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Vermonters Warming Up to Advanced Wood Heating • Page 8

D ecember 20, 2018

J anuary 9, 2019

25th Anniversary Issue

IN THIS ISSUE: What’s Meant the Most to Me at The Bridge
Pg. 4: Busing Eyed for Main
by Nat Frothingham
Street Middle School

Pg. 10: Holiday Blues and A bout two or three years ago I was interviewed at radio station
WDEV by longtime owner and broadcaster Ken Squier. Midway
through the interview, Squier asked me a question I had to ponder 25th Anniversary Articles
Winter Depression deeply. “During all my years at The Bridge, what had meant most to

Pg. 11: Local Businesses I paused to consider his question. Then it was all clear. Pg. 13: Revisit of First Article
That Give What had really given me the most pleasure during my time at The
Bridge was seeing writers—often young writers who never imagined Pg. 14: Montpelier by the Numbers
they would break into print—get their work published in The Bridge.
From time to time, we’ve seen some stunning stories from young, first- 1990 vs. 2018
U.S. Postage PAID

Permit NO. 123

Montpelier, VT

time writers, or from writers who have published before but keep on

writing and suddenly produce a memorable story.

Pg. 15: 25 Years of The Bridge Covers
On December 4, 2014, The Bridge published what we now remember
as the “Passion Issue” of the paper. Our aim with that issue was to
spotlight people in our community who had found and pursued a Pg. 16–17: Timeline of The Bridge
passion that often gave meaning to and changed their lives. Passion is a
wonderful thing, and discovering a passion can change a life.

The first of these people was Lucas Wilson, then a sixth-grade student Pg. 18: A Picture of Hope
at Fayston Elementary School. Interestingly enough, we celebrated
Lucas not for his writing but for his photography. He had taken a photo
of an agitated, roiling stream in winter crashing through some cakes of Pg. 19: A New Media Landscape
ice. We loved his photograph, and it became the cover of our “Passion
Pg. 20: Rememberances of The Bridge
Writing under his photograph, Lucas said, “My name is Lucas, and I
love photography. This passion started last year when I heard about
Montpelier, VT 05601

the Vermont Drinking Water Photo Contest. I ended up winning the Pg. 21: Things to Do with The Bridge
contest. And I’m very happy that I won.”
P.O. Box 1143

Since its beginnings, The Bridge has been a fragile project. Often we
The Bridge

have faced crises. From time to time we have lost high-performing—

Continued on Page 12

We’re online! or

PAG E 2 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 3

Congratulations to Renee
Lagala, winner gift certificate
to Sarducci's from The Bridge.
Many thanks to Sarducci's and
to all the community members
who responded to The Bridge
Reader Survey.

Advertise in the NEXT ISSUE:

and Activists
In Circulation January 9–22
For more information about advertising deadlines,
rates, and the design of your ad, contact

Rick McMahan • 802-249-8666

Nature Watch by Nona Estrin

Fundraising Campaign
Watercolor by Nona Estrin

ick myself outdoors, slow down, take a breath and watch....wait....
even just for a minute, on foot, on skis, on the way to the car. This
is the darkest time, and all life feels it. Our sense of what is solid Five months into our $50,000 Bridge to the Future campaign, we are
in life is based on it. Soon the days will begin to lengthen, the cold will
deepen for weeks, before the season here begins to turn again. almost 1/2 of the way to our goal. Thanks to all those who have already
Bridge Community Media, Inc. Please send your potentially tax-deductible donation to:
P.O. Box 1143, Montpelier, VT 05601 • Ph: 802-223-5112 Friends of The Bridge, P.O. Box 1641, Montpelier, VT 05601.
Editor in Chief: Mike Dunphy
Managing Editor: Tom Brown
Publisher Emeritus: Nat Frothingham You can also donate online at
Copy Editor: Larry Floersch
Calendar Editor: Marichel Vaught
Layout: Sarah Davin, Marichel Vaught
Sales Representatives: Rick McMahan
Distribution: Sarah Davin, Amy Lester
Board Members: Chairman Donny Osman, Jake Brown, Phil Dodd, Josh Fitzhugh, Larry Floersch, Greg
Gerdel, Irene Racz, Ivan Shadis, Tim Simard, Ashley Witzenberger
Editorial: 223-5112, ext. 14 •
Location: The Bridge office is located at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Stone Science Hall.
Subscriptions: You can receive The Bridge by mail for $50 a year. Make out your check to The Bridge,
and mail to The Bridge, PO Box 1143, Montpelier VT 05601. •
Twitter: @montpbridge • Instagram@montpelierbridge
PAG E 4 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Busing Proposed for Main Street Middle School By Tom Brown

tudents at Main Street Middle School (MSMS) in Montpelier would no longer have to who I spoke with were talking about how they were making career decisions based on whether
navigate traffic and icy sidewalks and their parents would no longer have to explain why or not they could get their kids to school.”
they were late for work if a plan to provide busing is approved as part of the 2019–20 One of those parents, Carrie Stahler, took Bonesteel on a road trip around the district, where
school budget in March. she saw the distances students had to walk and how some routes lacked sidewalks. Walking
The plan to add two bus routes at a total cost of about $120,000 is included in the budget from areas such as Towne Hill Road, out Route 12 toward Northfield, far up Berlin Street,
proposal now being considered by school board members, who must finalize the spending down lower State Street and elsewhere poses risk for students who walk, supporters say, not
plan before it goes on the Town Meeting Day ballot. The proposal is among very few to mention our capricious weather conditions.
additions to the annual spending plan, which in year two of the merged Montpelier-Roxbury “In the outside reaches of the city, they are not walkable,” Bonesteel said. “I wouldn’t allow
district would rise about 2.7 percent. The budget process has just begun and not all the state my child to walk there, and I don’t expect any of our children to. It’s a major safety issue for
data is known so the impact on the school tax rate is not yet known. me as superintendent.”
Also included in the initial $23.7 million budget proposal are requests for a full-time human Stahler and other parents wrote letters to school board members and district officials
resources specialist to assist the more than 200 district encouraging them to include busing in the budget and
employees and a full-time social-emotional learning launched an online petition that garnered more than 200
coordinator to train and support staff members in signatures.
addressing what school officials say is a rise in behavioral
issues in the schools. Increased personnel costs, such as “I am fortunate that my employer is very supportive of my
health insurance, along with debt service make up the childcare needs, but many parents don’t have that luxury,”
rest of the 2.68 percent increase in spending over the said Stahler, who has two children in Union Elementary,
2018–19 level. Unlike many Vermont school districts, which provides busing, and lives off Towne Hill Road
Montpelier’s enrollment is rising and will see an increase where sidewalks are inconsistent.
of more than 100 students by the 2022–23 school year, Jim Hutton, parent of an eighth-grader who won’t benefit
projections show. from middle school busing if it is approved, has been
Parents have pushed for middle school busing for many lobbying for the service for years. The new administration,
years as a way to improve safety for students, to ease he said, has been much more receptive than previous ones.
traffic congestion around the Main Street building, and Montpelier School Superintendent Libby Bonesteel and district business “There are so many reasons that this makes sense,” he said.
to provide options for parents who sometimes sacrifice manager Grant Geisler. Photo by Tom Brown “The amount of money is relatively small for the positive
employment opportunities in order to get their kids to impact it will have for the community.”
and from school.
In addition to safety and socioeconomic benefits, supporters
Community Support of busing say the service will ease traffic in the downtown core during busy commuting hours
New Superintendent Libby Bonesteel, when hired went last summer, went on a literal and and theoretically reduce environmental impact. Hutton estimates that a parent driving his
figurative “road show” to meet with the community and listen to their wants and needs. The or her child to and from MSMS over their grades 5–8 years makes 1,400 trips in and out of
lack of middle school bus service was a common refrain, she said. town.
“One of the things that came up pretty much from nearly everyone was transportation for the “I don’t think that makes sense in a city that is trying to get to net zero (energy use) and a
middle schoolers,” said Bonesteel, who also has a child in the school system. “Many parents city that consistently supports busing for residents in the downtown core (through GMTA),”
Hutton said.
Bonesteel stressed that parents should not be concerned by the addition of middle schoolers
to the bus routes.
“School systems do that all across Vermont,” she said. “The bus company (Student
Transportation of Vermont) works with the ages of the students. The kindergarten kids sit up
front and the older students sit toward the back.” Buses also have monitors on board.
Paying for the Buses
The busing proposal would add bus routes to the three currently used to bring students to
Union Elementary School. A total of five buses would carry K–8 students to and from both
schools, shortening the routes, said Grant Geisler, the district’s business manager. That would
increase the district’s total bus fleet to seven, including the bus that serves Roxbury Village
School and the bus that carries Roxbury students to Main Street and the high school.
Geisler said the $120,000 price tag will be mitigated as the state reimburses schools for 40
percent of their transportation costs, but there is a two-year lag in payment. Therefore, the
district’s cost would be reduced to $72,000 over time. The district will also receive a six-cent
tax decrease in FY 2020 as an incentive for merging under Act 46 requirements. However,
that is deceiving because it received an eight-cent decrease last year under the state’s system
that reduces the incentive by two cents each year until gone.
The impact of the merger with Roxbury is also lessening as tuition paid for Roxbury students
in grades 9–12 who were already attending other high schools phases out. The district budgeted
for 26 students in FY 2019 but has been billed for only 18. Next year it is budgeting for 12.
The administration presented its budget proposal to the school board on December 5 in Montpelier
and on December 19 in Roxbury. The next budget discussion will take place January 2 in
Montpelier. The board will ultimately determine the final amount to be put to voters in March.

Design Your Own Budget

The municipal budget season has also begun with a base budget proposal of $14.3 million,
which represents a 2.7 percent increase over FY19 (see City Page).
City officials left it to the City Council to decide on a menu of additional spending options
and gave them a cool tool to help. The city manager’s office created an interactive Excel
spreadsheet that allows users to choose from a list of funding requests and see the impact
on the tax rate,
The tool will soon be linked on the city’s website, enabling the public to play the budget
“game” as well.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 5

New Bike Path Work Is Underway on Barre Street By Phil Dodd

he eastern end of Barre Street in Montpelier more retaining walls, is just as well, he said, as the
has been a busy place in recent months. railroad says it could reactivate that railroad bed at
In addition to the construction of the new any time. The staked orange ribbons were erected to
Caledonia Spirits distillery, there has been rerouting show the location of the right-of-way.
of railroad tracks and a ribbon of orange tape Two possible uses for the inactive rail bed that runs
stretched along the existing tracks and an inactive along the bottom of Sabin’s Pasture and out along
railroad spur that extends along Old Country Club Old Country Club Road are to lay down tracks to
Road, where installation of a new bike-path-related store railroad cars or turn it into the main route
culvert is getting started. to Barre, which would avoid two bridges over the
This activity is a sign that, after decades of talk Winooski that the railroad currently uses, McArdle
and planning, preliminary work has begun on a said.
nearly 2-mile section of bike path—part of it to be Siboinebi Path The redesigned bike path will now travel along Old
paved—that will run from the end of the current Country Club Road itself. McCardle said the city
bike path at Granite Street to the Central Vermont project on Taylor Street.
plans to build eight parking places near where a house now
Memorial Civic Center ice rink on Gallison Hill Road. The Barre and Main intersection, graded “F” by the state, exists on the road, and then discontinue the road there (the
Construction of the path—recently named by the city as is the subject of a study conducted for the city by the path will continue beyond that). The house, the only one
the Siboinebi Path, based on an Abenaki term meaning engineering firm of DuBois & King. McCardle said the on the road, was purchased by the city in a foreclosure sale
“river water”—should be in full gear by next summer and final report will not be finished until later this winter, but and will be torn down this winter, he said.
completed by October 31, 2019, according to Tom McArdle, a preliminary draft recommends “signalization,” with a
Next summer will also see the beginning of a three-
director of the Montpelier Public Works Department. traffic light at the intersection and lights to indicate when
year construction project to build a section of the Cross
a train is coming.
The bill for the project, including permitting, engineering, Vermont Trail from the end of the Siboinebi Path at the
legal fees, payment for rights-of-ways, and construction If a traffic light is installed, the city may be able to make Civic Center to U-32 High School, back down to the
costs of $4.7 million, adds up to $6.5 million. The federal use of new video-based “adaptive technology” for that light Winooski River near the hydro dam, and then parallel
government is paying $5.27 million toward the project, and other nearby traffic signals that would monitor vehicle to Route 2 toward East Montpelier, according to Greg
the state is paying $580,000, and the city is kicking in back ups and keep traffic moving, McArdle said. Western, executive director of the Cross Vermont Trail
$650,000 via two approved bonds, McArdle said. Another possibility for the intersection that will appear in Association (CVTA). It will be separated from the high-
At its eastern terminus, the bike path will eventually the report is a roundabout, but McArdle said that would speed traffic of Route 2 to make it safer for children and
connect to a new segment of the Cross Vermont Trail. At be more complicated, especially with the train tracks that others, he said, and steep portions will feature switchbacks
the western end of the new path, users will travel onto the run across Main Street near the intersection. to make the trail accessible to bike riders and pedestrians
existing bike path along Stone Cutters Way. But changes of all abilities.
The construction of the 2-mile stretch of bike path will
are coming to the route going west from there. mark a milestone for McCardle, who has been involved The 5-foot wide path will be made of compacted crushed
The official route will turn north from Stone Cutters Way with planning the project since the city received a grant stone and is being managed for non-motorized uses,
to Barre Street, along the side of the recreation building, 20 years ago. At one time, the path was going to travel Western said. A federal grant of over $1 million will
then head west along the north side of Barre Street into Berlin and eventually to Barre, but that plan has been cover 80 percent of the project, and CVTA has raised
(potentially eliminating as many as 17 parking spaces) abandoned for now. $200,000—with another $50,000 to go—to cover the
before reaching the intersection of Barre and Main streets. cost of a new bridge and other expenses, he said. Most of
Among other challenges the city has encountered is working the work on the trail will be done by volunteers and youth
McArdle said the city will conduct a robust public process with the Washington County Railroad, owned by Vermont conservation groups, which is why it will take three years
before any final decisions are made about the shared-use Rail System, according to McArdle. For example, an earlier to complete the work, Western said.
route along Barre Street. He noted that residents and alternative route that would have run by Sarducci’s was
businesses, as well as the Senior Center and the Recreation nixed due to limited space and the refusal of the railroad “When we are done, the bike path won’t end at the civic
Department, may have concerns about the loss of parking. to reduce or change its right-of-way. center, you’ll be able to keep going,” Western noted.
Eventually, the plan is to use a patchwork of existing paths
Another piece of the puzzle is the busy intersection at Barre The city also had to do a complete redesign of the project and roads to extend the Cross Vermont Trail across the
and Main streets, which the path will have to cross to reach when it became apparent the railroad was not willing to let entire state, from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut
the new bike/pedestrian bridge over the North Branch the path travel along the inactive rail bed it owns, according River. For more information, see
currently being built as part of the separate transit center to McArdle. The redesign, which will require building

