November 29, 2015

Around Town (3/26/09)

March 26, 2009

Kindergarten registration time

Parents of children from Williston and St. George who will be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2009 can start registering their kids for kindergarten. Registration will be held at Williston Central School from April 7-9. Parents should call the school at 879-5806 to make an appointment for them and their children. Registration forms will be mailed to parents prior to their April meetings.

Passport Day

Saturday is Passport Day in the United States, and the Williston Town Clerk’s Office is hosting a passport fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The so-called Passport Day in the USA on March 28 is a U.S. Department of State “national outreach event to inform the public about the upcoming changes to U.S. travel document requirements, provide passport information and accept passport applications from U.S. citizens from coast-to-coast and border-to-border,” according to the Department of State’s Web site.

Town Clerk Deb Beckett said Williston’s passport fair will be a chance for U.S. citizens to obtain passport information and submit passport applications.

As of June 1, U.S. citizens returning to the country by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda will need to present a passport book, passport card, or other U.S. government approved travel documents. Passport requirements already exist for air travelers.

Beckett said residents can call her office at 878-5121 or go online to for information on the cost and how to apply for a passport book or a passport card. Passport information is also available by calling the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778.

Town Hall open Saturday for dog registrations

Town Clerk Deb Beckett announced that dog owners in Williston must register their pets by April 1 each year. Residents who have yet to register their dogs can do so at Town Hall, which will also be open on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dog owners will need to bring proof of a rabies vaccine for their pets. Rabies vaccines are good for three years. For more information call Beckett at 878-5121.


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Sports Notes (3/26/09)

March 26, 2009

Dobrowski nominated as male athlete of month

Sophomore Robbie Dobrowski, the leading goal scorer for the Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team, is a nominee for the Vermont Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Male Athlete Of The Month award for February.

The swift and elusive Redhawk forward was an offensive powerhouse in the march to the title.

In a tense, come-from-behind, 3-2 semifinal victory over Spaulding High of Barre, Dobrowski scored two third-period goals — the first to tie the game at 2 and the second to win the contest with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

In the 2-1 championship victory over Essex High, Dobrowski fired in the initial score of the game in the first period to set the stage for the victory.

VSSA members will determine the winner from a list of nominees within the next week.

Local athlete swatting for Panthers

Nick Angstman, a productive hitter, pitcher and catcher for Champlain Valley Union High and the S.D. Ireland American Legion baseball teams in recent years, is now making his mark with the Middlebury College baseball team.

Angstman lashed a run-producing hit Monday for the Panthers in a 7-6 loss to Southern Maine (8-1) in Chandler, Ariz. Middlebury is now 3-2 on the young season.


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Vermont Youth Orchestra plays Williston (3/26/09)

    Courtesy photo by David Yandell
Noah Chornyak on the double bass and Quinn Parker on trombone play the sixth Brick Church concert, titled 'Vive la France!' on Friday night. Chornyak and Parker were two of six Vermont Youth Orchestra members who performed. More pictures under Web Exclusives Photos.

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Pings of spring echo through CVU gymnasium (3/26/09)

March 26, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

About three weeks ago, the familiar sounds of bouncing basketballs in Champlain Valley Union High School’s Bremner Gymnasium came to an end, along with the conclusion of the winter sports season.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Chrissi Whitaker awaits a pitch from Emily Himberg during varsity softball practice on Monday afternoon.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Varsity softball players Heather McLaughlin (left) and Susan Parmelee run through a drill on Monday.


    Observer photo by Mal Boright
Tim Albertson, the new varsity baseball coach at Champlain Valley Union High, watches over Monday's praactice..

Visitors to the gym late Monday afternoon were greeted instead by the ping of softballs meeting metal bats as coaches Corinna Hussey and Katherine Riley put their varsity and junior varsity girls softball teams through an indoor practice.

This week the softball team had the gym from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., with the baseball team taking over at 5 o’clock.

Hussey is working with 14 players at the varsity level in preparation for opening day at home April 14. A scrimmage against Mount Mansfield Union is slated for Saturday, April 11.

“We have a younger group this year,” the coach observed.

Hussey was able to get the team outside one day last week.

