STATE REPRESENTATIVE RACES
I N N E X T W E E K ’ S PA P E R
Windham 4: Moore challenges Obuchowski, Partridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 3 Windham 3-1: Morton vs. Stuart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 3 Windham-Bennington-Windsor 1: Olsen, Trask vie for seat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 4
S tate R epresentative races
• Windham-1: Michael Hebert (R) vs. Richard Davis (D) • Windham-6: Rep. Richard Marek (D) vs. Gaila S. Gulack (R)
WINDHAM COUNTY SHERIFF
STATE SENATE RACES
Sheriff Clark, in absentia, faces Manch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 4
Sen. Jeanette White (D), Peter Galbraith (D), Lynn Corum (R), Hilary Cooke (R): Two will win.
VERMONT STATE AUDITOR
S tate ’ s A ttorney
Hoffer, Salmon offer different approaches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 5
Tracy Kelly Shriver (D) vs. Gwen Harris (I)
y l k e wve
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Brattleboro, Vermont Wednesday, October 20, 2010 • Vol. V, No. 25 • Issue #72
W ind h am C ounty ’ s A W A R D - W I N N I N G , I ndependent S ource for N ews and V iews
Monsters to watch out for, and some scary reads
Setting What’s in a up shop NUMBER ? Unemployment
Halloween fun on page 10
By Olga Peters
GUILFORD—Listen to the sweet sounds of renovation banging and bouncing from the Guilford Country Store. The Friends of Algiers Village, a nonprofit civic group, has entered the early phases of renovation after a year of fundraising culminated in purchasing the historic building in August. According to Anne Rider, a member of the store renovation subcommittee who serves on the Selectboard, Friends of Algiers Village is in phase one of construction. The old shelving and antiquated equipment have been removed. FOAV has also hired
the human cost
BF students react after reading book on genocide page 6 Viewpoint
Riding the war horse across the globe
David Shaw/The Commons
Juanita Lane, who directs Mercy Ministries of Agape Christian Fellowship in Brattleboro with her husband Kenneth, cleans up after one of the church’s community meals. Lane has seen a 26-percent increase in the number of meals served in the past few months.
Life and Work mensa testing
How smart do you think you are? page 9
Sports Boys Soccer
Colonels close in on No. 2 seed in playoffs
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By Allison Teague The Commons
he Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) says the unemployment rate for Vermont is 6 percent, as of August. However, that figure does not count those who have maxed out their unemployment benefits and extended benefits, or those who have become disillusioned or depressed and have given up looking for a job for a year or more. It takes a closer look at other figures to get the full extent of poverty and joblessness in
Nonprofit opens search for Guilford Country Store proprietor
Vermont. For example, the percentage of people living below the poverty level in Vermont is 10.4 percent, according to VDOL. During the week of Oct. 9, unemployment claims rose sharply, with 162 new claims submitted. Of the 359,648 Vermonters of working age, 12,481 are on unemployment. That’s 3.4 percent of the population, which means the other 7 percent living below poverty level, have no means of income. Michael Briggs, spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, said that Sanders often “speaks n see UNEMPLOYMENT, page 8
architect firm Williams & Frehsee, Inc. to draw up new plans for the space. In line with a historic easement, the organization must preserve a Count Rumford fireplace and beadboard on the ceiling. Everything else inside the store, says Rider, is up for grabs. Phase two will entail renovating the two apartments, currently occupied, above the store. Rider said members of the nonprofit FOAV, with the mission of revitalizing the triangle at the junction of Route 5 and Guilford Center Road, want to recruit a store operator preferably with retail experience. It’s okay with FOAV if the potential proprietor has never n see country store, page 2
Candidates weigh in on health care By Olga Peters The Commons
BRATTLEBORO— Windham County legislative candidates answered questions on universal health care coverage, early childhood education and the economy at a forum last Thursday hosted by the Vermont Workers’ Center, Vermont Citizen Campaign for Health, Early Educators United, and the Vermont Center for Independent Living. “We expect our elected representatives to overcome obstacles, not use obstacles as excuses,” said moderator Shela Linton. Linton works with the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity and the
Vermont Workers’ Center’s “Healthcare is a Human Right” campaign. The candidates’ responses overwhelmingly curved toward the positive, supporting the hosts’ causes and concerns. Area residents turned out to hear 12 candidates respond to questions prepared by the hosts and to ask their own questions, directed to specific candidates, near the end of the evening held at Brattleboro Union High School. In the hot seats were Senate candidates Hilary Cooke, Peter Galbraith and Sen. Jeanette White; state Reps. Mollie Burke, Sarah Edwards, Richard Marek, John Moran, Mike Mrowicki, n see forum, page 8
A house comes down, but its history remains Demolished structure was part of Clark/Canal historic district By Fran Lynggaard Hansen previous owner Rebecca Sue The Commons Raspet, who purchased the house only about one year ago RATTLEBORO— and started massive renovations “It’s a shame the to the interior of the building. house had to come The house in question sat down,” says Andy on the corner of Clark and Shapiro, local land- Canal streets since approxlord and new owner of the prop- imately 1830, when James erty at 42 Canal St. “The previous Estabrook built the 1½-story, owner was trying to renovate wood-framed, federal duplex the house, but she didn’t have classic cottage. The building a game plan and by the time I had changed and had been bought it, it would have been updated inside and out by its David Shaw/The Commons much more expensive to fix it dozen or so owners over its 180than to remove it.” year life, and the building was A new owner has dismantled the 1830s-era Brattleboro house on the corner Shapiro is referring to n see 42 canal st., page 2 of Clark and Canal streets.
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T h e C ommons
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
BR AT TLEBORO
Forum to discuss Vermont Yankee closure, clean up
n 42 Canal St. listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Barbara Faridoni, owner of the Sportsman’s Lounge across the street, said, “I’ve been here looking at that building for over 40 years. I was astounded it could be taken down since it is on the registry. I watched ReNew take out those beams, and they had a hard time getting them out of there.” Shapiro had ReNew Salvage come and take anything that could be reused from the building. “I had them take the old post and beam structure, the windows, and the doors. The previous owner had renovated the long one-story garage constructed about 1925, and that will remain.” Shapiro said. Typically found in densely populated areas, multi-car or community garages provided rental income for the owner. They also assisted crowded neighborhoods with parking in an area that had little yard or driveway space. Another example of this type of garage can be seen on lower Linden Street just after the turnoff to Cedar Street. Barbara George, a local preservationist, serves on the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and as the vice-president of the Brattleboro Historical Society. “There is a general misconception that when a property is on the National Register of Historic Places, the owner has limitations about what can happen with it,” says George. “The national and state registers are simply lists of qualifying properties with their accompanying history. It’s honorific, and it’s such a boon to historians. That’s the point. After a building or district is registered, others can learn about its history,” she said. In fact, the entire Clark StreetCanal Street Neighborhood has been declared a historic district. The documentation was done in 1992, by grant interns Susannah Wise, Tala HenryHalabi and Bob Riley, the assistant town planner and the grants manager at the time. Credit also goes to the town of Brattleboro, and the grant program that funded the work. “It’s a fascinating little two blocks,” said George, and it’s easier to do an entire neighborhood at one time, as was the case in this area of town. Information on buildings and neighborhoods that have been designated historic can be viewed at the Brattleboro Historical Society at the
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from page 1
National Park Service
The house as it appears in the National Register of Historic Places. The Clark Street-Canal Street Neighborhood was designated a historic district in 1992, a designation that provides historic context but no other historic preservation obligations for property owners. Municipal Center. Town offices also have copies of the documentation. Those who have questions about the National Register process can learn a lot at www.historicvermont.org.
The National Register documentation calls the Canal StreetClark Street Neighborhood Historic District “a well-preserved example of a 19th-century predominantly working-class residential neighborhood. Buildings are modest in type and scale and exhibit simple architectural styles which reflect the practical and unpretentious character of their owners.” The narrative says the “sense of physical community is established by the neighborhood’s compactness and density” and calls the site’s origins and development “a unique local and regional representation of the social evolution of a nineteenth-century working class community.” The neighborhood is defined as approximately 13.2 acres, bordered by South Main Street to the southwest, Canal Street, Clark Street and Clark Street/ Lawrence Street to the east, north, west and south, respectively. Within that small area, 62 primary historic and ten secondary historic structures were built between 1830 and 1935. Two of the buildings are commercial, including the Sportsman’s Lounge, built circa 1850, and the current Three Stones Restaurant, formerly Ed’s Diner, built circa 1935. Seven of the homes still have their carriage barns intact, and one of the 60 buildings is constructed of cobblestones, only one of two documented buildings of this type in the state of Vermont. Brattleboro was chartered in 1753 to William Brattle and Associates of Boston. Early settlement came first in both the West and East Villages, about two miles apart. In the 1760s, John Arms and Colonel Samuel Wells built grist and saw mills, both adjacent to the Whetstone Brook at the foot of Main Street. Houses sprang up rapidly and the population doubled. By 1811, Joseph Clark had built the first paper mill, and Ashbel Dickinson started the manufacture of stove and tin products. By 1824, this area of
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town was twice the size of West Brattleboro. By 1850, the population of both areas of town had risen to 3,816. Canal Street became a stage road, creating natural growth in the Clark/Canal area. By 1812, a hotel and tavern operated by Clark and his son Rufus was operating along the foot of Main Street, and by 1845, at least 12 homes and the Methodist Church on Canal Street in this district had been built. Clark Street, named after Joseph Clark, was laid out between circa 1845 and 1852. By this time, the house on the corner was already sitting along the stagecoach road that would be known as Canal Street. The majority of persons living in this area of town were business proprietors and tradesmen. Among them were a coppersmith, doctor, butcher, cooper, shoemaker, mechanic, machinist, carpenter, mason, saddle and harness maker, carriage maker, tin ware and stove dealer and rule maker. “This information, easily available to anyone who wants to learn about it, is exactly why we work to designate historic buildings, districts and neighborhoods,” reminded Barbara George. “There are no restrictions on what owners can do to these listed buildings unless they accept federal or state funding. Otherwise, they can do what they want, although the town does have its own regulations on demolition.” A historic commercial property gains more than honorific benefits from being listed on the National Register. George says there are tax credits available if a building is used for income producing purposes, like a rental or a business use. If the rehabilitation is done correctly, a 20-percent tax credit is possible, but
the key here is the term “done correctly,” says George.
Stewart and Kristen McDermit are preservationists, working at 80 Canal St., a home included in the historic district. “We’re so excited to be preserving this home,” says Stewart McDermit. “It’s a beautiful place with a barn on the property. The original dug well is still there, laid up with stone. The cupola is still on the barn, and there is a three-hole outhouse in there as well, with a small, large and medium sized hole,” he said with a chuckle. “Believe it or not, there is still hay in the barn,” he says. “It looks like the horses just left.” McDermit “can’t stress enough the value of preserving buildings,” he adds. “It’s a winwin for all concerned, fixing old buildings, reusing their nails, screws, and pieces of glass means something for our community.” These buildings are investments for their owners, but they also serve our community financially, physiologically, and historically, McDermit says. The house at 80 Canal isn’t the first home the McDermits have preserved. “We did a similar home over on Spring Street. It’s a sincere pleasure to bring a home back to its original beauty using its own materials whenever possible,” McDermit says. Back at 42 Canal, Andy Shapiro hasn’t fully decided what will go in the building’s place. He promises he will improve the lot. “I’m not entirely sure what will come next. I might put up a couple of handicapped accessible units, or provide parking for some of my other tenants. I’ve already rented out all the units on the garage,” he says.
n Country Store owned a community store; however, says Rider, retail experience is “helpful and a knowledge of the food industry or retail grocery would be a big plus.” The operator would lease store space from the FOAV and have free rein to set up the store to his or her specifications beyond a few requirements, based on community feedback: a café area, public restroom and basic groceries. The operator would be responsible for start up costs relating to inventory and payroll but, at this stage, FOAV plans to purchase most of the equipment, such as an industrial stove and coolers. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest [in the operator position] and have done three interviews
BRATTLEBORO — A three-person panel will talk about transition, clean up, long-term waste storage and what role citizens can play in the process if Vermont Yankee stops operating after March 2012 on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in the East room of the Marlboro College Tech Center, 28 Vernon St. On the panel are Deb Katz, executive director of the Citizens Awareness Network; Raymond Shadis, technical advisor for the New England Coalition; and Robert Stannard, citizen lobbyist for the Vermont Citizens Action Network. The panel discussion will be followed by an open question and answer period. This event is co-sponsored by the Safe & Green Campaign, New England Coalition and Nuclear Free Vermont by 2012. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Katz at 413-339-5781.
VFW Auxiliary hosts benefit events for cancer aid, research BRATTLEBORO — The sixth anuual Auction, Dinner and Dance to benefit VFW Ladies Auxiliary 1034’s Cancer Aid & Research Fund will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30, at the VFW home on Black Mountain Road. Doors open at 4 p.m. A ham dinner with all the fixings will be served at 6 p.m. The auction begins at 7 p.m., followed by a night of dancing. An $8 per person donation at the door is requested. For reservation, call 802-257-0438.
Forum on town plan to be held in West B WEST BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Planning Commission and the West Brattleboro Association invite the public to a community meeting to provide input for the Town Plan. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m., at the former Brookside Furniture building on 55 Marlboro Rd. The public will have an opportunity to identify issues and suggest strategies for the plan. Participants will also be asked to provide feedback on principle statements that will guide the document. Questions can be directed to Planning Services Department at 802-251-8154, or planning@ brattleboro.org.
from page 1
so far,” says Rider. FOAV sent a copy of its RFP to the Vermont Grocers’ Association and Associated Grocers of New England. Lyssa Papazian, project manager for the Putney General Store revitalization project, recommended word of mouth to get the information out as well. Rider says a few inquiries have also come as a result of local news coverage. “We were working with a potential store operator for quite a while and then he decided it wasn’t the right time for expansion (he owns another store), so we have re-opened the search about a month ago,” says Rider. In addition to the internal renovations of the store, Rider says FOAV is looking to some external renovations. FOAV hopes to open the building’s front windows and increase the light in the space, for example. Conversations are ongoing with the town about moving the recycling station, currently in the store’s parking
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lot, back from view and making the surrounding area more pedestrian friendly. Brattleboro Savings & Loan has “stepped up” to establish an ATM in the store, says Rider. U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office and the Preservation Trust of Vermont provided FOAV with seed money for the renovations through a $65,000 grant from the Village Revitalization Initiative program. According to FOAV president Eric Morse, Leahy secured these funds for immediate renovations to the retail space so the store could open as soon as possible. Rider says The Preservation Trust of Vermont and The Freeman Foundation have also stepped in with a matching $25,000 grant, which opens up another potential $50,000 in renovation funds for the 1817 Broad Brook House, which houses the country store. Members of FOAV credit generous private donations and community support with ensuring the project’s ongoing success. Rider says FOAV is aiming to reopen the Guilford Country Store by winter 2011. The FOAV continues to raise funds toward the renovation and opening-related costs of the Guilford Country Store and welcomes donations of money, time, or services. Contact Eric Morse at 802-2548477 or Fred Humphrey at 802257-7306 for more information or visit FOAV’s Facebook page: Preserving the Guilford Country Store.Visit the Vermont Grocers’ Association to download a copy of the RFP from a link on the group’s website: vtgrocers.org.
