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Archive - 2007

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November 8th

Ferrisburgh vet survived two sinkings in 17 hours

November 8, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

FERRISBURGH — Sixty-nine years ago, Ferrisburgh’s John Lenk joined the U.S. Navy because jobs were scarce during the Depression, his older brother had already signed, and the Brooklyn native bought into a famous marketing slogan.

“There wasn’t much going on, and I said I’d join the Navy,” Lenk, now 89, said at his Basin Harbor Road home. “‘Join the Navy and see the world.’”

It was 1938. Lenk didn’t know that World War II loomed, and he would see more of the world than he ever imagined: Japan; China; Hawaii; the Phillipines, where a kamikaze and a torpedo gave him two unscheduled dips into the Lingayen Gulf; the Aleutian Islands; Panama; Leyte Gulf; the Palau and Admiralty Islands; Guam and Guadalcanal, to name a few stops.  

“I had no idea,” said Lenk, who served the Navy for 20 years in all — after the war he continued traveling the seas on two ships before ending his military career with California shore duty. 

During WW II he worked as a water tender and non-commissioned officer in the steam room of the high-speed mine-sweeper U.S.S. Long, keeping her engines purring as she cleared the way for Pacific Ocean invasions.

Before the war Lenk first trained at Newport, R.I., and Norfolk, Va., then headed to Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay. It was there he was assigned to the Long, a 314-foot  destroyer capable of 25 knots. The Long was soon converted to a minesweeper and sent through the Panama Canal to the West Coast, where it joined the Pacific Fleet.

OFF TO WAR

On Dec. 5, 1941, the Long was in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor and was sent on maneuvers 700 miles to the west. There, Lenk and his shipmates received the stunning news of the Dec. 7 Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.

full story

Murder-suicide rocks Brandon

November 8, 2007

By LEE J. KAHRS

Brandon Reporter

BRANDON — Two young children are without fathers after a love triangle erupted in a tragic murder-suicide in Brandon on Nov. 1.

Police said Todd English, 32, of Forestdale went to an apartment at 26 Union St. to confront his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Corey, 27. The couple had split up in September and Corey was in a relationship with Richard Griffin, 35, whom she had been with in the past, police said.

According to the account given by Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell, English forced his way into the apartment and began to argue with Corey, who led English back out of the house. English then re-entered the apartment and shot Griffin in the stomach with a .357 Magnum revolver. The injured Griffin stumbled outside and went to the neighbor’s for help. English then stood on the front steps of the apartment and shot himself in the head. He died instantly.

Griffin later died of his injuries following surgery at Rutland Regional Medical Center. The incident took place at approximately 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, capping a deadly 24-hour period in Western Vermont in which five people were killed.

Corey had a child with each man, a 14-month-old daughter with English, and a two-year-old son with Griffin. Brickell said only the baby girl was in the apartment at the time, but did not witness the shootings.

Brickell said Corey got a temporary restraining order against English on Oct. 18, which was valid for 10 days and expired  four days before the shootings. The chief said Corey apparently never pursued a final abuse order against English.

Whether or not that would have prevented last week’s tragedy is uncertain.

“It’s debatable,” Brickell said. “If there had been a final order in effect, maybe he would not have done what he did.”

full story

November 5th

Fire consumes Bristol antique shop

BRISTOL ASSISTANT FIRE Chief Peter Coffey, New Haven Chief Mike Dykstra and Bristol Chief Mark Bouvier take a much-needed break after battling an early morning fire at Beck’s Alley Antiques Shop in downtown Bristol last Friday.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


November 5, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — The Beck’s Alley Antiques Shop on Main Street in Bristol burst into flames Friday morning. No one was hurt and firefighters quickly brought the fire under control, but damage to the building was heavy.

“It looks like there is an extensive amount of damage inside,” said Steve Leopold, co-owner of the building with his wife Bridget. He said they have lost most if not all of the antiques inside.

The blaze began around 7 a.m. Linda Smith, owner of the Village Corner Store across the street from the antiques shop, said that a regular customer first noticed flames and called her attention to it. She came out to look in time to see the windows blow out from the heat, and called 911. The Bristol and New Haven fire departments responded quickly and blocked off that section of Main Street for about three hours while they worked.

According to the Bristol Fire Department Assistant Chief Peter Coffey, the fire probably started on the west side of the building near the main door of the antiques shop. Neither the cause of the blaze nor the extent of the damage had been determined as the Addison Independent went to press. Bridget Leopold said that there was a propane gas heater next to that wall of the building.

Neither of the neighboring buildings was damaged.

full story

$2.25 million in rail upgrades planned for Middlebury

November 5, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) will soon initiate a total of $2.25 million in repairs to approximately eight miles of railroad line that will encompass much of downtown Middlebury and extend into New Haven.

That was the word last week from AOT Rail Program Manager Richard Hosking, who said work had been scheduled even before the Oct. 22 train accident in Middlebury that saw 18 freight cars derail with some of them spilling gasoline into the Otter Creek. Vermont Railway officials have cited a broken section of rail line as the cause of the accident.

Hosking said the first leg of the project will involve replacing rail ties and tracks beginning at the line’s intersection with Elm Street, extending south for around three miles. Work on the ties — the wooden planks that the metal tracks sit on — is scheduled to begin next spring. The AOT will then contract with an outside firm to replace the actual rail in a job Hosking hopes will begin next fall.

The AOT has budgeted $1.5 million for this segment of work, according to Hosking.

Also slated for work next year is a segment of the rail line extending from Elm Street north for around five miles into New Haven. That project, budgeted for $750,000, will involve replacing rail ties.

