Approximately 400 gardeners or garden lovers turned out July 13 for the annual Flynn Garden Tour, raising approximately $22,000 for the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts’ Student Matinee Program through ticket and lunch sales and a raffle. The program brings schoolchildren from all over Vermont to performances and provides their teachers with curriculum to make these experiences part of their lessons. ‘The people and town of Williston really rolled out the red carpet for Sunday’s tour,’ said Cheryl Dorschner, tour chairwoman. Eighty volunteers also helped out, 12 artists and craftspeople displayed their work and five speakers shared expertise.
Big Girl Lost
By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer
In “Tammy,” Ben Falcone’s irreverent, anything goes road comedy, Mellissa McCarthy as the title screw-up more or less entertainingly asserts that what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. Whereas raunchy free-for-alls like “Old School” (2003) and “The Hangover” (2009) have essentially filled the vacuum once so splendidly occupied by the great screwball comedies, they are mostly male dominated. Now, McCarthy proves she can abash, blunder and cuss as well as any guy. She is, as the French say, a piece of work.
Continuing in that vein, dubious honor or not, she evokes the je ne sais quoi required to be humorously unkempt, disorganized and clueless. But more importantly, she is oddly endearing, albeit in that loveable loser context paradigmatically championed by the late, great John Candy. No matter what slings and arrows, hardships or inequities are tossed her way, whether through innocence or ignorance, she is convinced of her rectitude.
The indignant stubbornness that blames everyone but herself for her bad fortune makes it difficult to root for her at first. Yet in time, owing to your greater humanity, she grows on you, inveigling you to add a new card to your index of political correctness. Part and parcel of the package is what is never mentioned. But it’s there all the same: the proverbial 200 lb.+ comedienne in the room.
Myopically unfair as it may be, the overweight soul, from Oliver Hardy to Dom DeLuise, who made his physique a cause célèbre in Anne Bancroft’s “Fatso” (1980), has engraved his bittersweet stereotype in American film. However, as we now face an epidemic of obesity, the connotation is complicated. Rather than the victimized outsider, Tammy doubtlessly strikes a chord with and wins the empathy of fellow travelers.
But it’s more the greater human folly we sigh about and laugh at when, after her car blows up, she loses her job at the quick burger joint and then learns her husband is cheating on her. There she despondently sits at the curb, munching on some salvaged sliders. Hmm, methinks this calls for a bonding excursion with granny.
Now, while the dimension of characterization is usually not as important in farce as it is in drama, a gnawing inconsistency to Tammy wreaks havoc with the amateur psychologist in us. When she trudges next door to her parents’ home petitioning for funds to hightail it from the scene of her oppressive failure, we can’t help but note that mom (Allison Janney) is a well spoken, pretty much refined lady. Tammy is crude and uneducated. No explanation is made…no reference to bad peer pressure, etc., etc.
Continuing the strange incongruity, though grandma, played by Susan Sarandon, is much more of a Peck’s bad girl than Tammy, she is nonetheless intelligent in that worldly way, and shocked that her granddaughter hasn’t the faintest idea who Mark Twain is.
I don’t mean to nitpick like Sid, the engineer beau who ruined every movie for my big sister Ann by analyzing it to death. I hated Sid. But it bears noting that filmmaker Ben Falcone wants to have it both ways. When convenient, the movie is nonsensical in that “Dumb and Dumber” (1994) style. And when he wishes to pluck a few heartstrings, out come the violins.
While such fast and loose direction won’t tilt the Earth off its axis, there’s no logical progression between modes. It’s like giving the answer to a geometry problem without showing the work.
Thus an especially liberal suspension of disbelief is required if one wishes to sit back and enjoy the seriocomic odyssey pursued by Tammy and grandma Pearl, Susan Sarandon’s licentious golden ager whose alcoholism could put her into a coma at any moment. Oh, don’t worry. Not to spoil things, but the studio knows you’d be just slightly bummed out if Tammy ended her days on skid row.
This is the movies, and as such there’s a tacit promise: There will be an epiphany. Hence, further advancing the subtextual primer on tolerance, the duo’s journey ultimately takes them to a place of reason and order, a beautiful sprawling manse where doth reside an oracle in the mortal form of Pearl’s rich lesbian cousin, Lenore, played by Kathy Bates. Let the healing begin.
The implicit, pie-in-the sky thought is that somewhere rolling around in Tammy’s gray matter, just waiting to fall into place and work its magic, is the good DNA possessed by Pearl and Lenore. It just needs to be jostled a tad.
