Tag Archives: vermont

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The Sweet Story of Maple Syrup

by Méline Palkovic

Shelburne, VT – You may know that Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, but do you know how it is made ? With what ? How long does it take ? How many trees are used ? As someone who has only lived in Vermont for a short time and is interested in the subject, I have been looking into the matter and have done some research. I live in Shelburne, so I decided to start my investigation locally. 

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The Palmer’s Sugarhouse has been maple sugaring for over 50 years. It started with their grandmother who ran out of sugar to cook with during the World War ll. She decided to tap a tree and get some sap and then she became the first woman maple-maker in Vermont to be inducted into the Maple Hall of Fame. 

At first it was a necessity, then it became a hobby, then it gradually grew and now there are snow parties where you can find all the maple and sugar served on snow. 

In the United States, Vermont is the state that produces the most maple syrup, in 2020 more than 2 million gallons of syrup was produced(about 50% of the country’s production). There are about 1,500 sugar shacks in Vermont.

The maple syrup production process begins in February. First, the trees must be tapped, which involves inserting a spout into the tree with a hammer or drill. Then, when the weather becomes warm enough(above freezing [32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius] during the day and below freezing in the evening), usually between March and April, the sap begins to flow. Afterwards, the sap is transported by tubing or collected in buckets to the sugar factory and arrives in tanks.   

Type of spout:

 

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Tanks:

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Then the sap is boiled using an evaporator. The sap is mostly water(about 95% of water), it is clear when it comes out of the tree and once it is boiled, that is where the inverted sugars are obtained. One tap yields about 10 gallons of sap and it takes 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. This is why maple syrup is very expensive because most of the sap has to be boiled down to water and the rest is sugar and it takes hours and hours to boil the sap into maple syrup.

At the beginning of the season, the sap is at first the lightest, which is called delicate flavor, then it gradually becomes darker, until it becomes robust, which is the more flavorful. These changes are due to the gradual warming during the spring. As the temperature rises, the sap becomes darker(this evolution is produced by a chemical change in the composition of sugars and other elements).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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-Golden, delicate taste                                                                    

-Amber, rich taste

-Dark, robust taste

-Very dark, strong taste   

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Maple syrup candy:

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What’s really useful about maple syrup is that you change the temperature when you cook it at and you get a lot of different products without adding anything. Like maple cream that goes on donuts, cookies and toast, candy (“caramel”) and maple sugar that is good on granola and coffee. All of these can be achieved just by changing the cooking temperature.                                                                    

Maple syrup is also good because it has a low glycemic level, which is better for people who have problems with sugars like diabetes. It’s versatile, you can cook with it instead of cane sugar, you can put it in a balsamic maple sauce for a salad, you can use it on salmon as a marinade; there are many things you can do with it.

The maples are trees of the family Sapindaceae. They can grow from 10 to 45 meters in height. There are more than a hundred different maple trees in the world. The three main trees used to produce maple syrup are the sugar maple, the black maple and the red maple. To produce maple syrup, it is necessary to wait until the maple tree is generally 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter. A sugar maple can live about 400 years. Maple syrup producers use trees in the wild but some plant their own trees. 

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This maple is 5 years old. We have to wait another 25 years before we can tap it. 

Finally, if no one in your family is a sugar maker but you want to become one (whether it’s for hobby, for you and your family, or if you want to start a business), just go to any hardware store for the supplies you don’t have and if you don’t know how to do it ask some sugar maker friends or look on the internet. Many hobbyists are tapping their own trees in their backyard. Anyone can really become a sugar maker!

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Ski Mountains around VT: Where are YOU skiing this year?

By- Mia Kenney

Looking for a place to ski and snowboard?  Vermont has a lot of mountains to choose from. Here is a list of 5 more popular ski resorts and some facts about each, including cost, how many lifts, kinds of lifts, and some of the things that draw people to these mountains. Hopefully this helps you and your family decide where you might want to go skiing or snowboarding this season! 

Cochran’s

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https://skimap.org/data/207/66/1453225164.jpg 

Cochran’s is a non-profit organization. That is one of the reasons people are so drawn to it even though it is a small mountain with only 1 t-bar, a rope tow and a “mighty-mite” A season pass there is about $206.70. Cochran’s has about 8 trails with all different levels. Cochran’s is not a resort so there is no staying there but they do have a lodge where you can take breaks and warm up. Cochran’s is all about family so they love doing things like Friday night dinners, not I’m not sure if they are doing it this year because of Covid, but this is something that they have been doing for years. 

Smugglers’ Notch

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https://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/skiride/trail-map.php 

A season pass at Smuggs is about $419. Something that draws people to Smuggs is that they technically have 3 mountains. Smuggs also has the fun zone which is an indoor play area with bouncy houses and games. Smuggs is a resort, so they have condos that people can rent. There are 8 chair lifts with about 78 trails. Their hours are different for different lifts, most lifts open at 9am but some open at 8:30. 

