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August 23rd, 2007

Documentary aimed to help teens cope with loss

August 23, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — The end of a life often sparks the beginning of a long, traumatic period of grief and confusion for the survivors — particularly if those survivors are young and have few friends who understand their plight.

But students throughout Vermont will soon get a better understanding of the grieving and healing process that follows a loved one’s death, thanks to a new documentary film spearheaded by Hospice Volunteer Services (HVS) of Addison County.

The documentary, featuring footage of a support group discussion among teens who have recently lost a parent or other family member, will soon be distributed to every high school in the state.

David White, an HVS staff member, explained the seed for the documentary was planted a few years ago, when hospice volunteer Deb Cossart brought forth the idea of establishing support groups for teens who had recently lost loved ones. With help, HVS was able to establish teen support groups at Mount Abraham and Vergennes union high schools during the 2005-2006 academic years.

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August 20th

Blueberries

HANNAH ZIMMER OF Middlebury stretches for a ripe blueberry from her shaded spot under the bush’s canopy. Four-year-old Hannah and her mom, Alison, picked six quarts at the Lower Notch Blueberry Farm in Bristol on Thursday afternoon.
Independent photo/Kevin Lehman

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Bristol seeks to conserve energy

August 20, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — Bristol selectmen have created a volunteer energy committee to address concerns about energy efficiency and to cut energy use in the community.

In recent years, some Vermont towns, notably Montpelier, have established separate positions or committees to spotlight energy issues, but Bristol appears to be the first in Addison County.

Bristol’s five-member energy committee will be chaired by energy coordinator John Elder and will work mostly in an advisory role to the selectboard and town administrator on energy efficiency. Elder, a Bristol resident and professor of English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, said he has high hopes for the group.

“I hope we can move really fast to get back to the town with some specific proposals,” he said.

The idea for the group originally came from planning commission member Bunny Daubner, who shared it with Selectwoman Carol Wells. Although a separate position to handle energy is relatively new, the responsibility itself is not.

full story

New folklife center director bring love of lore

August 20, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Brent Bjorkman developed a passion for history and folklore as a young child who would listen, spellbound, as his grandfather told him stories about his Scandinavian ancestry.

Years later, Bjorkman is the person delivering the stories, as the new executive director of the Vermont Folklife Center (VFC) in Middlebury.

Bjorkman, 42, has been on the job for around five weeks now. He recently took over for the legendary Jane Beck, who retired after more than two decades at the helm of the VFC, which she founded. It was Beck’s legacy and the skilled staff that remains at the VFC that prompted Bjorkman to apply for the top job at the organization, which has moved into new digs in the historic John Warren House at 88 Main St. in Middlebury.

“It was Jane’s vision this whole time that I will be carrying out far into the future, with the help of a staff and board that has always been such a part of the visioning process,” Bjorkman said on Thursday.

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Porter gets bra quilt

August 20, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — Before hanging a new breast cancer awareness quilt in Porter Hospital’s mammography suite last week, mammographer Joan Guertin felt around in one of the quilt’s 12 brightly colored bras for a mock breast cancer.

“She put in a mass,” Guertin said, referring to Dorothy Anguish, the Vergennes resident who sewed and donated the quilt late last year as a light-hearted reminder that women should check their breasts regularly for cancer.

Guertin moved her fingers around the quilted breast until she located the dried pea tucked into the batting. “This really is what a (cancer) mass feels like,” she said. “It’s what you might feel if you were doing a self breast exam.”

But Anguish couldn’t feel it in her own breast last year. Just as she was about to finish the quilt, a mass, which is the most common indicator of breast cancer, showed up in her mammogram. Porter did a second mammogram and determined a biopsy was needed.

“I had to get (the quilt) out of my house because … not finishing it was bad news,” Anguish said.

full story

August 16th

Guest Editorial

 The CIA Must Rely More on Collecting Human Intelligence

 Earlier this summer, when the CIA released the “family jewels” — nearly 700 pages of documents detailing some of its most infamous and illegal operations dating back to the 1950s — the question that immediately came to mind was: Why now?

 After all, Director of Central Intelligence Bill Colby had let some of those secrets out during the Church Committee hearings in the early 1970s. When Colby made the initial revelations, there was widespread anger among the old agency hands, particularly those from World War II’s Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s precursor. Much of this anger resided in the division known as the Clandestine Service, which thought it owned most of the jewels. Colby had betrayed them. More gems dropped out of the bag in subsequent years.

View: Quick Read | Full Article

Which way is up?

CODY QUATTROCCI OF Panton twists and turns his way into the Vergennes pool in the heat of the afternoon on Monday. A few dozen children enjoyed the waning days of summer as the pool readies to close at the end of next week.
Independent photo/Kevin Lehman

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Crackdown on migrant workers worries local farmers

August 16, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Local farmers this week sharply criticized new federal rules calling for large fines to be levied on employers who do not fire foreign workers who present them with inaccurate Social Security information.

Farmers argued that the new rules — unveiled late last week by the Department of Homeland Security — will further stem a vital source of foreign labor that has kept many Vermont dairy operations afloat. An estimated 2,500 migrant laborers, many of them with dubious work and immigration credentials, currently toil in anonymity on dairy farms throughout the state, performing jobs that Vermonters increasingly don’t want to take.

Approximately 500 migrant laborers, hailing primarily from Mexico, are believed to be working on farms in Addison County.

“It was just starting to get better, and now this happens,” said Cheryl Connor, a Bridport farmer and member of the Addison County Migrant Workers Coalition (ACMWC), a group that advocates for the needs of guest farm laborers.

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