Friday, December 13, 2013
After uncle's execution, what's next for Kim Jong Un? - USA ...[Hide Story...]CBC.caAfter uncle's execution, what's next for Kim Jong Un?USA TODAYBEIJING – A stooped figure in handcuffs, condemned by a military tribunal, then taken for immediate execution Thursday. Jang Song Thaek is now vilified as a "traitor" and "human scum" in North Korea, where until recently he counted as its second most ...North Korea executes Kim Jong-un's uncle as a traitorTelegraph.co.ukNorth Korea's Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, executedCBC.caExecution sign of a regime on the edgeSydney Morning Heraldgulfnews.com -Fox News -MiamiHerald.comall 730 news articles »
Bangladesh Islamist Abdul Kader Mullah buried after executio...[Hide Story...]BBC NewsBangladesh Islamist Abdul Kader Mullah buried after executionBBC NewsThe Bangladesh Islamist leader executed on Thursday after his conviction for crimes during the 1971 war of independence has been buried. Abdul Kader Mullah's funeral took place in his home town of Faridpur in the early hours of Friday morning and was ...Four killed in Bangladesh clashes after Islamist leader executedReutersBangladesh executes opposition leaderUSA TODAYExecution in Bangladesh sparks violent protestsHouston ChronicleHindustan Times -The Hindu -Voice of Americaall 469 news articles »
4 stabbed in parking lot after Denver Broncos game, police s...[Hide Story...]ESPN4 stabbed in parking lot after Denver Broncos game, police sayFox NewsFour people were stabbed in a parking lot near Sports Authority Field at Mile High after the Denver Broncos game Thursday night, police said. At least one person was in critical condition and multiple suspects were in custody, according to postings on the ...Several stabbed outside NFL football game in DenverCNNFour stabbed in melee outside Denver NFL stadiumReutersMultiple people stabbed after Denver football gameBoston.comChicago Tribune -The Desert Sunall 1,154 news articles »
Bride comes to plea agreement; Newlywed accused in husband's...[Hide Story...]National PostBride comes to plea agreement; Newlywed accused in husband's death pleads ...Montana StandardA Kalispell newlywed accused of pushing her husband to his death in Glacier National Park pleaded guilty to second-degree murder early Thursday afternoon, and will likely spend the next two decades in a federal prison. News of the plea agreement for ...Judge in Montana newlywed killing case accepts guilty pleaFox NewsNewlywed pleads guilty to 2nd degree murderWWLP 22NewsBride accused of killing her new husband by pushing him off a cliff admits ...Mirror.co.ukCarlisle Sentinelall 365 news articles »
American disappeared in Iran on rogue CIA mission - Sydney M...[Hide Story...]Sydney Morning HeraldAmerican disappeared in Iran on rogue CIA missionSydney Morning HeraldWashington: An American man who disappeared in Iran more than six years ago had been working for the CIA in what US intelligence officials describe as a rogue operation that led to a major shake-up in the spy agency. Bob Levinson, an ex-FBI agent, ...American missing in Iran was working for CIA: reportNew York Daily NewsAmerican missing in Iran for six years was 'working for CIA'Telegraph.co.ukReports: American who went missing in Iran worked for CIACNN InternationalTimes of India -ABC Newsall 197 news articles »
List of nominees for 71st Golden Globe Awards - Boston Globe[Hide Story...]E! OnlineList of nominees for 71st Golden Globe AwardsBoston GlobeBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards, announced Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif., by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association: MOTION PICTURES. — Picture, Drama: ''12 Years a Slave,'' ''Captain Phillips,'' ...45 GOLDEN GLOBE-NOMINATED BABESBoston.com'August: Osage County' earns 2 Golden Globes nods for Streep, RobertsTulsa WorldGolden Globe nominees announced: "American Hustle," "12 Years a Slave" leadCBS NewsAlbany Times Union -San Francisco Chronicle -The Standard Digital Newsall 1,613 news articles »
Obama Panel Said to Urge NSA Curbs - New York Times[Hide Story...]New York TimesObama Panel Said to Urge NSA CurbsNew York TimesWASHINGTON — A presidential advisory committee charged with examining the operations of the National Security Agency has concluded that a program to collect data on every phone call made in the United States should continue, though under broad new ...At Senate hearing, NSA director defends spying programWashington PostPresidential Task Force Recommends Overhaul of Surveillance Tactics of NSAWall Street JournalGCHQ and NSA 'track Google cookies'BBC NewsFox News -Christian Science Monitorall 296 news articles »
CRUISIN' CELEBRITY NEWS
Friday, December 13, 2013
Oprah Winfrey Gets Emotional at THR's Women in Entertainment Brea...[Hide Story...]
