Archive - Nov 24, 2008
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ADDISON COUNTY — For years, Lincoln resident Christian Schider traveled all the way to New York City for his Thanksgiving meal, sitting down for what could be the year’s most-talked-about meal not with family, but with strangers from all over the world.
Schider was in his late teens when he struck up this nontraditional tradition, making the trek to sit at a community table at the well-known vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen. At the time, he said, he was a fairly militant vegan, someone who has chosen to eat no foods containing animal products.
After his animal-free Thanksgiving meal he’d travel to Long Island to visit with tryptophan-drugged family, but his sit-down supper with strangers was a longtime holiday highlight.
Schider gave up his vegan diet recently, during his wife’s pregnancy, and this year, the produce buyer at Bristol’s Mountain Greens Market and Deli plans to stay a bit closer to home for the holiday.
But what Schider’s memories of Thanksgivings in New York suggest is that “Turkey Day” for vegans and vegetarians is about everything but the turkey.
Take one of Schider’s co-workers at Mountain Greens, 24-year-old Courtney Lucia. Lucia is planning for her seventh vegetarian Thanksgiving. Leaning over the deli counter, where Lucia works, she said that her family doesn’t do any of the “fake stuff” — “tofurkeys,” for instance, or “smart bacon,” both vegetable-based products designed to mimic meat dishes.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty at her family’s table she can happily gobble up.
“I always bring something that I’ve made that I know I can eat,” she said. It’s hard, sometimes, to turn down dishes that she knows her family has worked hard to make. But does politely declining a serving of white meat change the holiday for her?
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Late last week Vergennes interim city manager Mel Hawley had one word removed from his title — interim.
Mayor Michael Daniels said Hawley, 55, who previously served from 1981 to 1998 as the city’s manager, was the unanimous pick as the city’s new manager by a hiring committee that included Vergennes aldermen, City Clerk Joan Devine, planning commission chairman Neil Curtis, and city resident and American Legion Post 14 official Henry Broughton.
Aldermen accepted the committee’s recommendation at a Nov. 18 executive session, and Daniels made the choice of Hawley official on Thursday, after Hawley’s employer since he left the city’s employ in 1998 — Vergennes outdoor equipment manufacturer Country Home Products — had been notified.
Daniels said there were several strong candidates for the post, including one other finalist besides Hawley. Hawley’s familiarity with the city’s operations and his track record made him stand out, the mayor said.
“With Mel’s knowledge of the city’s working operations as it is, he was the better fit of the two,” he said. “We feel that the transition ... will be smoother and a lot faster because he is so near to the pulse of our city.”
Daniels said the committee was also impressed with Hawley’s responses to a series of questions that were formulated not only by committee members, but also by the city’s department heads.
Specifically, the mayor said, committee members believed Hawley would give city employees latitude to perform their jobs, while still insisting they get their work done right.
“He’s going to hold department heads accountable ... but yet with a little bit of free rein,” Daniels said.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Directors of the Vermont State Craft Center at Frog Hollow (VSCC) are working aggressively to raise money to help the 37-year-old, nonprofit arts organization navigate some choppy financial waters heading into its key holiday sales period.
The VSCC currently hosts galleries and a wide range of arts education programs at its locations off Mill Street in Middlebury and Church Street in Burlington. But this year has been tough for Frog Hollow, which this summer closed its Manchester branch in reaction to sagging revenues and a slumping economy. And the economy has only gotten worse this fall.
“We are finding ourselves in the same situation that a lot of retail and sales-based businesses are finding themselves in,” said VCSS Executive Director Deidre Healey. “We’ve been hit as hard as any Main Street business and our focus right now is finishing the 2008 season as best as we possibly can.”
With that in mind, the VCSS is seeking to raise $50,000 in donations before the end of January. That effort could be greatly boosted by the potential offer of an anonymous, $100,000 matching grant the VCSS is now trying to secure.
Frog Hollow leaders met last week with local legislators and state and county economic development officials. Healey said she and her colleagues made a request for $75,000 in state aid. They were told it’s unlikely such a request could be honored, in part due to the fact that the state’s economic aid programs are geared toward for-profit businesses.
“We are looking for any support the state can give us,” Healey said. “But we have not be able to secure any of the financial support we have needed from the state.”