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Around the State in Seven Days 

Paper Trail

Still Valentines Colchester residents Buddy Veino and Doris Coltrain were originally married in 1950, but divorced two years later. Each of them later remarried, divorced, remarried and divorced again. Now, with 50 years of practice — and, apparently, of missing one another — the two reunited after Buddy sent Doris a tape of Ronnie Milsap love songs. It was an innocent and impulsive gesture — Buddy, divorced, thought Doris was still married — but effective. “I played it over and over,” Doris says. “I kept wondering what he meant by it.”

That became clear when next they met: Buddy swept her in his arms and showered her with kisses. The billing and cooing has been progressing ever since. “People say they act like a couple of teenagers,” according to the couple’s daughter from the first time around. They haven’t tied the knot yet — at 69 and 71, they’re approaching the institution of marriage with less urgency. But when they do, chances are it will be a keeper.

— Colchester Chronicle, February 1

Crabs, Not Cupids The opposite of love isn’t hate so much as peevishness, suggests Tom Kenyon, the town correspondent for West Windsor. People are getting cranky, he says: “This is the time of year when you really have to go out of your way to be unexpectedly nice to family and friends and neighbors. For example, I have not said one bad thing about the town of Windsor for several weeks now.”

— Killington Mountain Times, February 8, The Vermont Standard, January 25

Spring Ahead The steady approach of Town Meeting Day means that spring might actually be coming, and the prospect makes some of us a little giddy. Headlines spotted recently: “Where, Oh Where, Can the Sewer Plant Go?” “Why God Is So Good to Republicans” and “Time to Dabble!”

Proof that we are hard up for a party: “The Unbridled Joys of Inauguration Watching” and “Cancer Awareness Campaign Leads to Dance.”

Contenders in the duh category were “Top City Salaries Above Average” and the Groundhog Day observation that “Spring is either six weeks away or a month and half.”

— Essex County Courier, January 25, Windsor Chronicle, February 1, Morrisville News & Citizen, February 1, Vermont Standard, January 25, Hardwick Gazette, January 24, Montpelier Bridge, February, Manchester Journal, February 2

The Way of Trees Mr. Friedmann of Braintree is getting skeptical about a proposed tree ordinance that requires a warden to give permission before property owners can thin and cut trees on land in the town road right-of-way. Why, he wonders, do we need such a thing? The answer from the town seems to be that adopting an ordinance means the town can apply for money, which can then be used to plant trees. “You want some trees to plant?” he asks. “You can come to my woods and dig up half a million saplings for free.”

Friedmann points out that his trees keep propagating without any of the necessary permits, but there’s no point in issuing a fine — they don’t have any money.

— The Herald of Randolph, February 1

Doing the Rite Thing Plenty went wrong when the Western Rite Catholic Church set up camp in the town of Craftsbury, and the saga continues. Former church spokesperson Alfred Deleo was finally arrested in Greensboro on a Florida warrant for indecent assault on a child. Deleo left Vermont after the charges surfaced, vowing to turn himself in and clear his name; the rest of the church members left soon after, unhappy about the town’s cool reception to their idea that the church set up a local police department. They were also unable to make good on a real-estate transfer, despite several contract extensions. The Archbishop, Bruce Simpson, gave everyone an earful about the Green Mountain State on his way out, saying the Florida charges were all part of a campaign to get the church out of Craftsbury.

Since then, the FBI and U.S. marshals have tracked Deleo to various states; a recent phone tip indicated he had returned to the Northeast Kingdom. A double handful of federal and local law enforcement people turned out to make the arrest, since there were rumors that Deleo was ready to put up a struggle. “Fugitives,” declared Vermont State Police Detective Sergeant J.P. Sinclair, “can be unpredictable.” In the end, Deleo decided to go quietly, thus ending this peculiar melodrama just a few miles from where it began.

— Hardwick Gazette, January 31

In Need of a ‘Cell’ Phone? Three days after filing his petition to run for the Middlebury Select Board, Drew Campbell was arrested on an arson charge — this after a year-long insurance investigation revealed that his involvement in a fire on Happy Valley Road was not accidental.

Police claim that after an evening of drinking, Campbell and a friend, Dennis Dunn, went poking around a house under construction. Things got a little out of hand — their homemade torch kept dripping bits of flame onto the floor — and the two started several small fires that they managed to stamp out. Then, seizing on the rather murky idea that they now needed to “destroy the evidence,” they allegedly set fire to a pile of insulation that went up with a whoosh. Police say the pair then took off, “hearing an explosion of propane tanks” behind them.

There is no word yet on whether Campbell will stay in the race. His name will appear on the ballot, but he’ll have to campaign from the correctional center in Rutland, where he is being held for lack of bail.

— Addison County Independent, February 5

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