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Joh n Hol lar Ref le c t s on B ei ng Mayor • Page 11

FEBRUARY 15–FEBRUARY 28, 2018

The
Montpelier
Bunch
Montpelier City Council Candidates
(clockwise from top left)
District 2: Conor Casey, Alex Geller,
Ben Eastwood
District 3: Glen Colburn Hutcheson,
Craig A.C. McDermott
District 1: Dona Bate, (Charles)
Numa Haase

IN THIS ISSUE: Running for Office—


Pg. 7 Earthwalk Montpelier Candidates Make their Pitch
Pg. 9 Vermont Maple A s local races heat up, The Bridge is making every effort to bring you timely information about the seven-
candidate-race for three seats on the Montpelier City Council. What follows are seven interviews with candidates
for Montpelier City Council.
Pg. 10 In addition to asking each candidate to contribute some personal information the interviews take up these questions.
Sue Higby • When are you running for council?
• How would you address the city’s major problems?
Runs for • How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
Mayor of • Do you favor a tax-supported fitness center?
• What’s your reaction to a gunman at MHS?
Barre • What assets exist in Montpelier
Here are the seven candidate interviews.

Dona Bate (District One) I spent nearly 20 years as CEO of residents. The council started a steady-state
Photo by Jack Rowell Wheels, a regional integrated community plan five years ago, which put aside a small
Personal information
transportation system, which gave me an amount of money every year for repairing
I moved here 51 summers ago in a VW in-depth understanding of complex budgets, some of our crumbling streets. The plan
Beetle pulling a little U-Haul trailer. Coming grants, and strategic planning. I learned the charted a sustainable path to the vision
CAR-RT SORT

from the very large Ohio State campus and


Permit NO. 123
Montpelier, VT

value of patience in long-term planning—a of quality streets and is steadily making it


PRSRT STD

U.S. Postage

a very large family, I was looking for small. I transit grant I obtained over 20 years ago happen.
PAID

also wanted a community where humans and is the basis for the One Taylor Street multi- Meanwhile clever city staff members
nature were more interconnected, and where I modal center. obtained grants for underground utilities so
could get involved.
Why are you running? when streets are dug up, utilities are replaced
Doyle’s Guest House was home until the at same time. These repairs and utility
I’m running to be reelected because I want to
first of several apartments. I went on to own upgrades reduce water leaks. They also make
do more for safety, service, and sustainability.
four houses in Montpelier in which I raised road repair and future water service less
As a city we must work to keep our citizens
two sons, who attended Montpelier schools. expensive, safer, and more sustainable.
safe from physical harm and from harassment.
I now enjoy an 11-year-old granddaughter. I
We receive safety services from the police, Safety, service, and sustainability come
downsized to a condo in 2001, which reduced
fire department, and public works, which together when we examined expensive
my expenses and carbon footprint, and
are committed to the fair, equal treatment infrastructure needs, such as the wastewater
increased walking and transit opportunities.
of all residents. As a community, we must treatment plan. Much of the original
In 2005 I began “dbate speaking” [a actively work together to counter racism, to equipment has outlived expectations and
communications consulting firm], where strengthen mutual respect, safety, and the needs to be replaced. Do we just replace it
as a speaker and trainer I can share my protection of everyone’s civil rights. at $6 million, or do we upgrade as well as
love, experience, and the challenges of public replace it at $9 million and turn wastewater
Montpelier, VT 05601

How would you address the city’s major


speaking with others. I have over 45 years of into energy we can use and sell? An upgrade
problems?
achievements as presenter, trainer, and group makes the service safer and more sustainable,
P.O. Box 1143

facilitator, as well as being on private and The city has many large infrastructure needs while supporting the city’s net-zero goal.
public boards for businesses and non-profits. that impact the safety of and service to
The Bridge

Continued on Page 12

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PAG E 2 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

BE SEEN! BE HEARD!
Advertise in The Bridge:
Rick: 249-8666
Michael: 223-5112 ext. 11
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HEARD ON THE STREET


Vermont Foodbank Receives Annual “Over the last 16 years of Peter’s extraordinary leadership, and in collaboration of hundreds
TD Charitable Foundation Food Bank Grant of partner organizations,” said Diamant, “VHC has enriched the lives of thousands of
Vermonters.”
The TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, announced that
it has provided $800,000 in grants to 36 food banks across the bank's Maine-to-Florida Prior to coming to VHC, Gilbert taught English and a senior elective on constitutional law
footprint to help provide meals locally to families and individuals in need. The grants focus at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He was senior assistant to the president of
on food stability, healthy growth and development, and access to fresh food for underserved Dartmouth College and associate provost, and a litigator at the Boston firm of Hale and
communities. Door. Gilbert’s clear and articulate voice is well-known throughout Vermont and beyond as a
frequent commentator for Vermont Public Radio. His insightful commentaries have touched
In Vermont, these funds will support the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, the
on topics ranging from civic courage to Shakespeare in America, from Joe Hill to LBJ, and
Vermont Foodbank. The Vermont Foodbank provides nutritious food and promotes health
from the last passenger pigeon to the Birmingham bombing.
through a network of 215 food shelves and meal sites, and directly to families and individuals
at schools and hospitals. “I have one of the best jobs anywhere,” Gilbert said recently. “It has been my privilege to help
bring the world of ideas to Vermonters of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve had the pleasure
“Every day, Vermonters struggling to access enough food for themselves and their families
of working with great colleagues and partners around the state. And I’ve enjoyed engaging
turn to the Vermont Foodbank and our network,” says John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank
almost daily with literature and history.”
CEO. “And with the generous support of partners like TD Bank, we can ensure they have the
healthy food they need to thrive in our communities and tackle life’s challenges.” For more information about the Vermont Humanities Council, visit vermonthumanties.org.
"TD is honored to work with food banks that are embedded in our communities providing Notice from the City of Montpelier, Parks Commission
food and support to people in need," said Phil Daniels, TD Bank Market President for
Vermont & Upstate NY. “We are extremely proud to continue our support of organizations The Montpelier Parks Commission will be opening the floor for a community discussion on
that help to empower our communities and act as an advocate to eradicate food insecurities proposed changes to the trails in North Branch Park at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday
that many face.” February 20 from 6 to 7 pm at the Montpelier Senior Center.
At the December Parks Commission meeting, members of the Montpelier Mountain Biking
Vermont Humanities Council Announces Retirement of Community presented a proposal to add new multi-use trails in North Branch Park as well
Executive Director Peter Gilbert as modifying some existing trails to become multi-use. A map of the proposal is available for
The Vermont Humanities Council (VHC) announced that Peter A. Gilbert, its executive viewing on the Parks Department website. If approved by the Commission, and funds are
director for nearly 16 years, will retire in 2018 after the completion of a national search for raised, this project would take place over two phases, primarily on the upper slope of the park.
his successor. Parks Commissioners are eager to have a robust discussion with the Montpelier community
Based in Montpelier, VHC is a private nonprofit that works to bring the power and the on how best to create new recreation opportunities within the existing parks footprint while
pleasure of the humanities to Vermonters of all backgrounds. According to board chair Rolf continuing to protect natural habitats and accommodate existing parks uses.
Diamant, Gilbert offered a rare combination of skills that reflected his experience as a teacher, Please join us at the meetingon Tuesday February 20 from 6 to 7 pm at the Montpelier Senior
higher education administrator, writer, and editor. Center for our discussion.
Under Gilbert’s leadership, VHC became well-known as a distinctive cultural and educational montpelier-vt.org
asset in Vermont. Gilbert started the Council’s two most popular programs: First Wednesdays,
a series of monthly lectures at nine hub communities around the state from October through
May; and Vermont Reads, a statewide community reading program where adults and students
read the same book and take part in a wide range of related activities.
Other VHC programs that Gilbert founded include book discussions for healthcare providers
and military veterans, community participatory readings of Frederick Douglass’s famous
Fourth of July address, an informal conversation series called “Ideas on Tap,” and Voices, an
adult literacy training program.
“If we’ve helped Vermonters be a little more engaged with reading and lifelong learning, and
a little more curious, thoughtful, open-minded, and civil,” said Gilbert, “then we’ve achieved
no small feat.”

Bridge Community Media, Inc.


P.O. Box 1143, Montpelier, VT 05601 / Ph: 802-223-5112
Editor & Publisher: Nat Frothingham Editorial: 223-5112, ext. 14, or
Managing Editor: Mike Dunphy editorial@montpelierbridge.com.
Copy Editor: Larry Floersch Location: The Bridge office is located at the
Layout, Calendar Editor: Marichel Vaught Vermont College of Fine Arts,
Proofreaders: Adam Blachly, Sarah Davin on the main level of Stone Science Hall.
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Distribution: Tim Johnson, Amy Lester, to The Bridge, and mail to The Bridge, PO
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Board Members: Chairman Donny Osman, montpelierbridge.com
Jake Brown, Phil Dodd, Josh Fitzhugh, Martin facebook.com/thebridgenewspapervt
Hahn, Irene Racz, Ivan Shadis, Tim Simard, Twitter: @montpbridge
Ashley Witzenberger Copyright 2018 by The Bridge

Nature Watch by Nona Estrin


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Statement to the Montpelier School Board


from the Racial Justice Alliance

O
n February 1, Montpelier High School became the first high school in the nation to raise a High School is systemically racist
Black Lives Matter Flag on school grounds, as part of a series of Black History Month events. by default.
The flag raising was the result of a year-long campaign led by senior Joelyn Mensah, who Raising this flag is a part of a wider
co-founded the student group Racial Justice Alliance. campaign to grow awareness and
Below is Mensah’s statement to the Montpelier School Board, given Jan 17. She, and the Board, make changes in our curriculum,
have graciously allowed The Bridge to publish it climate, and shared understanding
Dear Montpelier School Board, of the need for racial justice. Over
the past year there have been many
Thank you for taking the time to meet with us this evening. With the support of our advisor, steps forward in our community
Mary Ellen Solon, and the school administration, we are here to encourage the school board including some direct curricular
to raise the Black Lives Matter flag at Montpelier High School. Raising the Black Lives Matter choices, administrative trainings,
flag represents our school’s affirmation that the experience of Black students has been and faculty in-service, a schoolwide
continues to be inequitable. This act demonstrates our shared commitment to improving our assembly, and the Race Against
community through empowering and honoring all of our students. Racism. And yet, we need to do
Intentionally or not, many have benefited from and contributed to structural and institutional more to raise our predominantly
racism; part of the key to rebalancing lies in open discussion and addressing the issues as white community’s collective
they manifest within our school. For this reason, it is important to recognize that Montpelier consciousness to better recognize Courtesy of Montpelier High School
white privilege and implicit bias.
The Racial Justice Alliance believes
putting up a Black Lives Matter flag is imperative for both demonstrating our school’s fight for
equitable education for our Black students, and modeling a brave and appropriate challenge to
the status quo impeding public institutions across the country.
While the protection of all students, including students in other minority groups, is equally
important, there is a unique history of oppression and mistreatment of Black Americans that
requires its own unique response. The justice and equity of Black Americans is dependent upon
justice and equity for all Americans, just as justice and equity for all MPS students is dependent
upon that of our Black students. We view the raising of this flag not as a culmination to our
work but rather as a continuation of the work and learning together—a call for action.
We will raise the flag with love in our hearts and courage in our voices. We reject any
purported connections to violence or hate that may or may not have occurred under the Black
Lives Matter flag. We recognize that all lives do matter, but in this same spirit not all lives are
acknowledged for their equal importance until Black lives have been.
This evening, we urge you to join us in raising the Black Lives Matter flag and keeping it up on
the pole until the American flag alone acknowledges the worth and dignity of Black lives. With
this act you demonstrate your support in continuing the broader equity work being done in
our community. Thank you for your time and for your continued dedication to all Montpelier
Public School students.
Sincerely,
The Montpelier High School Racial Justice Alliance
T H E B R I D G E F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 5

Increasing Refugee
Awareness at Stage Reading
of Que Nochebuena by Nat Frothingham

T
wo local organizations—Central the erosion of that privilege. People seeking
Vermont Refugee Action Network the American Dream are terrified at what
and the Social Responsibility appears to be the return of state-supported
Committee of the Unitarian Church of white supremacy.”
Montpelier—are teaming up to sponsor “We all have stories that frame what we
a stage reading of a play entitled “Qué think of as real,” said Martinez. “There
Nochebuena” (What a Christmas Eve) by is more than one version of the American
Inez Martinez. Dream.”
The stage reading will be presented There’s the American Dream as articulated
on Saturday February 24 at 2 pm at the in the Declaration of Independence with its
Unitarian Church of Montpelier and is open reference to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of
to the public. happiness.” Reflecting on what these familiar
In a phone conversation with The Bridge, words may have meant to the early citizens
playwright Martinez re-told the story she has of the new American nation, Martinez said,
dramatized in “Qué Nochenbuena.” “They could own slaves. They could take
It is Christmas Eve and two Guatemalan the land away from indigenous people. They
immigrants—18-year-old Carlos and his could exploit workers for money. And keep
pregnant younger sister, Felicia—are seeking power for themselves with the support of
refuge in a Mexican-American community the state.”
in northern New Mexico. There, the brother Martinez then turned her attention to what
and sister encounter an elderly woman named she called, “The other part of the preamble”
Corazon, who is grieving the loss of her son that “all men are created equal.”
in war. At the same time her granddaughter
Adela is soul-searching over why God would She took note of the American nation’s
come to Earth as a boy rather than a girl. first Naturalization Act in 1790, a law that
extended naturalization to white people–but
In another of the story’s threads, Carlos not to indentured servants, not to slaves, and
and Felicia are being pursued by Bob, an only to some women.
immigration officer intent on deporting
them. Then Kim, another figure, emerges. “It’s been a long struggle to extend citizenship
She is a refugee Vietnamese medical aide and voting rights to all people,” she observed.
intent on creating a different ending than her “My play,” she said, “is about the dream of
own for Felicia. America where human beings have equal
Discussing the present moment in American rights. The dream of organizing a society
life, Martinez said, “There’s a great deal where we care for one another rather than
of fear in our society. People who have being indifferent to one another.”
experienced arbitrary privilege are terrified at

Local Refugee Action


Network Supports and
Advocates for Refugees and
Immigrants by Pamela Walker

T
his is a time when the plight of refugees trying to enter the United States, and those who
have arrived on our shores and have settled in Vermont, is very much on our minds. The
Central Vermont Refugee Action Network (CVRAN) is a young organization striving
to do its part to resist the Trump Administration's restrictive immigration and refugee policies.
It is very disheartening that there is a new admission cap for refugees. In Fiscal Year 2018 the
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program will be able to welcome and settle only 345 refugees.
The U.S. State Department has approved plans to resettle 270 refugees in Colchester and 75
refugees in Rutland. A total of only 45,000 refugees will be allowed into the United States in
2018—the lowest cap in decades.
To counteract the current administration's lack of generosity toward immigrants, the Central
Vermont Refugee Action Network, based in Montpelier, is welcoming refugees and immigrant
Vermonters who have just arrived or are already settled in Chittenden and Rutland counties.
The Network is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to making our local communities
welcoming, viable, and safe places for refugees and immigrants to visit, work, and live. The
Network works in cooperation with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and other
Vermont refugee and immigrant organizations, including Migrant Justice and the Association
of Africans Living in Vermont.
Since its founding in 2016, Network members and volunteers have hosted five visits to the State
House and Vermont History Museum for groups of refugee students in schools in Chittenden
County and new Vermonters who are studying at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
to qualify for citizenship. The Network has worked with the Green Mountain Bhutanese
Organization to assist with employment upgrades, published and distributed a bilingual Nepali/
English brochure on workers rights, made connections with the Islamic Society of Vermont,
sponsored programs to increase cultural sensitivity, and assisted a Vermont Dreamer applying to
renew her DACA status.
In addition, the Network is building relationships with new-Vermonter college students in
our area, planning a conversation partner program with new Vermonters learning English,
and sponsoring a staged play reading of “Qué Nochebuena” on February 24 at the Unitarian
Church of Montpelier. “Qué Nochebuena” dramatizes the trauma of the immigrant experience.
Members are becoming active with the Vermont legislature to advocate for policies that support
the human rights of undocumented immigrants, new Vermonters, and settled immigrants. The
Network is striving to be a positive force in these difficult times.
Anyone wanting to join and help with Network projects on behalf of refugees can contact Diane
Fitch, diane.fitch@wright.edu.
PAG E 6 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

A Message From City Hall


This page was paid for by the City of Montpelier.

