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June 2010

June 24, 2010

Senator Patrick Leahy Still Ahead in the Polls

DSC_0141 Despite a clever ad critiquing the national debt that gained him some national attention, Republican Len Britton is making little headway against incumbent Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, according to the results of a new poll.

Today, Rasmussen Reports released the results of its recent Vermont poll and found Leahy leading Britton by a comfortable 64-29 margin. In March, a similar poll found Leahy leading a "generic Republican" by a 58-33 margin.

In the new poll, 3 percent of respondents prefer another candidate, and 4 percent are undecided.

Continue reading "Senator Patrick Leahy Still Ahead in the Polls" »

Knit Bombing in Burlington Promotes Suicide Awareness

Knit 1 Anyone passing by Burlington City Hall today surely noticed the art installation out front: a knit bombing, aka yarn, craft or guerrilla bombing, that bedecks the bears and deer in their respective fountains, as well as the iron railing, with bright yellow and black yarn and other fabric bits.

Juggling my umbrella and iphone, I took some pics. It is the second time this summer the city's granite pets have been so adorned.

This type of public artwork is normally considered graffiti, is frowned upon by city officials, and doesn't last long. As it happens, organizer Casey McMains, a Jericho glassblower, got permission from the Church Street Marketplace for this installation, which will remain on view through June 30.

And despite the somewhat merry appearance of a bear and deer clad in, well, anything, McMains' motivation for the display was a somber one.

Continue reading "Knit Bombing in Burlington Promotes Suicide Awareness" »

June 23, 2010

Poll: Dubie Still Bests All Democratic Challengers

Dubie-secondarystills-blog It's been almost three months, and despite the debates held almost daily among the five Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls, or perhaps because of them, Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie still holds comfortable leads against any of his potential challengers, according to a new poll conducted by Rasmussen.

The poll, conducted June 17, surveyed 500 Vermonters and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

A similar poll was conducted in mid-March. In that poll, Rasmussen also polled the U.S. Senate race.

The only Democrat who continues to hold Dubie below 50 percent is Secretary of State Deb Markowitz. In a head-to-head match-up, Dubie earns 47 percent and Markowitz 40. In March, the margin was 46 percent for Dubie and 39 percent for Markowitz.

Meanwhile, her Democratic challengers are faring little better in this new poll against the four-term lite gov. Can she hold them off for another 60 days when primary voters go the polls on August 24? Time will tell. And, by the way, Rasmussen got Vermont's primary date wrong — they listed the old date of September 14.

Continue reading "Poll: Dubie Still Bests All Democratic Challengers" »

Earthquake Strikes Vermont; State Collectively Tweets in Response

Twitter-logo If you were feeling a bit shaken up today, you weren't alone.

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck 33 miles NNE of Ottawa, Canada at 1:41 this afternoon. Rumblings from the quake were felt here in Vermont, and as far away as Chicago.

Surprised that earthquakes can be felt so far away? According to the USGS, "earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the west, are typically felt over a much broader region...A magnitude 5.5 eastern earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi)."

What was our first reaction to the shaking at the Seven Days office? Well, one designer offered that if the folks from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (with whom we share an office building) evacuated, we should follow suit. They didn't, so we naturally took to Twitter to figure out what was going on.

The award for "first Tweet recognizing the Great Vermont Quake of 2010" goes to Steve McIntyre (@Steve_McIntyre):

#btv Anybody else feel a little earthquake?

Way to stay cool under pressure and Tweet when the rest of us were still paralyzed with fear and confusion, Steve.

Continue reading "Earthquake Strikes Vermont; State Collectively Tweets in Response" »

Emily Who? Independent Candidate Steals the Show at Gubernatorial Forum (VIDEO)

Five Democrats and one secessionist all running for governor came to downtown Burlington this morning for a candidate forum on substance abuse. But it was a newly minted independent candidate, with a guitar-strumming sidekick, who stole the show.

Emily Peyton of Putney, one of five independent or minor party candidates on the ballot for November, made her debut appearance in northern Vermont during a two-hour debate at the Turning Point Center on Bank Street, a facility for substance abuse programs and group meetings.

