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Around the State in Seven Days 

Paper Trail

Cabin Fever, Anyone? Everybody has to be good at something, however useless, and Putney native Bill Kathan, Jr. performed 5365 nonstop jumping jacks on January 1, 2000. His goal was to beat the previous record of 5103 held by West Coast jumping jack champion Steve Sokol.

But Kathan didn’t stop there. He has since broken his own record by doing 5671 jumping jacks in a row and then went on to blow away the 24-hour jumping-jack record with 46,243. After this, he set the record for the most jumping jacks in 15 minutes — 1454 — and bested his old record again with a whopping 11,229 consecutive calisthenics.

Kathan claims to be writing an autobiography called Wild Bill’s True Story from the Beginning, but how he will ever get it done is a mystery. Books take time, and he can’t have much of it, since Kathan is also competitive about push-ups — he does 2020 in an hour — and is working on a six-minute mile, run backwards.

— Bellows Falls Town Crier, March 30

More Hobbies of Highly Effective People And you thought shoveling the driveway was challenging. David Frary of Royalton recently liberated a horse from deep powder. The Tennessee Walker-Quarter Horse cross had wandered into soft snow and got hung up on its belly with its feet no longer touching the ground. The intrepid Frary waded out to the beast and dug a path, and the horse was eventually able to wallow free and get into some nearby woods where the snow was shallower.

After catching his breath, Frary explained that two years ago he rescued a different horse that had somehow rolled from the road, over a bank, into snow man’s land. It landed with its four feet sticking into the air, suffering serious equine indignity. He grabbed his shovel and dug that one out, too.

— Herald of Randolph, March 29

This Mud’s for You The Barton Select Board recently learned that someone has been mud-bogging on May Pond Road — this is an indigenous sport that requires a pickup, a wet spot and nothing else to do. Other signs of the season include a Spring Mud Fling Festival, an Earth Day-Mud Season Film Fest, a Mudseason Makeover and the squishily descriptive Step Into Spring. Which we all will, since there’s no way around it, but we can at least keep our laces tight so we don’t lose our shoes between the house and the car.

Or something even bigger. Ken Lay of West Dover reports that he was walking his Rottweiler, Bruiser, on Route 100 recently when the dog fell into a pothole and disappeared. “I haven’t seen him since,” he says. “I borrowed a 12-foot ladder to retrieve him from the pothole, but the ladder couldn’t reach down to the bottom.”

— Barton Chronicle, April 4, Morrisville News & Citizen, April 5, Windsor Chronicle, March 22, Deerfield Valley News, March 22

For Better or Worse? Carroll Peters is asking the Lamoille County Probate Court to award him one-third of his late wife’s estate, but there’s a catch: He has been ordered to pay $600,000 to her estate in a civil judgment for raping his wife about a month before she was murdered. Peters has also been trying to collect on her $20,000 life insurance policy, repeatedly appealing a court ruling that puts the money out of his reach.

If Peters inherits, he would essentially be paying himself $200,000 for a crime he committed, a situation that the victim’s children find exasperating. These same children also think Peters was their mother’s murderer, though they could not get a wrongful death conviction in civil court because the two-year statute of limitations has expired.

Criminal charges against Peters for sexual assault are working their way through the legal system, and the murder is still being investigated. The hearing to determine whether Peters can be a beneficiary of the court judgment against him will unwind later this month. In the meantime, he is suing his attorney.

— Stowe Reporter, March 29

To Hell with Headlines Headlines have turned curiously listless and world weary: “Another Pancake Breakfast Sunday,” reads one; “Rockingham Library Auctions Birdhouses Again,” another reports dutifully. “In Praise of Percolation” at least seems to indicate that someone’s medication is finally kicking in, while in the starved-for-novelty category we have two winners: “David Clark Began Collecting Sap When He Was Five Years Old” and “Don Nicoll’s Head To Be Shaved.”

— The Herald of Randolph, April 5, Bellows Falls Town Crier, March 23, Bradford Journal Opinion, April 4, Valley Reporter, March 22, Black River Tribune, April 4

Soap Opera Debra Goad of Newport was out shopping when the police showed up to arrest her on a drug charge. When she got home, she was taken directly to the station, still gripping her groceries. In a miracle of bad timing, a bottle of Pert shampoo fell out of her jacket as she walked into the squad room. A little cross-checking with her store receipt showed that she hadn’t paid for the item, so Goad was charged with both retail theft and heroin possession.

— Barton Chronicle, March 28

Soap Opera, Part II In a melodrama of a more Hitchcockian kind, police in Bristol fielded a call from a Church Street resident who reported a “suspicious person” walking around in her neighbor’s house. Police went to the scene and questioned the perpetrator, who turned out to be the owner. He explained that he had arrived home “sooner than expected.” Sooner, apparently, is not always better. The neighbor who made the complaint call was his daughter. Unresolved issues anybody?

— Addison County Independent, April 2

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More by Helen Husher

  • State of War?

    Book review: Two Vermonts
    • Jul 12, 2006
  • Paper Trail

    Around the State in Seven Days
    • Mar 28, 2001
  • Paper Trail

    Around the State in Seven Days
    • Mar 14, 2001
  • More »

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Helen Husher


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