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
T h e C ommons
Election 2010 preview VE RM ONT H O USE O F RE P R E SE N TAT I V E S — W I N D HA M - 4 D I S T R I C T
V E R M O N T HOUSE OF R EPR ESEN TAT IVES — W IN D HAM- 3- 1 D IST R ICT
Newcomers face off for Brattleboro House seat By Randolph T. Holhut The Commons
Randolph T. Holhut/Commons file photo
State Reps. Mike Obuchowski and Carolyn Partridge
Moore challenges Obuchowski, Partridge By Randolph T. Holhut The Commons
BELLOWS FALLS—Michael Obuchowski of Bellows Falls won his first election to the Vermont House in 1972. Carolyn Partridge of Windham won her first House election in 1998. Together, they have operated as a team representing the Windham-4 district towns of Bellows Falls, Saxtons River, Rockingham, Grafton, Athens, Brookline, Windham and a portion of Westminster. But neither Democratic candidate takes the power of incumbency for granted, and both Obuchowski and Partridge have both been vigorously campaigning for their respective seats from Windham-4. “I get up at 3 in the morning some days to start work on my campaign,” said Obuchowski. “My human composition doesn’t allow me not to.” This year, Obuchowski and Partridge face a challenge from independent candidate Christopher S. Moore, an attorney with an office in Bellows Falls. This three-way race hasn’t received a great deal of attention, said Partridge. “I think with so much attention on the governor’s race and all the negativity in it, no one’s paying attention to the House races,” she said.
An aging Vermont?
Moore said the No. 1 problem facing Vermont is that “the state’s population is getting older” and that young Vermonters are leaving the state. “You can’t have vibrant communities with those demographics,” he said. He supports creating an “enterprise zone” for Bellows Falls and other communities that immediately border New Hampshire. Businesses would get tax breaks for starting and maintaining businesses. He also supports offering tax incentives to Vermonters who graduate college and commit to working in the state after graduation. As the mother of three sons who have left Vermont to pursue their education, Partridge said young people leaving the state “is something that’s not new. Kids have always left home to find themselves, and most of them end up coming back when they’re ready to settle down.”
but Obuchowski predicts that if lawmakers come up with sustainable solutions to deal with the deficit in the coming biennium, the state will be in much better shape. “The recession is still going on, but we have a lot of things to be proud of,” he said. “We have a balanced budget. We haven’t had to borrow money for shortterm expenses, or deferred necessary expenditures. And everyone who works in state government has contributed to finding a solution. If we stay on a sustainable course, we’ll start seeing surpluses again by FY 2013 and 2014.” Vermont’s financial stability and the lack of gimmickry in the state budget, he said, makes for a climate that will attract new businesses to the state.
Health and education
Both Partridge and Obuchowski support a singlepayer health care system for Vermont. “Next year, the budget deficit overshadows everything,” said Partridge. “but I’m very interested in seeing what recommendations will be in the health care study report. I hope Vermont can get a waiver from the federal government to do our own health care system.” Partridge said she has heard plenty from people in her district about education funding. “For me, the criteria for change is that we first do a serious analysis of what needs to be done before we make changes, and that any changes do no harm to our children and the quality of education they receive.” Moore believes that any discussions about changes in health care delivery or education funding must begin with changing the state’s tax structure and changing what he believes is the adversarial relationship between state government and the business community. “More and more of my clients
are moving to the South, where the cost of living and taxes are lower,” he said. “That’s why school enrollments are dropping in Vermont and the state’s population is growing older — the high cost of living in Vermont is driving people away.”
A question of tenure
Moore has made an issue out of the length of time that Obuchowski and Partridge have spent in Montpelier, and how being an independent will be a plus. “As a voter, you have to decide what ideas you want represented in Montpelier,” Moore said. “I believe I have ideas that people in this district want to see represented there. And I’ve found that saying you’re an independent is a great conversation starter. People are willing to listen to you and not have their minds already made up.” Partridge and Obuchowski say the value of their tenure at the Statehouse speaks for itself. “Our opponent says it’s time for a new face, but I think there’s no substitute for experience,” said Partridge. “People talk about the need for term limits, but every two years, every candidate for statewide office goes before the voters,” said Obuchowski. “The experience we have and the relationships we have at the Statehouse are important and valuable to our district.”
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26-4 vote in February to block Vermont Yankee’s attempt get a 20-year extension of its operating license was motivated by politics, not the facts. “If VY isn’t safe, why hasn’t the plant been shut down by the NRC? This was a hasty and ill-informed vote that helped Peter Shumlin’s run for governor and hurt the rest of us. There’s more tritium in a granite countertop than what was just found in the drinking water well at the plant.” Moore supports the plant operating past 2012 and believes that if it has to close, it will devastate the economy of Windham County. “It’s going to affect housing prices, tax rates and scores of jobs,” he said. “There’s going to be some serious pressure on our communities.” Stuart supports the plant being closed when its current 40-year license expires in 2012. She also supports the Senate vote. “The public elected these senators and I would say that a 26-4 vote on any issue is pretty definitive,” she said. “What I don’t get is why nothing was done to prepare for even the
possibility of Vermont Yankee closing in 2012. There was very little planning for this.” While Moore is motivated to run out of concern for Vermont Yankee’s future, Stuart said she is running out of concern for the future of all Vermonters. “I believe we should be investing in people from start to finish and that the family is the most important social unit in our society,” she said. “Anything we can do strengthen and support families and children — universal pre-school, better health care, better public schools — will ultimately save us money in the long run.” Stuart said that Vermont, and the nation, are struggling with the legacy of three decades of underfunding social welfare programs and that most Vermonters reject the idea that we should do less for those in need. “The effects of 30 years of ‘Reaganomics’ aren’t going to be fixed overnight,” she said. “People are hurting right now and they don’t want to see all the mudslinging. They want solutions.”
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BRATTLEBORO—The race for Brattleboro’s District 1 House seat — now open due to the retirement of Democrat Virginia “Gini” Milkey — is a contest between two political rookies. The Republican candidate is Richard Morton, the compliance and security officer with Brattleboro Savings & Loan. He is opposed by Democrat Valerie Stuart, a local public relations and fundraising consultant for a variety of area nonprofits, who defeated Lorie Cartwright in the Aug. 24 primary. For Morton, his motivation to run for legislative office stems from what he called his disappointment with the quality of representation in Montpelier. “I think the Democrats have fallen short,” he said. “I think the Legislature was cowardly and unprofessional in dealing with the deficit. We’re going to be at least $115 million short next year, and we’re looking at an even bigger hole in the future. Given the current economic climate in Vermont, we need to focus on how to change it.” Morton believes that the state needs to do more to be business-friendly by easing the tax and regulatory burden on businesses and scaling back the size and scope of state government. “Businesses don’t have to come to Vermont,” he said. “Entrepreneurs don’t have to start businesses in Vermont. I think we can be more deliberate and protect our farms and our landscape, and still be welcoming to new businesses.” Like the other Republican candidates running for office in Windham County, Moore said he believes the Senate’s
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A PROVEN RECORD OF LEADERSHIP YOU CAN TRUST As you think about whom to cast your vote for in the November 2 election for the Vermont House seat in the Windham-1 Vernon and Guilford district, please consider why a vote for me, Richard Davis, will make a positive difference for you and your family during the next two years. ************* I have a track record of leadership and consensus building in our local community as well as on the state level. My wife Susan and I, and neighbors in Guilford, founded Guilford Cares and we have made it possible for many of our most vulnerable citizens to stay safely at home as long as possible. ************* Six years ago Daryl Pillsbury and I created the Windham County Heat Fund to help those people who are not eligible for other fuel assistance programs to receive help. We have raised over $100,000 and helped about 350 local people. ************* I am a registered nurse and have learned first-hand how difficult it is for many of us to access and afford basic health care. I have spent the past 25 years advocating for health care reform in Vermont. ************** I have established solid working relationships with legislative leaders and I will be able to hit the ground running.
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T h e C ommons
VE RM ON T H O USE O F R E P R E SE N TAT I V E S — W I N D HA M - BE N N I N G TO N - W I N D S O R - 1 D I S T R I C T
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
W IN D HAM COUN T Y SHER IFF
Olsen, Trask vie for House seat By Olga Peters The Commons
Like chalk and cheese, incumbent Rep. Oliver Olsen and hopeful Claire Trask vie for the Windham-BenningtonWindsor-1 District seat, each saying they’ve listened to the people and know what they really want. Olsen, a Republican from Jamaica who was appointed in January by Gov. Jim Douglas to fill out the remainder of the late Rick Hube’s term, describes himself as a “glass-half-full person” who believes people want good things and move instinctively toward success and what works. “I care deeply about the future of this state,” says Olsen. Trask, a Democrat and farmer from Londonderry, describes herself as the reluctant candidate turned committed candidate. She says people have asked her for years to run for state office but she always dreaded the campaign part. And, someone else always stepped in to run. This time around, however, there was only her, so she reluctantly agreed to run. Trask’s feelings changed when she had to fill out a “palm card” listing the issues she cared about. “As soon as I started to write down what I cared about, I wanted it [the House seat],” she says. Olsen says he wants to create a Vermont where his kids can grow
up and not have to leave to find work like he did. Olsen says his campaign has been going well and he’s been out talking to local leaders and small business owners in the district’s towns of Londonderry, Jamaica, Stratton, Weston and Winhall. “Taking time to learn their concerns and issues” has been helpful, he says.
Olsen lists property tax reform, financing Vermont’s education system, school choice and jobs as the common issues bubbling to the surface of his conversations with constituents. He has spoken with people in the process of moving out of state because they can’t afford the property taxes. Two people on the same road in Winhall told him in “very explicit terms” what they thought of the current situation, he says. But, says Olsen, the property tax issue ties in with how Vermont finances education. He wants to put together a new way of looking at the whole school finance system. To him, the emphasis of equality has been placed on funding when it should fall on “how we ensure equality of the [educational] outcomes.” If re-elected, Olsen wants to start a dialogue about how best to fund the state’s education system. He stresses starting
conversations over his coming up with a plan. “It’s like building a house,” he says. People need a vision of their future house before hiring an architect or contractors, and “any complex issue needs a similar process and consensus,” he says. Olsen breaks the education funding issue into three components: funding, spending and governance structure. He feels to increase the effectiveness of spending, the state should identify school districts where teachers are doing great things and adopt these best practices statewide. According to his website, Olsen previously served on the board of directors for the Vermont Coalition of Municipalities, which advocates for reform of the state’s property tax and Act 60. Olsen calls the state budget a core issue no one talks about, one he also wants to focus on. “It’s a huge, huge challenge that will involve difficult decisions,” he says. This year, says Olsen, the state is facing a projected $112 million gap. Olsen wants to streamline how the state delivers its services, like social services through the state’s Agency of Human Services, and slice out “siloed bureaucracy” or redundancy. Since taking office in January, Olsen says he has worked to improve broadband access in his district and will continue to support local initiatives to reinforce and expand service. He said he worked to convince Great Auk Wireless to remain in the area when the firm had planned to end service to Londonderry, Stratton, Peru and Landgrov. Great Auk will come up with an interim structure until another solution could be found.
A political comeback
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Trask served on the Londonderry Selectboard for 12 years. She credits her favorable view toward a proposed wind farm project on Glebe Mountain as the reason she was not re-elected four years ago. She considers windmills “moving sculptures” and thought the board should re-examine the wind issue, but opponents were so hurt and angry the issue created a rift. “It tore the town apart. It’s not worth it,” she says. Trask expresses disappointment regarding her opponent’s responses in a recent candidate forum to questions regarding health care and Vermont
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Yankee. She says Olsen did not adequately answer why he voted against the state’s health-care reform study. She asks why he describes VY as a non-issue for their section of Windham County when, she says, he lobbied to keep the aging nuclear plant open before he replaced Hube. “I’m totally excited by health care,” says Trask. Trask supports single-payer health care, but is also happy the state will present two other options to the Legislature in January. She referred to a World Health Organization study ranking France as No. 1 in health care, Canada in 13th place, Great Britain in 16th, and the U.S. in 37th. France, Canada and Great Britain all have single payer, so, she asks, what is France doing differently? “Making sure the right differences are picked up [is key to health care reform],” Trask says. Trask says she doesn’t trust VY’s owners, Entergy, or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to regulate the company. According to Trask, the NRC’s whole purpose is to advocate for nuclear power, not control it. Trask wants to see VY decommissioned and Entergy pay for the whole process. “It’s an old plant that’s falling apart. The time to start thinking about [decommissioning] is now,” she says. Trask also feels the property tax issue needs addressing but says fixing Vermont’s health care system would help with residents’ bottom line. She says many residents pay between $10,000 and $12,000 a year in health care and have nothing left over for other expenses like property taxes. She agrees with Olsen that school costs are “sky high,” but says focusing on equalizing outcomes may not work because dollars are easier to define. “We can’t ignore the dollars,” she says. Trask also agrees with Olsen on providing for school choice. But, she cautions, “school choice” needs definition because right now it means different structures to different people. Towns need to move forward cautiously with school choice, being careful “we do not gut our public schools,” she says. The state of Vermont’s corrections system was a cause she thought only she cared about until an attorney asked her what she would do about the current prison system. Trask wants to see stronger restorative justice and prisoner re-entry programs which “treat people like human beings” while saving the state a lot of money. If elected, Trask also wants to help create more livable-wage jobs. She says when people in her area are working two to three jobs just to get by, there’s a problem. “It doesn’t leave you with much of a life,” she says.
