911 debate, Orient closure explained, women push VT wine, spirits industries forward -- it's Daybreak 4/4

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GOOD MORNING, UPPER VALLEY!

Cool and dry today, with lots of sunshine. Highs only in the 40s. The winds calmed down overnight, but there's a warm front moving in behind northwesterly winds, and it could get breezy again in the afternoon. That front will probably bring showers tomorrow and rain tomorrow night, but let's just ignore that for now.

Yesterday's winds knocked down power lines, sparked brush fires. The first and most prominent was in Hartford near the base of the I-91 Long Bridges. Eric Francis has the blow-by-blow and pics. No sooner was that contained than there were reports of similar fires in Plainfield and Ascutney.

Speaking of emergencies, is it safer to call 911 or your local police/fire dept? Raging FB discussion right now, sparked by this: "5 minutes of going back and forth with 3 different operators who had no idea who or where the Hartford fire Dept was leaves an unsettling feeling with me." Others are weighing in with their own 911 stories. "The big problem in this is the way cell phone towers work," explains someone from Hartford Dispatch.

The Orient was closed for pouring grease down storm drains. The Dartmouth has a full followup on yesterday's news that the Hanover restaurant had shut down. Town manager Julia Griffin says there had been repeated instances, and the restaurant was finally caught red-handed on a camera installed by the Six Street South Hotel. 

Search of Haverhill home turns up nothing on Maura Murray. It's been 15 years since the UMass student disappeared, and though the area outside the home was searched at the time, authorities had not ventured inside until now. Digging in the basement, where Murray's father was convinced there might be evidence, yielded nothing. “This one hurts," he said afterward, "because I thought we finally had it.”

250 apartments proposed for Mt. Support Road in Lebanon. The complex, about a mile south of DHMC, would be marketed to hospital employees, and go up opposite Timberwood Commons. The snag: limited sewer capacity for that end of town. If Leb can't manage it, Hanover says the project might be able to tap into the Hanover system. (VN, subscription reqd)

Let's take a quick break: Nice pic of the falls in Bradford, VT from yesterday. If you're in the mood for spring, that is...

"We're dying a death of a thousand cuts." That's  Bill Huff, of Thetford, on how rural Vermonters are feeling these days -- especially about the moves to restrict gun purchases in the VT legislature. "Many of us spend more days than not with dirt," he says. "The natural world around us is as much our home as the walls and roof that define our houses.... Weekend competitive shoots and gun shows are as much a part of our lives as Sunday tee times and tennis matches are to others. Two more parts of our lives are gone, two more cuts toward our demise."

The coyote that attacked a couple near Middlebury tests positive for rabies. The elderly farm couple were bitten outside their home in Salisbury, VT. Since the carcass smelled of skunk, officials are guessing the coyote had been bitten by a rabid skunk. Coyote attacks are vanishingly rare; this is the first in VT with rabies confirmed.

NH bankruptcies in March drop 10 percent from a year ago. March is traditionally a bad month, but this year's filings are the smallest number since 1989: no businesses filed, and 166 individuals did. 

NH House Finance Cte sends in-your-face-Gov-Sununu budget to floor.Democratic legislators want to spend $300 million more than Sununu's proposed plan, mot of it on education. Among other things, the House measure would impose a new capital gains tax, halt reductions in business tax rates, and axe a new secure psychiatric facility.  

Women are putting their marks on Vermont's wine, spirits, beer industries. Newsweek -- yes, that Newsweek -- is out with a feature on women in the state running wineries, distilleries and breweries. "We are a small but thriving community, and the support of each other across the disciplines—beer, wine, distillation—is immense,” says Deirdre Heekin of Barnard's La Garagista winery, who figures prominently in the piece. That's in the face of entrenched prejudice in the industry: "As women we still face the basic assumptions that we aren't owners, aren't the decision makers, aren't capable,” says Eleanor Léger, who co-founded Eden Specialty Ciders.

Oh, and if you sense a certain smugness around downtown Hanover these days? Dartmouth students are apparently the smartest in the country. That's what Lumosity says after studying results from over 75,000 college students who played its brain games. #2? Carnegie Mellon. Harvard's 5.  

CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW MUCH THERE IS TO DO TONIGHT?

I mean, for starters there's the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T if you're in the know) at the Lebanon Opera House. I'm not even going to try to use my own words. "Each year fishy folk of all ages gather in big cities and small towns alike to soak up gorgeous, high-definition films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends, and dream about casts yet unmade." LOH will donate $1 of every ticket sold to the UV chapter of Trout Unlimited. Admit it. There's a part of you that's thinking about it, right?

But you could also head to North Thetford, to hear Lynn Murphy talk about the enduring Abenaki presence in these parts. She's an Abenaki elder and maker of traditional baskets and crafts. Sponsored by the Thetford Historical Society, she'll be talking about the early history of First Nation people in New England, about the impact of the European arrival, and about how their ability to "hide in plain sight" made them part of the Yankee landscape. 

Or you could scoot up to Randolph Union High School to learn about job possibilities and forward-looking employers in the region. It's billed as a "Community and Careers Cafe" but it's way more. Aimed at high school students and anyone else looking to understand how local manufacturers and employers are evolving and growing. LED Dynamics, Vermont Castings, GW Plastics, Vermont Tech, Gifford Medical Center -- they'll all be there talking about workplace culture and the multitude of career paths they offer. The evening starts with dinner, ends with dessert and -- because there'll be a crowd -- plenty of chances to mingle.

Or maybe you just want to prep yourself hands-on, in which case: Laser 101 at Claremont Makerspace. They have a laser cutter/engraver, which you can use to make very fine, very detailed cuts in all sorts of materials. But you have to be certified to use it. This is the first step.

Wherever you go, though, there you'll be. See you tomorrow.

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