Jay Peak

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https://jaypeakresort.com/skiing-riding/snow-report-maps/trail-map 

A season pass at Jay Peak is about $669. Their hours are 9am till 4pm. Opening day is estimated to be November 24th. Something that draws people there is that the Jay Peak water park along with the hotel is at the bottom of the ski mountain, so people can finish skiing and go to the water park. There are 9 chair lifts and about 78 trails. The trails are all different, some with moguls, some glades, and some groomed. They also have a variety of trail levels, for example they have easier trails for less advanced skiers and they have harder trails for people that are more advanced. 

Bolton Valley

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https://www.boltonvalley.com/winter/trail-maps-snow-reports/trail-maps/ 

A season pass for one adult at Bolton is about $846.94. Bolton has both Backcountry skiing and Nordic skiing, and they also are very accepting of snowboarders. Bolton currently has six lifts and 64 trails that can be accessed by the lifts. Bolton does have a ski lodge; it is a little on the smaller side and because of covid, you can’t be in the lodge for very long… but at least there is a lodge! Bolton is also a resort, so they have a hotel which draws a lot of people there. Bolton’s lifts are chair lifts so they are easy to get on and off of and they are accessible to everyone. Bolton’s hours are 9am till 10pm. Opening day is November 26th.

Stowe

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https://www.stowe.com/-/media/stowe/files/maps/stowe_winter2122_map.ashx 

A season pass at Stowe is about $1024.00 but they do have sales, so they can be a little cheaper. It also depends on when you want to buy them; if you buy them super in advance they will be cheaper than if you buy them in November or even October. Stowe is also a resort, so they have hotels you can stay in. Stowe has 12 lifts and 116 trails. Their opening day is November 19th. Their hours are 8am till 4pm. Stowe also has both chair lifts and they have gondolas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/18279541619

Not as organic as you think

By Ethan Cook

Small farmers in Vermont have taken a hit during the COVID pandemic, and they are about to be hit even more. In August of 2022, Horizon Organic is ending contracts with nearly 90 farms based out of the Northeast. This is because factory farms, which have been manipulating their “organic” label, are taking lots of business from them. However, New York senator Charles Schumer hopes to give them an edge against the bigger farming corporations.

Factory farms have gotten away with swapping animals in and out of organic environments, giving them the “organic” label on their products, and creating more of an appeal among the public. This strongly benefits the owners of these large scale farming companies, but we aren’t always getting exactly what we pay for.

A page on Jane’s Healthy Kitchen notes the prerequisites for a farm’s product to be considered organic. “Organic foods are required to ensure cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Livestock must have regular access to pasture without routine antibiotics or growth hormones. Products must follow strict production, handling and labeling standards, and go through a certification process. The standards look at many other factors such as soil quality, animal raising, pests and weed control. Synthetic fertilizers, human sewage sludge, irradiation, and GMO ingredients are not allowed.”

The problem is that the products we are buying from the grocery store are not always as “organic” as we think they are. Schumer says that these big farms are able to rotate their livestock in and out of organic management while keeping the “organic” label because of technicalities in the laws regarding organic dairy farming. This creates a disconnect between the general public and the people bringing them their food.

A press release stated several New England Senators, including Schumer, created a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, requesting him to approve the Origin of Livestock rule. This law would close the loophole for factory farms, and hopefully make family owned farms a much better looking alternative for local grocery stores to get their dairy, meat, and other farm products from.

From an article by Isabella Colello, “New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy and after years of being wrung dry by a system that disadvantages them, they’re now at the edge of an economic precipice,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “For an industry that has razor-thin margins as it is and saw historic losses during the COVID crisis, for many family-owned organic dairy farms, losing their contracts with Horizon Organics will be the final pull on the rug under them.”

An article on Valley News says that “the number of dairy farms in Vermont has decreased by 37% in the past 10 years and by 69% in the past 24 years.” Farming, an industry that used to be a major source of income for Vermont and its people, has more than halved in the 21st century, showing the urbanization of both our land and our jobs of choice. Cancelling the contracts with small farmers only influences the decisions of our younger generations, and makes the lives of current farmers that much harder.

Vermont’s small farms have become much more of a novelty and less of a provider for food, animal products, and income in the last few years. Much of these are produced by large farms owned by corporations, and these are pushing the picturesque Vermont farmers out of business.

To pour salt on the wound, factory farms, which are thriving off of the deals they have with food distributors, aren’t being completely honest about the way they take care of their animals. The farmers that are dominating the profession, or rather, majority shareholding corporations, are lying about the state of their livestock, yet they continue to stay on top. Hopefully, Schumer and other senators will be able to take this option away from them and benefit small farmers substantially.