Cody Chevrolet Congratulates

The Bridge On 25 Years of Business!
PAG E 6 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

A Message From City Hall

This page was paid for by the City of Montpelier.

Budget Choices by William Fraser, City Manager

wish everyone a very happy and peaceful to remain at their present funding levels. continues the contractual relationship
holiday season. I hope that each of you Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) was with Capital Fire Mutual Aid System
have the chance to enjoy the many adjusted to reflect actual collection in for dispatching services. This provides
offerings here in our small city. In addition FY19. Local Rooms, Meals and Alcohol additional revenue and improved services
to shopping and gift wrapping, city officials tax revenues were included based on for Montpelier. An additional 1.0 dispatch
have been busy working on the annual actual collection history and trend. position is funded, in part, through
budget. • Grand list value is calculated at 0.5 percent overtime efficiency and increased revenue.
Guidelines: increase from the FY19 level. With the School Resource Officer shared with
projected grand list, $87,264 represents school is included. The Police Department
The Staff Leadership team prepared a continues sharing administrative support
budget that maintained the municipal one cent on the tax rate.
with the Fire Department.
property tax rate within the 2.5 percent Infrastructure:
consumer price index. Key elements of the • Fire & Emergency Services: Paramedics
• The Capital Projects, Equipment and continue being successfully integrated
budget consideration were: Debt Service Program is funded at into the department.
• Budget must reflect the City Council’s $2,400,000. Of this $1,201,945 is in
strategic plan. annual funding, $683,005 is in existing/ • Planning, Zoning & Community/
• Must continue planned funding for projected debt service and $515,000 is for Economic Development: The Planning
& Development department budget • $60,000 in funding for the Downtown
capital and equipment needs. equipment. This represents an overall
has been left largely unchanged. They Improvement District is shown in the
• Must deliver responsible levels of service increase for these combined items of
have been implementing the new zoning budget as both expense and revenue.
to the residents of Montpelier. $51,211 (2.2 percent).
regulations, beginning work on a new • The GMT circulator bus route remains
Assumptions: • The Capital/Equipment Plan anticipates Master Plan and trying to keep up with at $40,000.
For tax rate planning purposes, the budget an additional increase of $50,000 in an increased building permit/inspection
FY21 in order to bring funding levels to demand. • The budget includes funding for the
assumes an independent ballot item for
a projected steady state of maintenance monthly Montpelier Bridge article.
the Kellogg-Hubbard Library at their new • Public Works: DPW staffing and
requested amount. The budget does not and improvements and accommodate the Items Not Included:
new bond proposals. After FY21, we will operating budgets remain comparable
assume any other external ballot funding to FY19. They are focusing heavily on While developing the budget within the
requests. Additionally, the budget assumes consider annually adjusting equipment
and/or capital funding consistent with implementing the stormwater master plan, financial target, several items were given
that the Water/Sewer/CSO Benefit charges the Montpelier in Motion transportation substantial consideration but are not part of
will remain at the present level. No CPI.
plan, and overseeing major projects such this proposal. Some of these may appear in
assumptions have been made about the Personnel: as One Taylor Street and the new Parking future budgets.
School Budget or Education Tax Rate. A • Total number of Full Time Equivalent Garage.
slight (0.5 percent) increase in grand list was • Funding for Central Vermont Public
Employees (FTEs), is 116.25, which is 4.2 • Government Services: The Finance and Safety Authority
assumed. FTE more than FY19. Added positions Manager department staffing remains • Funding for 55 Barre Street improvements
Property Tax Impact: are 1.0 Police officer, 1.0 Dispatcher, 1.0 unchanged from its current levels. Two or new Community Center
• The net result of revenues and expenses is Tree management, 0.5 Finance clerk, 0.5 positions were each expanded by 0.5 • Funding for LED street lighting in
that $9,688,342 in property tax revenues Assistant to City Manager (these last two during FY19. Longer term planning downtown
are required for the municipal portion were adjusted during FY19) and 0.2 net around future retirements is underway.
DPW. (DPW positions are not new, these Other items have been identified as priorities
(non-school) of the budget. This is an A new full-time Facilities and Energy by the City Council and will be under
increase of $269,523 or 2.9 percent over are reallocated from other funds). Director position has been added but will consideration during the budget process.
FY19. • Cost of living allowances and step not be filled until April of 2020, meaning
increases are built into all employee that only 0.25 funding is in this budget. • Housing Trust Fund $75,000
• Requires a 2.6 cent (2.3 percent) increase • New Parks Position $55,000
in the property tax rate. This follows a wage and salary accounts consistent • Community Justice Center budget includes
with collective bargaining agreements • Art Synergy Project $50,000
0.5 cent (0.25 percent) increase in FY14, all funding for all programs with • Facilities Director all year $75,000
a 1.5 cent (1.6 percent) increase in FY15, and personnel policies. For this budget, commensurate revenue offsets. There is
that represents a 1.5 percent contracted • Montpelier Alive $10,000
a 2.4 cent (2.5 percent) increase in FY16, no net property tax funding projected. • Citizen Survey (3 year funding)
3.1 (3.0 percent) increase in FY17, a 2.7 adjustment for Police, 2.25 percent for
Public Works, and 2.0 percent for Fire • Community Services. The budget continues $5,000
cent (2.6 percent) increase in FY18 and implementing the Community Services
a 2.5 cent (2.4 percent) increase in FY19. Union employees and a 2.0 percent These items represent a combined $275,000
adjustment for all non-union employees. department plan, which consolidates work or 3.2 cents (2.9 percent) if fully funded.
For the average residential property, this between the Senior Center, Recreation,
tax rate represents an additional $57 on Overall wage costs are up by 5.6 percent Fiscal constraints continue to conflict
in this budget. This number is higher than and Parks/Tree departments. The
the tax bill. combined tax appropriations for these with desired goals and increasing service
simple pay adjustments because it includes demands. This budget maintains direct core
Budget Numbers: the additional positions referenced above. three functions are increased by $69,481
from FY19. This increase is mostly due to services while enhancing infrastructure,
• FY20 General Fund Budget totals • The budget continues the high- energy efficiency, and public safety priorities.
the addition of a full-time staff position
$14,322,823, which is an increase deductible health insurance plan that was for Tree management, largely driven by Process:
of $373,054 (2.7 percent) from the implemented five years ago. Thanks to concerns about the Emerald Ash Borer.
comparable FY19 spending plan. This favorable health insurance and worker’s The City Council is holding a workshop on
increase is primarily composed of $51,211 compensation rates, the overall benefit Other Services: January 2 and Public Hearings on January 9
in Capital/Equipment and $280,524 in costs are reduced 0.2 percent in this • Funding for the Housing Trust Fund is and 24. There is an interactive spreadsheet
personnel costs. Those two items total budget. increased from $60,000 to $75,000. on the city’s website that allows people to
$331,735. All other combined items in select budget choices and see the tax impact
the budget are only $41,319 higher than Operating: • The Montpelier Community & Arts Fund of those choices.
FY19. • As with prior years, many lines have been is increased from $115,500 to $124,500.
Thank you for reading this article, your
• FY20 General Fund non-tax revenues held tight stay within fiscal guidelines. • Community enhancements funding, interest in the budget, and in Montpelier
total $4,574,481, which is an increase of Operating expenses are up by $50,035 including Montpelier Alive and MEAC, city government. Please feel free to contact
$103,421 (2.3 percent) from FY19 non- (1.8 percent). Department operating remains at $41,600. me at or
tax revenues. budgets are now very tight after multiple • $100,000 to the Montpelier Development 802-223-9502 with any questions or
years of reductions. Corporation to implement the Economic concerns. I wish you the happiest of
• Revenues from the State of Vermont
such as Highway Aid and Grand List • Police: This budget adds an additional full Development Strategic Plan is again holidays.
Maintenance funding have been assumed time Police Officer. The Police budget included.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 7

Settling in for
the holidays
with grandma.

Photo by
Lorenza Fechter
PAG E 8 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Vermonters Warming Up to Advanced Wood Heating

By Mike Dunphy

ince high-grade Austrian wood pellet boilers first exchanger cylinders to keep the point of contact between and municipalities that switched have saved more than
began arriving in Vermont about 10 years ago, they the hot flue gas and water free of particulate matter and $200,000 thanks to the stable cost of wood pellets.”
have grown significantly in popularity, providing ash, thereby maintaining the heat transfer rate. Systems It goes without saying that the economic benefit of
ever increasing amounts of supposedly carbon-neutral now also come with thermostats that can read weather advanced wood heat also extends to the many workers
heat to Vermont homes and buildings, with 85 systems forecasts and adjust accordingly. who keep the industry going, most of whom are local,
installed statewide in 2017, the highest amount yet on The economic benefits of AWH are also improving, from harvesters to millers to deliverers. With fossil fuels,
record. according to supporters. They point to the wildly 78 cents of every fuel dollar leaves the state.
These are not the simple, compact pellet stoves that heat fluctuating cost of oil to start with. “Who knows how But the greatest benefit of AWH to proponents is the
living rooms and bedrooms around the state, but state- much a gallon of oil will cost next month,” Bloomer “carbon-neutral” (or “low-carbon,” “carbon-beneficial,”
of-the-art systems dubbed “advanced wood heat” (AWH) asks, “let alone next year. With advanced wood heating, or “carbon-better” in the literature) element of the
by proponents such as Ansley Bloomer, assistant director you know that your fuel is going to stay the same and energy. The basic argument is that whatever carbon is
of Renewable Energy Vermont, and Emma Hanson, will help save more money over time.” released by burning the wood will be reabsorbed by the
wood energy coordinator of the Vermont Department of The data does seem to bear this out, with the price of trees growing back.
Forests, Parks and Recreation. heating oil per gallon in Vermont bouncing between A case study can be found in a report, “A Summary of
“It’s literally just like any other fuel type,” says Bloomer, $1.79 and $4.04 since 2012, according to the U.S. Carbon Emission Impact of Modern Wood Heating in
with a delivery truck that pulls up and delivers the fuel Energy Information Administration. Propane in the Northeastern U.S.,” by the Biomass Energy Resource
to either a storage bin or silo to be automatically fed same time period ranged between $4.36 and $2.84 Center, a program of Vermont Energy Investment
into the boiler as needed and free of the heavy lifting, per gallon. Pellets on the other hand, show much less Corp. While a total short-term gross emissions of a
muscle straining, or constant cleaning associated with variation in price, with the current price of about $235– biomass boiler plant and “upstream” supply chain
traditional wood stoves, fireplaces, or pellet stoves. Just $290 a ton little different than the $247 average per ton activity (basically all the carbon released in the process
turn the thermostat on the wall, as you would with oil, in 2012 or $294 in 2015. of producing and transporting pellets) accounts for
propane, or gas. “We track fuel prices and the amount of oil and propane 214.8 pounds of carbon dioxide per one million British
Technological improvements in advanced wood heating that is replaced with wood pellets for the 164 boilers Thermal Units (MMBtu)—compared with 165.5
in the past decade have put its energy efficiency at we’ve helped install in the region,” points out Maura pounds per MMBtu from burning heating oil—forest
85 percent or more, on par with the most up-to-date Adams of the Northern Forest Center, “and switching regrowth sucks 90 percent of it back in over 20 to 100
gas and oil systems. One example is the inclusion of to pellets has generated $3.5 million in economic benefit years, making a sum total of 29.58 pounds—an 82
“turbulators,” which plunge up and down the heat for the region. Plus, the homeowners, businesses, schools, percent reduction in the long term.
Continued on next page.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 9

