0A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
10/23/06 11:12:42 AM
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | 0A
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0A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
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the easy way
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10/23/06 5:10:17 PM
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | contents 05A
15A 19A 21A 22A
An irreverent take on Vermont politics
Dunne on the Attack
HACKIE BY JERNIGAN PONTIAC
BY PAMELA POLSTON
A cabbieâ€™s rear view
LOCAL DEMOCRACY PROJECT 10A
Before Judgment Day
Non-Citizen Residents Seek Right to Vote in Vermont
FIT TO LIVE BY SARAH TUFF
Whatâ€™s changed in school P.E.?
BY CATHY RESMER
POLI PSY by judith levine
LIME KILN BRIDGE 11A
A New Structure Crossing the Winooski River Gorge Earns National Honors
Mark Foley, sexual harasser
BY KEVIN J. KELLEY
Doubting Thomas POLITICS White House Press Corps dean Helen Thomas on giving presidents hell
GARDNER-QUINN MURDER 13A
BY CATHY RESMER
Crime Causes Students to Change Their Behavior
Home Alone ENVIRONMENT
BY CATHY RESMER
Why has everyone abandoned the residents of Whispering Pines trailer park? BY KEN PICARD
Wind Up Mouse BOOKS
Haunted Hotel? HISTORY
INSIDE TRACK BY PETER FREYNE
october 25-november 01, 2006 vol.12 no.10
Book review: The Second Mouse by Archer Mayor BY MARGOT HARRISON
The end is near for the crumbling ruins of a historic Sudbury resort BY CATHY RESMER
Hit and Myth THEATER Theater preview: Metamorphoses by Weston Playhouse BY ELISABETH CREAN
Size Matters ART
The Long Way Home MUSIC
Funds are slow in coming for a sculptural tribute to Big Joe Burrell BY KEVIN J. KELLEY
Interview: Sierra Leoneâ€™s Refugee All Starsâ€™ Reuben Koroma BY CASEY REA
cover design: don eggert cover photo: jordan silverman
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0A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
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T H E COLLEGESEVEN P A S S $425 between now and October 26 $705 after October 26 (valid 7 days a week, non-holiday)
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theREALESTATEDEAL getting to know...
if i could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be... Swiss Miss Chocolate Pudding. if i werenâ€™t a realtor, i would be a... television host of the â€œWorldâ€™s Best Beachesâ€? on The Travel Channel.
My weirdest superstition or paranoia is... Iâ€™ve become claustrophobic over the years, so I always worry about being trapped in an elevator or a subway. as a realtor, i think that itâ€™s important to... LISTEN!
My favorite toy as a kid was... Barbie, but when I got bored with her, I loved to explore the woods behind my house. something i would like to do, but havenâ€™t had the chance... Iâ€™d love to learn to flyfish.
One book everyone should read... The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
if i could have dinner with any famous person, dead or alive, i would choose... my deceased grandfather. He may not be famous, but Iâ€™d do anything to have an evening with him to tell him about how my life has changed since I last saw him.
jessica hubbard, coldwell banker hickok & boardman realty 346 shelburne road, burlington (800) 451-5004 x1181 email@example.com
photo: matthew thorsen
The last concert i went to was... so long ago... Jack Johnson in San Diego.
My favorite movie of all time is... Out of Africa.
Âť for real estate, rentals, housemates and more visit: secTion b or sevendaysvT.com
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | contents 07A
You’ve Got to See It to Believe It!
october 25-november 01, 2006 vol.12 no.10
art 40a 40a
51a 51a 52a 53a 55a
film review: Flags of Our Fathers film clips flick chick: Vermont documentaries; Fleming Museum Film Series; The U.S. vs. John Lennon film quiz showtimes
03B 04B 07B
soundbites club dates venues pop ten review this: Steve Forbert, It’s Been a Long Time: Live Acoustic with Paul Errico; Rob Voland, Springinsfeld
7Dspot classifieds jobs
Burlington’s Exclusive Dealer! When it’s got to be special...
calendar listings scene@
Let Your Eyes See the Difference.
Tamarack Hollow Farm pork Cannibalism in film side dishes: food news
calendar 20b 21b
music 10B 11B 13B 14B 15B
Before you buy a diamond, come see the newest diamond technology.
art review: “Coffee Culture Exhibit” at the Firehouse exhibitions
Your Personal Jewelers Since 1989. University Mall, South Burlington • 862-3608
M-Sat 9:30 AM - 9:30 PM • Sun 11 AM - 6 PM
9/1/06 2:31:28 PM
funstuff weekly post..................... 08A newcomb......................... 09A quirks............................. 18a straight dope................... 20A bliss............................... 20a troubletown..................... 46A lulu eightball................... 46A mild abandon.................. 46A ogg’s world...................... 46A
idiot box......................... 46A 7D crossword................... 47A game on.......................... 47A sudoku........................... 47A red meat......................... 48A ted rall........................... 48A american elf ................... 48A the borowitz report.......... 48A free will astrology............ 49A
fickle fannie.................... 52A no exit............................ 52A shot in the dark............... 54A bassist wanted................. 17B herb and rose ................. 29B mistress maeve................ 31B puzzle answers................. 37B
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10/23/06 3:22:48 PM
08A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
weeklypost The best of the Vermont blogosphere COMPILED BY CATHY RESMER
Blog: False 45th http://false45th.blogspot.com
VERMONT FROST HEAVES Quick note before I go to West Virginia for a few days... The Vermont Frost Heaves season starts Nov. 16th in Barre against the Quebec City Kebekwa. Their first basketball game in Burlington will be two days later on Nov. 18th against the Buffalo Silverbacks. I sent an email to the Frost Heaves asking them if the games are going to be loud. My kids get scared by loud noises and we’ve wasted quite a few bucks on sporting events and circuses that we had to leave as soon as they started because it was too loud for our kids. Well, major props to Frost Heaves owner, Alexander Wolff. The guy responded to my email within a halfhour of me sending it at 11:19 p.m. on a Sunday night. That’s impressive. However, the coolest part was his response. He could have just sent back a form letter or P.R. statement talking about the schedule and excitement surrounding the games. But he didn’t. He sent this incredibly honest email: Brian, thanks a lot for asking. (As the parent of 5 and 3 year olds, I’ve been—I AM—there.) Fair warning, Opening Night in Barre, the Times-Argus is giving out several hundred cowbells to fans to make a racket. I’d keep my kids safely at home for that one. Otherwise, we’ll pipe some music in over the p.a., and while I don’t imagine it will be ear-splitting, I know from experience how sensitive little ears can be. We’re very grateful for your interest and support. Best, Alex Wolff Another great example of how community-oriented life is in Vermont. I guess we’ll have to get a babysitter for the opener. Posted October 22 by Flatlander Visit Cathy’s blog — 802 Online: A blog about Vermont, its media and its internets — for a growing list of 2x3-rolfing011205-stanton 7/19/06 12:59 PM Vermont blogs: http://7Dblogs.com/802online
WHY RICH RUNS Dear Mr. Tarrant, It amazes me that you are continuing to campaign for the U.S. Senate when that Final Arbiter of All Things Political in Vermont — Mr. Peter Freyne — has already decided that your opponent will be the next U.S. Senator from the Green Mountain State [“Inside Track,” October 18]! Are you naïve, or just out of touch with reality, as defined by Mr. Freyne? Maybe it’s your innate quality of persistence against all odds that served you so well in the founding and development of IDX. Or, more likely, it is because you realize, like most of us, that Peter Freyne just doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has a column to fill each week and acerbic drivel has served him well in the past, so why abandon it now? Certainly the whole Tarrant campaign operation must by now realize that their ultimate fate in this election was determined weeks ago by the Great Prognosticator — Peter “Nostradamus” Freyne, who has the “Inside Track” on all things political. Wait a second! Aren’t you spending your own hard-earned money on this hopeless campaign, rather than special interest or PAC funds, as others must? Are you crazy, or do you know something that the almighty Mr. Freyne doesn’t? Well, of course you do. It’s so simple that any right-thinking
person would have figured it out. That in the end, it is the people of Vermont who will decide the result of this very important Senate race — not some selfappointed journalist hack. So, Mr. Tarrant, keep up the fight and let the people decide, as we have always done in this great democracy. James R. LaFaye WINOOSKI
FILLING A HOLE Your bagel article [“The Hole Truth,” October 18] gave a brief mention to the Burlington Bagel Bakery. I’d like to augment the article with some additional information about the Vermont bagel scene nearly 30 years ago, and this pioneering business that was the model for all the bagel bakeries that followed. Vermont had no bagel bakery in 1979, and bagels had not been commercially baked in Vermont for many years. The prospective owners of BBB, Roy Feldman and Marty Schwartz, shopped for a loan to start the business and were told by one banker that there weren’t enough Jews in Vermont to warrant a loan. Many local residents knew better. The flatlanders who had moved to Vermont during the previous decade or two commonly brought bagels with them when they returned from visits back home to New York City, New Jersey and the Boston area. And a modestly large college population
just might find the idea of sandwiches served on a freshly baked, chewy, healthful bread product attractive. When he was a kid, Marty had worked his father’s lunch counter in Brooklyn, and Roy had talked a New Jersey bagel bakery owner into letting him hang around and learn the basics for a week or two. This background helped the two land a loan, and the bakery opened Labor Day weekend, 1979, in a newly renovated building on Main Street, halfway between St. Paul and Pine. The shop was cramped, the walk-in cooler was homemade, and a consultant from NYC came to town for a few days before we opened to teach us how to make and bake bagels, and mix the cream cheese. It was clear from the first weekend that Roy and Marty were right. The city that had recently welcomed an ice cream shop run by a couple of other flatlanders named Ben and Jerry, and was soon to elect a mayor with a broad Brooklyn accent, was ready for bagels, too. Success was phenomenal, and within a couple of years we moved up to the corner, next to the bus station, to a site large enough that we no longer needed to store our flour sacks in the hallway leading to the back door. On weekends, customers were lined up from the counter to the front door and beyond. And, oh, yeah, we made New York-style bagels. We sold them
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SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | letters 09A
SEVEN DAYS wants your rants and raves, in 250 words or fewer. Letters must respond to content in SEVEN DAYS. Include your full name, town and a daytime phone number, and send to: SEVEN DAYS, P.O. Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164. fax: 865-1015 email: email@example.com
for 19 cents each, and a bakerâ€™s dozen for (I think) $2.19. We sold them wholesale from Rutland to St. Albans to St. Johnsbury. Andy Sacher ESSEX JUNCTION
Sacher was a baker at the Burlington Bagel Bakery 19791988. MEN AND VIOLENCE The apparent murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn is a tragedy certain to reverberate throughout our community for a long time to come. As the board of the Lake
Champlain Menâ€™s Resource Center, we add our collective, sorrow-filled voice to the outpouring of support towards Michelleâ€™s grieving. Yet we know there is more to say and do. While the story is still being pieced together, we feel certain one sad and disturbing fact will be irrefutably corroborated: Michelle was the victim of a manâ€™s violence against a woman. We need not look further back than the past few weeks to the murders of women and girls by men in Essex Junction, Vermont, Colorado and
Pennsylvania to recognize that male violence against females continues unabated. Let us label this â€œMale Violence,â€? not shifting the focus to the victim or location, but keeping the spotlight on the perpetrator and societyâ€™s role in socializing men to use violence. Unless we want manhood and masculinity to be defined by the behavior of violent men who assault, murder, and often commit suicide, it is incumbent upon men of conscience to move from being well-meaning bystanders to vocal
opponents of menâ€™s violence against women. We invite men to join us in stepping forward to explicitly condemn such behavior, to pledge to educate ourselves about menâ€™s violence against women, to reach out as allies to women and womenâ€™s organizations asking how we can help, to teach our children, especially our sons, about respecting girls and women, and encouraging fathers, coaches, clergy, educators â€” all of us â€” to forge an alliance of peace makers in our community. Out of the tragedy of Michelle Gardner-Quinnâ€™s death, may we become more personally aware of menâ€™s violence, and engaged in collective action to prevent such violence. Doing so will both honor Michelleâ€™s memory and demonstrate our intention to create a society committed to raising healthy boys and promoting peace-making men â€” concerned citizens our community so desperately needs. Mark Montalban
FACE OFF I read â€œFace Timeâ€? by Ken Picard [â€œWork,â€? October 25]. I was personally offended by the comments made in this Q&A piece, which did not warrant two pages. Ms. Infantino has a patronizing attitude about those of us who live in Vermont. Where she once worked and the journalism degree she has are irrelevant to her being a makeup artist. I am not one of the â€œneurotic people from the city who are never happy.â€? Nor are my Burlington friends and family. I like to be well dressed, wear appropriate makeup, and consider people of Vermont rather sophisticated. I was particularly offended by her references to farmers and codgers. As for the politicians, of whom she is critical â€” we do play a leadership role on the national level. I guess we choose them well. I suggest she move back to Milan and drink her espressos in the Italian cafĂŠs and not here. Wendy Tress BURLINGTON
Montalban writes on behalf of the Lake Champlain Menâ€™s Resource Center Board of Directors.
