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1,322 posts categorized "Vermont"

September 03, 2012

Romney Heads to Vermont for Debate Prep

When President Obama heads to Charlotte, N.C., next week for the Democratic National Convention, former governor Mitt Romney will journey north to the one place the national press won't find him.

Reading, Vt.

With the nation's attention turning to the Democratic confab, Romney plans to hunker down at the Reading home of his former lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, to prepare for this fall's three presidential debates.

Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden confirmed to CNN, the Washington Post and others Saturday that the Republican nominee will be in Vermont Tuesday through Thursday. But Madden did not rule out the possibility that Romney would leave the Green Mountains occasionally to campaign in more battleground-y states, according to Reuters.

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics and news blog.

August 31, 2012

Grazing: The Waning Summer of Rosé

RoseIt’s less than 12 hours until August turns a corner. For me, it signals a sad close to a season that begins in early June and wends its way through three glorious, salmon-colored months: the season of sipping rosé, almost to the exclusion of other colors.

When I went to pick up another bottle of the pink stuff this week, the usually teeming display of rosé had disappeared; the remaining bottles had been relegated to a mid-shelf rosé ghetto. With heavy heart, I grabbed a bottle of pale Blaufrankisch and resolved not to let the moment die. So that you might consider joining the crusade, here are some wines you can (and should) keep drinking until the rain starts lashing your window — or until they become stranded behind an autumn display of Syrah or Cabernet Franc.

What makes rosé so ridiculously perfect, besides being the anathema to sticky, hot days, is that it pairs like a glove with almost any kind of food. It's cheap, too, or at least can be found for a song. Sparkling rosé can help you wash down anything from fries to oysters to acorns and seeds (why not indoctrinate squirrels, too?). 'Still' rosé loves on BBQ pork, salads, tarts, burgers, or even any iteration of tomatoes you’ve dreamt up in the last few, red-stained weeks. The wisps of acid in a dry rosé deftly meet those in food, punch for punch; their inevitable fruitiness makes for satisfying patio pounding.

Continue reading "Grazing: The Waning Summer of Rosé" »

August 30, 2012

Super PAC Hits Super PAC for Super PAC-ing

Stannard

Demonstrating an apparent dearth of self-awareness, a Vermont-based "super-PAC" whose creation opened the door for super PACs to operate in Vermont released a statement Thursday decrying the influence of an out-of-state super PAC in Tuesday's primary election — and using the situation to justify its own existence.

Got it? Didn't think so. Let me take you back.

Six weeks ago, a liberal advocacy group called Vermont Priorities announced it was launching Vermont's first home-grown super PAC, allowing it to raise and spend unlimited funds on state elections. Why? Because the folks behind it — Vermont Priorities chairman Bob Stannard (pictured) and the group's consultant, KSE's Todd Bailey — were greatly a-feared that big, bad out-of-state super PACs would get all up in Vermont's otherwise pure elections.

By starting their own, way more awesome super PAC, Stannard and Bailey reasoned, they'd be ready to do battle with Karl Rove and the dreaded Koch brothers when those dudes inevitably came to town. Meanwhile, without all those pesky campaign finance restrictions, Vermont Priorities would able to raise and spend as much as they liked to elect their fellow liberals to office!

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics blog.

August 29, 2012

Sorrell Clings to Thin Lead in Attorney General Primary; Race Too Close to Call

TJ and wife

UPDATE, 8/29 at 10:00 a.m.: T.J. Donovan says he'll likely concede the race this morning. For the latest updates, stay tuned to our new politics blog, Off Message.

This story was reported by Paul Heintz, Tyler Machado and Andy Bromage

For weeks, the Democratic contest for attorney general seemed too close — and too unusual — to predict. Tuesday night brought no swift resolution.

At the end of primary night — with 245 of 258 precincts reporting — Attorney General Bill Sorrell held a narrow 619-vote lead over challenger T.J. Donovan, according to the Associated Press. But with more than 40,000 voters casting ballots, neither campaign seemed fully prepared to declare victory — or defeat. 

“This has been a really long six months and I’ve said several times this is more a marathon than a sprint,” Sorrell told a crowd of supporters at Burlington’s Courtyard Marriott after emerging for the first time at 10:15 p.m. “We’ve got about a mile or so more to run, and I’m feeling great.”

