The year is wrapping up, and throughout 2018 we heard a number of stories from our state that put a smile on the faces of Vermonters. Need a pick me up? Take a look through this list of 2018 highlights (in no particular order).
Tell us what stories you enjoyed in the comments below or tweet us @vprnet.
The Vermont Statehouse had a noticeable absence for a bulk of 2018, as the Ceres statue was taken down to get replaced. But just last month, the new statue was hoisted up as a crowd gathered and cheered.
FOR MORE —
- Ceres Statue Once Again Adorns The Vermont Statehouse's Golden Dome [Nov. 30]
- Artist Crafts The Ceres Statue That Will Soon Top The Statehouse Dome [Nov. 14]
Rooting for Team USA gets a little more exciting when you can trace some athletes' ties back to our state.
Even before things got started in Pyeongchang, we heard stories about those heading to their first Olympics and families with multiple generations of Olympic athletes. And as the games went on, there were a number of success stories — including a few gold medals!
FOR MORE —
- As Closing Ceremony Nears, We Tally Up The Results Of Our Vermont Olympians [Feb. 22]
- Explore more of VPR's 2018 Winter Olympics coverage
You may recall that a rhino horn was reported stolen from UVM in the spring of 2017. Well, 2018 was the year it was found — and placed "under increased security over what we had previously," according to Bill Kilpatrick, curator of the Zadock Thompson Zoological Collections.
FOR MORE — Black Rhino Horn Stolen From UVM Recovered [March 14]
Wheelchairs and strollers can now more easily explore the Long Trail thanks to a new accessible boardwalk that opened before Memorial Day.
FOR MORE — Long Trail Relocation Brings New Accessible Boardwalk To Smugglers' Notch [May 24]
François Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visited the VPR neighborhood this year.
Clemmons took time during the conversation to reflect on racism and empathy, as well as talk about his relationship with Fred Rogers, his commitment to his "cosmic children" and even perform a couple songs.
Plus we heard heartwarming words from those who have been positively impacted by Clemmons over the years.
FOR MORE — François Clemmons On His 'Mister Rogers' Role, His Career And Identity [July 16]
Vermont Edition's Ric Cengeri has profiled a number of "interesting Vermonters" over the course of 2018. Through Ric's conversations with these individuals we've been treated to nuggets of life wisdom, a tale of gifting thousands of roses, and a memorable testament to the power of maple syrup.
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- Townshend Man Shares Secrets To Being Happy, Healthy And 106 [Feb. 20]
- Retired Charlotte Farmer Finds Joy In Woodwork, Sugaring And Handing Out Roses [May 3]
- (Unofficial) Mayor Of East Dover Says Friends — And Jugs Of Maple Syrup — Keep Him Going At 86 [June 4]
"What's beyond space?" is a question posed by 5-year-old Amelia that we heard during a charming — and informative! — live episode of But Why that was all about the universe. Just try not to smile as kids excitedly put their questions to astronomer John O'Meara in the podcast version of the program.
FOR MORE — How Was The Universe Created? [July 20]
Whether it was learning about the perhaps unfamiliar winter sport of "jack jumping," or partaking in the tried-and-true favorite activity of sledding (in the middle of the summer), the thought of snowy possibilities throughout the year likely made a number of Vermonters smile.
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- A Crash Course In Vermont's Head-Turning, Homegrown Sport [March 4]
- Sledding In July: Snow-Saving Experiment Tapped For Holiday Merriment [July 5]
This summer the VPR newsroom took time to focus on the ways people work and recreate on bodies of water in the state during the summer.
From a kayak tour of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge to a trip aboard a working boat on Lake Champlain to the "zen" aspects of fly fishing, listeners tagged along to find out why local waterways hold personal significance to fellow Vermonters.
FOR MORE — Explore VPR's entire Summer By The Water series 
Attacking an invasive species during the night may sound like a sci-fi movie plot, but in Monkton a group of residents banded together to try to lessen the amount of poison parsnip in their community.
VPR's Jane Lindholm tagged along to hear from the leader of the effort and those who have followed suit in an effort to make the community outdoors a little safer and more inviting.
There were even special shovels involved.
FOR MORE — Monkton Residents Take Up Arms (Shovels) Against 'Poison Parsnip' Invasion [Aug. 29]
A romantic correspondence of nearly nine years was discovered during a home renovation project just over the New Hampshire border. Thanks to VPR reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman's story, listeners here in the Green Mountain State got a chance to learn how the current resident discovered the letters and was able to get in touch with the descendants of the letter-writing couple — who yes, ended up together and married for 40 years!