CORRECTION: In the October 4 Winter Sports Preview story, â€œGetting Hammered,â€? CherryMax Sleds President Steve Luhr was quoted as saying, â€œI knew a sled for adults didnâ€™t exist.â€? But as several astute readers have pointed out, Mad River Rocket of Warren has been making sleds for adults since 1987. Seven Days regrets the error.
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2x5-sewly101806 10/16/06 10:13 AM Page 1 | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
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Halloween is just around the corner. So it makes sense that Rob Coates would put up a Day of the Dead shrine in his Mexican-imports store, Sur al Norte, in Montpelier. For the uninitiated, Dia de los Muertos is a venerable tradition — observed on November 1 and 2 — in which Mexican families honor their dearly departed. Of course, the pagan-meets-Christian holiday also celebrates life with sumptuous feasts, colorful decorations and general merriment. And it has spawned a folk-art industry of little clay skeletons in various outfits and scenarios. Rather than display an imported shrine, Coates offered a couple of local schoolteachers a unique cultural-studies opportunity: to let their students create shrine objects and install them in his store. But first, the students had to dedicate them to someone. “I said they and the kids could pick whoever, real or mythical,” says Coates. “Coincidentally, they both picked Steve Irwin.” The host of Animal Planet’s “Crocodile Hunter” met his fate last month at the business end of a stingray. It was a spectacular death, highly publicized and, as it happened, captured on film for all to see. No doubt it made an impression on kids. Still, Coates was a little surprised that entirely independent groups of schoolchildren in central Vermont chose to honor the Aussie naturalist. “It was unusual,” Coates muses. “Two schools in two towns.” And two age groups: Sara Baker’s second- and third-graders from Moretown Elementary, and Barbara Austin-Hutchins’ juniors and seniors from Montpelier High School. The younger students’ installation, near Sur al Norte’s front entrance, is on a small table and comprises such objects as a little snake, foil pictures and candleholders. The wall-mounted high school altar is, appropriately, much bigger, says Coates — about 7 feet high and 5 feet wide. “There was more artistic license for the high school kids,” he reports. Locals can view the shrines at his River Street shop; everyone else can check out the Mexican merch at www.suralnorte.com. And how is Coates spending the Day of the Dead? “Working, as always,” he says. “Then I’ll probably just get together with friends.” PAMELA POLSTON
LOCAL DEMOCRACY PROJECT
Non-Citizen Residents Seek Right to Vote in Vermont BY CATHY RESMER
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BURLINGTON — Marta Ceroni won’t be voting on November 7 — not because she doesn’t want to; but because she can’t. Ceroni, an assistant professor at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute, has lived in the U.S. for nine years — in Burlington for the last four. But she’s still an Italian citizen, which means that she can’t vote. At least, not yet. Ceroni, founder of the nonpartisan Local Democracy Project, suggests that non-citizens like herself should be granted the right to vote, at least in local elections. She recently compiled an online survey to gauge interest among non-citizen Vermont residents, and plans to approach the Burlington City Council to ask that the city charter be amended to give non-citizen residents a say in how the Queen City is run. The Local Democracy Project will hold a meeting to discuss its campaign on November 2 at 7 p.m., at Burlington’s Euro Gourmet Café. The idea is actually not as rad-
ical as it might seem. The U.S. Constitution gives states the right to decide who votes in elections and, until the 1920s, many allowed non-citizens to vote. According to Ron Hayduk, codirector of the Immigrant Rights Voting Project, non-citizens voted in 40 states and territories between 1776 and 1926. That ended as a wave of immigrants entered the U.S., but for the past few years activists nationwide have been pushing to reinstitute the practice. Communities in Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts have passed laws granting some voting rights to non-citizens; cities in California and New York have considered similar legislation. Ceroni points out that noncitizens contribute to the tax base, send their kids to city schools, and contribute valuable cultural diversity. They even serve in the military. “There are a lot of folks in Iraq who are willing to die for this country,” she notes, “but they can’t even vote.”
She adds that extending local suffrage would make non-citizens feel more like part of the community. That’s important, Ceroni says, because Burlington has a sizable non-citizen population. According to the 2000 Census, Burlington had 3140 foreignborn residents, just 39 percent of whom were naturalized citizens. Voting, she says, “would be a great integration tool.” According to her survey, Ceroni is not alone in her desire to vote. She says 28 non-citizen respondents participated, and most rated non-citizen voting in local elections as “important.” Ceroni had hoped for more respondents, but reports many people approached her personally and expressed a fear of jeopardizing their jobs or immigration status, despite the fact that the survey was anonymous. Ceroni says she understands their fear. It can be scary to rock the boat in post-9/11 America, CONTINUED >>
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006| local matters 11A
I T A L I A N
LIME KILN BRIDGE
A New Structure Crossing the Winooski River Gorge Earns National Honors
— Frankie & The Staff Pizzeria/Takeout/Delivery: 655-5555 Fine Dining (upstairs) Reservations: 655-0000 The Bakery (lower level): 655-5282
BY KEVIN J. KELLEY
COLCHESTER —Drivers and bikers traversing the old Lime Kiln Bridge that links Colchester to South Burlington probably had no inkling of its architectural significance. Below a narrow, crumbling deck, the 93-year-old bridge was constructed of a series of heroic arches suspended high above the Winooski River Gorge. On the Vermont Agency of Transportation website, archaeologist Chris Slesar writes of this
relied on pre-stressed concrete slabs fabricated at the Cararra works in Middlebury. Wilson further notes that the bridge surface has been outfitted with de-icing membranes representative of the “pro-active approach” taken by the state agency, known as VTrans. The Lime Kiln Bridge beat out about 40 nominated projects for the number-two spot on the Illinois-based magazine’s annual top-10 list, which will be pub-
rather than just three weeks, notes Sherward Farnsworth, project director for VTrans. The 360,000 cubic yards of fill came from Fletcher Allen’s scandalplagued and budget-busting “Renaissance Project.” St. Michael’s College donated the land for the new bridge. In return, the school paid nothing for the filling of the remainder of the quarry, which it also owns. St. Mike’s will now be able to use the
6 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester (Exit 16) We support
PHOTO COURTESY OF VTRANS
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LIME KILN BRIDGE
marvel of early-20th-century engineering: “Rarely does the built environment meet the natural environment with such grace.” Travelers crossing the bridge that will take the place of the original might like to know that the new structure is being honored as the second-most-impressive bridge built in North America this year. “Only the most challenging jobs are going to get on our top-10 list,” says Bill Wilson, editorial director of Roads and Bridges magazine. “And the Lime Kiln Bridge project is chock-full of challenges.” Wilson points to the success of Vermont Agency of Transportation engineers and consultants in completing a project that exhibits elegant form as well as ingenious solutions to site-specific problems. On schedule. The $9 million bridge mimics the historic design of its predecessor but has been executed with modern materials. Instead of the cast-in-place concrete used in 1913, the 21st-century builders
lished in its November issue. “This was probably the most competitive Top 10 there’s been since I created the list six years ago,” Wilson says. The Benicia-Martinez Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area is being honored as the best bridge completed or under construction in 2006. This $800 million, 8790foot-long span has been designed to withstand seismic shocks of an intensity that occurs about once a century, Wilson notes. In overcoming “geo-technical issues of great intricacy,” the Lime Kiln’s engineers filled in a longabandoned quarry that allowed the new bridge to be constructed alongside the original, says Colchester public works director Bryan Osborne. The bridge opened to traffic a month ago and will be officially inaugurated next August, when it is expected to be fully operational. If the quarry and a connecting tunnel had not been filled, Lime Kiln Road would have had to remain closed for up to 18 months
land as athletic fields or for construction of a hockey rink, Farnsworth says. The project moved smoothly once it got going, but preparatory work and permit permutations consumed almost 15 years, Osborne points out. He says a full year was spent negotiating with the state’s Department of Historic Preservation, which had wanted Colchester and South Burlington to preserve the old bridge as a pedestrian span. But the additional cost of rehabbing that structure would have placed the entire project beyond the two towns’ financial means, Osborne says. And the old bridge had already been renovated twice — in 1940 and in 1991. The replacement structure is the product of an agreement to tear down the original after architectural historians have had a chance to document it. There’s still time to say good-bye to your great-grandparents’ bridge. It won’t be entirely demolished till December. �
especially while navigating the lengthy process of seeking citizenship. “It’s a very difficult climate,” she admits. Most of Ceroni’s respondents were from Canada — 21 percent — followed by India, Sweden and Russia. Nearly half live in Burlington; the rest reside in nearby communities. On average they’ve been here for more than three years. The majority feels that legal immigrants should earn the right to vote in local elections after a year of residency; 21 percent preferred two years. Roel Boumans, a Dutch immi-
grant and one of Ceroni’s colleagues at Gund, says he’d like to vote in Charlotte. He has lived in the U.S. for 20 years — in Charlotte for the last four. He owns a 14-acre farm, but when residents discuss land-use issues at Town Meeting Day, he has to keep quiet. He can’t even sit with his neighbors — he’s shunted off to the visitor’s section. “It’s kind of a painful situation,” Boumans says. He claims he knows developers in town who would like to build near his land, and he complains that, as voters, they have an advantage. “It’s an uneven playing field,”
Boumans says. “By owning land in Charlotte, I automatically become part of the political scene there.” But though Ceroni and Boumans would like to see things change, Ceroni stresses that she doesn’t plan to organize protests. “We don’t want to take to the streets,” she says. “It’s not like that.” More than anything else, she says she’s motivated by a desire to make Burlington a community that reflects the interests of all its residents. She says, “It’s a matter of asking the question: What does it mean to be a fully accepting democratic society at the local level?” �
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local matters 13A
Crime Causes Students to Change Their Behavior BY CATHY RESMER PHOTO: MATTHEW THORSEN
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You just don’t know who’s out there. I feel like, once it’s dark now, people are scared. CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE JUNIOR MIKE SHANNON
BURLINGTON — Being located in or near the city of Burlington is an asset for colleges like the University of Vermont, but the recent murder of UVM senior Michelle Gardner-Quinn has caused many students to re-evaluate their impressions of this quiet college town and to change their behavior, especially late at night. According to Ashley Fitzpatrick, a senior at St. Michael’s College, that reaction is not limited to students at UVM. She says St. Mike’s students are definitely more cautious about what they’re doing at night and with whom. “We are a lot more aware of who and what is around us,” she says. “Before I used to walk around alone. I don’t walk anywhere by myself now — it makes me nervous.” UVM sophomore Katie Nickitas agrees. “I think that when you go off campus — or even on campus — and are out at night as a female, you need to take precautions,” she says. “I do, and would feel extremely nervous walking alone almost anywhere at night.” Nancy Solberg, a freshman who lives on UVM’s Redstone campus, says she always takes the bus downtown and back, but usually walks from the Living and Learning complex to Redstone. After police found Gardner-Quinn’s body last week, Solberg felt uncomfortable walking alone that far, even during the day. She called a friend on her cell phone for an escort. She adds that students in her dorm used to leave the building through emergency exit doors, but don’t anymore. Campus security is watching the doors more closely, she says, and now if they’re used for anything other than an emergency, students are fined. In a press release last Wednesday, the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence said women are right to be scared. “The unfortunate reality is that women’s safety is potentially at risk in every aspect of their lives — in their homes, at school, at work, or on the street,” the release reads. “There is a war against women occurring in our society, and until we address the oppressions underlying this injustice, women will not truly be safe regardless of who or where they are.” Male students say they understand their female
classmates’ fear, but few of them seem to share it. “Do I feel less safe? Not really,” says UVM junior Andrew Detullio. But he says he does feel more aware of his surroundings. “You just notice things more,” says Detullio. “If you walk past someone you kind of are a little more skeptical of them.” He adds that he’s not at all reluctant to walk a female friend home if she feels uneasy. UVM senior Scott Kuhlen says more of his female friends are asking him for an escort. “I was hanging out with one of my friends recently, and she said, ‘You are walking me home tonight,’” he recalls. “I’ve definitely heard women be more assertive about being walked home.” Kuhlen’s also more aware of how he behaves around women he sees walking home alone. A few nights after Gardner-Quinn’s disappearance, Kuhlen found himself strolling behind a woman late at night. He didn’t know her, and she didn’t say anything to him, but he thought his presence might have made her uncomfortable, so he backed off a bit. “I kind of just stopped and looked at my cell phone or something,” he says, “just to give some distance there.” He’s done that a few times since, he adds. “I’ve talked to friends who’ve had the same experience.” Kuhlen’s housemate, Champlain College junior Mike Shannon, says he’s also become more sensitive to requests from female friends who want him to walk or drive them home. “You just don’t know who’s out there,” he says. “I feel like, once it’s dark now, people are scared.” Members of the UVM community are organizing to combat that fear. On Thursday, October 26, there will be a speak-out on violence against women at noon on the steps of Waterman, sponsored by Men Advocating Change. And on Monday, October 30, the UVM Women’s Center is organizing a Community Brainstorm for Action in Billings’ North Lounge, from 6 to 8 p.m. Says the UVM website: “This gathering will provide a forum to share ideas about how to end violence against women.” � UVM student Molly Shaker contributed to this story.
