A Valley News Publication

RIP Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul

An undated photo of Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76. (SMP/Globe Photos/Zuma Press/TNS)

Via the Associated Press: Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang with matchless style on such classics as “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and her signature song, “Respect,” and stood as a cultural icon around the globe, has died at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer. Read her full news obituary here.

2017 solar eclipse was one of most-watched events in American history, survey says

Ella Dahlstrom,8, of Hartford, Vt., and Becca Girrell, of Lebanon, N.H. view the solar eclispe at the Montshire Museum of Science, in Norwich, Vt., on Aug. 21, 2017. About 1,300 people came to the museum to see the eclispe. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Were you one of the estimated 216 million American adults who watched the solar eclipse last August?

If so, you were in good company.

The Washington Post reports:

According to a new survey from the University of Michigan, a stunning 88 percent of American adults — some 216 million people — watched the “Great American Eclipse” in person or electronically. This estimated audience, based on a national probability sample of 2,915 people over 18, was greater than that for the 1969 Apollo 11 landing and each Super Bowl since the contest began. (A 1999 poll found that 7 out of 10 Americans who were age five or older on the day of the moon landing recalled watching the event on television. The most-watched Super Bowl, in 2015, had about 114 million viewers.)

Here’s a video about eclipse-watchers in Quechee that I put together with Valley News intern Charles Hatcher last year.

A long-shot search for a good Samaritan from N.H. who helped a kid in a Canadian car crash in 1988

The Canadian town of Stanstead, in Quebec, is seen on Google Maps. Producers of a Canadian TV show are searching for a good Samaritan who rescued a 16-year-old from an accident there, on Highway 55, in 1988. The man was believed to be a resident of New Hampshire.

We recently received a notice from Nancy Vanasse, a researcher for the French-Canadian TV show Deuxième Chance (translation: second chance), an adaptation of the BBC’s show in the UK, The Gift

Vanasse said, in part:

For this very positive and touching TV show, we search people from all the over the world. Our participants have turned to us because they cannot do this on their own and need our help to track them down. We have received a very unique request from a man who would like to address his profound gratitude to the person who helped him survived a car accident in 1988. Our participant was just 16 years old at that time and stayed alone for about six hours before he has been discovered at 10 a.m. or so. The accident occurred on Highway 55, at the entrance of the town of Standstead, Quebec, just a few kilometers from the American border, Vermont Derby Line.

The injured 16-year-old had driven into a ditch that was not visible from the road, and was projected from his vehicle. Apparently the good Samaritan had run out of gas when he saw the 16-year-old.

The folks behind the show don’t know much about the person who they’re looking for, except that he was an American resident of New Hampshire. They are looking for either the person himself or other witnesses who might be able to help.

If you have any information, please call 514-597-5453 or email deuxiemechance@radio-canada.ca.

New England legend Necco Candy Co. has shut down

The iconic Necco Candy Co., maker of the Necco Wafers and candy hearts, a Valentine’s Day staple, abruptly closed its doors on Wednesday at its Revere, Mass., plant, stunning workers and candy heart enthusiasts everywhere.

The owner of the company behind chalky, colorful confections such as Necco Wafers and Sweethearts has unexpectedly shut down operations at its Massachusetts plant and hasn’t said if candy production will resume.

The plant’s owner, Round Hill Investments LLC, recently had purchased the company for $17.3 million at a May bankruptcy auction, according to NECN. The plant had been expected to stay open until November.

Round Hill did not identify Necco’s new owner. The closure came as a shock to the close to 230 workers at the plant who say they were told to pick up their final paychecks Friday.


Welp, they opened that sarcophagus in Egypt

They done did it, y’all.

You might have heard rumors promising the end of times if officials opened a massive granite sarcophagus that recently was unearthed in Alexandria. Well, the sarcophagus was opened today, because of course it was, and I regret to tell you that nothing too exciting happened.

Despite suspicions that the coffin might contain a deadly curse or the remains of someone quite famous, it appears that all that was inside were three skeletons and some rotting sewage. As the BBC reported:

We found the bones of three people, in what looks like a family burial … Unfortunately the mummies inside were not in the best condition and only the bones remain,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Experts believe the three could have been soldiers in the time of the pharaohs. Pretty cool, if not a bit of a letdown. After all, we were promised something ghastly:

Addressing media fears that disturbing the tomb could trigger an implacable Pharaoh’s curse, Mr. Waziri declared: “We’ve opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness.

“I was the first to put my whole head inside the sarcophagus… and here I stand before you … I am fine.”

Thanks for taking one for the team, Waziri.

Still, the day was not without some commotion: The smell of the sewage was so repugnant that the site had to be evacuated, the BBC reported.