Sheriff Keith Clark
Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Sheriff Clark, in absentia, faces Manch By Randolph T. Holhut The Commons
BRATTLEBORO—It might seem awkward to run against a candidate who cannot campaign for himself, but William Manch, a Republican from Vernon, is up for the challenge. Manch is challening incumbent Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark of Westminster, now serving on active duty with the Vermont Army National Guard as a captain and company commander in Afghanistan. Federal rules prevent active duty military officers from campaigning for elective office. Clark’s wife Bonnie has had to act as his surrogate during his re-election campaign. In a letter to supporters she sent out before the Aug. 24 primary, Bonnie Clark wrote that while employees in other fields “are guaranteed their jobs back when they return from war,” elected officials “are not guaranteed the same comfort, especially if they are away during an election year.” Manch said he is friendly with the Clarks and that “they’re great people. I just have a difference of opinion about how the department should be run.” He has been a state liquor control officer for Windham County since 2002. Prior to that, he served with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department from 1992 to 2002, leaving with the rank of sergeant. He also served briefly with the Vernon Police. Manch admits that Clark, elected in 2006, has done a good job in stabilizing the Sheriff’s Department after the tumultuous term of Sheila Prue in the early 2000s. But Manch believes the department is “stalled” and can do much more. “The budget for the Sheriff’s Department each year is essentially zero,” said Manch. “The funding all comes from contracts the department has with local communities and the various traffic details that the deputies work. The department needs to get more contracts and do more community outreach.” One way to do so, Manch said,
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is to return the department to a 24-hour-a-day operation with a round-the-clock dispatcher and deputies on call. Manch also wants to see the department do more youth outreach by reviving the Explorer program for older teens interested in law enforcement careers and creating a local “police athletic league” for area youngsters. In that August letter, Bonnie Clark touted some of her husband’s accomplishments. “Keith ran for Sheriff when the Windham County Sheriff’s Department was at an all time low, confident that he could rise to the challenge of putting it on a new footing,” she wrote. “He made staff changes, worked out all the legal messes he found, and began regaining the trust of Windham County leaders and residents alike. As Sheriff, [he] has brought the department into the 21st century. Staff training is up to date, the offices in Newfane have been remodeled and modernized and the budget is healthily back in the black.” She also said that her husband hasn’t rested on his laurels and that his goal is “to make the Windham County Sheriff’s Department the primary law enforcement agency in towns that do not have a police department of their own.” She used Putney as an example. “The department has a contract with Putney to have a specific deputy dedicated to work there for 40 hours a week,” she wrote. “This provides the town a personal relationship with an individual officer, while at the same time enhancing its security and protection. It is Keith’s hope to establish more such relationships with other towns across the county.” Clark, who is running as a Democrat, has 18 years of law enforcement experience, and served as police chief in Bellows Falls before he was elected to his first term as sheriff in 2006.
Auction gala to benefit FOMAG GUILFORD — Friends of Music at Guilford, now in its 45th concert season, offers a calendar of musical events -- many offered on a donation basis -- as well as two community outreach programs launched in 2008-09: a concert series for seniors in Windham County, and a music enrichment program at the Guilford Central School. To help raise the funds to support these activities, a sprinkling of creative fundraisers are in the works. Coming up on Sunday, Oct. 24, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. is the “Falling Leaves Auction Gala,” to be held at All Souls Church (a.k.a., the West Village Meeting House), 29 South St., West Brattleboro. The evening begins with a buffet meal of soups, hors d’oeuvres, salads, regional breads and cheeses, and desserts. An array of silent auction items will be available for bids from 5 to 7 pm, including tickets to over two dozen regional arts events (music, dance, cinema and theater), gift certificates and a wide variety of merchandise from area stores and eateries, special services and foodstuffs, and much more. A short concert by jazz and cabaret singer Stephanie Petkanas will precede the grand finale, a live auction with retired Friends of Music administrator/ trustee Don McLean holding court. Going under McLean’s hammer will be donations of fine art and craft, inviting getaways near and not so near, and a few unusual items of value. Admission for the evening is $20 per person, or $10 for age 16 and under.
T h e C ommons
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
VE RM O N T STAT E AUD I TO R
State auditor forum Oct. 25
Hoffer, Salmon offer different approaches By Randolph T. Holhut The Commons
BRATTLEBORO — The League of Women Voters, Southeastern Unit, will again sponsor a candidates forum, in partnership with Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV), at which at least two candidates for Vermont State Auditor will present their views. The “Conversation with Candidates” forum will be held at Monday, Oct. 25, from 6-7 p.m., in Holton Hall at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. Those who have agreed to participate are State Auditor Tom Salmon, Jr., a Republican, and challenger Doug Hoffer who is running as a Democrat/ Progressive.
Jeff Potter, editor of The Commons, will moderate. Areas to be covered include the responsibilities of the auditor’s position, candidate qualifications, past accomplishments, and current state needs. The moderator will ensure the candidates have equal and full opportunities to present their views. Questions from the audience will be accepted at the conclusion of the candidates’ statements. Hoffer graduated from Williams College and obtained a law degree from SUNY, Buffalo. He is a self-employed policy analyst in economic development, moved to Vermont in 1988, and now lives in
Burlington. His web site is www.hofferforauditor.com. Salmon was first elected State Auditor in 2006. He is a CPA. He is a graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School, is a certified teacher, has served as a Navy Seabee in Iraq, and now lives in St. Johnsbury. His web site is www.salmonforauditor.com. The League is non-partisan, but encourages the public to participate actively in the party or campaign of their choice. It encourages all local residents to register to vote now, and to vote in the upcoming elections on Nov. 2.
‘Better Balance’ exercise class at Grace Cottage TOWNSHEND — Better balance is the goal of Grace Cottage Hospital’s “Exercise for Better Balance” class, to be held on six Thursdays starting Oct. 21, from 1-2:30 p.m., in the Hospital’s Community Wellness Center. Join Grace Cottage’s Rehabilitation professionals for this interactive, exercise-oriented, balance and strength class, designed to teach participants specific balance-related exercises. The instructors will provide take-home “tips and tools” to improve overall balance and general strength. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and soft-soled shoes. The class fee is $25 for the series or $5 per week. Call 802365-3649 to register.
he said. “It is how we moved past the divisive budget process in 2009 and came up with a fiscally responsible approach with greater cooperation between the Legislature and the Governor’s office. We ended up with a depoliticized budget process focused on results.” Even though Hoffer has not been an elected official, the work he has done as a policy analyst has shaped many issues. The Job Gap Study, a series of reports he prepared for the Vermont Peace & Justice Center over the course of a decade, served as a guide for lawmakers for action on issues such as raising the minimum wage, having the state do more purchasing from local vendors and developing economic policy. “Recommendations are important and it’s the job of an auditor to turn those recommendations into something concrete,” said Hoffer. “But first, you have to be able to sell the work. I can sell the work, and the reports I have prepared over the years have changed public policy and saved the state money.” Hoffer has also prepared reports for the auditor’s office between 1997 and 2000, when Democrat Ed Flanagan held the post. Hoffer defeated Flanagan in the Aug. 24 Democratic primary and won the Progressive Party’s endorsement a week later.
BRATTLEBORO—While the race for governor between Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Brian Dubie has monopolized all the attention, perhaps the most intriguing statewide race is the contest for auditor. The incumbent, Bellows Falls native Tom Salmon, ran as a Democrat in 2006, was reelected in 2008 while on active duty with the Naval Reserve in Iraq, and switched to the Republican Party in 2009. He’s received more attention for his personal foibles, such as a drunk driving arrest last year and the alleged use of state resources for his re-election campaign, than he has for the work his office has done over the past four years. The challenger, Doug Hoffer of Burlington, is running as a Democrat and as a Progressive. He is a public policy analyst who has never held elective office and is little known by Vermonters who aren’t political junkies or policy wonks. He has a reputation for blunt talk and an uncompromising approach to his work. The two will be in Brattleboro for a candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Brattleboro Community Television on Monday, Oct. 25, from 6-7 p.m., at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. It will be videotaped for subse- Doing the job quent broadcast on BCTV. Jeff Over the past few months, Potter, editor of The Commons, Hoffer has been critical of some will serve as the moderator. of the failings of the auditor’s office, in particular its failure to A difference spot the embezzlement of nearly in approach $500,000 by a state employee Hoffer maintains that Salmon with the state Agency of Human “has not done what I hoped Services over the course of five he would do, which is ask the years. tough questions.” He cited the Salmon has blamed a combiVermont Economic Growth nation of outdated procedures Initiative (VEGI), the state’s and equipment to track eleclargest business tax incentive tronic payments, along with a program. heavy workload in his office, as “He never addressed what I factors in failing to spot the althink are the two central ques- leged theft. At the same time, he tions about VEGI — whether wants the auditor’s office to do the program is effective and how more than just spot problems. much money has the state paid “Changing the structure of a for the jobs that were promised state office isn’t glamorous, but to be created. The Joint Fiscal we’ve done a lot of work behind Office ended up doing the report the scenes to improve the functhat asked and answered those tions of our office and be able questions. That’s supposed to to give the Legislature and the be the auditor’s job.” governor good, solid informaHoffer has been a sharp critic tion on best practices and polof VEGI and believes that it has icy,” Salmon said. “People have cost the state a considerable to remember that success is a amount of revenue while deliv- process and that change doesn’t ering limited economic benefits. happen quickly.” “Facts are often inconvenient Salmon has questioned and challenging, but you cannot whether Hoffer, an indepenmake good public policy without dent consultant for more than them,” said Hoffer. “The debate two decades, has the temperaover Challenges for Change [the ment to be state auditor and lead state budget recommendations a team of employees. that were adopted this year] “I’m not out to make enedemonstrated the need for the mies,” said Hoffer, “but some kind of information that lawmak- of the work I’ve done has made ers need to make good decisions. people mad. I am a real stickThe current auditor has not been ler for the facts. False numbers doing that.” should not be the basis for public Salmon said he has focused policy decisions.” on transforming the auditor’s One example of this was office into an operation that not Hoffer’s pointed refuting of state just tracks how the state spends tax data cited in speeches and its money, but also the effective- public statements by Republican ness of that spending. gubernatorial nominee Brian “The office is comprised of Dubie. professionals that are arguably Dubie has claimed that more important than the audi- Vermont has the highest intor,” he said. “We’re looking at come and property tax rates in trying to change our structure so the country. Hoffer called that it is more like the Government claim “terribly misleading” and Accountability Office and focus said that Dubie has distorted the as much on performance audit- progressive nature of taxation ing as we do on financial and in Vermont, where tax rates rise compliance auditing. We now with one’s income level. have an office of structured and Hoffer said that Dubie’s scheduled success.” calls for tax cuts for wealthy Salmon cites his office’s con- Vermonters is “just a repeat of tribution to Challenges for the conservative ‘trickle down’ Change as one of his proudest mantra we’ve heard for the last accomplishments. 30 years. The data doesn’t lie. “It is the best vehicle we have [Trickle-down] hasn’t worked, for transforming government,” and it is never going to work.”
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T h e C ommons
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
OPINION • COMMENTARY • LETTERS Join the discussion: email@example.com
YO U T H V O I C E S
Taking life for granted in Bellows Falls Students write about their reactions to a memoir about suffering and survival. How did they relate the book to their lives? Editor’s note: Following are excerpts from the four winning entries in Bellows Falls Union High School’s essay contest based on First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, a memoir by Loung Ung, as part of the school’s Literary Kick-Off Program. According to a summary from the publisher, “The perils of life under the brutal Pol Pot regime in Cambodia change a young woman’s life forever as she and her family find themselves fugitives of war, without even their names to remind them of what they lost.” “At only 5 years old, Loung Ung and her family had to pack up and leave their comfortable home and enter into a world of pain and suffering. Loung was living a life of comfort in the city of Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouge invaded; that could just as easily be us in the comforts of our homes in Vermont,” writes Rachel Greenberg. According to Jonah Bolotin, one of the winners, “The tragic events that she experienced in Cambodia forced her to suffer through starvation, death of loved ones, loss of home, illness, social isolation, separation from family, loneliness, and being forced to lie countless times about her family’s past. Through all of these struggles, somehow Loung found the strength to survive.”
Students, faculty, staff, and community members read the book over the summer, and students entered the essay contest, “writing about either how Loung’s story impacted them and their lives, connecting the major themes of the book to their lives, or why they felt it is important for a student in Vermont to learn about [her] story,” according to the school’s website, www.bfuhs.org. Over the summer, the Rockingham Free Public Library featured discussion groups, an exhibit about Cambodian culture and history, a screening of the movie “The Killing Fields,” and other resources for students, their families, and members of the community. At the start of the new school year, teachers connected the content of the book and the author to their classroom offerings, and Loung Ung visited the school Sept. 8 to talk to students and staff. The essay winners won the opportunity to have dinner with the author. The essays have been excerpted for space considerations and only very lightly copy edited for grammar, style, and punctuation. Thanks to the students for sharing their work and to Social Studies Department Coordinator Craig Divis, who launched the program and who did the legwork to get the entries to us.
goes through in the search of freedom. In my life, I am very priviAfter reading First They leged to lead such a leisurely Killed My Father, by Loung life. In this country, we take Ung, my life has been impacted things for granted, such as simin a profound way. ply eating three meals a day Loung’s heartbreaking story and drinking water whenever has opened my eyes to the fact we want to. that this is not a perfect world, While our loved ones may and while I wake each day to die, we don’t worry on a daysimple challenges such as doto-day basis that they will be ing chores, some people in the murdered. While some people world are waking to the chaldo sometimes have to move, lenge of staying alive. This people do not storm into our book tells about the hardships houses and evict us. The poand challenges that one family litical systems of this country
do not force us to be separated from our families, nor do we need to lie about our family histories. It’s simple: Americans are spoiled, and still we take everything for granted. In early June I came to this realization when I broke my tibia. I didn’t think how something as simple as walking could so easily be taken away. Suddenly, I couldn’t play baseball or ride a bike; I couldn’t even walk. While my situation is not near what the Ung family had
The perils of big money in elections
he days when you could spend $17.09 for a statewide political campaign in Vermont — the sum that U.S. Sen. George Aiken reportedly spent on his last campaign in 1968 — are long gone. Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin are throwing around enormous sums of money in the governor’s race, at least by Vermont standards. VTDigger.org recently reported that, as of mid October, the Dubie and Shumlin campaigns have paid out $1.98 million on advertising, campaign payroll expenses, mailings and web sites development and research. Their surrogates have spent an addtional $1 million, mostly on the barrage of negative campaign ads we’re seeing and hearing on our radios, televisions and web browsers. Much of the money comes in this campaign comes from groups such as Green Mountain Prosperity — a conservative political action group which is an arm of the Republican Governors Association — and Green Mountain Future — a newlyformed liberal PAC that gets most of its money from the Democratic Governors Association. In all, it’s estimated that more than $3 billion will be spent nationally on this year’s midterm elections, or roughly double what was spent in 2006.
