A Valley News Publication

The Philadelphia Flyers have a new mascot, and everyone hates it

The Philadelphia Flyers on Monday announced they had added a new mascot to their hockey family. The team introduced the world to “Gritty,” an orange … thing that most closely resembles some kind of monster. It’s unclear if he’s related to the Phillies’ Phanatic, which I just today found out is not a monster but instead a large green flightless bird.

Here’s what the team had to say about Gritty, who you can follow on Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing:

He’s loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team. Legend has it he earned the name “Gritty” for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows.

He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know it, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time.

Gritty apparently is a little rough around the edges, a bit quirky, and a huge fan of hot dogs. OK, sure.

Despite all his charm, however, Gritty was not as well-received as the team presumably had hoped. I scrolled pretty far down through the replies to the Flyers’ announcement tweet and didn’t see anything positive. Here are some selected reactions:

I feel like I need to warn you about the next photo. Sorry in advance.

Valley News sports reporter Josh Weinreb even weighed in on Gritty’s unveiling.

Says it all, tbh.

The Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, takes to the ice during the first intermission of the Flyers’ preseason NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Monday, Sept, 24, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Upper Valley Hawks fly together

What started as a small program with about a dozen participants 20 years ago now has scores of people who call themselves Hawks. Full story!


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Upper Valley Hawks athlete Mary Thomas, of White River Junction, #VT, leaps through the air as she practices her running long jump at Hanover High School in August. Thomas, 24, said Special Olympics has helped her grow with her disability. “It’s helped out with me being better than your disability,” she said. After seven years with the Hawks, she finds she is more active and friendlier with others. 🔹 What started as a small program with about a dozen participants 20 years ago now has scores of people who call themselves Hawks. Find a full story on the program at www.vnews.com/instagram. Link in profile. 🔹 (Valley News – August Frank @augustfrankphoto) #uppervalley #upval #vnewsuv #photojournalism #hartfordvt #hanovernh #specialolympics #disability #athlete #sports #leap #jump #run #longjump #team #growth #802 #603

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In case you didn’t believe me when I said Toronto is the trash panda capital of the world

Trash pandas, aka raccoons, are continuing their assault on Torontonians, and apparently becoming more brazen. Several raccoons recently broke into a Toronto woman’s home, ate her bread, and gave her a “What are you gonna do about it?” look all the while.

Maybe residents will have to install raccoon-proof locks on their doors next. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

#tbt: Hunter safety at Lebanon High in 1982

As always, you can find more Upper Valley throwbacks at the #valleynewsthrowback hashtag on the @vnewsuv Instagram.

Tom Hamel leans into his investigation of the guns during a hunter-safety class at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H., on Sept. 12, 1982. George Blanchard and Eric Schelewa watch from behind. (Valley News – Kris Craig) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

We’re always hearing about what is getting taken out of time capsules; how about what to put into one?

^ That’s what I’m going with as a dramatic representation of a time capsule. 

New London Hospital is taking suggestions.

From its Facebook page:

As part of our centennial celebrations we’re burying a time capsule at the hospital and we need your suggestions on what to put in it!
Post your ideas (in the Facebook comments) or email us at community.relations@newlondonhospital.org.


Current items include: a schedule from this year’s Hospital Days, medal from the Triathlon and program from the January kick-off celebration.

Of course, as you are well aware, I am a dedicated member of the time capsule beat at the VN, having covered openings in Lebanon and South Royalton.

To “the woman who received all the other odd mail” in Randolph

In appreciation of small post offices in small towns, we present Jessamyn West’s tweet showing a post card she recently received in Randolph:

You may remember that West is the influential librarian who sued Equifax (and won! huzzah!). Here she is in October 2017, checking out the mail she received in relation to that case.

Jessamyn West, of Randolph, checks her mail in Randolph, Vt., Wednesday, September 27, 2017 and finds a return receipt for a small claims court summons she sent to an Equifax representative in Barre, Vt. West is taking Equifax to court after her personal information was stolen in a security breach. “I’m really surprised more people haven’t done this; it’s super-easy,” said West. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.