AceShowbizOprah Winfrey Gets Emotional at THR's Women in Entertainment Breakfast
Winfrey, who is honored with the 2013 Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, gets teary after listening to a poem written by Maria Shriver for her. Tweet. Oprah Winfrey Gets Emotional at THR's Women in Entertainment Breakfast. See larger image · Oprah Winfrey ...
Oprah Winfrey on Forgoing Motherhood, Being 'Counted Out' and the Meeting ...
Oprah Winfrey Reveals Why She Never Had Children: "My Kids Would Hate Me"
Oprah Winfrey lauded at 'Power 100' Women in Entertainment Breakfast
Los Angeles Times USA TODAY- New York Daily News- CBS News all 204 news articles »
'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug': Enter the dragon - The Sea...[Hide Story...]
Indian Express'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug': Enter the dragon
The Seattle Times
A three-star movie review of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” In this second installment of the series, a dragon drives a story of action and love. By Mary Ann Gwinn. Seattle Times book editor. PREV of NEXT. Martin Freeman as Bilbo, left, Jed Brophy as ...
'Smaug' alert: New characters in new 'Hobbit'
'Hobbit' film reunites Freeman, Cumberbatch, sort of
Salt Lake Tribune
The Hobbit's Martin Freeman on how Bilbo Baggins needs his massages to ...
Mirror.co.uk USA TODAY- Reuters- Boston Globe all 1,488 news articles »
Susan Sarandon missed multiple Playboy opportunities - Starpulse....[Hide Story...]
Starpulse.comSusan Sarandon missed multiple Playboy opportunities
Veteran actress Susan Sarandon fears she has missed her chance to go nude for Hugh Hefner's Playboy publication for good after repeatedly turning down requests from magazine editors. The Thelma & Louise star, 67, admits she never had the nerve to strip ...
Susan Sarandon Was Stoned at "Almost All" Award Shows
Susan Sarandon: I Was Stoned at 'Almost All' the Awards Shows
Susan Sarandon: I was high at 'almost all' the award shows
New York Daily News Entertainment Weekly- CBS News- Extra all 64 news articles »
Sideshow: SideShow: U.S. films dominate Globe noms - Philly.com[Hide Story...]
Philly.comSideshow: SideShow: U.S. films dominate Globe noms
"American Hustle": (from left) Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's 1970s crime caper inspired by the Abscam scandal that brought down politicians, including some local ones. Dec. 18.
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler Launch Hilarious Series Of Golden Globes Promos ...
This week's cover: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take over EW!
'12 Years a Slave' and 'American Hustle' nominated for 2014 Golden Globe ...
Washington Post E! Online- Vancouver Sun- Just Jared all 52 news articles »
No trick to 'American Hustle' - just good, chaotic fun - Wisconsi...[Hide Story...]
New YorkerNo trick to 'American Hustle' - just good, chaotic fun
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
David O. Russell's latest film, 'American Hustle,' sports an all-star cast that includes Bradley Cooper, left, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. / Francois Duhamel, Sony/Columbia Pictures. USA Today ...
American Hustle: Film Review
David O. Russell, Building Movies From The Characters Up
Content from Sponsors
Wall Street Journal RollingStone.com- Film Journal all 530 news articles »
Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks' predictably magical - San Jose Mercury...[Hide Story...]
New York Daily NewsReview: 'Saving Mr. Banks' predictably magical
San Jose Mercury News
It's no surprise that a movie about Disney is so Disney-ish, even with one of the main characters spending considerable time complaining about how schmaltzy Disney is. But there's real heart in "Saving Mr. Banks," the story of how Walt Disney finally ...