And, according to the Center for Public Integrity, financial, energy, and healthcare companies are pouring money into independent, nominally nonprofit political groups that are exempt from what few campaign finance laws remain. Democrats are getting outspent by a 5-to-1 margin by these groups in this election, according to the Center. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone plans to spend $75 million to support Republican candidates. Another group run by Republican operative Karl Rove, called American Crossroads, has pulled in about $32 million as of midSeptember and is spending freely on conservative candidates it favors. Another group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, plans to spend $45 million in this election. This money — some of it possibly coming from foreign sources — is funding a barrage of attack ads almost exclusively directed at Democrats. Under current campaign law, these front groups don’t have to reveal who is funding their ads, and naturally, Republicans in Congress are blocking legislation that would require this. Conservative businesspeople throwing money around to advance their cause of lower taxes and less regulation is nothing new. But what we are seeing this
year is nothing short of a corporate coup d’etat. This is the fruit of the Citizens United v. FEC decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in January. In the name of preserving free speech, the court granted corporations the right to spend unlimited sums of money in political campaigns. As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent of the Citizens United decision, “While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” He warned that removing limits on corporate money “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.” The cure for this corporate money usurping democracy is public financing of elections, legislation that would regulate the anonymous funding of attack ads and a constitutional amendment that would reverse the perverted idea that corporations are legally entitled to the same rights as an individual and that would prevent them from raising or spending money on federal, state, or local elections of any kind. These small, but important, steps are the only way we can stop the complete transformation of our democracy into a government of, by, and for the corporations.
Courtesy of Craig Divis/BFUHS
Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father, left, and social studies teacher Craig Divis (standing, with tie), join Bellows Falls Union High School essay contest winners Tori Bissell, Hayden Noyes, Rachel Greenberg, and Jonah Bolotin. to endure, it brings me to an even bigger realization of just how privileged I am. I was still drinking when I was thirsty, still eating when I was hungry, still surrounded by my loving family.
Tori Bissell Loung Ung’s memoir First They Killed My Father was very heartbreaking and impacted my life in many ways, such as how I view my own problems. I look at my situation very differently now, and more positively, because I have learned of the pain, not only physical but emotional, and the starvation that the Khmer Rouge caused Loung’s family and many other families living in Cambodia during Pol Pot’s reign. I suffer little in comparison, so now I find my own life to be less difficult and more enjoyable than I thought. The summer after reading this book, I had a chance to visit Poland for a community service project and to visit Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz 2 Birkenau. As I was walking among the buildings where all of the people were murdered and tortured, I thought of Loung and the Cambodian genocide. I realized that in both places people were starved and killed, and it made me feel so sick. My eyes were also opened to the idea of starvation for the first time. Bellows Falls is such a small town that we do not have a noticeable problem with starvation. This book is an amazing way to inform the students at BFUHS about the horrors of not having food in your stomach and still having to work. This story also made me really appreciate my family. Loung lost most of her family, and I do not think that I could take that emotional stress. Loung Ung’s book made me realize the horrible things Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did. The part of the book that stuck out the most to me was that the Communists killed all of the educated people and doctors, so when Loung’s sister was sick in one of the hospitals, no one could really do anything to help her. It is so hard for me to understand how the Khmer Rouge would choose to leave themselves without medicine and doctors. This also made me feel very grateful to have good doctors and hospitals around me, because in Cambodia they did not have any. First They Killed My Father was very inspirational to me because Loung was brave even in the scariest situations. She never gave up her hope, and it made me so happy when she was finally reunited with her sister. The book made me feel very lucky to have been raised the way that I was and to have my family. I, too, have a sister whom I often take for granted, but more than ever I look forward to seeing her. This book also made me take a closer look at my life and our society but is also a reminder of many other places where people live in poverty and are starving. In our society, we make every effort to keep people from going hungry. At the playground near my house, the local community serves lunch
during the summer for children to make it easier for families to get by. It is difficult to imagine the people of our community having to exist in the conditions known by the Cambodians. This book was very well written and I do not think anyone could read it without it impacting their lives in many ways.
Rachel Greenberg Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father is such an inspiration to people around the world. To overcome such a tragic childhood and share your pain and loss with others shows what a strong person the author is. Those of us who live a safe and peaceful life in Vermont often take it for granted and don’t realize what opportunities we have. Most people will never have to see someone die or even someone dead, but for years that is all Loung Ung saw. She was separated from her family at such a young age, all alone, and forced to work and starve. We think that because we are Americans and, living in Vermont, that something like this will never happen to us. But things like this have happened before all over the world and are still happening now — and it could happen to us. With her book, Loung opens a world that many of us would not have known about, and we learn more about the historic event through the eyes of someone who has lived through it. Seeing through a child’s eyes makes everything much more innocent, truthful, and raw. Reading her book brought up a pool of emotions and sadness that I have never felt. At first Loung’s story makes you feel sad and sorry for her and all the people traumatized by the Cambodian genocide. But then you look at what she has accomplished by showing the world what it was like, and that gives me the strength to do more with my life and become less ignorant of people who struggle more than I do. So it is important to be aware of not only the good things in the world but also the bad. As students in a small town in Vermont, we sometimes find it hard to learn or see things outside of the classroom, but Loung Ung has brought us a more personal piece of that outside world.
meal with every night. Now that I’ve read this book, it occurs to me that complaining about the small annoyances in life is just a waste of time. I have a good life, and this book helped me realize it. I can’t imagine living the life that Loung had to live, especially as a child. The two themes in this book that stood out the most to me are courage and trust. I believe courage is the more consistent theme, because Loung and all of her siblings use it throughout the whole story. If she wasn’t so determined, Loung wouldn’t have been able to stand up to a soldier attempting to rape her; she wouldn’t have been able to leave her mother’s side to fend for herself; she wouldn’t have been able to go out in the woods alone as a little girl and do all of those chores for her foster families. Kim had to use courage every night when he would go and steal corn for his family, knowing that it was guarded by Khmer soldiers. Most people can’t even build up enough courage to stand up for somebody who is being bullied. Without trust, I don’t think any of the children would’ve survived, and they wouldn’t have been so determined to find one another. The children had to trust that their foster families were going to take care of them. They had to trust that the Youn soldiers would protect them from the Khmer Rouge soldiers who killed their mother, father, and two sisters. If I was in Loung’s situation, I think that my biggest struggles would be pretending to praise the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot while knowing that those men killed my family, and that they were the reason my family was forced out of our house. I can’t imagine coming back home to find out the Khmer Rouge took my mother and baby sister and killed them. My siblings get on my nerves, but if I came home to find out that To know that Loung Ung somebody had attacked my survived all those attacks from family, I wouldn’t be able to the Khmer Rouge, and the survive the same way as Loung deaths of four of her family has. members, really inspires me. This book makes me think That she could witness all of about my life. It makes me apthe terrible things that she saw preciate the smallest things a as a child and be able to use her lot more, like when my mom experiences in a positive way tells me that she loves me. is unbelievable. It’s even more What if I didn’t hear that ever exciting that she did indeed again? Or when my dad teaches survive, and it gives me hope me how to do things around that I would survive if somethe house. It’s a way of him thing like that ever happened in showing me he cares and wants this country. me to be responsible. What if I To think that people, includ- didn’t have that? ing myself, complain about the I might complain about littlest things in life — pimples, things, but I just need to rewalking the dogs, having to do member, “It could be worse. At the dishes, not having the iPod least I’m not fending for food, that I want — that seem ridicu- or fighting for my life.” lous after reading this book. I have food, a bed, and a loving family whom I can have a
T h e C ommons
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
E S S AY
Please stop ‘helping’ us Vernon residents know the town, and VY, better than Peter Shumlin does
On the war horse, galloping across the globe Diplomacy at the dinner table, courtesy of Fox News
far away from my Vermont home, I stumbled into a danger zone. It wasn’t comparable to inadvertently crossing the border from Iraq to Iran. All I did was accept a gracious dinner invitation from casual acquaintances. How could I have imagined that when the door opened, I’d need a flak jacket? The table was set for eight in the cavernous kitchen. The center island — topped with glistening black marble — rivalled my whole kitchen for square footage. French Cabernet was served in glasses that resembled goldfish bowls on spindly stems. I had to use both hands to lift mine to my face. The woman seated on my left took up the breadth of her chair with great physical authority. Her blond hair, streaked with silver, was neatly arranged on the top of her head, presenting the illusion of a crown. She wrapped a practiced hand around her glass and drank long and deep. Then she turned to me and chirped, “Finally there’s a reason to like the French!” Naturally, I thought she was referring to the wine. Before I could respond, she crowed, “Did you hear? Sarkozy has banned burdocks!” Her pronunciation of the French President’s name was so mangled — “Sard-uzi” — that it took me a second to translate. As for the burdocks, I was completely baffled. I’ve lived most of my life in rural areas, and I’m all too familiar with burdocks, commonly known as burrs. They have purple-flowered heads about the size of a marble, covered with prickly hooks. I’ve spent countless hours pulling them off dogs’ coats and out of horses’ tails. They’re a nuisance, but I couldn’t think why anyone would ban them. Maybe there had been some unprecedented infestation in the French countryside, I
Vernon Patty O’Donnell represents the Windham-1 discently brazenly mis- trict of Guilford and Vernon in the Vermont House of used the people of Representatives. Vernon, a town we both have the privilege to serve. It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the deliberately, overblown the last, and it says a good deal consequences of a single about the man who wants to Oct. 8 tritium reading. Many be governor. Vernon residents either work For the past year, Senator at the plant or know people Shumlin has been doing evwho do. To put it bluntly, we erything he can to chase out know about nuclear safety of town a great neighbor: from the “inside” and know the Vermont Yankee nuclear it well. power plant. The reading found just So I was appalled, but not over a thousand picocuries of really surprised, when Peter tritium (a substance also in Shumlin stood before the movie theater exit signs and TV news cameras on Oct. 12 elsewhere). This barely regisand shed crocodile tears on ters on hypersensitive monibehalf of my fellow Vernon toring equipment. In fact, residents, victims of what he it’s about 5 percent of the alcalled “the worst environlowed federal limit in drinkmental disaster in the history ing water. Furthermore, of the state of Vermont.” the tritium from the leak Unless his expert advice sealed this spring has been about tritium mediation largely removed as part of the was followed, the town of Yankee-initiated monitoring Vernon’s water supply would and remediation plan. Many be dangerously, irreversibly hard workers from Vernon irradiated. People would get helped make this happen. sick. They would be unable In fact, if Peter were to get to sell their worthless homes. his way and Vermont Yankee All would be lost, lost, lost! closes, the environment And we, the people of will be worse off because of Vernon, sat in front of our higher toxic emissions of cartelevision sets and said to one bon dioxide and other subanother, “This man is either stances, a result of Vermont’s grossly uninformed, or he’s increased dependence on fosusing us. Or both.” sil fuels. The truth is, Peter Shumlin To my fellow Vermonters has terribly, and perhaps living outside of Vernon, I
Jeff Potter/The Commons (photoillustration from public domain sources)
Annie Hawkins, a writer we have yet to elect a woman and storyteller, performs at universities, theaters, museums, nature centers and other venues all over the country. She wrote a prizewinning newspaper column in Pennsylvania and has also published short stories, poems, and essays.
president. I thought again. A person has only so many breaths allotted to one life. It is prudent to conserve them. I turned to my host and said gaily, “Let’s talk about horses!” My host owns a few racehorses, and he happily rattled off their recent accomplishments on the track. He said thought. I envisioned them he had high hopes for the big, choking crops and hanging like well-balanced, chestnut yeartinsel on goats and sheep. I ling in the front field. Then he wondered if heinous chemicals excused himself and poured would have to be employed. more wine for his guests. I cov“We can be grateful we ered the rim of my glass with weren’t born Muslim,” the my hand. woman continued after pausThe blonde had turned to ing for more gulps of wine. the man at her left. They were “It’s such a repressive religion riding the same war horse. for women. Those people are Armed and dangerous, they so backward. They’re not like were on about “those people.” us. They have no regard for hu- Galloping all over the globe, man life. It’s time somebody they ranted about Palestinians, did something to stop the risPakistanis, Afghans, Africans, ing tide of women-haters and and “Orientals.” terrorists.” “Even in Ireland they have I was mesmerized by her no regard for human life,” cheeks. They glowed with vari- the woman sputtered. “Last ous shades of pink, like remark- year I was visiting relatives in able sunsets, but not as pretty. Dublin and I was almost struck My mind reeled away into a by a car. My aunt had to pull sunset and then returned to my me back to the curb. And you head in a blaze of clarity. know what she said? She said, “Do you mean burqas?” ‘Dear, you have to watch where “Yes, yes!” she trilled, wavyou’re going.’” ing a dismissive hand at me, I stifled a giggle. Sometimes as if accurate verbiage were I laugh when I really want to inconsequential. cry. “I know. They’re trying to I thought to point out that kill us. They’re trying to kill us Islam is not a monolith any all,” the man replied. His tone more than Christianity or any was a trifle hysterical. It was other religion. Most Muslims dark outside, but he peered don’t hate women or strap sui- through the French doors as if cide bombs to their chests. I he expected to see a gang of jiconsidered reminding her that hadists with rifles aimed at our since 1988, four women have heads. been heads of state in Muslim Then he said that thing I’ve countries, whereas in the USA heard ad nauseam ever since
eter Shumlin re-
9/11: “Where are the voices of Muslims speaking out against violence?” Our hostess interrupted, speaking softly. “They’re everywhere, Carl. Except on Fox TV and Rush Limbaugh.” Her husband shook his head at her and frowned. Carl’s voice jumped up an octave. “That’s just liberal propaganda! I suppose you believe that crap about climate change, too. And I’ve noticed you’re still drinking Grey Goose.” I couldn’t recall why we were supposed to avoid French vodka. I wouldn’t have objected to knocking back a couple shots right then. We all swiveled our heads from Carl to our hostess, as if we were watching a fierce volley at Wimbledon. Our host made frantic hand signals at his wife, but she had, in her quiet way, already pulled the pin on the hand grenade. I exchanged a bemused glance with the woman across the table. We rose together, as if we’d choreographed our flight, and began to gather the plates. Our hostess joined us at the island and readied the dessert.