SorrellStanding beside a screen projecting the night’s promising but uncertain results, Sorrell said, “We’ve got a while to wait, but that’s okay. Because between being 600 or so votes up and 600 or so votes down, I choose option A.”

Greeting supporters next door at the Burlington Hilton, Donovan told Seven Days that with a dozen precincts left to report, he “owed it to everybody to see what the votes are.”

But Donovan did not sound hopeful he would pull out a win.

"It's gonna be tough," he said, adding that he would be “unlikely” to call for a recount — as a candidate within two percent of a winner is entitled to do  — given the apparent size of Sorrell’s lead. "We've worked hard and I want to see this thing through. Somebody had us down 20 points a week ago.”

The AG's primary was the most expensive for that office in state history and the first competitive race for Vermont's top law enforcement job since Sorrell took office in 1997. Buoyed by $184,000 in super PAC advertising, Sorrell may well have fended off a challenge from an ambitious and well-organized young challenger who relentlessly hammered Sorrell's 15-year record during the five-month campaign.

For the second time in two years, Democrats faced the prospect of converging for a pre-scheduled "unity rally" on Wednesday with no clear winner. And with Republican AG candidate Jack McMullen waiting in the wings, Dems will be anxious to put the primary behind them and get the general election started.

Continue reading "Sorrell Clings to Thin Lead in Attorney General Primary; Race Too Close to Call" »

August 28, 2012

Tonight: Vermont Primary Election Results and Live Chat

250-voteHappy primary day, Vermont! Can you smell the democracy in the air?

Per Seven Days tradition, we'll be running a live blog and chat with our reporters and readers tonight, starting at 6 p.m. and going until...late. Paul Heintz and Andy Bromage will be out in the field, and we invite you to stop by and tell them about the big election day news in your town. I'll be back at 7D headquarters gathering the latest updates. We'll post results of the contentious races, including the big Democratic attorney general race, as we get them. Click here to go to our Vermont primary election page.

Haven't voted yet? Polls close at 7 p.m. tonight. Here's a list of polling places from the Secretary of State's office. If you still haven't decided who to vote for, you're not alone. In the Sorrell vs. Donovan battle, check out Andy Bromage's piece on the race, and take another look at their August 15 debate. Paul Heintz spotlighted some of the other big primary races in his Fair Game column a few weeks ago.

We'll see you tonight at 6 p.m. Until then, let us know how turnout is in your town and what your neighbors are talking about in the comments.

Alice Eats: The Inn at Shelburne Farms

2012-08-19 01.06.461611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, 985-8498

We all need a taste of luxury now and then. Usually, in those cases, we assume that those meals will be stressful on the wallet. But smart diners know that even at the finest restaurants, meals earlier in the day can cost a fraction of rich dinner prices. To give both me and my billfold a treat, I indulged in brunch at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.

We were led through the grand entrance to a table for two just below a painting of the original homeowner, Lila Vanderbilt Webb. It had taken me weeks to get a reservation, and the joint was indeed jumping. Our server warned us from the beginning that the kitchen was backed up and it would take 15 to 20 minutes for our food to arrive.

2012-08-19 01.21.13That ended up being more like 30 or 45 minutes, but good conversation in opulent surroundings is really the goal at Shelburne Farms. I wasn't in a hurry.

And the food was worth it. The veal and pork terrine was tender and smoky — perfect for a Sunday picnic in Provence. It was bathed in tarragon Hollandaise that had just a whisper of anise flavor. Eggs were poached perfectly and lent an extra layer of creaminess to the plate, which also included microgreens and an herb crostini. It was a delicious plate, but for $13, the portion was more like an appetizer than a hearty breakfast.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: The Inn at Shelburne Farms" »

August 27, 2012

Vermont's Fake Twitter Accounts: A Field Guide

Twitter-bird-white-on-blue

You may have heard about @THISISVT, the new Twitter account which will be operated by a different Vermont citizen each week. It was created by the state Department of Tourism in the vein of @Sweden and @NewZealand, but hopefully without the awkward moments. Picking a citizen to temporarily act as the voice of a polity is officially trending.

@THISISVT's goal of representing Vermont through the real voices of Vermonters is a noble one. But you know what's more fun? Fake voices. More specifically, the jokey Twitter accounts that come about through anthropomorphizing the creatures and machines that populate our state. They're a critical part of the Twitter ecosystem, making sure that it can't be taken too seriously in the midst of all the self-promotion and buzzwords. Sure, they're probably a waste of time — but at least they're fun! (Usually.)

