Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

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24 posts categorized "Outdoors" Feed

May 07, 2012

A Moose on the Loose in Winoos'

MooseIf you spotted a long-legged ungulate on the loose in downtown Winooski this weekend, don't worry — it wasn't the ghost of Pete the Moose come back to haunt you. It was just your average confused adolescent moose, out for a ramble through the Onion City. 

I made a few phone calls after Seven Days associate publisher Cathy Resmer came to work this morning with stories of a moose sighting on Green Up Day. Cathy was picking up trash on Weaver Street and says she was almost run over by a "frantic" moose that bolted out of the police station parking lot.

The moose turned onto West Allen and headed for the river. When Cathy called home to tell her wife Ann-Elise about the sighting, she learned that Ann-Elise had spotted the same moose just a short while earlier, hanging out just beyond the fence in their neighbor's yard. Soon after, the couple's young son, Graham, saw the moose running down the street and exclaimed, "Mom, I just saw the biggest dog I've ever seen in my life running down the street!"

The sightings didn't end there. After Cathy posted on Facebook, other reports trickled in: of a moose running alongside 189, of one dashing across Williston Road and into the Staples parking lot (and dodging traffic as he went).

Continue reading "A Moose on the Loose in Winoos'" »

January 25, 2012

USDA's New Plant Hardiness Zone Confirms Vermont Is Getting Warmer

Vt"Hot enough for ya?" Get used to hearing that remark a lot more than you used to, or so say climatologists and atmospheric researchers. As this week's Seven Days cover story "Totally Uncool" points out, Mother Nature's warning signs are now big and obvious enough for even us nonscientists to notice.

The newest evidence? Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled its new, 2012 Plant Hardiness Zone map. The Vermont map confirms what local growers have been saying for years: The Green Mountain State is becoming more temporate and now more resembles the climate of Virginia in the 1960s.

What's worse, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their present rate, by 2080 Vermont will look and feel more like northern Georgia. The good news? More peach cobbler. The bad news: Say goodbye to real Vermont maple syrup.

Continue reading "USDA's New Plant Hardiness Zone Confirms Vermont Is Getting Warmer" »

December 06, 2011

Vermont is the Healthiest State in the Nation... Again

Health-rankingsThe United Health Foundation has just released the 2011 edition of America's Health Rankings, and once again, Vermont comes out on top as the healthiest state in the country.

If you feel like you've heard this before, it might be because Vermont has claimed a sort of health-ranking dominance in the past few years. Our state has come out on top in four out of the past five years, and hasn't finished lower than fourth since 2002. Vermont hasn't always been on top of the heap, languishing between positions 10 and 20 in the 1990s before shooting up to the top in the aughts.

Why is Vermont so healthy? The United Health Foundation credits Vermont's high rates of both early prenatal care and graduation from high school, coupled with few infectious diseases and violent crimes. Vermont's love of local, healthy food helps (#1 in the Diet, Fruit & Vegetables ranking), as do the seemingly bottomless opportunities for active outdoor recreation (#2 in the Physical Activity ranking). Oh, and there are no Chick-fil-A restaurants in Vermont. Just sayin'.

Continue reading "Vermont is the Healthiest State in the Nation... Again" »

October 11, 2011

Williston Residents Call on North Country Sportsman's Club To Get The Lead Out

Williston lead#1 A decades-old shooting range in Williston has once again come under fire from its neighbors, who blame the sportsman's club for dangerously high levels of lead that have shown up in their soil, drinking water, pond and the creek that runs across their property.

On Tuesday, Mona and Leo Boutin (pictured, at right), whose family has lived and farmed on the 50-acre property off Creamery Road in Williston for five generations, released the results of tests done last summer on their soil and wellwater. Those tests revealed lead levels that are twice as high as what's considered safe for raising livestock, and nearly seven times higher than the level considered safe for human consumption.

The recent tests, taken June 30 on Sucker Brook, are almost identical to the levels that showed up two years ago. As Andy Bromage reported in his July 13, 2011 story, "Long Shot: Bruce Ryan Took Aim at Montpelier Gun Club Pollution — and 16 Years later Found His Target," Williston's North Country Sportsman’s Club first caused alarm among neighbors in 2009 when water samples collected downstream from the range showed lead levels just shy of what health experts deem "the upper limit for toxic substances in water."