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Vermont Fall Activities

By Vivienne Babbott

The end to summer in Vermont is always bittersweet. Yet as the leaves shift to their signature red, many Vermonters look forward to Halloween and the classic fall activities that accompany it, especially after a year in lockdown with few celebrations.

If you´re looking for a sweet treat, Shelburne Sugarworks offers delicious pure maple syrup, maple candies, and a variety of handcrafted maple ice creams. This includes a seasonal favorite, maple pumpkin cheesecake flavor.

Whitcomb’s land of pumpkins is known for their usual assortment of pumpkins and gourds, however their pumpkins are sold out for this year. However there is still an impressive 4 acre corn maze, which is open to the public from 10-5 on the weekends. To complete the maze, you will come across checkpoints, and learn about the pumpkin-growing process along the way. How fast do you think you can do it? 

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Photo courtesy of Whitcomb´s 

Though most orchards are closed for the season, Yates Family Orchard is one of the few apple orchards still selling fresh fruit! Stop by their stand in Monkton to get your apples, cider donuts, pies, Dreamees, and treats while they last! Yates Orchard is open from 9:30-5:30 every day, up until October 31st! Get your apples while they last!

Speaking of October 31st, if you wanted to get spooky this Halloween, Nightmare Vermont was the place to be! This year they offered a scare-maze with actors & animatronics, as well as a narrative walk through performance, with vendors and live entertainment in the lobby. Nightmare Vermont also focuses on charity work, and donated $32,000 this year alone. All the more reason to go next year!

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Photo Courtesy of Nightmare Vermont

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Halloween Events Coming up in VT

By Mazzy Ricklefs

The end of October is just around the corner and one of the most exciting holidays in the year will be here on October 30th…Halloween! Vermont goes crazy with many different fun events for all ages and here are a few favorites.

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            Nightmare Vermont 

Essex Junction during the month of October Hosts ” Nightmare Vermont” Thursday’s, Friday’s, and Saturday’s at the Champlain Valley Exposition, sponsored by the South Burlington Rotary. Nightmare Vermont doesn’t open until 7pm so that people can get the full night time spooky experience. Tickets range from $13-$15 dollars. Go to https://nightmarevermont.org/ to find more info. 

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Burlington ‘Halloween Howl’ Haunted Hayrides

   Burlington is having their haunted hayrides this saturday, october 23rd from 2-6pm at north beach campground.  The family-friendly hayride event features “spectacular spooks, creeps, and fun scenes,” according to Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront. Visit https://enjoyburlington.com/event/halloween-howl/

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Scarefest Vergennes

  Last but not least, Vergennes is having their “Scarefest” Friday October, 29th, and Saturday, October 30th from 7-11pm. Prices will range from $10-50 a ticket. Enjoy a weekend of horror films, dancing and costume contests. Looking up “Scarefest Vergennes” will bring you to more information.

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Hinesburg public house

Working under COVID: two views

By Mina Radivojevic

HINESBURG, VT – As an exchange student from Serbia, I haven’t been here for a long time, but one of the first things that I learned about Vermont is that a lot of places can’t keep up with demand since they don’t have enough people to keep businesses going.

The people who are holding many businesses together are actually busy, full- scheduled high school students. So, the best way to look at this situation is through two different lenses: grown up employer vs. high school employee. 

Will Patten, the owner of the Public House restaurant in Hinesburg, shared with me his view and experience with lack of workers and hiring students. CVU students, in this case. “So, we don’t have any trouble hiring people from CVU; that is pretty much all we can hire. Which is not great because most people don’t have any experience and they play sports. But that’s pretty much all we can hire now. For people in high school, a job is a form of independence, a way out of the house. It’s gas money, it’s a third place. It’s home, school and now a job. So that’s not where the problem is, the problem is with people who are on their own, supporting themselves, paying the rent, have mortgages and car payment. Those are the people that aren’t coming to work. And it’s not just restaurants, it’s everybody. Every business in Hinesburg wants to hire somebody. It’s crazy. “ 

Patten also made a note that his cafe needs to be closed for two days of the week due to lack of workers.

Lila Shober, one of the working CVU students, had a similar experience at her workplace because of the same problem. “I work at the Windjammer Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturdays. I work in an environment that’s really busy because of the lack of workers. Sometimes parts of our restaurant are closed because of the lack of staff,” she said.

At the same time, Shober had found the silver lining of what’s going on: “But some perks about it is that I do get more income. It’s very stressful being there three times a week. After school. After practice. It can be really tiring and I do go to school tired sometimes, but I do like having extra money. And I am really worried about, at least, my restaurant staying above float so I always try and help out as much as I can.”

One more perk that Shober pointed out is the fact that there are more options to choose from, since there’s no one else to work.