A Look Back at Six Years as Mayor


by John Hollar, Mayor

W
hen I ran for mayor six years The city council recently completed a complete revision of our zoning ordinance.
ago, I promised to work to This is hardly an exciting topic, but it involved a massive amount of work
make our community more by the planning commission, city staff and city council. It is an important
affordable, vibrant, sustainable and accomplishment that will allow for new business and housing development,
economically healthy. On each measure, while also preserving the character of our historic neighborhoods. There is
I believe we have made progress. Our already one business – TimberHomes LLC – that intends to move its business
downtown is filled with interesting and here as a result of our new zoning. New housing construction is also likely to
unique shops. We have a thriving arts result from the new zoning.
community. We have a level of citizen We have made great strides in controlling the growth in city spending. Our
engagement that has become increasingly property taxes have increased annually by about two percent over the last
unique in cities across the country. Most five years. The FY19 budget that was recently approved by the city council
importantly (based only on what I hear on proposes an increase of 2.1%. We have restrained city spending by ensuring the
a regular basis), most residents seem happy efficient delivery of services while maintaining the high quality programs that
to live here. Montpelier residents expect.
We have invested in street upgrades, Five years ago, the city council created the Montpelier Community Fund as a
renewable energy, economic development, way to allocate city funding to non-profit organizations. The community fund
alternative transportation, housing and has largely replaced the dozens of items that appeared on the Town Meeting Day
our downtown. All of these investments ballot. A five-member citizen board now works hard to allocate nearly $120,000
are providing tangible benefits for our annually through an application process that also ensures funding is spent as
community. proposed. This process has brought a new level of accountability, fairness and
We have made dramatic investments in our roads, bridges and sidewalks. We rationality to the allocation of taxpayer funds to nonprofit organizations.
now spend nearly one million dollars more per year on infrastructure than we Two projects that have spent decades in planning – the bike path and the
did five years ago. This has significantly improved the condition of our roads Taylor Street project – will enter construction this year. While the delays in
and sidewalks, and residents should see the results of this new level of spending both projects have been disappointing and frustrating, I am confident that both
for many years to come. projects will bring new vitality to our community by adding much-needed new
Our Net Zero Montpelier goal has resulted in major changes in city policy housing, a transit center, a pedestrian bridge, new green space, and a bike path
that have dramatically reduced our carbon footprint. Montpelier’s greenhouse that will continue virtually the full length of Montpelier.
gas emissions are 56% lower than they were in 2011. The successful completion These accomplishments and many more are the result of dedicated staff, talented
of the district heating plant has guaranteed a long-term source of renewable, city councilors and a highly engaged community. I have been fortunate to serve
reliable and affordable heat for our downtown businesses and offices. with dozens of residents who have shown an extraordinary commitment to the
Through the enactment of the Downtown Improvement District, we created improvement of our community.
a sustainable source of funding that has been used to market Montpelier and I have been honored to serve as Mayor of Montpelier for the past six years, and
upgrade the appearance of our downtown. We have more events than ever I am grateful to city voters for entrusting me with this position.
before. With the DID funds, our downtown has never looked better, with
holiday lights, benches and flowers in the summertime. Our city has been
recognized in numerous national publications for its vibrant downtown. Many
of these accomplishments are due to the efforts of Montpelier Alive, our city’s
designated downtown organization. The city has strengthened its relationship
and commitment to this organization since I have been mayor.
A hallmark of a great city is its accommodation of bikes and pedestrians. Through
the creation of the alternative transportation fund, we are making Montpelier
a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly city. The alternative transportation fund
allocates five percent of the city’s parking revenue to support this goal. It
has been used to create a bike master plan, new bike lanes and a variety of
other improvements. The bicycle and pedestrian master plan will ensure these
improvements continue in the years ahead.
Thanks to voter approval of the local options tax, the city is investing $100,000
per year in economic development through the Montpelier Development
Corporation. The MDC board consists of an impressive group of residents who
are committed to improving business activity in Montpelier. With city funding,
they are able to hire a full-time executive director who can focus exclusively
on promoting job creation and attracting and retaining businesses. Intensive
city efforts helped to recruit Caledonia Spirits to relocate its headquarters in
Montpelier.

Photo by Annie Tiberio Cameron


THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 7

Back to the Land: 13 Years of EarthWalking by Adam Blachly

W
hile poised in front of a camera, I was asked the question, “How did EarthWalk Thanks to my experience with EarthWalk, I’ve built a deep curiosity for the natural world
complement your educational experience?” That was a difficult question to answer, and hear the questions of my EarthWalk mentors still in my head. What direction is the wind
not because I couldn’t think of a response, but because I could think of so many. coming from? How did these tracks get here? Why is this log covered in fungus? The more I
Where to start? asked questions about nature, the more I discovered about it. I could’ve very easily ignored that
I began attending EarthWalk in 2005, its inaugural year, at the age of six. For almost a decade I sapsucker drilling and disregarded the passing raven, but I didn’t.
attended the summer camps while also participating in the Village School, a year-long program. Reaching the meadow, I noticed the tall, orange-topped Scotch pines, and the young red oaks,
Once a week I walked the well-trodden path to Hawthorn Meadow, played tag in powdery speedily growing by the edge of the field.
snow, listened to ancestral stories, and roasted apples over the fire. My arboreal knowledge came from an independent study I took during my sophomore year
Founded by by Angella Gibbons, the Plainfield-based non-profit aims “to inspire and empower of high school, led by local naturalist Brett Engstrom. My biology class was for the most part
children, families and communities to reconnect with and care for one another and the Earth indoors and unstructured and I wanted hands-on learning more than anything, knowing I’d get
through long-term nature mentoring.” Over the years, it has grown dramatically, from a group more out of it. After just a week of my self-designed field botany course, I had become passionate
of ten kids in the small property behind the Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield, to more than about plants and soon was out cataloging tree species just for the fun of it. Without those years
200 annually, who use the Goddard College woods as their classroom. with EarthWalk, I would never have wanted an outdoor education.
As I re-entered the meadow, now at the age of 19, I was struck by its familiar beauty, and as The alumni reunion, this past January 27 on the Goddard College land, was a special event. I
I passed landmarks, I was reminded of specific memories. There was the hawthorn whose saw faces I haven’t seen in years, and we laughed, played games, and reminisced with each other
needles jabbed my feet countless times; there was the place where the longhouse used to stand, and for the camera. Most importantly, the event reminded me how much I value EarthWalk
a traditional native American shelter hand-built by earthwalkers; there was Ridge Runner Trail, and all it has given me. There is no question in my mind that the program has complemented
where, one day after camp, I spotted a gray fox trotting down to the creek bed. my education immensely.
As I followed the path to the meadow, I saw deep, fresh holes in the trunk of a mature red spruce. Who knows? Maybe instead of wanting to be a naturalist, I’d want a desk job, aiming my laser
I felt the inner bark, rubbing the soft yellow punk between my fingers. Probably the handiwork at a powerpoint on multivariable calculus in a fluorescent-lit classroom. Instead I am fueled by
of a yellow-bellied sapsucker, although I couldn’t be sure. Soon, I heard a deep caw echo above an undeniable desire to explore the natural world.
me, and a large black bird swooped out of sight behind a pine grove. A raven, I thought.

Earthwalk winter fire circle. Photo by Angella Gibbons


Advertise in the NEXT ISSUE:
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RESERVATIONS DUE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23.
For more information about advertising deadlines,
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PAG E 8 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

A Message From City Hall


This page was paid for by the City of Montpelier.

Annual Voting on March 6th


William Fraser, City Manager

T
he Annual City Election is right around the St, Bike path or other projects. These funds will
corner. The actual election day is Tuesday, only be borrowed as needed and if needed.
March 6th with polls open at City Hall from 7 ◊ $1.3 Million in Water/Sewer Fund infrastructure
AM to 7 PM. Early ballots are already available. This as per the long term plan. This breaks out
year’s election includes the Mayor and three contested as $800,000 for water line upgrades on Main,
city council seats. City and School budgets, Library Lague, Quesnell and Clarendon and $500,000 from FY18 which is a net increase of $29,095 from
funding, regional public safety authority funding, two for sewer line upgrades on Lague, Quesnell and FY17. These funds are due to very large increases in
infrastructure bonds and the downtown improvement Clarendon. demand for services. Additionally, $14,000 has been
district tax rate are all on the ballot. Also on the ballot transferred into these budgets from the Community
are four proposed charter changes. Finally, the ballot • The Capital/Equipment Plan anticipates an additional Fund for the FEAST program. An admin position has
contains petitioned articles seeking funds for three local increase of $50,000 in FY20 and $50,000 in FY21 in been increased by .15. Some program fees are being
agencies. order to bring funding levels to a projected steady state increased where appropriate.
of maintenance and improvements and accommodate
Annual Report: Continuing with recent practice the the new bond proposals. Other Services:
annual report will not be delivered to every home. It • Funding for the Housing Trust Fund is held steady at
will be out within a week and will be available in hard Personnel:
$60,000.
copy at City Hall, the Library, the Senior Center and the • Total number of Full Time Equivalent Employees
Schools. It will be available on line in searchable PDF (FTE’s), is 112.81 which is 0.1 FTE less than FY18. • The Montpelier Community & Arts Fund is reduced
form at the city’s website www.montpelier-vt.org. 1.25 FTE from FY18 for IT and Facilities were from $120,000 to $115,500. $14,000 was transferred
converted to contracted services. 1.0 Engineering FTE to Community Services for the FEAST program.
Winter Parking Ban Reminder: The city institutes
winter parking bans during storms and storm clean is added to DPW and 0.15 Admin FTE is added to • Community enhancements funding, including
up events. For up to date information on whether community services. Montpelier Alive, is increased to $41,600. $5,000
the ban is in place or not one can do any or all of the • Cost of living allowances and step increases are built of this increase is for the Montpelier Energy Advisory
following: sign up for VT Alerts which will provide you into all employee wage and salary accounts consistent Committee (MEAC). The remaining $3,000 is for
with direct notifications (text, email, phone call), check with collective bargaining agreements and personnel July 3 ($2,500) and Welcome Legislators ($500) to
the city’s website, check the city’s facebook page (City policies. For this budget that represents a 2.0% reflect costs.
of Montpelier-official), check the city’s twitter account contracted adjustment for both Police and Public • $100,000 to the Montpelier Development Corporation
(@vtmontpelier), read Front Porch Forum or call the Works Union employees and a 2.0% adjustment for to implement the Economic Development Strategic
parking ban hot line 802-262-6200. all non-union employees. Note that the collective Plan is included.
FY19 City Budget: bargaining agreement with the Fire Union is pending • $59,890 in funding for the Downtown Improvement
for FY18. Overall wage costs are up by 1.2% in this District is shown in the budget as both expense and
Much more detail on the City budget is included in the budget. This number is low for a variety of reasons
Annual Report. Information about the School Budget revenue.
including the transition of the Full Time IT and .25
can also be found in the annual report but will not be Facilities positions to contracted services. • The GMT circulator bus route remains at $40,000
addressed here. from FY18 although the city is working with GMT to
• The budget continues the high deductible health improve route ridership.
Property Tax Impact: insurance plan which was implemented four years
• The city budget and municipal ballot items (including ago. Thanks to very favorable health insurance rates, • Dog license fees are proposed to increase from $15 to
petitions) require a 2.5 cent (2.4%) increase in the the overall benefit costs are only up by 2.1% in this $18.
property tax rate. This follows a 0.5 cent (0.25%) budget. • Parade Permit revenues of $2,500 are included which
increase in FY14, a 1.5 cent (1.6%) increase in FY15, a Operating: have not been previously collected.
2.4 cent (2.5%) increase in FY16, 3.1 (3.0%) increase
• As with prior years, many lines have been cut to stay • Unless mentioned, all other rates and fees are
in FY17 and a 2.7 cent (2.6%) increase in FY18.. For
within fiscal guidelines. . Operating expenses are up unchanged.
the average residential property, this tax rate represents
an additional $57.92 on the tax bill. by $68,477. However $111,200 in new contracted Charter Changes
services for IT and Facilities are included which means
• The estimated overall residential tax rate – municipal, Articles 16-19 are for proposed charter changes
that all other operating costs are reduced by $42,723
school, benefit charges and petitions – is up 7 cents or addressing size and terms of the Development Review
from FY18. Department operating budgets are now
2.4% from FY18. Board and Planning Commission, reflecting the creation
very tight after multiple years of reductions.
of the Montpelier-Roxbury School District, eliminating
Budget Numbers: Other Funds: the requirement for collection of business personal
• FY19 General Fund Budget totals $13,939,712 which • The Water and Wastewater user rates will be in property tax valued under $10,000 and aligning the city’s
is an increase of $355,420 (2.6%) from the comparable accordance with the long term infrastructure electoral filing dates with general state statutes.
FY18 spending plan. This increase is primarily management plan and budgets are built around those Project Updates
composed of $166,000 (10%) in Capital/Equipment projected revenues.
and $110,558 (1.5%) in personnel costs. Those two The long awaited One Taylor Street Project is slated to
items total $276,558. All other combined items in the • The Parking fund includes the $42,000 set aside for begin construction in May or June. The project includes
budget are only $78,862 higher than FY18. alternate transportation funding. We are making a new transit center, a new alternate transportation
adjustments to accommodate anticipated parking needs path going from Taylor Street to Main Street, a new
• FY19 General Fund non-tax revenues total $4,471,060 during construction periods while acknowledging bike/pedestrian bridge over the North Branch River,
which is an increase of $88,173 (2.0%) from FY18 increased current revenues. 30 new affordable apartments and, potentially, a new
non-tax revenues.
• The District Heat Fund will cover the fifth full year private commercial building. Related to this project is
• Grand list value is calculated at 0.5% increase from of operation. a redesign and reconstruction of Taylor Street. The only
the FY18 level. With the projected grand list, $87,790 project contingency is final approval of housing funds.
represents one cent on the tax rate. • The budget continues implementing the Community Funds from the Article 12 infrastructure bond will be
Services department plan which consolidates work used toward completion of this project.
Infrastructure: between the Senior Center, Recreation and Parks/
• The Capital Projects, Equipment and Debt Service Tree departments. The combined tax appropriations The other new alternate transportation path is scheduled
Program is funded at $2,348,789. Of this $1,254,671 for these three functions are increased by $40,576 to begin construction in July or August. This path
is in annual funding, $579,118 is in existing/projected runs from Granite Street to Gallison Hill Road.
debt service and $515,000 is for equipment. This The only project contingency is passage of the
represents an overall increase for these combined items infrastructure bond in Article 12.
of $166,000 (7.6%). Most notable is that over $1.25
Million in annual capital funding is in the budget. Thank you for your interest in Montpelier City
Government. Please vote on March 6th. Feel
• Two bonds are being proposed:
free to contact me at wfraser@montpelier-vt.org or
◊ $1.3 million in General Fund infrastructure. 802-223-9502 with questions or concerns. All the
This will specifically cover $450,000 for the above referenced documents including the budget,
bike path and $360,000 for sidewalks with the
the annual report, and the ballot items are available
remaining $490,000 (if needed) to cover any
potential contingencies with One Taylor, Taylor in their entirety at www.montpelier-vt.org.
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 9