'Mr. Banks' tells 'Poppins' backstory with charm
Saving Mr. Banks
Time Out Chicago
Review: Emma Thompson is a ripsnorter in 'Saving Mr. Banks'
Los Angeles Times The Seattle Times- Cinema Blend- USA TODAY all 458 news articles »
Beyonce releases surprise new album on iTunes - Fox News[Hide Story...]
CNNBeyonce releases surprise new album on iTunes
NEW YORK – Beyonce has announced and released an album on the same day. Beyonce released her fifth self-titled album exclusively on iTunes early Friday. The album features 14 songs and 17 videos. Collaborators include Jay Z, Drake and Frank Ocean ...
Beyoncé releases surprise new album
Beyonce Releases New Album as Surprise! All the Details Here!
Beyonce Unexpectedly Releases New Album on iTunes
Billboard CNN- Daily Mail- E! Online all 220 news articles »
Friday, December 13, 2013
Introvert or Extrovert? Psychoanalyzing Farmers[Hide Story...]
When John Torres stood up before some 50 farmers and agricultural service providers last week, he said he wanted one thing to be clear: “If you were worried about coming here and doing a Dr. Phil and sharing all your emotions, don’t worry. You won’t have to do that.”
Flanked by a projector screen and a Christmas tree, Torres was running a conflict-management workshop for members of Vermont’s farming industry. Dressed mostly in blue jeans and sweaters, his audience had come from all corners of the Green Mountain State. Some tapped away at laptops; others knitted. Nearly all availed themselves of the free coffee, crackers and cheese at the back of the conference room at South Burlington’s DoubleTree Hotel.
True to his word, Torres never solicited an emotional confession from anyone during the workshop — in part because everyone had already done that with him. In advance of the event, all attendees had taken online assessments that included the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a questionnaire that asks a range of hypothetical questions meant to determine your personality type.
After delivering a short lesson on Jungian psychology, Torres, director of leadership development for the American Farm Bureau, handed back the individual results and launched into an explanation of its four main sets of traits. Under the Myers-Briggs rubric, human personalities are marked by these contrasting variables: extraversion-introversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling and judging-perceiving (see sidebar for more information).
The assessment classified Tina Burt, a dairy farmer sitting near the back of the conference room, as an ISFP — an introvert with sensing, feeling and perceiving qualities. In her late thirties, Burt wears many hats as the owner and manager of a 220-head dairy farm in St. Albans: accountant, payroll manager, laborer, equipment operator. While Burt enjoys the solitary nature of the farm work, she acknowledged, “You get so involved with working alone, you almost forget how to work with other people.”
Burt signed up for the workshop, she explained, to help her interact with suppliers and her four employees. Appreciating that her own introversion had been confirmed by the test, she joked, “It’s good to know that there are people as screwed up as I am.”
If anything, Torres set out to destroy that stigma. The E-I axis of the Myers-Briggs tends to be the most controversial, he explained, because our culture places a premium on being outgoing. While extroverts thrive on interaction, introverts can emerge from their solitude with much to offer — unless groupthink drowns out their quiet voices.
On this day, the quiet types had plenty of company.
After a buffet-style lunch of tacos and cornbread, Matt Chaput — an ISTP with a black beard and shaved head — expressed similar frustrations. As the hoof trimmer at Chaput Family Farms, a large dairy farm in North Troy, Chaput’s boss happens to be his second cousin — and an extrovert to boot. Although the farm holds regular meetings for its employees, Chaput doesn’t always go. He only recently trained under a hoof-trimming expert from Wisconsin, and now likes to focus as much as he can on that task.
Sometimes, he blows up when people try to talk to him. “I’m trying to process things I’ve learned,” Chaput said. “My boss said I don’t work so well with people, and I thought it would be educational for me to learn a little about why.” As a youth basketball coach, Chaput added, he has already learned that every member of a team has a different personality.
Louise Waterman, an education coordinator at the state agriculture agency, conceived of the workshop as a way for producers and service providers to understand their personality types, leading to better management practices. To that end, Torres devoted a healthy chunk of the program to the topic of managing conflict.
According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, another assessment all attendees took ahead of time, there are five ways to manage conflict: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accommodating. After having everyone write down in journals a time they did and didn’t manage to get their way, Torres explained the merits of each approach....