14A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
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SEVEN DAYS|october 25-november 01, 2006
BY PETER FREYNE
Dunne on the Attack
PHOTO: PETER FREYNE
MATT DUNNE AND DOUG RACINE
after Doobie-Doo the Republican on several fronts, including his debate-ducking and his annual Lite-Gov work load compared to annual Lite-Gov salary. “Dubie ran against me when I was the incumbent lieutenant governor in 2000,” said Racine, “and we didn’t have a hard time finding him for debates. He was happy to debate me as an incumbent.” Lt. Gov. Racine, who lost the governor’s race to Jim Douglas in 2002, told reporters in the hallway, “I think it looks like he’s hiding, to me, and that’s disappointing. Brian has his points of view and he should be willing to talk about them.” Dubie, meanwhile, says he’s agreed to five candidate debates this year. But Dunne says Dubie prerecorded one, and canceled out of a League of Women Voters debate in Burlington “48 hours ahead of time. We’re still not sure why.” Dunne told “Inside Track” he had “made the case that it was a lot closer to his house [Essex Junction] than it was to mine
[Hartland]. It’s very frustrating,” said the rookie statewide contender. Dubie told “Inside Track” on Tuesday, “The people of Vermont are pretty smart. If they like the sort of work that I’ve done, then put me in for another two years. If you think my opponent’s promises have more value, with all due respect, go for it.” Why so few debates? “We’re doing five. Wow!” said Dubie. “That’s a lot.”And he recalled that when he challenged Lt. Gov. Racine in 2000, Ol’ Dougie could only make three debates. And what about hours on the job? “The fact is,” said Captain DoobieDoo, “when I ran for lieutenant governor, I always said I was going to continue my work, which I’ve done for 17 years as an airline pilot. I’ve been in Air Force Reserves for almost 30 years. I’ve been clear that, just like Howard Dean, who practiced medicine, and Doug Racine, who sold cars, I’m going to continue my work that I’ve done for my entire life.” Is it fair of Young Dunne to raise the work issue? “I’ve talked to Sen. Dick Mazza [a veteran Democrat from Colchester], and he’s got a pretty good assessment of what the people of Vermont think,” said Ol’ Brian. “And Sen. Mazza says that dog’s not going to hunt.” We shall see. Our sources say that, unlike his ticketmate Gov. Jim Douglas, Lt. Gov. Dubie’s positives are only in the mid-40s. Anything under 50 percent is not a good number for an incumbent. It’s a long shot, but clearly, Matt Dunne has no “quit” in his gas tank.
inside track 15A
Every Breath You Take Makes it Sparkle
AN IRREVERENT READ ON VT POLITICS
here’s no quit in Democrat Matt Dunne. The state senator from Hartland isn’t letting incumbent Republican Brian Dubie get away with a game strategy taken from basketball hard court — running out the clock with a four-corner stall! Sunday evening, Dunne and Progressive Lite-Gov candidate Marvin Malek were up in Craftsbury Common for a candidates’ debate. As usual, Dubie didn’t show. Less said the better this year if you’re wearing a GOP jersey, eh? Perfectly understandable. Monday morning Young Dunne was joined by former Lt. Gov. Doug Racine for a creative little media event in the Statehouse’s main hallway. The dynamic duo stood by the open door to the LiteGov’s ceremonial office — Racine’s old one and the new one Dunne has his eye on. The leaf-peeper tourists had no idea what was cooking. Young Dunne the Democrat, whose biggest deficit is low name recognition, is
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Bush-Rainville Team — Just got a call from “Mary,” a 75-year-old Burlington 2x5-Leunigs090606 mother of eight and grandma of many more, who tells me she’s a regular “Inside Track” reader. She called me up out of the 2x5-bobcat101806.indd 1 blue because, she said, “she’s so sick of watching [President] Bush on the TV.” Grandma Mary said she had to turn it off! She’s been an “Inside Track” reader for years and just wanted someone to talk to. God bless her! Grandma Mary is not alone. The Big World, the one that includes the United States of America, has been a rather scary place of late, both overseas and onshore. There’s just something about a bleak, dark future for an America that’s run on the principles of deceit and incompetence. The national network TV news is even showing a disturbing uptick in violent, horrible, multiple-slayings-of-strangers-type crimes. Blended in with the nightly TV bloodbath from Iraq, network news has become unwatchable for many of us these days. Two months ago, yours truly was almost too scared to speak up about how crucial it is for the party in power to get the heaveho from U.S. voters on November 7. The former Saratoga gambler in me didn’t want to jinx it. Shh! Well, that conversation has been happening with a great deal more frequency
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It’s Autumn at Leunig’s…
INSIDE TRACK >> 16A
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16A | october 25-november 01, 2006
inside track << 15A
10/23/06 2:08:45 PM
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10/12/06 11:27:56 AM
around these parts lately. Folks are getting up the courage to express in words just how important it is to get a Democrat majority in January, in at least one house of Congress. Some have expressed fear of ballot-box fixing in key congressional districts, and an unusually high number of ballot challenges by Republican Party officials. Let’s face it. The Grand Old Party is fighting for its political survival. Losing power and their congressional posts may also mean loss of personal privilege for some of the more egregious lawbreakers in the GOP bunch — despite Speaker of the House-to-be Nancy Pelosi’s weekend pledge not to pursue impeachment proceedings in the next Congress. Then, in a desperate reversal of position, our beloved President George W. Bush told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday that he’s never told the American people we’ve got to “stay the course” in Iraq. “Well, listen, we’ve never been ‘stay the course, George,’” said our president. “We have been: ‘We will complete our mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal,’ but we’re constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.” Especially the public-relations tactics, eh, George? Weapons of mass destruction — or was it merely distraction? And then, on Monday morning, White House counselor Dan Bartlett told CBS News, “It’s never been a stay-the-course strategy.” Within hours the Think Progress.org think tank posted a half-dozen direct quotes from White House transcripts of President George W. Bush saying exactly that. The earliest was December 15, 2003: “We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the president or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course,” repeated the president. The most recent “stay the course” utterance was less than two months ago. Does this BushCheney-Rumsfeld-Rice crowd truly consider the American people to be that stupid? Don’t answer that. Here in Vermont, the radical, last-minute, pre-election course change in the Bush administration’s failed Iraq war strategy hit home as Republican congressional candidate Martha Rainville appeared Tuesday on “The Mark Johnson Show” on WDEV radio. Republican Rainville and Democratic State Sen. Peter Welch are squaring off in the race to fill Bernie Sanders’ seat. We’ve seen more of Marvelous Martha in the last five months than in all previous recorded history, and every time we’ve seen her she’s not only worn a different outfit, she’s had a different political rap. Back in July, Candidate Rainville was not convinced that
“global warming” was scientific “fact” — as opposed to left-wing science “fiction.” Today it’s new gospel, and Martha is suddenly an anti-global-warming cheerleader. Fits in with her “I love nature” TV spot, eh? And just a few weeks ago, Marvelous Martha had a radically different take on Iraq. The former Vermont National Guard adjutant general, a rising political star courted by both major parties, was telling anyone who would listen that the real problem with Iraq was, the American people just weren’t getting all the “good news” about the progress underway there. Hello? Test one-two. Test? “Just last week,” said her Democrat opponent Peter Welch, “my eyes started popping out of my head when she started talking about how we were continuing our remarkable progress in Iraq. She was more upbeat about Iraq than Cheney!” Marvelous Martha’s Iraq War position has apparently undergone a 180-degree course change. Candidate Rainville referred to the war in Iraq as a “debacle.” Johnson was so shocked and dumbfounded by Rainville’s new word choice that he repeatedly asked her to explain herself. “Debacle,” said Marvelous Martha, is how she would describe “the current situation.” It was definitely her chosen buzz word for the day, using it at least six times on the program when referring to what history will remember as the Bush administration’s disastrous and dishonest Iraq War. One reason the war is a “debacle,” Candidate Rainville explained, is because “it has been used to shape all the political campaigns this year.” “It’s been used,” she added, “to detract the attention of the American people from other important issues.” The Iraqi government, said this faithful George W. Bush supporter, has to “take control of its future.” And we Americans, she said, “have to start redeploying our troops for many reasons.” “Debacle,” eh? That was a pretty quick change of position. Well, when nothing works — not even lowering gasoline prices a dollar or more nationwide — one must make some radical policy changes. But will it fly with Vermont voters? As Peter Welch put it, “debacle” is a new word for his Republican opponent to use. “It’s also,” he said, “about three-and-a-half years late.” Yes, indeed. Poll Numbers? — Hoping we get some closing polls from our major Vermont media outlets in the last two weeks before the election. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Remember 2002, when The Burlington Free Press had Democrat Doug Racine up 10 points over Jim Douglas in the governor’s race? Remember who won?