What’s amazing is that, while most tales of personal revelation regale of a life altering wisdom, Tammy is suddenly smarter, too. But what’s more amazing, and a little shameful to admit in light of my foaming at the paradoxes, is that none of “Tammy’s” flaws kept me from laughing.
“Tammy,” rated R, is a Warner Bros. release directed by Ben Falcone and stars Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates. Running time: 96 minutes
By Ginger Isham
The best of blueberries
Blueberry season is under way. The berries are big and delicious this year because of all the rain and help from a grandson who has been keeping the weeds under control.
Delicious Blueberry Buckle
3/4 cup sugar (I use little less, like 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter (canola or olive oil works well)
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cups blueberries
Cream sugar, butter and egg. Mix dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture alternately with milk. Blend thoroughly. Fold in blueberries. Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup soft butter
Mix all until crumbly and sprinkle over batter. Bake 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Glazed Blueberry Pie
1 nine-inch baked pie crust
1 three-ounce package cream cheese
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Spread softened cream cheese in bottom of baked pie shell. Fill with 3 cups of fresh blueberries. Add water to remaining 1 cup of blueberries and bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain, saving liquid. Combine sugar and cornstarch and add to liquid. Cook until thickens. Add cooked blueberries, cool slightly and add lemon juice. Pour over berries in pie shell. Chill and serve with whipped cream.
Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.
By Jim Miller
Dear Savvy Senior,
What can you tell me about online memorials? My uncle recently passed away, and some of the family thought it would be neat to create an online memorial to pay tribute to him, and accommodate the many family and friends who are scattered around the country who could not attend his funeral.
It’s a great idea! Online memorials have become increasingly popular over the past decade, as millions of people have created them for their departed loved ones as a way to recognize and remember them.
An online memorial is a website created for a deceased person that provides a central location where family and friends can visit to share stories, fond memories, photographs, comfort one another and grieve. The memorial can remain online for life (or a specific period of time) allowing people to visit and contribute any time in the privacy of their own space.
Online memorials started popping up on the Internet in the late 1990s, but were created primarily for people who were well known. But now, these sites are for anyone who wants to pay tribute to their departed family member or friend, and ensure they will be remembered.
Content typically posted on an online memorial includes a biography, pictures, stories from family and friends, timelines of key events, favorite music and even videos.
Another common feature is the acceptance of thoughts or candles offered by visitors to the site who want to send their condolences and support to the grieving party.
An online memorial can also direct visitors to the departed person’s favorite charity or cause to make a donation, as an alternative to sending funeral flowers.
How To Make One
To make an online memorial, you can either create an independent website, or use an established memorial site, which is what most people choose to do. Memorial websites are very easy to create and personalize, and can be done in less than 30 minutes.
There are literally dozens of these types of sites on the Internet today. To locate them, do an online search for “Online Memorial Websites.” In the meantime, here are a few good sites to check out.
The biggest and most established site in the industry is Legacy.com, which also publishes about 75 percent of the obituaries in North America each year through its newspaper affiliations. Creating an online memorial through this site (see memorialwebsites.legacy.com) costs $49 for the first year, plus an annual $19 sponsorship fee to keep it visible.
Some other popular sites to check out are ForeverMissed.com, which offers a free bare bones option, along with a premium plan that runs $35 per year or $75 for life; and iLasting.com, which runs $49 per year or $99 for permanent display.
If you’re on a tight budget consider LifeStory.com, which is completely free to use, but requires you to log in through Facebook to get to it. And iMorial.com, which is free if you allow ads to be posted on your uncle’s page, or it costs $50 without ads.
Or, if your uncle used Facebook, you can also turn his profile into a memorial for free when you show proof of death. Once his page is memorialized, his sensitive information will be removed and his birthday notifications will stop, but (depending on his privacy settings) it still enables family and friends to post memories and condolences. In addition, you can also request a Look Back video, which is a short video created by Facebook highlighting your uncle’s pictures and most liked status messages.
Allstate agency owners earn service designation
Allstate exclusive agency owners Walter Hausermann of the Walter Hausermann Agency and John Coburn of the John Coburn Agency have been designated Allstate Premier Agencies for 2014.
The Allstate Premier Agency designation is bestowed on less than 48 percent of Allstate’s nearly 10,000 agency owners across the country and 50 percent of Allstate’s Vermont agencies.
The Walter Hausermann and John Coburn agencies have also achieved the Honor Ring award for both 2012 and 2013. The honor is Allstate’s symbol of outstanding business achievement.
Pat Desautels partners with real estate family
Kathie Desautels recently welcomed new partner Pat Desautels, a licensed REALTOR®, into the RE/MAX North Professionals family. Pat Desautels will expand the 74 years of experience that the Desautels family brings to the real estate business.
