Friday, September 30, 2016

Science at the Hatchery: lessons in conservation and learning

Science at the Hatchery: lessons in conservation and learning
By Julia Purdy
CHITTENDEN—Tuesday, Sept. 20, was Conservation Field Day at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in Chittenden for over 100 fifth- and sixth-graders from Chittenden, Leicester, Proctor, Rutland Town, Shrewsbury and Mount Holly. School buses delivered the groups and their parent-chaperones at 9 a.m. and the children spent the day in structured activities, learning about forest and stream ecology; tree identification; fish species, culture and wild habitat; soils and wetlands; and the behavior of wild streams.
Colorful sleeve patches and beige shirts were a common sight as the students also learned by example about careers in natural science and biology from uniformed personnel from both the state and U.S. fish and wildlife services and the U.S. Forest Service.
The day began with small-group tours of the Atlantic salmon rearing program at the hatchery, led by hatchery manager Henry Bouchard and William Olmstead of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. During lunch, students camped on the lawn and gathered to feed the landlocked salmon swarming in the open-air pool.
After lunch, the student groups finished rotating through field stations spread out along Furnace Brook, which also provides the water for the Atlantic salmon rearing units.
At the “Fish and Streams” stations, Shawn Good of the Vt. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife described his profession and how he became a fish biologist. He netted some small trout for students to get a good look at and quizzed them about fish species in Vermont and their habitats. Chris Alexopoulos, a fisheries and wildlife technician with the U.S. Forest Service, demonstrated “fish shocking,” showing how electroshocking is used to temporarily and harmlessly stun fish in the water, enabling them to be identified, measured and weighed. A brown trout was captured, along with bottom-feeding sculpins and insects that fish feed on.
At the “Forests” station, Lars Lund, Vt. Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, taught the group how to identify tree species, using leaves and a plant identification key that he had developed. At “Soils,” Angie Quintana of the U.S. Forest Service encouraged students to think differently about dirt, examining handfuls for iron deposits and learning how bacteria in soils have contributed to medicines. The flume table, which reproduces the behavior of streams by flowing water through a bed of plastic beads, was staffed by Shannon Pytlik, a river scientist with the ANR River Management Program. Students placed tiny houses and miniature “trees” along the “stream,” observing how fast-moving water undercut the banks and pushed the plastic beads downstream.
The group leaders were friendly, accessible and informative while reinforcing listening, respect for the subject matter, and good manners. When it was time to leave, there were choruses of “Thank-you” to the instructors.
Nanci McGuire, district manager of the Rutland Natural Resources Conservation District (RNRCD), conducted the pre-departure debriefing by asking for raised hands to answer two questions: “what you learned” and “what you liked.” The best-liked were the flume table (“you shouldn’t build houses on a stream”), fish shocking (noting the “special boots and clothes”), and forestry. Feeding, identifying and handling fish was also memorable.
What did students remember? Fish live under fallen trees, different fish require different water temperatures, large culverts are needed to handle floods, fish need streamside trees. All too soon, the schoolbuses arrived and the students quickly lined up to board.
“That age group is a great group to reach out to,” said Ethan Swift, watershed coordinator with the ANR, “to get kids away from electronic distractions and out into nature at their time in life to understand and enjoy natural resources.”
Science at the Hatchery has been held twice a year since 1998. The event was cosponsored by the RNRCD, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), with the participation of the U.S. Forest Service and assistance from  second-year students from Stafford Technical Center’s forestry and natural resources program, with their advisor Dan Lovell.
The hatchery in Chittenden was established by the state of Vermont in 1906 and was known as the Pittsford Hatchery until 2009, when it was renamed for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had visited it. From 1995 to 2004 it raised trout for New England and lake sturgeon for the Finger Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. It now raises brook and lake trout and both landlocked and sea-run Atlantic salmon, and participates in the landlocked salmon restoration program in Lake Champlain.
The hatchery is open to the public 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 365 days a year. It is located at 4 Holden Road, No. Chittenden.
Photo by Julia Purdy

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Black River Folk and Blues Fest News Release

Attachments11:00 AM (25 minutes ago)

Contact:  Bruce Farr
(802) 228-2190
(Photo Attached)

Local Businesses and Individuals Offer Music Students Free Tickets to Folk & Blues Fest, Oct. 8

September 29, 2016 (LUDLOW, VT) – Thanks to the generosity of several local businesses and individuals, dozens of music students from Ludlow’s Black River High School will be enjoying a complimentary ticket to the upcoming 3rd Annual Black River Folk & Blues Fest. 