With that in mind, our sources in Sanderista Heaven tell “Inside Track” that a weekend Sanders campaign poll shows Ol’ Bernardo widening his enormous lead over his obnoxious, uninformed Republican opponent Rich Tarrant, the self-funder. The numbers we get from the weekend show Bernie Sanders climbing up to 68 percent and Tarrant dropping down to 25 percent. Yours truly has always said, the only thing in doubt is whether Sanders, Vermont’s fiery, straight-talking and beloved Independent, breaks 70 percent with his senatorial landslide. In fact, just Monday, we got a call from a D.C. reporter who was coming up to interview Vermont’s next U.S. senator on Tuesday. America, fasten your seat belt! That same weekend poll showed Democrat Welch 10 points ahead of Republican Rainville —50-40 percent. Turning into a tree-hugging antiwar protester might not be enough to close that gap for Martha . . . this year. Make no mistake, Democrats are very impressed by Rainville’s positives. In a different year, without the Bush White House “debacle” dragging down the entire GOP ticket, Marvelous Martha would be nose-to-nose to the finish line and everyone knows it. Martha vs. Randy — With less than a fortnight to go, the state auditor’s race is getting interesting. Veteran Progressive Martha Abbott is on the radio with $7000 worth of very funny ads. “Abbott for Auditor” — or is it “Rabbit for Governor?” The ads began airing this week. If you don’t do the car thing much, go to her website: www.abbottforauditor.org to listen. The other “Martha” on the 2006 Vermont statewide ballot — one who’s been there on and off since the 1970s — describes her radio campaign as “my attempt to break through the political noise of the bigger races. We’re all bombarded.” Breaking through that “noise,” she says, requires humor. Martha’s got some to give. On a more serious side, Abbott, the Progressive candidate who’s facing Democrat Thomas M. Salmon CPA and incumbent Republican Randy Brock, tells “Inside Track” she’s planning a Wednesday Montpelier presser to raise some questions about how much time Auditor Brock puts in on the job. She has requested, and received, copies of Brock’s work calendar for the past two years and has been reviewing it. Stay tuned. As for her sense of how the race is going, Abbott told us, “If I was a brand-name party, I would win!” �
Read “Freyne Land,” Peter’s new political blog online at http://7d.blogs.com. To reach Peter Freyne, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | 17A
10/16/06 1:53:54 PM
10/24/06 8:12:11 AM
10/20/06 11:42:46 AM
10/20/06 12:26:50 PM
ITEMS FROM EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE
18A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
Curses, Foiled Again When a cabdriver reported that a man robbed him after being dropped off in Severn, Md., he added that the crook left behind a coin purse containing his driverâ€™s license, Social Security card and a paycheck made out to William Ludlow, 30. Twelve minutes later, police showed up at Ludlowâ€™s home and held him until the cabdriver arrived and identified him as the culprit. â€œWe didnâ€™t really have to do that much,â€? Anne Arundel County police Officer Sara Schriver said. â€œSometimes criminals arenâ€™t as clever as they think.â€? â€˘ Police in Fort Mitchell, Ky., identified Rodney McMillen, 36, as the one who
ODD, STRANGE, CURIOUS AND WEIRD BUT TRUE NEWS
around Washington, D.C., for harmful bacteria discovered that the overdeveloped regionâ€™s major water polluter is wildlife, specifically the unusual number of deer, geese, raccoons and muskrats living in the suburbs. â€œTheyâ€™re pooping in the water,â€? environmentalist Chuck Frederickson told the Washington Post, which reported that, according to the high-tech tests by the Environmental Protection Agency, 58.8 percent of the harmful bacteria in the Potomac River, which is on the federal â€œimpaired watersâ€? list, comes from wildlife. Humans account for 16.3 percent, pets 14.7 percent and livestock 10.2 percent. Noting contamination is widespread, officials said
BY ROLAND SWEET
broke into a sleeping womanâ€™s apartment wearing only a brightly colored thong, then spent several hours making calls on the womanâ€™s wireless phone, smoking cigarettes and setting up a video camera. He fled when the woman awoke, but authorities quickly tracked him down because he left behind the video equipment, which contained a tape of what appeared to be his family reunion.
Ignorance Is Bliss An opinion poll
by the Egyptian government found that 61 percent of those interviewed had never heard of opinion polls. The governmentâ€™s Information and Decision Support Center, which conducted the survey, reported that 49 percent indicated they would like to be asked their opinion again.
Answering Natureâ€™s Call
Scientists testing rivers and streams
it would be nearly impossible to kill or relocate enough of the animals to make a noticeable difference in water quality.
Vince Lombardi Follies Police in Evans, Colo., arrested Mitch Cozad, a bench-warming sophomore punter on the University of Northern Colorado football team, after they said he stabbed the teamâ€™s first-string punter in the leg. Witnesses saw the suspect, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, stab Rafael Mendozaâ€™s right thigh, then drive away. Mendoza did not recognize his attacker, police Lt. Gary Kessler said, but later, a suspicious liquor store clerk spotted someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt remove tape from his license plates and reported the number to police, who identified Cozad. â€œI think that would strike anybody as a weird way to get ahead,â€? Kessler said.
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When Plano, Ill., furniture-store owner Randy Gonigam announced that shoppers would get their furniture free if the Chicago Bears kept the Green Bay Packers from scoring in their season opener, he wasnâ€™t worried, because the Packers had scored in 233 straight games. Gonigam reported that the wellpublicized promotion helped boost his Labor Day weekend business 30 percent. The only glitch, he admitted, was having to give away $275,000 worth of furniture after the Bears beat the Packers, 26-0. â€œIt still felt awfully strange sitting there in the fourth quarter,â€? Gonigam said, â€œjust knowing we would be giving back all this money to all those people.â€?
Litigation Nation Fraser Ross, the owner of Kitson, a Hollywood clothing boutique favored by young celebrities, sued Us Weekly magazine, accusing the publication of ignoring the store. Pointing out that the snub began after the magazine, which once called Kitson â€œL.A.â€™s hippest hot spot,â€? settled a previous complaint by agreeing not to disrupt business at the store or disparage its reputation, Ross said the magazine now refuses to name or show the Kitson brand in credits, captions or celebrity photographs. Rossâ€™s suit claims Us Weeklyâ€™s lack of attention is costing the store $10,000 a week.
Shores Casino and Hotel, overlooking Lake Huronâ€™s Horseshoe Bay north of the Mackinac Bridge, was built where Indian gambling isnâ€™t allowed. â€œIt wasnâ€™t until after we had the pilings and foundation in place that we realized that something wasnâ€™t right,â€? said Aaron Payment of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. â€œWe did another survey and found that all but 30 feet of the casino was on ineligible land.â€? With 800 slot machines and 26 gambling tables idle, the tribe immediately began erecting a $2.5 million replacement casino the legal distance from the original one.
Mensa Reject of the Week
Annie Donnelly, 38, of Farmingville, N.Y., pleaded guilty to embezzling money from her employer to play the New York Lottery. She was spending about $6000 a day on lottery tickets, according to the Suffolk County District Attorneyâ€™s office, which pointed out that the bookkeeper for Great South Bay Surgical Associates won far less money during her 3-1/2-year spree than the $2.3 million she stole.
They Canâ€™t Outsource Goofing Off The average U.S. worker wastes
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SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | hackie 19A
BY JERNIGAN PONTIAC
A CABBIEâ€™S REAR VIEW
Before Judgment Day
Check sevendaysvt.com to find out more about Jernigan Pontiac and his latest book, Hackie 2: Perfect Autumn.
an, I canâ€™t remember the last time I did this. Getting home at three in the morning. Shit, I used to own these hours!â€? The man speaking to me from the back of my taxi appeared weary, as if burdened by a crushing weight. But he also seemed sober, which was unusual for a late, late-night customer from the downtown bar scene. He had a neatly trimmed blond goatee and mustache, and his thick blond hair was tied back in a ponytail with a black leather cord. Long-haired guys generally fall into one of two camps: hippies or bikers. This
A few days earlier, the police had found the murdered body of a young woman from UVM. . . A pall hung over the city all weekend, palpable and depressing. man struck me clearly as the biker type â€” lean, muscular and no-nonsense. On the surface, he didnâ€™t come across as overtly violent, but somehow I knew he was a person you wouldnâ€™t want to cross. Or maybe not. Like most everyone in town, my perspective has been shaken this past week. A few days earlier, the police had found the murdered body of a young woman from UVM. This is not supposed to happen in Vermont, but every once in a while we rediscover that weâ€™re not immune. The Green Mountains, powerful and comforting as they are, do not provide a shield. A pall hung over the city all weekend, palpable and depressing. â€œYup,â€? he continued, as we eased onto the highway en route to his home in Richmond, â€œthis was a party for my buddyâ€™s birthday. These days thatâ€™s the only kind of thing that gets me out of the house at night.â€? As a late-shift cabbie, I wish I had a buck for every time Iâ€™ve heard this refrain. Like professional athletes, clubgoers peak in their mid- to late-twenties, only to fall off precipitously when they pass into their thirties. Physically and psychically, bar-hopping takes a toll. Itâ€™s not merely the grueling hours, blasting music, casual hook-ups and rivers of alcohol. As adulthood takes hold, so does the need for deeper social connections. The bells, whistles and neon lights no longer satisfy. â€œGetting a little old for this, huh?â€? I asked. â€œIt goes way beyond that, man,â€? he replied. â€œYou donâ€™t want to hear about it.â€? There was something genuine, something real about this person that made me want to understand the circumstances of his life, what had led to this moment: the height of foliage season, northern Vermont, 2006. I reached up to adjust the rear-view
mirror and, meeting his eyes, I said, â€œActually, I would.â€? â€œWell, OK, then,â€? he began. â€œIn early December, Iâ€™m facing sentencing on a federal indictment, and the stress is getting unbearable.â€? Now, of course, I was curious about the charge, but I wasnâ€™t about to ask. I didnâ€™t need to. â€œYeah, I pled guilty to possession with intent. It all happened four years ago, when I was a total crack addict. They busted me with, like, this huge quantity
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If you assume a vampire has the same caloric/nutritional requirements as us mortals, how much blood would they have to suck each day? Robin, via email If you have sex with a zombie, are you at risk of becoming one? Steve, Wichita, Kansas Jeepers, Steve. Sounds like the dating scene in Wichita leaves something to be desired. Reliable information about the undead isn’t easy to come by. Browsing in PubMed, the online medical database, we come upon an article in the September 2004 Biomedica by one E. Escobar Cifuentes entitled (in translation) “Rabies transmitted by vampires.” This sounds promising, and reminds us, moreover, of an aspect of the problem that has been sadly neglected. On close reading, however, it turns out the varmints in question are vampire bats. Science having let us down, we’re obliged to seek insight in legend and art, the latter admittedly somewhat loosely construed, e.g., the work of George Romero. Take the matter of vampires vs. werewolves. The literature and films of old rarely mention the two in the same story, although they appear to have much in common. They share some physical traits, such as pointed ears and animal-like appearance. The old Slavonic word volkodlak, which translates roughly as “wolf hair” or “wolf mane,” means “werewolf ” in most places but “bloodsucking revenant” (vampire to you) in Serbia. Tradition there has it that when a werewolf dies it rises again as a vampire, and that eating the flesh of a sheep killed by a wolf meant turning into a vampire after death. Finally, we know that vampires can take the form of a wolf and summon wolves to do their bidding. Despite this seemingly close relationship, encounters between vampires and werewolves are largely limited to recent literature and movies, e.g., the Anita Blake novels, the Underworld movies and the Marvel comics featuring Nina Price, Vampire by Night. No disrespect, but who do you think has a better handle on the undead, pimply faced comics auteurs or medieval Serbs? Taking Balkan lore as our starting point, therefore, we deduce that vampirism is the next stage in the werewolf ’s natural history, death being the lycanthropic equivalent of a caterpillar’s cocoon. Interesting as this may be from a necrobiological standpoint, it lowers the dramatic stakes. A werewolf nipping at a vampire? All you’ll likely get is a cranky vampire — traditionally lycanthropy is transmitted by magic or curse rather than bites. A vampire who fatally bites a werewolf, meanwhile, merely hastens a metamorphosis that would have occurred anyway. And for what? Sucking the lifeblood of an innocent maiden is one thing. Going after a slobbering beast, on the other hand, makes you think: Dude must be hard up.