FOR MORE — After 90 Years Hidden In The Floor, Couple's Love Letters Resurface In West Lebanon [March 27]
When a building turns 100 in our state, it's apparently no ordinary celebration. This year the Vermont Supreme Court Building hit that century mark. Sure, there were the expected tours and speeches, but there was also a re-enactment of historical arguments from Dodge Brothers v. Central Vermont Railway Company. Now that's just a host going above and beyond.
The Vermont Supreme Court building's 100th birthday party has everything: tours, speeches, a re-enactment of oral arguments from a 1918 court case involving five horses killed by a train ➡️ https://t.co/GcAgQmcs8i #vtpoli pic.twitter.com/ueDGcAybL8
— Meg Malone (@megmmalone) May 17, 2018
Dozens and dozens of monarch butterflies now in the wild can trace their early days back to KT Thalin's home. Thalin shared her story of caring for the creatures with Vermont Edition — and also updated us to the real-time emerging of one of the butterflies from its chrysalis during the interview!
FOR MORE — 'Butterfly Whisperer' Nurtures Monarchs From Milkweed To First Flight [Sept. 10]
There were a few instances of Vermonters shaking up the traditional classroom setting and heading outside for learning opportunities.
For preschoolers in the Northeast Kingdom, it meant letting their imaginations run wild, building fairy houses and playing in a "mud kitchen." And for a group of New York high school students, the work they are doing in the Sandgate, Vermont, woods could one day impact what future students learn about American Revolution militiaman Daniel Shays.
And who says learning outdoors cannot be a lifelong pursuit? Just listen to how some of the Long Trail hikers we heard from on Brave Little State framed their adventure as a learning opportunity.
FOR MORE —
- Preschoolers Head Outdoors For 'Forest Day In The NEK' [Oct. 18]
- High School Students Help Uncover 18th-Century Mystery On Egg Mountain [Aug. 22]
- Brave Little State: What's It Like To Hike The Long Trail? [Oct. 5]
A long-running program to control the parasitic sea lamprey population in the area has been deemed a success — which OK, not great news for the lampreys, but a welcome development for a number of other species. For example: the lake sturgeon.
We also heard this year about how the endangered sturgeon population seems to be growing, and wildlife officials told VPR the lamprey control efforts are part of that improvement. Here's hoping those sturgeon live for 100+ years (because literally, they can).
FOR MORE —
- Lamprey Control Program Hailed As Success, As Focus Shifts To New York Rivers [Aug. 31]
- Ancient Sturgeon Slowly Recovering In Lake Champlain, But Protection Efforts Still A Priority [May 21]
There were Vermont communities who had to endure destructive fires, but the strength they channeled in the wake of that devastation was inspiring to the state.
People from all over the world gathered to help rebuild a Morristown barn that burned down over the winter, and a weekly newspaper in Woodstock still managed to put out its latest edition for the public just days after a fire destroyed their offices.
FOR MORE —
- After Winter Fire, Craftsfolk From Around The World Pitch In For Morristown Barn Raising [June 8]
- Resilient Woodstock Weekly Still Delivers Paper After Fire Guts Offices [July 20]
Music often can prompt a smile, and a few Vermont stories had the bonus of young people being the music makers.
Teen rock bands descended on Brattleboro for a non-competitive festival to showcase their original musical chops, plus receive mentorship to take their skills and industry knowledge up a (metaphorical) octave.
And in an episode of Dorothy's List, we were treated to Guilford students providing their musical interpretations of whimsical poems featured in Chris Harris' book I'm Just No Good At Rhyming. Who knows, maybe one day in the future they may grace a BrattRock stage!
FOR MORE —
- BrattRock Helps Teen Musicians Find Their Sound [Oct. 12]
- Dorothy's List: I'm Just No Good At Rhyming Offers Humorous Poetry For All Ages [Sept. 24]
Whether they were stealing the show at an event for young readers or strutting their stuff at the Westminster Dog Show, puppers popped up in the headlines.
Also related to our four-legged friends, there was the story of dogcatcher Zeb Towne, who looks out for the Duxbury canines.
And we'd be remiss to not mention that our own reporter Peter Hirschfeld served briefly as an unofficial dogcatcher when he used the power of social media to track down the owner of a lost dog.
Found the owner! Thanks all for spreading the word
— Peter Hirschfeld (@PeteHirschfeld) June 16, 2018
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