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July 2011

July 29, 2011

Fogel Earned Less Than Other University Heads

Dan Fogel Unremarked upon amid the upset over UVM President Dan Fogel's $411,000 compensation package is the fact that he's gotten substantially less annual pay than the heads of at least two other post-secondary schools in Vermont.

Gov. Peter Shumlin had it right when he cautioned that Fogel's take is not exceptional “because you can go to any institution of higher learning in the country and find this now.”

Well, not quite any institution of higher learning. But Shumlin's statement certainly applies to at least two Vermont institutions other than UVM: Middlebury College and Champlain College.

According to a survey for 2008-09 published last November by the Chronicle of Higher Education, both Ron Leibowitz of Middlebury and David Finney of Champlain earned more than Fogel: about $730,000 and $510,000, respectively. And depending on how Fogel's remuneration is calculated, St. Michael's College President John Neuhauser, with annual compensation of nearly $400,000, may also have earned more than the top Cat.

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Grazing: A Burrata Zeitgeist

Burrata If you've ever tasted burrata, you don't easily forget it. The snowy balls of pillow-soft mozzarella harbor curds and heavy cream in their midst, both of which ooze onto your plate when you stab one with a fork. An almost illicit tide of silky, buttery freshness washes into your mouth with each bite.

The thing is, burrata is usually hard to find, so its pleasures are not well known. A specialty of Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, burrata is made by filling fresh mozzarella with leftover curds, called stracciatella, and fresh cream; its top is then sealed into a little twist, the inside a treasure to be freed a little later. It doesn't travel well, as burrata is intended to be eaten within a day or so of its making. It's a small blessing, then, that we now have an Italian burrata maker in Vermont, at Maplebrook Farm in Bennington.

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July 28, 2011

Vt. Oldsters are Getting Randy

Picture 1

Having worked in newspapers for some time now, nothing should shock me. Human behavior is wacky and unpredictable and icky and glorious, often all at the same time. You could tell me that your best friend gave birth to a horse named Miley Cyrus during monsoon season in New Mexico and it most likely wouldn't phase me. I'd probably want to see pictures of that sweet little filly. 

So when I happened to land on this sparkler of a personal ad (click on photo to enlarge) on our Hot 2 Trot website, it came as somewhat of a surprise that I was so scandalized by it. It's not that I don't think AARP members get it on from time to time — I'm pretty sex positive and I think that everyone should get some play, no matter how saggy their skin. It's that this 73-year-old grandma be NASTEE! 

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Klifa Club Closing, Selling Historic Burlington House

Exterior It's the end of an era on Pearl Street. After more than 110 years, the Klifa Club, a historic women's social club in Burlington, is closing its doors. Its stately and mysterious red-brick headquarters is now for sale.

At one point the club was hosting as many as 250 women for its afternoon luncheons, but in recent years it "quietly dwindled," said current Klifa Club president Christine Powell. "In the end we would be lucky if 25 attended." The numbers were even fewer in the winter when many members headed south, Powell added, and the club was closed for the duration of the summer.

Klifa joins the Ethan Allen Club and the Athena Club on the list of local social hubs that have closed their doors in recent years.

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July 27, 2011

UVM Profs Rankled by President's Severance Package

Cashbag Well, that didn't take long: Today, the union representing more than 800 University of Vermont faculty criticized the pay package granted to outgoing president Dan Fogel.

In a letter to the UVM Board of Trustees, the faculty union said it was "dismayed and profoundly disappointed by the compensation package provided to President Fogel, as he steps down from the UVM presidency."

Fogel announced last week he was stepping down from the presidency a year early due to "deeply personal reasons," largely stemming from an internal UVM investigation focusing on his wife, Rachel Kahn-Fogel, who was found to have had a six-year emotional relationship with a key UVM fundraiser and had tense relations with other top executives.

Fogel's last day is July 31. This week, UVM trustees named former provost John Bramley as the interim president. His first day of work is August 1.

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State Police and Humane Society Workers Raid Unlicensed Bakersfield Puppy Mill

PUPPY_MILL__2 Vermont State Police and an animal rescue task force from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) seized 54 dogs Tuesday from a Bakersfield puppy mill, where the animals were allegedly being housed in cruel and unsanitary conditions. (Watch an HSUS video of the rescue here.)

