Why housing's tight, inside Big Maple, Route 4 sheds food-desert status -- it's Daybreak, 4/15

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Whoa, haven't heard thunder for a while... Mostly, though, it's varying chances of rain into the afternoon, enough while it's falling to warrant a flood watch. As the weather service says: "The combination of rivers running high due to the snowmelt yesterday and widespread rain will likely produce minor flooding across many area rivers and streams through Monday afternoon and evening." Temps will start in the 40s, get well into the 50s and maybe low 60s, then drop again. Things calm down nicely tomorrow.

Route 4 through the Mascoma towns is no longer a food desert. The VN's John Lippman details the small-but-vital markets that have either opened or expanded, all in and around Enfield. These include a new Jake's Market & Deli with a sit-down cafe and fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the usual convenience-store staples. And Pellegrino's, which sold plants when it opened last summer but has since expanded into produce and will soon start selling locally raised meat and poultry. (VN, subscription required)

Tiger Shaw and Elizabeth Burnham inducted into VT Sports Hall of Fame.While the national spotlight rested on a different Tiger, former Dartmouth skier and Norwich resident Tiger Shaw made it into the state's pantheon of athletes on Saturday. The Stowe-raised Olympic skier, now president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, joined Newbury's Elizabeth Burnham, an Oxbow Union softball star who went on to catch for the Colorado Bullets women's pro team. 

Strafford and Sharon trying to figure out how to deal with land donation.Missed this when it first ran last week.... Last summer, the Alliance for Vermont Communities spent $375K to buy 218 acres of forested land out from under Utah developer David Hall and his NewVista plans. Hall folded his cards a couple of weeks later. The nonprofit wants to donate the land to both towns for a jointly owned town forest. They're not quite sure how to make that work.

GMP aims to be carbon-free in 6 years, all-renewable a few years after that. President and CEO Mary Powell announced on Saturday that the Vermont utility's energy sources are already 90 percent carbon-free and 60 percent renewable; it wants to get the rest of the way by 2025 and 2030, respectively. It aims to ramp up solar storage facilities, promote battery options for storing power for homes and electric-powered vehicles, and boost its purchase of wind and hydro.

How could housing be so tight when the population's barely growing? That's what the Concord Monitor's David Brooks wants to know. It's not like New Hampshire's population is booming; and there's still new construction. So why do prices keep going up and houses sell so quickly? There's a bunch of reasons: population churn, smaller households (ie, fewer people in the same number of houses); more empty-nesters; fewer houses getting built than a decade ago (rising costs, labor shortage); growth-limiting zoning. A lot of people are talking about the problem, but change will be slow.

NH, VT, ME and Quebec launch mountain-biking promotion effort. You probably know about Kingdom Trails up in Burke, or the trails around Craftsbury, or the Parker Mountain trails in Littleton. Turns our there are seven serious mountain-biking destinations in the region as a whole (eight, if you count the lesser-known network at Green's in Lyme & Dorchester). So the Northern Forest Center is coordinating an effort to market them all, called the Borderlands initiative. They want standardized maps, and trails built with erosion control in mind. 

What's it actually look like inside a syrup mega-producer? This weekend's weather probably put an end to sap-boiling season in all but the coldest spots, but if you've always been curious about how Big Maple operates, "Stuck in Vermont" has you covered. They went inside Sweet Tree Holdings' operation in Island Pond: half a million trees, 100 employees, four huge evaporators, 6000 gallons of syrup an hour. People, this is mind-boggling.

And just for the heck of it: Did you know that Glover, VT once made a bid to host the Statue of Liberty? There's a replica on Lake Parker promoting the Glover Ambulance Squad's ice-out fundraiser (unless it fell in over the weekend), but it turns out that when NYC was having trouble raising money for the real statue's pedestal, Glover tendered an offer. So, for that matter, did Boston. The NYT preferred Glover, noting in 1884, "It has two churches, a liberal institute, and manufacturers of carriages, furniture and boxes." Yet despite this, the thing somehow ended up in New York Harbor.


You could go to "Photography and History: A Conversation." Dartmouth history prof Annelise Orleck and photographer Liz Cooke recently collaborated on the book, We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages. The two spoke with and photographed low-wage workers all over the world -- Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines -- and will be talking over the new labor movement they found. Starts at 5 pm, which is a little on the early side to be an evening pastime, but beggars can't be choosers. 

Or take in Gloria Bell, in Woodstock. Pentangle Arts comes to the Monday-night rescue with Julianne Moore and John Turturro, two "bruised romantics" negotiating "the relationship battlefield," as Rolling Stone's Peter Travers puts it. He also calls Moore "just phenomenal as this mother of two adult children who mostly ignore her." She finds her exuberance -- and Turturro -- in the dance clubs of LA. Director Sebastián Lelio, remaking his own 2013 Gloria, "invests his film with a generous tenderness that extends to every character."

Have a great start to your week! See you tomorrow.


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