“In the future, we may come in to replace the rails,” Hosking said. “The rail there is in better shape than the rail south of Middlebury.”

In the meantime, he believes the current rail line in Middlebury is safe for freight traffic — in spite of some of the split ties and loose spikes that have unnerved area residents.

“The rail that’s in there now is perfectly adequate,” Hosking said. “The reason we are replacing it is to make sure any improvements we do meet passenger rail status.”

full story

Photographs represent a requiem for wildlife

November 5, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — The deer hangs upside-down above fresh snow, a chain wrapped around the base of its antlers seeming to pull it closer to the ground. On one side of the dead animal is the grill of a truck, on the other a folded lawn chair. 

The black-and-white photograph, taken on Route 100 in Londonderry, was the first in a series Orwell artist May Mantell began upon moving to Vermont eight years ago, a series that focuses on animals killed, intentionally or otherwise, and their unlucky place in the human world.

A show of the photographs, titled “Animals, a Requiem,” is on display at the Johnson Gallery of the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Art Building at Middlebury College through Monday, Nov. 12. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 4:30 p.m. Mantell will discuss her work in a talk at the gallery.

For Mantell, taking pictures of dead animals is a way to acknowledge not just the indifferent human approach to animal death, but to human death as well.

“I think of them as poems about mortality,” she said.

This became clear to Mantell in 2003 at the start of the Iraq war. At the same time, almost to the day, she brought her camera to the Orwell coyote derby and took pictures of piles of coyote corpses as they were dusted with a light snow. That’s when she knew her work over the last few years had a theme.

“It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on,” she said. “It was just a real sadness about the way humans often treat each other and other creatures, without considering the preciousness of life.” 

full story

November 1st

WWII vet honored 62 years later

LIFE-LONG MIDDLEBURY resident Charlie Novak was presented on Sunday with a belated bronze service star in recognition of his service in the Pacific during World War II.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell



November 1, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — It was 62 years ago that an Army medic all but laughed at the notion of recommending Charlie Novak for a Purple Heart for a shoulder wound he received in 1945 during an air raid on the island of Leyte in the Philippines during World War II.

Novak, a Middlebury native, never really felt slighted by the medic’s actions.

“I kind of got a kick out of it,” Novak, now 86, said last week.

Well, the United States government last month made up for any shortchanging of recognition for Novak and more than 70 soldiers who served with him in the 317th Troop Carrier Group of the U.S. Army Air Force. In a belated move that has yet to be fully explained, the U.S. military last month awarded Novak and his comrades the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star Attachment, in recognition of their actions during WWII in the Pacific.

Gov. James Douglas formally presented Novak with the award, along with two other medals, at a special ceremony at the Middlebury American Legion headquarters on Wilson Road on Sunday, Oct. 28.

“I’m very proud,” Novak said, his voice brimming with emotion as he looked down at the shiny medal that was more than a half-century overdue.

“I have some good memories, but also some bad memories, because a lot of good guys were killed,” he said.

His military journey began in 1941 in a rather unconventional fashion.

full story

Migrant workers to breathe easier under new Middlebury policy

November 1, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Undocumented migrant workers in Addison County who have steered clear of the public eye for fear of being deported can now walk openly without fear in Middlebury — providing they abide by the law, just like any citizen.

The Middlebury Police Department recently adopted a new policy on how to respond to reports of undocumented foreign nationals. The policy stipulates that Middlebury officers will only report to federal authorities undocumented foreign workers who:

• Have committed a crime.

• Are “suspected of conduct or conspiracy that is criminal in nature … or which undermines homeland security.”

• Are suspected to be involved in human trafficking, or have “no credible means of identification nor any U.S. citizen or consular officials to provide identification, country of citizenship, residence and purpose for their presence for the United States.”

The new policy, unanimously endorsed by town selectmen last week, also states that Middlebury police will accept the validated Mexican Consular ID card, or “Matricula Consular,” as proof of identity and documentation. Middlebury now becomes one of only a few communities in the state to recognize the controversial Matricula Consular as a valid ID.

“We wanted a standardized way on how to deal with undocumented immigrants,” Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said. “Obviously, it’s a looming issue in Addison County, with the numbers (of undocumented foreign workers) we have here.”

full story

Personal battles show challenges of eating disorders

November 1, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — At a doctor’s visit about a year and a half ago, Jade Denny, who was 19 and five feet tall at the time, weighed in at 60 pounds. She had been anorexic since her junior year at Vergennes Union High School, but it wasn’t until this appointment that she acknowledged she had a problem.

If Denny didn’t get help now, her doctor told her, she was going to die.

“When am I going to die?” she asked.

“A week or two, a month, maybe more,” she recalled her doctor saying.

But it wasn’t easy getting help. On paper, Denny looked fine. Her pulse and blood pressure were normal; the hospital wouldn’t admit her.

Over the next month or so, a nutritionist tried to reintroduce her to food. She ate, knowing it was a matter of life or death, but still entrenched in her eating disorder, she began refusing liquids. Her mother, Maria Farnsworth, would later see this as a blessing in disguise; dehydration was her ticket to Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Once admitted, Denny and her mother could meet with a mental health team to talk about treatment for her anorexia.

According to ANAD, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, approximately 7 million women and 1 million men in the United States currently suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia, or self starvation; bulimia, eating large amounts of food and then purging that food by vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics; or binge eating. 

Denny was one of about 2 percent of adolescent girls in the U.S. with anorexia.

“I said to Jade that day (at Fletcher Allen), ‘This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say, but this isn’t working and you can’t come home,’” Farnsworth said. “‘You need to go and get help.’”

full story

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