Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Countdown Towns: A First Night Guide to Ringing in 2013

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Circus Smirkus
  • courtesy of First Night Burlington
  • Circus Smirkus, First Night Burlington

Circus Smirkus
  • courtesy of First Night Burlington
  • Circus Smirkus, First Night Burlington

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, revelers around the state will watch 2012 go out with a bang of fireworks. Since that’s well past kids’ — and some parents’ — bedtimes, it’s a good thing First Night celebrations in Burlington and St. Johnsbury cater to the younger crowd, too. Read on to find family-friendly highlights for each. Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 10 Stories of 2012

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Vermont Day-cations
  • Vermont Day-cations

In case you missed them, here are this year's most popular items on our website. Happy reading!

Vermont Day-cations
  • Vermont Day-cations

1. “Vermont Day-cations” by Nancy Stearns Bercaw, Kirk Kardashian, Kate Laddison and Cindy Morgan, June-August. The 2012 installment of this annual summer series chronicles road trips to destinations inside and outside Vermont, from the Burlington Waterfront to the Great Escape.

2. “Role Reversal” by Mary Kinney, February. This “Use Your Words” essay follows Kinney’s journey from working mom to stay-at-home mom — and back again.

3. “Kids Town Closes” by Kate Laddison, February. After 22 years, the local children’s department store called it quits. Kids City opened in the same location a few months later.

4. “Men of the House” by Erik Esckilsen, June. In this Dad-issue survey, seven stay-at-home fathers discuss why they traded careers for caregiving. They're part of a growing national trend: An analysis of U.S. census data found that 20 percent of dads with children under age 5 are the primary caretaker in their families.

5. “Biz Kids” by Kate Laddison and Cathy Resmer, April. Reading, writing, ’rithmetic ... and money management? The five young Vermont entrepreneurs in this Money-issue feature are earning — and learning — their money.

6. “The Because Project: Grace Potter,” September. The Vermont-grown rock star credits her music career to her high-school choir teacher, Diane Phillips, who encouraged students to compose and perform original songs.

7. “Cure All” by Jenny Blair, March. The doctor is in — and listening — at Fletcher Allen’s Pediatric Immigrant Clinic. “Nobody ever refuses a vaccine, because they’ve seen people die of these diseases,” says Dr. Andrea Green.

8. “Pretty Fed Up in Pink” by Ken Picard, March. Picard writes about raising a girlie girl in this “Use Your Words” essay, which critiques the “Disney Ditz” princesses: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid.

9. “Beyond ‘Handicapped Accessible’” by Ken Picard, August. Jericho architect Christian Brown is redefining home design for kids with disabilities, thanks to Zoe's Race, an annual local fundraiser.

10. “The Other Mother” by Jaime R. Tibbits, as told to Cathy Resmer, May. A lesbian mom from Franklin County expands the definition of family.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Winooski Memorial Library is Moving

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Packing up the library on December 14
  • Ann-Elise Johnson
  • Packing up on December 14

It's not every day that a city library picks up and moves, but Winooski's Memorial Library has done it twice in the last decade.

Seven years ago, the library moved from its home on East Spring Street to a storefront in the Champlain Mill. That downtown location made a lot of sense when the Mill was a mall. But now it's essentially an office building owned by online grocery software firm MyWebGrocer. So the library is moving again, this time to a space in the O'Brien Community Center on Malletts Bay Avenue, next to the Winooski branch of the Greater Burlington YMCA.

The library closed its doors at the Champlain Mill on Friday, December 14. If all goes well, it will open to the public in its new space on Monday, January 7, according to librarian Amanda Perry.

The new library space in the O'Brien Community Center
  • Cathy Resmer
  • The new library space in the O'Brien Community Center
The library's preschool storytime will resume later in January. You can find updates on the library's 2013 schedule on its Facebook page.

Full disclosure: I'm on the Winooski Library Advisory Board, so I got a tour of the new space on Tuesday. It looks a little bit like a strip mall, but I think the books will make a big difference. There's some art on the way, too. Plus: If you can't walk over, there's plenty of parking right out front.

