September 5th, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
VERGENNES —A half-dozen Vergennes-area church congregations are joining forces to pull together money, food, clothing and other resources to help needy residents weather high heating fuel prices this winter.
Working together as the Economic Crisis Community Response Team, or ECCRT, the parishioners have already brainstormed such ideas as filling gas cans with enough fuel to get needy households through the night until they can tap into assistance programs, assembling an emergency firewood pile, reaching out to people who may have surplus vegetables in their gardens, and organizing trips to the Wal-Mart distribution center in Johnstown, N.Y., to get free “seconds” for distribution to those in need.
“We all expect (an economic crunch) is coming, because of the cost of fuel,” said Connie Goodrich, chairwoman of the ECCRT. “Our biggest concern is for seniors on fixed incomes and the working parent who doesn’t qualify for fuel assistance or food stamps.”
ECCRT membership currently includes members of the Congregational Church of Vergennes, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Ferrisburgh Community Methodist Church, Addison Baptist Church and Vergennes Methodist Church. Organizers will reach out to fellow parishioners and non-church-goers alike in their effort to find resources for people they fear may have to choose between food, medicine and heating fuel this winter.
“We are anticipating a crisis of some kind,” said the Rev. Gary Lewis, pastor of the Congregational Church of Vergennes.
The Addison Independent reported on Sept. 1 that the number of families needing help from the Congregational Church’s food shelf has jumped 25 percent compared to the same time last year. The food shelf is currently helping around 125 households.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — After almost a dozen years of practicing medicine in Middlebury, Dr. Breena Holmes has decided to at least temporarily retire her stethoscope and return to the classroom.
No, Holmes isn’t going back to school as a student. She’s returning to be a teacher — in Middlebury Union High School’s Health Literacy program.
“This was generally about my need and desire to be with adolescents,” Holmes said of her transition from physician to teacher, which officially commenced last week.
Holmes has, for the past 12 years, specialized in the care of teens as a physician with the Middlebury Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. She has enjoyed that experience, but has also wanted to interact with youths in a venue not confined to short, clinical visits. When she heard of a vacancy in the MUHS health program (brought on by the recent retirement of longtime teacher Peter Ryersbach), Holmes decided to apply for the post. She landed the position and took her place among the rest of the MUHS faculty last week when classes got under way for the 2008-2009 school year.
Holmes, 42, will officially leave Middlebury Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine on Nov. 1. Until then, she will work mornings at the practice and afternoons at MUHS teaching a health literacy course. Deb Karpak is the leader of the program.
“The way I see it, this is a course in teaching decision making,” Holmes said. “It’s what you need to know about your body and your mental health to make good decisions.”
Course material will touch upon alcohol, drugs, sexuality, personal health and media literacy, among other things.
“The fun challenge for me will be to make it more relevant for the older students,” Holmes said, noting a substantial number of juniors and seniors who will need to take this course this year.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ADDISON COUNTY — When Martha Chesley, a longtime volunteer at the Bristol food shelf, staffed the shelf’s August distribution night a few weeks ago, something struck her as different.
“I noticed people that I’ve never seen come here before,” she said. And, when she later took a look at the food shelf’s stocks, she and the other volunteers noticed that “things were pretty slim.”
Chesley’s gut feeling — that more families are turning out for food assistance, and that food shelves are struggling to keep up with rising demand — turned out to be more than just a hunch.
In a trend that reaches beyond Bristol, area food shelves are seeing increased traffic as more families — more new faces — turn out for food assistance.
“We’ve taken a jump,” the co-director of Bristol’s food shelf, Rebecca Price, confirmed. “Shelves are getting bare.”
Last month, Price said, the number of families coming to the shelf for help jumped from a relatively steady 30 or 35 per month to 46 — a significant increase for a small, donations-only operation.
In Vergennes, at the much-larger food shelf in the Congregational Church, numbers have also been shooting up. (Unlike the Bristol shelf, which opens up just once a month to distribute bags of food, the shelf in Vergennes is open three times a week, serving families from as far afield as Orwell, Monkton and Starksboro.)
