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December 2010

December 31, 2010

Good Riddance, 2010

2010-Good-Riddance-Calendar-copy Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

While 2010 might have been a good year for Taylor Swift, rich people and the Internet, it has not been great for me. This is largely due to the fact that not only was I omitted from People magazine's list of the most beautiful people in the world, but I was snubbed for a MacArthur "genius" grant. Oh, and my bid for Vermonter of the Year? Ignored. Ditto for Time magazine's person of the year prize (a pox on your house, Mark Zuckerberg). 

So the prospect of a brand new year — where the possibility of me nabbing one, or all, of those honors looms large — makes me feel all atingle. No, that's not the egg nog talking. 2011 will be my year, filled with sweetness and light and a team of miniature donkeys, upon which I will ride in my custom-made sedan chair. As the time drains out of 2010, I feel practically airy and optimistic about what the future holds. Next year can't come fast enough. 

Continue reading "Good Riddance, 2010" »

December 30, 2010

New Year, New Chef at ¡Duino! (Duende)

The aftershocks of the chef changeover at the Bluebird Tavern continue... The latest news could even be called a global event. That's because Nathaniel Wade, the longtime sous-chef at Bluebird Tavern, is now executive chef at international street food cafe, ¡Duino! (Duende).

According to ¡Duino! (Duende) general manager Lily Sickles, Wade's Cordon Bleu education and flair for handcrafted dishes made from local ingredients has refined the fare at Radio Bean's sister restaurant. Wade's innovations include cha siu bao filled with heritage pork belly, pickled daikon and homemade kimchee; Israeli baharat chicken wings and fresh pastas. There's even a nod to the Bluebird's former all-American brunch staple, chicken and waffles with honey butter. As has always been the case at ¡Duino! (Duende), none of the above ring up at more than $10.

Tomorrow night, things will get a little more formal at a special New Year's dinner. According to Sickles, both ¡Duino! (Duende) and Radio Bean will be decorated in a "luxury liner" theme for "Radio Cari-Bean." For the occasion, Wade will be preparing a surf-and-turf special featuring a half lobster and Boyden Farm steak. The prix-fixe meals will also include fried oysters, chocolate volcano cake and champagne. Sickles says to expect lounge acts playing in Radio Bean along with "dancing, party games and umbrellas in cocktails" until 2 a.m.

Look for more about Wade, ¡Duino! (Duende) and his transition in the next issue of Seven Days on January 12.

My Favorite Email Newsletter of 2010

Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

Before I explain my pick for best email newsletter of 2010, I have to offer a disclaimer. When Seven Days publisher Paula Routly tasked me with managing our first email newsletter in January, 2007, I was less than thrilled. I didn't get any email newsletters — also known by the cringeworthy title "email blasts" — and I didn't think they were all that great.

But four years later, I'm a convert, and not just because I helped develop our e-newsletters Notes on the Weekend (NOW), Bite Club, and the Daily 7. I get a bunch of other e-newsletters in my inbox daily and weekly — from VT Digger, The Skinny Pancake, Vermont Tiger, Vermont Business Magazine, the Association of Alternative Weeklies, and Front Porch Forum — most of which I open and read. 

At their best, email newsletters help me filter information. They let me know what's out there, what's going on in my community, or with a business or organization I like. They offer a taste of that information, and by linking to additional content on the web, they give me the opportunity to dive deeper and learn more,

My favorite Vermont email newsletter of 2010 doesn't quite follow that rule, though. It gives a little more detail than I usually expect in an email. But it's such a perfect combination of useful info relayed with personality and style that I had to share it. And the winner is...

Continue reading "My Favorite Email Newsletter of 2010" »

Calendar Countdown

Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

Not too long ago, in mid-November, I was reading “‘Stuck’ at 200,” Cathy Resmer’s interview with Seven Days multimedia producer Eva Sollberger. I felt a jolt of recognition when I got to this part:

SD: You seem genuinely excited about every video you make. Are you?