Too Close to the Edge: Vermont Lawmakers to Focus on Shoreline Pr...[Hide Story...]
When legislation to restrict development along the edges of lakes and ponds failed to pass the Vermont Senate last spring, the bill’s supporters left the Statehouse with a new concern: What if property owners began to preemptively clear their lakeshore parcels to avoid restrictions that might win approval in the 2014 legislative session?
It may have already happened at Sunrise Lake, which straddles the border of Benson and Orwell, according to state environmental officials.
“Word is that the landowner did this ‘now’ because he was led to believe that he would lose all control over the management of his own shoreland property if a statewide shoreland bill passes,” ANR environmental scientist Amy Picotte wrote in a July 24 email to Trey Martin, the agency’s senior counsel for government affairs. Their email exchange came to light as the result of a public-records request filed by the Conservation Law Foundation that asked for documentation of any shoreland development “of concern” to ANR since the legislature’s adjournment.
“As you know, CLF was very concerned by the legislature’s failure to enact strong shoreland protection legislation prior to its adjournment,” is how CLF senior attorney Anthony Iarrapino explained the request. “While I hope that those concerns are unjustified, I fear they may not be in all cases.”
In this case, the Sunrise Lake property belongs to Orwell resident Peter Bonvouloir, who bought a roughly 900-square-foot cabin on a two-acre parcel last April, according to Benson town records. A photograph attached to Picotte’s email shows the small white structure perched above the water, on what looks like a freshly logged slope of stumps and raw dirt.
Picotte says ANR employees learned about the clearing while doing some routine monitoring at the lake. Technically, Bonvouloir did nothing illegal, and ANR didn’t take any enforcement action against him. Bonvouloir did not return messages from Seven Days seeking comment for this article.
But for Susan Warren, the program manager of ANR’s Lakes & Ponds Management and Protection Program, the shoreline clear cutting perfectly illustrates “why we feel we need some kind of regulation.” She and other scientists at ANR say Vermont needs to adopt statewide rules governing lakeshore development, rather than relying on a patchwork of local rules — which in many cases amounts to no rules at all.
Vermont passed some shoreland development rules in the 1970s, but they expired a few years later and were not reinstated. Ironically, those old regs inspired legislation in Maine that Vermont lawmakers are considering as they craft proposed restrictions here. Today, ANR says, Vermont is the only northeastern state without a statewide lakeshore protection rule on the books.
According to a 2010 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, shoreline degradation is the number-one problem for lakes all around the country. Vermont is no exception. Here, 82 percent of lake shorelands are in “poor” or “fair” condition because of excessive clearing that’s often compounded by the installation of driveways, parking lots and other impervious surfaces.
In a report to the legislature in January of this year, ANR officials confirmed that damage rates in Vermont’s lakes exceed the national average. In fact, they’ve fared worse, in terms of shoreland disturbance, than other lakes in the northeast region.
A well-vegetated shore is the first line of defense, according to the same ANR report: Vegetation filters runoff, prevents erosion and provides habitat for fish and other shoreland-dwelling wildlife.
But in Montpelier, crafting legislation to protect lakeside vegetation has been an uphill battle. Environmentalists and some lake property owners supported a House-passed version of new rules, which would require permits for most new or expanded clearings for impervious surfaces within 250 feet of a lakeshore. H.526 also calls for ANR to create vegetation management standards for those lots.
But concerns about property rights and governmental overreach caused the bill to stall out in the Senate, specifically in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. Over the summer, lawmakers dispatched a shorelan...
Afterburned? Residents in the F-35 Flight Path Share Their Views ...[Hide Story...]
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy stood with the top brass but sounded a populist note at a press conference last week celebrating the U.S. Air Force’s announcement that 18 F-35 fighter planes would fly out of Burlington International Airport.
“I’ve never seen such a grassroots effort in this state,” Leahy remarked to 200 members of the Vermont Air National Guard.
But for some people who make their homes near the airport, Leahy’s statement didn’t convey the whole picture.
“Yeah, there’s broad grassroots support. But there’s also broad grassroots opposition,” said Julian Portilla, a Winooski resident and associate professor at Champlain College who counts himself among the opponents.