Vermont Warming Up to Advanced Wood Heating

A second important element to this formula is in the type Harvesting wood responsibly also helps Vermont’s forests, Stewardship Plan administered by Vermont County
of carbon produced, with fossil fuels considered “geologic” particularly when low-quality, damaged, diseased, dying, Foresters and overseen by the Vermont Agency of Natural
and wood “biogenic.” “The easier way to look at it,” or other trees are removed. “You’re stimulating more Resources,” according to the website.
explains Adam Sherman, a manager at Biomass Energy growth and vigor of the remaining trees by opening up While softwoods do grow back faster, and thereby re-
Resource Center, “is that oil is a really old biomass that the canopy and allowing more sunlight and nutrients and absorb carbon faster, it’s somewhat too simplistic for
took a hundred million years to convert from organic water to the remaining trees,” explains Sherman. Healthier Sherman, in part because the Intergovernmental Panel on
matter to dense carbon stored below the surface of the forests sequester more carbon and add value to future Climate Change, the foremost entity looking at climate
Earth over a geologic time period.” When released, they timber value so that 20 years from now they’ll be worth change and policy, looks at everything on a 100-year life
take a one-way route to the atmosphere. more as timber products than they would otherwise. cycle—plenty of time for hardwood trees to grow back.
“Forests, on the other hand, are constantly emitting and Vermont certainly has plenty of forest to keep healthy, Other important reasons for a preference for softwood
absorbing carbon,” Sherman adds. “There are times and too, and is nowhere near its allowable harvest. “Vermont are that it’s easier to debark and there is a lack of a good
stages in forest growth where they’re sequestering more is 76 percent forested, and we are currently harvesting less market for softwoods in the area, making the price
carbon than they’re emitting. But that carbon then gets than half the net growth in the forest,” explains Hanson. cheaper. “Does it make a good pellet? Yes,” says Sherman
released when they grow older, or a pest comes in, or a In other words, the forest grows each year twice as much confidently, “but is it the only type of feedstock that is
windstorm or a wildfire. And then they’re releasing more as is being harvested, be it high-grade wood for carpentry, sustainable? Absolutely not.”
than they’re absorbing. So while there’s more carbon or low-grade wood for wood chips, pellets, and the like. Thanks to the success of AWH, Vermont Wood Pellet Co.
emitted per unit of energy from the wood system than The key, however, to achieving this carbon-neutral can’t come anywhere near to meeting local demand, with
an oil system, you can’t really compare them as apples to effect is that forests indeed be managed ecologically and more than 90 percent of pellets used in the state coming
apples.” sustainably—and therein lies the rub. If they are not, then regionally from Quebec, New York, New Hampshire, and
So why not just burn only fossil fuels, don’t chop any trees, the end result can be greater environmental devastation Maine, but also from as far away as British Columbia.
and let the forest absorb that carbon? “The forest will than fossil fuels. This has been borne out in the mega pellet That’s led some AWH advocates such as Sherman to
eventually emit carbon, so you won’t achieve any offset. plants in the South, where producers such as Enviva— push for a “Heat Local” slogan, and possibly even a label
So then it’s hands down, wood heating, if it’s displacing the United States’ largest exporter of wood pellets—for on locally produced pellets—just as they appear on food
a fossil fuel, is an incredibly effective long-term carbon example, have been charged with clear-cutting ecologically products. “We want people to be mindful of where their
emission mitigation strategy,” Sherman said. sensitive bottomlands. They are not alone. BTUs come from in the same way that people are mindful
Furthermore, the existence of a pellet industry, which Andy Boutin, general manager and founder of Pellergy (an where their food comes from,” he says.
draws on low-grade wood in Vermont, helps maintain the advertiser in The Bridge) stresses the sustainability of the Just asking that question is step forward to achieving
health and growth of the forests. Having healthy markets industry in Vermont. “We have to separate that style of carbon-neutral energy, Sheman believes. “What’s
for both high- and low-grade wood is essential to forest pellet manufacture with what happens in the Northeast,” interesting about wood heating is that it actually creates an
health, Hanson emphasizes, noting the current low-grade- he explains. “I would even broaden that to include all of opportunity for people to ask that question,” he explains.
wood market crisis in Vermont after the collapse of the New England and even Quebec. Every pellet that comes “Nobody calls their oil dealer and says, ‘You know that
paper industry. “Without the pair it is impossible to carry out of Quebec now is sawmill residue. So they are actually 500 gallons you delivered to my house yesterday, was
out a sustainable forest management plan. The majority using waste product that would otherwise be left to rot or that Venezuelan or Saudi oil, or Alberta tar sands? Where
of forest land in Vermont is privately owned, and when decompose.” did that come from and who made it?’ But when we buy
landowners can’t make a small income off of their forest Vermont’s lone pellet producer, Vermont Wood Pellet pellets, we do ask that question. It gets people thinking
land that’s when we start to see forest fragmentation and Co., also claims sustainable practices, focusing on “local about their energy consumption and where it comes from
development. Wood heat represents one solution to this softwoods from Vermont woodlands that have a Forest and how it was produced.”
low-grade-wood market crisis.”
PAG E 10 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Battling the Holiday Blues and Winter Depression

by Richmond Scott, Outpatient Clinician, WCMHS

inter came early to Vermont this year. It arrived with unseasonably cold and some distance away. “Human beings are inherently and biologically social beings and we
snowy conditions. For many Vermonters this was welcome news. Ski areas tend to struggle when isolated. For many people the holiday season highlights this feeling of
opened with fantastic conditions for skiers and riders, and folks were enjoying aloneness,” says Margaret Joyal, director of Washington County Mental Health’s Center for
cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the woods. For others, the shortening days, cold Counseling and Psychological Services.
weather, and gray skies were unwelcome bearers of lowered moods and feelings of sadness Also, financial stress can become elevated as families struggling to make ends meet might
and hopelessness. feel guilt at not being able to provide a materially abundant holiday experience for their
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, is an issue that many loved ones. Perhaps difficult memories of past events that are linked to the holidays might
people grapple with. As much as 10 percent of the population in areas such as Vermont, get triggered and cause people to have hard emotional experiences around this time of year.
those that lie in the northern latitudes, can be affected by it. Seasonal Affective Disorder There are also people who don’t celebrate Christmas and might feel left out and alienated by
expresses itself as major depression, which is something that many people grapple with a holiday that is so encompassing of the mainstream American culture. Whatever the reason,
throughout the year and is one of the leading mental concerns in America. Depression is for many people the holiday season can trigger strong feelings of loneliness and sadness.
generally defined as a period of two weeks or longer in which there is either depressed mood It is important to remember that sadness and loneliness are natural human experiences. In
or loss of interest or pleasure that results in clinically significant distress or impairment in the context of the holiday season and the winter season it is understandable why many people
social and occupational functioning. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that would find this a difficult time. Remember that if a person is having difficult feelings during
6.7 percent of all U.S. adults and 12.8 percent of adolescents suffer at least one episode of the winter or around the holidays, it doesn’t mean they are clinically depressed. They might
major depression. be experiencing the painful feeling of having the “winter blues” or the “holiday blues,” which
It is hypothesized that SAD is triggered by the reduced amount of available sunlight, which are not clinical mental health diagnoses.
causes alterations in circadian rhythms and disruptions in the neurotransmitters that help If you or someone you know is facing these issues, there are many things one can do to
regulate emotions. A lowering of vitamin D levels resulting from a lack of sunlight is also help reduce the difficult feelings associated with these experiences. “We’re social beings and
something to be considered when addressing SAD. Low levels of vitamin D have been connecting to other people, even strangers, can be helpful during difficult times such as the
implicated in lowered mental functioning and might be linked to higher levels of depression. holiday season,” says psychotherapist Jessica Wright.
Vitamin D levels can be checked with a blood test administered by a physician if this is a
possible concern. Volunteering to help at a community soup kitchen, helping with a toy drive, or getting
involved with other community or church groups can help foster the felt sense of human
Furthermore, for some people the bleakness of the winter days can trigger existential anxiety. and community connection. Reaching out to family and friends can feel challenging when
Looking at the seasons through the lens of the cycle of life, winter represents the seasonal anxious or lonely but can prove a valuable way to connect. Also, if you know someone who
equivalence of death. The plant life has retreated, the leaves have fallen from the trees, you feel might be struggling with depression, reaching out to them is an important and
and the world outside doesn’t feel welcoming and safe. This reality of winter can lead to caring step.
experiences of heightened anxiety and increased feelings of sadness and worry.
If you think that you might be in need of additional support please contact Washington
Add to this the stress of the holiday season, and for many Vermonters, what appears a festive County Mental Health Services at (802) 229-0591.
time of year can feel bleak and hopeless. Taking a walk down State Street in downtown
Montpelier one will be greeted by wreathed light posts, festively decorated storefronts, and
sparkling lights. People are out and about with family and friends, shopping, sharing a meal,
or perhaps enjoying a hot cup of cocoa.
Some people find the holidays to be a time of warmth and community connection, and they
revel in the season. However, for some people it can be a reminder that they don’t share in
this community and family holiday experience. Perhaps they live alone, or their families are

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T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 11

Local Businesses that Give Back to Their Community

By Sarah Davin

iving and sharing are fundamentals that we learn as children, but how often do Feed a Family Program through Hunger Mountain Co-op.
we remember and practice these as adults? According to Dr. Brett Steenbarger, Photo courtesy of Hunger Mountain Co-op
professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at SUNY Upstate Medical
University, in his December 2017 article for Forbes magazine, the action of giving
is like a muscle that needs to be exercised or it will be lost. He writes, “In the spirit of ‘use it
or lose it,’ we build the traits that we exercise and express. When we fail to actualize traits,
these atrophy. Over time, that means we can become more or less giving, more or less loving,
more or less engaged with the well-being of others.”
Thankfully, the spirit of giving is alive and well in the Central Vermont community—in
the streets, shops, markets, and homes, but also the offices and boardrooms of some of the
region’s largest businesses. The Bridge pays tribute to four local large companies that flex their
giving muscles to the benefit and betterment of the community.
Hunger Mountain Co-op
Since the program’s beginning, National Life has awarded $500,000 to schools and school
The Co-op has long been committed to sustaining a vibrant and healthy community, with employees.
particular attention paid to the Montpelier Food Pantry. “The impactful work the food
National Life has featured some of its nominees on the The Today Show, and profiles
pantry does with supplying emergency meals to individuals and families in our community
of every nominee are created and displayed on the LifeChanger of the Year website:
supports that mission,” said Stephani Kononan, senior manager of community relations If you would like to nominate an educator in your life, do so by
and marketing. For each reusable bag that someone uses at Hunger Mountain, the Co-op
December 31.
donates a nickel to the food pantry. Since the program was launched in 2016, the Co-op has
donated $25,294.60 to the food pantry and replaced 505,892 paper bags. Vermont Mutual
The Montpelier Food Pantry is only one of many nonprofits the Co-op supports. Each Vermont Mutual established its Giving Fund in 2014 to honor the contributions of three
month, the revenue of its “Give Change” program goes to a selected area organization. If Vermont Mutual presidents: William H. Brooks, Thomas J. Tierney, and William A.
you would like the cashier to ask you about rounding up your purchase, you can sign up at Catto, and since then, the fund’s contribution has tripled. Vermont Mutual favors causes that promote education, help Vermont’s youths, and satisfy basic needs such as housing and
food. Some recipients of the Vermont Mutual Giving Fund have been Camp Ta-Kum-Ta,
National Life
The Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, The Vermont Foodbank, the YMCA of Burlington,
National Life’s “LifeChanger of the Year” award honors teachers, principals, and school staff and The Vermont Futures Project.
members who make a difference in their school communities. The company created the
Vermont Mutual says it is especially proud of its involvement with Habitat for Humanity,
recognition program in 2011, with the goal of highlighting the good work that happens in
not only financially, but with on-site projects where employees assisted with construction
schools around the country and reward the nominated educators and employees. The grand
efforts. Thomas Thamm, Vermont Mutual’s communications specialist, elaborated,
prize winner receives an award of $10,000, with $5,000 of it going to the individual and the
“Affordable housing remains an important subject throughout the state and we were very
other $5,000 to the winner’s district or school. Four other grand prize finalists receive $5,000
pleased in recent years to have been able to support [them].”
to be also be split 50/50 between the individual and the school.
Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU)
VSECU empowers Vermonters through multiple small programs, focusing on the basic
needs of Vermonters—food, shelter, heat, financial literacy, and the environment. In
winter, the dollars become all important to the recipients of the “Fuel Your Neighbors”
campaign, which supplies emergency heating to those in need.
“This is Fuel Your Neighbors’ third year and we are very excited to see our fundraising
goal go up,” said Rachel Feldman, public relations specialist. As of December 15, Fuel