Vermont Maple Adds Value….and Hibiscus by Mike Dunphy

O
ne thing I’ve always adored about Death to Aunt Jemima
Vermont is how little things change.
With a population of only around 600,000
Having grown up here, but lived
in the State of Vermont, there’s only so many
much of my adult life abroad, it’s been
people to sell to, forcing maple producers
endlessly gratifying to return for visits and
to look nationally and internationally.
find the Vermont I knew more or less intact.
Improvements to technology, particularly
Even if the faces have changed, the uniforms
mobile technology and online retail, as well
haven’t.
as distribution networks, are making this all
This time, however, there was one very the easier and accessible. And to a tee, all
noticeable change in the maple section of the those involved in the industry see tremendous
co-ops and organic markets. The usual plastic potential for growth.
jugs and maple leaf glass bottles not only
Thankfully the increased competition
feature a new rating system (so long “grade
has not spawned much bad blood among
B”) but are being crowded out by altogether
Vermont producers. “Although there’s a lot of
swankier packaging not unlike hair tonic
competition on the packer level,” Isselhardt
bottles in vintage-style Brooklyn barbershops,
believes, “It seems like there’s a huge amount
and perhaps more bizarrely, infusions of
of willingness to share on the producer level.
everything from makrut leaf and hibiscus to
In general I think people tend to work together
cardamom and elderberry. Still, other bottles
Carol Sullivan Photography more than against each other.”
claim aging in rum or bourbon barrels.
Sorkin agrees. “My competitors aren’t other
Just what the heck is going on? the price stable. quality of the food, the provenance of it, and
pure maple syrup producers, my competitors
“That has probably been one of the biggest the country’s becoming more adventurous in
Admittedly, my initial shock was reflected are corn syrup, Aunt Jemima, and all the
reasons for the increased market globally for what they are eating.”
by maple legend Burr Morse, whose family other places where people aren’t using maple
has been producing maple syrup for six syrup,” Isselhardt emphasizes, “because large This is paralleled by changes in diet among where they could be.” It’s a sentiment shared
generations, “Why would you want to mess industrial buyers can have some confidence Americans. Once primarily used to cover by Gordon. “I think within the industry
with a product that’s already perfect?” It’s that prices won’t double from year to year.” pancakes on Sunday breakfast, maple is now there’s a pretty strong feeling that the enemy
a sentiment echoed by Bette Lambert of The Federation’s quota system, which pays getting press for its potential as an organic isn’t the neighbor selling syrup, it’s still the
Silloway Maple, which has been producing Quebec producers based on a specific quota sweetener that’s semi-wild and single- products that look like syrup, the flavored
syrup since the 1940s. “Nothing will be finer of production that is tied to the land they ingredient, has a high mineral content, and corn syrup. That’s the real threat to continued
than plain maple syrup. You can hardly beat sugar, offers one big advantage to Vermont requires minimal processing. For health growth.”
it by changing it in any way.” producers. “If you are not a producer in conscious customers not already accustomed
Reeling them in
Quebec, you are not beholden to that quota to or aware of maple, it makes it all the more
The Market Overfloweth
attractive. For all the splash of value-added maple
system, so in places like Vermont, where we
While many aspects of the maple market in products, they are still a tiny percentage of
have a tremendous resource of trees and a “People are recognizing that maple does have
Vermont are up for debate, there’s no question the overall market, much like craft beer to
great tradition of production, the sky’s the a health angle to it, especially over other
at all regarding its massive growth in recent national beers. This fact underlies one of the
limit in terms of how much you can produce,” sugars,” explains Chas Smith Co-Founder of
years. As Mark Isselhardt, a maple specialist main debates in the maple industry. Is it better
explains Isselhardt. “So you see a huge rapid Sap!, a carbonated beverage made of (you
at UVM’s Maple Research Center in Proctor, strategy to increase consumption from people
expansion starting in around 2000 taking guessed it) sugar maple sap. So there has been
explains, “If you were to take the long term who already buy maple and get them to buy
advantage of that good high price without any a general trend and uptick across the country
average between the 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s and more? Or is it better to start from scratch with
of the restrictions on production.” in maple awareness that’s cascaded down to
now, the industry is about three-and-a-half- a new population and train them?
However, since the price of global maple is set new and different products.”
times as large, and we’ve had a rapid period
For the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’
of growth starting around the early 2000s.” in Canadian dollars, the value to American Perhaps no greater proof of this is Smith’s
Association, one target is products that suggest
producers rises and falls with the Canadian recent appearance, along with co-founder (and
In the first economic contribution study of maple but don’t actually contain any, like
dollar. When the Canadian dollar is strong, cousin) Nikita Salmon on the TV show Shark
Vermont’s maple industry, released in August oatmeal, cookies, and granola bars. “There’s
that’s good for producers here; when it weakens, Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch business
2017 by the University of Vermont, the data a lot of opportunity for the industry to get
quite the opposite. Because the past several ideas to potential celebrity investors. Although
supplied abundant proof. Production leapt maple into some of those products.”
years have witnessed continuous trouble for four out of five “sharks” dismissed the duo,
from 570,000 gallons in 1992 to 1,320,000
the Canadian dollar, maple producers in the Robert Herjavec offered them $600,000 for For Smith, the value of the value-added maple
in 2014, which translated into an equally
U.S., particularly those dealing in bulk, have a 30 percent stake. Salmon and Smith turned market is really its potential to turn people on
impressive 150 percent increase in value,
been looking for new avenues of sales. him down, but they nonetheless walked away to maple. “The core maple industry, in terms
from $19,755,594 in 1992 to $49,432,000 in
with national name recognition that almost of how it’s made and where it’s coming from
2015, making maple the second most valued “They’re seeing their bulk prices be chipped
immediately sparked “an explosion in sales,” it’s still relatively the same. It’s really in the
agricultural commodity in Vermont. The next away by these various forces,” explains
around two to three thousand percent. value added sector where the change is really
two years saw even greater growth. In 2016, Isselhardt, “and it stimulated some of these
happening. A lot of that stems from how can
the value of production totaled $59.7 million, companies to decide, ‘We’re going to try But perhaps no one gave a greater bump
we as a company as a community, as a state
up 28 percent from the previous season, something else. We’re going to try to do more nationally to the Vermont maple name
help grow the maple market by integrating
and the 2017 season produced 1.98 million direct marketing.’ That, I would say, has been than the Grand Oprah herself, who added
maple into people’s lives in new and different
gallons, the second highest production on the biggest driver of these innovative products Runamok’s trio set of bourbon-barrel aged,
ways.”
record. like infused syrups and that sort of thing.” hibiscus- and cinnamon-vanilla-infused syr-
ups to her annual list of favorite things in Gordon agrees, “Any product that gets the
Blame Canada? Exit Julia Child, Enter Bobby Flay
2016. In the three days after the Oprah plug, consumer to understand what maple is and
Much of the reason for the increased As much as you may secretly (or not) hate Runamok Maple made as much in sales as it think about it in terms of a use other than
production can be found by looking north to your friends’ endless close-up shots of had in the six months prior. Sunday morning pancakes is going to be good
Quebec. Although Vermont produces 42% of brown butter crepes with chanterelles, house for the industry.
maple syrup on the national market, it’s still Ricotta, braised leeks, and winter squash
a small fry on the world scene compared to on Instagram and social media, it’s part of
Quebec, which accounts for about 70 percent what’s driving Vermont’s maple industry to
of global production. With such a massive toy with the preparation and presentation of
market share, and one organization to rule syrup, according to Matt Gordon, Executive
them all—The Fédération des producteurs Director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’
acéricoles du Québec, aka The Federation Association.
of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers—Quebec “The food marketing and the culinary
commands the market and sets the global landscape of the United States has undergone
price. a dramatic change in the past 10 to 20 years
“If you are a bulk producer in Quebec, You’re driven by media, like cooking shows. Look
compelled to sell to one central agency, the back a couple decades, and you only had Julia
Federation,” explains Isselhardt. “They, Child, and now you see the proliferation of
through their sheer size, are able to control shows that exist. There’s a much different
supply and also the world price, and they’ve interest in cooking and food. Then you add
chosen to set the price at a value that is the Internet and how that has shaped people’s
sustainable for their producers. relationships with food. Now people are
regularly fixated on food as a hobby, if not
In order to create more stability in the
obsession, so I think that’s helped open some
maple market, which can swing sometimes
doors for the maple marketing.”
dramatically in price from season to season
depending on weather, Quebec producers Eric Sorkin, co-founder of Runamok Maple
established the Strategic Maple Reserve in agrees. “The country’s food sophistication
2000 (the same that saw a $30 million heist has changed an awful lot in the last 10
of syrup in 2012) to offset shortages and keep years. People are much more dialed into the
PAG E 10 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Sue Higby Runs for Mayor of Barre


O
ne of downtown Barre’s true success because I have on the ground management, that will affect new business investors. some new outcomes. There needs to be a new,
stories can be found at Studio Place planning, and budget experience. I’m on the Are you saying that you don’t think it is open directed approach to identify people and get
Arts, and Sue Higby, who’s served as city council right now. I represent Ward One, and competitive enough at the moment? them more involved in the improvement of our
executive director for more than 15 years, is and I have already seen that my experience community. One of the really great ideas that
largely the reason. In addition, she’s a member is invaluable to making basic decisions, but SH: I am saying that I will create more open came up when I was out doing some meetings
of the Barre City Council, representing Ward specifically, what I would say, is that I’ve meetings, more public sessions for revisions with previous mayors is that former mayor,
1, and Barre Promise Community, a group of been a long-time leader of Studio Place Arts, about what the future of Barre City should Peter Anthony, suggested that to identify and
local organizations that collaborate regularly and I have relationships in this region and be. I will manage meetings very carefully for bring in new talent for community projects
on programs for young families and children around our state that could help build new results, and I will restore faith in our city’s was through welcoming meetings. When
in Barre City. Add to that an impressive range associations to position Barre City for more governmental processes. people buy new homes, invite them to City
of experiences at national research institutions business investments, more home purchases, That would indicate to me that you think Hall every other month as a welcome wagon
and environmental nonprofits—the National and more collaborations with municipalities there is a loss of faith in management thus to encourage people to know their councilor,
Council on Science and the Environment, The nearby. far. to describe what they want out of the city, and
Nature Conservancy, and Resources for the In terms of municipal affairs, it sounds like who they are.
SH: Please do not put those words in my
Future—and it’s perhaps not so shocking that the bulk of your experience has come from That will make it possible for us to be in a
mouth. I am telling you what I will do.
she’s throwing her hat in the ring to become your service on the Barre City Council. Is much stronger position to use their skills and
the next mayor of Barre. Do you think Barre has an image problem?
that the most directly relatable experience relationships to help build the city.
Higby was kind enough to sit down with The you have? SH: I do want to respond to some of the
Looking at the budget proposals up for a
Bridge to discuss her background, campaign, image issues of Barre, not just marketing and
SH: I’ve also served on the Civic Center vote on Town Meeting Day, are there any
and agenda. advertising. I think sadly enough that there
Committee since 2014, and I’ve served as that you strongly support or oppose?
is an image issue that has existed for a while.
The Bridge: SPA has been a highly successful a member of the Charles Semprebon Fund SH: I definitely support the general operating
I lived in Montpelier for eight years before
enterprise in downtown Barre, a downtown Committee from early 2011 through 2013. budget. It went to several different meetings
I moved here, and I remember that when I
that has been hurting for a long time. How do I’ve been a volunteer on a number of different and workshops to try to cut expenditures and
announced I was moving to Barre City, some
you account for the success? projects that have been to the benefit of Barre get the highest value. I think there are a few
of my friends and colleagues were openly
Sue Higby: I appreciate you recognizing what City. little nips and tucks. One of the areas in the
disgusted with me, “Why would you move
Studio Place Arts is and what we offer, and Why do you want to become mayor of Barre to Barre?” My response was that I found general budget that we will be able to adjust
this is a project that involved a very significant and take on all that stress? my dream neighborhood and my dream mid-year and see some savings has been the
renovation project on a building that had SH: Isn’t there an old saying that if you want house. I think part of what you might be City of Barre has not gone out to get bids on
experienced a fire and was left vacant. So, we something to get done, ask a busy person? hearing is income snobbery, sort of an elitism, workers’ comp. Insurance. At a meeting a few
saved that building and created an entirely There are people who do things, and there are which shouldn’t exist. I think through open weeks ago, I suggested it would make sense,
new, non-profit organization from scratch— people who don’t. I do things. conversations and earnest sharing of some of given the increase from last year to this year
no members, no artists, no identity, no track the great assets here, I have been able to open incurred in workers’ comp expenses, that we
record. You can imagine how difficult it was, And that’s why you want to run for mayor? people’s minds. ought to go out and get a new bid. In fact, I
and also how challenging and expensive the SH: I live here, have worked downtown for think we will see some savings mid-year on
You said you would not seek the endorsement
budget was. fifteen years, and really care about the current that section.
from the Democratic or Republican parties.
I’ve been involved with Studio Place Arts as and future condition of our downtown, our Why not? There is a proposal for funding for repairing
a director for fifteen years, and I was an early neighborhoods, and our community members. our pool. Because in my excursions, doing
And while I’m really proud of this city, I’m SH: For local elections, that would be highly
volunteer as well because I thought that the door-to-door campaigning, I’ve heard a lot
also very eager to push this city forward so we inappropriate. That’s how local races should
project offered so much to downtown Barre. of my neighbors and community members
can continue to move ahead and become an run. I certainly have supporters within the
How did I do it? Basically, I’ve been involved talk about the great importance of having
attractive and economically vital place. local Dems. I think I have supporters amongst
in the non-profit sector for a long, long time, recreational resources for children, teens, and
the local Republicans, too. This is a local race.
so, I have a lot of experience that is very useful When did you make the decision to run for families. I am definitely very supportive of
It’s a mayoral race. It should be party free.
and constructive for pushing Studio Place Arts mayor? spending money to repair the pool and put it
forward. Are you registered as an Independent, then? in a position where it will not need too many
SH: I think mid-December, very recently. On
If you are a political candidate with a SH: I identify as a moderate Democrat. repairs for the next 20 years. I wish we could
a personal note, I lost one of my parents
significant non-profit sector experience, there afford building a new pool, but we have so
this fall, and what I realized is that I had an Let’s talk about your agenda. What’s on
are a lot of skill sets that are useful. Basically, many other priorities
enormous amount of my mind focused and the top of your policy wishlist? What are
you are effective in developing strategies, and worried about my mother and that I needed the main things you would like to achieve? The local options (rooms, meals, and alcohol)
budgeting, and collaborating with teams. to invest some of that space in my mind in What issues are particularly important for tax issue is something I am supporting. I'm
Inclusiveness is important in a non-profit area, something that was productive. When you you? not enthusiastic about this tax but I have
as well as in the city at large, for example, are very focused on helping and trying to be supported it because we need more revenue.
teamwork, frugality, evaluating results, SH: The success of our downtown is linked I'm not enthusiastic about it because in talking
available and worried about various outcomes,
making adjustments. I look at the various to the health of our neighborhoods, and with local businesspeople, and in reading a
that when there’s a death, you realize how
experiences that I’ve had over the past 36 years we have a wonderful amount of affordable report from the local Barre Partnership group,
quickly you need to do something else.
in the non-profit sector, and I think, these are housing within a walkable, bikeable reach it's clear to me that restaurants and other
How do you assess the situation downtown? of our downtown, and so, I want to seek
skills that could be very useful for sharing at affected businesses do have some concerns. We
Why after years of investment, are there opportunities to improve our housing stock
mayoral level here in the the City of Barre. need the money. That's why I have voted for it.
still so many empty storefronts? by raising incentives to repair those homes
Are there any of these skills you mentioned and increase the percentage of owner-occupied Do you support the $15 minimum wage?
SH: That’s a very complicated question.
in terms of the success of SPA that would homes. SH: The cost of living in Vermont is much
Certainly, what I would like to see here in
be particularly useful in the role of mayor? higher than most people think, so the
the city is a more open and competitive I look around and I see a lot of new talent
SH: I think all of the categories will be useful environment for our downtown, and I think moving into Barre as well as passion to see minimum wage issue is important. My instinct
is that you’ve got to phase in the change over
a period of time. I would say over a period of
four years makes sense to me. It shouldn’t be
something that happens right away.
Which of these skills that you’ve
demonstrated at SPA will be particularly
useful in the role of mayor?
SH: What I’ve discovered is that people who
have been here for a long time have at some
level become frustrated and don’t have as
much hope and pride as they had in the past.
I didn’t realize that there were as many people
as there seemed to be who feel less empowered,
and they want to see outcomes for our city that
will make them feel even more proud.
The process of selecting a new mayor is
kind of like a relay race. There are different
personalities and skills based on what place
you have on that relay team. In the relay
teams that I ran, I was always in the second
position. That’s because the second leg is about
lane position, strategy, and all-out sprints, and
that’s what I bring to the table. I’m the right
person to pass the baton to right now. I know
what’s needed, and I’m going to move on it.
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 11

John Hollar Offers Advice


for the Next Mayor of
Montpelier by Michael Bielawski

W
ith just a month to go, Montpelier Mayor John Hollar sat down with The Bridge at
his law office on State Street to reflect on his six years of service to Montpelier and
to offer some advice for future mayors.
“The most challenging thing, I think, is to understand what your priorities are and to try and
think broadly about what you can best do as mayor to improve the quality of life in Montpelier
for all the residents here,” Hollar said.
“And then focus on sort of broad themes, because as mayor in Montpelier you are not charged
with running the day-to-day operations of the city, but there are a lot of tugs on your time and
your focus.”
Three goals for Hollar were to improve city infrastructure such as roads and sidewalks, restrain
the growth of taxes, and jump-start a couple of city projects stuck in stagnation.
Regarding the infrastructure, the city now spends about $1 million more annually than it had
before, he said, and the tax rate is now a little below the rate of inflation. As for the two big city
projects he wanted to jump start, he admitted it had been “a very frustrating” ordeal.
One of these projects was a multi-use recreation trail, which finally should start construction
this year. Another was the Taylor Street project, which includes a new transit center, housing
development, and a connection point for the recreation trail.
“We haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked, but the good news is those projects are
scheduled to begin this year,” he said. “It has been difficult, getting the easements, the funding,
the permitting and all that has taken an enormous amount of time.”
Now he said all the pieces are in place, but it took patience.
“I think patience is important, but I think impatience is important as well,” he said. “I mean
the fact that these projects took 20 years to get underway might reflect a little too much
patience.”
He related Montpelier’s effort for a bike path with the one down in New York City.
“Mayor Bloomberg transformed Manhattan, the most crowded, dense, expensive real-estate on
the planet and was able to convert that city into a bike-friendly place,” he said. “And I think we
sometimes have a hard time making progress on projects like this.”
On the transformation of Montpelier, one of the ongoing discussions has been about closing-up
Langdon Street or State Street, either permanently or for certain times of the week, to promote
pedestrian traffic and try to gain some of that Church Street atmosphere from Burlington.
There may not be any permanent banning of traffic, but the idea of a temporary occurrence has
gained some traction. He said the City Council just voted the other day to allow the farmers’
market to move to State Street during the summer.
Another project that’s been slow to gain traction has been an economic development
corporation to spur business growth and increase the tax-base in town. Hollar said there is
a terrific board in place, but it recently lost its executive director, so that has been a hold-up.
An experience which helped shape his time in the mayor’s seat was he had worked in
Washington DC for U.S. Rep. Mike Synar, D-Oklahoma, from 1983 until 1989, before
moving to Vermont in 1990.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around positive role-models. He had a big influence on me just in
terms of how to think about serving in a public office,” he said. “But also, here in Vermont I’ve
had the pleasure of seeing very talented people serving in the State House.”
Hollar has only been in one contested election, two of them were uncontested and the
upcoming race is currently uncontested, as city councilwoman Anne Watson is the only
candidate.
Hollar commented on what this says about the public’s willingness to fill the mayor’s seat.
“We have no trouble filling the vacancy on our boards and committees,” he said. “It’s been
one of the pleasures of serving as mayor is seeing the tremendous level of volunteerism in
Montpelier, and the quality of people who step up to serve on our boards and commissions, so
I don’t think it’s due to apathy that we don’t have a someone running.”
Another piece of advice Hollar offered for his successor is to simply be available.
“Being responsive is important, whether it’s
to the media or to constituents, but being
available,” he said. “One of the nicest
compliments that somebody gave to me not
that long ago was that ‘you show up’ and I’ve
always thought that’s important.”
He did say that he sees more work in public
office in his future.
“I doubt that I would pursue anything in DC,
but I do think about it certainly,” he said. “I
believe in public service and in the ability of
political leaders to improve the quality of life
and the people they represent, so I think at
some point in my life I will probably pursue
another position, but I don’t have any plans
right now.”
Michael Bielawski is a freelance reporter for
The Bridge. He can be reached at bielawski82@
yahoo.com.