“Our field had dried off pretty well,” she said.

But mid-20s temperatures on Monday drove the team back into the gym.

New head man for baseball

First-year head baseball coach Tim Albertson put his team through its indoor paces late Monday afternoon.

“We had 50 try out for the two teams (varsity and jayvee), which is the biggest number in a few years,” Albertson said.

The coaches kept 18 at the varsity level and 19 on the jayvees.

The coach noted the varsity team will be young, with but four seniors currently on the squad.

Although this is the first year Albertson has the reins at CVU, he has worked with many of the players in the past through his coaching of 16-and-under players at the Champlain Edge AAU baseball program.

No doubt, like most high school baseball (and softball) coaches this time of year, Albertson keeps checking for that warm south wind to condition the grassy surfaces for outdoor drills.

The news concerning the CVU baseball field Monday was not promising for early activity.

“The field is wet and there is still frost in the ground,” said assistant coach and field guru Onnie Matthews.

Thus it will be indoor work for at least the next few days for the Redhawks.

Albertson said the one thing he wants of his players is “to understand situations.”

Thus, there may be a lot of repetitive drills so the little things — such as throwing to the proper cutoff man or base, knowing when to take the extra base and so many other details of the game — become ingrained.

The first test for the players will take place April 9, when Vergennes High comes to CVU for a scrimmage. Another scrimmage with Mount Mansfield Union is set for April 11.


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Everyday Gourmet (3/26/09)

Recession lessons

March 26, 2009

By Kim Dannies

The crashing economy presents a unique “shop-portunity” to score more bang for our nutritional buck at the supermarket. While downgrading the quality of our food is never the way to go, reviewing a few shopping and eating lessons can make a big difference to our waistlines and bottom lines.

First and foremost, do your homework. Study supermarket circulars to spot weekly deals and learn the prices of staple items for comparison. Next, make a strategic shopping list: List general sections of the store and plug needed items in by section. On the reverse side, sketch out the week’s meal plan. Planning provides focus, reduces impulse purchasing and ensures that you have all the ingredients you need for the entire week. No more multiple trips for forgotten items (this is what really jacks up the food budget.)

Buy food in a natural state whenever possible. While overly processed packaged foods are always more expensive, coupons are a smart way to load up on healthy non-perishables like canned beans, pasta sauce, whole-wheat pasta and tuna. A stockpile ensures that nutritious food is always available, and a quick, home-cooked meal is only 15 minutes away.

Don’t forget to shop at ethnic and farmers’ markets. In addition to inexpensive produce, they also sell unique bottled sauces and cooking condiments below retail prices of stores. Always buy what’s in season and branch out of your culinary comfort zone by experimenting with new varieties of veggies.

Fruit is a challenge this time of year: Expensive and a big carbon footprint, yet it’s vital to our well-being. Invest in citrus fruits that pack well in lunches; homemade applesauce is always a hit for snacks or dessert. I splurge on honeydew melon and black grapes to prep containers of fruit salad for workdays.

Penny-wise is pound goulash: Don’t buy cheap bulk stuff you don’t really want to eat. You’ll end up tortured by palate-numbing meals you hate, squashing any inclination to stay on a healthy nutritional track. Rather, invest in smaller amounts of quality foods that satisfy you and keep you enthusiastic about mealtimes. (This is how the French manage to eat well yet stay slim.) For example, to trim your meat budget, eat pork or chicken sparingly — as a condiment with grains or rice — rather than as a main course.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Invest in an electric rice cooker. Aromatic steel-cut oatmeal is ready to eat when you wake up in the morning; a healthy brown rice stew perfumes the air as you walk in the door for dinner; and it even works as a mini Crock-Pot for braising cheaper cuts of meat. Now that’s what I call a bargain.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to


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Paving a green path from CVU to Charlotte (3/26/09)

Harcourt, town researching alternative transportation options

March 26, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Biking to school late last summer and early fall, Champlain Valley Union High School senior Rebecca Harcourt had an epiphany: Maybe more students at CVU would be inclined to seek alternative transportation if the opportunities existed.