Your Neighbors had reached $25,405 of its $100,000 goal. When you donate to Fuel Your
Neighbors, the donation will be doubled thanks to support from VSECU. To donate to
Fuel Your Neighbors, go to

PAG E 12 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

What’s Meant the Most to Me at The Bridge Continued from Page 1

even indispensable people—who left The Bridge often for better money and benefits Blachly’s story was published at a time when here in America there were many
elsewhere. We had such a crisis in June 2011. We were without a managing editor and gratuitous attacks on people of color and people from faraway lands.
looking hard for a good replacement. But there was no such person available.
In his story, Adam described how as an American visitor he was welcomed by the
Just at that moment, when things looked grim, Marisa Keller and Rachel Rudi, both people of the village of Temento Sama in southern Senegal. He described what it
college students on a summer breaks appeared at our door. And throughout the was like when he first met his host “mom,” what breakfast was like. He went on to
summer of 2011, the two became our editorial team. One of our first projects was an describe an evening ritual:
“A through Z”—al fresco through ziplines—guide to summer in Vermont. Marisa
and Rachel traded off in writing A through Z entries and there were other entry Another ritual I came to love was the evening star-gazing. Every night, after supper, my
contributors as well. family and I would lie on the outdoor bed and stare up at the clear and crisp array of stars.
As we lay, the kids from the neighboring huts would join us. Sometimes we’ d all look for
Marisa’s entry for “E” was “Entomology,” which began this way: shooting stars and compete to see who could spot the most. Sometimes we’ d talk and laugh
and listen to music playing off my host sister’s flip phone. Other times we’ d just lie there,
“Why study bugs?” Marisa asked, speaking to Chip Darmstadt, executive director of look up, and enjoy the coolness of the night air, the whir of field insects, and the collective
the North Branch Nature Center. “They’re very accessible,” Darmstadt replied. moment.
Rachel wrote the entry for “F” about the Fresh Air Fund. Rachel started off by I believe that almost anyone who can talk can also write. I also believe that writing—
quoting from a Fresh Air Fund press release, “Imagine summertime without making not unlike reading—is a valuable way of thinking. When someone writes, and their
s’mores, playing in the backyard or gazing at the stars.” writing is published, they begin to reach a larger audience. When we start to write
as children, we are writing for ourselves and our parents and sometimes our teachers
Writer Marsha Barber interviewed Bryan Pfeiffer on “B” for “Birding,” and began her
and fellow classmates. But when our writing is published, we are writing not just for
entry with a quote from Pfeiffer: “‘I’m sort of a nature evangelist, nature guide, author,
a larger audience but for readers who might be perfect strangers.
essayist, teacher, photographer, and popular leader of bird-watching tours.”
Just think of the excitement and affirmation that comes from writing and publishing
As a way to get a handle on summer, the A to Z project—really a response to a crisis—
and finding an audience. I’ve seen this happen with writers, and when it happens, it
was a total delight.
always gives me great pleasure.
As part of the January 18, 2018, issue of The Bridge, intern Adam Blachly, a recent
Nat Frothingham was co-founder, publisher, and editor of The Bridge through June 2018.
graduate of U-32 High School, wrote a memorable story about a short visit he and a
few other recent high-school graduates took to the West African country of Senegal.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 13

Printed December 1993

Montpelier’s Newspaper is Born

by Nat Frothingham

n this, the birth of a Montpelier newspaper, I feel a resurgence of community life. I see a common
resolve to take responsibility for our own lives, for the lives of our families, neighborhoods, and
everything that happens in the city we call our home.
This is what we want from The Montpelier Bridge. Free the seed of a bold idea, and out of the meetings,
discussions, phone calls, letters, acts of organization, and finally from the generous advertising support that
has followed, we want the emergence of a community newspaper that celebrates the spirit and diversity of
life in Montpelier.
Just this past June, New York Times writer and columnist Tom Wicker visited Montpelier. He was at the
Statehouse, speaking to a planning meeting of the Vermont Commission on Democracy. Toward the end of
his talk, Wicker reflected on newspapers and the revival of local news, and he told us about a local paper he
had come to know as a boy growing up in eastern North Carolina.
Splashed across its masthead were these words: “The only newspaper in the world that gives a damn about
Jacksonville, North Carolina.” We might well tear a page from that paper and say about The Montpelier
Bridge, “The only newspaper in the world that gives a damn (let’s say an exclusive damn) about Montpelier,
It was Montpelier resident, writer, and attorney Phil Dodd who first gave public voice to the idea of a
Montpelier community newspaper. Phil proposed this idea in the February 1993 newsletter of the local
community group, Montpelier 2000.
Some weeks later I joined my friend Don Pfister for a long drive down to New York City. We talked in the
car. And at some point during the journey, I said to Don that I felt Montpelier needed its own community
newspaper. Don told me about Phil Dodd. Phil and I were soon in touch. Later, there were conversations
with Mason Singer and Irene Racz. By April, a cycle of meetings has begun. These meetings continued to
May and June and throughout the summer in small and large groups.
We formed a provisional board of directors. Serving on this board were Morgan Brown, Phil Dodd, Nat
Frothingham, Steve Larose, Nickki Parker, Don Pfister, Dan Renfro, and Nancy Shultz. Then we were
incorporated . By this fall, Bernie Folta, who had been with us almost from the beginning, had signed on as
the first of our rotating editors. We were ready to plan a first issue and a Montpelier community newspaper
was being born.
Editor’s note: This is an abbreviated version of the original article.

Editor’s Note By Mike Dunphy

hen The Bridge launched its first issue in December 1993, I was deep in the
Dantean pit that is Poughkeepsie, New York, as a freshman at Marist College.
It was there that I received the first email of my life. It came from a close friend
and was an exciting moment until our circle of friends realized the exact same message
was sent to everyone. How angry we all were at the manufactured quality of it and lack of
personal touch.
Those were naive days.
Twenty-five years later, as editor-in-chief, I find myself once again pursuing those ever
dwindling, analog ideals. Indeed, I’ve seen very few of them in my 12 years inside the
publishing world, as everything submits to the Hungry-Hungry-Hippo scramble for clicks
and eyes. In that world, sacrificing a sacred cow is not only the norm, it’s great business.
Against this, The Bridge remains a true unicorn. The demands of data-driven news and
algorithm analysis do not determine the content of each issue. Instead, we carefully
consider what stories will provide the greatest benefit to the community and advance the
conversation of the issues most vital for Central Vermont. And for each story, we stick the
gum to our shoe and pound the pavement as we did 25 years ago.
This comparative purity of the journalism is reason number one why I am proud to serve
as editor of The Bridge and something I vow to preserve as best I can on the road ahead.
Thank you for joining us on this 25-year adventure. And here’s to 25 more!
PAG E 14 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Montpelier By The Numbers:

1990 vs. 2018
Compiled by Kevin Casey, Community Development Specialist at the City
of Montpelier Department of Planning and Community Development
The Bridge has witnessed a lot of change in Montpelier during its 25 years.
Below is a snapshot—in raw numbers—of how much (or little) the city has
changed since 1990, the nearest to 1993 reports are available from Vermont
Housing Data and the U.S. Census Bureau.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 15

25 Years of Covers
PAG E 16 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

History of the Bridge: 25

The board of directors vote to On October 3, Th
A first issue of The Montpelier privatize the paper by selling The publishes its long
Bridge hits the street. Bridge to Jake Brown and Nat ambitious issue e
Frothingham. salute to the City

The Montpelier Bridge board of directors The Bridge inaugurates “Horizons”, a

discuss the paper’s mission, its frequency supplement devoted to arts, leisure,
of publication, and a proposal to hire an and dining out with Edith Zfass as its
editor. editor.

The Bridge discusses an upcoming At a November 7 community supper

fundraising campaign to ask its readers at Christ Church Parish Hall, The
to donate to the paper “to assist us in our Bridge celebrates the paper’s 10th
plans to secure an office.” anniversary.

December Summer April March July October November March June December November September October Septem
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 200

After experimenting with not

The Bridge board of directors names The Bridge over the summer, Th
Jake Brown, managing editor, and Nat reverses course and decides to m
Frothingham, publisher. paper to all households in Montp

After December 2002, The Bridge starts

Mason Singer of Laughing Bear publishing twice a month, with papers
Associates design firm gives The Bridge that hit the street on the first and third
and new and improved design. Thursdays.

After a
The Bridge announces it will take
The Bridge applied for and outline
classified ads beginning in March
received a $2,000 UVM EPIC paper a
PROJECT grant. paper.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 17

5 Milestones in 25 Years
he Bridge, On January 20, The Bridge publishes
gest and most After an intensive search for a new
its first of what was to become an
ever, a 48-page managing editor, Mike Dunphy joins
almost annual Health & Wellness
y of Montpelier. The Bridge on Dec 4.

In its August 30 issue, The Bridge in a

notice to readers, shared the news that The Bridge takes note of its 20
a trusted employee of the paper had years of continuous publication
embezzled a significant amount of money by publishing a (16-page) 20th
from The Bridge. Anniversary Supplement.

On January 20, both the Vermont In the January 22 paper, The Bridge
House and Vermont Senate pass a reported staff members and friends of the
resolution to congratulate The Bridge paper had gathered close to 700 signatures
on the 15th anniversary of its founding. to petition the city for an appropriation to
benefit The Bridge.

mber August March January January November January September December

January January December
06 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

mailing It is announced that ownership of

The Bridge The Bridge moves to new offices at The Bridge would be transferred to
mail the Vermont College of Fine Arts. a community-owned, not-for-profit
pelier. organization.

Carla Occaso makes her first

The Bridge, under the leadership of
appearance as managing editor in the
managing editor John Walters, starts
masthead of the paper’s November 6
publishing weekly.

a community meeting, The Bridge

es that it will continue to be a free Bob Nuner comes aboard as general
and in the near future, a monthly manager of The Bridge.
PAG E 18 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

OP-ED A Picture of Hope

By Jake Brown

couple of weeks ago, a group of 60 or The reverse was also true—many of the newer
so people who’ve been associated with Jake Brown and Nat Frothingham in 2008. Bridge people needed introductions to founders.
The Bridge since its founding a quarter Photo by John Walters (“Hey, current editor-in-chief Mike Dunphy,
of a century ago gathered at Vermont College meet Bernie Folta, the editor of the very first
of Fine Arts to have their picture taken. The issue in 1993,” which, by the way, was laid out
gathering was unpretentious, heartwarming, and with paper on boards, then driven to the printer
delivered, to me at least, a strong shot of hope in a car.)
and optimism. Before we knew it, photographer John Lazenby
We spent less than an hour together, but the set the flash, climbed a step ladder, and began
social gathering/smile-for-the-camera moment to record the moment. We laughed, we smiled,
was full of plenty of geniality. Importantly, I also we fooled around with funny gestures for the
felt an undercurrent of deep resolve. People are camera.
proud to have been involved in the paper. And Key founder and long-time editor of the
they still believe in it, maybe more than ever. paper Nat Frothingham offered brief words of
This part, really, did not surprise me. I was recognition and thanks, and it was a wrap. After
surprised by other things, though. There was a all, at The Bridge, as at any newspaper, there is
diversity of people— ages, interests, backgrounds, always another deadline looming, more work for
perspectives. Also, the event drove home for me (in a way I’d not realized until then) these committed individuals to do. It’s grounded, important, and humble work, but it’s
how many different caretakers the paper has had over the years. Many of these people work. Oh, boy, don’t we know it after 25 years.
had never met. Some of the founders, for example, had never met those who carried Jake Brown was one of the early participants in the development of The Bridge and served as
the paper through the 9/11 attacks, or the move to a “for-profit” model, or the 2008 its managing editor for several years. He currently serves on The Bridge Board of Directors.
recession, or the shot at going weekly, much less through the appointment of today’s
Board of Directors and the new fundraising arm of the paper, Friends of The Bridge.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 19