at the door saying thank you and good night. The driveway was paved with cobblestones and, in a few patches, coated with a skein of ice. I bolted to my car anyway. A broken ankle couldn’t hurt as much as one more minute of torment. Driving away, my brain whirled like helicopter blades. The fear and ignorance I heard is propagated and celebrated by right-wing legislators and the right-wing media and swallowed like elixir by “ordinary Americans,” whatever that
say: there is no “environmental disaster.” There is just one ambitious politician trying to fan fear and ride its wave into the governor’s office. If a real disaster was looming, municipal employees and the Selectboard would be pounding on Yankee’s door — and those of many government agencies. Peter must know his irresponsible statement will cause real human suffering in and around Vernon, everything from scaring children to making homes harder to sell to discouraging local investment of any kind. He should be ashamed of himself. But perhaps that is asking too much of a politician who would callously throw out of work hundreds of people in his own senate district while he seeks a political promotion. There was terrible irony in something Peter said last Monday: “I feel nothing but sadness for the hard working people of Vernon.” I, too, feel sad for my hard-working townspeople, who want only to work in clean, good-paying jobs processing a valuable necessity for our fellow Vermonters, but who may indeed lose all because of this man’s alarmist, anti-job perspective. Peter Shumlin, stop cynically exploiting Vernon in the guise of “helping.” You’ve already helped enough. n means. If a citizen knows the difference between a burdock and a burqua, Islam and Buddhism, socialism and fascism, does that make her an “elitist?” Those people, I thought, should move to Alaska. They’d fit right in at Sarah Palin’s table. I was drunk on fear and indignation as that wise Dubliner spoke to me from across the ocean, tugging me away from the danger zone. “Dear, you have to watch where you’re going.” n
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Eons passed before I stood
LETTERS FROM READERS
Shumlin will invest in technology infrastructure
he clutter of negative ads in the governor’s race is obscuring the most important issue facing us today — creating the conditions for the growth of good new jobs in Vermont. In order to have any kind of decent future, we need new businesses investing in goodpaying, new-technology jobs. But no one is going to create or move a new business to Vermont if they can’t use their cell phones to see if the kids got home safely or check to see if the parts shipment arrived on time. Peter Shumlin has the courage to promise this investment. He will use Vermont’s
excellent credit to finance quality broadband Internet and cell-phone service for the entire state. Brian Dubie has spoken vaguely about more tax breaks and easier permitting and lax regulation, but there is abundant evidence that these ideas are not effective in promoting growth, especially in tough times. They have all been tried in the past, and they don’t work. Without government investment to improve our physical and electronic infrastructure, there is no way we will generate enough tax revenue to support the services we want, no way our children will be able
find decent jobs and stay in Vermont, no way we can continue to support the kinds of schools that develop students who year after year score among the best on valid national tests (like the National Assessment of Educational Progress). Please look beyond the distractions of campaign ads created by political operatives and vote for a better future for all of us. We can’t afford more of the failed policies of the past eight years. Support Pete Shumlin for governor. David Schoales Brattleboro
State representative urges you to vote
lease vote in the Tuesday, Nov. 2 general election. Vote at your polling place election day, vote in person now at your Town Clerk’s office, or request an early vote ballot for yourself or others from your Town Clerk (just call, e-mail or write) and vote when and wherever you wish (as long as the voted ballot with proper signature is returned to the Town Clerk by 7 p.m. on
Nov. 2. If you are not registered to vote, you have until Oct. 27 to do so. Important, likely-long-lasting choices will be made this election day, and your vote will contribute to and might even decide the collective result. Democracy thrives and is strengthened when we participate in its decision-making process.
Voting is the great equalizer; everyone’s vote is equal no matter who casts it. Every vote counts. See you at the polls! Michael J. Obuchowski Bellows Falls The writer represents the Windham-4 district in the House of Representatives.
Courthouse Gulf Putney Rd. Brattleboro, Vt.
According to figures from the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger for 2009, 1 in 6 Vermont children and more than 1 in 8 Vermont households are considered “food insecure,” defined as lacking access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to a lack of money. In Windham County, 1 in 5 children fall into that category. The recession that began in 2007 hasn’t made things easier for many families. According to Steve Dale of the Vermont Department of Children and Families, between July 2007 and July 2010, recipients of various benefits have increased by the following percentages: 3SquaresVT (formerly known as food stamps), 62 percent; health care programs such as Medicaid, 25 percent; Reach Up (Vermont’s name for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, formerly known as Welfare), 22 percent; home heating assistance, 36 percent; and child care financial assistance, 10 percent. Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Vermonters would need to cut back on their food stamp allowances based on their figures of declining home heating costs which figure in qualification. Sanders, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and 13 other senators wrote Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack requesting that the allowances be maintained as they stood, stating dangerous nutrition deficits that would result. The USDA agreed, and Vermonters did not see a decrease in their food-stamp assistance, for now. Judy Stermer, director of communications and public affairs for the Vermont Foodbank, said that the agency has “just closed the fiscal year having distributed a quarter of million pounds more food than last year.”
Vermont Foodbank participants in Windham County have seen a sharp increase in people accessing both the food shelf and meals. Lisa Pitcher, director of Our Place Drop-In Center in Bellows Falls, said that she and her staff think it generally takes two to four months for a person who goes on unemployment to start showing up for their food shelf and/or meals. They have seen a 16-percent increase in the number of meals prepared last month compared to the same time period last year, and she said food shelf usage is definitely up as well. Juanita Lane, co-director of the Brattleboro-based Mercy Ministries of Agape with her husband Kenneth, provides both meals and a food shelf through the Agape Christian Fellowship at 30 Canal St. Lane said that they have seen a 26 percent increase in people who take advantage of their meals served. “A few months
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ago, we were serving 30 to 40 meals. Last night, we served 67.” Lane noted that the people who are taking advantage of the meals and food shelf are a mix. “We know that some of those who come to us are employed,” she said, “but between the high rents, higher heating bills, the price of gas, there’s just not enough left over for food. These aren’t people on food stamps.” Lane noted that the program is always running out of food and volunteers “have to run out and buy more.” She said they are always looking for volunteers. “We have people who have to do community service helping us too,” she said. More importantly, the need for donations of food, or money to buy it, increases weekly.
The crisis grows
Vermont may be looking at further crisis management ahead as it faces a $112 million budget deficit and state agencies, such as the Department of Corrections, continue cutting back. Corey Gustafson of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns said that as a result of Act 157 and Act 149, conditions of release have changed for low risk offenders in that “the sole condition of release no longer is based on whether or not they have housing in place once they leave the facility.” Rockingham Selectboard member Ann DiBernardo was concerned there may be “an increased need for our warming shelter” as a result of yet another population making its way back into Vermont’s cities and towns. However, Deputy Commissioner Lisa Menard said that “it is not in the best interest of either the offender or the communities [of Vermont] to release them without some kind of either transitional housing or housing that they have found themselves.” “To my knowledge, as of Oct. 1, no one has been released that didn’t have a [housing] place,” Menard said. “The Legislature is well aware of the burdens to the communities,” Gustafson said, “when they are discussing cuts to address the budget deficit.” With winter approaching, heating bills are again an issue for many Vermonters. “If someone has just filled up their tank and are is looking at the bill wondering how they are going to pay it, they should know that if they go online, they can sign up,” said State Fuel Assistance Chief Richard Moffi. “We want to help everyone out there who needs it.” Moffi said he has seen incremental increases in applications yearly for the past three years as a result of expanded income eligibility requirements and program changes this past year that revealed a rise of 37 percent to 27,630 applications for fuel assistance. “We did not run out of benefits last year,” Moffi said. “We base our benefits on our projected case load and funding from the federal budget.” He said Congress has yet to decide the level of funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and since federal lawmakers are now out of session until after the November elections, he didn’t expect to know what level of funding the program would be receiving.
NE NLY B R AT T L E B R
“We distributed more than 8 million pounds of food last month,” Stermer added. “We are seeing people who are still struggling to find work — still feeling the effects of the recession. People are starting to think about the heating season, and there is anxiety there. They’re facing difficult choices and feeling the pinch even more.” Stermer noted that Vermonters using 3SquaresVT “is up at a record high at about 87,000 participants. That’s 1 in 7 Vermonters who are eligible, which is also the population that we are serving of seniors, food shelves and after school programs.” She said some people avail themselves of the resources quickly, while others hesitate to seek help. “I think it varies,” Stermer said. “We just had someone come into the food bank that works right next to our building, and had been looking at the food bank every day. He has needed food for a while but hasn’t come to ask for help. There is still a stigma around needing food.” “People who are living on the brink or living in poverty…do need food assistance. Connecting and deciding they can’t do without it any longer is a difficult choice.” The Vermont Foodbank distributes donated food and commodities which are federally subsidized food products at no cost. “We run a completely separate program called the co-op food bank,” Stermer explained. “For instance, if a food shelf or meal center said they really need tuna fish, we would go out and source the best possible prices below wholesale. Everyone is reaping the benefit. We’re buying cooperatively for 280 agencies [within Vermont].” Stermer noted, appreciatively, that “we’re receiving more products than ever from Vermont producers that are either gleaned or we’ve had donated. We’ve received more than 400,000 pounds of fresh produce that have made it into food shelves and meals that people wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.” “We’re seeing more and more participation from Vermont businesses and producers. [The number of] low income people is expanding extremely,” Stermer said.
of the unemployment rate in Vermont [being] as closer to 17 percent,” when one includes people who may be working parttime and need full-time work to make ends meet. VDOL figures Windham County unemployment at more than 27 percent, using Sanders’ definition. According to the Burlingtonbased Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), Vermont has the highest rate of homelessness in New England and at least 66 percent of Vermont households do not earn enough to afford the average fair market rent. COTS notes that the average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Chittenden County is $1,015 – or 44 percent higher than the national average. The wages needed to afford that rent — using the generally established guide that a wage earner should pay no more than onethird of his or her income in rent — would be $19.48 an hour or $40,518 a year. The picture is just as bleak in Windham County. According to the Department of Labor, the average wage is between $11.32 and $12 per hour. A living wage would be closer to $13.50 an hour in the county, and fair-market rent for a twobedroom apartment in Windham County is $930, according to the Universal Living Wage website, www.universallivingwage.org. Minimum wage in Vermont remains at $8.06.
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Friends of Music at Guilford’s
Falling Leaves Auction Gala m Sun., Oct. 24, 5-8:30
www.fomag.org · (802) 254-3600 · firstname.lastname@example.org
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Mike “Obie” Obuchowski and Carolyn Partridge; and House candidates Richard Davis and Valerie Stewart. Not attending were Senate candidate Lynn Corum; state Reps. David Deen, Ann Manwaring and Oliver Olsen; and House candidates Mike Hebert, Geralyn Sniatkowski, Richard Morton, Christopher Moore, Gaila Gulack and Claire Trask. Cooke was the only Republican candidate in attendance. Cleo Rohn, a Brattleboro Union High School senior and volunteer with Healthcare is a Human Right, sent a rallying call to the candidates in her opening statements. “Vermonters understand that once again it’s up to us to lead the nation,” she said. Obuchowski lobbed back a call to action highlighting the election countdown. “We need you to give us the courage to vote the right way,” he said. Obuchowski said elected representatives, who love their jobs, need to know they’ll have the votes for another term in office if they take on a potentially controversial issue. The candidates answered two questions posed to them on health care. Would the candidates commit to working for health care and to eliminate any tiers of access for Vermonters? The candidates answered “yes.” Edwards, who “gratefully” receives health insurance through VHAP, said there was “no question” that health care is a human right. “One of the things I’ve learned is that change takes a really long time,” said Edwards. Marek and Galbraith stood up and said they supported, specifically, single-payer health care. Mrowicki and Partridge said
“Our bureaucratic partners all know the urgency with which we are awaiting the decision,” Moffi said. “In New England, winter starts early. Typically, we start releasing benefits in early November. We’ll have to wait and see this year.” Before it went out of session, Congress had not made a decision as to level funding LIHEAP [Vermont got $26.6 million last year], or cutting the funding to $15 million. “We know what the base level benefit for fuel assistance will be,” Moffi said. The state seems to be doing its best to support agencies that
they would like to find a way to open health-care access as soon as possible for early educators and farmers. Davis said he thought paying into a universal health-care system should be tiered — people who make more should pay more — but that access should be equal. Cooke said he would have voted for Act 128, which relates to health care financing and universal access, last year but said funding the new system needs to be worked out. “The cost of delivery is where the rubber meets the road,” he said. All the candidates stood in support of day-care workers in the process of forming a union called Vermont Early Educators United (VEEU). According to representatives of VEEU, because small independent businesses would comprise the VEEU membership, the Legislature will need to approve the union’s formation. “[Early education is] the gateway to children’s education and brain development. I will work to support the work of all who support our children,” Mrowicki said. Missy Boothroyd from the Vermont Center for Independent Living questioned recent cuts to public services made under the state’s Challenges for Change budgeting process. She said that under the pretext of greater efficiency, cuts were made at a time when people need services the most. “[Services are] not a matter of efficiently. They’re a matter of needs,” she told the candidates. Boothroyd is a peer advocacy counseling specialist with the Vermont Center for Independent Living’s Deaf Independence Program and addressed the candidates using American Sign Language
through interpreters. Boothroyd asked the candidates if they would support public policy that would help people meet their basic needs and ensure public programs were adequately staffed and funded. Edwards said Boothroyd’s speech represented her own values. Edwards does not believe in the effectiveness of trickle down economics, saying, “We should not put profits before people.” People before profits became the touchstone for many of the candidates’ responses. Partridge urged the audience to a different administration with a different course, a stance echoed by Mrowicki and Marek. Davis agreed, saying a lot depends on the voters’ choice of governor, whose appointees carry out the legislation. “Cuts in human services have gone as far as they will go,” said Moran. Cooke said “people first sounds good” and that pleasing shareholders does not need to be a corporation’s only purpose. But, he added, regarding efficiencies, “costs have to be contained” for there to be successful systems, like in health care. “Give it up for the only Republican in the room,” he joked. White said the administration has mismanaged Challenges for Change, which was intended as a redesign and not an excuse to cut programs. But she said a new administration could help get the program “back on track.” Linton thought that the evening went well overall, but expressed disappointment that more voters hadn’t attended the forum.
provide assistance on the many “The economic recovery remains levels needed by low income uneven and uncertain.” Vermonters. Businesses are stepping up to support the Vermont Foodbank, and help sponsor places like the Greater Falls Warming Shelter, as Chroma Technology of Rockingham has done. Budget cuts at the state and federal levels make providing assistance a juggling act, but stateSupport GLBTQ youth wide, agencies are working hard this Friday — and every to make sure those who need day. We’re all in this life help, get it, without exception. together. It should be As Valerie Rickert, acting commissioner of the Vermont worth living for all of us. Department of Labor, recently told the Vermont Press Bureau,
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T h e C ommons
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 • page 9
LIFE & WORK How
t h i n k you a r e ?
