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By Don's Early Light

Don Mahler: Lebanon Makes Right Call

For the first time since the Lebanon High athletic director search went haywire last month, sanity returned to the process. If for only a few moments. And we have Linda Preston to thank for that respite. Preston, the longtime Lebanon Junior High athletic director, was approved to take over as temporary athletic director at the high school on Wednesday night by a unanimous vote of the School Board. The support shown for Preston should have come as no surprise. She was a finalist for the

Don Mahler: ‘I’ve Come to Grips With It’; Pearce Spreads the Word About Moving Forward After Brain Injury

They take their ping pong seriously in the Pearce houshold. As a way to help his injured son, Kevin, along with his rehab following a horrific snowboarding accident on New Year’s Eve morning in 2009, Simon Pearce spent hours at the family ping pong table. It was just a way to help Kevin regain critical hand-eye coordination as he recovered from the halfpipe accident that ended his competitive career, and almost ended his life. At first, the elder Pearce had all he could do to

Don Mahler: Why Can’t Lebanon Hire an AD?

As the night sky lazily turned from light to dusk, Barrett Williams walked out of the SAU 88 building after an hour-long meet and greet with the Lebanon School Board Wednesday night, looking none the worse for the experience. Presented by Superintendent Gail Paludi as the heir apparent to the departed Kelley Carey as the new Lebanon athletic director, Williams was encouraged by the meeting with the board, but still a little unsure of his job future. “I can tell you I was not offered

Don Mahler: The Visionary of Hartford Hockey; Philippe Bouthillier Went Overtime to Make Sport Happen

The hockey rink in Hartford may be named after Wendell Barwood, but the ice belonged to Philippe Bouthillier. Bouthillier, who died unexpectedly on Wednesday at the age of 71, was, plain and simple, the Godfather of Hartford High hockey. “The reality is that without Phil there would be no hockey in Hartford, or at least not as quickly,” said Todd Bebeau, who played his hockey at Hartford and coaches the boys team today. “I wouldn’t have the privilege to do what I do if it

Don Mahler: Can Shrine Game Be Saved?

Another year, another blowout. What can we do to save the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl from itself? As a philanthropy, the cause of helping burned and crippled children — for free — deserves our admiration as well as our support. And that is really all that matters — doing the good work for a good cause. But as a football game, on the other hand, things are not as worthy. Let’s run some of the facts. New Hampshire has won the last 13 straight games

Don Mahler: House of Cards; At the CCBA, an Old Hobby Is Given New Life

Sixth grade ... P.S. 86 in the Bronx. I’m standing on the roof of the six-story elementary school, about to turn structure into chaos. Below me, the entire student body — grades kindergarten through 6 — were standing at attention, preparing to leave the freedom of recess behind for the restriction of afternoon classes. Not on this day. With a yell of “Free for All!!!” my friend and I launched boxes of baseball cards into the air, cascading down onto our unsuspecting classmates. At first

Don Mahler: The Snow is Gone, but Winter Sports Linger

Here it is, the middle of July, and we’re still talking winter sports. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. This weekend brings the reborn Twin State Basketball Classic. After a three-years hiatus, the Classic is trying to breathe new life into the summer tip-off between Vermont and New Hampshire senior all-stars. We applaud the initiative, but have to question some of the decisions. Like, do you really think basketball can work in July? It really hasn’t had much of a positive track

Don Mahler: A Very GREEN Sweater

Josh Evans knows a good thing when he sees one. And last weekend, he knew he had found something special. But even he — chairman and founder of Lelands Sports Auction House — didn’t know right off just how special it was. To one with a curious eye, the green-hued sweater with the white felt D sewn on the front rated a quick glance on the way to the next table of memorabilia during last week’s Papermania ephemera and collectible show in Hartford, Conn. But

Don Mahler: South Royalton Coach Goes the Distance for His Team

South Royalton — Mike Ballou wasn’t about to let summer baseball die in his town. That’s why the South Royalton Post 51 American Legion coach spent two nights deep into the a.m. hours last week, working on the paperwork. And that’s why he drove all the way to Randolph the other afternoon to pick up a copy of a player’s birth certificate before turning around and driving another hour to Rutland to drop off the documents to beat the deadline. Some might see it as

Don Mahler: Long-Distance Call; Baseball Must Be Flexible to Attract New Players

To be blunt, baseball is killing its young. First, the game’s officials and team owners have sold their soul to the television gods, supporting a postseason schedule that makes viewing your favorite team virtually impossible for baseball’s young fan base. But losing kids from watching the TV isn’t nearly as bad as losing kids from playing on the diamond — yet that is happening at an alarming rate as well. Baseball — the game our fathers gave us, the game our fathers taught us —