Mayor John Hollar enters his final month of


a six-year tenure as Montpelier's mayor. His
primary advice to his successor is to make
his/her self available to the public whenever
possible.
PAG E 12 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Running for Office—Montpelier Candidates Make their Pitch


Continued from Page 1

How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown? I respect the police department’s process in handling the situation and know that if there is
The council has done well in supporting the downtown through its support of Montpelier anything they can learn from the situation, they will. This incident was evaluated by an outside
Alive, the new Economic Development Corporation, and the various downtown housing state agency, which found that Montpelier Police Department performed according to city
projects. We need more communication among those groups and with the public at large. police department guidelines and procedures (available on the city’s website).

Spending and taxes? Are there any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?

If we are going forward with a new fitness center along the lines of what Jump and Splash is I want more enjoyment and connection to our rivers, with walkways, benches, and public
proposing, it needs to be a regional center supported by a combination of private and public sculptures. I remember what Margot George did and Harris Webster does with historical
dollars. downtown walking tours to show off the city’s architecture, and what John Snell does on his
walking tree tours. I’m very excited about the current and future proposals for more art in
Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS? public places.

Numa Haase (District One) in Burlington. Each time they pave and resurface the streets, the new smooth pavement
encourages people to drive too quickly. Under that paving are cobblestones. Why not
Personal information
cobblestone the streets for a block or two downtown? It would be attractive. It would encourage
I’ve lived in Montpelier for more than 30 years. I’m currently retired after a career mostly in people to slow down. It would be good for tourism.
computer programing and web design. I graduated from UVM. I have previously lived in
Spending and tax-supported fitness center?
Louisiana, where I was born, as well as Mexico and Quebec. I live here with my wife, two
teenage daughters, two cats, and our dog. I think the proposed fitness center is a good idea, and perhaps taxes could help support it. I
think the idea of Montpelier participating in this could be a good idea. When my kids were
When my wife Georgina came here from Mexico 25 years ago, there were few immigrants from
small, we would have loved such a thing. If it’s feasible it might be a good idea. Let’s look into
other cultures. Over the years this has changed, and now Montpelier has become a much more
it. It sounds like a good idea.
diverse community with people from many cultures. Georgina has worked for many years with
preschoolers at the Child’s Garden. We participate in our local Latino/Spanish group. I also Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS?
volunteer with local Mexican farmworkers, mostly by interpreting and accompanying them to I was saddened by this event. The gunman was a man who had a lot of problems and needed
doctors and dentists, and helping them obtain driver’s licenses. help. And after it was over I had this question: the local and state police are extensively trained
Why are you running? to deal with dangerous people in an emergency. They had an hour to figure out what they
were going to do. Wasn’t there any other way of containing this man except to shoot him and
For the 30 years I’ve been here, I have never run for any political office, so it’s totally new for
take his life?
me. In this time of divisiveness in our country, we need to show that we continue to respect
each member of our community. Here in Vermont, we have a tradition of listening to each I don’t have the complete facts of the situation, and I don’t think it’s fair to condemn anyone
other and working things out rather than passing restrictive and punitive laws. As a city based on partial information.
councilor I promise I will always listen to all sides and try to make the best decisions possible. Do you see any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?
How would you address the city’s major problems? Vermont has a town meeting tradition where people meet together and work things out. And
Of course the city has problems, but I don’t look at Montpelier in that way. If we work together that’s an asset. Sometimes I think it might be good to have something like a face-to-face town
we can come up with fresh ideas and solutions. meeting in Montpelier. I think a face-to-face meeting would be far better than impersonal
messages on Front Porch Forum.
How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
I really like Montpelier. It’s full of caring, compassionate people who try to help everyone in
I think we could turn Langdon Street into a pedestrian mall, somewhat like Church Street
the community.

Alex Geller (District Two) to age in place when planning these improvements. Prioritizing the revitalization and right
sizing of our current neighborhoods before building on open land makes sense, preserves the
Personal information
character of neighborhoods, and keeps Montpelier walkable.
I’ve been a public servant for 10 years, so public service is part of who I am. My particular
How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
background and experience might be helpful to the council. I have a bachelor's degree in
geology from UVM and a master’s degree in computer science from Boston University. The city needs to attract employers who are offering decent-paying jobs. That will bring in
Beyond that, I have spent my career focused on solving problems in the environmental and people who will support our downtown. Given how competitive cities have become to attract
transportation fields, while also leveraging technology to enhance services to taxpayers and employers, Montpelier needs to establish itself as location that provides a healthy, active lifestyle
save money. Specifically, I hope to lend my experience in asset management to help Montpelier with rich culture.
make better decisions about how we maintain our buildings, roads, bridges, and utilities so we Spending and tax-supported fitness center?
can make our tax dollars go further.
I think we need to understand whether we are adequately maintaining the infrastructure we
Why are you running? already have before we decide to fund additional infrastructure projects. I also know that
My wife, Wendy, and I purchased our first home on Kent Street six years ago. Since then we there are opportunities to expand outdoor recreation that would be little to no burden on the
have been methodically moving from room to room renovating our house. Because we couldn’t taxpayers.
afford to pay for all this work, we did most of it ourselves and with the help of our community. Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS?
As the renovations are coming to an end, I thought serving on the council would be a good
way to give back. First, let me say that as a state employee I cannot comment on how this event was handled.
Beyond that, as a private citizen, it was very saddening to learn that we had an individual who
Beyond my commitment to public service, I would like to make sure that Montpelier is was so distressed and prepared to take these actions.
accessible to a diverse demographic of people and that we are doing everything we can to
support a strong and sustainable economy. Do you see any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?

How would you address the city’s major problems? Yes, absolutely, our rivers. We have beautiful rivers flowing through downtown, and we do
all we can to forget that they’re there. I think we need to embrace the rivers by creating
I see housing as the biggest problem right now and into the future. Young families are having opportunities to enjoy them responsibly. River access points, small parks, and a white water
a difficult time buying their first home and getting onto the property ladder, while seniors are park are all opportunities to embrace and respect our natural environment.
unable to find suitable homes for downsizing. There is no silver bullet, but I would like to see
the city incentivize renovation of our current housing stock to meet the needs of today. This Another asset is the land that the city owns between the North Branch Nature Center and
could include conversion of large, single-family houses into multi-unit houses, replacement of North Street. We can leverage that ownership by having the local mountain bike chapter build
houses with excessive deferred maintenance, and an emphasis on the need for seniors to be able mountain bike trails. That would draw visitors to support our economy and provide a great
return on investment for the city.

Ben Eastwood (District Two) homes. This could save lives, reduce property damage and increase firefighter safety. I think of
bedridden seniors who can’t get out or children who might hide in a closet if an alarm goes off
Personal information
who could be saved by sprinklers. This could also save money on insurance and would allow
I’ve lived in town for seven years and served on the Conservation Commission for several years. us to grow without needing to increase the size of our fire department.
I’m a stay-at-home dad, and I’m building a community maker space on Barre Street, called
How would you address the city’s major problems?
“Make Do.” I’ve been involved as a community organizer on campaigns such as GMO labeling
and protecting the Winooski River. We’ve been cutting funding for social programs while giving huge handouts to businesses
without ensuring those investments will pay off for the community. For example, we put over
Why are you running?
$400,000 into a railroad crossing and other improvements for the distillery without even
I think Montpelier is a great city to live in, and I want it to continue to be a great city. I have making sure it would create jobs that pay a living wage. Meanwhile, the city council has tried to
five kids and I want to work to build a just, inclusive, and sustainable community in which they cut needed funding to the community fund, which is supposed to fund things like the housing
will want to stay. I want to strengthen our commitment to being a sanctuary city by ensuring trust and women’s shelter. If these organizations cannot get the funding they need, they must
everyone feels safe here, regardless of race, gender, or immigration status. gather an onerous number of signatures to put it on the ballot or they might not be able to
One of the issues near and dear to me is water quality–protecting Berlin Pond, where we get our continue functioning. Cutting $500 or $1,000 from a small organization won’t make a dent in
drinking water, as well as updating our water mains. We also need to update our storm-water our budget, but might mean a loss of services people depend on.
system so we don’t contaminate our rivers whenever we have a storm. How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
As a former EMT who has responded to house fires, I support the policy Anne Watson and I think one of the things we can do is improve our transportation infrastructure and create
Rosie Krueger put forward with Fire Chief Gowans requiring sprinklers for new single-family more ways for people to get downtown without needing to drive and park.
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 13

There were some ideas for the Taylor Street project, a public gathering space, a big space for served our community for years. She deserves a transparent accounting of what happened.
the farmers’ market. This would have brought people downtown. Instead, it’s becoming a big I’m not looking to armchair quarterback what happened there, but looking ahead, it is clear
parking lot and some more housing, which isn’t the best use of that land. I’m really excited that we need to build a committee that works with Chief Facos and the City Manager to
about the farmers’ market on State Street. That could be good for downtown businesses. provide community guidance and oversight and to ensure transparency to restore trust in the
And I’d like to make Langdon Street a walking-shopping area. That would draw people police. I believe Chief Facos wants to engage the community and has taken some positive
downtown and give people the opportunity to start small businesses. first steps, but we have no community oversight at this point.
Spending and tax-supported center? Do you see any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?
I think a new recreation center could provide families with more opportunities for recreation We are a city of rivers and we have no direct access to the water. We have no way to get down
downtown and could bring people into town. I think affordable housing should be to and relate to the river, touch the water, and get our feet wet. There has been talk about a
supported. I think we need to make sure our tax money helps build the whole community. whitewater park, which could provide recreation opportunities and improve the health of the
Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS? river. I think that’s another way we could draw people to town.

As a parent with students who were in the school that day, I’m thankful that no students Right now our bike path is a path to nowhere. I’d like to see a more comprehensive system of
or bystanders were hurt. It’s a tragedy. That gunman was the son of a beloved teacher who bike and walking trails that connect our neighborhoods to our parks and downtown. I would
also like to see at least the top of Sabin’s pasture protected as a park.
Conor Casey (District Two) Business leaders are suggesting that Montpelier’s tourism numbers are down. So we need
to identify exactly why. Certainly the empty storefronts in towns could be put to good use.
Personal information
And we need to think of ways to revitalize our downtown. I will be the biggest advocate for
I moved to town about 13 years ago with my wife. We’ve always found Montpelier to be Montpelier.
a magical place. The community has given us so much and I certainly feel a commitment
Spending and tax-supported fitness center?
to giving back. I’m currently executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, but I
worked with organized labor for over a decade. I started my career working with Senator I would always consider a request to raise revenues for a good project. But I would do it
Ted Kennedy in Boston. That gave me a good sense of what it means to be a public servant. thoughtfully and with due diligence. For example, I learned today that the police force at
some times only has one officer on patrol. Over the past few years they had a decrease from
Why are you running?
20 officers to 16. One thing I would look at is maybe adding a couple of officers to the force
I think we’re at a transition point in Montpelier. There are many exciting projects in the to ensure public safety.
pipeline. They need to be implemented in a way that maintains the charm and the character
Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS?
of the city. I think I would an effective councilor in advocating for what I believe in. This
past year I’ve taken an interest in volunteering for the Community Justice Center. That I think our city has a heavy heart about what happened a few weeks ago. From what I saw
sparked a desire to do more. I believe the officers did everything they could for a peaceful resolution. Nonetheless, it’s
tragic whenever a life is lost. It points to the need for better mental health treatment across
How would you address the city’s major problems?
the state.
First, I’d say that Montpelier is in many ways an oasis. We have a big heart as a community.
Do you see any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?
We take care of each other. That said, we’re not immune from problems facing the rest of
the state, such as community members who suffer from addiction. I think we have a lack of For being the smallest state capital in America, I believe Montpelier can hold its own with
affordable housing. I think we need to make investments to give people the opportunities any major city: be it restaurants, two movie theaters, a vibrant music scene. This small
they need to succeed. city has so much to offer. We need to do more to promote what is going on in Montpelier.
Montpelier Alive does a very good job. But they may need more resources to help promote
How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
our city across the state and region.

Glen Coburn Hutcheson (District Three) We make most decisions by consensus, a style I learned first at Haverford College, which was
founded on Quaker principles of community.
Personal information
Why are you running?
I’m an artist and picture framer. I’ve worked full-time at The Drawing Board since 2013.
Before that, I worked counter service jobs at the Skinny Pancake and the old Rhapsody Cafe. I think that everyone ought to contribute when they can to local democratic government,
I moved from Brooklyn to Montpelier nine years ago to join my domestic partner, Kate and I have time and energy to spare. My experience in service jobs and working with the
Stephenson. My major recent project is The Front, Montpelier’s cooperative gallery, which artists of The Front has helped me recognize that I really enjoy listening, talking, and getting
grew out of my studio occupancy of the storefront at 6 Barre Street. The Front offers space projects done, all of which has prepared me to serve on the city council. Democracy works
to our 16 members to show and sell work, and hosts receptions and talks for the community. Continued on next page
PAG E 14 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Running for Office—Montpelier Candidates Make their Pitch


better when more voices are heard, so I want to increase the council’s ongoing interaction shops and restaurants.
with citizens. I’d like to have constant conversations with residents, starting by hosting a Spending and tax-supported fitness center?
weekly coffee-and-talk in downtown cafes, and scheduled, open, walk-and-talk wanders
around the city. I’m not afraid of spending for good projects, but a new fitness center isn’t at the top of my list
of priorities. As far as I can tell, the city is doing a good job of maintaining a consistent, high
How would you address the city’s major problems? level of services.
We’re dealing with a lot of society-wide problems: lack of good jobs, permanent expensive war, Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS?
climate change, and everything else. Some problems specific to us are that we’re a small town
with the responsibilities and expectations of a capital city, that we’re frequently flooded, and That was a tragedy. I have a hard time imagining what it’s like to be in the position of a police
that we don’t have enough housing, especially for people with fewer resources. I’m in favor of officer in that situation. I really wish it had ended differently.
building more affordable housing and making better use of what we have; I want to increase Does Montpelier have assets that are not being taken advantage of?
our ability to deal with flooding, and I’d like to explore ways to better share the work of hosting
Yes! The rivers are huge assets that we mostly ignore or treat only as liabilities. Even if they’re
state government.
less used for energy and transport than they were in the past, we could make them a focus for
How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown? recreation. Also, as I said before, our food producers and venues are underrated. And I know
I’m not sure we’ve caught up to the fact that Montpelier, with its talent and central location, is from personal experience that we have a real concentration of artists without enough outlets:
a food-and-drink destination for people from as far away as Boston and New York. We could when I first opened the 6 Barre Street storefront space to sell my paintings, most of the people
do more to encourage and promote our local producers and venues. Also, I’m a dedicated coming in were artists looking for a place to show their own work. That led eventually to the
pedestrian, so I’d like us to continue to improve walking access to and from all parts of town. formation of The Front, where I’m one of 16 members, and we still have more artists asking to
For instance, it’d be nice to have an easier walking connection from National Life to downtown join than wall space to accommodate them.

