Renewable energy — The newest member of Vermont's powerful Public Service Board, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Margaret Cheney (D-Norwich), established herself during her seven years in the legislature as one of its strongest renewable energy advocates. That bodes poorly for those who oppose ridgeline wind. Runner-up winner: Welch/Shumlin cross-pollination. Cheney also happens to be married to Rep. Peter Welch (though, to be clear, she earned the job in her own right). Shumlin also hired former Welch flack Scott Coriell (disclosure, disclosure) as a new legislative liaison.
Lobbyist turnover — Kevin Ellis is leaving KSE Partners, while Tim Meehan's retiring from MMR (KSE's K left a couple years ago). Perhaps the two top lobby shops should bury the hatchet, merge their alphabet soup names and call themselves SMR. Or MRS. Or something.
Hikers — With L.L. Dean (ahem, former governor Howard Dean) and Shumlin in attendance, the Green Mountain Club on Monday broke ground on a new cross-Winooski footbridge that will soon eliminate a major road walk on the Long Trail. Runner-up winners: Everyone in attendance, because we got to tromp around on the LT and call it work.
Operation Northern Lights — The Vermont State Police rounded up dozens of suspected drug dealers Tuesday, but as the Burlington Free Press' Liz Murray hilariously recounted, the super troopers struggled at times to find their way around Franklin County. Also, is the VSP aware that "northern lights" is a popular strain of bud? Just sayin'...
Upper Valley Democrats — They lost Cheney as an influential House member, but they gained Kathy Hoyt, whose experience in Democratic politics is unmatched. UV Dem insiders also lost their chance to make their own pick to fill Cheney's seat when Shumlin opted to bypass the usual process and preemptively appointed Hoyt.
Gun rights — A new-ish gun control group is plotting its legislative strategy and hiring up experienced lobbyists. But Vermont's top Dems are holding strong to their pro-gun rights positions.