To answer my question why they think this is happening and what role COVID plays, Patten and Shober didn’t hesitate much. 

Patten claims that, during COVID, people were taught not to work. He also considered all that we’ve been going through lately, putting climate change right next to the pandemic as one of the factors why people lost their belief in progress.

Shober’s interpretation of the situation is that people’s mental health was what got most damaged by coronavirus, and that it had also put a lot of fear into people, making them even scared to go out.

Not only did COVID affect people’s work ethic in this and the previous year, but we have yet to see what’s to come and how it will affect the future for businesses and lives in Vermont.

CVU Goats

C3 Enact Club profile

Meline Palkovic

At CVU, the clubs that take place during C3 offer many opportunities for students to have fun, learn, rest or just go outside and breathe fresh air.                                                                                                         

In the EnACT Club led by Katie Antos-Ketchum, students learn about environmental issues but also go outside to see the animals in order to become aware of and connect with nature.

“WE ARE FACING THE HARD TRUTHS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND TAKING ACTIONS AGAINST IT. WE CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE THROUGH ADVOCACY, ACTION AND EDUCATION. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU AND YOU WANT TO BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO FEEL THE SAME, JOIN OUR CLUB TODAY!” follow us @ENACTCVU

All original photos by Meline Palkovic
https://oxfordtreatment.com/veterans-mission-act/suicide/

Vermont Veteran Suicide Rate Highest in Country

By Mia Kenney

HINESBURG VT. – Veterans are the people who protect our country from war, terrorism…the “real world”. But this responsibility comes with a lot of baggage, including PTSD, brain trauma, anxiety and an abundance of lost relationships and emotions. This trauma is one of the biggest reasons Vermont’s suicide rate in veterans is so high. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the rate is about 56.8 people out of 100,000 people, which puts the state’s rate at about 88.7% higher than the national average.

According to healthvermont.gov, PTSD is something that keeps people’s brains in high alert mode. It makes their brain constantly send out distress signals when something triggers it. Triggers can include smells, sounds, sights, and even thoughts. These triggers can make people lash out, have panic attacks, become violent; they could just start to feel sad or scared. People with PTSD tend to have a hard time creating new relationships and keeping old ones, too; they also tend to have marital problems.

Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Jake Kenney is in the Air National Guard. He has served in the Guard for about 12 years and has been full time at the guard for about a year and a half. He has a wife and 4 kids and lives on a farm with lots of animals.  He said he comes from “…a culture that started from farmers. They don’t like asking for help. They’re stubborn, they think they’re fine and they can handle it on their own.” The problem is that they don’t talk about their problems and sometimes they just can’t express their feelings due to PTSD. And when they have marital problems, they lose that support system and connection. 

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Sometimes, when veterans lose their support systems they turn to places like The Wounded Warrior Project, which is an online program where veterans can get counseling, therapy, and funds. They also can go to Josh’s House in Colchester, an organization where veterans can go and play videogames, exercise and most importantly they can go there and get the support from other veterans who know and understand what they are going through. These are both places that can get help, but they are mostly volunteer places, they don’t get money from the state to help.

So what does the state do to help our veterans? In the words of TSgt Jake Kenney, “V.A. clinics are bogged down slow and inefficient, they’re underfunded and they’re unable to provide the help tha veterans need.” According to Veterans like Kenney, the state isn’t putting enough money towards veterans and suicide prevention and that is one of the reasons Vermont’s numbers have been getting worse since 2005. 

“Check in with your local veteran that you seen the store; just saying hi can sometimes change their aspect”, says TSgt Kenney. There are many ways to help veterans that sometimes help more than a donation. Volunteering at places like Josh’s house, and just going and visiting them can change their lives.

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On Sunday October 17th, I volunteered for Josh’s House at a UVM soccer game. I sat at a table and tent, passing out information cards alongside collecting donations for the Josh Pallotta Fund. While doing this I noticed that many people didn’t know or understand how bad this problem is, or that it is even a problem at all. 

Should the burden be on just the military to support their soldiers and veterans, or is this a community-wide issue?

We would like to hear your thoughts on this topic! Email aterwillegar@cvsdvt.org

AP Photo/Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force

Did you know that Afghan refugees may come to CVU?

By Dau Dau

 Governor Phil Scott announced on September 16, 2021, that the US Department of State has approved the relocation of up to 100 Afghans to Vermont. Following the US decision to end its operations in Afghanistan, many Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in the US. They will be resettled from areas that were not previously considered safe for them.

“We have a moral obligation to help the people of Afghanistan, who did so much to help us in the War on Terror,” Said Governor Phil Scott. “In addition to this being the right thing to do, we know that welcoming more refugees also strengthens communities, schools, our workforce, culture and economy. I appreciate the federal government’s partnership in helping us welcome more families to Vermont.” 