Next, nutrition. We know vampires drink a lot of blood — they’re often described as engorged with it after feeding. But how much do they really need? Assume a 6foot, 170-pound male vampire has a base metabolic rate of 1800 calories per day. He sleeps two-thirds of said day but must adopt an active lifestyle by night in pursuit of hemoglobin, so add 2400 calories. The energy required to turn into a bat, wolf, mist, etc., hasn’t been clinically established but, judging from sparing use of the trick in Bram Stoker’s book, must be substantial — say, 2000 calories nightly, for a total daily requirement of 6200 calories. A unit of blood (450 milliliters) contains about 600 calories; individuals typically hold 4000 to 6000 milliliters, giving us a potential of 5333 to 8000 calories per victim. A methodical vampire, then, could easily get by with one well-drained victim per night. Indeed, given the number of people nowadays who look like they’d be happy to socialize with the Dracula crowd, it’s surprising you don’t see more vampires with a weight problem. Finally, to the risks of zombie sex. Much depends on what type of zombie we’re talking about. Traditional voodoo zombies are dead people animated by a shaman, so you’re only in danger of becoming one yourself if you die, after which you don’t care anyhow. “Real” zombies, as investigated by Wade Davis, author of the controversial 1985 zombie study The Serpent and the Rainbow, arrive at their state upon being given two drugs — one to induce paralysis and another to create a disconnect from reality so they can be controlled. You could have sex with somebody in this condition; among a certain subset of men, in fact, it remains the default romantic strategy. But predators of this sort generally take care to remain unzombified themselves. Movie zombies are another matter. Judging from the Romero oeuvre, zombie infection is spread by bites and other wounds. Abrasions during sex aren’t uncommon, so condoms would be in order. Then again, Steve, we can’t ignore the possibility you’ve misdiagnosed the problem. Who knows — with a little more finesse on your part, maybe next time she’ll wake up. CECIL ADAMS
Is there something you need to get straight? Cecil Adams can deliver the Straight Dope on any topic. Write Cecil Adams at the Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago, IL 60611, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | fit to live 21A
fit to live
BY SARAH TUFF
EXERCISING YOUR OPTIONS
TAMMY CHARBONNEAU WITH CHAMPLAIN ELEMENTARY FIRST-GRADERS
S IMAGE Jordan Silverman
porting a purple-and-white-striped Adidas shirt, Dockers khaki shorts and a pair of sturdy Keen sandals, Tammy Charbonneau is the classic gym teacher. As she preps for P.E. class at Burlington’s Champlain Elementary School on a recent Tuesday afternoon, I expect to see her wheel out a squeaky cart of orange dodge balls, or a stack of square, flat, wooden scooters. I can almost feel the itch of my old polyester gym uniforms and my armpits starting to sweat as I wait to be picked for a team. Charbonneau interrupts my flashback by clicking shut her handheld PDA, on which she’s been reviewing today’s lesson. “This is not about playing games,” she says as a line of squirming first-graders marches across the mouse-gray linoleum in the cafeteria/gymnasium. “This is a classroom.” I can’t help but notice the minutes ticking by on the wall clock as Charbonneau crams her lesson into one of the two 30-minute time slots she has with these first-graders each week. Though Burlington schools now benefit from a grant that arms their physical education teachers with PDAs, pedometers and other hightech tools, no amount of number crunching on nifty handhelds can stretch the thin allotment of time eked out for exercise. It’s a symptom of a national problem. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the percentage of overweight or obese kids in the United States has more than doubled “Fit to Live” is a monthly column that can also be read on www.sevendaysvt.com. To reach Sarah Tuff, email email@example.com.
in the last 30 years. But just how — and for how long each day or week — should schools battle this bulge? In its 2006 Shape of the Nation Report, NASPE recommends that all elementary school students participate in at least 150 minutes per week of physical education; for middle and high school students, it’s 225 minutes for the entire school year. With just two 30-minute classes each week, schools such as Champlain Elementary fail the new NASPE standards. “Administrators have such pressure to develop performance in schools on standardized tests,” says Lindsay Simpson Spinney, physical education consultant for the Vermont Department of Education. “Unfortunately, physical education is sort of taking a back seat to that.” In terms of time allotted to P.E., Burlington has improved in the last decade, says Chris Souliere, a P.E. teacher for C.P. Smith Elementary who’s been with the school district for nearly 20 years. “For 10 years, it was 20-minute classes — it was ridiculous,” says Souliere. “But we still have the minimal requirement in the state of Vermont — Burlington is not up to par.” Simpson Spinney, who helps guide school districts toward appropriate physical education programs, says that quality, not quantity, is what matters. She points to a recent study by Cornell University that found that increasing gym class by 200 minutes each week had a minimal effect on activity levels. “There’s no question that students need to be more physically active,” she says. “But right now, we’re trying to focus on the improvement of quality P.E.” One of the ways to improve physical education, says Simpson Spinney, is to erase old notions of picking teams and playing seemingly pointless
games. “We’re really trying to move away from the term ‘gym class,’ because it tends to have negative connotations, especially for folks in the older generation who had a negative experience with P.E.,” she says. “And the most important shift is to develop programs that really individualize students’ personal fitness.” Thanks to a recent three-year, $500,000 grant from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Burlington schools now have the tools to help individualize students’ fitness. P.E. teachers benefit from MicroFit Healthstar Manager, a software program that allows them to use handheld PDAs to collect data on everything from flexibility to footsteps tracked on pedometers. The data is shared with other schools so that a child’s fitness can be consistently monitored from kindergarten through 10th grade. (Because Vermont requires high schoolers to take only a year and a half of P.E. to graduate, most fizzle by junior year, explains Souliere.) “We’ve always been fitness testing, but this makes it easier and more accurate,” Souliere says. “And the kids are more aware, because they get a printed report with color graphs that they can share with their families.” What happens to the kids who score poorly? “It’s disheartening, especially for the kids who are overweight,” acknowledges Souliere. “But I believe in being honest, and it gets the parents focused on health and fitness levels. I’ve had so many families just turn around their whole lifestyle.” Grant-funded pedometers, says Souliere, help keep elementary kids moving as much as possible in the limited amount of P.E. time. At Champlain Elementary,
Charbonneau’s first-graders take turns holding each other’s feet for sit-ups, then they play tag. In between chasing their classmates, the kids learn lessons on heart rates — and on how to accommodate one boy with disabilities. When Charbonneau asks for volunteers to push his wheelchair, every single hand shoots toward the ceiling. It’s a far cry from gym classes where kids who weren’t über-jocks were left to sulk on the sidelines. At Hunt Middle School, teacher Joan Shortsleeve has helped design an alternative P.E. class for overweight or obese kids who are selected based on their body mass indices and invited to participate. “They’re very happy to be in the class,” says Shortsleeve. “It’s a way to participate with like-sized peers in a small, supportive setting.” The federal grant has also allowed Burlington to buy equipment that may foster a lifelong appreciation of physical fitness, such as yoga mats, hand weights and physio balls. When the snow flies this winter, elementary, middle and high school students will have a chance to tramp around school grounds or glide on the trails of Ethan Allen Park, thanks to new snowshoes and cross-country skis. Such activities, says Simpson Spinney, do more than teach Vermont kids how to be active in their own backyards and tackle weight-control issues. They also help students develop the confidence they need to excel in school and perform well on the standardized tests that can gobble up precious school time. “It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation,” says Simpson Spinney. “Physical education can go hand in hand with a strong academic focus and performance. Students who are physically active are going to be more alert in class and have better focus — and that can lead to better scores.” m
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tâ€™s hard not to relish the spectacle of the Republicansâ€™ hoist on Mark Foleyâ€™s quivering petard. But the pleasure wanes as the sanctimony rises â€” a chorus of politicians, pundits and reporters all singing the words child protection. The GOP knew for years that the sixterm Florida congressman was â€œfunnyâ€? with the pages. They said nothing, except for the occasional, sotto voce warning to steer clear of the creep. Their first priority was to protect their own asses â€” not, as Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi put it, â€œto protect the children in their trust.â€? In response, Foley has played his own childhood-innocence card. He claims a priest molested him, propelling him into a life of homosexual pedophilia. At this writing, the congressman has announced heâ€™d reveal the miscreantâ€™s name â€” â€œpart of the healing process,â€? his lawyer notes, along with Foleyâ€™s treatment for alcoholism. Hours later, the priest, one Anthony Merciera, came forward, contending he and the boy went skinny-dipping together, as â€œbrothersâ€? â€” nothing more. Another former altar boy joined in, revealing that he and Foley used to hang out at the apartment of the priest, who let them drink and smoke. The priest admits he might have been disinhibited by alcohol problems of his own . . . and the saga continues. Let us begin by granting the obvious: Like the party to which he belongs, this particular member from Florida is a slimebucket of obfuscation and hypocrisy. But does anybody really think the Foley Affair is about protecting children? Is child the correct term for the subspecies of preternaturally ambitious 16- and 17-yearold humans who claw their way to Washington in order to learn how to become Dennis Hastert or Hillary Clinton; who, according to those formerly in their places, also take advantage of their sojourn in Our Nationâ€™s Capital to par-tay? Much blame for the complete meanâ€œPoli Psyâ€? is a monthly column that can also be read on www.sevendaysvt.com. To reach Judith Levine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ing-ectomy of the words child and protection must be assigned to the likes of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Childrenâ€™s caucuses; former House CoChair Mark Foley was one of their most zealous leaders. Over the years, these folks have built a fortress of â€œchild-protectiveâ€? crime legislation that has steadily increased the age at which a person is legally considered a child â€” from 12 to 18, for instance, in child-pornography law. The caucuses have worked with the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children, an organization known for tossing around statistics on â€œchild abductionsâ€? that fail to note that almost all the kids who go missing are actually teenage runaways â€” or teenage â€œthrowawaysâ€? whose parents have kicked them out. Such advocates also have a penchant for implying, incorrectly, that crimes against children tend to be sexual. As we know well, sex panics are a great way to sell Internet censorship, mandatory minima and other politically profitable law-andorder legislation. A triumphal moment for these tactics, and for Foley himself, came this summer, just months before the emails hit the fan. The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006 greatly expands the federal sex-offender registry and compels states to expand theirs. It also encourages civil commitment with new grants; institutes big, vague new areas of Internet surveillance; and hardens the penalties for sex crimes against children to include everything short of extraordinary rendition. An interesting footnote is the lawâ€™s name, inscribed â€œin recognition of John and RevĂŠ Walsh on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Adam Walshâ€™s abduction and murder.â€? John Walsh owned a hotel management business in Hollywood, Florida, in 1981 when his 6-year-old son was killed. His PR says the father â€œturned his grief â€? into a full-time fight for child victims. A less generous way of putting it is that Walsh launched a career by spreading the rumor â€” most explicitly in his book Tears of Rage â€” that his sonâ€™s murderer was a pedophile. The crusade spurred the creation of the missing-and-
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | poli psy 23A
exploited children’s center, and landed Walsh the job of hosting Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted.” From that exalted position he has cultivated friends in high places, including Mark Foley, to push for tougher sex-offender laws. There’s a little problem, however. According to detectives who worked on the stillunsolved case, there has never
authorities they thought would do something about it. No, Foley is something far less press-worthy: He is a sexual harasser — a person who uses his position of power in a workplace or other institution to extract sexual favors from a subordinate. Why don’t we call him that? One reason, no doubt, is that Nancy Pelosi and the other Democratic women know sexu-
Mark Foley is a sexual harasser — a person who uses his position of institutional power to extract sexual favors from a subordinate. Why don’t we call him that? been either suspicion or evidence of sex in Adam’s murder. But never mind. There is little evidence that most of the provisions of HR 4472 do anything to prevent crimes against children. In fact, some of the provisions are likely to hurt them. For purposes of protection, the law defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18. In some states, though, anyone under the age of consent who has sex with anyone else under the age of consent is committing a crime. On several states’ sex-offender registry websites you can see the smooth faces of prepubescent “sex offenders.” In fact, the Adam Walsh Act now requires the registration of juveniles as young as 14 who have ever been convicted or adjudicated even for consensual sexual activity with another minor under the age of 13. These “offenders” must produce DNA samples, submit to electronic monitoring and, if the violation was a second offense or the partner was younger than 12, remain registered and monitored for life. Meanwhile, back in the House, Ethics Committee members are trying to decide if Maf54 broke the law by IMing the pages (in some cases with mutual enjoyment) about masturbation and boxer shorts. Under his own law, which criminalizes “the use of the Internet to facilitate or commit a crime against a minor,” he might be a felon. If he had actual sex with them, however — which he denies — he could be acting within the law. The age of consent in Washington, D.C., is 16. As I said, the words child and protection lose all meaning. Still, Mark Foley is no child molester — and not just because of those consent-implying lols from some of his IM buddies. After all, for each cheerful participant, there were God-knows-how-many who deleted the drooly messages in disgust, or reported Foley to
al harassment is not taken seriously in Washington. They remember Anita Hill. If a Supreme Court nominee could get away with it, who’d care about a piss-ant Florida rep? More important, though, calling Foley’s misconduct sexual harassment would be saying something about the young people on whom he hit. The object of sexual harassment is assumed to be an adult. She has a sex life, but does not want to share it with the line foreman or the 15 other men in her department. If she has not made her objections clear, it’s because she fears losing a raise or a job or becoming the victim of further retribution, including violence. Harassment is a psychological or physical trespass on the sexual privacy and equality of a citizenworker. Molestation, on the other hand, is a theft of the alleged sexual innocence of a child. Sexual harassment is a violation of rights. By law and custom, children have no rights, least of all sexual ones. This Congress has just passed the billion-dollar mark in appropriations for abstinence-only education. Its message: that minors are not — and should not be — sexual. While more than one congressional member has surely been piqued by the sexual-object possibilities of the nubile messengers in their midst, they are ideologically unable to view these youngsters as sexual subjects — least of all, as willing gay sexual subjects. If they — or we — can’t recognize teenagers’ right to say yes, we have little choice but to “protect” them by saying no on their behalf, whether they want us to or not. Not that I give a fig for Mark Foley. But he is one more casualty of the war on teen sexuality. The public has made a psychopath of a man who is at best a jerk and a hypocrite and, at worse, the perpetrator of the serious crime of sexual harassment. �
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24A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
Doubting Thomas White House Press Corps dean Helen Thomas on giving presidents hell
CATHY RESMER “Where Is the Outrage in This Country?” a talk by Helen Thomas sponsored by Vermont Woman magazine. Sheraton Hotel, South Burlington, October 29, 2 p.m. $25. Info, 861-6200.