A New Media Landscape

By Tom Brown

hen The Bridge was launched in 1993, there were more people in the
sports department of the Burlington Free Press on a busy Saturday than are
employed in its entire newsroom today.
To say the Vermont media landscape has changed in the past 25 years is like saying
Donald Trump is prone to hyperbole. While we often packed a dozen or more
editors, reporters, and clerks into tight quarters during my decade-plus there, today
the Free Press has 15 editorial employees named on its website. That’s roughly 75
percent fewer than in 1993.
The post-great-recession reality that led to drastic layoffs and corporate consolidation
in the print newspaper industry also hit broadcast news organizations such as the
venerable WCAX, whose “Vermont’s Own” moniker no longer applies.
This is not to point fingers at the Free Press, its owner Gannett, or Channel 3 and
Gray Television, both of which do their best to provide local news regardless of
staffing. Yesterday’s business model in which advertisers paid the freight for news
gathering while generating huge annual profits for shareholders is largely obsolete,
but while the income streams have changed, the need for honest, independent
reporting has never been greater.
While not ideal for readers and incredibly disruptive to the journalists and their
families struck by sudden job losses, the contraction of newsrooms created an
opportunity for innovation. That void was filled by alternative projects such as
VTDigger, whose tenacity and free, all-digital reporting has served Vermonters in
ways we probably don’t even realize.
Likewise Seven Days, Vermont Public Radio, WDEV, and a handful of semi-daily
or weekly regional publications press on in defense of the First Amendment, keeping
an eye on public officials, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.
As with most any worthwhile enterprise, it takes money to do this important work.
As a small, independent, nonprofit, local news operation, The Bridge still relies on
print advertising and much less so on subscriptions for the majority of its support.
We don’t do pledge drives; we don’t clutter the print product with appeals; we don’t
load our website (which needs a serious makeover) with pop-up ads and solicitations.
This time of year—the giving season—your mailboxes, physical and digital, are full
of requests for donations to many worthwhile causes, from animal rescue to veterans
care to domestic violence to environmental preservation, and on and on.
We hope you think The Bridge is also worth supporting. As we’ve all seen over the
past few years, journalism is essential to a healthy democracy and denigrating it, the
policy of tyrants. And it’s at the local, grassroots level that it often makes the biggest
Please do consider a tax-deductible donation or a yearly subscription for yourself, or
suggest it to others who care about keeping free, local, and independent journalism
in the heart of Vermont.
We all benefit when we shop locally, act locally, and read locally. Thanks for 25 years
of community support.
PAG E 2 0 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Remembrances of The Bridge

I n 25 years, a lot of editors, writers, photographers, graphic designers, salespeople,
bookkeepers, and carriers have passed through the offices of The Bridge.
A few have survived to tell the tale and share them here.

Bridge Beginnings
By Bernie Folta—editor, first two issues
In the summer or early fall of 1993, at one of the public meetings to start a Montpelier
community newspaper, a consensus emerged to call it “M” (Montpelier “M”). But not
long afterward—and out of nowhere—some participants started calling it The Bridge.
That name stuck, and as the masthead used to say for a number of years, “Connecting
Our Community.”
I don’t remember exactly how I fell into becoming the editor of the first issue in
December 1993—whether I tripped or was pushed. The core group included the
founders, Nat Frothingham and Phil Dodd, as well as Jake Brown, who was heavily
involved in the early days. Phil sold many of the ads, convincing businesses to sign on
sight-unseen (and pay up). The printer could be paid (yay!). Nat wrote a piece for the
front page informing the community about their new local newspaper.
Steve Larose, also in at the beginning, had a professional computerized graphic arts
setup, and he handled the layout and pagination. I remember well the “production
path.” The stories and photos came in, some on paper and some electronically, but as I
recall, all on deadline. Then the word-processed, edited copy flowed from me, on the
3 1/2-inch square hard-shell diskettes of that era, over to copy editor Jim Wallace, and
then on to Steve and over to the printer. The Bridge hit the street before Christmas;
people’s dreams had become real.
The time came quickly to produce another issue, but nobody was stepping forward
to be the editor, so I did it again. Thereafter, as intended and planned, The Bridge
moved to having rotating editors from the community. There was plenty of literary
and editorial capability in town to handle this. In at the beginning and in those early Image by Edith Zfass and Mat Doyle
days, Nancy Schulz was a significant ad salesperson, helping our “pressling” survive;
she also wrote. On this 25th anniversary, then, congratulations! Congratulations to Nat, but also to
However, after a few years, the original community-published model reached its limits everyone who has supported, contributed, and participated over the years and in any
of sustainability, and Nat and Jake took over, giving the paper a more solid continuity. way helped The Bridge reach this milestone. And may it have 25 times 25 years more!
And when Jake stepped out some years later, Nat Frothingham, as many people know, Giving Birth at The Bridge
took over as publisher and editor and led The Bridge forward through thick and thin
unto the present. I would say the term “labor of love” aptly applies. By Edith Zfass—editor, 2000–2004
Nat and Jake were seeking an editor, someone hip, younger than 35, who hailed from
Montpelier. Under 35? Moi? A remote chronological challenge. I didn’t fit the bill—not
even close. So then what happened to their editorial criteria for the launch of Horizons?
Out the window without even a parachute. I bludgeoned those two remarkable men
into believing that doing without me was unthinkable. Miraculously, I got the job.
A tsunami of frenzied activity enveloped me 24/7. The clock ticked way too fast, as
a whirlwind of writing, editing, activities, and decisions swirled around me. Finally,
miraculously, the paper was put to bed; When the “Horizons” arts section was finally
launched, I felt as though I had given birth. Eventually, the child became a mature
adult and fixture in the life of the arts and culture of Montpelier and surrounding areas.
Gratefully during its tenure in The Bridge, Horizons broadened, enlightened, and
enriched the horizons of my own life, as well. While Horizons was eventually earmarked
to a special place in journalistic heaven, I am thankful, indeed, for the privilege of these
many years of my warm and close connection with Nat, Jake, and The Bridge.
A Community Newspaper Lives On
By Phil Dodd—founding member, 1993–1995; Friends of The Bridge Advisory
Board, 2015–2016; Bridge Community Media Board, 2017–present.
My first memory of The Bridge is meeting Nat Frothingham for a cup of coffee at the
old Horn of the Moon restaurant to hatch a plan for a volunteer-driven, nonprofit
community newspaper. We made some calls, put up some posters, and before long had
gathered 10 or 15 people who stepped up to help launch our first issue in December
Twenty-five years later, after a long hiatus when I was not involved in the paper other
than writing an occasional article, I am back serving on the board of Bridge Community
Media, Inc., the nonprofit that took over ownership of the paper from Nat a year ago.
I’m struck now by how much community support the paper had in the beginning and
still has now. We have 10 volunteers on The Bridge board and four volunteers serving
on the board of the Friends of the Bridge—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tasked with the crucial
job of raising money to support the paper and its dedicated employees—and dozens of
area residents who donate to the paper, write articles for free, or help out in other ways.
The Vermont College of Fine Arts generously provides us with office space and the
City of Montpelier offers important support through the City Page it pays for. We are
thankful for all of this and of course for our loyal readers. But I’d like to offer a special
shout out to our advertisers, without whom we could never publish a free newspaper
twice a month. Shop and buy services locally!
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 21

A Grand and Misbegotten Adventure Years before I sold ads for The Bridge, I used to occasionally write articles on topics that
By John Walters—managing editor, Sept. 2007‒Nov. 2009 interested me. My first one (of importance—at least to me!) was where to find public
bathrooms in Montpelier. Though I wrote it years ago, this story would likely still be
I was the managing editor of The Bridge for two exhilarating, exhausting, frustrating, useful in 2018. I loved working on the article and photo spread that Nat and I wrote
and inspiring years. In 2008, publisher Nat Frothingham decided to go from twice- about yard sales. It included a text box about an eccentric, colorful guy who collected
monthly publication to weekly. The idea was to provide a more dependable platform for suitcases and records, and we tallied all his finds over the course of a single day of yard-
advertisers, and the increased ad sales would allow us to improve the paper. saling.
There was an obvious need for a robust news source in Central Vermont. The Times I lived almost across the street from the office and always had a least one dog working by
Argus was steadily shrinking. Other media outlets covered the Statehouse but paid little my side, often foster dogs from the animal shelter. The shelter dogs got lots of attention,
or no attention to the community. great socialization, helping them transition to their forever home.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We found ourselves trying to fill more than twice as During my time there, I worked with an ever-changing group of people who were
many pages, but since revenue didn’t grow, we had no more resources than before. I incredibly bright, talented, and diverse. Everyone at The Bridge was integral to getting
found myself writing multiple stories every week, and my most reliable staff writer was the paper out; it was a true team effort. Whether I was selling ads or contributing
Nat, which was a problem because every time he wrote a story, he was taking time away articles, working at The Bridge felt like family. In these tumultuous times, a good local
from the business side of the enterprise. newspaper is more important than ever!
We produced a lot of great stories, but revenue didn’t follow suit. After roughly two It’s a Wonderful Bridge
years, with The Bridge heavily in debt, our weekly experiment ended, and I left the
paper. But I took away far more good memories than bad, and I couldn’t be happier that By David Kelley—long-time contributor
The Bridge lives on in its new, nonprofit form. I learned years ago that life’s real heroes aren’t in movies or football stadiums. They
A True Team Effort are usually right under our noses. They are in our schools and hospitals. They are in
our fire departments and our court houses. And some of our greatest heroes are in our
by Carolyn Grodinsky—sales director, Jan. 2010–Sept. 2015 newspaper offices. They are the ones that keep government honest and us informed.
I never ever imagined I’d work in sales in my lifetime. Yet my five years at The Bridge Under siege from social media and politicians alike, their efforts are more heroic today
taught me otherwise. The job connected me with businesses throughout Central than ever.
Vermont, which has served me very well in the subsequent years. My years there helped For 25 years I have watched local heroes devote endless energy, imagination, and
me land my current job at Grow Compost, a position that ties my environmental intelligence to The Bridge and the community it serves. Frank Capra never directed
background with selling an important green service. a movie that was more inspiring than the story of The Bridge. I am grateful to have
witnessed their endeavors, and I hope to be able to continue doing so for years to come.

How to get more out of The Bridge!

K, you’ve read your latest issue of The Bridge cover to cover. Now what? Do Don’t forget The Bridge is free, independent, local, and weed-proof. Use it as mulch
you just toss is in the trash? Of course not. Never in the trash! Your free, around your garden plants to prevent weed growth.
independent, and local newspaper has more value than that. The Bridge is free, independent, local, and expressive. Mix shreds or strips with glue
The Bridge is free, independent, local, and recyclable. Toss it in a recycling bin and or plaster of Paris to make papier mache, then harness your inner artist to build your
let it become new paper. The Bridge is also free, independent, local, and combustible. own replica of the new Ceres statue on the capitol dome.
Use it as tinder to start your woodstove, fireplace, or campfire. But that’s a no-brainer. The Bridge is free, independent, local, and sturdy. Use it to make a paper party hat. See
What are some other uses? how at
The Bridge is free, independent, local, and absorbent. Housebreaking puppies comes to Be prepared for Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19, 2019). Make a paper hat (see above)
mind. Or lining your cat litter box. You can even use it to housebreak a pet rabbit. It from The Bridge, then draw a skull and crossbones on it and learn to say “Arrgh!”
can be used to line the bottom of a birdcage. Or use it as a boot mat in your mudroom
for snowy or rainy days. Protect yourself from alien brain waves. Use The Bridge to make a paper hat (see above),
then cover it with aluminum foil.
What about composting it? Yes, you can compost The Bridge as long as you shred
it. What about the ink? Rest assured that The Bridge is free, independent, local, and Under no circumstances, however, should you eat The Bridge or feed it to animals. The
nontoxic. If you compost it, just remember to add an equal amount of “green” material Bridge is free, independent, and local, but it is not nutritious, except for your mind.
to your compost in addition to The Bridge’s “brown” material.
PAG E 2 2 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Elizabeth Man Sarcka Honored in New Book By Michelle A.L. Singer

