Milton Elementary School students — They got to hang with Michelle Obama Thursday and help her plant the White House garden. But did they neglect to present her with an "Eat More Kale" t-shirt? Runner-up winners: WCAX's Bridget Barry Caswell for drawing national coverage of her sit-down with Obama and the Milton Independent's Jackie Cain for snagging a sweet photo of the real White House rock star, Bo Obama.
Migrant workers — The Senate voted 27-2 Friday to grant them a "driving privilege card." And, in only tangentially related news, the Associated Press this week purged the term "illegal immigrant" from the journalistic lexicon.
Weed — Marijuana decriminalization smoked the legislature this week. House Judiciary is poised to approve a one-ounce threshold, while last year's top narcs — House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Sears — say they won't stand in the way.
Bird lovers — Gov. Peter Shumlin's weekly press conference went to the birds Wednesday. Really. Rather than talk budget and taxes, the gov spent half an hour promoting a new edition of the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. Runner-up losers: nighthawks, whip-poor-wills and meadowlarks, which are all on the decline in Vermont.
The Vermont Republican Party — After a year without paid staff — an election year, no less — Vermont GOP chairman Jack Lindley finally got his act together this week and hired a full-time political director: Texas native and recent Army vet Brent Burns. Runner-up loser: Green Mountain Daily's John Walters for his unwarranted, but typical, 3:22 a.m. trashing of Burns. Welcome to Vermont!
Sen. Bernie Sanders — The bad news for Ol' Bernardo? Despite his months-long protestations, the White House made clear Friday it intends to include the so-called "Chained CPI" in the budget it releases next week. The good news for Bernie? His leadership on the issue will make him the perfect left-wing foil to the Obama administration in the coming months.
Burlington City Council — After three votes Monday night, the council remained deadlocked over whether to elect Democratic incumbent Joan Shannon or independent challenger Karen Paul as council president. Look for the council to make an appearance on the loser list next week if it still can't make up its mind.
Gubernatorial media training — Shumlin made it onto MSNBC's "Morning Joe" during his junket to New York City early this week, but the generally self-confident — some might say "cocky" — gov came off looking nervous and awkward. Perhaps the state's MSNBC regulars — Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch — can give him some pointers.
Vermont's EB-5 Regional Center — The state's vaunted cash-for-visas apparatus dropped one of its top projects after accusing DreamLife Retirement Resorts of making "material misrepresentations." Runner-up winner: VTDigger's Nat Rudarakanchana for breaking the story in a whopping 5000-word report.
Campaign finance reform — After adopting the much-feared Galbraith amendment, the Senate stalled on campaign finance reform for yet another week. Meanwhile Shumlin, who raised more than $250,000 from corporations last election, still won't say whether he supports banning direct corporate contributions. Runner-up loser: Vermont businesses, which don't actually like being hit up for cash every two years. Many of them would be perfectly happy to see a corporate donation ban signed into law.