The October 8th event will bring a variety of folk-and-blues-based musical acts and talented musicians to the stage at the Ludlow Town Hall auditorium. At last count, more than 20 students of Black River High School music teacher and band director Katie Herrle will be attending the show free of charge.

The event is hosted by the local, non-profit community group “FOLA” (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium). Bruce Farr, FOLA’s Program Director, said that he is excited at the prospect of hosting so many young, musically inclined students at the show. “I couldn’t be happier about it,” Farr said. “It’s the reason we founded this music fest to begin with—to try and expose local Vermonters and others to some really great American roots, jazz and blues-based musical performances.”

Farr said that when he and other FOLA members approached a handful of local individuals and businesses about the event, many of them purchased extra tickets and offered them to local young people.

Katie Herrle, Black River High’s band director, echoed Farr’s enthusiasm for the ticket giveaway. “My students and I are grateful and thrilled to have this opportunity,” she noted. “I’ve been playing my music students some selections from the groups they’ll be seeing and hearing live on October 8th, and they’re getting very excited about it.”

This year’s music fest has lined up three top-notch, New England-based musical groups for its third annual event. They include American roots folk singers and songwriters, “The Meadows Brothers”; the western Massachusetts-based alt-country trio, “The Lonesome Brothers”; and the “Becca Byram Band,” featuring legendary guitarist Michael Oakland and drummer Tim Griffin, accompanying consummate jazz and pop artist Becca Byram on keyboard.

Tickets for the event are available at a $5 discount in advance at Ludlow’s People’s Bank, the Wine & Cheese Depot and the Book Nook bookstore. They’re also available online at the FOLA website, They’re also available at the door the evening of the show.

Attachments area

Stop the Stomach Flu

Joseph McDonald

7:53 AM (3 hours ago)
How is the stomach flu transmitted (norovirus and others)?

Answer: You catch the stomach flu when virus-infested feces, vomit, or nasal secretions get into your mouth. Norovirus can be present in saliva.

The stomach flu is highly contagious and is primarily spread through the fecal-oral route. Technically, you need to swallow the virus to get the illness. When a person has viral gastroenteritis, the viruses are present in their feces and vomit. If another person accidentally swallows a few of these viruses, they get sick. Anything that you put into your mouth that has the viruses on it, can make you sick. (Food, your fingers, pen cap, toothbrush, etc.)

Improper Hand Washing

The main reason these viruses spread like wildfire is thought to be improper hand washing. We aren’t washing our hands good enough after we go to the bathroom or change a diaper. Here are some examples of how the stomach flu can be spread by dirty hands. A person who is ill or contagious and uses the bathroom can leave some viruses on the faucet, flusher, toilet seat, or hand towel to wait for the next person. A restaurant or cafeteria worker who is contagious with a stomach virus, can start an outbreak by chopping lettuce with a microscopic fleck of feces under her fingernail. Diaper changing is another easy way to spread illnesses. Just think about all the things you touch after you change the baby's diaper BEFORE you wash your hands--especially if you have a kicking, twisting 1-year old. You touch the baby's clothes, the box of wipes, maybe a door knob, a light switch, your sleeves, and the faucet. A few of the viruses on your sleeve dry and fall onto your sandwich later that day. 48 hours later you are wondering where you went wrong. It is hard to do a perfect hand washing. So, if you or a family member actually has a stomach bug, I would recommend using a hand sanitizer that kills norovirus such as Clorox Hand Sanitizer Spray on your hands after you wash them in the sink. For more hand sanitizer suggestions, read this page.  I would also recommend wearing disposable gloves to change a sick child's diaper and clean up.

Viruses are easily spread all over the house.

I know what you are thinking. The last time someone in your house got the stomach flu, you washed your hands till they bled and you still got sick. This is partly because  when a person (especially a child) is sick with viral gastroenteritis, the vomit and diarrhea get a whole lot of other places besides hands. Their clothes get covered and perhaps the carpet and toys. When the viruses are all over the place like that, it is hard to prevent other people in the house from catching the illness. It is hard to clean up every microscopic spec of vomit. If the sick person is an adult who makes it to the toilet, you have a good chance of containing the virus. But when it is a child who vomits in the middle of the family room, it is very difficult. Make sure to read the page about cleaning products that kill norovirus including Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes. In addition, your clean laundry is NOT sterile. I have done experiments that show that there are still live bacteria in clean laundry even after washing on hot, with chlorine bleach, and 1.5 hours in a hot dryer. I imagine that some viruses would survive that as well. I would wash all sick laundry 2 times AND make sure to wear disposable gloves when transferring the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

Stomach flu viruses can be temporarily AIRBORNE!