This past weekend, a Seven Days reporter visited roughly 20 households in the flight path in Winooski and South Burlington. Residents were divided evenly between those who welcome the jets and those who do not.
A former Air Force pilot who still flies privately, Tyler Hart lives on Kirby Street in South Burlington. In fact, he and his wife, Kathy, moved there seven years ago in order to better access BTV. Hart says he and his wife don’t mind the noise from the F-16s currently based there, and the couple doesn’t worry about the F-35s on the horizon.
If anything, he and his wife have felt like minorities in their support for the F-35, he said. The months of debate leading up to last week’s decision were dominated by the opposition, Hart said, so when the South Burlington City Council held a meeting near his home for residents to voice their opinions, he took the opportunity to present “a more neutral position.”
In his argument, Hart made a case for the strategic importance of the Vermont Air National Guard base. As the Northeast’s largest, he said it deserved the most advanced military technology. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Hart pointed out, the Vermont Guard was the first to establish an air patrol in New York City.
Several Winooski residents echoed that point, including Kelley and Karon Sims on West Spring Street. Their son just reenlisted with the Green Mountain Boys, they explained, and Kelley used to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. Now retired from working as a lineman and firefighter, Kelley enjoys watching the F-16s fly over their home.
“They’re gonna be noisy,” he said of the F-35s, “but every jet is noisy.”
“That’s the noise of freedom,” his wife added.
Portilla and his wife, Kari Hoose, a teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, listed several reasons for their opposition to the planes. The Air Force hasn’t demonstrated the safety or cost-effectiveness of the jets, Portilla said, and no one has raised the possibility of creating a fund for homeowners whose property values drop as a result of the basing. With three young children, the couple is worried about the impact on students and believes thicker windows should be installed in schools to protect their hearing.
Referring to the closed-door process by which the Air Force ranked locations for the basing of the F-35s, Hoose added, “One of the pieces that’s been undemocratic is that elected leaders haven’t discussed the risk and benefits.”
Although he now lives in Colchester, Tom Campbell, an operations director at the University of Vermont, grew up in the Onion City and on Saturday was repairing his sister’s porch there. He pointed to IBM’s recent layoffs as a reason to welcome the economic development that may come as a result of new jets, which are expected in 2020.
“I’m not a warmonger, but I support the F-35s,” Campbell explained, pointing to the mom-and-pop stores that rely on business from the airport.
But on Valley Ridge Road in South Burlington, William Gay, also a UVM staff member, expressed shock at the Air Force’s decision. The claims of economic development, he says, haven’t been fleshed out. “I think couching it in terms of, ‘It’s going to bring all kind of jobs to the area,’ well, no one’s saying what kind of jobs,” said Gay.
Donna Carlson moved to Kirby Road in 1986 and — although she stresses that she isn’t anti-military — has alwa...
Plane and Not So Simple: Who Spent How Much Arguing For and Again...[Hide Story...]
Seventeen months ago, Nicole Citro tied a green ribbon to a railing on the front porch of her Essex Junction home. Her simple gesture started something big: what Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin both recently hailed as a winning “grassroots campaign” to base a squadron of F-35 fighter planes at the Burlington International Airport.
But to the plane’s opponents, the Green Ribbons campaign is more like political AstroTurf, an effort underwritten by Vermont’s biggest business interests and hyped by the state’s most powerful pols. It’s a case of the 1 percent pretending to be the 99 percent, says Paul Fleckenstein, a leader of the Stop the F-35 Coalition.
Citro, owner of a South Burlington insurance agency and daughter of a Vermont Army Guard master sergeant, acknowledges receiving financial help from organizations such as the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. and the regional and statewide chambers of commerce. Wealthy executives such as realtor Ernie Pomerleau also made contributions, as did “20 or so” local companies, Citro adds.
Together, she reckons, business sources accounted for “around half” of the Green Ribbons campaign’s total take of “a little more than $20,000.” Citro says the rest of the money came from “hundreds” of work a day Vermonters who either made small donations or bought marked-up merchandise such as hats and T-shirts emblazoned with pro-F-35 slogans.
“I love jet noise” was a particularly popular bumper sticker associated with Citro’s campaign.