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants(USCRI) is a national resettlement agency that helps people who have migrated to the United States. The goal of this project is to accommodate those Afghans who are being targeted by the US due to their support for the American military and its allies in Afghanistan.  The State Department has approved the resettlement of Afghans who have assisted our service members in the Middle East. This move will benefit both the individuals and the communities in which they live.

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said, “Vermont has a long history of warmly welcoming refugees who have become an integral part of communities across our state. They have made Vermont stronger,”  The announcement that over a hundred Afghan refugees will be coming to the state is great news for the people of Vermont. The Chamber has been working with the State of Vt. to support refugee resettlement in the state.

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How does CVU Feel About Governor Scott’s Three-step Plan?

By Georgia Bruneau, Mon, May 10th, 2021

HINESBURG- With now three effective vaccines and nearly 50% of Vermont’s population vaccinated, we can construct goals and a plan to bring back “normal” life.  Governor Phill Scott has come together with a three-step plan.  The first part of the plan started April 9th; this includes ending travel quarantine requirements, and instead replacing them with testing unvaccinated individuals in less than three days of returning to Vermont. Step two of this plan starts in May and involves increasing the number of people in gatherings inside and outside. The third and final part of the plan is lifting the mask mandate on July 4th. “We’re in the last laps of this race and this plan shows how we can finish strong if we all do our part,” said Governor Scott. 

However, some Vermont residents have worries and concerns about this “good news.” “I would like to have current data on how often the disease is spread while people are still vaccinated,” said CVU math teacher Hannah Carey. Carey also says “If we can have gatherings of 150 inside, non-spaced, and no masks by July 4th, why do I have to wear a mask in a classroom with 27 other kids next year? Where’s the logic here? If you’re suggesting I wear a mask in the fall in my classroom to prevent getting Covid, then why is okay for other people to attend a 150 person wedding inside without being spaced, and you’re eating? How is that all going to work?” 

But teachers aren’t the only ones who have an opinion on the matter. A student from CVU speaks on behalf of the student body about the news: “I feel really excited about the fact that masks could possibly be gone in the near future. If the plan is truly effective it would be an amazing weight lifted off of many people’s shoulders. I think that we are partially on the right track. I think many people have good intentions and the vaccine is a great step in the right direction but many people are getting more relaxed about covid. I don’t have many worries about people not wearing masks by July 4th if everyone sticks to the guidelines; my only worry would be that we push it too fast and we begin to see a spike in cases and then we have to take more steps backward,” says sophomore Anna Morton.

Overall the CVU community is ecstatic about the Governor’s plan for normalcy, but we still seem to be slightly skeptical of the idea. Is it illogical like Carey said? Or a step in the right direction as Morton believes?

Opinion: Take Time to Escape the Pandemic

 Mr. Calvin Lord

When this pandemic first struck, there was an adjustment period of sorts. We all gathered our things, made sure our support systems were ready, and frantically tried to learn all of the safety measures that were so suddenly necessary to accomplish simple things, like going to the grocery store. But after a month or so, things started to fall into patterns. Coping methods became second nature. The new way of life that had felt so unreal began to feel habitual.

Now, a whole two months later, we’re all settling in for what looks like the long haul. The news and the government tip side to side, trying to provide us with hope and comfort without allowing us to put ourselves in danger. 

We’re able to see each other’s faces now, the top halves of them, at least. There are still heavy restrictions on social congregation, and this is, unfortunately, shaping up to be one of the longer-term effects of the virus. Many people, like myself, have surely taken up new hobbies and pastimes by now, to fill the solitude in their lives.

 

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It’s hard though, to ignore that lonely melancholy. Sometimes it just can’t be pushed down. When that happens, and this might seem counterintuitive, the best thing one can do is to bask in it. Find ways to bring it out and feel it through. One of those ways is exploration. Exploring your town, county, or local roads is one of the few ways to get out of your house and move without putting anyone else in danger. And it can have fantastic psychological effects.

It’s common knowledge, at this point, that going for walks can help you clear your head, and get your brain moving. But what about finding a pretty corner of the woods? When was the last time you had that childish sense of adventure awakened in you, that vison of the world that bends to your imagination, carving paths and stories around you as you walk and climb? It is a wonder that is so easy to forget.

 I assure you, it is equally easy to bring back. Everyone’s got that one road they always thought was so pretty but never walked down, or that cool path into the nearby woods with a bramble and weeds barring the way.

Go down that road. Let the little subtle world surround you, and breathe. You’ll find yourself in a place where it’s okay to be alone, even lonely, without it feeling so shocking, scary, or utterly fundamentally wrong. By introducing yourself to somewhere entirely new, you can break the painful cycle we’re all drowning in. You’ll find it’s easier to be in the moment, and stop thinking about the world and the future.