Mensa conducts testing in quest for new members to its society of intelligent people By Thelma O’Brien The Commons
OWNSHEND— Local chapters of Mensa, the discriminating society for smart people with high IQs, are testing across the country during October. Windham County will play host to a Mensa test on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m., at the Townshend Library. Why Townshend? Because it is the home of Stephen McConnel, who is Mensa’s local proctor and testing coordinator, and has been a member for more than 30 years. Formed in 1946 in England, Mensa has more than 110,000 members, about 58,000 of them American. Vermont claims 99 members, McConnel said, but just four years ago that number was as low as 15. Energetic recruiting expanded the roster, he said. Mensa’s constitution lists three purposes: “to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.” American Mensa “is an organization for people of IQs in the top two percentile,” according to the American Mensa website (www.americanmensa.org).
The group runs 134 local chapters throughout the 50 states, groups as small as 37 and as large as 2,400. The main office is in Arlington, Texas. The literature gives countless examples of membership diversity, from Rockettes to professors, and presents a generally encouraging picture of what fun it is to be a member. All you have to do is pass a test or two, of the IQ sort, to join to the club. Test examples are available on most of the Mensa website, as are instructions for supplying scores from previous tests. You need only score in or above the 98th percentile to qualify.
A Mensan life
McConnel, 70, is an investor by trade and a woodworker by hobby. He lives what could be called the typical and slightly eccentric Mensan life. Divorced twice, he remains close to his second wife’s children; he calls their four kids his grandchildren. Pictures of them are everywhere in his hilltop home, which he proudly points out is Townshend’s oldest house, an early 18th century structure moved in 1947 to the property from the center of town, on a property landscaped with several gardens and a pond. McConnel’s parents, who were Connecticut residents, had bought a summer home in West Townshend many years ago across from what is now
the Dam Diner. They sold the home when Route 30, according to McConnel, “was built in our backyard.” His parents then bought the place off Deer Valley Road, where McConnel has lived since 1993. In his collapsed narrative style, McConnel tells this story: “Dr. Otis came in after dinner and said, ‘Murray, I want to start a hospital. How do I do it?’” McConnel is talking about Dr. Carlos Otis, the founder of Grace Cottage Hospital, and McConnel says that’s the way the hospital started in 1949. His father Murray, an investment banker, did all the financing for the hospital and became a trustee. His mother served as a volunteer. One old house, McConnel says, was in the way of a parking lot that Otis wanted to create. He gave Murray McConnel the house as long as he moved it. That house, now cozily situated on the McConnel property, is a guest cottage. Stephen McConnel says that Mensa was invented for people like him. Articulate and funny, and educated at Westminster, a private school in Simsbury, Conn., McConnel said he hated high school. “The biggest challenge was getting through class while the slowest students finally got it,” he said, acting out his
Thelma O’Brien/The Commons
Stephen McConnel of West Townshend has been a Mensa member for more than three decades. exasperation. “I’d sit there calculating the speed of light in inches per century.” Nor did he want to go to college, although he finally did spend two years at Hobart in upstate New York. “The first year was a repeat of high school. I had one teacher who would say ‘okle dokle’ after you said anything, like b equals c.” McConnel liked some of the jobs he had after college, such as working at a concrete company started by a friend of his father’s. There, he was responsible for practically running the place. “Best job I ever had,” he says. He was in his early 20s and in a very long-term relationship with a young woman. Then McConnel fell in love with someone else he met through his father’s company in Connecticut, then followed her home to Dayton, Ohio. He finished college there, married her and moved back to Connecticut, where he took a job at Kaman Aerospace. He didn’t want her to work, which he concedes was a mistake. The relationship lasted seven years. He says the breakup was amicable, but admits that it was the most “brutal thing I’ve
ever been though.” In the interim, McConnel learned to fly and to drive a race car; activities he said that were undertaken just for themselves. His major project at the time was building the largest privatelyowned O-Scale model railroad in New England. He spent six years and built it all himself, including his own power supply. McConnel also married again and began making his living in investments. That marriage lasted about 13 years. At some point, McConnel said, he decided he wanted to have conversations about something other than “women, booze and fast cars in all their permutations,” which was what he was mostly talking about with his pals at the fire and rescue unit he belonged to in Connecticut. This led him at age 38 to Mensa, and to the activities and camaraderie it offered. At the time, he was working on a degree in clinical psychology at the University of Hartford, but his studies were cut short when the school’s accreditation was withdrawn. The Vermont chapter of Mensa offers multiple social gatherings for Mensans,
including a monthly games night in Brattleboro, where all IQ levels are welcome. The next gathering runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Community Room of Brattleboro Savings & Loan at 221 Main St. Susan Misnick of Newfane is in charge of the event. Mensans and their friends and family will also gather in Barnard for a Halloween party. The range of activities is clearly limited only by imagination and prodigious intelligence. “ Ideas are now being solicited for interesting stuff we can do as a group,” the Vermont chapter’s website reports, suggesting “Sport parachuting? Cave exploring? Museum trips? Wine tasting?” McConnel is closely connected to the Townshend population, partly through his Republican Party affiliations, but mainly from his connection to the Townshend Business Association, of which he was president for 15 years. “Now I’m president consularis,” he explained. “It’s the only word I could come up with. Walter Meyer is president emeritus, and I’m president consularis.”
to Spain, Belgium and France. Although the name of the group implies seven members, there are actually eight. They and their instruments are Eduardo Charón Massó, founder and director, guitar and back-up vocals; Carlos Alvarez Hernández, lead singer, maracas, claves and guiros; Erick Felipe Guevara Correa, double bass and backup vocals; Beráclides Miclìn Villalón, claves and lead singer; Andrés López Pozo, Tres guitar, bass and requinto; Ramón Guibert Larduet, bongo, timbales, claves, la galleta and backup vocals; Ernesto Lara Pacho, trumpet and claves; and William Armando Rodrìguez Rodrìguez, congas, bongos, guiro, and timbales. Tickets for the performance are $15. Because the size of the venue is limited, reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by contacting MSA at 802869-2960 or MSA@sover.net.
father’s addiction, the new album is a stunning collection of songs about life and intense introspection, woven together with great mastery and a few red threads. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance. $17 the day of show, and there are a limited number of frontrow angel tickets available for $25. Tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers, Fat Franks, and Boccelli’s in Bellows Falls, or online at www.brattleborotix.com. For more information, call the festival office at 802-463-9595.
• Chris O’Brien returns to Boccelli’s : Singer/songwriter
Courtesy New England Youth Theatre
Peter Gould will direct four more performances of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, featuring young actors he describes as “passionate, committed, wise, physical, energetic, and convincing.” The play takes place at New England Youth Theatre on Flat Street in Brattleboro on Friday, Oct. 22 (7 p.m.), Saturday, Oct. 23 (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), and Sunday, Oct. 24 (2 p.m.). Information: www.neyt.org; (802) 246-6398.
Music • Cuban music comes to Saxtons River: The sounds
of son, guaracha, bolero, guaguancó and rumba will flow out of Main Street Arts as the group Septeto
Tìpico Tìvoli (Typical Septet from
Tivoli) performs traditional Cuban music there Friday, Oct. 22. The 8 p.m. concert is one of several organized for the group’s tour of New England under a special cultural exchange
program arranged by Cuban native and Vermont resident Maricel Lucero. The group formed in 1995 in the Santiago district of Tivoli, which is known for its rich cultural traditions, and eventually grew from an amateur group to
one that is recognized in professional circles as preserving the traditional sound and essence of Cuban music. They have played in all the local venues and festivals and were selected in 1998 to represent Santiago de Cuba on a European tour that took them
Chris O’Brien, a favorite of the local music scene, will return to Bellows Falls on Friday, Oct. 22, at Boccelli’s on the Canal, presented by Vermont Festivals LLC. O’Brien will offer some of his standards as well as selections from his widely acclaimed latest album “Little Red,” and will appear with special guest guitarist Joe Crookston. Whether a hauntingly pensive song about This Old Town, or a lament about a
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T h e C ommons
â€˘ Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Vermont monsters to watch out for!
Brattleboro â€˘ Haunted house at the Masonic Temple: Brattleboro
Lodge #102 Free and Accepted Masons is conducting a haunted house the last two weekends of October at $5 a person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Feed the Thousands program. If you bring a donation of canned food, admission will only be $4. The dates are Oct. 22 to 24 and 29 to 31 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Main Street Masonic Center in Brattleboro, next to the Post Office. This event is only for people nine-years-old and older.
â€˘ Forest of Mystery at BEEC:
According to the Lake Champlain Land Trust: â€œSandra Mansi and her fiancĂŠ Anthony were vacationing on the shores of Lake Champlain when they saw a great head and neck break the surface of the lake. Sandra quickly grabbed her Kodak Instamatic and snapped a shot. That shot is the best evidence that Champ actually exists in Lake Champlain. The photograph has been examined by experts who claim that it has not been altered in any way.â€? By Joyce Marcel The Commons
ermonters are forever encountering weird things in the woods, and when they do, Joseph A. Citro is there to document them. Heâ€™s spent years collecting stories of Vermontâ€™s weirdness and wonders. His book, The Vermont Monster Guide (UPNE, 2009), includes all the creatures on this list, plus more than 50 others. His other books include Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries, Green Mountains Dark Tales and The Vermont Ghost Guide. Here, according to Citro, are the stateâ€™s five most notorious monsters: â€˘ Champ: Vermontâ€™s monster superstar has made its home in Lake Champlain for centuries. Native Americans knew about Champ long before the
Europeans came in the 1600s, and its been spotted at regular intervals ever since. Long, dark, and infinitely elusive, Vermontâ€™s waterlogged wonder has been seen, photographed, videoed, but never captured or identified. â€˘ Bennington Monster: Descriptions of this incredible creature vary, but supposedly itâ€™s gigantic and is occasionally provoked to anger. In the 19th century, it toppled a stagecoach and still pops up, terrifying hikers, hunters, and even motorists. Prehistoric or preternatural, it makes its home in the Glastenbury Mountain wilderness. â€˘ Old Slipperyskin: First encountered by early settlers in the Lemington-Maidstone-Victory area of the Northeast Kingdom, this fearsome oddity made war against the newcomers, scaring their children, ruining their crops, and scattering their livestock. Witnesses claimed it was
an especially clever bear â€” but unlike any conventional bear, Old Slipperyskin walked on two legs. Reevaluation of these old stories, and the introduction of more recent evidence, suggests Old Slipperyskin might have been what we now call Bigfoot. â€˘ Woodstock Vampire: Woodstock may well be the vampire capital of Vermont; history records at least two of the specimens. One (so the story goes) is buried beneath the townâ€™s scenic green. But beware, tradition tells us vampires donâ€™t stay down for long. â€˘ Pigman: This grotesque biped took up residence in Northfield in the late 1960s. Where it came from and how it was created are mysteries. Frequent Pigman sightings and occasional attacks eventually led to a description: He walks upright, standing a good five-eight to five-ten. His body is naked and completely covered with light hair. He has long claws, possibly cloven feet. His most distinguishing feature is the preposterous pig-like face. Oh, and it can move very fast!
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Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center presents its annual â€œForest of Mysteryâ€? on Friday and Saturday nights, Oct. 29 and 30. In this yearâ€™s show, The Phantom Road, travelers enter the supernatural realm of spirits and specters. Hear the music of the forest phantoms! Learn the legends of wandering souls. Hour-long journeyâ€™s begin every 15 minutes from 6:15-8 p.m. Those who have never been the Forest of Mystery can indeed look forward to a unique theatrical experience. Unlike typical drama, the â€œForest of Mysteryâ€?, is an outdoor performance in
which the audience is far more than just passive spectators. In small groups, the audience is guided through the woodlands and fields by mysterious characters as the forest is transformed into a place of mystery and magic. The cost for adults is $8/$6 for BEEC members, and children $6/$4 for members, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Call 802-257-5785 for reservations. Payment in advance is also appreciated. The performances are recommended for ages 6 years and older. â€˘ Halloween Parade open call: If you are a designer, cos-
tume maker, musician, street performer, dancer, percussionist, circus artist, stilt walker or any other artistic or creative maven, you are invited to participate in the second annual Brattleboro Halloween Parade on Sunday, Oct. 31. The theme for Halloween 2010 is XS RED. The parade begins at the corner Grove and Main streets at 7:30 p.m. Afterwards, there will be the grand costume party and competition at the Stone Church. Bring your excess, bring your red and most of all, bring yourself, your friends and family. The first festival last year
featured a truly spectacular costume party and prizes were awarded by many of the businesses in town. This year, organizers anticipate a bigger parade, with more revelers and more cohesive parade music. For more information, contact Richie Richardson at 347-995-1819.
Walpole, N.H. â€˘ H a l l o w e e n Fa r m e r s Market: The Walpole Farmers
Market will wrap up the season on Friday, Oct. 29, with special Halloween activities for kids between 3:30 and 5 p.m. The market itself runs from 3 to 6 pm. It is held on the Common, but in the event of inclement weather, will move indoors into the Town Hall. Kids can enter a costume contest and enjoy face painting, butter making, an obstacle course, and relay races while parents get their groceries and support local farmers. For more information, visit www.walpolefarmersmarket. com, e-mail email@example.com, follow along on Facebook, or call 603-756-3168. If you would like to receive email updates about the market, send along your e-mail address.