Here's a brief guide to the parody accounts that populate our local Twittersphere. Give 'em a follow if you don't already.

(Note: This list does not include Twitter accounts purporting to belong to pets or newborns. Parents, please don’t pretend to be your child on social media.)

Continue reading "Vermont's Fake Twitter Accounts: A Field Guide" »

August 24, 2012

Grazing: A Fact-finding Mission to SoLo Farm & Table

Solo_eggplantIn the September 2012 issue of Bon Appetit, Andrew Knowlton anointed his "50 Best New Restaurant Nominees." One Vermont restaurant landed on the list: SoLo Farm & Table in South Londonderry.

Miles and mountain ranges mean that no one in our office had yet visited SoLo, despite heady rumors that have floated north. BA's nomination was a call to action. This week, with the gravest of intentions, I drove down, wandered into the restaurant's warren of rooms, and unfurled my napkin.

It's easy to get caught up in the Burlington restaurant scene and forget that southern Vermont is a magnet for urban chefs and eaters who co-create an eclectic, polished dining culture. So it is with SoLo, opened last summer by chef Wesley Genovart and his wife, Chloe — who both have some formidable NYC restaurant chops, including stints at Per Se and the running of the much-feted East Village restaurant Degustation. (For Chloe — originally from Vermont — SoLo is a sort of homecoming). 

Continue reading "Grazing: A Fact-finding Mission to SoLo Farm & Table" »

Hot Off the Press: Newspapers Back Donovan for AG

TJ endorsement

Updated below: Donovan racks up another newspaper endorsement.

In the closing days of the race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, newspaper endorsements are steadily trickling in. And, as with endorsements from politicians not named Howard Dean, Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan appears to be cleaning up.

Last Friday the Stowe Reporter and Waterbury Record, which are both owned by Biddle Duke, weighed in — arguing that Donovan has "innovative ideas... and the leadership skills to put those ideas to work." Sorrell, the papers' editorial board wrote, "has appeared distant and remote — at least until he faced a real challenger."

On Wednesday, St. Albans Messenger publisher Emerson Lynn used the "R" word as well to describe the incumbent AG: "Mr. Sorrell's extended tenure has made him more remote, less approachable. He's lost that personal connection that Mr. Donovan would restore." Sorrell's challenger, Lynn wrote, "is capable of communicating at a level that will benefit Vermonters directly. He is one among us and looks at problems at a community level, which is where he lives and works."

Lynn followed up Thursday with another, more pointed editorial — this one arguing that by waging a fight at the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the influence of money in politics and then accepting nearly $200,000 in support from a "super PAC," Sorrell was being a tad inconsistent: "But isn't it hypocritical to argue against the influence of big money in Vermont politics, and then be the beneficiary of such largess without the slightest hint of regret or opposition?"

Continue reading "Hot Off the Press: Newspapers Back Donovan for AG" »

August 23, 2012

Dean Slams Donovan for Suggesting Illegal Super PAC Coordination

Sorrell and DeanFormer governor Howard Dean slammed attorney general candidate T.J. Donovan Wednesday for insinuating that opponent Bill Sorrell's campaign illegally coordinated an ad campaign with an independent super PAC.

During a brutally negative Burlington Free Press debate Tuesday, Donovan — the Chittenden County state's attorney — said he had heard "numerous complaints" of such coordination, but declined to provide any evidence. He did issue a stark warning to Sorrell, saying the incumbent attorney general "should be very careful about any alleged coordination that may have occurred" between Sorrell's campaign and the Committee for Justice and Fairness, noting that Sorrell's office has sought to prosecute other political candidates for similar crimes.

Funded principally by the Democratic Attorneys General Association, the Committee for Justice and Fairness super PAC has spent at least $184,000 on television ads and direct mail supporting Sorrell's reelection fight.

Asked Wednesday to elaborate on his boss' charge, Donovan campaign manager Ryan Emerson admitted the campaign has "no evidence to suggest that's true," but implied that Dean may have served as an "intermediary" between Sorrell's campaign and the super PAC. Dean, who appointed Sorrell to the attorney general post in 1997 and remains his highest-profile supporter, narrated the television ad produced by the Committee for Justice and Fairness.

Continue reading "Dean Slams Donovan for Suggesting Illegal Super PAC Coordination" »

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