Incidentally, check out what some local developers did to the old Winooski library on Spring Street. It's now a swanky private residence.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Vermont Parents React to the Connecticut Shooting

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 4:07 PM


The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is every parent's worst nightmare. The pain and shock the Newtown community is experiencing has struck a nerve across the country. As the news spread, local parents took to Twitter, Facebook and their own blogs to process these emotions.

Some asked questions: Should they talk to their young children about the tragedy? How to even begin that conversation?

Some sought support as they prepared to send their kids back to school on Monday morning.

And some sprung to action, voicing their opinions about mental health and gun violence.

Here are a handful of links to community reactions and local news in the wake of the shooting:

Second Chances, Burlington VT Moms Blog
"...I am aching for the parents who sent their little ones off to school this morning, having no idea what would occur after they waved goodbye. For some, that would be their very last goodbye. I am aching for the parents whose children are, thankfully, still alive, but in emotional states that I cannot even begin to fathom. I am aching for the teachers who have a long, hard road ahead of them. My heart aches for them. At the same time, I can’t help but think about my own children and my own goodbye this morning..."

Safety: With Guns? Or From Guns?, Tenor Dad
"...The bad guys will always have bigger and better guns than you. That will never change. Your little gun will not protect you. But if guns were not so readily available, we would see a lot fewer of these horrible mass shootings..."

Sad and Angry, Merlot Mommy
"...I’m sad and I’m angry. I’m angry that people died for no reason. I’m angry that this 20-year-old, practically a child himself, was so sick that he felt the need to go on a rampage and murder 28 innocent people, 20 of whom were elementary school children... This isn’t just a gun control issue. Recognition and support for treatment of those with mental illness would go a long way in preventing these types of tragedies..."

Burlington Schools Brace for Safety Questions in Wake of Conn. Shooting, Burlington Free Press
"In the wake of the tragic school shooting Friday in Newtown, Conn., Burlington educators are prepared to discuss the event with students and parents today — and to review safety protocols, Superintendent Jeanné Collins announced. 'The safety of our students is always the top priority in our District,' Collins wrote in a widely distributed statement. 'We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of your child every day...'"

Advice on Moving Forward, WCAX
"...The incident is a stark reminder in this region of August 2006, when an armed Christopher Williams entered the Essex Elementary School, looking for his ex-girlfriend. Police say he had already killed her mother. Two teachers were shot at the school, one fatally..."

Then this afternoon, access to two South Burlington schools was restricted after authorities discovered a threat to an employee. Turns out the cops found no evidence of any danger. But better safe than sorry.

Home Cookin': Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Have you been baking up a storm for the holiday season? Growing up, it never felt like Christmas in my house until my mom, brother and I whipped up a batch of Chocolate Crinkle Cookies — or, as we more often called them for their powdery white dusting, "Snowtops." (In case you were wondering, my dad acted as the official taster. A very important job.)

These cookies are über chocolaty and have a wonderful fudgy texture. If you'd like, add a few drops of mint extract to the batter for a chocolate-mint combo. The best part is rolling the cookie-dough balls around in a heap of powdered sugar — it's a great excuse for some messy fun! Kids love it.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
makes roughly 30 cookies

4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar, give or take

Beat the eggs and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and canola oil; stir. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Pour the powdered sugar into a shallow bowl. Roll the cookie-dough balls around in the sugar, thickly coating each. Place them on a baking sheet about 1 and 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, until just set.

Let cool, then store them in an airtight container with a scrap of bread to keep them moist.

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Stuck in Vermont: River of Light Lantern Parade

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

After Friday's school shooting in Connecticut, the last few days have seemed especially dark. This video of students, parents and teachers parading their homemade lanterns through Waterbury offers some illumination. Seven Days' multimedia producer Eva Sollberger captured this holiday tradition in a town recently devastated by Tropical Storm Irene.

Since Friday, we've all seen so many — too many — images of what's wrong with the world. Here's something that's right.

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EarthWalk Vermont

EarthWalk Vermont

Plainfield, VT

Founded in 2005, EarthWalk is a nonprofit community and nature mentoring organization dedicated to empowering children, families, and communities to reconnect with and care for one another and the Earth. We offer year round education programs, including the EarthWalk Village School, After-school Programs, Summer Camps, and Adult Field Institute Workshops…(more)

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