In warmer weather, Harcourt, a Charlotte resident, twice a week biked 22 miles roundtrip between home and school. Her enthusiasm for alternative transportation recently earned Charlotte a $6,800 federal transportation grant, which is helping to fund her research and complete her graduation challenge at the high school.

Concerned with climate change and greenhouse gases, Harcourt set about researching ways Charlotte could improve its roads and transportation options to CVU. She said biking to the high school sometimes proved scary on the narrow roads.

“I was biking a lot and noticed the roads were all windy and terrible,” Harcourt said.

While she discovered that having the roads widened and bike lanes installed would be an impractical and expensive fix given the economy, Harcourt continued her research. She looked into reducing the number of bus stops, installing bike racks on school buses and considered other alternative transportation solutions.

Her work caught the eye of Charlotte Selectboard Assistant and Town Planner Dean Bloch. With the help of Bloch, Harcourt applied for a federal grant through the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Bryan Davis, transportation planner with the organization, said nearly $300,000 was doled out to communities for a variety of programs. The money is part of the Transportation Action Grant, and could only be given to communities researching alternative or consolidated transportation. Besides Charlotte, municipalities that received grants for transportation studies included Burlington, Hinesburg and Richmond.

Davis said the grant became available through the federal highway systems budget.

“It was the (federal) money and the public’s money, so we wanted to make sure we had access to it,” Davis said, specifying that the grant is not part of the federal stimulus package.

To receive the money, Charlotte must contribute a cost equal to 20 percent of the total grant. Bloch said those funds would come through the volunteer hours he and Harcourt will donate.

“The grant is for planning and research — it’s not for construction,” Bloch said.

The grant is also paying the nonprofit group Local Motion to help Harcourt in her research. Local Motion is an organization that promotes bicycling and walking as alternative forms of transportation across Vermont. The group has done similar transportation studies for businesses and towns, but never for a high school, said Charlene Wallace, Local Motion’s director of operations.

Harcourt said she’s been “extremely busy” with her project so far. Last month, she developed a survey — the results are pending — for students at CVU to see how they get to the high school and how they might use alternative transportation.

For instance, she wanted to determine the feasibility of and interest in setting up a common meeting point for cyclists to take a bus to school. In other words, would students go to a bus stop instead of a bus coming to them? Reducing bus stops would reduce greenhouse gases, Harcourt explained.

“It seems like that might be the easiest way to go at this point,” Harcourt said.

CVU already has new, express bus routes leaving centralized locations in Williston and Shelburne. Harcourt said she’s talked with CVU Transportation Director Ken Martin about creating an express bus for Charlotte.

Installing bike racks on school buses might be the next step, although Harcourt said she’s still researching that piece.

Harcourt is also looking at creating an online ride-share program, where students could sign up for carpools. She’s also having CVU participate in “Way to Go!” week in May with the help of Local Motion. “Way to Go Week!” encourages Vermonters to seek alternative modes of transportation to work and can set up challenges between businesses to see which ones reduce the most greenhouse gases. CVU will encourage students to bike or carpool to school during that week and tally its greenhouse gas savings, according to Wallace.

Wallace said Harcourt’s dedication and hard work are unique to the Champlain Valley.

“She’s the only one in the area doing something like this,” Wallace said. “She’s incredible.”

Harcourt said much of her work would only be the start of creating easy alternative transportation methods from Charlotte to CVU. She hopes another student next year will pick up where she leaves off. And she’s still holding out hope for bike lanes on Charlotte’s back roads.

“I’m mostly hoping to raise awareness and maybe get people to find alternative ways to school,” Harcourt said.


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Little Details (3/26/09)

One good turn …

March 26, 2009

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

I still have the acceptance letter from the Ivy League school. I thought they’d made a mistake by admitting me — a student from an obscure state college — to their graduate program. I expected a telephone call rescinding the offer, a curt apology for the oversight. I withdrew $200 from my savings account and sent in the non-refundable deposit without thinking.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s former National Security Advisor, was on the faculty. I indulged the fantasy of becoming his research assistant, translating Polish-language texts to further his research in international affairs.

It wasn’t meant to be. Four paragraphs into the letter, the graduate program “regretted” their inability to offer me fellowship funds. The next paragraph, cautionary in tone, estimated living expenses — on top of stratospheric tuition — would run hundreds of additional dollars per month.