“They’re eating the pumpkins. They’re eating the apples. They’re raising some hell this year. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Squirrels, man. Squirrels.

(Seriously. Willing Hands reports that “our partners at Riverview Farm and many other Upper Valley food producers are having a tough time with crop damage this year” — on account of the squirrels — “meaning less surplus available for our volunteers to glean. We can only hope for recoveries all around — keep supporting our local farms!”)

Three cheers for women making sports history in the Upper Valley

Callie Brownson, left, and Wendy Wannop. (Courtesy photographs)

Rounds of applause are in order for Callie Brownson, of Dartmouth football, who is launching a new and unprecedented phase in her career, and Wendy Wannop, of Woodstock field hockey, who has led her team through a milestone number of wins!

Brownson was recently named as Dartmouth football’s offensive quality control coach, making her the first known full-time female football coach at the D-I level. Wow!

Check out this video that Dartmouth football produced, showing head coach Buddy Teevens discussing Brownson’s path to joining the team and the players’ reaction to finding out she had been offered a job.

And Wannop, the longtime field hockey coach at Woodstock Union High School, celebrated her 200th career win last Wednesday.

The Woodstock Union High School field hockey team celebrates coach Wendy Wannop’s 200th victory, a 3-2 overtime defeat of Windsor at MacLeay-Royce Field in Windsor, Vt., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Courtesy photograph)

Cheers to Callie and Wendy, and good luck on the rest of your seasons.

Postal Service to dedicate winter bird stamps at VINS on Saturday

#nerdalert ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As you might be able to figure out from this post about special pictorial stamps available at the Tunbridge World’s Fair this past weekend and all of our posts about owls, among other birds, I am into this announcement from the United States Postal Service: The organization is dedicating this year’s winter bird stamps at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee on Saturday!

What does that mean, you ask?

At 11 a.m. there will be a ceremony to introduce the stamps (folks must RSVP at usps.com/birdsinwinter to attend). The stamps feature the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) and the red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). Some more background on the stamps themselves, via USPS:

The stamp art features four striking designs that highlight the handsome plumage of these resident birds. The vivid contrast with the bright flashes of color found in the digital rendering of each bird evokes the drab feeling of winter with the stark white backgrounds. A limited palette and simplified shapes give the art a bold, fresh look.


In the dead of winter, when trees have shed their leaves and snow has blanketed the ground, the lively sights and sounds of resident birds can be a welcome relief. For serious birders or casual nature lovers alike, spotting these beautiful creatures in backyards, parks, and forests is a treat during the year’s coldest months.


Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps with original artwork by Nadia Taylor.


The Birds in Winter stamps are being issued as Forever stamps in booklets of 20. These Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.


Show us your ASMR videos, Upper Valley!

I was talking to Valley News sports reporter Tris Wykes, who covers all things Dartmouth, last week when he asked me if I was familiar with ASMR videos. I was vaguely aware of what they were, but didn’t know what the acronym stood for, and felt like I’d largely missed out on the whole wave.

Turns out I didn’t; ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, videos still are alive and well, and more popular than ever. Wykes said his own children were fans.

ASMR is best described as a relaxing, sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body, according to a Think With Google site. Also known as “brain massage,” ASMR is triggered by placid sights and sounds such as whispers, accents and crackles, the website says.

I’ve since watched a few and quickly realized what I like and don’t like (like: people mixing paint and colors; don’t like: loud squelching noises).

So, we wanna know: Have any of you made your own ASMR videos? What do you recommend? What are your likes and dislikes for ASMR videos? We wanna see!

Responses will be shared in an upcoming UV INDEX post!