or Helen Thomas, “Question Authority” is not just a bumper-sticker slogan; it’s her job description. As a member of the White House Press Corps since 1961, she’s grilled nine American presidents — first as the White House Bureau Chief for wire service United Press International, and now as a syndicated columnist for Hearst Newspapers, which hired her after she left UPI in 2000. Thomas was a pioneer when she started out in the male-dominated biz; the 86-year-old Washington, D.C., resident was the first female member — and later, the first woman president — of the White House Correspondents Association. She was the lone lady reporter on Richard Nixon’s historic China trip in 1972. Since becoming a columnist, Thomas has been free to express her liberal political opinions, and she doesn’t hold back; she has called President Bush the worst president ever, and has been sharply critical of the media for not asking tougher questions in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Her position is clear from the title page of her fourth book, Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public. Her upcoming address in South Burlington is entitled, “Where Is the Outrage in This Country?” Thomas drew praise from Iraq war critics after a press conference last March, during which she pushed Bush to explain why he really went to war. Here’s a partial transcript of their exchange, from the White House website: HELEN THOMAS: I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly, at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet — your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth — what was your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil — quest of oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it? PRESIDENT BUSH: I think your premise — in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist — is that — I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect — HT: Everything — PB: Hold on for a second, please. HT: Everything I’ve heard — PB: Excuse me, excuse me. No president
wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We — when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers
could destroy innocent life. And I’m never going to forget it. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people. Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that’s why I went into Iraq — hold on for a second — HT: They didn’t do anything to you, or to our country.
PB: Look — excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where al Qaeda trained — HT: I’m talking about Iraq — PB: Helen, excuse me. That’s where — Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where they trained . . . I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomati-
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | feature 25A
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cally. That’s why I went to the Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. As the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences — HT: — go to war — PB: — and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world.
10/2/06 10:11:43 AM
very annoying.” The conversation went uphill from there. SEVEN DAYS: You started your career in journalism in 1942. As a female reporter who works for a newspaper owned and run by two women, I’m curious — how was the work environment different for women back then?
They should be ashamed of themselves, really. Not for attacking me, but for not standing up for innocent people who are being killed every day. HELEN THOMAS
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And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it. Comedian Stephen Colbert paid tribute to Thomas in April at the Washington Correspondents Dinner; Bush was among the guests. In his roast, which made the email and YouTube rounds, Colbert joked that he was planning to apply for the job of White House press secretary, then proceeded to show an “audition tape” of himself in the role. Thomas plays a diminutive but determined scribe who confronts Colbert with a tough Iraq question, then chases him into a parking garage, and finally traps him in a limo, in order to get a response out of him. But while she makes her living by posing uncomfortable queries, there are a few that Thomas herself prefers not to answer. If you want to make her testy, inquire about her age. “I’m getting sick and tired of that,” she says. “It’s very, very judgmental. I read a story, and the man never has an age, but I always have mine. I’m sorry, it’s
HELEN THOMAS: Well, I think the fact that you’re working for two women obviously shows that it has changed. It was a man’s world, no question about it. If a woman applied for a newspaper job, she usually would be shunted to what was then the society pages, then became family and style. There were some women for 150 years writing hard news. But nevertheless, most of the jobs for real tough reporting were given to men. SD: You were eventually named an officer of the National Press Club, but I’ve heard that when you started out in the business, women weren’t allowed to be members. HT: We didn’t get in, really, until 1971, when they were down on their dues financially. It wasn’t a matter of great principle. All the clubs in this town were closed to women. There was a Women’s National Press Club, which was established mainly to offset that. But we had to demonstrate, picket, appeal to the government officials that they should not let a visiting head of state speak at a >> 27A
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26A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
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SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | feature 27A
doubting thomas << 25A
press club where we couldn’t cover the story. So it was a long struggle.
what’s going on in the world every day. Education every day. That’s what journalism is.
SD: Thanks for doing all that work. HT: I was very selfishly motivated, believe me. It was a cabal. Everybody knew the injustice.
SD: You’ve criticized the press corps for not challenging the president — HT: Absolutely.
SD: You began covering the White House during JKF’s presidency in 1961. What does covering the White House entail?
SD: But I read White House press conference transcripts, and they often strike me as combative. There’s a lot of back and forth, with either the press secretary or the president.
people who are being killed every day. SD: Since then you’ve become a hero to many people angry about the war, and about the way the country is being run. I think they wish they could question the president like that. HT: I hope so. I want people to get out of their passivity. Their silence is deafening. If their voices are raised, we might not be killing so many people.
They know they’ve fallen on their face. Thousands are dead, and nobody can explain why. We invaded a country that did nothing to us. I don’t know how they can have that on their conscience. HELEN THOMAS
HT: We have two press briefings daily. One is called a gaggle, which is early in the morning, lasts about 15 minutes. Lays out the president’s day, and we ask some questions. Then a major briefing is around 12:30 in the afternoon. Usually televised. Press conferences are on their own volition. We never know when it’s going to happen. SD: George W. Bush has had fewer press conferences than past presidents, right? HT: Yes. He doesn’t like ’em. No president really likes a press conference. The whole idea of being quizzed and interrogated, when they think they’re president, you know, ‘Who are you to ask me?’ The thing is, this one in particular certainly doesn’t like press conferences. He doesn’t take follow-ups, which is very bad. SD: Your role at press conferences has changed over the years. HT: I was with the wire service — UPI and AP got the first two questions, by tradition. They’ve been there since before the advent of television. And now I’m a columnist, and so I just take my chances. SD: They rarely call on you now. Is that because you’re a columnist now, or because they don’t like you? HT: They don’t like me. Who cares? I never went into this profession to be liked. Why would I? I went in for my own reasons. SD: Such as? HT: To keep the people informed. You cannot have a democracy without an informed people. To fulfill my own ambition. Nosiness. Finding out
That process doesn’t often make it into newspaper stories. Why is it important? HT: We should be asking tougher questions which they don’t want to answer. They prepare themselves with automatic, reflex answers to clear their names. But telling the truth is very, very difficult in government or anything else. It’s our job to try to find out the truth. SD: You’ve certainly asked some tough questions, the most famous being the time you badgered the president to tell you why he went to war in Iraq. A number of right-wing commentators vilified you after that exchange. Don Imus said, “That old bag should shut up and get out. I’m sick of her.” Bill O’Reilly said, “I would have laid into that woman, and I don’t care how old she is. I would have laid her out.” Are you afraid of these guys coming after you? HT: [laughs] Hell, no. They’re imbeciles. SD: Why are they so angry with you? HT: I think they’re so far to the right that they obviously see me as the opposite side. I’m a liberal. I’ll be a liberal for the rest of my life. I was born a liberal. And they can’t stand it. They know they’ve fallen on their face. Thousands are dead, and nobody can explain why. We invaded a country that did nothing to us. I don’t know how they can have that on their conscience. They should be ashamed of themselves, really. Not for attacking me, but for not standing up for innocent
SD: It’s a real privilege to be able to sit in that briefing room and ask questions. But I guess it shouldn’t be a privilege to question government in a democracy. HT: It’s our right. But it is a privilege to ask the president a question, because [it’s his decision] whether he’s going to call on you or not. And the very fact that they avoid the tough questions — how can a president be a president and not be able to deal with the issues, explain himself? SD: Whenever I see President Bush answer questions — the back-andforth kind of questions, not the ones where he’s giving a canned answer — I’m often surprised by how inarticulate he is. HT: Angry, mostly. He’s angry. He’s a very angry man. The fact that you might even challenge him when he has such a sense of self-righteousness. SD: You’ve covered some interesting times. Any favorite stories? HT: I cover history every day. It’s my cliché answer, but it’s the truth. I’ve been here since Kennedy, so you can imagine what’s happened in this panorama since 1961. Assassination of a president, resignation of a president for the first time in history, scandals — rampant scandals — watching fascinating people aspire to power and fall down on the job when they reach the top of the mark. SD: Any plans to retire? HT: If I did, would I be here talking to you? Why in the hell should I? �
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28A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
“It’s been one nightmare after another.” SANDI SHUM, WHISPERING PINES RESIDENT
home alone Why has everyone abandoned the residents of Whispering Pines trailer park? STORY: KEN PICARD IMAGES: JORDAN SILVERMAN
he hand-painted sign on the front door of Sandi Shum’s mobile home reads, “This house protected by angels.” If that’s the case, heaven’s little helpers are flying solo on this mission. Shum, 50, lives alone in her trailer in a wooded corner of Whispering Pines, a small mobile home park on Route 103 in North Clarendon. Shum, a former machinist in Rutland, was injured on the job in 1991 when part of a jet engine she was assembling severed her wrist. She underwent reconstructive surgery but has been permanently disabled ever since. Shum moved into Whispering Pines in 1995 because, like many of the park’s residents, it was the only housing she could afford. Her 40-year-old trailer isn’t much to look at from the outside, but Shum has done her best to make the interior feel warm and homey. That’s no easy task in a house that frequently stinks of mold, mildew and swamp gas. Several years ago, a tree limb fell through her roof. Today, the ceiling along the trailer’s westerly wall is a veritable roadmap of water stains. She’s had to jury-rig a brace to hold up the ceiling. Meanwhile, the backside of the trailer sags due to the soggy, uneven ground. Apparently Whispering Pines, which opened in 1974, was built on a combination of wetlands and landfill. Shum has an afternoon’s worth of horror stories about other problems at the park. She has photos dating back to the winter of 1995, when icy pools of septic
water formed in her backyard and beneath her trailer. In the summer of 1996, she stood up from a lawn chair and sank kneedeep into a sinkhole. In 1997, raw sewage backed up into her bathtub and ran down the hall. Even after the house was cleaned, the sewer gases venting into her trailer were so noxious, she had to move into a nearby hotel for more than a year. Only later did she learn that a perforated sewer pipe from a neighboring trailer ran right under her living room. “It’s been one nightmare after another,” she says, choking back tears. Other Whispering Pines residents have had similar troubles. For years, tenants have complained to anyone who would listen about electrical brownouts, water outages, unfilled potholes and sinking lots. One of their biggest concerns, they say, is their water. Oftentimes it smells foul, with sediment that clogs their toilets and ruins their washing machines. Chlorine levels fluctuate between nonexistent to overpowering. Complicating the picture is the fact that the park’s owner, J.P. Carrara and Sons, also owns a neighboring dolomite quarry, which, until last year, was routinely using explosives to extract rock. Besides the nuisances created by the blasting, some neighbors charge that all these seismic disturbances have damaged their trailers, water pipes and septic lines. Of greater concern, residents say, is the possibility that the quarry operation is doing further harm to the park’s already compromised groundwater. In 1990, leak-