Some would call this escapism. And yeah, that’s exactly what it is. A little bit of escapism is okay right now. We have to get away from this pandemic, in whatever ways we can, to stay human. It’s not like the virus is something we can exactly rise up to and face head on, not any more than we’re already doing by just staying home all day. 

So, go for a walk. Escape with me.

 

Vermont Nurses Negotiate Better Pay

Ms. Amber Robert

Courtesy of Valley News
Courtesy of Valley News

BURLINGTON, VT — After long months of negotiations, the University of Vermont Medical Center and the UVMMC Nurse’s Union reached a tentative contract agreement on Thursday, September 20th, 2018.

Earlier this year, many of the UVMMC nurses went on a two day strike. The union wanted a 24% increase over three years, but the hospital only offered a 13% increase (according to WCAX). The medical center and the Nurse’s Union have settled on a 16% wage increase over three years.

One UVMMC ICU nurse, Rachel Robert, commented on the working conditions vs. salaries. “For over a year now we’re constantly being called in for overtime and extra hours because there aren’t enough nurses staffed for the unit. We are constantly cycling through staff, which creates safety issues for the patients. It is very sad to see nurses that have been here for 20+ years leaving because they aren’t earning enough to retire on schedule.”

The average nursing salary in Vermont is $65,000 according to the Nurse Salary Guide. This salary is frustrating when compared to surrounding states. Massachusetts’ average nursing salary is $85,000. New York is $83,000. New Hampshire is $70,000. And that’s just in the North East. States such as California have an average nursing salary of over $100,000.

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VT VS CO: Volleyball

Ms. Josephine Paradee

At CVU, the girl’s varsity volleyball team is stacked with six seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman. Leading the team are the three seniors, Julia Daggett, Olivia Werner, and Rayona Silverman, participating for their fourth year.

At Manitou Springs High School, all the way in Colorado, is a team of veteran volleyball players including six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore, and two freshman. Leading their team are four fourth year seniors, Abbie Boren, McKayla Cully, Kylie Middleton, and Belle Brown.

Maddie Kelly, a Manitou Springs student, provided some insight on what a normal season looks like for her. She has been playing volleyball ever since she was in sixth grade and has played on three different club teams. One club team she has participated in was a recreational team through Woodland Park, a town just fifteen minutes from Manitou. “Club season focuses more on skill rather than winning” she comments. She says she feels she gets better through club season, but that school season makes her more mentally tough. “Coach makes us run stairs when we let balls drop or miss our serves… And we all hate running stairs, so we make sure we hustle all the time,” she said. When asked if she prefers club over school season, she responded with, “they both have their quirks.” Volleyball has been such a big part of her life and she is planning on playing college. “Hopefully,” she says about playing in college. She is leading her team with the most consistent digs and aces.

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Image from Allie Robbins

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“Leaf Peepers” Jaunt to Vermont for Fall Foliage

Mr. Zachary Hark

Hinesburg, VT — Fall time in the Green Mountains is a special time. Spectators from all across the world are drawn to Vermont to catch the vibrant colors of fall.

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Image courtesy of Zachary Hark

This year’s foliage is even better than people believed. The Weather Channel came out with an article on October 4th, 2018 by Linda Lam, a Weather Channel meteorologist, about a weather pattern that caused warmth in the east and snow in the west. Lam said, “these weather changes have impacted fall foliage.”

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Opinion: New Vistas Development Falls Short of Utopia

Ms. Carly Alpert, CVC Environmental Correspondent

If we continue emitting the amounts of greenhouse gasses that we do today, it is projected that by 2060, we will die from lethal heat stress, according to the American Geophysical Union. We clearly need to make a change in our lifestyles, preferably a drastic one, if we want to be able to continue calling planet earth home. Former Mormon bishop David Hall believes the problem of global warming can be combatted with his invention of a completely sustainable design called The New Vistas. However this design appears very cult like and does not seem like the appropriate method to address the world’s environmental issues.

In blue, properties bought by NewVista. In red, the Joseph Smith Memorial. All data is approximate. CREDIT NICOLE ANTAL / DAILY UV
In blue, properties bought by NewVista. In red, the Joseph Smith Memorial. All data is approximate. CREDIT NICOLE ANTAL / DAILY UV, by way of VPR.net

David Hall plans to build The New Vistas in southern Vermont; more specifically in the intersection between the towns of Turnbridge, Royalton, Safford, and Sharon. It is a non-profit organization, committed to building an entirely self-sustainable community. According to the New Vistas website, the goal is to “provide housing and employment opportunity within an ecologically and economically sustainable infrastructure, and conserve real property for fully sustainable development.” People who want to join this community must sell off all their assets with the proceeds going to the Foundation. In exchange, that person can live in The New Vistas. Everyone who joins the community will be entirely equal. He plans on 20,000 residents in this first community, but he expects it to grow, and eventually be home to 1 million people in Vermont alone. His goal is to eventually create a continuous empire of 5,000 acres, made up of many communities.