nspired by The Bridge’s 25th anniversary, I recently staff, worked with hundreds of residents over the decades.
looked back at my own history with the paper as a To this day the ranch continues with its mission to help
writer. As synchronicity would have it, the first piece people regain their health.
I wrote for The Bridge was published on December 19, When Elizabeth and Wayne retired from the ranch, and
2003, almost 15 years to the day of this issue. (It was had seen it safely transitioned into a non profit corporation
about shopping locally for the holidays.) In the same vein with Anne’s help, they went to Jamaica in the West Indies.
of coincidence, my subject here is also one I am revisiting. It was a better climate for Wayne’s arthritis, and they lived
In 2007 I interviewed Anne Sarcka, a community organizer there for seven years. Wanting to respond to the needs of
and artist who has lived in Montpelier since 1978, about their new community, and at the request of some of their
her father’s autobiography, Giving a Lift in Time: A Finnish neighbors, Elizabeth wrote, “We started what was intended
Immigrant’s Story. I was delighted to be able to meet with as a literacy class for adults, but fast became a night school
her again, 11 years after our first interview, to talk to her offering a variety of basic subjects.”
about Strong Spirit, Steadfast Heart: The Life and Times of Wayne dictated his autobiography to Elizabeth in Jamaica
Elizabeth Man Sarcka, a book by and about her mother. before he died in 1968. Elizabeth then returned to her native
Born in 1893, Elizabeth Man Sarcka graduated from Queens, where she worked for peace and disarmament and
college in 1917, a notable accomplishment now, and even was recognized for her contributions well into her 90s.
more so 101 years ago. Anne says of her mother, “Some When Elizabeth turned 95, Laura Jinishian wrote of her
strong, motivated, women came out of Barnard College at great-aunt, “One could say her life was art—the art of
that time, and she was one of them. It was the era of the caring—for people, for the Earth, for peace, for the United
car, the subway, electrification, settlement houses, scouting Nations, for adult education for poor Jamaicans, helping
for girls and boys. It was an era when some began to take the ill find meaning in work, in nature, and in others.”
women’s education seriously, and women were finally able Elizabeth died in 1992 at the age of 98.
to vote. My mother made the most of her opportunities.”
On the 75th anniversary of Spring Lake Ranch in 2007, Anne
Elizabeth was the daughter of a prominent lawyer who, was moved to publish her father’s book and wished that her
along with his father, founded the villages of Richmond mother had a similar remembrance of her own remarkable
Hill and Kew Gardens in Queens, New York. “She grew “I think my father was struck by how driven she was. I don’t
think he’d met many other women like that.” life. When the ranch celebrated its 85th anniversary, Anne
up in a Victorian family who were fairly affluent, and her began to compile Elizabeth’s autobiographical writing as
father was a wonderful role model for her because he was so At the center of Elizabeth’s story is Spring Lake Ranch, the well as pieces written about her.
committed to the public arena,” says Anne. “She was ready therapeutic community she and Wayne created in 1932 in
to go all out and make as much of a difference as she could.” Cuttingsville, Vermont. Having discovered Spring Lake Strong Spirit, Steadfast Heart was a year and a half in
during their honeymoon trek along the Long Trail, they the making and was designed by Brian Prendergast of
Strong Spirit, Steadfast Heart is part memoir, part Worcester. The beautiful result will soon be available at the
remembrances of family and friends, and part biography as returned the next year and bought a small farm property.
Kellogg-Hubbard and Aldrich libraries and the Vermont
narrated by Anne Sarcka with letters, poems, and artwork Elizabeth describes this era of her life in her memoir Historical Society.
mixed in. Anne and her cousin, Laura Jinishian, compiled saying, “This is the story of a man and woman who—
what is a celebration and documentation of a life that Anne possessed with an unshakeable enthusiasm for life and an Readers can learn more about Spring Lake Ranch at
describes as “remarkably purposeful.” infinite faith in people—together hewed out of a rocky
Elizabeth was an active leader in the League of Nations Vermont hillside an important center for the treatment of Michelle A.L. Singer lives in East Montpelier and can be
Association in her youth and met her future husband, the mentally ill and developed a philosophy that reaches to reached at In a final flourish of
Wayne Sarcka, when he was fundraising for the Girl Scouts. the very core of modern ideas about mental health.” They coincidence, Michelle shares a birthday with Anne Sarcka, as
spent nearly 30 years running the ranch and, alongside their well as Anne’s grandfather.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 2 3

Ed Koren Steps into the Vermont Wild with New Collection

By Larry Floersch

Judging from the size of the crowd for his book-signing event at Bear Pond Books last
month, many residents of the Montpelier area already know that Ed Koren has just released
a new collection of cartoons: Koren. In the Wild.
The book focuses on the rural culture of Vermont and often points out, in a humorous way,
how that culture is under threat. It is a threat that Koren knows too well, living in the tiny
village of Brookfield as it struggles for existence just slightly more than a stone’s throw from
the rush of modernity in the northbound lanes of Interstate 89.
Koren, of course, is well known because his work often appears in The New Yorker
magazine, where he has published more than 1,100 cartoons over his career. Although born
in New York, Koren is a Vermonter by nature and has resided here for about four decades.
Great cartoonists are like great poets, able to take something observed or overheard and
extract from it some universal truth. That ability earned Koren the mantle of Vermont’s
second Cartoonist Laureate.
The Bridge recently spoke by phone with Koren and asked him if he could point to three
cartoons in the collection that exemplify the predicament facing Vermont: how to protect
our rural way of life while at the same time allowing it to change in a good way.
The Bridge thanks Ed Koren and Margot Zalkind Mayor of Button Street Press in
Newfane, Vermont, for permission to reprint the cartoons. Koren. In the Wild is available This image speaks to how our villages and towns are threatened and must adjust and update
at bookstores everywhere. themselves to maintain relevance to both their residents and the outside world.
For more information on the author and artist, visit and

This image depicts the old way of life losing to the outside world as young folks leave the state for
education and jobs.

Koren says this image was almost “prescient” because it was drawn over four
decades ago yet encapsulates Vermont’s ongoing dilemma—the encroachment of
the “suburbs.”
PAG E 24 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Wild Animals, Like Humans, Employ Many Strategies to

Survive Winter By Louis Porter

he calendar might say early the winter. White-tailed deer are at the
December, but with the cold northern edge of their range in Vermont,
winds blowing and the snowdrifts and winter is the limiting factor that
piling up, it feels like we’re well into defines how many deer can survive here.
winter. Vermonters typically take one When snows get deep and temperatures
of three different approaches to winter. plummet, deer seek out patches of forest
Some (usually retired) Vermonters go the with thick evergreen trees that protect
“snowbird” approach, spending the winter them from biting winds and deep snow,
in a warmer southern climate. Others making the conservation of these deer
“hibernate,” staking out a warm spot wintering areas vitally important.
next to the woodstove with a cup of Deer don’t eat much throughout the
cocoa, going outside only when absolutely winter and deplete their fat stores as
necessary. But hardier Vermonters the winter months drag on. Late March
embrace winter, breaking out the skis through April is a critical time of year; if
or snowshoes, dusting off the sled, and winter lingers too long and deer don’t have
generally reveling in the snow.
Photo by Tom Rogers opportunities to feed on emerging plants,
Wild creatures follow the same three basic the statewide deer herd usually declines.
strategies to make it through the tough Additionally, not every member of a bird According to Mark Ferguson, zoologist Conversely, moose are well-adapted to
winter months. From birds that migrate species will arrive at a single strategy. Some for the Vermont Department of Fish & winter and—when healthy—are unfazed
south, to bears that cozy up and snooze individual bald eagles or blue jays stay in Wildlife, “Instead, several generations are by the cold. They can traverse deep
the winter away, to moose that stick it out Vermont for the winter while others head born and die along the way, meaning that snows atop their long, spindly legs. In
in the cold, wild animals approach winter out of town. And many of our resident the grandchildren or great-grandchildren fact, a harsh winter by human standards
using familiar tactics. bird species stay close to home, including of the monarch leaving Mexico at the end benefits moose, because late season snows
The Migrators chickadees, waxwings, nuthatches, of winter eventually arrive in Vermont can take a welcome toll on the moose’s
juncos, ravens, and woodpeckers. With each summer.” main parasite, the winter tick. Moose
Birds, like people, don’t employ just a
more elbow room at the feeder or fruit The Hibernators are so well adapted to cold temperatures
single strategy to get through winter.
tree, these year-round residents face less that they often find summer more of a
Many species migrate, but in different Reptiles and amphibians simply lay
competition for food. challenge, developing heat stress at 57
directions and at different times. The low (that is, go dormant) through
warblers generally start heading south One winged migrator stands out from the degrees or more. When temperatures get
Vermont’s winter months. Most frogs and hot, moose may stop feeding to seek out
to the Gulf Coast by August, whereas rest of the pack: the monarch butterfly. salamanders hibernate under rotting leaves
some ducks and geese may not head south Monarchs are one of only a small group cool waters in which to wade. As climate
and logs on the forest floor. Turtles while change continues to drive up summer
until December, particularly in years in of butterflies known to engage in, as birds away the winter on the mucky bottoms
which ponds and lakes remain open late. do, a north-south migration, with most temperatures, this heat sensitivity worries
of ponds. And snakes generally spend some biologists, who are pessimistic about
Loons head east—not south—to spend eastern monarchs overwintering at a single the winter in mammal burrows or rock
the winter in the ocean along coastal New site in the mountains of central Mexico. the future of moose in Vermont.
crevices below the frost line, sometimes
England. But come spring, the monarch that leaves with multiple species of snake curled up Giving Wildlife a Helping Hand
its wintering grounds in Mexico will never together in the same den.
Other birds, from up north, such as snowy For the adventuresome and curious, winter
make it to Vermont.
owls, redpolls, rough-legged hawks, or Bears don’t “hibernate” in the traditional in Vermont provides a unique window into
snow buntings, migrate into Vermont. sense. Unlike other hibernating mammals, the secret world of otherwise invisible wild
such as woodchucks or bats, the body animals. With the snow come mammal
temperature and heart rate of bears stay and bird tracks, nibbled buds, and other
close to normal during the winter, which evidence of active wildlife. These signs
they spend in more of a deep sleep than bring the seemingly empty and still forest
a true state of hibernation. They do this alive and remind us that wildlife are all
not to avoid the snow and cold (bears around and constantly on the move.
have thick fur and are well-adapted to Surviving winter can difficult in Vermont.
cold temperatures) but to conserve energy Wild creatures need to have thick cover
while they wait out the winter months and for shelter, an appropriate den site, open
food once again becomes available. water to drink, wild food to eat, and the
“Bears are triggered to enter their den ability to move from place to place easily.
when food becomes scarce in fall or early These resources are all found in healthy
winter, usually following a heavy snowfall,” and connected habitats.
said Forrest Hammond, Vermont Fish & To ensure wildlife thrive all year,
Wildlife’s lead bear biologist. “In spring, Vermonters can make a difference and
the rains and warm temperatures cause protect connected habitats throughout
bears to leave their dens in search of the state. Landowners can work with a
uncovered nuts and green shoots that start wildlife biologist or forester to improve
to emerge from the melting snowpack.” habitat on their property to give wildlife a
Hammond says that winter rains can helping hand.
make bears uncomfortable and restless Other Vermonters can help wildlife by
and may force many bears from their dens purchasing a Vermont Habitat Stamp at
to seek drier accommodations. “Bears The stamp
sleep soundly in winters when deep snow costs $15, with the donations going to
covers the entrances to their dens, but the conservation of important statewide
during years with little snow, bears are habitats for fish and wildlife—everything
exposed and awaken easily.” from streambanks and vernal pools to
The Survivors and Thrivers denning and wintering areas for all the
species in Vermont.
Deer, moose, beavers, otters, and many
other mammals are active throughout Louis Porter is commissioner of the Vermont
Department of Fish & Wildlife.
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 2 5