“It was definitely a grassroots thing. Nicole really worked Facebook hard,” Pomerleau says. And for opponents who depicted the campaign as “a bunch of big, bad business guys” who wanted the F-35 for the money it would bring in, Pomerleau has two words: “That’s bullshit.”
Proponents such as he and Citro were actually motivated by a desire to “stand up for the Guard,” Pomerleau says. F-35 opponents, he charges, were “demonizing” the 1100 Vermonters who serve with the Green Mountain Boys. Citro adds that she got involved because “I didn’t want the men and women of the Guard to think the community wasn’t behind them.”
The plane’s opponents deny they have been critical of the Guard. Their objections, they say, have been directed solely at the F-35.
GBIC president Frank Cioffi depicts the Green Ribbons campaign as a genuinely populist push for a local basing option favored by a majority of Vermonters. “One thing I learned from working with Nicole,” Cioffi says, “is that grassroots support for the F-35 just overwhelmed the opposition” in terms of numbers. That was despite backers not being “as loud or as well organized” as those opposed.
Citro initiated the campaign spontaneously, without prompting from, or coordination with, any established organization, Cioffi adds. “She’s a one-woman army.”
As evidence of the rootsy nature of the effort, Citro points to the “many gas stations and mini-marts” that gave away green ribbons, along with pre-addressed postcards that supporters were asked to sign and send to the Air Force.
Citro says that over a four-month period earlier this year, F-35 backers in Vermont mailed more than 10,000 of the postcards to officials mulling the basing decision. The campaign printed 40,000 cards in all and also bought advertisements on TV and radio stations, as well as in several northern Vermont newspapers, including Seven Days.
In light of that lobbying blitz, F-35 opponents maintain that Citro’s “little more than $20,000” calculation lowballs the amount actually raised and spent in support of stationing the plane in Vermont. Roger Bourassa, treasurer of the Stop the F-35 Coalition, puts pro-F-35 expenditures at “over $100,000.”
The price of printing and mailing all of those postcards came to around $17,000, according to Citro’s calculations. Bourassa, a U.S. Air Force and Vermont Air Guard veteran, estimates, “It must also have cost thousands and thousands” to buy two weeks’ worth of 30-second spots on WCAX, WPTZ and Comcast channels, as well as full-page color ads in the Burlington Free ...
Road Worriers: Budget Cuts Bring Fewer Mobile Meals to Senior Cit...[Hide Story...]
You could say Werner Ostmann was racing against the cold one week before Thanksgiving. In the backseat of his silver Toyota Corolla, 30 sloppy joe sandwiches — paired with string beans and butternut squash — steamed up inside their plastic containers as he navigated the streets of Burlington’s Old North End.
On the door of one North Champlain Street apartment, a sign warned visitors against letting the cat out. Ostmann knocked and called out, “Meals on Wheels!” A petite woman opened the door. Thanking the deliveryman with a shy grin, she took the food and disappeared back into her apartment.
Ostmann returned to his car. Ignoring the electronic reminders to buckle his seat belt, he headed east to Intervale Avenue. “Some people loiter about, but I usually just say, ‘Hi, how you doing?’ You’ve got the hot meals, and you don’t want them going cold,” said the volunteer driver.
Burlington has one of state’s largest Meals on Wheels programs. With funding from the Older Americans Act, the program delivers free, well-balanced meals to fixed- and low-income seniors. Five days a week, a skeleton staff arrives before the crack of dawn to begin cooking. By midmorning, they hand the meals to drivers who spread out across the city and into South Burlington, Shelburne, Charlotte, Winooski and Colchester.
Ostmann has been driving two of the Burlington routes for a year. Tall and white-bearded, the 75-year-old is more senior than some of his clients. But he’s spry and, as a retired geriatric nurse, goes about the job with an air of cordial professionalism. Despite his goal to keep encounters brief, Ostmann inevitably gets waylaid by a few conversations on the morning ride.
“The big man takes care of me,” said Theron Blaisdell, also 75, who rents a small apartment off Pearl Street.
Blaisdell, a Stowe native, first got on the meal program five years ago after pneumonia parked him in Fletcher Allen Health Care for more than two months. Upon his release, a social worker gave him the options of entering a rehab facility or staying in a hotel on Shelburne Road and signing up for Meals on Wheels. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars who was homeless for many years, Blaisdell chose the latter. It was a temporary situation until he could find his own place.