ing underground storage tanks were discovered at a nearby Honda dealership and general store, which contaminated the aquifer with the petroleum additive MTBE. Even at low concentrations, MTBE makes water smell and taste like turpentine. At higher concentrations, MTBE is suspected to cause a number of health problems, though its toxicity to humans is unknown. This in a town where, since 2003, residents have been concerned about unusually high rates of leukemia and other cancer. Since 1990, the state of Vermont has been providing the residents of Whispering Pines free bottled water and operating its water-filtration system — at an estimated cost of $1 million to date. But despite continuing problems, the state has never declared the water unsafe to drink. Residents continue to use it for cleaning, bathing and washing dishes. If Vermont had a “Lemon Law” to cover mobile home parks, Whispering Pines would be a shoo-in. “We’re getting to the point where enough is enough,” says Mike Klopchin, chairman of the Clarendon Select Board and its longestserving member. “I’m a Vietnam veteran and I can tell you this: I’ve seen better living conditions in poor parts of Vietnam than exist in that trailer park.” Admittedly, many of the problems at Whispering Pines are classic landlord-tenant disputes that might have been resolved years ago through litigation. However, nearly all the residents of the park are lowor moderate-income people who say they have neither the time nor the money to spend battling their wealthy landlord in court. Instead, since August 2005 most of the tenants who haven’t already moved — that is, five of the nine remaining — have been withholding their rent. Instead, they’re paying into an escrow account. Repeated phone calls to J.P. Carrara and Sons for its side of this story were not
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | feature 29A
returned. As one longtime resident of Clarendon noted, the Carraras rarely, if ever, comment for news stories about Whispering Pines. Frustrations don’t lie solely with the Carraras, according to the residents who agreed to talk to Seven Days, but also with the various state agencies they feel have abandoned them. Public records dating back to 1995, when the Carraras bought the park, show that state officials have long been aware of resident grievances and repeatedly cited the park’s owner for water-quality violations. Nevertheless, the tenants contend that no one at the state level has ever taken a thorough and comprehensive look at their problems and tried to find a longlasting solution. All of which raises some troubling questions: In a state that touts its reputation for strict environmental and consumer-protection laws, how could such serious problems be allowed to fester for so long? What does it say about Vermont’s commitment to affordable housing when one of its most affordable housing options — mobile home parks — seem to lack effective governmental oversight and enforcement to keep them safe and habitable? In short, who’s supposed to be looking out for the residents of Whispering MARTHA LAJOIE Pines? Unfortunately, it’s much easier to point fingers than to find satisfactory answers. Even the small number of it would cost to move her 32-year-old trailer — assuming it could be moved at tenants who still live in Whispering Pines all. Nevertheless, she’s been withholding can’t agree on the best solution for everyher rent in solidarity with her neighbors. one involved. Some say they want the “I don’t want to feel like I’m deserting the state to declare the park uninhabitable, shut it down and pay to move its residents ship,” she says. “At this point, I just don’t know what to do.” elsewhere. Others say they’re perfectly Lajoie says she joined the recent rent content with the park the way it is. Still boycott because she’d endured “very seriothers are willing to stay put, as long as ous problems” with her septic system that the Carraras agree to fix maintenance went unaddressed for far too long. Back in problems as soon as they arise. Because of the 1970s, she and her now-deceased hustheir differences, relations among the resiband, Richard, were among a group of resdents are sometimes as strained as those idents who withheld rent from the previbetween the tenants and their landlord. One resident who doesn’t want to leave ous owner due to ongoing sewer problems. The tenants eventually won a court case is Martha Lajoie. The 69-year-old has against that landlord, though he later lived in Whispering Pines longer than skipped the country. anyone. She runs a business-management Several years ago, Lajoie had raw company out of her home and also cares sewage back up into her trailer and destroy for her 2-year-old great-grandson, of whom she has custody. Lajoie is the arche- her carpet, which she paid to replace. A plumber told her the troubles were due to typal sweet old lady — friendly, polite, the landlord’s faulty septic system, not her impeccably dressed and seemingly averse to complaining about anything to anyone. plumbing. Lajoie sent the Carraras a certified letter to that effect, which, she claims, As she puts it, “I’m not the coffee-klatch they never answered. For more than a year, type. I kind of stick to myself.” Lajoie says she can’t afford the $30,000 Lajoie couldn’t flush solids down her toilet
and had to remove them each day with a bucket and pail. “There’s always been problems here,” says Lajoie. “They say that the blasting doesn’t do it, but I don’t think I’m buying that. When this place goes shake, rattle and roll, don’t tell me the pipes underground aren’t shaking, rattling and rolling with it.” Eventually, the Carraras fixed Lajoie’s pipes. Today, she says her only outstanding issue with the landlord is the quality of her water — a test done several weeks ago found coliform bacteria in her house. It
fewer than 10 hook-ups, or 25 residents, living in the park. As a result, Whispering Pines now falls below the DEC’s regulatory threshold and has been “de-listed” as a public water system. In effect, because two residents moved out, the state can no longer guarantee the safety of the water. Tim Raymond is the water systems manager for the DEC’s Water Supply Division. Raymond is familiar with residents’ concerns at Whispering Pines; he’s dealt with them for years and says he’s not surprised the place still has “operational difficulties.” Raymond says it’s “not typical” for a mobile home park to rack up that many water-quality violations, even over an eight-year period. However, he says that most of the problems didn’t threaten the health of residents. “From my perspective, you need to make a distinction between a public-health risk — meaning the water you’re For more than receiving can’t be utilized a year, resident because it’s unsafe — and the operational complicaMartha Lajoie tions of the system that are truly driving you crazy,” he couldn’t flush says. Basically, the problems Whispering Pines are due solids down her in to the water equipment and toilet and had to the people who operate it, he explains, not problems remove them with the water supply itself. Raymond also points out each day with a that the state is still to an extent. It bucket and pail. involved, operates the park’s air stripper, the water-filtration system that removes MTBE came as a something of a surprise, since from the water before it reaches the resithe park’s water was found to be malfuncdents. That equipment is paid for and tioning back in August. As of last week, maintained by the state’s Petroleum residents said the chlorine problem still Cleanup Fund. Whispering Pines, hadn’t been fixed. Raymond asserts, has seen “significant “Everybody here has gone through hot improvements” in its water quality as a water tanks because of the hard water. I result of the DEC’s involvement. can live with that,” Lajoie says. “What I “Even though the state may be disapcan’t live with is not knowing whether I pointing to some people, the state is still should be bathing my babies in this active there and still operating that local water.” water system,” he adds. “Because it’s the Lajoie’s water issue is hardly an isolated state’s treatment system, the state is going incident. Records from the Vermont to make sure that treatment system is reliDepartment of Environmental able and safe.” Conservation show that between 1995 As for the erratic chlorine levels, and 2004, the Water Supply Division doc- Raymond says that’s no longer the state’s umented at least 37 water-quality violajob to oversee. That responsibility, he says, tions at Whispering Pines. They ranged now belongs to the park’s owner — J.P. from failures to file monthly reports to not Carrara and Sons. notifying the residents that they needed to boil their water due to dangerous bacteria “I think most of the state’s officials levels. Nevertheless, the DEC has never are asses,” Kevin Callahan says with the bluntness of someone who’s spent years imposed tough fines on the Carraras or trying to get government officials to pay referred this case to the attorney general’s attention to his concerns. office for further legal action. It’s unlikely the DEC ever will. That’s because, as of December 2004, there were >> 30A
30A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
home alone << 29A
KEVIN AND CAROL CALLAHAN
Callahan’s frustration is understandable. In 1998, he and his wife Carol, then both 25, moved into Whispering Pines. The following year, they bought a brand-new mobile home. Carol works in the elementary school cafeteria in Clarendon; Kevin is currently receiving Workers’ Compensation due to an injury he suffered working at a local propane company. The couple shares a mobile home with their two children. Like other park residents, the Callahans have had their share of troubles with the water and wastewater. During their first summer in Whispering Pines, they went days without water when the park’s well ran dry. Since then, they’ve had water that smells “like a swamp”; other days the chlorine level is strong enough to bleach their clothes. Then, in 2000, the family’s septic problems began in earnest. “I could flush my toilet and have a geyser in my front yard,” Kevin Callahan recalls. After repeated complaints to the landlord went unattended — video of their septic woes even made the local TV news in 2003 — Callahan says he called the state, which sent a truck to his home to inspect the problem. “This guy came out and stuck a stick in it, smelled it and said, ‘Yup, that’s the sewer,’” Callahan recalls. “Then, he and his buddy got back in the truck, drove away and we never heard from them again.” Far more disconcerting to the Callahans have been their health problems, which they fear may be due to the park’s persistent
Something is seriously wrong in the state of Vermont if regulators are allowing people to drink and bathe in water that looks and smells like that. ATTORNEY STAN ALPERT problems. These include asthma, rashes, cysts, endometriosis and other unexplained illnesses. “It’s funny,” Carol Callahan says. “If you leave here for a couple of days, you feel fantastic. And then when you come back, it’s kind of like having a cold, but at the same time it’s like you’re depressed.” Ironically, she doesn’t blame the Carraras entirely for their troubles. “I’m not saying I agree with everything the landlord has done,” Carol Callahan says. “But I don’t think it’s fair to always put the fault on him. “My opinion? I think the state should close this park,” she adds. “It’s old, it’s outlived its life, you’ve got contamination on one side and a quarry on the other side. No matter what that man [Carrara] does, it’s always going to have problems.” The Callahans’ situation improved significantly when Clarendon Public Health Officer Roxanne Phelps got involved. Appointed to her post in 2003, Phelps became interested in Whispering Pines after hearing reports that children in the park were suffering from respiratory problems such as lung infections, asthma and persistent colds. In August 2005, Phelps and fellow
health officer Chuck Davis inspected the park and identified 12 health and safety violations, some of which Phelps called “life-threatening.” Within 48 hours, Phelps arranged a meeting with the Carraras, the tenants and the DEC to get those problems fixed. At one point during the meeting, the Carraras’ attorney insisted that the park’s water was safe. So Phelps handed him a glass of water from the Callahans’ tap and asked him to drink it. He refused. For the residents of Whispering Pines, it was a scene right out of the movie Erin Brockovich. That said, there’s only so much that a part-time town health officer can do on a limited budget. Those familiar with the case say it’s going to take a lot more firepower to get the residents’ problems resolved. “Just find me a brick wall and I’ll bang my head against it until the blood comes out, and maybe somebody will pay attention. That’s how these people feel,” says Annette Smith of the nonprofit group Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE). “I don’t know what the answer is, but clearly, it’s not state government.”
