Valley News

Thursday Is the New Black: No Rest for Workers, Shoppers as Big Box Stores Open on Thanksgiving

By Maggie Cassidy
Valley News Staff Writer

West Lebanon — Box store spokespersons said consumers have demanded it. A workers’ rights advocate called it “a sad state of affairs.” And shoppers out on Route 12A Thursday said they’re grateful for the convenience — but maybe enough is enough.

Black Friday continued its slow take over of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, when at least two of the Upper Valley shopping mecca’s box stores were open by 7 a.m., and another batch opened to long lines in the early evening.

Most kept their doors open overnight, with no plans to close them until tonight, meaning they were open for as many as 41 consecutive hours.

“My kids were asking me, ‘Mom, I thought that Black Friday was supposed to be on Friday?’, ” said Nicole Scrimgeour, of St. Johnsbury, on Thursday afternoon.

She was standing in a tent that she had set up outside Best Buy around 4 a.m. Continue reading

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Valley News

Pampering Poultry: Chicken Poop a Problem? Claremont Woman Has It Covered

By Maggie Cassidy
Valley News Staff Writer

Claremont — Open the door to Julie Baker’s rural Claremont home and find little Mama Hen, hanging out on the stairway to the second floor.

No need to check the bottoms of your shoes, though. The 3-year-old broody is sporting an unusual garment featuring a small receptacle in the back, covering — as Baker puts it — her “vent.” With snaps on the back, a bow in the front and understated ruffles throughout, the bright pink get-up would make Barbie jealous.

It’s a fitting scene for Baker’s home, where goats are named after flowers and at least one goose has been known to wear a bonnet, and which doubles as headquarters for her business selling, of course, chicken diapers. Continue reading

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The Boston Globe

Burned Out: When Fenway’s Restaurant Row Went Up in Flames, Neighbors Lost More Than Their Favorite Eats

By Maggie Cassidy
Globe Correspondent

When workers closed up shop at El Pelon Taqueria on the night of Jan. 5, there were virtually no signs that the restaurant had suffered a devastating fire just over a year earlier, in December 2007. Since reopening in February 2008, they had reincarnated their famous walls of photos displaying about 70 snapshots of customers proudly wearing their El Pelon T-shirts — which show a mustachioed man underneath the restaurant’s name — in locations around the world.

There were other mementoes, too, tacked up on the walls: Mexican baseball shirts, folk art, gifts from customers. And there were the customers themselves: tourists, passersby, and, in large part, local Fenway residents who stopped in for the $4 burritos or popular $5 fish tacos.

The following morning, the beloved taqueria was gone. El Pelon was one of seven businesses – six restaurants and a dry cleaner – destroyed in a four-alarm fire early Jan. 6. The blaze gutted the building, causing an estimated $5 million in damage and leaving 71 workers unemployed. Continue reading

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