Some scary books and films Looking for some spooky books and films to get you in the mood for Halloween? Here are a few suggestions from some area experts.
The Book Cellar in Brattleboro
cholera that threatened unprecedented disaster. This is the story of the scientist who found the solution, and ultimately restructured the way we think about life in cities.â€? â€˘ The Vermont Monster Guide by Joseph A. Citro and Stephen R. Bissette (illustrator). â€œCitro and Bissette have created a fantastic illustrated field guide of monsters and their locations in Vermont.â€? â€˘ Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. â€œA haunting novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.â€?
Esther Behling and Veronica Gianotta offered some of their choices. â€˘ The Crucible by Arthur Miller. â€œEven though the witch trials are definitely Halloween appropriate, the subverted McCarthyism bit is even spookier.â€? â€˘ World War Z by Max Brooks. â€œThis novel is a collection of first-person accounts of the zom- Old and New bie apocalypse, and reads like England Books Mary Hill at Old and New a history book. Think un-dead England Books in Newfane had David McCullough.â€? â€˘ The Ghost Map by Steven some recommendations. â€œFor the children, two beauJohnson. â€œIn 1854, London experienced a rapid outbreak of tiful picture books by authors with local connections: Wendy Watsonâ€™s Boo! Itâ€™s Halloween COSMIC BOWLING is set in a New England village HALLOWEEN and perfectly capturing the exPARTY citement of trick-or-treating. Has jokes, too! Tasha Tudorâ€™s Sat. Oct. 30 Pumpkin Moonshine is a gentle 9 pm - Midnight and lovely story of a little girl and Costume Contest a Halloween pumpkin. Most Creative, Scariest & â€œFor the older kids: Ray Funniest Bradburyâ€™s The Halloween Tree, $2 Off in Costume about a haunting, unforgettable Halloween treats, drinks and music
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night of trick-or-treating, and Neil Gaimanâ€™s The Graveyard Book, a Newbery Medal book and a wonderful story about a boy living in a graveyard being raised by ghosts. â€œFor the adults: Agatha Christieâ€™s Halloween Party, a Hercule Poirot mystery, and Henry Jamesâ€™ The Turn of the Screw, a subtle and chilling ghost story.â€?
First Run Video II
Alan B. Goldstein at First Run Video II in Wilmington lists his top horror movies â€œfor Halloween or anytime.â€? â€˘ Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott. â€œA monster is loose in the house, uh, ship!â€? â€˘ The Village of the Damned (1960), directed by Wolf Rilla. â€œCreepy, 1960s science fiction horror. All the women in the village got pregnant and no one had any fun! Itâ€™ll make your flesh crawl. Okay for pre-teens.â€? â€˘ Dracula (1932), directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund. â€œOne of the earlier vampire movies... and one of the best.â€? â€˘ Bram Stokerâ€™s Dracula (1992), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. â€œA worthy remake and closer to the original novel. Check out the effects, they owe more to early cinema than to the SFX departments of the day.â€? â€˘ Frankenstein (1932) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), directed by James Whale. â€œThey donâ€™t call them classics for nothing. You need to watch them both â€” preferably in one sitting!â€? â€˘ The Quatermass Xperiment, a.k.a., The Creeping Unknown (1955), directed by Val Guest. â€œThis one scared me so much, I had nightmares for months. It still unsettles me to this day.â€?
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T h e C ommons
LIFE & WORK
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Births, deaths, and news of people from Windham County Obituaries Editor’s note: The Commons will publish brief biographical information for citizens of Windham County and others, on request, as community news, free of charge. • Ronald L. Bezanson, 62, of Brattleboro. Died Oct. 10 at home. Partner of Betty Kimball. Father of Lea Ann Sochin and Crystal Miramontes, both of Jamaica. Brother of Darlene Clark of Townshend;Edward Bezanson, Jr. of Northfield, N.H.; and Chester Bezanson of Andover, N.H. Predeceased by brothers James and John Bezanson. Graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, Class of 1966. Was an avid fisherman and enjoyed hunting as well. He liked playing the guitar and entertaining people. Memorial information: A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations to the American Heart Association. • Angela Carroll Fleming, 74, of
Brattleboro. Died Oct. 9. Daughter of the late Richard A. and Mary Alice (Barile) Fleming. Sister of Richard J. Fleming, and her twin sister, Sister Kathleen Fleming, SSJ. Graduate of St. Michael’s High School, Class of 1954 and the University of Vermont’s School of Dental Hygiene in 1956. Was a dental hygienist for 45 years at the Brattleboro Retreat and the offices of Roy Neumeister, DDS, John Mann, DDS and most recently at Dental Health until her retirement in 2001. She was a lifetime member of the Vermont Dental Hygienist Association. and was a member of the Windham County Cloggers, the Strolling of the Heifers’Committee and the Brattleboro Historical Society. Served as a member of the Diocese of Vermont Rural Ministry Program and as an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Memorial information: A funeral Mass was held on Oct. 13 at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro, with burial in St. Michael’s Parish Cemetery, Donations to St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. Condolences may be sent to the family through the Atamaniuk Funeral Home at www. atamaniuk.com. • Kenneth Gordon Howe, 80, of Zephyrhills, Fla., and Westmoreland, N.H. Died Oct. 7 in Westmoreland. Husband of Phylis LaClaire for 44 years. Former husband of Eleanor Brown. Father of Terry Howe and wife Linda of Brattleboro; Patti French and husband Lester of Brattleboro; Lori McDermid and husband Brian of Rockingham; Pamela Wallis of Westmoreland; and Karen Bills of Bellows Falls. Brother of Shirley Collins and Robert “Butch” Howe, both of Hinsdale, N.H. Predeceased by his brothers, William and Clarence. Was born in Hinsdale, and was employed at The Book Press in Brattleboro, where he held many positions until his retirement in 1995. Enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping, and also enjoyed farming his land and was often seen haying his field on his beloved Ford tractor. Memorial information: A graveside service was held Oct. 15 at Spofford Cemetery. Donations to Hospice, P.O. Box 564, 312 Marlboro St., Keene, NH, 03431.
• Dillon Michel Loomis, 21, of Putney . Died Oct. 11 after in-
juries suffered in an auto accident. Son of Darren and Lisa (Belanger) Loomis. Brother of Darren Loomis, Jr. and Samantha and Tabitha Loomis, all of Putney. Worked for Green Mountain Horse Ranch since the age of 15 and also worked for Engelberth Construction. Loved the outdoors, animals, his family and friends, and people in general. He was a very determined person who always had a smile, an amazing sense of humor, and a passion for life. Memorial information: A funeral service was held Oct. 17 at the Putney Federated Church, with burial in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Putney. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, 172 North Main St., Barre, VT 05641-4124.
Donna of Wilmington; Randy Moore of Whitingham; Brian Moore and his wife Julie of Wilmington; and Scott Moore and his wife Deidre, also of Wilmington. Brother of David Moore and his wife Kathy of South Newfane; and Marie Williams and her husband Richard of Jacksonville. Predeceased by a brother, Richard Moore. Born in Wilmington, where he attended the Cutting One Room School House. Attended Randolph Agriculture School (now Vermont Tech). Worked as a logger for Cersosimo Lumber, Butt Crafts and Lincoln Haynes in Wilmington. before starting his own logging business in the 1950s. In the 1970s, he owned and operated a sawmill in Indian Lake and Herman, N.Y. Owned and operated Moore Stone and Timber in Wilmington in the 1980s and ran the stone quarry on Shearer Hill in Wilmington. Memorial information: A funeral service was held Oct. 16 at Covey & Allen Funeral Home in Wilmington, with burial in the Intervale Cemetery in Wilmington. Donations to the American Heart Association, c/o Covey & Allen Funeral Home, P.O. Box 215, Wilmington, VT 05363. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
• Lyman Nason Nicholas, 70,
of Hinsdale, N.H. Died Oct. 9 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. Son of the late William “Tiny” Nicholas and Ida (Spaulding) Nicholas. Husband of Esther J. Nicholas. Father of Brent Nicholas and Holly Nicholas. Brother of William “Bill” Nicholas of Scotrun, Pa. Predeceased by siblings Donald B. Nicholas, Paul M. Nicholas and Marylyn Bash. Born in Brattleboro and attended Brattleboro schools. As a teen, he went to work with his father at First Vermont Bank, where he continued his career until 1995 when he retired due to health reasons. Was an avid hunter who always stressed the importance of gun safety, knowledge, and the right to bear arms. M emorial i n formation : A funeral service was held Oct. 16 at Ker Westerlund Funeral Home in Brattleboro, with burial in Morningside Cemetery. • Maurice Paul, 78, of Brattleboro. Died Oct. 9 in Florida. Husband of Therese Paul for 55 years. Father of Richard, Sylvain and Collette. Grew up in Quebec, and moved to Brattleboro in 1967. He mostly worked in construction. A resident of Zephyrhills, Fla., since 1976, he was employed by the Pasco County Schools as a plant manager at Woodland Elementary. He retired in 1999 after 23 years. Was an avid hockey fan and a lifelong Catholic.
• Robert Edwin “Bob” Ray, 72 ,
of Brattleboro. Died Oct. 13 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Husband of Patricia Raymond for 35 years. Former husband of Roberta Crewe. Father of Brenda Sanborn of Guilford and Kevin Ray of Rogers, Alaska. Predecased by a son, Edwin Ray and two half-brothers, Ivan and Donald Johnson. Born in Bridgewater, Vt., he attended Woodstock High School. Served in the Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed stateside until his honorable discharge in 1957. Was a grounds keeper at World Learning in Brattleboro for 15 years, retiring in 2003. Previously worked at the former Book Press in Brattleboro and at the Brattleboro Country Club. Was a member and past master of the Broad Brook Grange in Guilford, held membership in the Pomona Grange and had been a member of the American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro. Memorial information : A graveside funeral service with full military honors was held Oct. 19 at St. Michael’s Parish Cemetery in Brattleboro. Donations to Brattleboro Area Hospice, 191 Canal St., Brattleboro, VT. 05301 or to the Oncology Dept. at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, VT. 05301. Condolences may be sent to the family through the Atamaniuk Funeral Home at www. atamaniuk.com. • Marjorie E. Rounds, 94, of Brattleboro. Died Oct. 13 at Vernon Green Nursing Home. Wife of the late Guy S. Rounds. Mother of Jerry Rounds and his wife, Alma, of Brattleboro. Predeceased by a son, Douglas S. Rounds, and by siblings Bernard, Melvin, Donald and Richard Fowler and Dorothy Baronoski and Dolores Graham. Born in South Weare, N.H., and had lived in Hinsdale, N.H., and Bellows Falls before moving to Brattleboro in 1942. Worked at the Book Press for 14 years, retiring in 1980. She was a member of the First Congregational Church in West Brattleboro. Enjoyed knitting, reading, and traveling. Memorial i n formation : A graveside funeral service will be held Oct. 23, at 11
• Pauline M. VanNess Turner, 82, of Southwick, Mass, formerly of
Brattleboro. Died Oct. 13 at Noble Hospital in Westfield, Mass. Wife of the late Clarence M. Turner for 44 years. Mother of Kenneth W. Turner and his wife Ranay of Southwick. Sister of Harland VanNess of South Newfane, Beverly Coughlin of West Townshend, and Shirley Twitchell of South Londonderry. Predeceased by her sons, Thomas Roland Turner and David Douglas Turner, and a brother, Phillip VanNess. Worked as an assembler at C.E. Bradley in Brattleboro before moving to Southwick over 50 years ago. She was a member of the Southwick Congregational Church. She also was a member of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and the Council on Aging in Southwick. Memorial information : A graveside funeral service was held Oct. 18 at Pleasant View Cemetery in Jamaica, Donations to the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, 200 Ivy St., Brookline, MA 02446.
• Anne M. (Rivard) Vielleux, 94 , of Bellows Falls. Died Oct. 11
at Springfield Hospital. Wife of the late Ormond Kenney and Aldelard Vielleux. Mother of Marlene O’Connor and husband, William, of Bellows Falls; Barbara Partridge and husband, Howard, of Concord, Vt.; Priscilla Brand and husband, Max, of Bellows Falls; and June Shaffer and her husband, Bennie, of Galion, Ohio. Predeceased by siblings Roland, Clement, George and Ernest Rivard, Jean Miller, Juliette Ouellette, Beatrice Smith and Stella Herrick. Born in Nashua, N.H., and worked for Walpole Wire in North Walpole, N.H., Bryant Grinder in Springfield and Simmons Precision in Bellows Falls. She was a life member of the Women of the Moose as well as the American Legion Auxiliary. Memorial information : A funeral Mass was held Oct. 16 at St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls with burial in St. Charles Cemetery in Westminster. • M o n r o e W h i t a k e r, 9 3 , of Tullahoma, Tenn. Died Sept. 14 at the home of his son and daughter-inlaw, Monroe Whitaker and wife Carol, of Brattleboro. Husband of the late Sara Vivian Allen. Father of Beverly Fraterrigo and husband Frank of Orlando, Fla. Raised and educated in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he graduated from Central High School in 1934 and the University of Chattanooga in 1938. During high school and college he excelled in athletics and played
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• Isabel Margaret (MacFarlane) Medved, 98, of Putney. Died Oct. 1
at Vernon Green Nursing Home. Wife of the late Al Medved for 72 years. Mother of Stephen Medved of Putney; and Christopher Medved of Gainesville, Fla. Born in Richmond, Wis., she was a home economics major at the University of WisconsinMadison. She excelled in cooking, baking and tailoring, and at all times was dedicated to maintaining a secure, stable and effective household for her busy family. She enjoyed reading, current events, and restoring antiques. Memorial information: None provided. • John L. “Joe” Moore, 75, of Readsboro. Died Oct. 10 at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington. Son of Howard and Dorothy (DeBell) Moore. Husband of Florence Williams for 56 years. Father of Mark Moore and his wife
Memorial information: A funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Zephyrhills on Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. Burial will be on Nov. 20 in Sutton, Quebec. Donations to Gulfside Hospice, 6117 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey, Fla. 34653.
a.m., at Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro.