Now Blaisdell lives on Social Security and a veteran’s pension and periodically bikes to the Hannaford supermarket on Dorset Street for groceries. Without a kitchen, he depends on the deliveries for a hot meal, but he doesn’t rely on the service as much as some clients. “I can get around,” Blaisdell said. “But some of these people are tied up. They see a Meals on Wheels driver, and it’s like Christmas.”
But the food offerings aren’t what they used to be. After budget cuts from the federal sequestration earlier this year, the White House estimated that four million fewer meals would be delivered in 2013. The Meals on Wheels Association of America suggests that number may be closer to 19 million.
In many states, that has resulted in waiting lists. But in Vermont, where home-delivered nutrition services are set to lose $52,000 — a 5 percent drop — Meals on Wheels has taken a different approach.
Instead of cutting the number of clients served, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging nutrition director Zoe Hardy explained, the amount of food in each delivery has dropped from two meals — one hot and one not — to just one hot meal. (Through private fund-raising, Hardy added, the Essex program still manages to deliver both.)
An aging population, rising gas prices and a drop in donations haven’t helped the cause. But the program’s administrators argue for its preventive value.
“People want to stay out of the hospital and nursing home. They want to be in their old home, around their old things,” said Burlington Meals on Wheels director Peter Carmolli. “That’s why we exist. We can feed one person for a whole year for less than the cost of one day in the hospital.” Meal deliveries may be the only time clients interact with another person, Carmolli added.
En route back to the Burlington Meals on Wheels headquarters at Cathedral Square, Ostmann launched into a story that explained his own in...
Home for Whom? COTS Feels Out a 'Hood on Transitional Housing[Hide Story...]
Struggling with opiate and alcohol addictions, Aaron Greene should have been relieved to be admitted to an inpatient program in the White River Junction VA Medical Center. But the Essex native had no idea where he would go after the six-week program was over, and he feared a return to his old life — periods of homelessness interrupted by spells of couch surfing with people who wouldn’t help him maintain sobriety.
“You have to call people your friends, and they might not be the best people to be around,” Greene said. “To not have someplace to go, it’s not a good feeling when you’re coming out of a program like that, because everything is up in the air. I didn’t want to feel like a feather, floating around.”
Greene shared his story from the lounge of a transitional-housing facility in Winooski that is owned and operated by the nonprofit Committee on Temporary Shelter, aka COTS. Since summer, his home has been this five-story building — a mix of transitional and longer-term affordable housing units — that feels like a mix between a dorm before move-in day and an antiseptic chain hotel.
Greene rested in a plastic chair near a community kitchen, while an older resident played computer games in the corner. Other residents shuffled in and out, offering the occasional, “Hey, Aaron.”
Although Greene, 26, has a high-school diploma, he knows “that’s not something that’s going to help me in the future,” he explained. “I want to have a career that’s fulfilling. I don’t want to go from menial job to menial job. I want to have to wake up, have my alarm go off at 6 a.m. and get up and take a shower and get a coffee and go to my job and meet someone, you know?”
As Greene attempts to build his life, COTS is trying to expand its housing network to serve a growing population of people with similar needs in Vermont.
The nonprofit recently informed neighbors on Burlington’s Lakeview Terrace that its administrative headquarters, at the street’s southern terminus, could be the future site of 12 to 16 units of affordable housing for single adults. On the same spot, its day station could provide a place for homeless people to meet with counselors and make phone calls between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
COTS hasn’t had a permanent day station since 2012, when flooding destroyed the former facility in downtown Burlington. After two years at a temporary location — in the United Methodist Church — the organization is looking for a new spot. When other options proved too pricey, COTS officials circled back to HQ, at the corner of North Street and North Avenue, as a potential building site.
COTS has no final design for the project, nor an estimated price tag, and is several months from filing even a preliminary plan with Burlington City Hall. But it has already reached out to neighbors to address their concerns.
COTS executive director Rita Markley acknowledges the Old North End project could be a tougher sell than any other endeavor proposed by COTS. In 31 years, COTS has grown from a single volunteer-run emergency shelter to an organization of 52 paid staffers that offers an array of services to homeless men, women and children at nine locations.