Craig McDermott (District Three) our middle class, and this will only happen if you have an environment that’s friendly to business,
not overly regulated, and incentivized. That goes back to the cost of living and taxes. If you have a
Personal information
thriving business community in your municipality, your taxes will go down because you have more
I am 34 years old and a lifelong resident of Montpelier. I am a parent and an avid participant people contributing.
and contributing member of this great Montpelier community. I have spent nearly my entire
The road crew does a great job at plowing and salting, but we have potholes in many places. I think
life in Montpelier, only leaving to attend college and work for short periods. I plan to live the
we could do a better job of addressing the infrastructure issues. Let’s get the state involved in fixing
remainder of my life here and continue to be a participant in local government. I attended
some of those roads. As a city councilor, I would be vocal on some of those issues. Let’s take care of
schools in Montpelier and went to Lyndon State College, where I served in student government.
the roads. I think everyone in town can relate to that. We need to be pro-active about fixing some
I am self-employed and have ample free time to serve on city council. I genuinely enjoy
of these things.
attending city council meetings.
How would you strengthen Montpelier’s downtown?
My wife and I have been partners for a decade. I have a 7-year-old son and a 9-year-old
daughter. I am a Montpelier basketball coach and baseball coach, and I donate a lot of time in What I’d like to see for downtown is a busy, well-populated, and well-balanced area where people
officiating Montpelier baseball games. can relax, have fun, and work. Let’s protect that balance that makes Montpelier such a great place
to live while we make adjustments to long-term growth in a sustainable manner.
Why are you running?
We need to do something about the large numbers of flat empty spaces in our city. There are lots of
I’m running for city council because I have interests in the city’s success and its future. I enjoy
parking lots in Montpelier. These spaces are already paved. We can build around these spaces, above
serving others and providing assistance, and I am committed to making sure this community is
these spaces, and below them and still park the same amount of cars as long as we use due diligence
strong and remains healthy. Whether it’s bringing up my two children within this community
and devote the time and energy to making sure the vision that has made Montpelier a great place
or building opportunities for middle-class workers to find meaningful employment here,
to live remains. That’s an attainable goal.
protecting the amazing and tranquil way of life we already have, or ensuring that the history
and appearance of our downtown remain pristine into the future, I am motivated and qualified Spending and tax-supported firness center?
to leave a better Montpelier for the next generation and to inspire others to become active in I would have to speak to my constituents before I know what I’d do with that. My commitment
doing the same. would be to the voters who elected me. I would not put forward any initiative or put my support
I want to do more for the people of this city by finding meaningful solutions to common behind any tax plan without the support of the voters.
issues, such as affordability and the cost of living. Lowering the burden of citizens’ tax liabilities Your reaction to the situation of a gunman at MHS?
and controlling the existing tax rate are top priorities. Creating new business growth and tax
revenue opportunities is a vital part of the equation when looking for solutions to the cost of That was a sad and a very unfortunate situation. I know my 7-year-old went to school where the
living in a wonderful place like Montpelier. mother of the deceased taught. We were heartbroken for her loss. The police were there to do a job.
They were doing their job. They were just trying to do what was right. It was unfortunate.
Solving issues that face our transportation infrastructure—the declining quality of our roads
and growing downtown traffic congestion—is another major reason why I am inspired to run. Do you see any assets in Montpelier that are not being taken advantage of?
There needs to be someone in city council who will be vocal about our needs as a city and I think we have a fantastic future. There’s a real possibility that Montpelier could be a premier
unafraid to waive our municipal flag in front of those we depend on at the state house! I will destination for people to come and do business. I think places like Montpelier are going to be more
emphatically do so with vigor and pride. attractive to more folks moving forward. I don’t think Montpelier is being marketed as efficiently as
How would you address the city’s major problems? it could be: the community, the beautiful atmosphere, the low crime rate, especially the wonderful
public schools, the fantastic teachers in our city’s public schools, our neighborhoods. We could take
I wouldn’t necessarily call them problems; they’re challenges. One of them is affordability. better advantage of those things. If we did a better job at exploiting our positives and generated an
What does it cost for people to live and stay above water financially? advantageous marketing campaign for our business climate, we would have a fair amount of influx
One of the factors I’m interested in is the lack of high-quality jobs in the state. We need to grow to our population, and our citizens would experience some badly needed tax relief.

Cody Chevrolet Congratulates The Bridge


On Over 20 Years of Business! Town
Meeting
Day is
Tuesday,
March 6
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 15

C a l e n d a r o f E ve n t s
Community Events Performing Arts
wild foods from the surrounding landscape. 10
am–1 pm. North Branch Nature Center, 713 THEATER, DANCE,
Elm St., Montpelier. Pre-registration required:
northbranchnaturecenter.org
STORYTELLING, COMEDY
Events happening VAST Military Appreciation Ride-In. Warming Feb. 15–18: “Big Love.” The student theater troupe at Johnson State College will stage a play that raises
issues of love, gender politics and domestic violence. Written by American playwright Charles Mee. Feb.
tent and hot cocoa Provided by The National
February 15–March 3 Guard, food and commercial vendors, bonfire 15–17, 7 pm. Feb. 18, 2 pm. Johnson State College, Dibden Center for the Arts, Johnson. $10 cash only.
and S’mores, snowmobile and snowshoe jscboxoffice@jsc.edu. 635-1476
THURSDAY, FEB. 15 demos, and more. 10 am–2 pm. Oxbow Park, Feb. 18: Dinoman! A science-based play about dinosaurs, fossils, and fun, for all ages. A show with
Third Thursday Talk: The Pavilion Hotel. Morrisville. Free. magic, merry mayhem, and magnificent props, taking the audience on a trip throughout the mesozoic
Hear the history of one of Montpelier’s favorite era. All proceeds go directly to the Grange Hall Renovation Fund. 1 pm. Grange Hall Cultural Center,
landmarks, as well as the story of its demolition Chase Away Cabin Fever Creative Collage
Workshop with Jack Sabon. Artist Resource 317 Howard Ave., Waterbury Center. Adults $10; children $5. 244-4168. grangehallcc@gmail.com
and replacement. Noon. Vermont History
Museum, 109 State St., Montpelier. Free. Association Workshop for teens and adults. Feel Feb. 23: Bueno Comedy Showcase. A wide range of talented standup comics, from here and away,
vermonthistory.org. 479-8500 free bring along some magazines that interest you working longer sets. 8:30 pm. Espresso Bueno, 248 N. Main St., Barre. Free/by donation. 479-0896.
and your collage ideas. 1–3 pm. Kellogg-Hubbard events@espressobueno.com. espressobueno.com.
Introduction to Smelting at Waterbury Library, East Montpelier Room, 135 Main St.,
Reservoir. Exact location details will be given Montpelier. 223-3338. Feb. 24: "Qué Nochebuena" (What a Christmas Eve). A stage reading of a play by Inez Martinez. A
when people register for the event. 4 pm. Pre- nativity story with a twist, Qué Nochebuena speaks to the civility and empathy needed for immigration
registration is required by contacting Corey Hart Soup A Thon. Several varieties of soup to try.
reform. Guatemalan immigrants, eighteen-year-old Carlos and his pregnant sister, Felicia, seek refuge
at LetsGoFishing@vermont.gov or 265-2279. Coffee, punch, cake or brownies for dessert. 5–7
in a Mexican-American community in northern New Mexico, while pursued by an immigration agent
pm. Worcester Church Annex, 35 Worcester
Free Prostate Screenings. With Urologist Dr. intent on deporting them. 2 pm. Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier. Free.
Village Rd., Worcester. By donation. 223-7961
Richard Graham. Each free screening includes March 2: Extempo. Local raconteurs tell short-format, first-person, true stories live on stage without any
PSA testing, a prostate exam, and a follow up Midwinter Dance Party & Screening of “Stop
Making Sense.” Come dance the midwinter notes or reading. 8 pm. Espresso Bueno, 248 N. Main St., Barre. $5. 479-0896. events@espressobueno.
plan if needed. 4:45–7 pm. Gifford Medical com. espressobueno.com.
Center, 44 S. Main St., Randolph. Register: blues away and celebrate Montpelier City Clerk
728-2430 John Odum’s 50th birthday with music, a cash
bar, refreshments, and a Talking Heads film.
Kick-off Event for Weatherize Montpelier. A 7–11 pm. 39 Main St., Montpelier. Free; all ages. 713 Elm St., Montpelier. Donations welcome. St., Barre. By donation. 479-9512.
campaign to help you save money and stay warm odum.john@gmail.com northbranchnaturecenter.org Open House at the Montpelier Child’s Garden.
by weatherizing your home. Learn about the Palestine and Israel in Film: A 6-Week Series. Come visit the wonderful early childhood
program and meet the contractors. Door prizes, Cabin Fever Spelling Bee. Adult spelling bee has
two teams: The Readers and The Writers. This Screen six films dealing with the history of the program at the Child’s Garden! Experience the
raflle, free food. 5:30–7 pm. VSECU, One Bailey State of Israel and the occupation of Palestinian simple beauty of the classrooms and gain a sense
Ave., Montpelier. netzeromontpelier.org. 223- year there will be an elimination of spellers! The
first round will be a practice round; then people territory (West Bank, Gaza and the Golan of the daily and weekly rhythm. 4:30–6 pm. 155
2328 ext 118. Heights) that continues to the present time. Northfield St., Montpelier. enrollment@ovws.org
will be eliminated if words are misspelled in
Evening Program: "Tracking Tips and the following rounds. 7 pm. Kellogg-Hubbard Discussion follows. 6:30–9 pm. Montpelier Riding the Wave above the Stress Zone.
Tales from the Trail." This talk will offer a Library, 135 Main St., Montpelier. $12 advance; Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier. Look at some habits that help us navigate stress
deep dive into the process of interpreting the $15 at door. Sign up at the library for your chance 223-2518. and the ups and downs of life in our modern,
tracks and sign of our local mammal species. multi-tasking world. 6–7:30 pm. Hunger
7 pm. North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm
to be on the Readers Team. 223-3338 TUESDAY, FEB. 20 Mountain Co-op community room, Montpelier.
Dinner and Slide Show on “Embattled Bats.” Q&A with Montpelier City Council Candidates.
St., Montpelier. Suggested donation $5–10. $3 members; $5 non-members. RSVP: info@
Alyssa Bennett, Small Mammals Biologist for the Moderated by The League of Women Voters
northbranchnaturecenter.org hungermountain.coop
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, will share of Vermont. Candidates will each give short
Talk by Shabana Basij-Rasikh, author of TED visuals and news from her work with Vermont’s introductory statements and timed answers to Movie Night at the Jaquith Library. An eclectic
Talk "Dare to Educate Afghan Girls." Afghan bats. 7:30 pm. Unitarian Church, 130 Main written questions. Noon–2 pm. Montpelier selection of movies that deserve a big screen with
educator, humanitarian, and women’s rights St., Montpelier. Vegetarian dinner prepared by Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier. perspectives we don’t usually see, and humor. 122
champion. 7 pm. Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Farmhouse Catering prior to talk at 6 pm. Talk is 223-2518. School St. RM 2, Marshfield. Call library for film
Main St., Montpelier. 223-3338. free; dinner is $20. SaddleShoes2@gmail.com title: 426-3581. jaquithpubliclibrary.org
Marketing Your Self-Published Book. “The
FRIDAY, FEB. 16 SUNDAY, FEB. 18 Next Step in Self- or Small Press Publishing” In Celebration of Black History Month: All Our
Art Class. “Unusual landscapes from around the Fifth annual Central Vermont Empty Bowl presented by Bear Pond Books and Galaxy Black Voices. Please bring your books and join
World” All levels welcome. 3–5 pm. Twin Valley Benefit. For the price of admission, diners Bookshop. 7 pm. Bear Pond Books, 77 Main St., local poet Toussaint St. Negritude for an open
Senior Center, Rt. 2, East Montpelier. Register: will be offered homemade soup served in a Montpelier. $25. 229-0774. bearpondbooks.com reading-in-the-round of your favorite African
223-6954. American poets. All are welcome to read, share,
handmade bowl of their choice to take home WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21 and rejoice in our community’s broad celebration
SATURDAY, FEB. 17 with them. A vegetarian option will be available. Grief & Bereavement Support Group. Open to
Benefits the Vermont Foodbank. 4:30–6:30 of literary diversity. This program is free and
End of Life Choice: Options & Autonomy. anyone who has experienced the death of a loved open to all folks, all ages, all in the community.
Highlights will include stories from family pm. Mud Studio, Rt. 2 (in the Red Hen Bakery one. 10–11:30 am. CVHHH, 600 Granger Rd.,
complex), Middlesex. Minimum adult donation 7 pm. Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main St.,
members, the history of autonomy at end of life Barre. 223-1878 Montpelier. 223-3338.
in VT and information from medical and other $25. Children 5–12 $5 for meal only. https://
Making a Life of Music in Vermont. Soprano
experts. Learn and ask questions about hospice fundraise.vtfoodbank.org
Mary Bonhag and Composer/Bassist Evan THURSDAY, FEB. 22
care, medical aid in dying (VT Act 39), voluntary Ryan Kriger, author of "New in Town: How Premo will perform and describe their lives as Clean Water Day 2018. Celebrate our lakes,
cessation of eating and drinking, and palliative to Find Friends and Community in a New internationally active musicians and devoted ponds, rivers and wetlands, and call on
sedation. Dive deeper into understanding City." One-hour talk on finding friends and parents. An Osher Lifelong Learning program. lawmakers to invest in cleaning up and protecting
advance directives, Act 39, palliative and comfort community, and avoiding social isolation, as an 1:30 pm. Aldrich Public Library, 6 Washington our waterways. 10 am: Issue overview and
care. 9 am–3 pm. Montpelier Senior Activity adult. Followed by an opportunity to socialize St., Barre. learn.uvm.edu/osher advocacy training at Unitarian Church, 130
Center , 58 Barre St., Montpelier. Free. 223-2518. and meet and make new friends. 7:30 pm. Three Main St., Montpelier. 11 am: March to the State
Square Dancing at the Barre Area Senior House. Show solidarity for our water resources.
Capital City Winter Farmers Market. Eat local Penny Taproom, 108 Main St., Montpelier.
Center. All ages are welcome, no partner needed, 11:15 am: Press event—hear expert perspectives
all winter long. Shop from over 20 farms and MONDAY, FEB. 19 all dances are taught. 2–3:30 pm. 135 S. Main
producers. Our producer-only market means Robin’s Nest Nature Playgroup. An
everything is grown or handmade in Central outdoor playgroup for parents, caregivers,
Vermont. 10 am–2 pm. City Center, 89 Main St., and children ages 0-5. Spontaneous play,
Montpelier. montpelierfarmersmarket.com. exploration, discovery, song, nature-inspired
Winter Wild Edible Workshop. Learn to art, and oral storytelling. Dress for weather.
identify and sustainably harvest a variety of 10 am–noon. North Branch Nature Center,
PAG E 16 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Calendar of Events
Visual Arts
Through Feb. 28: Nitya Brighenti, Light and Through March 30: Linda Mirabile, Avian Through April 14: Grace DeGennaro/Anne Lilly,
Shadows. Paintings. Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Inspired. Images of birds are painted on birch panel Ordinary Time. Paintings and kinetic sculpture.
Main St., Montpelier. 223-3338 or watercolor paper with acrylics. Pavilion Office Helen Day Art Center, 90 Pond St., Stowe. 253-
Building, 109 State St., 5th fl. Montpelier. Photo ID 8358. helenday.com
Through Feb. 28: Jaquith Invitational Group Art
is required for admission.
EXHIBITS Show. Jaquith Public Library, 122 School St. RM 2,
Marshfield. 426-3581. Through March 30: Claire Van Vliet, Sky and
Through April 14: Philip Herbison, The Infinite
Shapes of Water. Large abstract photographs of
Through Feb. 17: Kathy Stark, Mostly White.
Through March 2: Post-Apocalyptic Woodcuts by Earth. Pulp paintings created from 1995 to 2011. water. Helen day Art Center East Gallery, 90 Pond
Series of paintings. Axel’s Gallery, 5 Stowe St.,
Peter Schumann of Bread and Puppet Theater. Vermont Supreme Court Gallery, 111 State St., St., Stowe. 253-8358. helenday.com
Waterbury. 244-7801.
White River Gallery @ BALE, 35 S. Windsor St., S. Montpelier. Through April 15: Robert Chapla, Herding in All
Through Feb. 21: Allison Clayton. The 23
Royalton. 498-8438. Through March 30: “Wake up to Dying” Multi- the Usual Places … And Then Some. Urban and
photographs in this exhibit include quiet shots of the
Through March 5: Art from Behind Bars: An Media Art and Resource Exhibit. Inspired by rural herding differences are on display in this show
natural world and capture scenes from throughout
the travelling exhibit created by Nina Thompson, of 18 oil and acrylic paintings. Presented by Studio
Vermont and New England. Gifford Gallery, 44. S. exhibit of works by Vermonters in prison. Over
local end-of-life pioneer and founder of the Wake Place Arts. Morse Block Deli, 260 N. Main St.,
Main St., Randolph. 728-7000. the course of eight months Vermonters for Criminal
up to Dying Project, MSAC is pleased to hang Barre. robertchapla.com.
Justice Reform put out a call to artists who have
Through Feb. 23: Susan Abbott, Warm Places. images and writing samples as a means of raising
been or are currently incarcerated. Vermont State Feb. 27–April 27: Nourishment. A juried show
T.W. Wood Art Gallery, 46 Barre St., Montpelier. awareness and contemplation. A 90-minute audio-
House cafeteria, Montpelier. of Vermont artists’ work, and an exhibit from
twwoodgallery.org loop of personal stories about end of life will be
Through March 9: Jason Eckenroth, Chase. the members of the Central Vermont Hub of the
Through Feb 23: Axel Stohlberg, Abstraction available for listening, or you can find them online
Vermont Watercolor Society. Opening reception:
A multimedia yarn mural and video poem that at wakeuptodyingproject.org. This exhibit will
Around Me/f 7 Photography Group, Seven Ways March 1, 5–7 pm. T.W. Wood Art Gallery, 46
explores contemporary anxieties through the also have contemplative hands-on activities, such
of Seeing. T.W. Wood Art Gallery, 46 Barre St., Barre St., Montpelier. 262-6035. twwoodgallery.org
character of a rabbit. Reception and artist’s talk: as writing and posting your answers to questions
Montpelier. twwoodgallery.org
Feb. 15, 3–5 pm. Julian Scott Memorial Gallery like: How might you live differently if you paid March 3 to May 28: Muse. Three Vermont artists
Through Feb. 24: SHOW 23 @ the Front. The in the Dibden Center for the Arts at Johnson State more attention to the fact that you’re going to die? reflect on spirit guides, journeying, introspection
Front celebrates the opening of the collective gallery’s College. edu/Dibden. 635-1469. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., and winter’s quiet. Where inspiration and magic live
latest show, Show 23 by contemporary Vermont Montpelier. 223-2518 side by side and a deep appreciation for the natural
Through March 17: Three new shows at Studio
artists, including guest artist Jeanne Thurston. 6 world permeates everything. Artists are Amanda
Place Arts. 201 N. Main St., Barre. studioplacearts. Feb. 27–March 30: The Central Vermont
Barre St., Montpelier. thefrontvt.com. Weisenfeld (hand felter), Jess Polanshek (illustrator),
com Watercolor Society Exhibit. Includes works of
Through Feb. 25: Justin Kenney, The Parley of Main floor gallery: Golden—An exhibit with and Kristin Richland (painter/illustrator). Reception:
Terry Hodgdon, Susan Bull Riley, Michael Ridge,
the Curve. Kenney’s imagery represents architecture works in a variety of media by 20 local artists March 9, 4–6 pm. Highland Center for the Arts,
and more. Opening reception: March 1, 5–7 pm.
of society in opposition with nature. The Gallery at exploring the many aspects of aging. 2875 Hardwick St., Greensboro.
T.W. Wood Art Gallery, 46 Barre St., Montpelier.
River Arts, 74 Pleasant St., Morrisville. 888-1261. Second floor gallery: Shape Shifting by Rosalind 262-6035. twwoodgallery.org Through Sept. 30: James Peterson,
riverartsvt.org Daniels. Photographs of abstracted shapes and Dreamcatcher. Large-scale interactive installation
Through April 10: Alexy J. Lanza, From the Death
Through Feb.28: Kimberley Forney, Colorful light. that was inspired by the magical ice caves of
Third floor gallery: Shockwave—A collection of One Star/Por La Muerte De Una Estrella. A Kamchatka in Siberia. The grounds of Spruce Peak
Expressions. Forney finds inspiration among the series of 20 large woodcut prints based on ancient
landscape, within music, animals, people, and her of dynamic art and poetry by contributors Performing Arts Center, 122 Hourglass Dr., Stowe.
to Shockwave Magazine, an arts collective Mayan glyphs. Goddard Art Gallery in the Eliot helenday.com
daily experiences. The Cheshire Cat, 28 Elm St., Pratt Library, Pitkin Rd., Plainfield. 322-1604.
Montpelier. 223-1981. cheshirecatclothing.com through Community Developmental Services at
Washington County Mental Health Services. artcommittee@goddard.edu.