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11 intercollegiate basketball and football at varsity level. Served as an Army engineer in the Pacific during World War II. Owned and operated a sporting goods store in Daytona Beach, Fla., after the war. Worked for the Social Security Administration for 27 years, retiring in 1983. Active member of Rotary and an avid golfer. He won several club championships and was featured in Sports Illustrated in the late 1980s for making holes-inone on each of the four par-threes on his home course within the span of a year’s time, a feat believed to have never been equaled in the history of the sport. Memorial information : A funeral service was held Sept. 18 at First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma with interment at Rose Hill Cemetery next to his wife of 43 years. Donations to Brattleboro Area Hospice, 191 Canal St., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of
Vermont and New Hampshire, P.O. Box 976, White River Junction, VT 05001-0976.
Births • In Lebanon, N.H., (DartmouthHitchcock Medical Center), Oct. 1, 2010, a daughter, Paisley Bryce Rancourt, to William and Katharine Rancourt of Brattleboro. • In Boston (Beth Israel Deaconess), Sept. 5, 2010, a son, Er ic Alber t Dahlheimer , to Sarah (Nowakowski) and David Dahlheimer of Randolph, Mass.; grandson to Stan and Barbara Nowakowski of Brattleboro, and Jim and Carol Dahlheimer of Queensbury, N.Y.; great-grandson to Henry and Gladys Nowakowski of Stamford, Conn., Carl Kritz of Lake George, N.Y., and Richard and Dorothy Groeger of Williamsville, N.Y.
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FAMILY SUPPORT SPECIALIST Early Education Services is seeking a Family Support Specialist to deliver Early Head Start services for a home-based caseload of 12 families living in Windham County. A minimum of AA (bachelors preferred) in early childhood. A degree in social work or related field is acceptable, if supplemented by course work in child development. Experience working with diverse families with children, and a reliable vehicle and valid driver’s license is required. The qualified candidate will join our team of dedicated family support staff in providing families with weekly early childhood activities, parenting support and resource/referral to area agencies. We offer a competitive salary with an excellent benefit package. Please submit resume and three references by October 22, 2010 to: Carol Castine, Family Services Manager
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• Gypsy jazz in Grafton:
The Old Tavern at Grafton, one of the nation’s oldest operating inns, welcomes Ameranouche, a hot gypsy jazz trio, on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m., at Phelps Barn, the inn’s pub. Tickets are $10 or if guests have dinner at the inn that evening, the concert is free. The Ameranouche Trio features guitarists Richard Sheppard, Ryan Flaherty and bassist Xar Adelberg and plays acoustic hot jazz, both original compositions and unique arrangements by American and Gypsy songwriters. Learn more at www.Ameranouche.com. Dinner will be served in The Old Tavern restaurant from 6-9 p.m. or guests can dine in Phelps Barn from their new Pub Menu from 5-9 p.m. • Music for a Sunday Afternoon continues: The
Marlboro College Music for a Sunday Afternoon series continues with a program of compositions by Antonin Dvorak at 3 p.m. on Oct. 24 in Ragle Hall. A quartet consisting of Robert Merfeld, Bayla Keyes, Julia Glenn, and Ariana Falk will perform four chamber works from the 19th century Czech composer, including Dvorak’s set of “Bagatelles” composed for the unusual instrumentation of two violins, cello and harmonium.
The Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro is loaning Merfeld a harmonium from their collection for the performance. Other works in the program include “4 Romantic Pieces for Violin and Piano, op. 75", “Romance for Violin and Piano, op. 11” and “Piano Trio No. 4, op. 90” which is also known as “Dumky." Music for a Sunday Afternoon concerts are free and open to the public. All performances during the 2010-11 season are dedicated to Luis Batlle, who is retiring from the Marlboro College music faculty after 30 years. Batlle has handpicked many of his favorite performers for the season. A complete schedule can be found at www.marlboro. edu/batlle. • Children’s Chor us returns: The BMC’s Brattleboro
Children’s Chorus, for kids who are passionate about music and love to sing, will once again be lead by dynamic director Susan Dedell. The chorus is open to all children, ages 8-12. Rehearsals will be held on Tuesdays, starting Nov. 2, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro. The Children’s Chorus seeks to provide enriching musical experiences for motivated young musicians in a supportive, community-centered environment where students’ passion and love
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for music can be nurtured. The chorus fee is $140 (including materials) for 10 weeks. To register for the Children’s Chorus, call the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523 or visit www. bmcvt.org for more information.
Film • Hetty Green night at RFPL: On Wednesday, Oct.
27 ,at 7 p.m., the Rockingham Free Public Library, in partnership with the Rockingham Historical Commission will present a Hetty Green evening with special guests Lance Gunberg, documentary filmmaker of Hetty Green: Beyond the Myth, and writer Charles Slack, author of Hetty Green: The Genius & Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon.
A figure larger than life, Hetty Green amassed a huge fortune, along with a reputation to match. Most people still know her as the “Witch of Wall Street.” Both Gunberg and Slack set out to investigate the “Hetty myths” in their respective genres. Gunberg became intrigued by her story when he met and got to know Edie Nichols, a woman who performed portrayals of Hetty around New England. Gunberg began researching Hetty’s life and the surround of stories, delving deep to find the “real” Hetty. Along the way, he
T h e C ommons
became so inspired by all he discovered, he decided to create a film about her life. “A lot of the local folklore and rumors about this woman were just untrue,” says Gunberg. Slack’s book about Green reveals a multidimensional character — eccentric, but with a wry wit and colorful personality. He recounts how she was unfairly vilified because of her sex; and he creates a page-turning portrait of a high powered, canny, intelligent woman who thrived as a Wall Street tycoon during the Gilded Age. She married Colonel Edward Green, who was born and raised in Bellows Falls and they spent many years here with their two children. All are buried in Bellows Falls. Refreshments will be served, excerpts from the film will be shown and there will be plenty of time for discussion. Books and DVDs of the film will be available.
• Rotar y sponsors film, food festival: The Brattleboro
Rotary Club is raising money to build adobe brick homes for families who are among the poorest of the poor in San Miguel de Allende and the surrounding areas in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. On Sunday, Nov. 7, the Brattleboro Rotary Club will sponsor the second annual “International Film & Food Festival,” with proceeds
• Wednesday, October 20, 2010
benefiting Casita Linda (which means “pretty little house”), a Mexican nonprofit organization that builds adobe brick homes for families. Casita Linda has provided over 60 homes for poor but hard-working and intact families outside of San Miguel, and continues building them at the rate of at least eight per year. They have worked with the Rhode Island School of Design to develop innovative, inexpensive building techniques which are scalable and transferable to other locations. Additionally, the club is working with the Windham Regional Career Center to send 15 or 20 students from the construction trades and international business programs to help with the project and experience a foreign culture. Making their New England premiere, six short Mexican films followed by the feature film Espiral, will be shown at the Latchis Theatre from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Then, a tasting of Mexican cuisine will be served at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the International Film & Food Festival, which can be purchased at Vermont Artisan Designs & Gallery 2 (106 Main St., Brattleboro), cost $25 each. Tickets to the films only cost $10 each. The Brattleboro Rotary Club, founded in 1950, is an active community service club of 90 members who engage in community and human service
projects locally and internationally. For more information, visit www.brattlebororotaryclub.org.
Books • Dancing with Dynamite author in Brattleboro: Vermont
author Benjamin Dangl will be at Everyone’s Books on Elliot Street to talk about and sign copies of his new book, Dancing with Dynamite, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. The book focuses on social movements in Latin America and how they have worked with, against, and independently of national governments. From dynamite-wielding miners in Bolivia to the struggles of landless farmers in Brazil and Paraguay, Dangl discusses the dance between movements and states in seven different Latin American countries. Using original research, lively prose, and extensive interviews with workers, farmers, and politicians, he suggests how Latin American social movement strategies could be applied internationally to build a better world now. Dangl has worked as a journalist in Latin America for news organizations such as The Guardian, The Nation, and the NACLA Report on the Americas. For more information, contact the bookstore at 802-254-8160 or email@example.com.
SPORTS & RECREATION Colonels have an undefeated week on the road
he Brattleboro Colonels have turned into road warriors at the most important time of the year, going 2-0-1 last week. The unbeaten streak began with a 3-0 triumph over Leland & Gray in Townshend last Monday. Jackson Batchelder gave the Colonels a 1-0 halftime lead with a goal in the 26th minute. Travis ElliotKnaggs then salted the game away with two goals — the first off a lead pass from Matt Dunn, the second on a header of a cross from Travis Beeman-Nesbitt. On Wednesday, the Colonels went to Rutland and avenged their only loss of the season with a 6-2 beat down of the Raiders. Jose DiegoSilva scored three goals, ElliotKnaggs added two more and Greg Reuter also scored. Goalkeepers Galen Finnerty and Evan Darling combined for a dozen saves. Their week on the road ended Saturday with a 2-2 tie with Mounment Mountain in Great Barrington, Mass. Reuter scored both goals to cap off what could have been a difficult week for Colonels, which improved their record to 9-1-1.
Anthony won the boys team event, while Stratton Mountain School was the top girls team. Other local competitors in the meet included Bellows Falls’ Tim Jones, who was 15th in 20:04. Teammate Colin Johnson was 19th in 20:12. The Terrier girls were led by Becky O’Neill, who was 17th in 24:09. Leland & Gray’s Lauren Scott was 27th in 26:03, while teammate Bailey Whelchel clocked in at 32:07 in the boys race.
RANDOLPH T. HOLHUT Sports Roundup
• It doesn’t happen often, but the Woodstock Wasps walked off the field with three minutes left in their game last Monday against the Brattleboro Colonels. Brattleboro had a 3-0 lead at the time the Wasps said no mas after complaining about rough play by the Colonels. Becca Bird, Halle Lange and Maddie Rollins were the goal scorers for the Colonels. On Thursday, Ashley Watson scored her first varisty goal as the Colonels played Rutland to a 1-1 tie. • Green Mountain shut out the Bellows Falls Terriers, 2-0, last Monday in Chester. Alaina Savage and Madison Huntley were the goal scorers for the Chieftains. The Terriers had another 2-0 shutout loss, this time to the Leland & Gray Rebels, on Thursday. Sarah Seaton and Nicole Sherman were the goal scorers for the Boys soccer Rebels. • Shannon Lozito • Twin Valley had a easy scored twice and assisted on a time of it with a 2-0 win over third goal as Twin Valley beat Green Mountain at Baker Field Windsor, 3-1, last Tuesday. last Monday. Tony Bernard Abbi Molner also scored for needed to make only four the Wildcats. On Saturday, saves to earn the shutout and Twin Valley lost to Stratton Trey Cunningham and Dylan Mountain School, 4-2. Devin Speigel were the goal scorers. Logan had both goals for the It was a lot tougher for the Wildcats. Wildcats last Wednesday as they pulled out a 1-0 overtime Football win against Windsor. Speigel • Too many penalties added got the game winner with 5:16 up to a 13-12 loss for the left in the second overtime on a Bellows Falls Terriers to the corner feed from Colin Lozito. Woodstock Wasps on Saturday Goalkeeper Tony Bernard at Hadley Field. earned his fifth shutout, despite While BF running back hurting his knee late in the sec- Ryan Hayward had another ond half. big day carrying the football • The injury bug has bit — 225 yards and two touchBellows Falls hard and that downs — the Terriers played has dampened hopes for what an uncharacteristically sloppy coach Larry Slason was gogame that opened the door ing to be a great season. The for Woodstock to pull out the Terriers lost 2-1 to Green win. BF is now 4-3 overall, 4-1 Mountain on Tuesday as forin Division III. The Terriers wards Jose Cantor, Matt travel to Winooski on Friday Marchica and Ryan Mammone all got roughed up by the Chieftains in an extremely Serving Windsor & Windham Counties chippy game. On Thursday, BF was shut out by Black Operated by River, 2-0. Connecticut River Transit • Noah Chapin kept up his scoring binge with three goals For Bus Schedules and Information Visit our Website at in the first half as Leland & Gray cruised past Black River, 4-0, in Ludlow on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Rebels spread around the scoring in a 5-2 win over Windsor. Colin Nystrom had a goal and three assists, and Jake Huston, Matt Bizon, We Provide the Ride! Josh Fontaine and Tyler Miller also scored.
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A facelift for Withington
• One of most heavily used public spaces in Brattleboro between November and March is the Nelson E. Withington Skating Facility. Between youth hockey, high school hockey, adult hockey, figure skating and open skating, it’s a building where something on ice is always going on from early in the morning to late in the evening. All that activity over the years has left the rink a bit frayed at the edges, but this season, patrons will see new Plexiglas and dashers around the rink and upgraded bench areas and a scorekeeper booth for the hockey programs. It cost nearly $147,000 for these upgrades — half of the funding from a loan taken out by the town, the other half from donors and grants. Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons For hockey players, the upBrattleboro defensive back Colby Hescock (16), clears out a ball from his end as teammates Logan Given and Rodrigo Ruiz (20) trail the play during a game grades mean truer bounces off earlier this month against Burr & Burton at Sawyer Field. the boards, more space in the bench area and an easier time night. on 22 carries. Now 0-7, the Cross country getting on and off the ice. For • It was cold, blustery Colonels travel to Hartford to • Brattleboro’s Jacob Ellis the rest of the skating puband damp last Friday night face the Hurricanes on Friday broke his course record for lic, they’ll have a rink that is at Natowich Field, but the night. the 5K loop on East Orchard brighter and more pleasant to Rutland Raiders were red hot Street last Tuesday, scorching be in. For a town known for as they torched the Brattleboro Field hockey the boys field with a time of 17 winter sports, it’s a great thing Colonels, 55-13. Rutland • Brattleboro battled Mount minutes, 30 seconds. Hannah to see. took a 34-0 halftime lead as Anthony to a 1-1 tie last Reichel was Brattleboro’s quarterback Troy Devine Tuesday in Bennington. Kyle top female runner in 21:49, threw for 204 yards and three LaFantino scored the equalizer good for sixth overall. Mount touchdowns and tailback Jon with just 3:40 left in regulation. Sullivan rushed for two more Goalie Caroline McCarthy touchdowns. made 10 saves. On Saturday, Brattleboro didn’t get on the the 1-7-1 Colonels were shut board until late in the game out by Springfield, 4-0. on touchdown runs by Ivan • Bellows Falls got shut Jackson and Nate Forrett. out by Fair Haven, 4-0, last Jackson ran for 148 yards Wednesday, to fall to 0-8-1.
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