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Vt. group notes tie to Deere

RUTLAND, Vt. -- He's one of Vermont's most famous native sons, but don't go looking for any plaques, monuments, or statues of John Deere in his birthplace. You won't find any.

Now, a group of people is working to change that.

The blacksmith-turned-farm equipment pioneer, who was born in Rutland in 1804 but lived here only until he was 2, has precious little named after him in his home state, apart from the green and yellow tractors and plows that bear his name.

"Some people have said that we ought to have something here, some kind of sign that John Deere was born here, but we don't," said Jim Davidson, a member of the Rutland Historical Society, which has a copy of "John Deere's Company: A History of Deere & Company and its times" that was donated by a Deere descendant in 1990.

A group wants to build a bicycle and pedestrian pathway and name it after Deere, and has asked the company to contribute $120,000 of the $1.2 million cost. So far, the request has been rejected. Mike Taranovich, whose father owned a John Deere dealership, was told by the John Deere Foundation that the request was denied because the company's charitable efforts are already spread too thin.