Norovirus has also been shown to become temporarily airborne when a person vomits. This is most likely true for the other gastroenteritis viruses as well. In one study, a person vomited in a hotel dining room. People eating at other tables all over the room got sick which could not be explained by direct contact. People at closer tables were more likely to be sick than people whose tables were farther away1. When the virus particles settle out of the air, you have a nice light coating of virus all over the room. So, if your child vomits in the middle of the family room carpet, it is very easy for everyone to be exposed. People can breath in and swallow the temporarily airborne viruses or touch contaminated surfaces and then put their fingers in their mouth. For example, the viruses can land on the TV remote control. When you are flipping channels and eating popcorn, you may eat the virus.

It stands to reason that if virus particles can be aerosolized when a person vomits, the same phenomenon can occur when a person has explosive diarrhea. I have no scientific evidence to back me up, but I suspect that when you walk into a bathroom that smells horrid from a person having diarrhea, there may also be viruses in the air. Stinky public bathrooms are no longer just a funny joke.

Norovirus can be present in saliva, unfortunately.

Everyone else, including the CDC, will tell you that norovirus is only present in vomit and diarrhea. However, norovirus is probably present in saliva in some people. Here is a research article that checked saliva samples from a family of 6 who all had norovirus. They took saliva samples every morning for 18 days and checked them for norovirus using RT-PCR. You won't be able to read the entire article unless you buy it. I bought it. The results show that all 6 family members had norovirus present in their saliva for 9-13 days after the vomiting STOPPED from norovirus!  2 of the family members who never had vomiting (only diarrhea) still had norovirus present in their saliva for 10 and 13 days!!! That is really, really upsetting. I could only find one research article that investigated this. Hopefully, more research will be done so we can be certain of how scared we need to be. Rotavirus has also been shown to be present in nasal secretions 2,3,4.  Therefore, people coughing and spitting when they talk can contribute to the spread of norovirus and rotavirus.

Contaminated Food and Water

Viral gastroenteritis is often spread through contaminated food and water. Third World countries with poor sanitation are ravaged by these illnesses. Here in the United States we generally have clean municipal water (I don’t want to think about the fact that our drinking water is not regularly tested for these viruses) but we still have an occasional problem with food6. Shellfish harvested from waters contaminated with sewage are frequently the cause of norovirus outbreaks. Fresh fruits and vegetables irrigated with water contaminated with sewage have caused outbreaks7. If a restaurant or cafeteria worker is contagious with viral gastroenteritis, they can easily contaminate your food. If several people get sick 2 days after a family reunion, it may not be that the potato salad was left in the sun too long. It may be that Aunt Frieda is getting over the stomach flu, and her potato salad was contaminated with her virus. When these viruses are transmitted through food it is called food borne illness. It is a type of food poisoning that is contagious.

--Annie Pryor, Ph.D.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fireball flys over Mount Holly

From: mtanger 

There was a fireball over Mount Holly at about 9:45 last night. Here is the site if you saw it and want to report it. This site has a map and many people in Vermont saw it. Two of us in town have reported seeing it that I know of. It was awesome!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016