Peyton, 51, a self-described "activist and a rebel" and mother of two, is making her first run for public office. She'll be making a "Magical Transformation Tour" across Vermont in a Winnebago this summer. (See her self-made introduction video above, taken from her website

Continue reading "Emily Who? Independent Candidate Steals the Show at Gubernatorial Forum (VIDEO)" »

June 22, 2010

Alice Eats: Essex Grill

35 Main Street, Essex Junction 662-1501

EssexGrillThe Essex Grill opened in April. Every time I passed it, it appeared to be packed. Very interesting... I finally ate there last week.

The building formerly housed AJ's Kitchen, which has now moved up Railroad Street. Don't expect similar diner-style fare at Essex Grill. While the menu features some of the same comfort food, everything is made on-site, mostly from local products.

Essex Grill is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. I arrived toward the end of their day, around 7 p.m. Diners filled the front deck, eating brightly colored salads and big sandwiches. I was in no danger of leaving hungry. All entrées come with a choice of soup or salad. That night's soup was a thick pea purée, made chunky with thick-cut bacon.

I chose a grass-fed steak from Wood Creek Farm for my entrée (pictured).

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Essex Grill" »

June 21, 2010

IBM-Vermont to Manufacture High-Security Chips Used in E-Passports

Images***** UPDATED BELOW with correction *****

IBM in Essex Junction will soon begin manufacturing the high-security chips embedded in a number of different electronic documents, including the "e-passports" issued by the United States and other countries around the world, according to an announcement today by the chip's designer, Infineon Technologies of Neubiberg, Germany. 

The new chips, called "highly secure integrated circuit," or "ICs," are considered "state-of the-art security technology" and have a variety of applications. They include Department of Defense ID cards, enhanced driver's licenses and Social Security cards, national ID and health cards, and  "smart" consumer credit cards, says Matt Schmidt, spokesperson for Infineon's North American headquarters. According to Schmidt, the Vermont IBM facility will be the only plant in North America to make the new high-security chip, known as the SLE-78.

In recent years, the U.S. government has made a concerted effort to find domestic supply lines for such security-sensitive products, says Schmidt. Infineon, the world's largest security-chip manufacturer, has had a long relationship with IBM and is one of only two companies in the world that supplies the e-passport chips to the U.S. government. Schmidt declined to put a dollar figure on the value of deal, but said the contract between Infineon and IBM is "open ended" and will depend on a variety of factors, including global demand for the product.

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"Kane" Saves Newspapers

Via Fake Steve Jobs (and Meghan Dewald -- thanks for the tip!), here's the trailer for a "proposed remake" of Citizen Kane, in which Kane sets out to save the newspaper industry.

(Warning: Clip includes a couple naughty words, lots of comedic violence, and some unconvincing fake blood.)

June 18, 2010

Welch Grills BP CEO, Asks Him to Resign

BPHearing During a Congressional hearing Thursday, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) bluntly asked BP CEO Tony Hayward if the embattled executive should resign.

Welch sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the panel's Energy and Environment Subcomittee. The latter held a hearing on the BP oil spill where Hayward faced a barrage of questions, and criticism, about his company's role in causing, and now failing to stop, the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Welch noted that BP has been fined repeatedly in recent years for "willful and egregious" violations of federal safety laws. The most recent fine came last fall when the firm was fined $87 million for criminal violations of safety laws at a Texas facility that was the focus of a years-long probe after an explosion killed 15 workers. Another probe found 700 federal workplace safety violations at a Toledo, Ohio plant. The company also agreed to pay $380 million in fines for an oil pipeline leak in Alaska, and for committing fraud in energy trading.

Continue reading "Welch Grills BP CEO, Asks Him to Resign" »

Bite Club TV: Tehran Teatime

Driving the main drag in Johnson, the last thing you'd expect to see is a Persian restaurant. Farah's Middle Eastern Foods may be the most elegant take-out only restaurant you've ever seen. The walls are lined in Persian rugs and a gold-plated samovar pours Sri Lankan tea to visitors. Bite Club TV producer Elizabeth Rossano and I just had to have a taste.

We weren't disappointed. This video should not be viewed with an empty stomach. Severe tah cheen cravings are a given.

To learn more about Farah's Middle Eastern Foods, check out my story this week, Persian Provisions.

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