Calendar of Events
Community Events Performing Arts
Medicine Buddha Sadhana. Medicine Buddha
practice is particularly helpful for those who THEATER, DANCE,
may be sick, injured, or are suffering in any way, STORYTELLING, COMEDY
including beings in the animal realm. Join the
Dec. 22: Stories for a Winter’s Eve. Featuring original short stories by Vermont authors Kathryn
Events happening center as they offer this practice and dedicate it Blume and Mark Nash and songs by Vermont musicians Pete Sutherland and Patti Casey. 3 pm and
December 20–January 12 to both the temporal and ultimate happiness of 7 pm. Old Meeting House, East Montpelier. $15 advance; $18 at door; 4-pack $50; children 12 and
all sentient beings everywhere. 6 pm. Milarepa under $10.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20 Center, 1344 Rt. 5S, Barnet.
Dec. 22–23: Green Mountain Nutcracker. Presented by Moving Light Dance Company. A classic
Open Ears at Bagitos. Join Montpelier city SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23 story with an enchanting local twist. Dec. 22 at 7 pm; Dec. 23 at 2 pm. Barre Opera House, 6 N.
councilor Glen Coburn Hutcheson to talk Main St., Barre. $15–25.
Multigenerational Worship Service: No-
about the city or anything else. 8:30–9:30 am. Dec. 28: Kathleen Kanz Comedy Hour. A wide range of talented standup comics, from here and
Rehearsal Christmas Pageant. Watch or
Bagitos, 28 Main St., Montpelier. ghutcheson@ away, working longer sets. 8:30 pm. Espresso Bueno, 248 N. Main St., Barre. Free/by donation. 479-
participate in this retelling of the Christmas, 839-5349. 0896.
story and celebrate the sacredness and wonder
Trinity United Methodist Church Community of each night a child is born. People of all ages Jan. 5: FEMCOM. All-female standup comedy. 8:30 pm.Espresso Bueno, 248 N. Main St., Barre. Free/
Lunch. 11:30 am–1 pm. 137 Main St., are encouraged to come in costume as angels, by donation. 479-0896.
Montpelier. shepherds, or wise Unitarian Universalists. 9 am
and 11 am. Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., The Met Opera Live in HD: The Magic Flute
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine Talk TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25 (Mozart). Julie Taymor’s production returns
Series with Christina Ducharme. Acupuncture Montpelier.
St. Jacob Orthodox Christian Church to select cinemas this holiday season in an
and Chinese Medicine for Immune Support. Christmas Sunday Service. Bible reading and Christmas Day Service. Divine Liturgy encore presentation of the company’s first-ever
6:30 pm. Marshfield Library, School St., music followed by light refreshments. 10:30 am. of Christmas. 9:30 am. 376 Rt. 12 North, Live in HD transmission. 1 pm. Spruce Peak
Marshfield. The First Church of Christ Scientist, 145 State Northfield Falls. 673-4042. Performing Arts Center, 122 Hourglass Dr.
Central Vermont Climate Action - Monthly St., Montpelier.
A Movie and Asian Food for Christmas. A Stowe.
meeting. Take action for climate justice locally. Holiday Sing-Along. Family-friendly, non- fun showing of the romantic comedy “Keeping
Node group of 350Vermont meets every third political, non-partisan, non-denominational, the Faith” followed by vegetarian Vietnamese THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27
Sunday. 7–8:30 pm. Unitarian Church, 130 old-fashioned Holiday Sing-Along. Activities for food from Pho Capital. 2–5 pm. Beth Jacob Open Ears at Bagitos. See listing under Dec.
Main St., Montpelier. kids who decide not to sing. Consider bringing Synagogue, 10 Harrison Ave., Montpelier. $10 20
cookies or treats to share if you are able. Capital meal cost. Reserve a meal at Trinity United Methodist Church Community
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 City Grange Hall, 6612 Northfield St./Rte. 12, Lunch. 11:30 am–1 pm. 137 Main St.,
Cycles of Life. We invite you to join with us Montpelier. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26 Montpelier.
in this place of comfort where we can all come The Christ Church Community Lunch.
together to listen, talk and share about the MONDAY, DECEMBER 24 11 am–12:30 pm. 64 Main St., Montpelier. The Face of Winter. Loving the pure joys of
things in life’s cycle we are all experiencing in Community Lunch at Unitarian Church winter is something we have in common with
Salvation Army Community Lunch. the late, great Warren Miller who helped create
our own way now for ourselves and the earth Montpelier. 11 am–12:30 pm. 130 Main St.,
Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. and capture the magic of skiing. This will bring
we live on. 11:45 am–1 pm. Twin Valley Senior Montpelier.
Center, Rt. 2, East Montpelier. 223-3322 ArtSmart: Dialogue on Mozart’s The Magic new and veteran athletes together to pay tribute
Salvation Army Community Lunch.
Flute! Join Kevin Ginter, a classically trained to Miller. 7 pm. Spruce Peak Performing Arts
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. Center, 122 Hourglass Dr., Stowe. Free. 760-
opera professional, to learn about the story and
Barre Congregational Church Community St. Jacob Orthodox Christian Church history of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. ArtSmart 4638.
Meal. 7:30–9 am. 35 Church St., Barre. Christmas Eve Services. Holy Supper of the is a series of arts education gatherings, talk-backs
Nativity (with meal served) at 4 pm; Vespers of and lectures. Noon. Spruce Peak Performing SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29
Story Time at Next Chapter Bookstore. With
Christmas at 5 pm. 76 Rt 12 North, Northfield Arts Center, 122 Hourglass Dr., Stowe. Barre Congregational Church Community
Grannie Snow. Part of Barre Merry Holiday
Falls. 673-4042 Reservations required: 760-4634. Meal. 7:30–9 am. 35 Church St., Barre.
Events. 10:30 am. 162 N. Main St., Barre.

To see a listing of Weekly Events and more detailed event listings, visit
PAG E 26 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Calendar of Events
Through Dec. 29: Members’ Art Show & Sale Through Jan. 7: Altered Spaces Group Jan. 5–March 2: The Art of the Portrait,

Visual Arts and Festival of Trees & Light. To see artwork

available for sale, please visit 253-8358
Exhibition. The exhibition opens with
a dynamic collection of work—collage,
photography, painting, and multimedia
August Burns. The exhibition is a rare
opportunity for the public to view paintings
from this outstanding Vermont Artist. 5031
EXHIBITS Through Dec. 31: Celebrating Women installation in September that will build
in layers throughout the fall—inviting the
Main Street, Waitsfield. 496-6682
Through Dec. 21: Northern Vermont Through the Arts. Art Resource Association Through June 1: Thomas Waterman Wood:
Group Show. Montpelier City Center public to revisit and interact as the exhibition The Master Copies. A selection of Wood’s
University-Johnson Student Art Exhibit.
and La Brioche, 89 Main St., Montpelier. continues. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, master copies from the T.W. Wood Art Gallery
NVU-Johnson, Julian Scott Memorial Gallery. 122 Hourglass Dr., Stowe. collection. While Wood was in Europe he fell
Through Dec. 31: Dee Christie & Robin Leone. Through Jan. 18: Northern Vermont in love with the paintings of the European
Through Dec. 28: Seven Women, Seven
Dee Christie repurposes old books into visual University-Lyndon Faculty Art Exhibit. Masters, including Rembrandt and Turner.
Walls. Featuring rotating exhibits by Vermont
works of art—painting, collaging, and drawing NVU-Lyndon, Quimby Barclay.Tucker@ Following current fashion, Wood copied
artists Mary Admasian, Alisa Dworsky, Karen
within the pages to create art infused with paintings to learn techniques from the masters.
Henderson, Evie Lovett, Hannah Morris, Janet
positivity and whimsy. Robin Leone of Robin’s Through Jan. 20: Show 29. The Front T.W. Wood Gallery, Montpelier. 262-6035.
Van Fleet, and Kristen M. Watson. Vermont
Hoods handcrafts felted wool hats that are celebrates the opening of Show 29, featuring
Arts Council, 136 State St., Monpelier.
one of a kind works of art and unique to their recent works by the gallery’s members. 6 Barre
Through Dec. 27: CELEBRATE 3X. Enjoy this
3-floor fine art and craft extravaganza with
wearer. Cheshire Cat, 28 Elm St., Montpelier. Street, Montpelier, SPECIAL EVENTS 552-0877, Jan. 9: Art Gallery Opening and Reception
work created by more than 80 Studio Place – Dianne Shullenberger and John Snell.
Arts (SPA) member artists, and CELEBRATE Through Jan. 2: Digital Photography Through Jan. 31: Illuminate: The Winter
This fabric collage and photography show
3X: (1) Find one-of-a-kind handmade gifts & Exhibition. Work By Twinfield Digital Group Show. Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery,
reflects John Snell and Dianne Shullenberger‘s
treasures; (2) Support local artists and crafts Photography Students. Jaquith Library, 86 Falls Rd., Shelburne. 985-3848.
fascination with rocks. They focus on patterns,
people and fortify our local economy; & (3) Marshfield. 426-3581 Through March 2: Scrap Yard: Drawings by details, textures and pay tribute to the adjoining
Boost the programs for all ages and abilities at Through Jan.4: Current Paintings by Mary Mark Heitzman. An exhibit of 10 large-scale vegetation in a rock’s environment. 6–8 pm.
SPA, your nonprofit art center. Expanded hours McKay Lower and Elizabeth Nelson. Nelson graphite or charcoal drawings of tools and other North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm St.,
in Dec. Studio Place Arts, 201 N. Main St., will feature works from her travels to Iceland. objects. On display at The Morse Block Deli, Montpelier.
Barre. Lower will exhibit landscapes and still life located 260 N. Main Street, Barre. For info:
paintings. T.W. Wood Gallery, Barre St.,

Winter S’Morestice Celebration - Bon Visiting Fiction Writer Carmen Maria

Fire Place. Help create the world’s largest SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 Machado. VCFA MFA in Writing Visiting
S’More, and celebrate the light and warmth Visiting Creative Nonfiction Writer Terese Community Lunch at Unitarian Church Writer Readings. 7 pm. Vermont College of
of a community fire. Music, food, fire artists Marie Mailhot. VCFA MFA in Writing Visiting Montpelier. 11 am–12:30 pm. 130 Main St., Fine Arts, Chapel in College Hall, College St.,
and dancers. Evergreen maze and bouncy Writer Readings. 7 pm. Vermont College of Montpelier. Montpelier. Free.
house. 4:30–8 pm. Camp Meade, 961 Rt. 2, Fine Arts, Chapel in College Hall, College St., Salvation Army Community Lunch.
Middlesex. Montpelier. Free. Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. FRIDAY, JANUARY 4
Visiting Poet Terrance Hayes. VCFA MFA
New Year's Eve Family GLOW party. Say in Writing Visiting Writer Readings. 7 pm.
goodbye to 2018 and ring in 2019 with a Vermont College of Fine Arts, Chapel in College
GLOW theme. Come dressed in white or neon Hall, College St., Montpelier. Free.
to intensify the glow. DJ Duo–ELMT and
DJ Kaos will be laying down all the best hit SATURDAY, JANUARY 5
remixes all night long. There will be UV body Cross-country Ski with Green Mountain Club.
paint stations where both adults and kids can be Bolton. Easy. Various distances. All abilities.
decorated in paints that glow under the black Bolton Touring Center. Trail fee. Bring lunch
light. Parents/Guardians MUST accompany and water. Contact Mary Smith, 505-0603 or
your children at all times. All ages. 8 pm. Barre Mary Garcia, 622-0585 for meeting time and
Elks Lodge #1535, 10 Jefferson St., Barre. $10 for place.
single ticket or $30 for Family Pass (2 Adults/2
Kids). Barre Congregational Church Community
Meal. 7:30 am–9 am. 35 Church St., Barre.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2 Alpenglow Fitness Intro to Studio Cycling.
The Christ Church Community Lunch. An instructor will orient you to the studio, get
11 am–12:30 pm. 64 Main St., Montpelier. your bike fitted properly, and guide you through
Salvation Army Community Lunch. a gentle first ride. You’ll learn the positions
Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. and lingo in a supportive setting with other
first-time students. 10–10:45 am. 54 Main St.,
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3 Montpelier. Class is free, please bring clean shoes
Trinity United Methodist Church Community and a water bottle. Register ahead of time at
Lunch. 11:30 am–1 pm. 137 Main St.,
Montpelier. Visiting Alumna Fiction Writer Liara Tamani.
French Block Open House & Community 7 pm. Vermont College of Fine Arts, Chapel in
Celebration. Tour the newly renovated French College Hall, College St., Montpelier. Free. vcfa.
Block Apartments. Lite fare provided by edu
Montpelier restaurants. 5–7 pm. 34 Main St.,
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 27

Calendar of Events
Dec. 31: The Get Messy (funk), 9 pm Dec. 20: Thursday Concerts at Noon in well as his performances with The Montpelier

