Archive - Sep 1, 2008
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ADDISON COUNTY — When Martha Chesley, a longtime volunteer at the Bristol food shelf, staffed the shelf’s August distribution night a few weeks ago, something struck her as different.
“I noticed people that I’ve never seen come here before,” she said. And, when she later took a look at the food shelf’s stocks, she and the other volunteers noticed that “things were pretty slim.”
Chesley’s gut feeling — that more families are turning out for food assistance, and that food shelves are struggling to keep up with rising demand — turned out to be more than just a hunch.
In a trend that reaches beyond Bristol, area food shelves are seeing increased traffic as more families — more new faces — turn out for food assistance.
“We’ve taken a jump,” the co-director of Bristol’s food shelf, Rebecca Price, confirmed. “Shelves are getting bare.”
Last month, Price said, the number of families coming to the shelf for help jumped from a relatively steady 30 or 35 per month to 46 — a significant increase for a small, donations-only operation.
In Vergennes, at the much-larger food shelf in the Congregational Church, numbers have also been shooting up. (Unlike the Bristol shelf, which opens up just once a month to distribute bags of food, the shelf in Vergennes is open three times a week, serving families from as far afield as Orwell, Monkton and Starksboro.)
Between 2006 and 2007, the number of families using the food shelf at the Vergennes Congregational Church jumped 25 percent, and they’ve seen another 25-percent hike this year, according to food shelf coordinator Mary Ann Castimore.
Now, Castimore said, the shelf is helping feed around 125 households.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The mother of the late Nicholas Garza has hired a forensics specialist to provide a second opinion on the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, which state and local authorities are currently calling accidental.
It was May 27 that local officials found the remains of Nicholas Garza, a 19-year-old freshman at Middlebury College, near the base of the Otter Creek Falls. Garza had been missing since the evening of Feb. 5, when he was last seen on campus.
Middlebury police continue to amass information in their investigation of Garza’s death, including toxicology reports and information from the office of the state’s chief medical examiner. But information, to date, continues to lead authorities to the conclusion that Garza had consumed alcohol on a cold Feb. 5 and then accidentally fell into the frigid Otter Creek.
“There is absolutely no indication of foul play,” said Addison County State’s Attorney John Quinn. “I think we had a Middlebury College student who drank alcohol and probably wandered down the wrong path and fell into the river.”
Quinn said he has reviewed investigators’ reports in the case and believes “every possible lead was run down and every person rumored to have known something about (the case) was spoken to.”
Quinn said he would, if given the opportunity, review any material that may be uncovered by an investigator recently hired by the Garza family to furnish a second opinion about the circumstances surrounding Nicholas’s death.
That investigator, according to Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, is Dr. Michael Baden, who is a medical doctor and forensic pathologist. He is also an author and former chief medical examiner for the state of New York.
Natalie Garza, Nicholas’s mother, could not be reached for comment as the Addison Independent went to press.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
LINCOLN — Lincoln author Louella Bryant’s latest book fell into her lap — literally.
Or rather, it was placed there — in the form of an old box brimming with photographs, letters and a well-worn journal, delivered to Bryant by her husband.
“It was the book,” Bryant said. “It was the whole book in this box.”
“While in Darkness There is Light,” which hits bookstore shelves this week, tells the fascinating story of a group of young, privileged American men who left the United States in the early 1970s. Disillusioned with American politics and blessed with the resources to travel the world, they set off for Australia and an agricultural commune in Far North Queensland.
One of these young men is Charlie Dean, the younger brother of Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Charlie would later disappear in the jungles of Laos and die at the hands of the communist Pathet Lao. (Charlie’s name cropped up in mainstream media during Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, when Howard Dean spoke of wearing Charlie’s belt every day.)
Another of these young men, as luck would have it, was Harry Reynolds, who would later become Bryant’s husband.
Bryant stumbled upon the concept for the book in 2004, shortly after Howard Dean claimed his brother’s remains, which had been unearthed in Laos and repatriated at a ceremony in Hawaii. The trip made the news, and inevitably cropped up in conversation one night while Bryant and Reynolds sat on the porch of their quiet home in Lincoln.