Archive - Nov 19, 2007 - Page
MARY HOGAN ELEMENTARY School paraprofessional Nancy Wollum works with her sixth-grade students and Sable, a black Lab puppy going through training for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Sable has been in the classroom since the beginning of the year and will leave the school for official training at the end of the academic year.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
November 19, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — It’s recess time at Mary Hogan Elementary School, and Sable eagerly lines up with her fellow sixth-grade classmates in anticipation of a spirited game of soccer on the playground.
And though less than a year old, Sable has a decided kicking and running advantage over other players on the soccer field; she has four legs to their two.
She never growls at a bad call.
Sable, you see, is a dog — and not just any dog. The young black Labrador retriever is being groomed to graduate from her class as a “seeing eye dog” who may one day provide indispensable guidance to a blind man or woman somewhere in North America.
“It’s working out beautifully,” said Nancy Wollum, an ID-4 teaching paraprofessional and Sable’s temporary custodian. Wollum received Sable last summer from Guiding Eyes for The Blind, an organization that trains dogs and places them with sight-impaired citizens.
Wollum became aware of Yorktown, N.Y.-based Guiding Eyes for The Blind around five years ago after seeing one of the organization’s postings at the Ilsley Public Library.
“It was a card at the library on the bulletin board, and it said, ‘Do you want to be a puppy raiser?’” Wollum recalled. “I wanted a dog, but I didn’t want one for a 10-year span. I didn’t know what my life would be like.”
November 19, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The UD-3 school board will spend the coming weeks refining the first draft of a combined Middlebury Union High School/Middlebury Union Middle School 2008-2009 budget of $15.46 million, which would represent a 7.8-percent increase in spending over the current year.
But district officials are very confident they will be able to substantially trim that number in short order, largely due to an early retirement program that has been offered to 13 veteran UD-3 teachers. The board is scheduled to discuss the budget at its next meeting, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m., in room 218 at MUMS.
“We think we’re in good shape,” Addison Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Lee Sease said on Wednesday.
As of last week, roughly half of the 13 early retirement slots had been spoken for, according to Sease, who is confident the others will be used up before the UD-3 budget is put to bed next month.
The prospective early retirements of 13 senior teachers will allow the district to hire new educators at lower salaries while keeping some of the slots vacant.
“As we go through the early retirement process, there will be some positions that we don’t replace,” Sease said. “That will not eliminate programs. What it might do is eliminate the number of course offerings we might have in a subject.”
Sease said he could not yet confirm which subjects are likely to be affected by the early retirements.
November 19, 2007
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
STARKSBORO — A Starksboro mother and daughter team are planning a charity event for May 2008. That’s far in advance for a relatively simple project, but what they have in mind takes a lot of time to prepare. Beth and Meghan Hahr are encouraging people to get their hair cut in a Locks of Love hair drive and donate the trimmed tresses to make wigs for children who have lost their hair for medical reasons.
Meghan herself has a wig like that. Now in sixth grade, Meghan found her hair falling out while on a family vacation about three years ago. The family eventually found she had a condition called alopecia, an autoimmune disorder whose side effects include hair loss.
“Your immune system thinks your hair follicles are bad,” as Beth described it.
Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization intended to contribute a sense of confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss from long-term medical treatments and disease. Some of the children need wigs due to radiation treatment or chemotherapy for cancer, but most Locks of Love children have alopecia like Meghan herself.
In some cases, a person with alopecia only loses patches of hair here and there, but some lose all body hair, even nose hair and eyelashes. However, the disease has no symptoms other than problems caused by hair loss, like a greater risk of sunburns if the scalp is bald or a more severe case of allergies if the nose hairs go.
Meghan said that for her, alopecia means losing patches of hair about twice a year. She is now growing back a patch of hair that she lost over the summer.
Meghan doesn’t wear her wig as much as she did at first. Sometimes the hair loss is unnoticeable, and when it isn’t, she just has to pay more attention to how she dresses.