Her background includes a position as regional sales and business development manager at Hewlett-Packard and business consultant for such companies as Agilent Technologies, IDX and FAHC.
Desautels, a Williston resident, is an EMT with the Williston Fire Department.
VERMONT FEDERAL CREDIT UNION AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS
Vermont Federal Credit Union recently announced the recipients of four $2,000 scholarships in 2014. Scholarships were awarded to graduating high school seniors Emma Griesser and Jillian Villeneuve, as well as Kayleigh Ehler-Vock and Christopher Hango who are currently enrolled in higher education. Recipients were selected by a volunteer Scholarship Committee and were chosen based on academic achievement, leadership activities, service to community, as well as responses to an essay question.
Solar tracker project recognized with national award
A solar orchard powering Middlebury’s Woodchuck Hard Cider won two honors at a recent national solar show. The 150kW Bridport, Vermont project utilizing Vermont-made AllSun Trackers was a “Project of Distinction” finalist and won “Project of Distinction 2014 Fan Favorite” at the PV America event in Boston. The 1.5 acre solar orchard consists of 26 pole-mounted dual-axis AllSun Trackers, which use GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day. The solar trackers are manufactured locally by AllEarth Renewables of Williston.
The project received the award, which celebrates major achievements within the solar industry, from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
Vermont unemployment rate 3.3 percent in May
The Vermont Department of Labor announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for May 2014 was 3.3 percent. This represents no change from the previously reported April rate (3.3 percent). The equivalent national average was 6.3 percent, which also held steady from the previous month’s estimate. By not declining, May 2014 data ends a streak of seven consecutive months of reported decreases to the statewide unemployment rate in Vermont. As of the prior month’s initial data, Vermont’s unemployment rate was the second lowest in the country.
YMCA ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
At the 148th annual meeting of the YMCA held recently at the Burlington Country Club, four new candidates were presented and approved for membership on the Y Board of Directors. New members include Phil Daniels of Williston, Paul R. Sisson of Burlington, Lisa Ventriss of South Burlington, Nicole Carignan of Essex and Brian Tarrant of South Burlington.
Donald J. Laackman begins as Champlain College president
Donald J. Laackman officially began his tenure at the beginning of July as the eighth president of Champlain College, succeeding David F. Finney, who retired June 30 after nine years.
Laackman was appointed president-elect in December 2013 by the Champlain College Board of Trustees and has been working with the transition team meeting faculty, staff and students throughout the spring.
Laackman comes to Champlain College from Harold Washington College in Chicago, where he served as president since 2011.
CCTA general manager stepping down
The general manager of the Chittenden County Transit Authority (CCTA) Bill Watterson notified employees and the board of directors at the end of June that he will be stepping down Sept. 30 to pursue new professional opportunities.
“We appreciate the contributions Bill has made to our organization and wish him all the best as he moves forward,” Incoming board chair Catherine Dimitruk said. “Looking ahead, our goal is to continue to build a strong team that can lead CCTA forward and further expand the role of public transportation in strengthening our economy, improving the environment and making our communities even better places to live and work.
CCTA will hire an interim director to oversee operations, work with Watterson to ensure a smooth transition and manage the recruitment process for the next general manager.
Van Houten first recipient of citizenship and service award
Judith Van Houten, George H. Perkins Professor of Biology, has been named the inaugural recipient of the President’s Distinguished University Citizenship and Service Award for her consistent and outstanding record of service over time to the university community.
Since her arrival in 1980, Van Houten has provided countless hours of service to the university, State of Vermont and the nation in her role as a University Distinguished Professor, state director of the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and director of the Vermont Genetics Network INBRE program.
USDA names Union Bank guaranteed housing lender of the year
The USDA recently named Union Bank the 2014 Vermont Guaranteed Housing Lender of the Year
“Congratulations to the team at Union Bank and their customers who realized the American dream of homeownership using a USDA Rural Development loan guarantee,” said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. “Rural Development’s guaranteed loan program and direct loan program puts homeownership within reach of hundreds of Vermonters each year – helping to build stronger rural communities, create jobs and build equity.”
Paradiso joins Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence
Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence announced its recent hire of Greg Paradiso as director of HR technology.
Paradiso comes to Hickok & Boardman with more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources with mid-size and large employers.
PINE COMPUTERS ANNOUNCES NEW ENTERPRISE ENGINEER
Pine Computers, Inc. recently announced the promotion of Michael Ferland to the position of enterprise engineer. In this role, Ferland will oversee and manage all aspects of enterprise commercial IT services at Pine, as well as day-to-day operations.