Between 2006 and 2007, the number of families using the food shelf at the Vergennes Congregational Church jumped 25 percent, and they’ve seen another 25-percent hike this year, according to food shelf coordinator Mary Ann Castimore.
Now, Castimore said, the shelf is helping feed around 125 households.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The mother of the late Nicholas Garza has hired a forensics specialist to provide a second opinion on the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, which state and local authorities are currently calling accidental.
It was May 27 that local officials found the remains of Nicholas Garza, a 19-year-old freshman at Middlebury College, near the base of the Otter Creek Falls. Garza had been missing since the evening of Feb. 5, when he was last seen on campus.
Middlebury police continue to amass information in their investigation of Garza’s death, including toxicology reports and information from the office of the state’s chief medical examiner. But information, to date, continues to lead authorities to the conclusion that Garza had consumed alcohol on a cold Feb. 5 and then accidentally fell into the frigid Otter Creek.
“There is absolutely no indication of foul play,” said Addison County State’s Attorney John Quinn. “I think we had a Middlebury College student who drank alcohol and probably wandered down the wrong path and fell into the river.”
Quinn said he has reviewed investigators’ reports in the case and believes “every possible lead was run down and every person rumored to have known something about (the case) was spoken to.”
Quinn said he would, if given the opportunity, review any material that may be uncovered by an investigator recently hired by the Garza family to furnish a second opinion about the circumstances surrounding Nicholas’s death.
That investigator, according to Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, is Dr. Michael Baden, who is a medical doctor and forensic pathologist. He is also an author and former chief medical examiner for the state of New York.
Natalie Garza, Nicholas’s mother, could not be reached for comment as the Addison Independent went to press.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
LINCOLN — Lincoln author Louella Bryant’s latest book fell into her lap — literally.
Or rather, it was placed there — in the form of an old box brimming with photographs, letters and a well-worn journal, delivered to Bryant by her husband.
“It was the book,” Bryant said. “It was the whole book in this box.”
“While in Darkness There is Light,” which hits bookstore shelves this week, tells the fascinating story of a group of young, privileged American men who left the United States in the early 1970s. Disillusioned with American politics and blessed with the resources to travel the world, they set off for Australia and an agricultural commune in Far North Queensland.
One of these young men is Charlie Dean, the younger brother of Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Charlie would later disappear in the jungles of Laos and die at the hands of the communist Pathet Lao. (Charlie’s name cropped up in mainstream media during Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, when Howard Dean spoke of wearing Charlie’s belt every day.)
Another of these young men, as luck would have it, was Harry Reynolds, who would later become Bryant’s husband.
Bryant stumbled upon the concept for the book in 2004, shortly after Howard Dean claimed his brother’s remains, which had been unearthed in Laos and repatriated at a ceremony in Hawaii. The trip made the news, and inevitably cropped up in conversation one night while Bryant and Reynolds sat on the porch of their quiet home in Lincoln.
Fri, Aug 29, 2008
The full text of presidential candidate Barack Obama's nomination-acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours - Hillary Rodham Clinton.
To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice-president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors - found the courage to keep it alive.
DENVER, August 27, 2008
Below are the remarks of Bill Clinton as prepared for delivery at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008:
By Bill Clinton
I am honored to be here tonight to support Barack Obama. And to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden, though as you’ll soon see, he doesn’t need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will too.
What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming.
In the end, my candidate didn’t win. But I’m very proud of the campaign she ran: she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wants for all our children. And I’m grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to tell Americans about the person we know and love.
I’m not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of her magnificent address last night. But I’ll do my best.
Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she’ll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.
That makes two of us.
Actually that makes 18 million of us - because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.
Our nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened.
Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.
Below are the remarks of Edward Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008:
By Sen. Edward Kennedy
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Caroline.
My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.
And nothing - nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.
I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat.
But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world. And I pledge to you - I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
For me this is a season of hope - new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few - new hope.
And this is the cause of my life - new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American - north, south, east, west, young, old - will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes, we can, and finally, yes, we will.
Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender and group against group and straight against gay.
And Barack Obama will be a commander in chief who understands that young Americans in uniform must never be committed to a mistake, but always for a mission worthy of their bravery.