Archive - Oct 8, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police dispatchers at one of the state’s four E-911 communications centers may soon stop fielding “non-emergency” calls for local police, rescue and fire departments due to the heavy volume of work they are now handling.
At issue are citizen calls made to local police departments’ seven-digit phone numbers during times when the local dispatchers are not on duty. That’s usually 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sundays, for most local departments.
During that time, anyone who calls — for example, the Middlebury police number at 388-3191, or Bristol police at 453-2533 — currently finds their call picked up by a VSP dispatcher in Rutland, who then directs it to the appropriate local public safety official.
But due to staffing issues, the VSP may stop taking those calls.
State police officials stressed the shift in policy would not have an impact on E-911 calls, and that the switch would not occur until the affected departments have found additional technology or manpower to field their own seven-digit calls at times when their local dispatchers are off duty.
Addison County officials this week were candid in their displeasure with news the VSP may soon drop the service, a move they said could cost communities plenty by forcing them to hire additional dispatchers or acquire pagers/cell phones through which to have calls automatically routed to officers in the field.
“As a police officer, I’m not crazy about this idea; as a taxpayer, I’m offended,” said Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs.
The proposed change would affect more than 30 police, fire and rescue agencies in Addison County, according to VSP Capt. Donald Patch, commander of the state police “C Troop,” which includes the New Haven, Rutland and Shaftsbury stations.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater has been nourishing the soul with quality entertainment since it officially opened its doors in July. The historic venue will take on the added role of nourishing the body beginning on Nov. 1, when it hosts the first in a series of Saturday “winter markets” that are slated to stretch until next spring.
The “Middlebury Winter Markets” are being spearheaded by the Addison County Localvores. Bay Hammond, a member of the localvores group, explained that Middlebury resident Kate Gridley informally floated the idea last year.
“She said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have access to local goods and foods throughout the year?’” Hammond recalled.
Others took a shining to the concept, to the extent that the localvores — affiliated with the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACoRN) — decided to explore the feasibility of a winter market. Hammond explained that the market could logically become an extension of the Middlebury Farmers’ Market, though that organization has been very busy with its summer/fall offerings each Wednesday and Saturday in the Marble Works.
“Our main goal was to just get (a winter market) up and started,” Hammond said of the localvores’ role this year. “It seemed like the time was right. There are a lot of winter markets popping up all over the state.”
Localvores found willing partners in the THT and its executive director, Douglas Anderson.
“(Anderson) loved the idea,” Hammond said. “We have been working hard to set up dates.”
Organizers believe the THT space will accommodate around 18 vendors, who are likely to sell types of produce with a longer shelf-life (potatoes, garlic, various herbs), as well as frozen meats, baked goods, prepared foods, breads and crafts.
By JOHN FLOWERS
BRIDPORT — Jill Vickers’ recollections of Afghanistan had been of a proud, resourceful population working hard to get by in a foreboding yet majestic setting.
But Vickers’ vivid memories, culled from a stint as a Peace Corps worker in Afghanistan from 1969-1971, had become clouded this decade — not as much from the passage of time as by TV footage of bombings and some media portrayals of Afghans as terrorists.
“Afghanistan is a place where terrorists live and thrive? This was not our experience,” Vickers said of her and her colleagues’ recollections of Afghanistan, where they had scoured the countryside inoculating people in small towns against smallpox.
The Bridport resident and her 16 fellow Peace Corps associates are now sharing memories of their experiences in a new documentary film titled “Once in Afghanistan.” The recently completed 70-minute film was produced by Vickers and Jody Bergedick, the youth program coordinator for Middlebury Community Television (MCTV).
Set for its premier at Castleton State College’s Casella Theater on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 3:30 and 7 p.m., “Once in Afghanistan” features heartfelt and poignant interviews with the 17 Peace Corps volunteers who are now spread throughout the country.
The film, which Vickers expects to air on MCTV at a later date and will be available on DVD, includes still photos of the vaccinators and 1960s-era footage of Afghanistan supplied by Middlebury resident Foster McEdward.
Vickers unwittingly planted the seeds for “Once in Afghanistan” in 2004, during a reunion with her former Peace Corps colleagues. Wanting a keepsake of the gathering, Vickers interviewed the women. She brought the footage back to Addison County and eventually into the MCTV studios. There, with Bergedick’s help, she condensed the material into a seven-minute segment.