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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
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Fred Ross

Runners break from the starting line at the annual Red Clover Rovers Jerry Gagliardi Memorial Turkey Trot in Brattleboro on Thanksgiving Day.

Sports

Milsark, Richards are Turkey Trot winners

Connecticut College junior Ethan Milsark and Tammy Richards of Williamsville were the winners at the annual Red Clover Rovers Jerry Gagliardi Memorial Turkey Trot in a time of 16:20 on Thanksgiving morning on Upper Dummerson Road.

Milsark, 21, of Northampton, Mass., covered the three-mile course in 16 minutes, 20 seconds, while Thomas Lyons, 16, of Deerfield, Mass., was second in 17:28.

Richards, 45, won the women’s division for the fifth time by placing 10th overall in 19:00. Halle Lange, 24, a two-time Nordic state champion while at Brattleboro Union High School, finished second. Now a Burlington resident, she was 13th overall in 19:19.

Putney’s Kole Wagenbach won the one-mile kids race in 7:09.

There were 237 particpants in the race, which was also a fund- and food-raiser for Groundworks Collaborative. All participants were asked to bring non-perishable food items, which were brought down to Groundworks after the race.

Seven area runners earn SVL honors

• The three mainstays of the Bellows Falls girls’ cross-country team — Abby Broadley, Stephanie Ager, and Victoria Bassette — were all named to the Southern Vermont League A Division’s First Team.

The trio of Terrier Harriers led BF to its second straight Division III state title this season as Broadley was the Division III individual girls’ champion for the second straight year, while Ager and Bassette finished fifth and 14th, respectively.

Four area boys made the SVL A Division First Team — Finn LaMorder and Bram Tabachnick of Brattleboro, and Tim Salter-Roy and Collin Robertson from Bellows Falls.

Winter sports season begins

• The Brattleboro ice hockey teams kicked off the winter high sports season this week, and you can read all about how they made out in this space next week.

High school basketball gets going next week. The Brattleboro girls will take on Burr & Burton in the Leland & Gray Tournament on Dec. 13 in Townshend. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. The Brattleboro boys will head to the Berkshires that night for a 6:30 game at Wahconah Regional in Dalton, Mass.

Leland & Gray hosts the Arlington girls in the second game of the Leland & Gray Tournament at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. The Rebel boys will be in Rutland that night for a 7 p.m. game against Mount St. Joseph.

Bellows Falls opens the boys’ basketball season at home against Windsor on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., while the BF girls open their season at Fair Haven on Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m.

The Twin Valley boys start on Dec. 12 at 5:30 against Twinfield in the Abrahamson Tournament in Proctor, while the Wildcat girls open on Dec. 13 in Royalton against White River Valley at 7 p.m.

Jingle Bell Jog set for Dec. 7

• The sixth annual Jingle Bell Jog, a 5K road race will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7 in Brattleboro. The race will take place, snow or shine.

The race begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Harmony Lot behind the Brooks House on Main Street. Holiday attire is encouraged. Jingle bells will be provided, and the race will be professionally timed by Split Time Race Management.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers and for best costume. All runners will receive a commemorative t-shirt and Santa hat!

On-line registration is open at www.BrattleboroChamber.org. Entry fee is $20 for ages 13 years and older; $10 for ages 12 years and younger; and $50 for a family of four. Race day registration at the Brooks House Atrium begins at 8:20 a.m. and closes at 9:25 a.m.

Rec presents youth basketball clinic

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will offer a youth basketball clinic on Friday, Dec. 27, at the Gibson-Aiken Center.

The clinic is for children in grades K through 6. The cost for this one-day clinic is $5 for Brattleboro Recreation & Parks basketball players and $10 for all others.

The clinic is co-ed and for all abilities. Children in grades K-2 will meet from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Children in grades 3-6 will meet from noon to 1:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for young players to improve their basketball skills and have fun.

Chris Worden and the BUHS varsity girls’ basketball players will instruct the clinic. Pre-registration is required, just stop by the Recreation & Parks Office at 207 Main St or call the Recreation & Parks office at 802-254-5808.

Legal sports betting comes to N.H.

• Back in the 1960s and 70s, New Hampshire politicians used to brag that it ran its state government on “bets, butts, and booze.”

Cheap liquor at the state stores, the lowest cigarette tax in New England, the first state-run lottery since the Colonial era, and betting at the greyhound, harness racing and thoroughbred tracks all gave the Granite State enough revenues so that it didn’t need to levy a sales or income tax.

