This was a tough year, there’s no denying it. But in Shelburne, it offered a chance for the community to come together, to do some good work and have some difficult conversations.

Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we, and check out the good, the bad and the … weird.

Something to crow about

Something you may not know about me is that I think I’m really funny.

That doesn’t mean that I’m funny, it just means that I think I am.

When assistant editor Scooter MacMillan told me about an issue blowing up on social media, I couldn’t hold back.

The quandary was how to deal with crows, which, according to poster Caitlin Waddick, of Shelburne.

She wrote in May, “I’ve been recommended to feed them popcorn, tied to fishing hooks and bricks. When the hook catches the bird, the bird is grounded by the brick, then you kill it with blunt force, such as with a shovel over the head. It sounds awful, but so do the other recommendations I have heard. I won’t use poison period because it pollutes and could hit the wrong target.”

I knew then, with Scooter at this story’s helm, the puns were going to be plentiful. Murder of crows? Caws for alarm?

But — I got the last word with my headline, “Quid pro crow.” Sorry, Scooter.

As he dove into reporting, and as expected, the response was … impassioned.

“I don’t know if it’s a joke that’s gone wrong or someone who’s been quarantined way too long,” selectboard chair Jerry Storey said.

The question did spark conversation about how to live with animals in peace, including the continuation of an animal coexistence policy subcommittee. That group was tasked with developing rules for human/critter interaction.

As editor, one of the parts of my job I most cherish is getting to hear from readers their responses to our coverage.

Let’s just say this one brought in more than a few phone calls.

Ham on why?

This seems like the story whose ending twists and turns like a good book.

A local ham radio enthusiast named Zachary Manganello spent much of his year working to further his application for two monolithic towers with which to broadcast.

Originally proposed at 84 feet apiece, he’s now willing to go to one 36-foot tower with a 4-foot mast and one 50.5-foot tower with a 10-foot mast.

Shelburne’s ordinance allows towers of up to 35 feet.

Meetings have abounded, including with the telecommunications review board, and are not finished yet.

After balloon tests and much debate, the issue rages on.

Neighbors worry about their view and property value, Manganello wants the right to practice his hobby.

Is there a happy medium?

Stay tuned to find out, and read our accompanying story for the latest chapter.

Tick tock, not Tik Tok

I put that joke in because it makes it sound like I understand what Tik Tok is. I don’t. I’m 34 years old.

I digress.

Who would have thought a nearly 100-year-old clock would be the talk of the town this year?

Shelburne did.

In a letter to the editor published this fall, Fritz Horton, part of the town’s historic preservation and design review commission, announced in this very newspaper a grant to the state’s historic preservation division, asking for help to restore the clock, installed in 1927, to its former glory. And sound.

The clock, now stuck at 3:05, caught the attention of locals, it seems. An incredible 86 donors put their money where their timepieces were, contributing $16,000, added to the $7,000 grant match received, for a grand total of $23,000.

Time to get to work, it seems.

Ending on a happy note

Despite the weeks and weeks, months and months, spent covering the coronavirus, as of late we’ve had some good news to share.

Snowy owls have become a fun sight for people to see (as long as social distance and respect for wildlife is observed, please!). They’re absolutely gorgeous and I’ve loved checking out visitors’ photos of the incredible birds.

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young artists and their teacher about a really cool project. The “artivists” as they call themselves — artists and activists — have created a mural honoring women who have inspired them.

Oh, and they are middle school students.

If I were their age, that would be 100 percent up my ally, and it was fascinating to hear about their inspiration, their artistic processes and their hunger to create change in the world around them.

If you have a wall that might house their mural, help them out; you won’t regret it.

Lastly, reading about Douglas the dog’s epic journey and eventual return managed to melt my cold, cold journalist’s heart. I don’t have a dog — I have to beautiful house rabbits who have no desire to leave the comfort of the carpet. We’re a happy home of introverts, and they’re unlikely to run away.

But, the thought of losing them, looking to no avail and hoping they are OK, is too much to bear. Reading about Douglas’ family and their eventual reunification — made possible by their community coming together to help — made me think that just maybe, we’ll all be OK, too, if we continue to care about our neighbors and do the right thing.

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