A second acceptance letter arrived from a quality, albeit less prestigious program. I did the math. With a tuition fellowship, a loan and a part-time job, I could swing it. Attending my dream school would have required embracing a financial nightmare. I couldn’t fathom the level of debt I’d have to assume. I ended up in Pittsburgh instead of New York City. I fell in love with my studies and the handsome doctoral student who lived upstairs.

My nephew had his own dream of attending a prestigious prep school. He did all the right things. He studied hard, earned excellent grades and performed loads of community service as a Boy Scout. He took the entrance exam, earning one of the top scores.

The acceptance letter arrived. A partial scholarship was dangled. Although the gesture was appreciated, it was a mere chink in impenetrable armor separating him from a stellar high school education. He needed a full scholarship if he was ever to grace the halls of the esteemed institution from which young men headed to places like Boston College, Holy Cross and Stanford. His parents, neither of whom attended college, didn’t realize there might be room to negotiate.

The application was withdrawn. My nephew accepted the seeming inevitability. It was on a visit to Boston that the topic came up and I asked my nephew and his parents if I could make an overture to the school. My background in college admissions told me there might be some wiggle room.

With their permission, I penned a letter to the headmaster. I was able to depict a young man who stayed the course when the world around him crumbled. His sister, suffering from a chronic illness, went through a series of dismaying hospitalizations. With his parents enmeshed in her care and the requisite wrangling with insurance companies, he managed to do his schoolwork, prepare meals and get himself off to school each day. When his parents’ marriage ended, he started working to ease financial stresses at home. When an unmet mortgage displaced his family, he lost his backyard framed by tulip trees but not his desire to study and achieve. Good grades are one thing. Good grades when life throws you a curve ball are entirely another.

The headmaster called me the day he received the letter. I acknowledged I shared more than perhaps he wanted to know. I explained I did so with my nephew’s permission.

“We really wanted him to enroll,” the headmaster said. “Why didn’t his parents say they needed more financial help to make this happen? We met with some families three and four times to figure out aid.”

The headmaster’s call, although reassuring, couldn’t help the fact that all of the financial aid was disbursed for the year. My nephew had to wait another year and attend the local public high school cited by state officials for crumbling facilities. He studied hard, joined the band and made friends. He earned straight As and sent the prep school quarterly grades with a note expressing his hope to attend the following year. He asked his teachers for letters of recommendation.

My nephew is now a junior at the prep, attending on a full scholarship. He studies hard, plays rugby and made the National Honor Society. He’s made a strong connection with a history teacher considered the most demanding academic on campus. He waits tables on weekends.

What’s the beautiful piece of this story? My nephew’s scholarship is funded by an alumnus, a self-made millionaire, who received an academic scholarship that enabled him to attend the school decades ago. One good turn truly leads to another.

As college acceptance letters arrive in coming weeks, families must be encouraged to realize that sometimes there is room to negotiate. Too often, too many of us think “no” means “NO.” Sometimes it means maybe.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at or


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Visions of Youth (3/26/09)

I plead the fifth …

March 26, 2009

By Kayla Purvis

On March 11, I was told that I would be taking a sample entrance exam.

For the United States.

Hmm, say what? I thought for sure I would fail. After all, despite loving politics, I hardly knew anything about how the government is run.

The test is not hard at all. Simple questions, no trick answers: “What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?” Or, “Which is NOT a right or freedom from the First Amendment?” Out of 32 questions, I was wrong on four; I passed the test. But I couldn’t help but wonder how many people — U.S. citizens — wouldn’t pass.

My sophomore English/Social Studies class has just entered a unit on government, focused on rights. We’ve been learning about the amendments, Constitution, Declaration of Independence and things alike. Just a few days ago, we picked three controversial topics that interest us and had an all-day field trip to St. Michael’s College to kick off the sophomores’ latest challenge: Trial Search.

Trial Search is a process in which each CVU sophomore spends every day of their week (no joke) researching, studying, interviewing or writing about their topic. My topic is freedom of speech in schools, so until further notice I will be investigating whether or not students truly have freedom of speech in school.

