at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.

ROSES to area high school seniors and senior-athletes in the Class of 2014 who are about to graduate and are finishing up their final exams and sports contests. Now the real work begins!

ROSES to Bennington Police officers who ran the Special Olympics "Flame of Hope" through Bennington and handed it off to Vermont State Troopers in Shaftsbury on Wednesday. The Flame of Hope is run by various law enforcement agencies, who raise money and awareness for the cause along the way, all the way to the summer Special Olympics competition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, held May 30 -June 1.

~Michelle Karas


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