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Paper Trail 

Around the State in Seven Days

Cold Comfort? For some reason February is marked by the spectacle of otherwise normal people leaping into frigid water, but only in Lincoln do people do it twice. Several folks ran from the hot tub, plunged into the New Haven River and then, “to the amazement of all,” plunged into it again. The annual, 30-year-old Winter Carnival also offered up a parade — “luckily a quick one” — that featured a big polar bear, a short penguin, some snowflakes, Queen Linda and King Bill Norton and a pumpkin riding on the cab of a truck.

Other events included a hot-soup luncheon, a talent show and some sort of kayak-slalom race on the local sledding hill. Only one team entered, indicating it might have been their idea.

— Addison Independent, February 15

Price of Progress The Stowe Select Board got caught off-guard recently when its members learned that a grant must be repaid because a new sewer plant will make the town’s sludge less toxic. The town had used the state grant to buy land to spread its treated waste on, and will continue doing that, but the $19 million plant upgrade means the treated waste will no longer pose a health threat. The original assumption, it seems, was that the sludge would stay toxic for 100 years.

“This is in no way meant to be punitive,” said Barb Schwendtner, an environmental specialist with the state. “This is just how the grant program works.” The state says the payback is an equity issue, but it may just be more proof, if it’s needed, that no good deed goes unpunished.

— Stowe Reporter, February 15

Heads of Statements We’re getting into the mean end of winter, and the headlines confirm a kind of sour resignation: “Love,” reads one, “Is Never Having to See This Movie.”

Elsewhere we found “Three-Legged Race on Ice Proves Difficult” and “Laminating Machine Needed for Festival.”

— Manchester Journal, February 21, Barton Chronicle, February 21, Deerfield Valley News, February 8

The Last of Carterville An illegal trailer park and salvage yard in Bristol is now nearly empty — Carterville hosts only a single tenant three years after being acquired by the town in a tax sale.

Officials initially tried to simply evict the residents, but realized there was no affordable place for them to go; a kinder, gentler administration has since been working diligently to relocate everyone in Carterville — a place where people washed their clothes by hand in cold water — to places with “hot water, electricity and a laundromat.” This effort has often meant providing security deposits and small grants to the residents for household items. “This was a second chance for a lot of those people,” said Town Manager Bob Hall, who took a second chance of his own with the plan and is now ready to bid Carterville a compassionate farewell.

— Addison County Independent, February 12

Jury Fury The trial of Alden Finney for DWI and resisting arrest made a little history — for the first time in Vermont, the jury got to ask a few questions of their own. This judicial innovation calls for written inquiries that are then reviewed by the presiding judge; in the Finney trial, seven questions were asked but only five presented. The other two were described as “inappropriate.” The defense attorney in the case admitted he was a little apprehensive, not knowing what kind of questions would be asked. But all went well, and even the normally passive jury got their day in court.

— St. Albans Messenger, February 17

Pet Parade Free kittens are a constant in the Vermont classifieds, but someone in Franklin County has had it up to here with their roosters. All of them. They come in “various sizes. Call after 6 p.m. Bring cardboard box,” the ad recommends.

Meanwhile, someone in the Burlington area has two “pure bread” dogs for sale. We’re assuming they probably don’t bark, but may leave crumbs in the sheets.

— Franklin County Courier, February 22, Seven Days, February 21

A Guy Thing A group of men meet every workday morning in the back room of the South Woodstock Country Store to mull over pressing local news, such as the recent rabid skunk, the glare ice and the sad absence of mourning doves at the bird feeder. One group member is interested in winter gardening; another proposes they write a men’s cookbook. The consensus is that such a book would be short, with chapters like “Here Is the Can Opener” and “How to Boil Water.” So it’s a guy thing, but with a twist — maybe real men eat quiche after all, now that you can pop it in the microwave.

— Vermont Standard, February 22

Youthful Offenders Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs recently chastised an unnamed elementary school student for giving another student a swirly — that is, holding his head in the toilet while activating the lever. Gibbs apparently told the youth that giving a swirly was a crime, and that he could be charged and tried as an adult. He was cleared, however, maybe because the water was, too.

— Addison Independent, February 22

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