The Winooski complex where Greene lives is on a quiet stretch of Canal Street it shares with a few homes and businesses and an alternative school. Before COTS arrived, Markley said the site was nothing more than an abandoned hole in the ground.
The current day station, one block from Church Street, is adjacent to student-saturated Buell Street.
The proposed North Avenue facility, in contrast, is surrounded on all sides by residential housing, the most vocal occupants of which are expected to hail from Lakeview Terrace, which runs three blocks north along a bluff overlooking the lake.
The neighborhood has a reputation for opposing development projects. Most recently, some residents were engaged in a protracted, and ultimately unsuccessful, battle against the upscale condominium project at the street’s northern terminus. From permitting to touch-up paint, it took eight years to get the 25 rental units known as Packard Lofts built and on the market.
COTS is no stranger to such neighborhood opposition. While many of its recent buildin...
Vermont's Chief Justice Is Speaking Out Against the Drug War: Is ...[Hide Story...]
In recent weeks, Vermont Chief Justice Paul Reiber has gone public with an unusually assertive critique of the war on drugs and the “tough on crime” approach that has defined criminal justice for decades.
Reiber, who holds an office in which occupants usually avoid saying anything remotely controversial, has stopped short of recommending policy or criticizing any individuals or government bodies. But in a pair of speeches and a brief interview with Seven Days, he has declared ineffective the current reliance on police and punishment, and touted the merits of treatment-based models for dealing with crime rooted in substance abuse.
“Even with our best efforts, we are losing ground,” Reiber told a crowd at Vermont Law School last month. “The classic approach of ‘tough on crime’ is not working in this area of drug policy. The public responds very well to this ‘tough on crime’ message, but that does not mean it’s effective in changing individual behavior. If the idea is law enforcement alone will slow and eventually eliminate drug use altogether, that isn’t going to happen … The criminal justice system can’t solve the drug problem.”
Experts note that Reiber’s stance isn’t exactly revolutionary, as judges across the country have become more comfortable in recent years speaking publicly about issues affecting the court system.
But, backers say, his entrance into the politically fraught debate about drug policy lends a powerful voice to their cause.
“The public sees them as more of an authority figure and having a better understanding,” State Rep. Alice Emmons (D-Springfield) said of Supreme Court justices. “They command more respect than a legislator or commissioner, and they are held in high regard.”
After initially declining an interview request, Reiber spoke with Seven Days and explained his reasons for speaking out.
As top administrator of the court system, Reiber said he is worried that failures to curb addiction have led to wave upon wave of both criminal and family court cases that have pushed the system to a breaking point. Often, he said, the Vermont judiciary takes too long to provide resolutions that don’t end up fixing anything.
“It’s a fine line that we have to walk; we don’t make policy,” Reiber said in an interview. “Our oath says that we will defend the Constitution, and if you look at the Constitution, my responsibility and the responsibility of every judge is to protect the system as well as make independent decisions on the issues that come before us. I guess I’m trying to do what’s right in my mind for the state.”
Sitting and Standing Up
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Reiber earned his law degree from Suffolk Law School in Boston and worked in a Rutland law firm from 1986 until 2003, when former governor Jim Douglas, a Republican, appointed him associate justice. Although Reiber’s political leanings are not clear, observers say the vast majority of Douglas’ appointments — as with most governors — came from within his party.
Douglas promoted Reiber to chief justice the following year.
The appointment made Reiber the leader of the five-member Supreme Court, which hears appeals from Vermont’s criminal, civil and family courts. The job also came with an administrative responsibility: The chief justice is the head administrator of the court system and oversees the judicial budget.
It was in that capacity that Reiber first came to public attention outside the Supreme Court’s chambers.
In 2009, he became the first chief justice in 20 years to address both chambers of the legislature, which faced deep budget cuts as a result of the recession. Reiber advocated consolidating the state’s 60 separate courts under one management system, culling the number of probate court judges and stripping independently elected assistant judges — commonly known as “side judges” — of much of their power.
Those ideas were well received and largely implemented. Reiber said his more recent speeches, which he delivered in September at a drug court conference in Boston and at Vermont Law School earlier this month, are an extension of those efforts. <...