By CYRUS LEVESQUE
STARKSBORO — A nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting Vermont-made music hopes to revitalize the site of a former creamery that was once the hub of a lot of activity in Starkboro.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Jericho Democrat Gaye Symington has a special fondness for the word “energy” when she talks about her campaign for governor these days.
The current Vermont House Speaker talks about the energy she would bring to the job as the state’s chief executive, and how energy policy is of paramount importance at a time when gasoline is hovering around $4 per gallon.
Symington enters a race that includes incumbent Gov. James Douglas, a Middlebury Republican, and Progressive Anthony Pollina of Middlesex. Now in her second term as speaker, Symington when away from the Legislature is development director for the Intervale Foundation, a nonprofit organization that runs various agriculture-based ventures in Burlington.
It wasn’t until recently that she decided to forego a re-election bid for her House seat in order to make her first run for governor. She said she looks forward to the challenge.
Symington said she first considered running for governor last fall, but a busy legislative session and other responsibilities forced her to delay her decision until this spring.
“As the legislative session moved on, more and more people came up to me and said, ‘You are the person to do this; we really want you to consider doing this,’” Symington recalled. “It really wasn’t until late-March that I realized I really have to allow myself to think this through in a complete way.”
She formally announced her gubernatorial bid at the Statehouse earlier this month. Symington said she came to the realization she could bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to charting a more prosperous course for Vermont.
By MEGAN JAMES
VERGENNES — After a week visiting friends in Addison County, Pam Shelton is headed back to Botswana, where she lives six months of the year, bringing more than her own luggage. During her stay in the Vergennes area, Shelton collected 1,500 books destined for classrooms and libraries in the southern African country.
About 11 years ago when Shelton moved to Botswana, she founded an organization called The Botswana Book Project. Since then the organization has been responsible for distributing about 275,000 new or nearly new books to children and adults throughout Botswana.
The former head librarian at the Shelburne Village School, Shelton returned to Vermont last week to visit friends, but she couldn’t quite peel herself from the cause. She asked her friends Carol and Tom Spencer, at whose house in Addison she stayed, if they could donate a few books. They asked their friends if they could donate and those friends asked their friends. The results snowballed. Shelton also held an informal fund-raiser during her time at the Spencers.
“I didn’t want textbooks, I wanted the kind of books we all love — Danielle Steele, John Grisham — books kids and adults love,” she said of starting the project.
Shelton plans to return to Addison County again next year and will be looking for more books for Botswana.
The organization has also established 60 primary school libraries in the northern region of Ngamiland.
In Maun, where Shelton lives, the secondary school has tripled the size of its library since the project began to accommodate the addition of about 12,000 volumes.