Archive - Oct 20, 2008
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — The Vergennes Opera House on Friday will debut a work by filmmaker Caro Thompson — a documentary set for a December premiere on Vermont Public Television — on the century-and-half in Lake Champlain’s history beginning in 1609, when the region’s native population first interacted with the European newcomers to North America.
Thompson, who will discuss the film at a reception following the 7 p.m. screening, said “Champlain: The Lake Between,” is an effort to show history from all points of view, not just those of the English settlers who eventually dominated the Northeastern United States.
Thompson, who has produced five films in collaboration with VPT, first heard in 2003 of the 2009 quadricentennial celebration of Samuel de Champlain becoming the first European to see the lake that now bares his name, and said the idea for the film came quickly.
“I immediately saw it as an opportunity to tell a multicultural story that is often not the approach to colonial history,” Thompson said, adding, “I believe very strongly that history needs to be inclusive. And it’s usually told from the perspective of the folks who won ... The story of the Lake Champlain region is a story of the Abenaki perspective, the Mohawk perspective, the French perspective, the English perspective, the American perspective. It’s a multicultural story, and that’s rarely told.”
Thompson also quickly picked up allies in the effort to tell that story. Elsa Gilbertson, who directs the Chimney Point Historic Site in Addison for the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation, and state archaeologist Giovanna Peebles were working on a grant for a major archaeological investigation of former French settlements along Addison County’s lakefront, in tandem with the Bixby Library in Vergennes.
By JOHN FLOWERS
VERGENNES — A nonprofit agency and a city physicians’ office will soon team up to restore free health care services to those with little or no coverage.
The Vergennes Open Door Clinic will offer medical services to needy residents every other Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning Oct. 23, at the Little City Family Practice at 10 North St. Community Health Services of Addison County (CHSAC) is spearheading the clinic, with the help and cooperation of Dr. Tim Bicknell of the Little City Family Practice.
Ken Dabbs, executive director of CHSAC, said the new clinic is being offered in response to inquiries from an increasing number of area residents who are finding themselves with inadequate health care coverage. Those people used to be able to get basic health care services at an open door clinic CHSAC briefly established at the John Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes. That clinic closed last year after a brief run, however, when funding dried up.
“While the clinic was (at the shelter) it had a pretty high utilization rate by patients of the Vergennes area,” Dabbs said, noting 166 patients were served by volunteer health care professionals at the shelter-based facility in 2006.
“When the Vergennes clinic ceased to exist, patients had to travel to Middlebury,” Dabbs said, alluding to the Middlebury Open Door Clinic located in Suite 2 of the Vermont Sun Fitness Center building at 812 Exchange St. The Middlebury clinic has received around 600 client visits thus far in 2008, a figure that is “way up” compared to the same period last year, according to Dabbs.
“I think the current economic issues are magnifying this problem,” Dabbs said.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
BRISTOL — Drawing acclaim for innovative programming for senior citizens, Bristol’s Living Well — a residential care facility dedicated to holistic care for elders — will be honored next week at an awards ceremony in Montpelier.
The care facility has snagged one of seven awards being given out this year by the Governor’s Commission on Healthy Aging to facilities and individual providers in Vermont, earning the title of “Program Champion.”
For anyone who has seen Living Well’s vivacious drumming circle in action, it’s an award well deserved.
The four-year-old facility, housed in a 105-year-old home on Maple Street, began its drumming program around a year and a half ago. Living Well administrator Dee Deluca attended a conference where she saw a film about a man who did drumming with vets in Veterans Administration hospitals — and when she returned, she mentioned the idea to the Living Well staff.
Activities Director Dechen Rheault, who heads up the band, said she wished she’d videotaped the project from the beginning, if only to document what she said has been a dramatic change in the residents.
“The most amazing thing for me is to see the transformation of the residents,” she said. She’s watched residents change from “very shy or more inward people” to enthusiastic, outgoing musicians, despite the fact that all except for perhaps one band member had never played an instrument before.
“Those transformations are so apparent, so apparent,” she said.
On any given day, between seven and 10 residents (the facility is home to 11 in all) show up for drumming practice, and Bristol neighbors, residents’ family members and members of the Living Well staff frequently join the drumming circle.