Other topics include gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, privacy in home, limits on rights to bear arms, euthanasia and searches in schools.

The importance of this? To teach us about our rights. Many Americans know more about daily television ads than their own rights; I’m one of them. But I’m learning my rights and learning about how to use them.

Do you know how old a person has to be in order to be a member of the House of Representatives? How about the length of a Senator’s term? Or the three qualifications needed to be elected president? More importantly and applicably, what five essential freedoms does the First Amendment guarantee to Americans? Who chooses the president if neither candidate gets the majority of electoral votes?

Things like this are things that we should know. People had to fight for and defend our freedom many times for it to remain intact today. Our essential freedoms and natural rights were highly valued by the Founding Fathers and others who believed in this country. What good are we doing by ignoring them?

The writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall, while summarizing the beliefs of French philosopher Votaire, penned the phrase, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Hall and, by extension, Voltaire, imply how necessary it is for people to know, use, and recognize their rights. Our entire country was based on the idea that citizens should have the power. Though we, as citizens of the United States, technically don’t hold all the power, we still have enough to make a dent in how this country is run. If we know our rights, we will be more able to impact our country for the good.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School.


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Letters to the Editor

March 26, 2009

Kathy’s spring

She welcomed me with a smile and warm gestures of camaraderie. She accepted me into her place of work, her life, her home and her most intimate moments. I became her peer in the workplace and learned from her experiences. She gave me an opportunity. Her ears were always available to listen without the interference of ego. She openly confided in me with trust. She laughed often and made it easy for me to laugh with her. She was open to adventure and sought out ways to taste the world. She encouraged me to pursue my dreams and to allow myself to let go. She was always willing to try and not afraid to fail. She was strong in so many ways and did not allow the weak moments to break her spirit. She allowed herself to cry out and ask for help. In the end, she helped me. That is how I remembered Kathy eight hours and 16 minutes into the vernal equinox of 2009.

The day was sunny, but crisp. The birds sang with glee at Kathy’s freedom from pain. The verdant land prepared a soft bed for Kathy’s landing. The oaks, birches and maples stood tall and prayed in honor of a beautiful woman. The snow upon the mountain peaks slowly melted as they cried in awe of a terrible loss.

Kathy’s long winter solstice has finally come to an end as spring opened its doors and Kathy took her last breathe of hope and renewal. And then, the high cirrus clouds moved aside and the blue sky smiled upon Kathy as it wrapped its arms around her delicate frame to carry her home.

Kathy resided and lived in Williston for several years. She will be missed by many.

Melissa H. Cronin

South Burlington

Editor’s note: Kathy Shea was a Williston resident and longtime nurse for the Williston School District. She passed away on Friday. Letter writer Melissa Cronin read this tribute at Shea’s funeral on Monday. A story about Shea is on page 3.


Beware of cap and trade

A new “carbon tax” is coming and it will result in the rationing of fossil fuel products. The end result will not cause any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions but will cause a significant and regressive tax disproportionably affecting lower income Vermonters. Energy intensive jobs, like most remaining manufacturing positions, will be outsourced overseas where energy can be produced more cheaply.

Today, 85 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels. New base load electrical power costs will be many times higher than they are today — that is, if you can find somebody that is selling. This limitation will effectively prevent or limit all future economic growth. Farm and food costs will sharply rise while productivity and availability will shrink.

Cap and trade bills are nothing short of a government reengineering of the American economy, moving an ever increasing percentage of wealth away from your family and to the government. Wood is a carbon based fuel and is unlikely to avoid the new tax scam.

Ken Lay of Enron said cap and trade “could do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative.” Enron is gone but an endless parade of financial speculators are anxious to squeeze more and more money out of your energy requirements without producing anything but middleman profits from new and endless energy regulations. As if the financial speculators haven’t messed things up enough already.

Shelley Palmer



A grateful board

The Champlain Valley Union school directors would like to express our gratitude to the CVU community for its support in the recent budget vote. In this difficult economic time, we are thankful to live in a community which makes the education of its children a priority.

A special thank you to Williston resident Dan Grey, who served as a “Budget Buddy” over the 2.5-month budget development process. He studied reams of data, sat through multiple meetings, questioned expenditures and provided valued opinions as the board debated budget adds and deletes.

