Sunapee restaurant fire, Big Fatty's goes eco-friendly, VT hospitals under stress -- it's Daybreak, 3/14

Daybreak is an email newsletter written and published by Rob Gurwitt. If you'd like to get it in your inbox each morning first thing, you can check it out and subscribe here.


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High pressure shifting eastward brings southerly winds. Don't let the overnight snow fool you. Partly sunny today with temps bumping up toward 50 -- and maybe even warmer. Rain coming in overnight, but it's not dropping below freezing. Which sets up a little one-day tease tomorrow: high 50s!

Restaurant fire investigated as arson. The Anchorage, which sits right by the water in Sunapee Harbor, caught fire on Friday. Local police and the NH fire marshal's office announced yesterday that they're looking into the cause. (VN: Subscription required)

Big Fatty's goes eco-friendly. This is a big deal! The popular WRJ barbecue joint has been a sea of styrofoam, but on April 1 they're shifting to containers that won't still be around a thousand years from now. Prices will rise slightly -- but such a small price to pay for walking out guilt-free with that takeout-salad-bar in hand...

Springfield Hospital considers closing birthing center. First APD, now Springfield? The hospital needs to cut $6.5 million from its budget, and has already laid off 27 workers. Now the board is looking at the childbirth center. A lot of people are not happy.

And speaking of hospitals under stress, Gifford's keeping Springfield company on the money-losing front. The Randolph medical center had a $5.7 million operating loss last year -- second only to Springfield among the 8 (out of 14) Vermont hospitals that lost money on operations.

NH's ConVal school district sues state over adequate education funding.The district -- centered around Peterborough -- says the state has fallen far short of its legal obligations. This has forced local taxpayers "to choose between supporting the children in their communities and being overwhelmed by increasing local taxes.”

Upper Valleyite makes the Union-Leader's list of 40 Under 40. That would be Jacqui Baker, a Leb High School grad who coordinates substance-abuse prevention for the community health program at D-H. The paper's been giving out the awards for 18 years; past honorees include former US Sen. John E. Sununu and skier Bode Miller. Lots of people this year from Manchester, Bedford, Hooksett, but Jacqui's the only one from around here. Is it something we said?

Dartmouth math prof Dan Rockmore has been sending his colleagues into the schools to talk STEM. Rockmore's associate dean for the sciences at the college, and for years he's been working with students at the elementary and middle schools in Hanover. Now he's got computer scientists, mathematicians and others talking to high school students. Oh, and he's also been taking kids to the Nugget to see films like Contact and Hidden Figures.

Vermont AG piles on to anti-"emergency"-declaration lawsuit. TJ Donovan, along with colleagues in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, brought to 20 the number of attorneys general challenging President Trump's declaration of an emergency at the border. "We will defend Vermont" from losing federal funds, Donovan declared.

The chair of VT's House transportation committee doesn't own a car.Seven Days profiles Curt McCormack, the Burlington lawmaker who's now a serious player in transportation policy for the state. His agenda: speeding the transition to electric vehicles and buses, expanding passenger rail service, integrating regional bus networks, and making the state more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.


Well, I think it's pretty clear: From Russia With Love in Woodstock. If you're a guy who grew up in the '60s, there's only one James Bond. Oh yeah, sure, Daniel Craig. But let's get serious: Sean Connery defined the genre. This was the second in the series, the first with gadgetry -- that car phone must have been mind-blowing to 1963 audiences. Thanks to Pentangle Arts.

Or wait! This can't be! Pete's Posse is going to be at the Skinny Pancake in Hanover at almost the same time! He's not quite Connery, but Pete Sutherland pretty much defines his own genre: forward-looking American traditional music. An extraordinary fiddler, banjo player, and all-around musician, Sutherland's joined by two equally superb musicians a generation younger: Oliver Scanlon on fiddle and mandolin, and Tristan Henderson on guitar. They can play -- and harmonize -- anything.

I'm torn. You? See you tomorrow.


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