The firing range has since received a federal grant, funded through an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, to realign shooting alleys and plan for reclaiming spent lead on the grounds. However, lead bullets and shot are still used regularly at the range.

"We were told [by the state] not to worry about it" two years ago, says Mona Boutin, who now heads the citizens' group, Lead-Free Williston. "Well, that's fine if it isn't your water and it isn't your family that's drinking it. The time for concern is here and now."

Continue reading "Williston Residents Call on North Country Sportsman's Club To Get The Lead Out" »

October 10, 2011

Burton Snowboards Founder Jake Carpenter Ready to Shred Cancer

Jake-Burton A few weeks back, Jake Burton Carpenter, Burton Snowboard's Shredder-in-Chief announced to his staff via company memo that he was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. While the prognosis looks good (this type of cancer is considered very curable), Carpenter, 57, will be taking it easy as he undergoes three months of treatment. He's already begun chemotherapy.

Seminoma, the type of testicular cancer Carpenter has, is the most common form of cancer for men ages 15 to 34, according to the National Cancer Institute. More than 95 percent of cases can be cured with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. 

Here's the memo he sent to his staff:

To: Burton Global
From: Jake

Good News and Bad News

The bad news is that I have cancer. The good news is that it is as curable as it gets. What I have is called Seminoma, also known as Testicular Cancer (think Lance Armstrong). I have three months of chemo ahead with the possibility of surgery along the way.

Last week was a rough one for me and Donna in that for several days my prognosis looked far, far worse. What struck me and everyone around me as unusual during this time was the fact that I didn’t get that upset about my situation. I have come to the conclusion that this for sure is simply a reflection of the people I’m surrounded and supported by.

Starting with a perfect wife, 3 loving sons, and a stable of amazing friends, I am way ahead of your average bear in the support department. But the support that I feel from this company and all of you is what puts me on another level; starting with the best Senior Management Team I’ve ever seen here, on through to every Burton employee all over the world. I hope that, should any of you find yourself in a similar predicament, Burton can provide you with the same sense of peace and support.

I have no idea what my work schedule is going to be, but I assume it will have its ups and downs. I will keep you posted on Yammer and e-mail with my progress.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do for me is to keep kicking ass the way you have been. 

See you all at the fall bash.


We wish Jake and his family the best of luck as they shred all over cancer. 

Via Transworld Snowboarding.

September 16, 2011

Marching for Laura Winterbottom and Against Sexual Violence

Laura's March Photo In 2005, Burlington resident Laura Kate Winterbottom was attacked downtown, raped and killed in a particularly brutal and shocking crime. Since then, her family and friends have honored her memory with a nonprofit that raises awareness about sexual violence, and raises funds to provide care and resources for survivors of violence.

The LKW Memorial Fund hosts an annual 5k walk/run aptly called "Laura's March." This year's event starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow, September 17, at Oakledge Park in Burlington. Registration is 9-9:30 a.m. Participants can aso register, or donate money, online.

The primary beneficiaries of Laura's March are Parallel Justice, a Burlington program that provides resources to underserved victims of violent crime; and to Vermont Works for Women's Dirt Divas program, which helps school-age girls build confidence, self-esteem, courage and leadership skills.

A number of businesses, including Seven Days, contribute to the success of Laura's March. Since 2005, the LKW Memorial Fund has donated $65,000 to a variety of Vermont nonprofits. March on.

Photo from Laura's March last year courtesy of LKW Memorial Fund.

August 16, 2011

USGS: Fall Foliage Is Major Source of Mercury in New England Environment

Fallfoliagecentral.ashx Last week, the U.S. Geological Survey released the findings of two multiyear studies which concluded that — hang onto your sugaring buckets — fallen autumn leaves release mercury into the environment.

As if Vermont's tourism industry didn't have enough to worry about, what with Vermont Yankee's radioactive incontinence and Green Mountain dairy cows belching and farting out enough greenhouse gases to turn the state's much-heralded winter slopes into Slip 'n' Slides.

"We know that forest canopies scavenge mercury out of the air — because trees breathe every day — and they take in gases that include gaseous mercury," explains Martin Risch, a research hydrologist with the USGS in Indianapolis, Ind., who worked on the studies. Leaves and needles also capture mercury that settles as dry deposits on their surface. But when those leaves and needles fall, they release the environmental contaminant once again.

