Shumlin calls AOT officials ‘boneheads’ over sign issue
By PATRICK McARDLE
Staff Writer | November 13,2013
BENNINGTON — Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday he would try to get “boneheads” in state government to retract a demand that the town remove roadside signs recognizing 25 straight state championships won by the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting for the Bennington welcome center, Shumlin talked about the 45-year-old law banning billboards in Vermont.
“Now I don’t think, by the way, they had in mind not celebrating the best wrestlers for 25 years in the history of the state,” Shumlin said. “We’re gonna try getting those boneheads to back off,” he said.
The state Agency of Transportation notified Bennington officials two weeks ago that the signs — which read, “National Record Setting MAUHS Patriots Wrestling Team 1988-2013, 25 Consecutive Years State Champions” — could not be displayed in the state’s rights of way on Routes 7 and 9.
The signs did not comply with state law and needed to be taken down “as soon as possible,” Joseph Kelly, AOT regional traffic investigator, told Town Manager Stuart Hurd in an email.
The issue was raised at the Bennington Select Board meeting Monday. Hurd said he and town staff would find a place to display the signs so they would no longer violate state law.
Joseph Krawczyk Jr., chairman of the Select Board, suggested supporters of the wrestling team come to the ribbon-cutting and bring the issue to the governor when he came to town Wednesday.
After the ribbon cutting, Paul Dicranian, one of the wrestling coaches, said he had spoken briefly with
Shumlin and was pleased that the governor expressed support for allowing the signs to be displayed.