Two new cafes in Canaan, mud season metrics, Dunkin'-cup surfboard -- it's Daybreak, 3/22

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GOOD MORNING, UPPER VALLEY!

Stuff coming out of the sky. Snow, rain, rain and snow together, rain-then-snow, snow-then-rain... "Still a complex evolution of this system," the weather service says, meaning your storm may be different from mine. Highs in the high 30s, so whatever it is, it'll be wet. Highest chance of accumulations above 1000 feet, but things could get more intense and gusty overnight, leading to localized outages and hard travel. Take it easy out there, okay?

Stern's Quality Produce to re-open. Whew. Amanda and Jill Metivier, who own Steve's Bait Shop in North Hartland, announced yesterday that they've bought the landmark WRJ produce store from Keith and Judy Stern. Keith will stay on as produce buyer. They hope to open May 1.

But Bentley's to close. The Woodstock restaurant, which commands the most prominent corner in town, will shut its doors April 21 after 42 years in business.

Suddenly, Canaan has two new cafes. The Red Wagon Bakery (with an extremely cute logo) joins The 603 Bakery & Cafe, which started up at the end of February. Cinnamon buns, doughnuts, wraps, bagels, breakfasts, lunches... How much good food fortune can one town bear? Thanks to Sarah S. for the tip. For Canaan, she writes, "this is unprecedented." 

New Hood is "gray, hard-nosed structure." The Hood Museum's renovations are starting to draw the attention of the national critics. The sleek architecture and design mag Metropolis has just weighed in. It didn't like the old version -- at least, I think that's what "the mystery of a Masonic lodge and the jaunty revivalism of the Magic Kingdom" means -- but pronounces the new Hood "unmistakably a museum for contemporary art." Oh, and you'll be pleased to know the signage is "serviceable."

Okay, so is this the worst mud season ever for roads? Meh, says David Brooks, the Concord Monitor's Granite State Geek. Anyone who lives on a dirt road around here knows things have been epically awful so far. Road agents aren't impressed. "We haven't gotten that bad yet," says one, and the number of potholes trails previous years. Tell that to my car.

Rutland's College of St. Joseph announces it will close for good. It's losing its accreditation, but thought it had found a partner to help it keep its doors open. That's fallen through. 
 
Vermont Big Pharma suit can move forward. The state is suing Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma for "aggressively and misleadingly market[ing] opioids such as Oxycontin in Vermont, leading to massive addiction." A Chittenden Superior Court judge has denied the company's motion to dismiss.

Vermont Senate backs 24-hour waiting period on gun sales. The move passed with a veto-proof majority, gets final vote today, then moves on to the House. Windsor Democrat Alice Nitka was one of the "No" votes.

In surprise move, NH Senate opens casino floodgates. Okay, not quite. It passed a bill to allow two casinos to open in the state. Still, the bill's backer has been trying for two decades and had gotten nowhere. He suddenly brought the measure to the floor yesterday, and it passed 13-11. Opponents argued that with a casino soon to open in Massachusetts, the NH version will only attract Granite State residents. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul," one said.

NH guy makes surfboard out of 700 used Dunkin' cups. Seriously, he did. He collected used plastic foam cups from friends and family, flattened them, layered them, and produced a surfboard that weighs twice what they usually do. "It totally works," he says. Even then, he only came in second in the Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest to create a "functional wave riding craft" out of trash. Where's the justice?

SO HERE WE ARE... IT'S FRIDAY! HUNKER DOWN OR GO OUT?

Because to start, there's a weekend of events in Strafford, VT to honor Rev. William Sloane Coffin. "Bill had qualities and gifts and a purpose that are important to us now as much as or more than ever," says Pastor Tom Kinder of the United Church of Strafford, which is hosting the events. Tonight, pianist Annemieke McLane and cellist Emily Taubl will be playing Bach. Tomorrow afternoon the Rev. Jim Antal, who was given the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice in 2017 by Yale Div School, will be talking climate change. Then a new film about Coffin tomorrow night. (VN, subscription reqd)

 Or how about the Mud Season Variety Show at the Chandler? Talent from nine communities will be telling stories, line dancing, doing standup, clogging, offering dramatic readings, whistling, singing jazz, rock, pop, blues, folk, bluegrass and country, playing classical piano.... What better way to ignore the weather? 

Or maybe you're in the mood for puppets (the kind that have nothing to do with politics)? The No Strings Marionette Company performs The Snow Maiden, a Russian folk tale, at Hanover's Black Center. "While Father Frost spreads Winter's cold throughout the land, he comes across a most amazing sight. A perfect little maiden sculpted entirely of snow and ice!... But can love sustain this child of winter upon the arrival of Spring?" Seems, somehow, entirely fitting for tonight. 

Whatever you do, stay dry and have a lovely, relaxing weekend. See you Monday.

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