Live Music Espresso Bueno. 248 N. Main St., Barre. Montpelier. Judi Byron, harp. Bring a bag Community Gospel Choir and his own Ira
479-0896. lunch; coffee, tea, and cookies are provided. Friedman Trio. 5 pm. Unitarian Church, 130
Dec. 28: Loughran & Ladd (classic rock), A donation is solicited for the new stained- Main St., Montpelier. $15 advance; $20 at
glass window designed by local artists. door. All ages.
VENUES 7:30 pm
Christ Church, 64 State St., Montpelier.
Bagitos. 28 Main St., Montpelier. 229-9212. Jan. 5: Kaomi Kingsley (singer-songwriter), Jan. 11–13: Scrag Mountain Music Presents
7:30 pm Joy, Pleasure, and Sweet Nourishment:
Dec. 20: Italian Session, 6 pm Jan. 12: Jazzyaoke (live jazz karaoke), 7:30 Dec. 20: Sam Bulpin. Jazz, contemporary, A Concert of Early Music Concerts. A
Dec. 21: Dave Loughran, 6 pm pm, $5 and festive tunes. 6 pm. The Café at Highland performance of works by Jean-Baptiste
Dec. 22: Irish Session, 2 pm; Michael Gusto’s. 28 Prospect St., Barre. 476-7919. Center for the Arts, 2875 Hardwick St., Barrière, John Dowland, John Eccles, George
Stridsberg, 6 pm Ages 21+. No cover unless indicated. Greensboro. No cover. Frideric Handel, Guillaume de Machaut,
Dec. 23: Southern Old Time Music Jam, Dec. 20: Jason Baker, 5 pm; DJ Rome 802, Dec. 22–23: Onion River Chorus Concert. Henry Purcell, and a piece that invokes the
10 am 8 pm Onion River Chorus presents two versions spirit of early music by the young New York
Dec. 27: Italian Session, 6 pm Dec. 21: Elizabeth Renaud, 5 pm; Heartless, each of two of the most loved sacred texts— City-based Canadian composer Matthew
Dec. 28: Latin Dance Party, 7 pm 9 pm, $10 “Magnificat” and “Te Deum”—by the Ricketts. All shows 7:30 pm. Donations
Dec. 29: Irish Session, 2 pm; Ron Bergeron, Dec. 22: DJ LaFountaine, 9:30 pm Baroque masters Jan Dismas Zelenka and welcome.
6 pm Dec. 27: Stefani Capizzi, 5 pm; DJ Rome Antoine Charpentier. The 60-voice chorus Jan. 11: Bread & Butter Farm, 200 Leduc
Dec. 30: Siena Facciolo Homecoming CD 802, 8 pm and 16-piece Baroque-instrument orchestra Rd., Shelburne.
Release Party, 6:30 pm Dec. 28: Cooie DeFrancesco, 5 pm is led by Larry Gordon. Vocal soloists are Jan. 12: Christ Church, 64 State St.,
Jan. 3: Colin McCaffrey and friends, 6 pm Mary Bonhag, soprano, Lindsey Warren, Montpelier.
Whammy Bar. 31 W. County Rd., Calais. Jan, 13: Warren United Church, 339 Main
Jan. 5: Irish Session, 2 pm mezzo soprano, Lysander Jaffe, tenor, and St. Warren.
Jan. 6: Eric Friedman Folk Ballads, 11 am Zeb McLellan, bass. Dec. 22, 7:30 pm; Dec.
Every Thurs.: Open Mic, 7 pm
Jan. 12: Irish Session, 2 pm; Barry Bender 23, 4 pm. Unitarian Church, 130 Main St., Jan. 12: Kind Bud. 1–5 pm. Stowe Mountain
Dec. 21: Papa’s Porch (bluegrass), 7:30 pm
6 pm. Montpelier. $20; students/seniors/low-income Rd., Stowe. Free.
Dec. 22: Liz Beatty and the Alternates
Charlie O’s World Famous. 70 Main St. (electric blues/soul), 7:30 pm $17.
Montpelier. Free. 223-6820. Dec. 28: Kelly Ravin and Halle Jade, 7:30 pm Dec. 22: The Peter Mayhew Band. 8:30–
Every Tues.: Karaoke, 7:30 pm Dec. 29: Praxis (jazz/prog), 7:30 pm 10:30 pm. Positive Pie, 69 Main St., Plainfield.
Dec. 21: Z-Jaz (jazz), 6 pm; Lightcrusher/
Concillium/ Hell Priest/Sachem (metal), 9 pm
Dec. 22: Mad Mt. Scramblers (bluegrass), 9 pm
SPECIAL EVENTS Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve with Dave Keller Send your event listing to
Through Dec. 22: Ring, Christmas Tower with Ira Friedman. Vermont soul blues artist
Dec. 28: Scott Graves (acoustic), 6 pm;
Bells! Recitals of Christmas carols will Keller will be singing songs from his new
Pariah Beat/Abby Jenne & Her Dark
Advisors (soul rock), 9 pm
be played on the historic tower bells of album, “Every Soul’s a Star.” Ira Friedman Deadline for print in the next
Montpelier’s Trinity United Methodist is well known throughout Vermont for his
Dec. 29: Blue Fox & the Rockin Daddys
Church. 11:58 am. soulful playing with The Dave Keller Band, as issue is January 4.
(blues rock), 9pm


Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing Orchard Valley Walk-Through Wednesday. Naturalist Journeys Presentation Series.
Visiting Day. An opportunity to meet MFA A monthly open house event during the school Wolves: Ecology, Conservation and Conflict in
Director Elena Georgiou, sit in on a workshop or day. Observe main lesson in grades 1-8 and visit the Northern Rockies. NBNC’s annual winter
two, and take a campus tour. Lunch is provided mixed-age kindergarten programs, including event series featuring expert naturalists and
gratis, and friends and family are always welcome Farm & Forest. 8:30–10:30 am. Orchard Valley teachers sharing their studies from the wildest
to tag along. 9:30 am. Goddard College, 123 Waldorf School, Grace Farm Campus, 2290 Rt. corners of the world. 7–8:30 pm. North Branch
Pitkin Rd., Plainfield. RSVP required: 14N, East Montpelier. Pre-registration required: Nature Center, 713 Elm St., Montpelier or 456-7400.
Jan. 6: Montpelier Song Circle. With Jacob The Christ Church Community Lunch. Hike Camel’s Hump with Green Mountain
and Gretta Stone. 6–8 pm. Center for Arts and 11 am–12:30 pm. 64 Main St., Montpelier. Club. Huntington. 4.8 miles. Moderate to
Learning, 46 Barre St., Montpelier. Salvation Army Community Lunch. difficult. Via Burrows Trail. Start at the Burrows
MONDAY, JANUARY 7 Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. trail-head in Huntington. Returning on the
Community Lunch at Unitarian Church Mid-Week Movie: Marshall. 6–8 pm. same trail. We will use snowshoes or microspikes
Montpelier. 11 am–12:30 pm. 130 Main St., Highland Center for the Arts, 2875 Hardwick depending upon conditions. Contact Steve or
Montpelier. St., Greensboro. $5 suggested donation. Heather Bailey, 622-4516 or stevecbailey@gmail. com for meeting time and place.
Salvation Army Community Lunch.
Noon–1 pm. 25 Keith Ave., Barre. Barre Congregational Church Community
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10 Meal. 7:30–9 am. 35 Church St., Barre.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 8 Trinity United Methodist Church Community
Barre Congregational Church Community Lunch. 11:30 am–1 pm. 137 Main St.,
Meal. 7:30–9 am. 35 Church St., Barre. Montpelier.
PAG E 2 8 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

Christmas Bird Count

aturday's beautiful weather delivered great birds (4,141 great birds, to be exact) for our 58th
annual Christmas Bird Count in the Plainfield/Montpelier area. Our 45 volunteers walked 46
miles and identified 46 different species—several species more than the last several years of
the count. The highlights were a cooperative flock of pine grosbeaks that are still feeding from the
Hunger Mountain Co-op’s ornamental trees, and a rare golden eagle discovered hunting the farm
fields in Adamant.
For the full report, folks can go to

Photos courtesy of North Branch Nature Center

T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 29

Trash Talk: The Psychology of Litter

by Dot Helling

split my time between walking and run- concept measures litter by political attitudes, odical. Another underlying character factor is throwing your trash on the ground is not only
ning the dirt roads in the Adamant area noting as an example that political fliers hit nonexistent childhood training at home. socially taboo, it’s unethical. Trash left behind
and the back roads and trails of Montpelier the ground if not suited to the person receiv- The only true way to change attitudes and in sacred places—such as our forests, on the
with my partner’s dog Rhea. For me, every ing them. People do “follow the herd,” so the behavior toward littering is to increase public moon, off island shores, and on Mount Ever-
day is Green-Up Day. I take bags on walks more incentives directing them to reduce inap- awareness, education, and participation, and est—is untenable.
and usually return with them full of trash, propriate environmental waste and to recycle to stress environmental issues and financial Tis the season for giving. What better way to
year-round. the better. impacts. There is a scene in an early Mad Men give back to your community than to help
It seems to me that there is a psychology to The psychology of a serial litterer includes episode in which the lead character and his clean up before the litter that’s out there gets
litter, which reflects on the character of the traits such as juvenility; narcissism; a penchant family stop along a roadway for a picnic in buried deep under the snow? Christmas colors
offenders, the composition of the waste, and for not wanting to be inconvenienced; and a the 1950s. They spread out their blanket, eat are red and green. Celebrate the green by pick-
the geography of the place where litter falls. I strong, unreasonable, selfish belief in personal from their baskets and leave all the leftover ing up what does not belong in our natural
believe those who litter fit into categories based freedom. Narcissists believe it is the job of jani- packaging and food on the blanket, only to environment. Making it fun and cool to pick
upon class, habit, ignorance, and indifference. tors and maintenance workers to pick up after then shake it onto the grass and leave it as they up litter boosts participation. As for how to
Which class your local culprits fall into can be them. Poor mental health may also be a factor, casually drive away. Those were times when celebrate the red, I’ll leave that one up to you,
determined by what’s been trashed and by the especially “resignation and despair,” according litter was freely flung from car windows with starting with the joy of holly. Happy Holidays
locality. For instance, in secluded locations in to Steve Spacek in Quora, a 2014 online peri- nary a thought about impact. In today’s world everyone!
parts of Hubbard Park, North Branch, and Sa-
bin’s pasture, you might find piles of beer cans
and snack chip bags, presumably discarded by
youthful revelers. I once dragged tarps along
with party remains from the bottom of the Sa-
bin’s quarry, where it was obvious the place had
been a popular merrymaking site, complete
with a fire pit.
I don’t dare to classify litterbugs by their
gender, educational, or financial status. But I
will suggest that you can identify the offend-
ers from what is found along sections of our
beautiful roadways and fields. In Adamant, the
2-mile dirt byway that is Sodom Pond Road is
a depository for many beer cans, particularly
Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Sip of Sunshine
IPA, and Milwaukee’s Best Ice. I have also
picked up a number of Raspberry Twisted Tea
cans, dog food bags, and diapers. These finds
suggest repeat offenders. If you know someone
who regularly enjoys some of these imbibe-
ments and travels this road, take it up with
them and tell them to clean up their act.
A stretch along Sibley Road near Peck’s Farm
Orchard in East Montpelier is consistently
strewn with Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts
cups and packaging. Around Montpelier’s city
streets it’s shopping lists, receipts, ice cream
napkins, and cigarette butts. Believe it or not,
according to Nancy Schulz, a/k/a Sister Sludge,
the Senior Center’s “Trash Tramps” usually
pick up 3,000 cigarette butts in an hour on
Tuesdays. Along the bike path behind the high
school it's peanut butter cracker, candy, and
energy bar wrappers and snack chip bags, plus
plastic water bottles—the bane of our global
environment—and more cigarette butts.
Research indicates that various behavioral and
attitudinal aspects of littering must be ad-
dressed to understand the phenomenon. There
are active and passive litterers. Active ones in-
tentionally drop or toss, or see a piece of debris
drop yet walk away from it. A passive litterbug
does not know when something has fallen out
of a pocket, does not see it, and therefore un-
knowingly walks away. One concept for help-
ing the passive litterbug is to design packaging
that does not break into multiple pieces, as will
a gum pack or energy gel wrap with separate
parts to open in order to access what’s inside.
Littering degrades space. Studies show the rate
of litter correlates with the amount found in
an area, and that visible, pertinent signage can
deter offenders. Cues such as signage in the
environment and watchful eyes do reduce lit-
tering. The ability to dispose of litter close by
makes a difference, which is a strong argument
for why cities and towns should leave trash
cans outside and accessible in the winter. One
PAG E 3 0 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE

A Sewing Legend Since 1986

To place a classified listing
Closes Her Doors call 249-8666

• Deep tissue massage (relaxes, diminishes PERFECT LOCATION WITHIN A
pain, promotes wellbeing) 3-MINUTE WALK TO CAPITAL.
• Cranio-sacral work (for rewiring the
nervous system out of its trauma loop) Renovated throughout. First floor
• Past-life regression (for healing through handicap accessible, two rest rooms,
Photo courtesy transpersonal experiences) and storage. Includes private off street
of Patty Morse parking, weekly office cleaning, heat,
Isabelle Meulnet, CMT and healer since
hot water, electricity, snow removal,
“I regret to say that I have had to close my shop for good. I have met many wonderful people 1998
landscaping and full maintenance.
over the 33 years I’ve owned and operated Something Sew Right, but now it’s time for me 802-279-9144
to move on. Single or multiple offices starting @ $300.00 per month. Phone: 508-259-
I have had allergies to chemicals and mold for years, but it’s gotten much worse of late partly 7941
from it having been such a damp fall, with lots of it coming in on customers drop offs, and
partly because of a mold problem where I live. I’m in the process of moving my home to a
safe place where I don’t have to worry about it.
I will miss all of you but it’s a small town so I’m sure I’ll be running into many of you. Thank
you so much for your patronage over the years, it’s been a pleasure doing business with you.
Happy Holidays to all.”
Most sincerely,
Patty Morse

• New Construction Design & Build

• Renovations Custom Energy-Efficient Homes

• Woodworking Additions • Timber Frames

Weatherization • Remodeling
• General Contracting
Kitchens • Bathrooms • Flooring
Tiling • Cabinetry • Fine Woodwork


Since 1972
Repairs • New floors and walls
Crane work • Decorative concrete
Consulting • ICF foundations
114 Three Mile Bridge Rd., Middlesex, VT • (802) 229-0480 •
T H E B R I D G E D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 • PAG E 31

The Bridge Will Publish On Wednesdays In 2019

For eight months of 2019, the publication date is on the 1st and 3rd
Wednesday of the month. For four months—January, May, June, and
July—the publication date is on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.
The new deadlines are to ensure that the paper reaches Montpelier
households before the weekend.
PAG E 32 • D E C E M B E R 2 0 , 2 018 – J A N UA RY 8 , 2 019 THE BRIDGE