People living here are limited to the opportunities granted within the small walls of their community. They are literally shut out from the real world; living in an alternate fantasy world. It sounds like a mix between Divergent and The Matrix. While this does seem like an enticing program because it supposedly will have little to no impact on the environment, it is very different from anything Vermont has seen before, which makes some people uncomfortable.

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Trout in trouble, pending precipitation

Mr. Maxwell Akey

Courtesy of Lake Champlain International

HINESBURG, Vermont — Ski resorts around Vermont are beginning to prepare for a snowy winter while students at Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) tune and wax their skis. Last year marked one of the lowest annual snowfall seasons Vermont has had, taking a toll on some of the major ski areas around Vermont, especially Mad River Glen. Unfortunately for Vermont’s population of trout, the lack of precipitation affected much more than just ski resorts.

Vermont’s many rivers and streams have been known to support thousands of healthy trout with the necessary habitat and food. This is slowly changing as Vermont’s weather patterns are beginning to devastate trout populations throughout the state. According to statistics released by weather.gov, last winter saw one of the lowest recorded annual snowfalls of only 29 inches. In 2010-2011, the annual snowfall was 128.4 inches.

Vermont’s rivers are home to three species of trout: brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Trout are some of the most fragile and sensitive species of fish and require cold, well oxygenated water- and a lot of it. Trout are most healthy in water temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, trout move to slow and deep waters where they hold (stay in one spot and are not active) until water temperatures increase in the spring.

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Opinion: Regulation causes Additional Hardship for Vermont Farmers

Mr. Jeremy Lang

When one imagines Vermont, the mind may wander to lush green rolling hills, farms covered in neatly wrapped hay bales, and black and white spotted cows grazing peacefully. Tall, slow moving tractors dot the mountains, and the only sound is the wind blowing through neatly planted rows of corn and hay. Under this postcard view is a disturbing truth: our Vermont farmers and farms are vanishing quickly.

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Here are some facts:

2.4 million acres in Vermont in 2015 were currently used as arable fields, pastures, wilderness, managed woods and natural habitats.  This is called “Current Use,” which means the owner gets set in a lower tax bracket so that they don’t have tax debt. This amounts to one third of Vermont’s land being under land conservation.

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The Best Fall activities in the best fall state

Ms. Emma Lieberman

Fall is arguably the most beautiful season in Vermont. People here certainly take advantage of all that fall has to offer. From small businesses, to corn mazes, there is always something to do. On one gorgeous autumn weekend, our intrepid reporter explored Chittenden County, and compiled some of the best things to do during this incredible time of year.

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Water Levels on Lake Champlain Could Hit a Record Low

By Mr. Kaelan Murdock

On October 11, water levels on Lake Champlain had dropped over four feet, according to My Champlain Valley. As of now on November 4, the water levels are still dropping. The Lake is rapidly approaching what could be one of its all-time lows. Boat launches are dry, small rocky islands are becoming exposed, and swamps are being replaced by mudflats. Due to the low water levels in McNeil Cove, the boat launch channel has become so clogged with sediment that dredging has become necessary.  The photos below document that process.

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Beware the “Leaf Peepers”

By Ms. Olivia Cottrell

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

 

Fall in Vermont is more that just the beauty of the leaves, it is also a highly marketed industry. If you search google for ‘Fall in Vermont’, or anything similar to that, you can find a plethora of websites advertising an amazing natural phenomenon. This phenomenon is one that most Vermonters take for granted. This amazing spectacle draws many people from all over each year. People come from all over, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the painted trees.  If you pay attention, you can see license plates from places ranging from New York State to Washington, which is an awfully far trek to see what, to most Vermonters are just some leaves.

Many Vermonters, myself included, grumble about the ‘leaf peepers’, as we refer to them. Drive down almost any dirt road that’s not too far off the beaten path in mid-October (which according to many is prime leaf season), and you can find a car with out-of-state plates pulled haphazardly off to the side of the road with people ogling out the windows. If the residents of the car do not have their faces squashed against the glass, they will most likely be in some other inconvenient position trying to get a good photo, someplace like the middle of the road.

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VT economy: Whether or not we’ll weather the weather

By Ms. Olivia Cottrell

The 2015-2016 winter was a bitterly disappointing season, according to many native Vermonters. Most people- from avid winter fans, to the people that hate the cold- were immensely disappointed in the winter and the effects it holds on the climate and economy today. Over the 2016 summer, Vermont was suffering from a drought. Compared to the average of around 39.9 inches of rain for northern Vermont, this summer hasn’t been good at all. Andy Nash, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Burlington, says that in most places we would need up to eight inches of rain to get soil back to normal.