Ferland has been with Pine Computers for nearly five years and had held the position of systems technician.
With more than 15 years’ experience in IT, Ferland has hosted numerous computer, software and IT workshops and served as a keynote speaker at a number of seminars.
By Mal Boright
With a three-game winning streak in tow, the 10-14-1 Vermont (under age 17) Outlaws had home games Wednesday (after the Observer’s press deadline) and Thursday before playing host to the 10th annual Heritage Summer Showdown starting Friday at Rice Memorial High.
The Orleans-Essex-Caledonia Lightning visited the Outlaws Wednesday with the Vermont Jays at Rice for a 5:30 p.m. contest Thursday.
Coach Tim Albertson’s Outlaw nine will open the tournament Friday at 3 p.m. against the Lightning. Two games are slated for Saturday: the Ottawa Knights at 9 a.m. and St. Johnsbury at 5:30 p.m.
A championship round will be played Sunday, pairings to be determined.
The victory string got a serious boost Monday with a doubleheader sweep of the Junior Cannons in Colchester, 12-1 and 10-0.
Pat McHugh threw a complete game one-hitter in the opener, whiffing 11 batters. McHugh also contributed a two-run triple and single to the offense, while Dan Poodiack unloaded three singles and got hit by a pitch while driving home three runs and scoring four times. Sam Mikell collected three hits and a pair of RBIs.
In the nightcap, Andrew Botnick struck out seven batters. Dave Whitcomb bashed two hits to drive in three runs while Jack Dugan had three hits and Riley Fitzgerald whacked a three-bagger and drove in a tally.
The triumphs at Colchester followed a spilt of Sunday’s two home games with St. Johnsbury, which rapped the Outlaws 12-6 in the opener only to get rapped 12-1 by the Outlaws in the second game.
Chief bashers in the Outlaws’ win were Chris O’Brien with three hits and four RBIs and Pat McHugh with four RBIs on a double and sacrifice fly. Mikell had two singles and scored twice while Poodiack knocked a double and single, got hit by a pitch (again) and scored three times.
Thomas Stevens hurled five innings, allowed but two hits and struck out eight.
In the opening defeat, Alex Kent stroked a pair of singles and tallied twice while Connor Barton lashed a double.
Earlier last week, the Outlaws were at the prestigious Coopers Cave Tournament in Saratoga, N.Y. and went 1-4 in the event which draws senior American Legion teams and others from around the northeast.
The win came on July 9, a 6-5 victory over the Granville, N.Y. Legion team thanks to a walk-off broken bat RBI single by Barton, his second hit and second RBI of the contest. Poodiack slapped two singles and got hit twice by pitches.
Earlier in the day, the Outlaws had bowed to R and R Legion of Rhode Island 11-4. On Thursday they got tripped twice, 10-0 by Shrub Oak, N.Y. and 20-1 by Kingston, N.Y.
In Friday’s finale, the Outlaws dropped a 12-1 decision to host Saratoga.
By Mal Boright
Castleton State College will be the site Saturday afternoon when the 40th Annual Lions Soccer Cup games between 2014 graduated Vermont and New Hampshire All-Stars take place, with the Vermont-New Hampshire girls starting at 4 p.m. and the boys at 6:30 p.m.
Coaching the Vermont girls is Mount Abraham Union High’s Dustin Corrigan. His squad includes Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High’s Haliana Burhans and Mackenzie Kingston.
From the CVU Division 1 finalists on the Vermont boys’ team are Joseph Castano and Zack Evans. Coach is Richard Seubert of Middlebury Union High.
By Mal Boright
Led by Champlain Valley Union High coach Ute Otley, four members of the 24-0 Division 1 champion girls’ basketball team will help spearhead the Vermont Twin State graduated all-stars against New Hampshire’s stars Saturday at Keene, N.H. State College.
Game time for the girls is 4 p.m. while the Twin State boys’ game tips off at 6.
On the Vermont girls’ galaxy squad from CVU are guards Kaelyn Kohlasch and Emily Kinneston along with forwards Amanda Beatty and Amanda Lougee. In the last two years, the quartet helped CVU establish a 47-0 record and a pair of Division 1 crowns.
From the CVU boys’ team, center Lucas Aube will be on the court for Vermont and Redhawks’ head coach Michael Osborne will be assisting Jack Carrier of Williamstown, who is leading the Green Mountain guys.
The boys’ combine also includes Tommy Fitzgerald (of Williston) and Matt Maynard, both from Rice Memorial, Bryan Vachereau from Burlington High, Mount Mansfield Union’s Sean Springer and Gatorade Player of the Year Pavin Parrish of Rochester High.