Smith is an environmental activist who’s been working with the tenants of Whispering Pines since 2003. Her involvement with this case is extensive; most recently, she’s been helping them fight an Act 250 permit request by J.P. Carrara and Sons to deepen their quarry by another 105 feet. The quarry, Smith contends, is “an immensely complicating factor” in the problems plaguing the park. According to court papers filed by VCE, J.P. Carrara and Sons has a history of ignoring state environmental regulations that dates back to the mid1980s. Back then, the proposed quarry site was an important deer habitat that was illegally clear-cut, in violation of Act 250, VCE contends. Vermont Fish and Wildlife opposed the quarry’s land-use permit, but it was eventually granted after the company agreed to set aside another parcel of deer habitat eight miles away. As early as 1994 Smith says that neighbors suspected the quarry’s blasting was causing damage to the aquifer — that year, one neighbor’s well ran dry — and potentially making the MTBE contamination worse. Those problems persist to this
day, Smith says — though it’s worth noting that the quarry has not been operating for the last year due in part to the neighbor’s concerns. Then why in the course of Act 250 hearings last spring would an attorney for the Agency of Natural Resources ask to throw out of evidence the entire history of water-supply violations by J.P. Carrara and Sons? His argument: Those were landlord-tenant matters that had nothing to do with the pending permit request. “The reality is, you’ve got a contaminated aquifer, you’ve got a clear interconnection between the quarry and the aquifer, you don’t know where the MTBE is except there could be pockets of it spread all around,” Smith says, “and the state has no problem with this.” In fact, residents learned this May that the air stripper, which is supposed to protect them from MTBE exposure, hadn’t been working properly since January. In Smith’s view, that means the residents were potentially exposed to dangerous levels of MTBE for at least four months. Not so, says Bob Haslam, environmental analyst with the DEC’s Waste Management Division. As Haslam explains, the MTBE “overwhelmed the system temporarily and a tiny amount got through. . . Every now and then you get these anomalous spikes. It’s just the nature of the beast.” Haslam insists the residents were never at any risk. As he puts it, “This treatment system is very, very reliable. It’s a well-
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | feature 31A
established technology.â€? Not according to Stan Alpert, the New York City attorney who represents VCE pro bono on the Carrarasâ€™ Act 250 case. Alpert is a former federal prosecutor whoâ€™s sued the oil industry for MTBE contamination in other states. According to him, the technology currently being used to protect the residents of Whispering Pines is woefully inadequate to protect their health. In his opinion, â€œSomething is seriously wrong in the state of Vermont if regulators are allowing people to drink and bathe in water that looks and smells like that.â€? After Clarendon spent more than $5000 on a public health officer to work on Whispering Pines, and with tenants still not paying their rent to the Carraras, the town asked Vermontâ€™s attorney general to intervene. Assistant Attorney General Wendy Morgan is handling the case. After conversations with the residents, the Carrarasâ€™ attorney and the various state agencies, Morgan determined that the current problems at Whispering Pines â€œdonâ€™t rise to the level of violations that would cause us to bring a court action or close the park.â€? Morgan explains that she
trying to achieve here? If what weâ€™re trying to achieve is safe and habitable housing for lowand moderate-income people, then what happened in the past shouldnâ€™t be ignored, but itâ€™s not going to cause us to bring an action.â€? Itâ€™s unclear how the troubles at Whispering Pines will ever be resolved. The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity has a mobile home advocacy project, but it cannot bring legal action, only advise tenants of their rights. The Rutland County Community Land Trust has looked into creating another mobile home park in the area to accommodate Whispering Pines residents. However, two other local parks recently closed, giving those residents first priority. Community Development Block Grants sometimes can be used to help relocate trailer park residents. But an application filed for Whispering Pines was denied, since the parkâ€™s owner has never filed a notice for closure. As Smith puts it, â€œThis case brings you head-on into the real problem of low-income housing in Vermont.â€? These days, she isnâ€™t optimistic. If the quarry were closed, if a new and safe water supply were found and if the current infrastructure problems
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only looked at current conditions in the park, not past complaints or violations. Although she recognizes that landlordtenant issues still need to be resolved, itâ€™s her belief that there are none outstanding that compromise public safety or habitability . As such, she says, the residents no longer have reason to withhold their rent. â€œThe residents are frustrated, and I donâ€™t blame anybody for being frustrated,â€? she says. â€œThe question for us is, what are we
were fixed, perhaps Whispering Pines could be saved. But thatâ€™s a lot of ifs, Smith says, and, based on the Carrarasâ€™ track record, sheâ€™s not holding her breath. Meanwhile, a ruling on the Act 250 permit request to expand the quarry is expected any day. If itâ€™s approved, the quarry will likely resume blasting as soon as possible. Sandi Shum says sheâ€™s hoping her trailer makes it through the winter. ďż˝
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32A | october 25-november 01, 2006 | SEVEN DAYS
Wind Up Mouse Book Review: The Second Mouse by Archer Mayor
s Archer Mayor getting bored with Joe Gunther? It’s hard not to ask that question while reading The Second Mouse, the Newfane author’s 17th mystery set in Vermont and starring the indomitable field-force commandSTORY MARGOT er of the Vermont Bureau of HARRISON Investigation. Gunther is a stalwart presence in The Second Mouse, just as The Second Mouse he has been ever since Mayor’s first by Archer Mayor, novel in the series, Open Season. Back Mysterious Press, then, Joe was a humble Brattleboro 292 pages, $24.99. police lieutenant. Now he’s a “law enforcement legend in Vermont,” a Archer Mayor readings: veteran crime solver who’s also savvy Monday, Nov. 13, enough to perform complex political 4 p.m., at Kingdom maneuvers, such as getting the state’s Books, Waterford. Info, 748-5488 chief medical examiner out from or www.kingdom under the thumb of a tyrannical books.com. bureaucrat. Tuesday, Nov. 28, Somewhere along the way, though, 7 p.m. at Galaxy Mayor’s supporting players became Bookshop, more compelling than his hero. Maybe Hardwick. Info, 472-5533, that’s why a substantial portion of The Thursday, Nov. 30, Second Mouse is told from the perspec7 p.m., at Borders, tive of characters who are, viewed simBurlington. ply in terms of their plot function, the Info, 865-2711. “bad guys.” In Chapter 2 we meet a pair of hard-luck, hard-drinking Benningtonians floating in the dangerous orbit of a small-time criminal. A bit of a psycho and a bit of a fascist, ex-biker Mel Martin uses his best friend Ellis Robbinson as muscle and his wife Nancy as getaway driver in schemes that range from mugging a fireman for bingo cash to stealing M16s from the National Guard. Weary of Mel’s bullying, Ellis and Nancy turn to each other, first for sexual solace and then for a way out of the morass into which Mel is leading them. Soon they’re wondering if there’s a way to frame Mel as a terrorist, so the Department of Homeland
manhood. Anyone not fitting the mold was probably either weak-willed or gay.” Ellis’s loving relationship with his cancer-ridden mother, who abandoned him as a child, adds a dimension of pathos to his character. Fine, but what does all this have to do with Joe Gunther? For more than 100 pages, all that appears to connect Joe’s current case with Mel Martin and his crew is a town. Gunther is investigating the seemingly natural death of Michelle Fisher, a recovering alcoholic who lived alone in a converted schoolhouse in Wilmington. The house belongs to the father of Fisher’s recently deceased boyfriend, an unsavory penny-pincher who was itching to evict her. Like the Martins, the landlord happens to live in Bennington, a county that Mayor tells us “regarded itself as Vermont’s black hole.” When Joe goes on the road to interview the landlord, the author adds Bennington to his gallery of Vermont town portraits. Mayor’s urban descriptions are masterpieces of observation and economy: In a few, well-crafted sentences, he shows us what makes a place tick. By contrast, the plot of The Second Mouse is all over the place. While Mel Martin nurses aspirations of becoming southern Vermont’s version of Scarface, Gunther is off on a sidequest that feels a lot like a tangent. To get access to Michelle Fisher’s autopsy results, he has to delve into the problems of Chief Medical Examiner Beverly Hillstrom. Much like the new Fletcher Allen Medical Center where she works, the doctor finds herself compromised by the greed and fraud of others. For fans of the series, subplots like
Agatha Christie mousetrap. But we’re still waiting for that revelation, that inherently satisfying click the detec-
In a few well-crafted sentences, Mayor shows us what makes a place tick. By contrast, the plot of The Second Mouse is all over the place. Security will “lock him up forever and not even give him a trial.” Ellis and Nancy aren’t too bright, but they are memorable characters. Mayor needs only a few deft strokes to flesh out these people who live on society’s twilit borders. For instance, we’re told that “Ellis worked to maintain the mental fog he trusted to cloud his better judgment.” Or that “In a world of loud men with demonstrative habits . . . Nancy had formed a habit of pegging such behavior to
this are worth the detour. It’s nice to see Hillstrom gain some dimensions beyond her usual chilly über-competence, and her interactions with Joe develop his character, too. But The Second Mouse is still a mystery novel, and one consistent requirement of the genre is that the pieces of plot eventually click into place. Sure, every ambitious mystery will have its dead ends and red herrings, just like a real murder investigation — life isn’t a jigsaw puzzle, or an
tive’s mind makes as it figures things out. In The Second Mouse, Mayor makes the necessary explanations but withholds that crucial moment from us, as if the mystery were almost beside the point. The plot elements amble toward one another and shake hands, but they never quite connect. Mayor also fails to make good on the delectable irony promised by the title. It’s explained by an epigraph he attributes to his daughter: “The early bird may get the worm, but the sec-
ond mouse gets the cheese.” That clever chestnut leads us to expect a turnabout in which one character’s downfall is another’s windfall — better to be the second mouse to encounter the trap. But nobody seems to profit from the events of The Second Mouse — not Michelle Fisher, not hapless Ellis and Nancy, and not Joe Gunther, who’s simply trying to keep his life on an even keel as he contemplates more examples of man’s inhumanity to man. As for the readers, we’re treated to some fine description and characterization — but also to loads of exposition and the occasional clunker cliché. (“I miss us,” Joe’s ex-lover tells him.) Given the darkness of Mayor’s recent books, maybe it’s time he stopped using the whodunit format and tried his hand at a more openended literary noir — with a protagonist who isn’t Joe Gunther. The real irony of this novel is that no one seems to get the cheese. m
SEVEN DAYS | october 25-november 01, 2006 | feature 33A
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