Editor’s note: This commentary is by Bran Towbin, the Plainfield Selectboard chair and road commissioner who is running for the Washington 6 state representative seat. He also is owner of a wholesale flower farm in Plainfield.
The towns of Calais, Worcester and Middlesex have wonderful elementary schools by any measure. This is due to the dedication of administrators and a caring community. One board member crawled into the attic to personally install insulation to save taxpayer dollars. Calais and Worcester have managed to produce these results by fully repaying loans, there is no debt on their books. How has Montpelier rewarded this extraordinary record of accomplishment? By trying to disband their local boards and raising the possibilities that these schools will be closed due to inefficiency. It’s called Act 46.
On paper, this law tries to address five critical problems: provide equity in education, help students exceed standards, maximize operational efficiencies, promote transparency and accountability, and deliver taxpayer value. The approach is to centralize power via forced consolidation. The smaller school boards would be replaced by larger regional boards with membership based on population; the more residents, the more representation. In this scenario one could easily see smaller towns being outvoted and having their local schools closed in the effort to create “efficiencies.”
One would think this would be a “win” for larger schools. Strangely the Berlin School Board, one of the largest in the district consisting of Berlin, Calais, Worcester, East Montpelier and Middlesex, is dropping out. I asked Carl Parton, a seasoned school board member, why they’re abandoning the process? To paraphrase his response, “Well I was excited about Act 46’s goals, but when you look at the actual effects of the law, the result is zero for five in terms of accomplishment.” His concerns are not only that his school would lose control, but that the debt of the other towns would be forced on his local taxpayers. This fear was echoed by other districts. Under the new rubric, Berlin, Worcester and Calais would subsidize Middlesex and East Montpelier. This policy seems to metaphorically sanction robbing from the poor to pay the rich. Not surprisingly, East Montpelier, with a whopping $8.17 million note, may be more keen on the process. It is interesting that Montpelier is insulated from the internecine school conflict as their student population excludes them from having to consider the “preferred education government structure.” This is the actual jargon listed in the law betraying the bias lawmakers have baked into the process. This is a legislative ruse to give the appearance of not forcing a solution. The law READS as if there is another way forward. Towns have the possibilities of creating “alternative solutions.” The problem is that the hardworking, overburdened school boards must jump through so many hoops that the possibility of taking other paths is an illusion.
Vermont values, however, are rooted in small towns. The Legislature needs to do the arduous work of speaking plainly to plain folks. In the end taxpayers are going to know the truth.

The Legislature, combined with Gov. Shumlin’s cheerleading, sold this bill as a fix to rising school costs and uncomfortable choices. The governor told tales of smaller, inefficient schools with poor outcomes. There are probably cases where that exists and Act 46 is a remedy. In the Calais School District the law exacerbates problems, rather than creating solutions. The ugly specter of town vs. town is unleashed with good neighbors turning against one another. Accusations will fly that each community is acting selfishly rather than considering the best interests of our children. The cause of this strife is a badly written law with a misguided, albeit well intentioned, cookie-cutter approach to problem solving. It will wreak havoc.
The Golden Dome has been in the habit of creating legislative fixes that try to smooth the rough edges of a democratic process only to foment rancor at the local level. The temptation is understandable for lawmakers and administrators. Why deal with troublesome school boards when you can dictate policy via superintendents and the Agency of Education? This mirrors the unfortunate inclusion of small towns in the Act 64 water cleanup bill. Municipal road foremen aren’t known to be a political juggernaut and can easily be coerced into doing a great deal of expensive dirty work.
Vermont values, however, are rooted in small towns. The Legislature needs to do the arduous work of speaking plainly to plain folks. In the end taxpayers are going to know the truth. There are difficult decisions to be made. There are difficult conversations to be had. It is understandable that consolidation of power is attractive to people who want solutions. Sadly we need to recognize that squelching small voices leads to bigger problems. We all respect the work of credentialed officials and those with doctorates in education. The taxpayer, however, gives more deference to the school board member installing the insulation in the attic. Those people can’t be left silently standing in the corner. Their children are in those classrooms. Their tax dollars are being spent. They don’t need a lecture about the process. They need to be driving the discussion. That is the Vermont preferred solution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oct activities at the FML

Weekly Toddler and Pre-School Story Time
Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am
Fall Session Runs September 7th- December 15th
Each week features a theme, music, and a craft or activity

Read with Oreo
Thursday October 20, 2016
School Age Children are invited to the library to read a story with Oreo the Reading Dog. 

 Halloween Week Fun!
Monday Movie Night
October 24, 2016
5:00-6:30pm – All ages welcome
Sony Pictures Animation© Presents “Hotel Transylvania 2
Snacks will be provided

Books and Cooks
Creepy Concoctions  
Grades 2 & up   October 27th 3:00-4:00 pm
Join in the fun as we make some creepy treats for our 2016 Halloween Party!

FML’s Annual Halloween Party
Friday October 28th 3:30-4:30pm
All ages welcome- Food, Fun and Games!

Crafty Tuesdays
3:00-4:00pm Grades K-6
4th- Fall Owls- Using corrugated cardboard strips participants will learn how to make some unique owls, perfect for fall decorating!
11th Spooky Pearler Beads- Colorful  beads will be used to make some cute or creepy Halloween theme key chains, magnets or pins!
18th- No crafts this week
25th- Mini-Halloween Piñatas- Halloween is near! Let’s make some cute mini-piñatas perfect for hiding a sweet treat for a friend! 