Joining the CVU girls four is senior veteran talent from all around the state.
“Seven of our 12 players were on championship teams, while three others made the finals,” said Otley on Monday.
Rice Memorial’s guard Hailee Barron, a four-year starter and sparkplug, is on the Vermont team. From Burlington High are Ilona Maher and Breanna Pidgeon. Ashley Fay was a Mount Abraham Union Eagle.
Morgan and Taylor Raiche of West Rutland High, Shyann Josley from Thetford Academy and Alyssa Valerio of Proctor complete the roster.
“Overall, we have team speed at all positions, a lot of different kids who can score, and our guard play should be very good,” said Otley of her team that worked out over the weekend.
Final practice sessions are set for Thursday and Friday at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium.
As for New Hampshire, Otley says the Granite Staters may have some size advantages, having two post players with Division 1 college scholarships. The coach added that both teams have eight of their 12 stars going on to play in college.
The series remains alive due in large part to efforts last year by former Essex High basketball coach and now athletic director Jeff Goodrich. The Vermont boys trail their Granite State counterparts 18-10 in the series, but Vermont is on a four-game winning streak. New Hampshire’s girls lead Vermont, 17-11.
By Katherine Bielawa Stamper
To the person who vandalized my car:
I’m not sure what compelled you to zero in on my car. Was it its shiny silver color? Was it the eco-friendly hybrid designation? Was my purple Buddha bumper sticker a little too “crunchy” for your taste?
Maybe our often-used Thule bike rack taunted you from its perch on the trunk. Perhaps opportunity knocked in the form of a desolate parking lot. I’ll likely never know what compelled you to attack.
What you should know: I entered my car—unaware of its ravaged rear end—and drove 31.4 miles home. Only then did I see the damage you inflicted on my spiffy sedan.
In your quest to remove my bike-less rack, you mangled the trunk, stretching hinges and breaking the seal designed to protect innards from rain. Scratches and chipped paint added insult to injury.
The bike rack dangled by one cable. Three other stabilizers became unhinged en route due to the damage. I cringe when I think of how someone might have been injured if that rack fell off and landed in the road in front of an unsuspecting driver.
You exercised your brawn against a helpless little car whose mission in the automotive life is transporting my family safely to work, school and play.
After a long day at the office, all I really wanted to do was sit down, relax and share a quiet dinner with my husband. Instead, I sat at the kitchen table to call my insurer and file a claim. I asked if I should file a police report.
What a hassle. What unnecessary expense. What a pain.
My insurance company took the call and graciously recorded my claim. I’d be out a hundred bucks in a deductible. A claims adjuster examined the car within 36 hours, approved the repair and authorized coverage for a new Thule. Our family will be down a car for a week in August as the auto body shop replaces the entire trunk lid.
So, who are you, anyway? Are you an angry and frustrated teen or young adult? Were you trying to impress friends by displaying violent vigor—at my expense? Were you high or seeking to “steal and sell” to fund your next fix? Did someone hurt you, prompting you to intentionally damage someone else’s property?
Do you know the word for what you did? It’s called vandalism. The dictionary defines vandalism as the deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.
Etymologists point out the historical origins of the word vandalism, prompting a short trip through Roman history. The Vandals were an ancient Germanic people who sacked Rome in the 5th century. They were held in particular scorn because they deliberately destroyed and defaced cultural items like statues and monuments. Somehow, the name stuck.
Did you know that some folks even study and track the actions and motives of present-day vandals? A 2010 survey conducted by the British insurer Direct Line revealed that four out of ten drivers experienced vandalism on their vehicles. The most common offenses were: keying (intentionally scratching a car with a key), 52 percent; broken side mirrors, 34 percent; smashed windows, 22 percent; snapped antennas, 20 percent; and snapped windshield wipers, 12 percent. I find some solace in knowing that ransacked bike racks and ravaged trunks fall somewhat lower in rankings of vehicular violence.
Do you know the estimated cost of the damage you caused? Two thousand two hundred dollars. That’s two cheap tickets to Europe, ten weeks of groceries at my house, and, possibly, someone’s mortgage payment. This cost is borne by me and anyone else who insures his or her vehicle.
Experiencing vandalism feels like an affront, a violation. Vandalism erodes quality of life as a community feels a little less trusting, a little less respected and a little less safe.
What wisdom does my Buddha bumper sticker offer? “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Katherine Bielawa Stamper, a Williston resident, was a 2013 finalist for the Coolidge Prize for Journalism. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]