Sap bucket heist, ticks are out already, no hemp farm at Windsor prison after all -- it's Daybreak, 3/29

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HERE WE ARE, UPPER VALLEY... IT'S FRIDAY!

So there's this weak cold front that made its way southward overnight, and is now just hanging out to the south of us. But there's also been warm air filtering in above it. So there's a decent chance of rain showers for a good part of the day, especially toward the south, but an equally good chance it'll just be cloudy, with temps rising into the low 50s. Not bad for a gray day in March.

Co-op phasing out plastic bags. In a letter to members yesterday, Co-op Food Stores general manager Ed Fox announced the stores intend to stop using plastic bags at their checkout counters by next spring. This won't be easy to do, he points out, and it's apparent that they don't quite know how they're going to get there. "I know we have the collective genius to make this happen," he said. "I’m confident that in the year ahead, we can figure this out as a team." 

Upper Valley is tech hub. Yeah, we all know that. But now New Hampshire Business Review is out with a long take on the institutions and local companies driving the region's growing reputation: Dartmouth College, the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center, FreshAir Sensor, Adimab, Simbex, Celdara Medical... 

And speaking of the college, it's just offered admission to a record low percentage of applicants. Just 7.9 percent. It's the third straight year the acceptance rate has dropped. There are more first-generation admittees than in the past, and about 40 percent are low- and middle-income. “We were deliberately focusing this cycle on socioeconomic diversity as a way of syncing up with the capital campaign and its commitment to broader access,” says the dean of admissions.

Ticks are out already. Don't let the snow still on the ground fool you. Dogs, kids, in Thetford, in Bradford, in Grantham... Time to start checking.

NH Atty Genl's office refusing to identify DHMC mysterious-death victim.The woman died back in January, and back then the AG said her name was being withheld for privacy reasons. Now his office has rejected a freedom of information request from the Union Leader. "Investigators initially promised more information on the case once autopsy results were complete. That changed a few days after the investigation was announced, and no more information has been forthcoming," the paper says.

NH DOT officials abruptly withdraw proposal to continue leasing Westboro Yards land to Rymes. Leb city officials had driven to Concord to offer feedback on the state's proposal to extend Rymes Propane & Oil's ability to offload and store propane at the old Westboro Rail Yards. But the hearing was adjourned after 4 minutes, when the state pulled its application. The DOT says it intends to continue rail operations at the yards that would include Rymes. But still: general confusion. (VN: Subscription reqd.)

Guess there won't be a hemp farm at the Windsor prison site after all. A Woodstock entrepreneur has pulled his plan to grow hemp, build a laboratory, and create a processing co-op for hemp growers on the vacant Southeast State Correctional Facility lands. He couldn't come to an agreement with the state on finances and cleaning up the site. 

REI looks to open beachhead in Vermont. The Seattle-based outdoor retailer has no stores in VT, NH, or northern NY, but has now filed plans to take over a vacant Toys "R" Us space in Williston. The company plans about $2 million in renovation; Williston's planning and zoning director approved them this week.

NH Senate moves to blunt voter ID restrictions. Democrats in the Senate pushed through a bill to exempt college students and members of the military from having to register their cars in NH in order to vote. This in answer to a GOP-backed law passed last year. The move passed on a party-line vote. So did a bill to create an independent redistricting commission. Both measures are opposed by the governor.

Commuter rail idea inches forward in VT. The House has asked VTrans to do a technical analysis of a commuter rail system that could serve the Burlington-St. Albans and Montpelier-Burlington corridors. Who knows... maybe someday they'll notice WRJ, too?

And speaking of St. Albans, someone stole 140 sap buckets from a syrup-producer up there. And they dumped the collected sap on the ground! What is this world coming to?

At least you can take your mind off the mayhem this weekend: Roller derby is getting under way in Woodstock. Saturday marks the start of the Upper Valley Vixens'  season, as they take on the Hellions of Troy at Union Arena. Lucky's Coffee Garage's brewmaster, Mark Nunziata, will be coaching the Vixens to victory!

IT'S FRIDAY! GOT PLANS?

For one thing, it's time for the Sharon Academy Middle School circus.Every year Troy Wunderle, the exuberant, rubber-bodied artistic director of Circus Smirkus, sets up at the Sharon Academy for days on end. He transforms a bunch of gangly kids into a group of performers capable of doing stuff they (and their parents) had no idea they could do. If you need a jolt of boisterous commotion, this is the place. Carnival starts at 6, circus at 7 at the high school, but leave yourself some time because you'll need to park at the elementary school and take a shuttle.

Or maybe you're not at all in the mood for boisterousness, in which case Coriolanus in HD at the HOP. Last year, the Stratford festival staged its only US performances of Shakespeare's highly political tragedy at the HOP. The production, directed by the innovative (and controversial) Robert Lepage, got rapturous reviews wherever it went. If you've been kicking yourself because you missed it, here's your chance to catch up.

Or maybe, right about now, you need music, in which case the extremelymusical Wainwright/Roche/Wainwright-Roche family. Loudon Wainwright III, his ex-wife Suzzy Roche, and their daughter Lucy Wainwright Roche will be at the Chandler. Each is a veteran performer in his/her own right; together, there's a closeness you can only get when you're tied together by genes. It's billed as "All in a Family" -- only with harmonies.

Have a great night and a relaxing weekend. See you Monday.

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