ES: Every time I do an event, at the end of it, I’m, like, Oh my god, I’m totally going to be a Frisbee player! I’m going to be an ice skater! I’m going to learn how to fly a glider! Like, every single time. I just get so into it and, by the end, I’m thinking, How can I do this? How can I fit this into my life? And then two seconds later I’m onto the next story and I’ve forgotten all about it...”

As calendar editor, I feel the same way about most of the events I write about. I convince myself I’m going to make it to Kitestorm 2010 the following weekend; I even go so far as to put it in my Google calendar and talk it up to two friends. Without fail, they’re less enthused than I am — Won’t it be, like, 15 degrees out? they’ll ask. You don’t even like snow sports, they’ll point out. And by the time the big day rolls around,  I’m already on to the next batch of calendar items and Kitestorm is the last thing on my mind.

But, in the spirit of wrapping up 2010, I thought I’d recap a few memorable events that I wrote about and actually went to. And they actually all rocked — always a relief when you recommend upcoming events to others for a living. Walk down memory lane with me, won’t you? And add these annual events to your social calendar for 2011.

Continue reading "Calendar Countdown" »

December 29, 2010

How Vermont Police Train for High Speed Chases

Photo Today's issue of Seven Days is full of year-end updates to stories we published during 2010. Unfortunately, a story we published back in August — about how Vermont police train for high speed chases — is relevant once again.

On Sunday, Burlington resident Kaye Borneman, 43, was killed in a car crash not far from our office, at the intersection of Main and St. Paul Streets (pictured). The SUV that hit her was allegedly driven by a man who was fleeing the police.

An article in today's Burlington Free Press describes how Burlington and state police will review the crash, and the preceeding pursuit.

As Ken Picard notes in his August story, the Vermont police academy recently launched a new course that helps train officers how to respond in high-speed chase situations. Writes Ken:

Why is the state investing so much time and money in teaching police officers to drive better? Simply put, because high-speed driving, especially chases, is the most dangerous thing they do. Each year, more officers die in motor-vehicle accidents than in shootings — at a nationwide rate of about one officer every six weeks.

They’re not the only ones getting killed in chase situations. A 2004 study by the University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center found that, of the approximately 300 Americans killed each year in police pursuits, nearly one third are innocent bystanders. That’s an average of three victims every week.

Our condolences to Borneman's friends and family.

Photo from 12/30/10 showing Vermont State Police at the crash scene.

2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics

Adrian Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

My 2010 political season didn't revolve entirely around the gubernatorial race — not when Burlington City Hall and the three-member Congressional delegation are part of my beat.

Here are some of my most memorable moments from this past year ... in politics.

Continue reading "2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics" »

December 28, 2010

Alice Levitt's Best New Restaurant Dishes of 2010

Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

It's tough to start a new restaurant. It's even tougher to impress a jaded diner like me right out of the gate. Every year, I like to honor those eateries that, in their first year, truly separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

The dishes that I chose range from burgers and pizza to ethnic delicacies. Hopefully there will be something to make everyone's mouth water. Click on the names of the restaurants to learn more...

Continue reading "Alice Levitt's Best New Restaurant Dishes of 2010" »

2010's Best Google Alert for "Burlington:" Odor-free Puppies

Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

As much as I'd like readers to assume that we Seven Days staffers are continually poring through national newspapers, magazines, blogs, Tweets and other databases in search of the most compelling and hard-to-find nuggets of Vermont-centric infotainment, the truth is, these days it makes more sense to let technology do the walking for us. 

Hence, Google alerts, a simple way to trawl the Internet's seven seas for content related to topics of interest, and then have those links wash up in my in-box several times a day. For example, I have alerts set up for  "Vermont," "Vermont judicial," Vermont civil liberties," and about a dozen other words, names and phrases, including my own name, just to see who's libeling and/or lampooning me with savage ferocity.

One of the first alerts I set up was for the name "Burlington." However, since most stories about Vermont's Queen City don't specifically say "Burlington, Vt," Google's drift nets inevitably churn up a lot of "bycatch," aka digital debris with no discernible connection or interest whatsoever to Vermonters.