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Photo Courtesy of Froghollow.org

The hot and dry summer, combined with an upsetting past winter, will have many effects on Vermont. The Vermont Ski Areas Association reported 3.2 million ski visits, a 31 percent decline from 2015, when there were 4.7 million visits to ski resorts. This is definitely in part due to the dismal ski weather. Only 72 inches of snow fell at the top on Mount Mansfield, and an average of 29 inches statewide this past winter. For Mt. Mansfield, this is a remarkable decline; in 2015, 146 inches fell, making the 2015-2016 winter’s snowfall the lowest since the early 90’s, and one of the lowest in history. In 2007 a record amount of 327 inches of snow fell. While 2007 was an exception, Vermont is really struggling from the effects of a dismal winter.

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Good, Better, Best?

 By Mr. Max Schmid

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Champlain Valley Union High school is ranked as the 38th best High School out of 26,407.  American High Schools are known for their Strong School spirit and their competitiveness. They want to compete with other schools to be able to compare their selves with them. This competitiveness goes from regional to rivalries across the country.

To actually measure how high a High School ranks compared to others, some associations started to create rankings. According to Bestcolleges.com in 2015 we were the 38th best public High School in the United States. That means that we are better than 99.86 % of all schools. We were the only school in Vermont to crack the list. So you can see that this is a remarkable accomplishment.

The rankings capture how much each High School does to invest in the academic excellence of its students. The Association sees this as the factor that ultimately explains why a school deserves to be called a leader in education. The Investment is measured based on a variety of factors including everything from SAT scores to athletics and even hey quality of the lunch in the cafeteria.

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Vermont Passes Gas

Mr. Dillon Hamrell

Gas, when leaked from a methane pipeline, can cover a city before it’s noticed. It can coat a house without the owner realising it has company. It visits everywhere without being let in. As long as the gas is there it can harm the people in the house. It can affect daily life. When the gas is spotted a whole town can clear that day. It can move thousands of people in hours.

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Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline is proposed to be beyond the electric line. Trails and a sledding hill for Geprags Park are on the right. Photo courtesy of Burlington Free Press

In California 65,000 lbs of methane gas an hour is leaking from a pipe. This caused a several thousand person evacuation of thousands of homes. There is also a no fly zone above this because of the possibility that the methane could ignite. The leak could affect even more people because the gas is still leaking today. The gas being leaked has been going for months. It is a massive leak; one of the biggest in history.

California has a methane pipeline that carries natural gases around the state. These pipelines carry methane that can make a massive impact on the environment.The gas is invisible to the naked eye.

At the leak’s peak, it was spewing at about 72 million standard cubic feet of methane a day, which emitted the same amount of global warming pollution as driving 9 million cars a day, according to Tim O’Connor, who runs EDF’s oil and gas program in California.

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Teaching Vermont

Mr. Adrian Walther

I didn’t know how to respond at first.  Which is a typical response, I suppose, when someone points out something that you have become comfortable enough with to take for granted.  It takes a moment to step out of your rut, routine, your body, your perspective and to see what whoever did the pointing out is seeing.  Only then, once you have comprehended that what you experience everyday may be something novel to another, once you have completed that superimposition into another’s shoes, can you generate a response.  

“Huh,” I said, eventually, eloquently.  “I guess you’re right.  This is pretty great.”

The boy that had spoken, a quiet young man with sunshine glinting off the thick black frames of his eyeglasses and fresh mud on his skate shoes, nodded his approval at my affirmation of his remark.  

“This is awesome,” he had said as he walked through the woods with his classmates and teachers, leaves, acorns, twigs snapping under our shuffling feet.  He added that he had “never done anything like this at school before.”  The month was August, the skies were clear, and the boy had arrived in Vermont only weeks before.  It was the third day of his freshman year.  Hailing from a city ten hours south and west of the forest through which he now strolled, the boy seemed to feel and resemble a city mouse freshly transplanted into the country.  As it were, he was surrounded by twenty-four country mice, two dozen fourteen year olds, most of whom had grown up locally, all of whom had clearly done this before in school.  An observer of this youthful troupe would have noticed a subtle, though not imperceptible, difference from the young man who strode alongside me to the rest of his peers.  Maybe it was his skinnier than typical jeans, the fashionable glasses, or something less tangible that set him apart. A less than easy gait through unfamiliar territory, an apprehension, or maybe, a sense of wonder absent from the rest.

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Our Own Devices: How the New Handheld Device Legislation is Holding Up

Mr. Jacob Dawson

Hinesburg– In the state of Vermont, a new law went into place that bans the use of any handheld device while driving. The hope for this was to reduce the number of accidents caused by talking on the cell phone and using other devices.

So far, the law seems to be working. Last year, according to the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, there were 70 traffic deaths caused by people using any handheld device. As of December

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