on water funding needs. 11:30 am: Meetings with 100, Montpelier. 223-1010. pacemschool.org Center, 4711 Waterbury Stowe Rd., Waterbury 223-2518.
lawmakers—connect with your legislators to talk The League of Women Voters of Central Center. $5 members; $8 non-members. Kids Play Reading: "Proof" by David Auburn.
about clean water legislation. 3 pm: Reception. Vermont Anniversary Celebration. Celebrating under 12 free. Scripts will be provided and parts will be chosen
RSVP: http://bit.ly/VTCleanWater18 98 years! Refreshments, cake, cash bar. 5:30–7 at random. Anyone who chooses to listen rather
Pacem School Open House. Learn about our pm. The North Branch Café, 41 State St.,
FRIDAY, FEB. 23 than read is most welcome. “Proof” has won the
Building Social Justice: Art as Activism. With
curriculum and programs; meet our current Montpelier. RSVP: lwvanniversarycelebration. award-winning Real Estate and Community Drama Desk Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the
faculty, parents, and students. 4:30–6 pm. Pacem eventbrite.com or lwvofvt@gmail.com Developer Elinor Bacon of E.R. Bacon Tony Award for Best Play. 6:30 pm. Kellogg-
School, Schulmaier Hall, 32 College St., Suite Roots: a non-denominational, non-political Development. Bacon is a member of the Hubbard Library, 135 Main St., Montpelier.
group. What if you could find a way to kindle Montpelier Development Corporation Board of SaddleShoes2@gmail.com
and strengthen your spark in these troubled Directors, and the D.C. Historic Preservation WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28
times? Strengthen your ability to connect with Review Board. Part of the Norwich University How Painters See. Artist Susan Abbott will help
your inner wisdom and the wisdom of others? School of Architecture + Art 2017-18 Lecture demystify how artists filter the world through
Strengthen your own roots and your ability Series. 4 pm. Norwich University, Chaplin Hall, the lenses of color, value, and composition in
to network with others to build a stronger Northfield. Free. the creation of art. An Osher Lifelong Learning
community? YOU CAN! 6 pm. Kellogg-Hubbard Jericho Parms, James Scott & Julia Shipley. Part program. 1:30 pm. Aldrich Public Library, 6
Library, 135 Main St., Montpelier. roots@ of the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing & Washington St., Barre. learn.uvm.edu
sparkofhumanity.net. Publishing Reading Series. 5:30 pm. Café Anna at Square Dancing at the Barre Area Senior
Essential Skin Food. Learn a basic skin recipe College Hall, 36 College St., Montpelier. Center. All ages are welcome, no partner needed,
that can be customized for your particular needs all dances are taught. 2–3:30 pm. 135 S. Main
(i.e. mature skin, sensitive skin, scars, blemishes, SATURDAY, FEB. 24 St., Barre. By donation. 479-9512.
etc.) Come for fun and edible skin care! 6–7 pm. Our New Solar System: Stories in the Stars.
Hunger Mountain Co-op community room, Astronomers are discovering dozens of planetoids Montpelier City Council Meeting. Second and
Montpelier. $10 members; $12 non-members. in the far reaches of our solar system, naming fourth Wednesdays of the month. 6 pm. City
RSVP: info@hungermountain.coop them for gods and goddesses from mythologies Hall, 39 Main St., Montpelier. montpelier-vt.org.
around the world. Free, family-friendly slide show.
Local Climate Change Gathering. Please come 10:30 am–noon. Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 FRIDAY, MARCH 2
out to share your thoughts, whether you agree Main St. Montpelier. 223-3338. Roots: a non-denominational, non-political
with the existence and apparent cause of Climate group. What if you could find a way to kindle
Change, or you are on the fence. This discussion "Qué Nochebuena" (What a Christmas Eve). and strengthen your spark in these troubled
will be respectful of all views. Help identify See event description under Performing Arts. times? Strengthen your ability to connect with
actions we can take as towns and as individuals. MONDAY, FEB. 26 your inner wisdom and the wisdom of others?
6:30–8:30 pm. Twinfield Union School, 106 Palestine and Israel in Film: A 6-Week Series. Strengthen your own roots and your ability
Nasmith Brook Rd., Marshfield. Screen six films dealing with the history of the to network with others to build a stronger
GMC Taylor Lecture Series: Lessons from the State of Israel and the occupation of Palestinian community? YOU CAN! 1:30 pm. Kellogg-
Arctic, by Susan Koch. Koch will share images, territory (West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Hubbard Library, 135 Main St., Montpelier.
impressions, and lessons from an Arctic journey Heights) that continues to the present time. roots@sparkofhumanity.net.
aboard the National Geographic Explorer to Discussion follows. 6:30–9 pm. Montpelier Bethel First Friday Flicks. Free family movie at
Svalbard, Norway. Green Mountain Club Visitor Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier. the Bethel Town Hall on the first Friday of every
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 17

Calendar of Events
Live Music
$5. Feb. 17: Martin Sexton. Soulful blend of Feb. 24: APEX Ensemble. horn driven musical
Feb. 23: Kat Wright (soul/R&B) 10 pm, $15. blues, rock and roll, and folk. Opening act is experience sure to invigorate your mind, body
Rebecca Haviland and Whiskey Heart. 7:30 and soul! Show features the music of Vermont
Whammy Bar. 7 pm; Fri. and Sat., 7:30 pm. 31 pm. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, 122 composers and arrangers. Blend of jazz, big
County Rd., Calais. Thurs., Free. whammybar1.
VENUES com.
Hourglass Dr., Stowe. $20–65. sprucepeakarts.
org. 760-4634
band, rock, and world music. 7 pm. Spruce
Peak Performing Arts Center, 122 Hourglass
Bagitos. 28 Main St., Montpelier. Other shows Every Wed.: Open Mic Dr., Stowe. $20–28. sprucepeakarts.org. 760-
T.B.A. bagitos.com. Feb. 15: Willa Mamet, Paul Miller (singer- Feb. 21: Red Baraat. The eight-piece, high-
4634.
March 1: Colin McCaffrey and friends, 6–8 pm songwriter) energy band plays a mix of jazz, hip-hop,
March 2: Art Herttua & Ray Caroll jazz, 6–8 pm Feb. 17: Steady Betty Lite (Miriam Bernardo, rock, and bhangra, a type of dance music with Feb. 25: Capital City Concerts: Formosa
March 3: Irish Session, 2–5 pm Linda Bassick, Rachael Capobianco) Indian roots. 8 pm. Johnson State College, Folk. A folk-influenced program including
Dibden Center for the Arts, Johnson. Free. Dana Wilson’s Hungarian Folk Songs, Mark
Charlie O’s World Famous. 70 Main St. 635-1408. redbaraat.com O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz, Dvorak’s
Montpelier. Free. 223-6820. SPECIAL EVENTS Feb. 23: Jazzyoke Returns: Sing to Live
American Quartet, Wei-Chieh Lin’s Spring
Every Tues.: Karaoke with DJ Vociferous, 9 Feb. 16: Hot Rize. Bluegrass band reuniting for Breeze from Five Taiwanese Folk Songs and
pm–1 am a tour celebrating their 40th anniversary. 7:30 Music! Come to listen, enjoy free refreshments,
Alberto Ginastera’s Impressiones de la Puna
Feb. 16: Dallas Higgins (indie acoustic) 6 pm; pm. Barre Opera House, 6 N. Main St., Barre. and optionally, take a turn at the mic, singing
with flutist Karen Kevra. 3 pm Unitarian
Apollyon/Manic Abraxis/Lightcrusher (metal) $36–42. barreoperahouse.org. 476-8188. jazz standards backed by a live six-piece
Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier. $15–25.
9 pm band with lyrics provided. 6:30–9:30 pm.
Feb. 16: Stelvis Carbo. Central Vermont based capitalcityconcerts.org. Tickets also available at
Feb. 23: John Smyth (acoustic) 6 pm; NOS4a2 Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre
band playing original global rock fusion. 8:30 Bear Pond Books (cash only).
(Judas Priest tribute) 9 pm St., Montpelier. Free. 223-2518
pm. Positive Pie, Main St., Plainfield. March 1: First Thursdays: Dana and
Feb. 24: The Mangroves (groove) 9 pm Feb. 24: Vermont Chamber Artists with
Feb. 17: Music, Memories and Milestones: Susan Robinson. Americana folk and roots
Espresso Bueno. 248 N. Main St., Barre. 479- Counterpoint Chorus. Sixteen professional
Taryn Noelle in Concert. Special Broadway duo combine vivid songwriting and story
0896. Free/by donation unless otherwise noted. Vermont and New Hampshire choral singers
pops/jazz concert, featuring a walk through telling with fiddle tunes, banjo grooves, and
events@espressobueno.com. espressobueno.com. dedicated to giving back to their community.
the history of some of Broadway’s greatest rich harmony singing. 6–8 pm. Highland
Feb. 23: Bishop LaVey (acoustic alt-punk) 7:30 They will be partnering with the acclaimed
composers blended with favorite selections Center for the Arts café, 2875 Hardwick St.,
pm. Counterpoint Chorus to present Faure’s
from the Great American Songbook. 7 pm. Greensboro. No cover. highlandartsvt.org
Requiem and other choral works. 7 pm.
Positive Pie. 22 State St., Montpelier. 229- Highland Center for the Arts, 2875 Hardwick Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., Montpelier. March 2: Tal National. High energy West
0453. positivepie.com. St., Greensboro. $25. highlandartsvt.org. 533- https://vermontchamberartists.weebly.com African Rock ‘n Roll. 8 pm. Little Theater, 54
Feb. 16: Gang Of Thieves (rock & roll) 10 pm, 2000. River St., Woodstock. $15–40. eventbrite.com

month. All are welcome. 6:30–8:30 pm. 134 S. High Speed Internet on the Ballot. Learn Send your calendar listings to
Main St., Bethel. Free; donations accepted. bri-vt. about local initiative to bring better broadband
org to central Vermont. Central Vermont Internet calendar@montpelierbridge.com.
Naturalist Journey Series: Geology of the is seeking approval from communities to form
Winooski Valley. Norwich University geologist a “Communications Union District” to provide Due date for print in the next
residents with high-speed, net-neutral Internet
George Springston takes us on an illustrated
service through a non-profit, community owned issue is Feb. 22
journey through the Winooski River valley,
exploring how ancient oceans, continental provider. Already on the ballot in 13 towns,
collisions, rivers, and glaciers have all led to the CVI would be funded only by subscribers, not
landscape that we live in today. 7 pm. North by taxpayers. 5:30 pm. Potluck follows at 6:30
Branch Nature Center Maxham Room, Elm St., pm. Capital City Grange Hall, 6612 Vt. Rt 12 S,
Montpelier. Admission by donation. Berlin. capitalcitygrange.org
Aldrich Public Library for the Friends of the
SATURDAY, MARCH 3 Library Annual Winter Banquet/Auction. A
Monthly Day-Long Retreats. Provides an $30 ticket will purchase hors d’oeuvres made by
opportunity to deepen through a more sustained the Friends, a delicious beef tenderloin dinner
period of practice. The schedule includes periods (vegetarian option available) prepared by Elks’
of sitting and walking meditation and dharma chef John Cutler and staff, and dessert donated
talks. Come for the morning only for the by Ben & Jerry’s. There will be a cash bar and
whole day. Light lunch is offered. 9 am–4 pm. plenty of time to socialize, bid on silent auction
Wellspring Center, 39 Church St., Hardwick. items, and view special items slated for the live
Free; donations welcome. wellspringinsight@ auction. 5:30 pm. Barre Elks Lodge, 10 Jefferson
gmail.com; 917-4364 ext. 1 St., Barre. 476-7550
Capital City Winter Farmers Market. Eat local Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes. Night activities will
all winter long. Shop from over 20 farms and illuminate how wildlife survives the long nights
producers. Our producer-only market means of winter. Snowshoes and hot chocolate provided.
everything is grown or handmade in Central 7–8:30 pm. North Branch Nature Center, 713
Vermont. 10am–2pm. City Center, 89 Main St., Elm St., Montpelier. $5 members; $10 non-
Montpelier. montpelierfarmersmarket.com. members. northbranchnaturecenter.org
PAG E 18 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Calendar of Events