We would also like to thank voters for approving the release of funds for the auditorium improvement project. This fall we will have an exciting, up-to-date performing arts center for the entire community to use and enjoy.

CVU’s mission is to prepare every student to succeed in the complex and competitive 21st century. Thank you for your support.

Jeanne Jensen, Meg Hart-Smith, Jonathan Milne, David Rath

Champlain Valley Union High School Board


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Guest Column (3/26/09)

All a-Twitter about Facebook

March 26, 2009

By Tom Kearney

I guess I expected something more when I joined Facebook. But I didn’t get it.

Facebook is the place where Americans go to meet these days, at least in the virtual sense. It supplanted MySpace as the hot social networking site.

Linked-In is more crass; it’s mainly about making money. Twittering is for lemmings, a place where you can find someone whose opinions you like, and then follow them to the ends of the earth.

But I expected Facebook to be more than the place where fourth-grade bullies try to reconnect with you, or where old flames want to see your profile photo so they can see how much weight you’ve gained, or where friends expose their most banal feelings.

Here’s a sample of comments, and comments on those comments. These are real comments; just the names have been changed:

    • Bill Smith is getting the bike ready ….

    Sally Callahan: I was just thinking the same thing.

    Jimmy Suggs: Let me know if you want to ride:)

    • Liz Hurley has a turkey in the oven.

    Christine Waller: When will it be ready?

    Liz: 4 p.m.; come on over.

    Kim Stevens: Dinner at Liz’s. Yay!

    • Brad Shaw is motivated — have hit the elliptical five days in a row! Happy Monday everyone!!!

    • Jane McHugh wants to tell Monday “thanks, but no thanks.”

    • Melissa Crean did not sleep well and is very tired.

    • Jane McHugh wishes voodoo really worked.

    • Bob Allison is lucky to have Lisa to take care of me when I am sick.

    • Liz Hurley is feeling blissful.

    • Jane McHugh is home from Connecticut and misses her sweetie already.

    • Brad Shaw: Pizza time — Yum!!!

    • Jane McHugh is tragically unhip.

Then, there are gifts and causes and groups and quizzes:

    • Bobby Jones placed a delicious Cadbury Egg on Jill McSorley’s profile.

    • Kyle Friedman took the “Where should you live?” quiz and the result is:


    • Shirley Jenkins took the “Where should you live?” quiz and the result is:


    • Brad Shaw is the 867,569th person to join the cause A World Without Breast Cancer. Join him.

I figured there’d be something more substantive. Ha!

I’m not that big a fan of syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, but she sure nailed the social-network weakness with this comment:

“Twittering isn’t entirely new, of course. The Facebook generation has been sort of twittering for years, posting prosaic bulletins about their whims and whereabouts, providing a glimpse of what the world would be like if hummingbirds could type: ‘Jordan is busy busy!’ ‘Josh is driving to the mountains today.’ ‘Kate is sooooooooo never drinking martinis again.’”

Problem is, once you sign up for Facebook and acquire all these friends, how do you bail out? How can you tell 20 or 30 people you don’t want to be their friend anymore? You could blame it on Facebook, saying you can’t afford all the time it sucks out of your life, but that would be like saying you don’t have time for their pizza and bikes and Cadbury eggs.

So, here’s my idea for a new line of work. I think it could be quite lucrative.

Call it the Social Networking Profile Attendant.

What you do is hire somebody to tend to your social-networking connections. You give the attendant your user name and password, and a dozen thoughts or comments or ideas.

The attendant minds your Facebook account, and looks for comments that might actually be important; those comments can be forwarded to you by e-mail.

Twice a day, the attendant drops in one of your evergreen comments, and all your friends think you’re right there with them, paying attention. You might need to update the comments every three months or so, to keep up with the seasons, but if you’re particularly creative, maybe not.

Think of the upside: You never have to visit Facebook and its ilk again. You keep your friends, you stay in touch, you’re informed if anything important happens in your friends’ lives — and you get your own life back.

How much is that worth?

Tom Kearney lives in Montpelier. He is managing editor of the Stowe Reporter.


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