STEM Discovery Zone!
Monday October 17th 5:00-6:00pm
Newspaper Tower Challenge
Working with a partner or in a team, can you create a tower using only masking tape and newpaper that is strong enough to support a pumpkin?

Dorothy’s List Book Club
Wednesday October 26th 3:00-4:00pm
Grades 4-8
Circus Mirandus” by Cassie Beasley

“Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.”

Sacha Krawczyk
Youth Services Librarian
Fletcher Memorial Library
Ludlow, Vermont 05149

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Bernie", a Dark Comedy, Next FOLA Movie in Ludlow, Oct. 1

Note:  Photo from movie cited attached

"Bernie", a Dark Comedy, Next FOLA Movie in Ludlow, Oct. 1

"Bernie", a 2011 American black comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, and written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, will be FOLA's (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) next movie offering in the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Saturday, October 1, at 7 PM.

The film stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. It is based on a 1998 Texas Monthly magazine article by Hollandsworth, "Midnight in the Garden of East Texas," that chronicles the 1996 murder of 80-year-old millionaire Marjorie Nugent in Carthage, Texas by her 39-year-old companion, Bernhardt "Bernie" Tiede. Tiede proved so highly regarded in Carthage that, in spite of having confessed to the police, the district attorney was eventually forced to request a rare prosecutorial change of venue in order to secure a fair trial.

In small-town Carthage, Texas, local assistant mortician Bernie Tiede, a beloved member of the community, becomes the only friend of the wealthy, recently widowed Marjorie Nugent, who is widely considered cold and unpleasant by the other townsfolk. Tiede, in his late 30s, and the elderly Nugent quickly become inseparable, frequently traveling and lunching together, though Tiede's social life becomes hindered by Nugent's constant and sometimes abusive need for his attention.

Tiede murders Nugent after growing weary of the emotional toll of her possessiveness, persistent nagging, and non-stop putdowns. For nine months, Tiede takes advantage of her poor reputation to excuse her absence with few questions while using her money to support local businesses and neighbors. Finally, Nugent's stockbroker uses Tiede's neglect of previously agreed upon payments to enlist the help of her estranged family.

The film went on to receive acclaim from critics with praise for its direction, accuracy to the real-life event, "Town Gossips" element, and particular praise for Jack Black's portrayal of Tiede, many calling it his best performance yet. Roger Ebert noted, "Richard Linklater's Bernie is a gently told and unexpectedly amusing true-crime comedy that benefits from an impressive performance by Jack Black".

The Movie is rated R for a violent scene and some crude language.

As with all FOLA movies, the movie is free; donations are appreciated. Popcorn will be supplied by Berkshire Bank while FOLA will provide water. For additional information, call (802) 228-7239 or visit FOLA's web site at

Friday, September 16, 2016

TRSU ACT 47 STUDY COMMITTEE MEETING Cavendish Town Elementary School September 20th @ 6 PM

            Cavendish Town Elementary School
            September 20th @ 6 PM


LPCTV is re-running the video of the 9/6 Act 46 Meeting on LPCTV Channel 10.  It will air:

Fri, 9/16 at 7 pm and midnight;

Sat, 9/17 at 8 am and 2 pm;
Sun, 9/18 at 6 pm
Mon, 9/19 at 6:30 am4 pm and 9:30 pm; &
Tues, 9/20 at 7 am, and 11 am

In addition it is available as a video-on-demand at

Tuesday, September 13, 2016



    This question was asked at the Annual General Meeting of the Mount Holly Community Association. Here is a brief review: The Mount Holly Planning Commission, faced with the task of updating the Mount Holly Town Plan by 2018, contracted with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) for assistance. The Executive Director of the RRPC, Ed Bove, held public meetings, assisted by a four-person volunteer Advisory Council, and in May he produced a Summary of Meetings for the Planning Commission. LPCTV videotaped the June 20, 2016 meeting of the Planning Commission at which the Commission began using the Summary of Meetings to update the Town Plan, beginning at the Public Safety section. The minutes of that meeting – being unavailable for public inspection at the Town Office as required by the Open Meeting Law – apparently do not exist. Thus, citizens have no access to the conclusions of commissioners regarding plans for Public Safety.
 The Commission did not discuss the Town Plan update at its 17 minute meeting on July 18: There was no meeting of the Commission on August 16 – apparently due to lack of a quorum. I believe it would help citizens keep current with progress on the updating of the Town Plan if the Planning Commission followed the practice of the Select Board which posts its Agendas and Minutes on the Mount Holly NewsFlash.

Annette Lynch