Mercury poses a health risk to humans and other living critters. Notably, methylmercury, the nasty organic variety that shows up in fish and seafood, is harmful to pregnant mothers because it can affect their fetuses' developing cognitive abilities, attention, language, fine motor skills and ... what was that last one? ... oh, yeah, memory. Another good reason to get those silver-amalgam fillings out of your mouth.

Scientists have known for years mercury moves from the atmosphere into the environment through precipitation. However, these new studies reveal that "litterfall"— that is, those beautiful leaves and needles — delivers at least as much mercury to eastern U.S. ecosystems as precipitation. And possibly more.

Continue reading "USGS: Fall Foliage Is Major Source of Mercury in New England Environment" »

VT Fisherman Caught With Radio-Tracked Atlantic Salmon in Freezer

Atlantic SalmonA Bethel angler was busted for reportedly taking home a 31-inch Atlantic salmon he caught in the White River, and reporting it as a brown trout.

Brown_troutRyan McCullough faces a $1500 fine and loss of his fishing license for three years for not accurately identifying his catch, according to Vermont Fish & Wildlife. A press release states that McCullough was fishing downstream of the federal fish hatchery in Stockbridge on July 25 when he hooked and landed a 9.5-pound, 31.5-inch-long fish that turned out to be an andromous Atlantic Salmon (top). He reportedly "misidentified" it as a brown trout (bottom) and took it home to have it stuffed.

How did McCullough get caught? In a press release, Fish & Wildlife offers this (perhaps) unintentionally hilarious explanation:

"A photo of the fish appeared in the local newspaper. Fisheries biologists who had previously put radio transmitters in Atlantic salmon that had migrated upstream in the Connecticut to spawn noticed the photo. They also discovered one of the two salmon they were monitoring in the White River was now transmitting its signal from dry land in Bethel. ...The missing salmon was located in a freezer in Bethel."

Continue reading "VT Fisherman Caught With Radio-Tracked Atlantic Salmon in Freezer" »

August 09, 2011

Anti-Lead Crusader Cited for Trespassing at Montpelier Gun Club

Bruce-Ryan1 On July 31, Bruce Ryan returned to the banks of the Winooski River to look for new lead shotgun pellets that might have sailed over a containment curtain recently erected at the Montpelier Gun Club.

He says he did find evidence of new lead shot on the riverbanks. Ryan also encountered something else: a Berlin police officer who cited him for trespassing on gun-club property.

Ryan (pictured) is an anti-lead crusader from Highgate Center who spent 16 years trying to draw the government's attention to gun club's pollution problem. In April of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally issued an enforcement order against the club after inspectors found piles of spent lead shot — considered a toxic substance by the EPA — in the Winooski and on its banks, a violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Seven Days profiled Ryan and his years-long campaign in the recent cover story "Long Shot." In it, Ryan said he ignored previous trespass warning letters mailed to him by the club's lawyers. But he couldn't ignore the police when they responded to a complaint by club directors during the biggest shooting event of the year, the three-day Vermont State Shoot.

Continue reading "Anti-Lead Crusader Cited for Trespassing at Montpelier Gun Club" »

August 08, 2011

Got Gas? If it's in a Propane Tank, You May Not Have as Much as You Thought

17286_lg Sorry this news arrives too late for National Barbecue Month (May), National Great Outdoors Month (June) or National Hot Dog Month (July), but it's just in time for National Picnic Month (August):

Apparently, that rotten-egg smell isn't the only manufactured stink arising from your gas grill. You know that 20-pound propane tank that dangles beneath your barbecue grill like a shiny, white goiter? Well, it seems that some propane dealers no longer fill 20-lb. tanks with 20 pounds worth of propane. Instead, many consumers mistakenly assume they're getting 20 pounds of gas when they're only getting 15.

WTF? Is this like lumberyards selling "two-by-fours" that are actually only 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches? Are consumers confusing pounds of weight with pounds of pressure? Or is this just another case of, "Since you can't see it, just trust us that's it's all in there?"

Actually, none of the above, though the last explanation comes closest.

Continue reading "Got Gas? If it's in a Propane Tank, You May Not Have as Much as You Thought" »

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