Weekly
Fri.: St. Augustine Church, 18 Barre St., am. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre peer-led support group, not a therapy group.
11 am–12:30 pm St., Montpelier. 223-2518. For people with depression, bipolar disorder,
Sun.: Last Sunday only, Bethany Church, 115 seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia etc.). Every
Monteverdi Young Singers Chorus Rehearsal.
Main St. (hosted by Beth Jacob Synagogue), Wed., 4–5 pm. Bethany Church,115 Main St.,
New chorus members welcome. Wed., 4–5 pm.
4:30–5:30 pm Montpelier. (downstairs at end of hallway). Free.
Montpelier. Call 229-9000 for location and more
223-4111 or 522-0775.
Lunches for Seniors. Mon., Wed., Fri., Noon. information.
Twin Valley Senior Center, 4583 U.S. Rt. 2, E. Weight Loss Support Group. Get help and
ARTS & CRAFTS Montpelier. $4 suggested donation. 223-3322.
Ukelele Group. All levels welcome. Thurs.,
support on your weight loss journey every
Beaders’ Group. All levels of beading 6–8 pm. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58
twinvalleyseniors.org. Wed., 6–7 pm. Giffords Conference Center, 44
experience welcome. Free instruction available. Barre St. 223-2518.
S. Main St., Randolph. Free. No registration
Come with a project for creativity and Feast Together or Feast To Go. All proceeds Barre Rock City Chorus. We sing songs from the required. Open to all regardless of where you are
community. Sat., 11 am–2 pm The Bead Hive, benefit the Feast Senior Meal program. Tues. and '60s to '80s and beyond. All songs are taught by in your weight loss.
Plainfield. 454-1615. Fri., noon–1 p.m. Live music every Tues., 10:30– rote using word sheets, so ability to read music is
11:45 am. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Wit’s End. Support group for parents, siblings,
Tuesday Night Knitters. Every week except not required. All ages welcome; children under
Barre St., Montpelier. Seniors 60+ free with $5 children, spouses and/or relationship partners of
for the first Tuesday of each month. All levels 13 should come with a parent. Every Thurs.,
suggested donation; under 60 $7. Reservations: someone suffering with addiction — whether it
encouraged! A small but dedicated group 6:30–8:30 pm. Church of the Good Shepherd,
262-6288 or FEAST@montpelier-vt.org. is to alcohol, opiates, cocaine, heroin, marijuana
of knitters invite you to share your projects, 39 Washington St., Barre.
or something else. Every Wed., 6–8 pm. Turning
questions and enthusiasm for the fiber arts! At the HEALTH & WELLNESS Gamelan Rehearsals. Sun., 7–9 pm. Pratt Point Center, 489 N. Main St., Barre. Louise:
Cutler Memorial Library, 151 High Street (US Bone Building Exercises. Open to all ages. Center, Goddard College. Free. 426-3498. 279-6378.
Route 2), Plainfield. 454-8504, cutlerlibrary.org. Every Mon., Wed. and Fri. 7:30 am and 9:15 am. steven.light@jsc.edu. light.kathy@gmail.com.
National Alliance on Mental Illness VT
Crafters Group. Bring your own projects, or Twin Valley Senior Center, 4583 U.S. Rte. 2, E.
work together on projects to sell to benefit the Montpelier. Free. 223-3322. twinvalleyseniors. OUTDOORS Peer Support Group. For anyone with any
Walks with Joan. Easy to moderate walks type of mental health condition looking for
Senior Activity Center. We can all learn from org.
around Montpelier for healthy exercise and confidential peer-led support among others living
each other! Every Wed., noon–2 pm. Montpelier Tai Chi for Seniors. Led by trained volunteers. with mental health issues. Every 2nd Thurs.,
Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier. conversation. Every Tues., 10–11 am. Montpelier
Advanced class: every Mon. and Fri., 1–2 p.m. 4–5:30 pm in the Boardroom (basement level
223-2518. Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier.
Beginners class: Tues. and Thurs. 10–11 am. near cafeteria) at Central VT Medical Center
223-2518.
Photography Club. Every Thurs., noon–1 pm. Twin Valley Senior Center, 4583 U.S. Rte. 2, E. on Fisher Rd in Berlin. Questions: Call Nick
Led by professional photographer Linda Hogan. Montpelier. Free. 223-3322. twinvalleyseniors. Trash Tramps. Walk around Montpelier Martin at 876-7949 ext. 102 or info@namivt.
Great chance to get and give some feedback org. collecting trash to help beautify our city. Bring org.
on your work and see what others are doing. gloves, other supplies provided. Every Tues.,
Living Strong Group. Volunteer-led group.
Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., Sing while exercising. Open to all seniors. Every
2–3 pm. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 SPIRITUALITY
Montpelier. 223-2518. Barre St., Montpelier. 223-2518. Christian Science Reading Room. You're
Mon., 2:30–3:30 p.m. and every Fri., 2–3 pm.
invited to visit the Reading Room and see what
Drop-in River Arts Elder Art Group. Work Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St., RECYCLING we have for your spiritual growth. You can
on art, share techniques, and get creative with Montpelier. Free. Register: 223-2518. msac@ Additional Recycling. The Additional
montpelier-vt.org. borrow, purchase or simply enjoy material in a
others. Bring your own art supplies. For elders Recyclables Collection Center accepts scores of quiet study room. Hours: Wed.–Sat., 11 am–2
60+. Every Fri., 10 am–noon. River Arts Center, Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management Program. hard-to-recycle items. Mon., Wed., Fri., noon–6 pm; Wed., 5–7:15 p.m. 145 State St., Montpelier.
74 Pleasant St., Morrisville. Free. 888-1261. Education and support to help adults at high risk pm; Third Sat., 9 am–1 pm ARCC, 540 North 223-2477.
riverartsvt.org. of developing type 2 diabetes adopt healthier Main St., Barre. $5 per carload. 229-9383 x106.
eating and exercise habits that can lead to weight For list of accepted items, go to cvswmd.org A Course in Miracles. A study in spiritual
BICYCLING loss and reduced risk. Every Tues., 10:30–11:30 transformation. Group meets each Tues.,
Open Shop Nights. Volunteer-run community am. Kingwood Health Center Conference Room RESOURCES 7–8 pm Christ Episcopal Church, 64 State St.,
bike shop: bike donations and repairs. Wed., 4–6 (lower level), 1422 Rt. 66, Randolph. Free. Onion River Exchange Tool Library. More Montpelier. 279-1495.
pm; other nights. Freeride Montpelier, 89 Barre Register: 728-7714. than 100 tools both power and manual. Onion Christian Counseling. Tues. and Thurs. Daniel
St., Montpelier. 552-3521. freeridemontpelier.org. River Exchange is located at 46 Barre Street Dr., Barre. Reasonable cost. By appt. only: 479-
Tai Chi for Falls Prevention. With Diane Des in Montpelier. Hours are Wed. and Thurs., 10 0302.
BOOKS & WORDS Bois. Beginners and mixed levels welcome. am–2 pm. For more info. or to donate tools: 661-
Lunch in a Foreign Language. Bring lunch and 2:15 pm. Barre Area Senior Center, 131 S., Main 8959 or info@orexchange.com. Prayer Meeting. Ecumenical and charismatic
practice your language skills with neighbors. St., #4, Barre. Free. Register: 479-9512. prayer meeting. Every 1st and 3rd Thurs.,
Noon–1 pm Mon., American Sign Language; Tai Chi Classes for All Ages. Every Tues. and SOLIDARITY/IDENTITY 6:30–8 pm. 8 Daniel Dr., Barre. 479-0302
Tues., Italian; Wed., Spanish; Thurs., French. Thurs., 10–11 am. Twin Valley Senior Center, Rainbow Umbrella of Central VT. Adult Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. For those
Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main St., Rte. 2, Blueberry Commons, E. Montpelier. Free. LGBTQ group, meets the third Tuesday evening interested in learning about the Catholic faith,
Montpelier. 223-3338. 223-3322. twinvalleyseniors@myfairpoint.net of the month at 5:45 pm. for a casual dinner or current Catholics who want to learn more.
Club de Français Intermédiaire. Lecture at a local restaurant. The gathering place is 58 Wed., 7 pm. St. Monica Church, 79 Summer St.,
HIV Testing. Vermont CARES offers fast Barre St. in Montpelier. Info: RUCVTAdmin@
(reading). Conversation. Grammaire. Every oral testing. Wed., 2–5 pm. 29 State St., Ste. Barre. Register: 479-3253.
Mon., 12:45–2 pm. Montpelier Senior Activity PrideCenterVT.org
14 (above Rite Aid), Montpelier. Free and Deepening Our Jewish Roots. Fun, engaging
Center, 58 Barre St., Montpelier. 223-2518. anonymous. 371-6224. vtcares.org. Friday Night Group. Social gathering of text study and discussion on Jewish spirituality.
Italian Group. A fun-loving group meets to LGBTQ youth, ages 13–22. 2nd and 4th Fridays Sun., 4:45–6:15 pm. Yearning for Learning
converse in Italian. Every Tues., 1:15–2:45 KIDS & TEENS of the month, 6:30–8 pm. Free pizza and soft Center, Montpelier. 223-0583. info@
pm. Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre The Basement Teen Center. Safe drop-in space drinks. Supervised by LGBT adults trained yearning4learning.org.
St., Montpelier. 223-2518. to hang out, make music, play pool, ping-pong by Outright Vermont. Unitarian Church,
and board games and eat free food. All activities Montpelier. For more info, email Nancy: SPORTS & GAMES
Chapters in History: Exploring Several are free. Mon.–Thurs., 2–6 pm., Fridays 3-10 pm. SaddleShoes2@gmail.com Roller Derby Open Recruitment and
American Presidencies. Saturdays at 2 pm. Basement Teen Center, 39 Main St., Montpelier. Recreational Practice. Central Vermont’s
Jaquith Public Library, School St., Marshfield. Bowling. Rainbow Umbrella of Central
BasementTeenCenter.org Vermont, an adult LGBTQ group, bowls at Twin Wrecking Doll Society invites quad skaters age
For info: 802-426-3581 or visit our website: 18 and up. No experience necessary. Equipment
jaquithpubliclibrary.org Story Time and Playgroup. With Sylvia Smith City Lanes on Sunday afternoons twice a month.
for story time and Cassie Bickford for playgroup. For dates and times, write to RUCVTAdmin@ provided: first come, first served. Sat.,
5–6:30 pm. Montpelier Recreation Center, Barre
BUSINESS, FINANCE, COMPUTERS, For ages birth–6 and their grown-ups. We follow PrideCenterVT.org
St. First skate free. centralvermontrollerderby.
EDUCATION the Twinfield Union School calendar and do not
hold the program the days Twinfield is closed. SUPPORT com.
One-on-One Technology Help Sessions. Free Turning Point Center. Safe, supportive place
assistance to patrons needing help with their Wed., 10–11:30 am. Jaquith Public Library, YOGA & MEDITATION
122 School St., Marshfield. Free. 426-3581. for individuals and their families in or seeking
computers and other personal electronic devices. recovery. Daily, 10 am–5 pm. 489 North Main Christian Meditation Group. People of all
30 min. one-on-one sessions every Tues., 10 jaquithpubliclibrary.org.
St., Barre. 479-7373. faiths welcome. Mon., noon–1 pm. Christ
am–noon. Waterbury Public Library, 28 N. Lego Club. Use our large Lego collection Sun.: Alchoholics Anonymous, 8:30 am. Church, Montpelier. 223-6043.
Main St., Waterbury. Free. Registration required: to create and play. All ages. Thurs., 3–4:30 Tues.: Making Recovery Easier workshops, Zen Meditation. With Zen Affiliate of Vermont.
244-7036. pm. Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main St., 6–7:30 pm. Wed., 6:30–7:30 pm. 174 River St., Montpelier.
Montpelier. Free. 223-3338. kellogghubbard.org. Wed.: Wit’s End Parent Support Group, 6 pm.
FOOD & DRINK Free. Call for orientation: 229-0164.
Dads & Kids Playgroup. Playtime and free Thurs.: Narcotics Anonymous, 6:30 pm.
Community Meals in Montpelier. All welcome. Montpelier Shambhala Meditation. Group
Free. dinner. Every Thurs., 5–7 pm. For dads and Al-Anon. Help for friends and families of meditation practice. Sun., 10 am–noon; Wed.,
Mon.: Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., their children ages birth–5. Family Center Alcoholics. 6–7 pm; learn to meditate — free instruction
11 am–12:30 pm of Washington County, 383 Sherwood Dr., Sun.: Trinity Church, 137 Main St., the 1st Wed. of the month. New location:
Tues.: Bethany Church, 115 Main St., Montpelier. fcwcvt.org Montpelier (back door) 6:15–7:30 pm. 5 State Street, 2nd floor, Montpelier. info@
11:30 am–1 pm Drop-in Kinder Arts Program. Innovative Tues.: Bethany Church, 115 Main St., montpeliershambhala.org, www.montpelier.
Wed.: Christ Church, 64 State St., exploratory arts program with artist/instructor Montpelier (basement) noon–1 pm. shambhala.org
11 am–12:30 pm Kelly Holt. Age 3–5. Fri., 10:30 am–noon. River Wed.: Bethany Church,115 Main St., Sunday Sangha: Community Ashtanga Yoga.
Thurs.: Trinity Church, 137 Main St., Arts Center, 74 Pleasant St., Morrisville. 888- Montpelier (basement) 7–8 pm. Sunday, 7:15–8:15 pm Mantra and Pranayama.
11:30 am–1 pm 1261. RiverArtsVT.org. Thurs.: Bethany Church, 115 Main St., Saturday, 10–11:30 am. Funk N Flow Yoga.
Montpelier (basement) noon–1 pm Grateful Yoga, 15 State St., 3F, Montpelier. By
Teen Fridays. Find out about the latest teen
Sat.: Turning Point, N. Main St., Barre, 5 donation
books, use the gym, make art, play games and
pm. (child friendly meeting)
if you need to, do your homework. Fri., 3–5 pm Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right
Jaquith Public Library, 122 School St., Marshfield. Sex Addicts Anonymous. Mon., 6:30 pm. Where You Are. A meditation practice and
426-3581. Bethany Church, 115 Main St., Montpelier. study program guided by the teachings of Jack
552-3483. Kornfield. When times are difficult and full of
Mad River Valley Youth Group. Sun., 7–9 pm.
Meets at various area churches. Call 497-4516 for Overeaters Anonymous. Twelve-step program upheaval, it is the perfect moment to open your
location and information. for physically, emotionally and spiritually mind and heart and to draw upon the inner
overcoming overeating. Sat., 8:30–9:30 am. at power of courage, mindfulness and compassion.
MUSIC & DANCE Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 39 Wednesdays, Feb. 14–March 30. 5:30–7 pm.
Barre-Tones Women’s Chorus. Open rehearsal. Washington St., Barre. 249-3970. All inquiries: 472-6694 ext. 1 or wellspringvt@
Find your voice with 50 other women. Mon., gmail.com Free; donations accepted.
Mooditude Support Group. A professional and
7 pm. Capital City Grange, Rt. 12, Berlin.
BarretonesVT.com. 552-3489.
Dance or Play with the Swinging Over 60 Send your event listing to calendar@montpelierbridge.com.
Band. Danceable tunes from the 1930s to the
1960s. Recruiting musicians. Tues., 10:30–11:45 Deadline for print in the next issue is February 22.
THE BRIDGE F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 19

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PAG E 2 0 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Opinion
Restore Cooperative Principles at Hunger
Mountain by Billy Donovan

A
recent article in The Bridge about the Hunger really underscored the sleight-of-hand attempt in 2017, was these organizations, we have been requesting documentation
Mountain Co-op connected the challenges of being the fact that Kari had presented the 2018 Business Plan, to inform us of our commitments and orientation to them. We
a modern co-op, with member criticism of the co-op’s which prioritized “expansion preparations,” to the Council have recently been denied access to the 2018 NCG Business
leadership over the past few years. The extent and severity of in June and then in his verbal pitch to the Council for that Plan, and to Hunger Mountain Co-op’s yearly contract with
the problems are complex and difficult to succinctly convey, plan, he focused on the problematic nature of the expansion NCG. We have been told they are “confidential.”
but this overview of the basics is instructive and will help to bylaw, which in its current form could prevent his efforts. The The Fourth Cooperative Principle incorporated into
inform members of the cause of some of the tensions that exist Council complied with the secretive omission and chose not to our governing documents reads in part: “if we enter into
within the Co-op. disclose to members the true nature of the proposal. agreements with other organizations we do so on terms that
Our close involvement monitoring the Council, and Manager For any member who might be willing to give the benefit of ensure democratic control by members and that ensures the
Kari Bradley, began in 2010 with the Co-op’s interest in possible the doubt to the Co-op’s leadership, that goodwill dissolves cooperative’s autonomy.” We are clearly no longer living that
expansion to Waterbury. In the ensuing four years, member with the realization that the Council and manager have value, and the absence of transparency further erodes the
input was solicited around the issues of Co-op expansion and embarked on the exact same deceptive action with two level of trust in our leadership, and their commitment to
our voting methods for expansion. From that process members different bylaw proposals, at two different annual meetings. cooperative values.
expressed clear opposition to fast-track expansion of the coop, Our governing documents and structures exist in large part There are two core forces at work within any cooperative
as well as to the management’s stated wish to make changes to to safeguard member interests, and the Council and manager which must remain harmonized: the business principle and
the bylaws regarding the voting methods for expansion (and have maneuvered around them to serve their own end result the cooperative principle. These can be contradictory if not
for selling the Co-op's assets). Members have emphatically that the membership has consistently rejected. The Council antagonistic. I believe these conflicting forces are the core
expressed the wish to retain the bylaws in their current form, is entrusted to represent the membership and oversee the problem at HMC, and it is driven by the primacy of the
which require, in part, a membership meeting at which management for us. That relationship has been turned on business principle that comes at us in hyper-drive from NCG
discussion and voting takes place before any expansion of the its head, and the Council-management marriage is now an and CDS, and then is embraced by a compliant leadership that
Co-op or sale of the assets can occur. obstacle to the members true interests. falls prey to their savvy corporate messaging.
In 2015, the Council put a bylaw change proposal before the The ethical violations described here are factual and fully The natural food marketplace is extremely competitive, and
membership that was unrelated to expansion, but upon close corroborated through Co-op documents and records, which there is no guarantee that food coops will survive. Yet it is
inspection it was revealed that language pertaining to the are available upon request. While the Council and manager a losing game to think that we are going to out-compete
voting methods for expansion was surreptitiously omitted to deny and deflect these criticisms, we have challenged them Walmart and Amazon through the competitive nature of the
favor the management’s position. Members were not informed to publicly explain their position and meet with us alongside “business principle.”
of this change, and it was voted down in an avalanche of anger the news-press, aka “on the record.” They have declined both
and criticism. of those invitations for an open and transparent discussion, If we are going to survive as a co-op we have to be a co-op.
and without any mechanism for member communication We need to have an honest discussion, not self serving end-
Then this past year, the council and manager once again runs around the governing rules to serve the bigger-is-better
put forth a bylaw change that was described to members within the Co-op, members know little of the reality of what’s
happening at the Co-op behind the rosy picture painted by the corporate mentality. We have to evolve and self-develop who
as a “formatting change only,” and was merely a matter we are from within, and find our place in the world through
of “housekeeping” with no consequences to the substance manager and president of the Council.
our guiding “cooperative principles” that acknowledge and
of the bylaws themselves. This was demonstrably false. Yet As we looked further into the workings of the Co-op, we practice inclusion, communication, integrity, collaboration,
again, upon close examination, the exact same language was find that our Co-op is contractually tied to the National honesty and independence.
omitted from the proposal without disclosing the change to the Cooperative Grocers (NCG), and the CDS consulting group,
membership. Fortunately it was also voted down. both of which are “Co-ops,” although NCG is also a registered From this, we gain the loyalties of community members who
corporation. They both embrace a conventional economic feel like they are a part of a greater good. These values have
What is most disturbing is listening to the audio recordings of more relevance in the 21st century than at any other time in
the two June 2017 Council meetings where the Council and model of growth, expansion, and profit amongst their members
and clients around the country. history. Let’s be savvy and smart and build an honest future
Kari openly discuss concealing their actions from the members. together. Contact Billy Donovan at caplinga@gmail.com
The litany of justifications for the deception is alarming. What In pursuit of a deeper understanding of our relationships with