More often that not, such alerts are about those other, "lesser" Burlingtons — you know, the ones that aren't the healthiest, safest, greenest, hippest, most unicycle-friendly, localvore, community-policing, low-carbon-emitting, gluten-free, walkable cities in the known galaxy for raising children/dogs/backyard poultry/greenbelt mushrooms.

You know what I discovered? Life in those other Burlingtons fairly well sucks: gang warfare, cross burnings, roof collapses and five-alarm fires are the norm. (After four alarms, our Burlington switches to frantic cowbell ringing and girlish shrieks.)

Of course, many of the other Google alerts are for non-place-name Burlingtons, such as upcoming sales at the Burlington Coat Factory, or transients getting run over by Burlington-Northern trains, both of which seem to occur with tragic but preventable frequency.

But my favorite Burlington alert of 2010 arrived in my inbox just weeks ago with all the comforting goodness of a freshly baked brownie. The headline, courtesy of the Philippine Star, read:

"Ms. Burlington keeps her feet odor-free."


Continue reading "2010's Best Google Alert for "Burlington:" Odor-free Puppies" »

December 27, 2010

Alice Eats: Our House

36 Main Street, Winooski 802-497-1884

I have a big mouth. It's rare that I stay mum on a place just because I'm afraid of one day not getting in. Right now, I'm feeling guilty. On Sundays, while you're still waiting in line at Sneaker's, I'm already walking home from a gut-busting brunch at Our House.

Pannekoeken That's right. You could have gone up one block and had my current favorite brunch. It's hard to fully describe what's so extraordinary about it, but I believe six words sum it up: "Stuffed Dutch Pancake & Waffle Combo." Oh, Jesus.

Seriously, look at that thing (right)! Let me break this down for you. That sizzling skillet was filled with a Dutch pannekoek. Baked into the pancake was a waffle, which was made from the same chewy, eggy batter. Then I chose blueberries from an array of fruits and added chocolate, which quickly melted into the waffle's crevices. It was equally awesome for brunch and for dessert the next evening.

I was less excited about the housemade sausage patties. I found them to be little more than raw peppers Boofus and onions bound together with ground pork. Not my style. However, at a later meal, Our House's way with breakfast meats was redeemed by the monster you see at right.

"The Hungry Man" was a Dutch pancake-waffle special. Yep, underneath all that, there are two different breakfast pastries, but this time with something special — the batter was filled with crispy bacon. The batter itself also tasted slightly different this time, lightly redolent of almonds. It was almost like a meat and marzipan breakfast. Stacked on there, was also wheat toast, an over-easy egg, sausage, nicely seared ham and homefries. It took two people to eat it.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Our House" »

The Jim Douglas-Jim Morrison Connection, and Other Google Doppelgangers

Jims Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

 As a reporter, one of the easiest ways to stay abreast of local newsmakers is using Google Alerts — where you sign up to get an email every time the name of someone, or some thing, hits the world wide web.

My Google Alerts run the gamut from Vermont politicians like Jim Douglas and Bernie Sanders, to prominent local companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Every time their name hits the Internet, I get an email alerting me to it.

It's a really smart little system Google has devised — but not so smart that it can distinguish between Jim Douglas the governor and Jim Douglas the television news reporter from Dallas, Texas. Or Jim Douglas the character in the 1968 Disney film The Love Bug. Or the Jim Douglas who is a judge in Australia.

Over the last year, Google Alerts has clogged my inbox with Jim Douglases, Patrick Leahys and Phil Scotts who have nothing to do with Vermont. I started collecting them last January and wanted to share my stash before 2010 went out the door. Much as former Seven Days staff writer Mike Ives discovered in his piece "Alter Egoed," I learned that once you go down the doppelganger rabbit hole, there's no telling where you'll end up.

Here, in no particular order, are my 7 best newsmaker doppelgangers of 2010:

Continue reading "The Jim Douglas-Jim Morrison Connection, and Other Google Doppelgangers" »

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