That’s why Brattleboro used to see a steady stream of cars with out-of-state plates driving down Canal Street to go to Hinsdale — people seeking to fill the trunk with cheap booze and smokes, to buy lottery tickets, and to bet on the dogs and the trotters at Hinsdale Raceway.

New Hampshire no longer has a monopoly on lottery tickets, greyhound and horse racing is gone, and while the state still makes a fair amount of money on booze and butts, it can no longer rely on vice alone to fund its state government.

But now, New Hampshire is about to turn on another revenue spigot that might bring back the good old days of letting people from points south subsidize their state services —legalized betting on sports.

On Nov. 25, the state Executive Council approved a contract with Boston-based DraftKings to work with the New Hampshire Lottery to run an online betting portal for the state, and to operate up to 10 sports betting parlors around New Hampshire. The goal is to have online wagering available in time for the Super Bowl in February, and to have the sports betting parlors open by the springtime.

DraftKings would split the gross revenues with the state. Bettors will have to be 18 or older, and bettors will not be permitted to wager on New Hampshire college teams or college games played in New Hampshire.

Last month, voters in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Manchester, and Somersworth all approved a measure that would allow sports betting parlors to open in their communities. Town Meeting season in March should see other towns weigh in.

Given Hinsdale’s long history with betting, it is not hard to imagine that town hosting a sports betting parlor. Before it closed, Hinsdale Greyhound Park did a good business simulcasting races from other states for patrons to bet on. It tried to persuade the state to allow turning part of the plant into a slots parlor, but the state refused to allow Hinsdale and other New Hampshire tracks to do so.

Hinsdale voters last year approved allowing local establishments to offer Keno, the Bingo-like electronic wagering game that’s often found in bars and restaurants. Proceeds are being used to help fund all-day kindergarten.

Someone may be thinking about trying something similar, except for sports rather than horse racing. Certainly the proximity to Vermont and Massachusetts would increase the chances that a Hinsdale operation would be profitable.

Billions of dollars are wagered, mostly illicitly, every day on sports gambling. But states are starting to apply the same logic regarding sports betting that some states are using regarding the legalization of marijuana — people are going to use it, so why not legalize it, regulate it and, most importantly for state governments, tax it.

The U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to legalized sports betting in May 2018, and 12 states have joined Nevada in allowing legal sports betting. Nevada, long the only state where you could legally bet on games, takes in about $6 billion a year in wagers. But New Jersey has taken in more than $4 billion in the 14 months of legalization, and more than 80 percent of the wagers have come from online users.

Even more significant, New Jersey made $36.1 million in tax revenue during that period, more than Nevada or any of the other states. That’s because New Jersey has a 8.5 percent tax on wagers made in person and a 13 percent tax on online betting.

Granted, with a state budget of $38.5 billion, the $36.1 million that New Jersey earned from gambling isn’t a lot of money. But again, it’s money that the Garden State is grabbing while states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut are still dawdling. Rhode Island is the only state in New England that currently has legal sports wagering. They made $6.1 million in revenues.

Notice I haven’t said anything about Vermont. That’s because this state has always had a Puritanical streak about it when it comes to “bets, butts, and booze.” There’s little enthusiasm in the Vermont Legislature for jumping on the sports gambling bandwagon, and we will likely never see a betting parlor in Brattleboro, or anywhere else in Vermont.

That certainly won’t stop Vermonters from driving to New Hampshire or having online accounts with New Hampshire sports books. The Granite State will happily collect the tax revenues without a twinge of guilt.

Senior bowling roundup

• Crash & Burn (43-22) had a 5-0 week, while Magic in Motion (41-24) went 0-5 as the team traded places in the standings after Week 13 of the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. Us’ns and Whatevers (both 40-25) are now tied for third place.

Stayin’ Alive and Ageless Wonders (both 37-28) are in fifth place, followed by One Pointers (35-30), The Drifters and Trash-O-Matic (both 33-32), Delayed Reaction (24-41), and Split Ends (23-42).

Debbie Kolpa had the women’s high handicap game (252) and series (716) while Norm Corliss had the men’s high handicap game (248) and Jon Peters had the high handicap series (667). Us’ns had the high team handicap game (883) and series (2,578).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby had a 226 and a 184 as part of his 580 series, while Warren Corriveau Jr. had a 215 as part of his 545 series and Marty Adams rolled a 190 and a 181 in his 508 series. Duane Schillemat also had a 508 series and Fred Bump had a 189 as part of his 509 series.

Josie Rigby led the women by rolling a 185, a 182, and a 181 as part of her 548 series. Kolpa had a 190 game as part of her 530 series.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #539 (Wednesday, December 4, 2019). This story appeared on page D4.

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