Opinion The Tiny State with a Big Heart by Mary Alice Proffitt

E
very day when I wake up and look out my window, I feel grateful that I live in Vermont. ones to shutter their windows if consumers don’t take into account the impact of the raise on
Not only do I love the landscape here, the rural way of life, and the old-fashioned, costs all around.
common sense values, I truly feel inspired by the kindness of the people I meet out Already, the number one complaint from customers who live in Montpelier is that my
and about in the community and at my restaurant Down Home Kitchen, on Main Street in menu is already “too expensive.” And after attempting to pay the vast majority of my adult
Montpelier. employees at or above $15/hour for the last year and seeing fifty cents on every dollar go out
Since first taking the lease three years ago, I have spent countless hours chatting with customers the door to hourly employees, I can tell you that there is a serious lack of understanding in
and friends and getting to know them. What I’ve learned is that Vermonters are unpretentious, the community about the extremely high cost of starting and operating a small business in
practical, and cautious while getting to know you but extremely loyal once they do. They are the state of Vermont.
people who don’t make a fuss over what they wear or judge others by the superficial things of I grew up in a family of nine, working very hard, long hours alongside my parents,
life. Unlike the occasional preachiness of many Southerners, whom I grew up with in Georgia, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and our employees all day, every day, and I
Vermonters tend to walk the walk and not just talk the talk—not because of ideological understand the challenges to small business. Plus, I’m morally opposed to doing business if it
agendas, but because being a good neighbor is what you do in a rural community. can’t be done well. I support the principles behind this minimum wage increase, but as a small
These values were very much on display during the Jan 25 hearing at the State House on business owner trying to be honest with you, I must emphasize that money doesn’t grow on
raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as proposed in bill S.40. Many folks took to trees or in the pockets of my grandmother’s aprons that I wear each day at work—it has to
the microphone to talk about their struggles to survive as low-wage workers. I was touched come from somewhere.
and moved on several occasions, and the general sentiment was expressed well by one young And while Walmart and many established companies are showing the kind of profits that
woman who said, “It is impossible to pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have can certainly be distributed more fairly to its workers, for the multitude of small businesses
boots.” Based on the overwhelming sentiment in the room, it looks likely that this committee like mine, where the owner is paying off loans (and not themselves) and working long hours
will continue working to pass an aggressive increase soon. alongside staff, it is the customer who is going to have to pay for this increase.
Sadly, due to the taxes, fixed costs, utilities, fees, cost of goods, rent, materials, difficulty I love living in the capital of this tiny state with a big heart, but I also just want to check in
hiring, and the already skyrocketing costs associated with having 30 employees and owning a and remind folks so we can fully consent together that someone has to pay for these values. In
food-related business in Vermont, it seems likely that small businesses like mine could be the the end it’s going to be Vermonters.
T H E B R I D G E F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 • PAG E 21

Opinion Leave the Chains Unbroken by Larry Floersch

A
s part of immigration reform, there’s a push to ban they spoke German, my father’s mother’s family came from especially Italians, Jews, and Slavs. And they were not Irish,
“chain migration.” According to the Washington Post, what was termed “Russian Poland.” They, too, had family and against whom there was a swell of resentment because so many
Trump has said ending “horrible chain migration” friends in Chicago. had arrived destitute as a result of the potato famine.
will be a condition of any deal that may protect those facing Both sides of my extended family were connected through Even the current president is a product of chain migration.
deportation after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals friendships and intermarriage with two other emigrant According to Wikipedia, Friedrich Trump, the current
(DACA) program expires. families. It was through these chains of interconnectedness president’s grandfather, emigrated at age 16 from Kallstadt in
According to the White House, chain migration is “The that my father and mother met. Bavaria to New York City, arriving on October 19, 1885. The
process by which foreign nationals permanently resettle within Had there been a merit system in place in the mid and late immigration records list his name as “Friedr. Trumpf” and his
the U.S. and subsequently bring over their foreign relatives, 1800s, I doubt many of my ancestors would have qualified occupation as “none.”
who then have the opportunity to bring over their foreign for entry. Most were farmers, although there were a couple of If the immigration changes currently being proposed had
relatives, and so on until entire extended families are resettled carpenters along with the cigar makers in the mix. They were been in place back then, Friedrich Trump might have been
in the country.” The White House wants to replace that all largely unschooled. In the U.S., most of them turned to ineligible to enter the U.S. on two counts. First, on arrival,
process with a merit-based system. farming by working for other farmers or renting at first and he moved in with his older sister, Katharina and her husband,
I disagree that the current process is “horrible” and find the then buying small farms when and if they could. My Swedish Fred Schuster. They had emigrated in 1883. That would have
proposed change unsettling. As I’ve discovered through my great grandmother worked as a household servant for a wealthy violated a ban on chain migration. Second, although he had
work on Ancestry.com, I, like many others in this country, am Chicago family for several years before she met and married trained as a barber, Trump listed his occupation as “none,”
the product of chain migration. my great grandfather, who was a renter farmer. because he had never held a job. It would be difficult for
My mother’s father was brought as a boy of six to the United My ancestors were lucky. They came from “desirable” areas someone with no occupation to claim merit as a reason for
States. His parents emigrated from the German state of in Europe and not one of those places recently labeled with a entering the U.S.
Pomerania, which is now part of Poland, to the Chicago area scatological epithet. They were white and of “Germanic” origin. If Friedrich Trump had been denied entry, his grandson
because a cousin was already living there. This country has a history of changing immigration policies would have been born outside the United States and therefore
My mother’s grandmother was Swedish. She emigrated from dating back almost to its founding. As white Europeans, my ineligible to hold the office of president.
central Sweden to the United States when she was about 18. ancestors would have been admitted under the Naturalization As the debate over immigration reform moves forward, it
Although I have not yet confirmed this, I am convinced she Act of 1790, which attempted to restrict immigration to behooves us all to remember that the urge to “close the door
had family or family friends in the Chicago area. Why else Europeans or “Caucasians” only. Since they weren’t of Chinese behind us” ebbs and flows, and to think about our own
would a single young woman choose to travel that far alone, or Asian descent, they didn’t have to worry about the Page Act families. We are a nation of immigrants, and many of us are
and to Chicago of all places, in the late 1800s? Someone must of 1875 (restrictions on Chinese immigration) or the Chinese here through the process of chain migration.
have been waiting for her. Exclusion Act of 1882. These were enacted around the time
many of my ancestors came to this country. In fact, even if they We should also keep in mind that to the First Nations,
The story of my father’s family is similar. His great grandfather had arrived later than they did, they would not have had to the passengers on the Mayflower and all who followed are
came from Germany to Chicago accompanied by his brother. worry about the Immigration Act of 1924, which was intended immigrants. And they entered without the permission of those
They were cigar makers and had family in the area. Although to limit the immigration of southern and eastern Europeans, nations, making them illegals.

Opinion
Higher Education: A Necessity Not a Privilege
by Joyce Judy, President of (CCV) the Community College of Vermont

I
n this time of heightened dialogue about the future of higher education in Vermont, I am just work hard enough, they can succeed with a 12th-grade education.
compelled to reflect on the narratives that inform and affect our students and their families. This narrative is overdue for a revision. In today’s Vermont, all young people need to know—
I am reminded that our responsibility to Vermont’s students is a collective one, and it is in and believe—that continuing their education after high school is not only an option, it is
this spirit that I reach out with an invitation. essential. Vermonters know that their communities thrive when the state’s economy is strong,
I’d like to ask business leaders to join me in stepping up to the challenge of revising the and the state’s economy is strong when employees have the skills they need for the jobs that are
narratives we give students about higher education. As employers, you make the strongest available. This begins with the understanding that learning is a lifelong pursuit.
case to prospective employees that a high-school diploma will no longer guarantee success. In this state, we’ve long prided ourselves on independence and self-sufficiency. But working
We need your help in making sure that families and students from all backgrounds see the in isolation means we’re losing ground: businesses are leaving, and we’re having a difficult
value in post-secondary learning. I have always believed that education beyond high school is a time attracting both businesses and workers. Changing the narrative about higher education
necessity for all, and not just a privilege for some. Now more than ever, higher education must will depend on greater collaboration between colleges, primary and secondary schools, and
be understood as central and fundamental to a healthy economy. employers. It will also result in a greater collective impact on Vermont communities.
Vermonters are increasingly ambivalent about the importance of higher education. Many Our ability to rise to this challenge affects everyone from the first-grader to the CEO. Post-
elementary and high-school students and their families are hearing a college narrative that secondary education decides our ability to succeed; to support families; and to grow businesses,
excludes them. The message is that college is not for them: that they are not smart enough; communities, and the well-being of our state.
that their family lacks the money; that a degree is not worth the time or effort; or that if they
PAG E 2 2 • F E B RUA RY 15 – F E B RUA RY 2 8 , 2 018 THE BRIDGE

Letters
The EPA has pressed Vermont for years to Universal Healthcare Administration studies showed that $2 billion
address an undeniable decline in water in private spending on insurance and out of
Editor,
quality, and countless legislative studies and pocket costs would be replaced by taxes in order
reports have focused on the matter. In the Way back in 1990 I treated a patient in the to cover every Vermonter. A tall order yes. But
face of overwhelming information and need, inner city of Buffalo. He was an electrician starting with a sector of care and building up
Governor Scott refuses to address the funding in his mid-thirties who had waited until from there is a lot more doable. There is a bill
issue. The administration’s stop-gap reliance complications from his diabetes had rendered (S53/ H248) that would establish a fund that
on capital bonding is not sustainable; it erodes him blind and in end stage kidney failure. would ensure that every Vermonter had first
Montpelier Love He waited because he had no insurance. At
the state’s bonding capacity. Likewise, Vermont dollar coverage for primary care, outpatient
Editor, Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Secretary the point I first saw him he was unable to mental health and substance abuse services.
My dearest Montpelier, our relationship spans Julie Moore asserts that unknown factors work and was finally eligible for Medicaid. That means, no out of pocket costs for those
five decades. As with all loving relationships it are reason to defer decisions or action. This Unfortunately, the diabetes had taken its toll services. The cost? $200 million in new taxes.
has been a roller-coaster of emotions and a lot procrastinating posture ignores the fact that on his health and he was never able to return to
work. He died several years later. He was one of Sounds astronomical until you consider that
of work. My heart pangs right now over the government is forever awash with unknowns. this is about .03 percent of what we will spend
changes we have endured, notably marked by many uninsured patients I took care of.
Water stands apart from partisan politics, yet on healthcare this year. We will spend $6
the recent shootout between police and a young the irresponsible attitude demonstrated by Fast forward to just last week when a primary billion in total on healthcare this year, which is
“armed” robber. This is our third high crime in the governor and the ANR secretary passes care colleague of mine saw a patient in her early about $17 million per day spent. So the $200
so many years in downtown Montpelier. the buck to a successor administration. Yes, 40s who had an enlarging mass in her breast million needed to establish a universal primary
Yes, we are a capital city, but we are also a the governor’s restraints on spending and which had been bothering her for more than care system for everyone is a bit less that 12
small town, and these kinds of developments taxes are needed, but with balance and open- a year. She finally sought help when the mass days worth of healthcare spending.
are jarring, like the devastating impact an mindedness. We likewise need decisions on began bleeding. It was diagnosed as cancer and
had already spread to her lymph nodes. Why Access to primary care when available to the
affair has on a long-time marriage. How do important matters. whole population has been shown in numerous
we deal with such events? In my case, my love had she not sought help when her symptoms
The time for a long-term funding plan is now, first appeared? She was uninsured. A working studies to reduce ER visits, to reduce rates of
for this city endures despite my reactions and without further studies or reports. Whatever hospitalizations, to improve the health of the
concerns about the directions our city fathers Vermonter who could not afford insurance
action is taken can be revised if subsequent and made too much money to be eligible for population, it increases life expectancy, lowers
and mothers often take. facts warrant. Here is an immediate need infant mortality, lowers heart disease mortality,
Medicaid.
We must love, forgive, and move on. And so, for the Legislature to act, regardless of the lowers premature mortality from asthma,
my dear Montpelier and all of its residents, leadership void in the state’s executive branch. These are only two examples of the many emphysema and pneumonia, patients get earlier
I wish you all a belated Happy Valentine's The funding issue calls for Vermont legislators catastrophic cases I have seen over the years, and detection of breast, skin and colon cancers.
Day. I hope you took the time to appreciate to be of strong heart, and to take decisive they are just the experience of one physician. Need I go on? If there were a medication that
our downtown “phantom” and to reach out action. I am not alone. Every health professional I could do all of that, we wouldn't hesitate to
to someone near with chocolate, a card, or a have spoken to can give dozens of examples invest in it.
Hugo Liepmann, Middlesex of patients who delayed care and suffered the
simple hug and kiss. We are a family. S53 – a bill that moves us towards universal
health consequences. Some have died as a result
Lovingly, Dot Helling Downsizing access to primary care— is sitting in Senate
of delays in seeking care. Many of them were
Editor, "insured" but had huge deductibles, which Health and Welfare. Its parallel bill, H248,
Clean Water is in House Health. I can't help but think
Montpelier is a great city to live in. But it’s also they could not afford to pay. They too have
Editor, often delayed care. In almost 30 years we have how the cancer patient mentioned above might
a challenging city in which to find housing,
made so little progress. have fared had she had free access to primary
I urge the Vermont Legislature to take especially smaller, market rate homes for
care. I doubt she would have delayed seeking
leadership and enact long-term funding downsizers, many of us being seniors or soon- What to do? In 2011, Vermont passed legislation care. We need to move forward with universal
for cleaning up the state’s waterways. Pass to-be retirees. We’re glad to see Alex Geller that would have led to a comprehensive primary care as the first step to a comprehensive
legislation now, based on the ample studies and speaking on behalf of the need for housing at publicly funded universal healthcare system for healthcare system for all Vermonters.
facts already in hand. Enact the per-parcel fee all levels in Montpelier. With local support for all Vermonters. We should begin taking steps
plan already under consideration, and establish this kind of housing, much can happen. Know towards implementing that system. Governor Dr. Deborah Richter is a practicing family
a Clean Water Authority, as proposed in the that approximately 200 residents, most within Shumlin and the legislature were hesitant to physician and lives in Montpelier.
Senate. These are the most viable proposals on the city limits and many more if you include change the whole system at once.
the table. those just outside the city, are hoping to find
Water, clean water, is crucial to all life; it is smaller homes, and have voiced their concerns
via the informal Montpelier Downsizing What Do You Think?
crucial to maple syrup and beer and fresh
Group. Read something that you would like to respond to? We welcome your letters and
milk and fresh vegetables and tourism. Once
opinion pieces. Letters must be fewer than 300 words. Opinion pieces should not
water becomes polluted or contaminated, Cari Clement, Montpelier Downsizing Group exceed 600 words. The Bridge reserves the right to edit and cut pieces.
remediation often is not feasible and the cost
is enormous. Send your piece to: editorial@montpelierbridge.com.
Deadline for the next issue is February 23.

Letters to the paper are not fact-checked and do not necessarily represent the views of The Bridge.

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