This might actually be the hardest ‘Harry Potter’ quiz you’ll ever take

Calling all Potterheads: Time magazine this weekend published a Harry Potter quiz that it claims is the hardest HP quiz you’ll ever take. I scoffed, tbh. After all, lots of quizzes claim to be the hardest you’ll ever take, yet few actually are.

I went in cocky, but was quickly knocked down a peg. In the end, though, I triumphed. (I only had to take the quiz like four times to do so, but hey.) This is a serious contender for THE hardest Harry Potter quiz.

Try your hand at the link below!

N.H. students lead charge to raise awareness, reduce stigma of mental illness

Kudos to these Granite State kids who are doing what they can to raise awareness about mental illness and remove the stigma that surrounds it.

While she was in middle school, Hannah Guillemette launched her “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign, which she calls an “anti-bullying and kindness” campaign. Now a freshman at Bedford High School, Hannah is continuing to work on spreading her message of being “a voice for those who need one.”

“It got too much,” Hannah, who has her own experiences with bullying, told the Union Leader. “People have to stop being mean to people.”

From the story:

She speaks to student groups, handing out blue IGYB wristbands and sending home a message to parents that encourages them to talk about kindness with their children. And she’s enlisting younger kids at middle and elementary schools to serve as IGYB “ambassadors.”

Also on Monday, another student-led campaign was unveiled in Concord. This one features high school athletes “in an effort to raise awareness of mental health issues in their schools,” according to the Union Leader.

R.E.A.C.T. is a partnership among Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state Department of Education and New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. It’s an offshoot of the Change Direction initiative spearheaded by former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, who is now senior director of public affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

It’s a simple idea but one Broderick hopes will be effective: Posters featuring smiling student athletes with the message: “You’re never alone when you have the whole team behind you.”

The campaign encourages students who are struggling with emotional or mental health issues to seek help from their peers and caring adults. Students from Nashua High School South are featured on the prototype poster.

Way to go, y’all!

Read the full Union Leader story here.

Welcome to Toronto, home of aggressive trash pandas

Apparently raccoons — or at least one super smart “uber-raccoon” in particular — for years have been causing serious headaches for Torontonians, who have been forced to take excessive measures to protect their garbage cans from the medium-sized mammals. From National Public Radio:

The raccoon scourge was bad enough that the city spent CA$31 million on “raccoon-resistant” organic green-colored waste bins in 2016. It was the latest assault in what Canadian media have called a “raccoon war.”

The bins were a success, so much so that Toronto residents began expressing concern that the trash pandas might be starving, or even dying, because they’d been cut off from their primary food source (“trash pandas” is a slang term for raccoons, in case you didn’t know).

Experts say that’s not the case, because they’ve been weighing dead raccoons and they’re all just as fat, or fatter, than they were before the bins were distributed to residents.

tl;dr: The raccoon-proof garbage bins have largely been effective, but there are some wily raccoons who have managed to continue to access the trash, either through their own ingenuity or due to faulty garbage bins.

But they’re definitely not starving, no matter how you spin it.

Crowdsourced scenes from the 147th Tunbridge World’s Fair

Photo courtesy Annemieke McLane.

Do you have more fair photos to share?

Comment on our Facebook post or email them to uvindex@vnews.com! Many thanks, Annemieke, for your submission, and hope you had a good time at the fair.


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before, during, and after the cows mistook my hair for food and tried to eat me. #HAY!!!! 🐄 #aggressive

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You know kids really love each other when they decide to hold hands on the swings ride #tunbridgefair

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The beer hall done right! 🍻 Photo by @kellysquared65

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Scenes from the #tunbridgeworldsfair … #sunflower height contest. #barnlife #lovewhereyoulive #vermont 🌻 🌻 🌻

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Rock n roll

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Swinging into fall like… #tunbridgefair #ilovermont #tunbridgeworldsfair

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Friends and maple ice cream for the win 🍁🍦 ❤️

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Holy giant pumpkin Batman! This isn’t even the biggest one at the fair!

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dirty / rural / greasy / fun as hell

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