July 23rd, 2009
It was just a year ago around this time that I was writing some summer columns about beautiful Vermont sunsets enjoyed on evening canoe trips around various Vermont lakes, especially Dunmore and Champlain. This summer, instead of enjoying the bright colors of sunsets over distant landscapes, I am enjoying many shades of gray rain clouds. Let’s call them rainscapes.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the Vermont Milk Commission meets late this week in Montpelier, undoubtedly the discussion will focus to the precarious state of Vermont’s floundering dairy industry.
It’s a conversation that has spread beyond Vermont, as lawmakers’ efforts to drum up support and attention to the dairy crisis ramped up in Washington, D.C., this month.
But it’s also a conversation that has some dairy advocates asking just what federal legislators can and will do to turn around the dairy slump.
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Parent/Child Center’s programs helping young parents have long been replicated in similar centers throughout Vermont and the nation.
Now the center — celebrating its 30th birthday — may see some of its techniques exported to South Korea, a nation struggling to even acknowledge, let alone lend a hand to, unwed mothers.
MIDDLEBURY—A group of elderly women mingled in the late afternoon sunlight, all giggling heartily behind hands raised to cover their mouths.
They were engaging in something called “naughty laughter,” in which they playfully scolded each other while laughing.
It was an exercise in the second of six laughter yoga classes held this summer at Middlebury Commons Senior Housing.
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Last week my friends in Burlington invited me to the Vermont Brewers Festival. I didn’t know much about it and I had my doubts about the safety of an open yard full of kegs and beer-lovers, not to mention the $25 entry fee. But Ricky, who has been brewing beer for the past two years, assured me that it would be worth it. I’ve learned to trust him in all matters that concern beer, so I closed my eyes and clicked “submit payment” on the online ticketing site.
In the face of dismal prices for the state’s non-organic dairy farmers, New Haven’s state Rep. Christopher Bray says the ‘Farm to Plate’ legislation passed this past legislative session may be the most important bill approved in the past decade that has to do with food or agriculture. Why is Bray so optimistic about legislation the average Vermonter has never heard of? Because the initiative encourages Vermont’s local food production to grow from what is now just 3 percent of the food consumed in the state to 20 percent in the next decade.
ADDISON COUNTY — The Vermont Scenery Preservation Council (VSPC) has recommended that key stretches of roads in four Addison County communities be included in the Lake Champlain Byway network, a designation that could bring more tourists and new federal aid for physical improvements to those areas.
The VSPC has specifically recommended that Route 7 in Ferrisburgh; Route 30 in Middlebury; Route 30 in Cornwall; and Route 73 and Mt. Independence Road in Orwell all be given a “Byway” designation, which carries national recognition.
RIPTON — The town of Ripton will soon welcome a new face to its selectboard for the first time in almost a quarter-century.
The unusual vacancy is being created by Selectman Bill Ford’s resignation, which takes effect on Sept. 1. That date that will usher in a new era in Ripton municipal government, but also mark the demise of a longstanding triumvirate, the members of which have served together as the town’s legislative body since 1986. Ford, Laurie Cox and Ron Wimett all joined the Ripton selectboard at the same time.