Police and animal welfare workers arrived at the Bakersfield home of Karen Maple, 48, to find scores of Labrador retrievers, both adults and puppies, crowded into small, wire, feces-encrusted pens, as well as numerous dogs running free. Many were malnourished and suffering from a variety of medical conditions, including dehydration and untreated wounds. The HSUS alleges that the property owner was illegally selling puppies over the internet and via local classified ads to unsuspecting consumers. Maple now faces charges of animal cruelty as well as assault on a police officer.

"I can’t tell you what the scene was like. Words just fail me," says Tom Ayres, president and CEO of the Chittenden County Humane Society, which participated in a rescue operation that stretched from Tuesday morning until late in the night. "The conditions that these dogs were in and the condition of the property was just horrific."

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July 26, 2011

Pajamafication of America Hits Snag in Bennington

J635-WO-mens-3-wolf-moon-pajamas America is a nation of casual dressers. We revel in our relaxed, bordering on comatose, dress codes. Shorts and sweat socks to the office? Sure! Tank top and sweat pants to district court? Why not! Stained jeans and an XXXL Taylor Swift T-shirt to a funeral? Absolutely!

Our slovenliness has trickled down to the youth of America, who think nothing of wearing their bed clothes out of the house. If you doubt that we are in the all-out throes of a national pajamafication, you need only visit UVM in the middle of the day when classes are in session for confirmation. Every third student will be moderately hung over, shuffling around in shearling slippers their mom bought them from L.L. Bean, and one in every five will be sporting flannel pajama pants featuring cartoon animals whose emasculating effects are not yet fully understood. If you're lucky, you'll see a handful of students striding across campus wearing nothing on the bottom at all. But whatever. It's college! 

Students as slobs is not a new trope. Lord knows the ripped soccer shorts and oversized flannel shirts of my youth were just a notch beyond rags on the sartorial spectrum. But with this new trend of bed clothes as day wear, slobdom has reached new heights. One Vermont school principal has had enough. He's saying good night to PJs in his classrooms. Amen, brother.

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Alice Eats: Maxi's Restaurant

47 North Main Street, Waterbury, 244-0910IMG_2590

I don't often turn right when heading off the Stowe-Waterbury exit on I-89.  Perhaps that's why I had never made it to Maxi's Restaurant before. It gets great reviews on 7 Nights and is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network, both excellent endorsements. Sunday, I finally took that right turn.

The casual set-up included a lunch counter overlooking TVs playing a Lifetime Original Movie, several tables and this painting (right). My kind of place. The comfort food on the menu looked good, too. Hot turkey sandwiches, smoked gouda macaroni and cheese... All the comfort favorites.

IMG_2587 I took a risk and chose chicken piccata — not exactly home-style American, but the promise of capers and artichokes on top was irresistible.

The green hue of everything on the plate (right) should indicate the freshness of the dish. Squash was lightly sautéed in little more than olive oil and salt and pepper. The edges were caramelized to delectable sweetness, but the vegetables weren't cooked so much that they lost their integrity in terms of flavor or texture.

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July 25, 2011

University of Vermont Names Interim President

Bramley * Updated *

The University of Vermont's Board of Trustees has named John Bramley (pictured) as interim president of the university. He'll assume the job on August 1.

The move came less than one week after UVM President Fogel announced he was resigning from his post July 31, one year earlier than anticipated.

Trustees met in secret during a midday meeting before board chairman Robert Cioffi made the announcement.

"We are extremely fortunate that John Bramley was both available and willing to step into this important role," Cioffi said.  "Quite frankly, there could not be a better choice for this job in light of John's experience, skills, character and knowledge of UVM, in addition to his outstanding scholarly record. Even though he will be in this role for a relatively short time, John is not going to be a 'caretaker,' and will be pushing our key initiatives forward."

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Pigging Out at the Cheesemakers Festival


I had to pinch myself every hour this Sunday to make sure I wasn't dreaming. The Vermont Cheesemakers festival at Shelburne Farms is my idea of heaven: a sunny barn filled with cheese, chocolate, wine, beer, strawberries and sausage.

This event was a farmers' market on steroids, where you were encouraged to stuff your face with meal-sized samples. Along with almost 2000 other food enthusiasts, I wandered from vendor to vendor, emitting sounds of delight over triple-cream goat cheeses and blue-cheese truffles. Baby goats snoozed in the sun near the lake, and Brown Swiss cows roamed the hills surrounding the festival, moaning like prehistoric beasts. 

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