Predicting the future of milk and maple

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copyright the Chronicle September 27, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

CRAFTSBURY — The future is not looking good for Vermont sugarmakers 50 years down the road. But opportunities will open up for dairy farmers — if they can stay in business until then.

That was the takeaway from a gathering last week at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center that took a hard look at what climate change is going to mean for the milk and maple industries in northern Vermont.

Travis Reynolds teaches environmental policy at Colby College in Maine. His parents, John and Carol Reynolds, raise organic beef and tap 7,000 maple trees in Stannard.

He called his talk on the future of sugaring “Looking ahead and learning from the past.”

“The forecast is not an optimistic one,” he said. “It’s entirely possible that my son will see the end of maple syrup production in Vermont.”

First, the climate change piece.

Compared to 50 years ago, Mr. Reynolds said, the sugaring season is already three days shorter than it was. Sugaring now begins about seven days earlier and ends ten days earlier. If that trend continues, there will be years by 2067 when there is no regular sugaring season.

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Girls with Guns inspires a new generation of athletes

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copyright the Chronicle March 29, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

CRAFTSBURY — The typically serene atmosphere at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center crackled with the sound of gunfire on Sunday as the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP) hosted its inaugural run of Girls with Guns — a free introduction to the sport of biathlon.

Over 80 girls ranging in age from eight to 18 pre-registered for the event, and a steady stream trickled in to register that day. Biathlon is somewhat obscure in the United States, but may be seeing a big boost locally thanks to the dramatic success of Barton native Susan Dunklee, who this past February became the first American woman to win an individual medal at the biathlon World Championships. Ms. Dunklee is a founding member of CGRP, and when she’s not racing in Europe, she makes her home in Craftsbury.

Biathlon combines the sports of Nordic skiing and target shooting in races of various lengths and formats. Common to each of the biathlon disciplines, the skiers race between shooting ranges where each has five bullets to hit five targets from either a standing or prone position. For every missed target, the racer must ski a penalty loop.

Girls with Guns was the brainchild of CGRP’s Emily Dreissigacker, a Morrisville native and member of the U.S. Biathlon development group. She said she was inspired by the nonprofit group Fast and Female that was started by a pair of elite American and Canadian skiers, and has branched out to support competitive athletic training for young women across a variety of sports.

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Susan Dunklee takes silver at biathlon world championships

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copyright the Chronicle March 1, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — When Stan Dunklee and Judi Robitaille-Dunklee of Barton went to Austria two weeks ago to watch their daughter Susan compete in the biathlon world championships, they didn’t know they’d see her make history.

But on the last day of the competition Susan Dunklee did just that, winning a silver medal and becoming the first American woman ever to stand on the podium at that level of competition in biathlon.

“Biathlon is huge in Europe,” her father said. “It’s the most watched winter sport. But it’s relatively new in the United States.”

And breaking into the winner’s circle has been hard. The 31-year-old Ms. Dunklee was the first American woman to medal at the world championships. And no American woman has yet earned an individual medal in biathlon at the Olympics.

“We try to go to this one every year,” Mr. Dunklee said of the International Biathlon Union World Championships, held this time around in Hochfilzen, Austria.   “It’s the densest cluster of events.”

The IBU World Cup, in comparison, took place over nine weekends in nine countries, starting in Sweden in November, he said.

The Dunklees also watched their daughter race in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where she placed seventh and eighth in two of the biathlon events.

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State spells out plan for use of Great Hosmer

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copyright the Chronicle January 25, 2017

 

 by Joseph Gresser

 

CRAFTSBURY COMMON — At a community meeting here Saturday, the state proposed a framework for deciding what kinds of activities will be allowed on Great Hosmer Pond. More than 110 people gathered in the Craftsbury Academy gym to hear the idea put forward by a study committee, but it was unclear how many were optimistic about the outline.

For some time there has been friction between people who want to enjoy water skiing or other activities involving speedy power boats and those who like kayaking, canoeing, or sculling. Many of the scullers are connected with the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which runs a sculling program that uses the pond for its classroom and practice area.

According to Rebecca Ellis, senior counsel for government affairs for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), a six-member task force met three times and came up with what was called a straw proposal.  It provides a framework for changes to state regulations governing the pond, Ms. Ellis said.

The two parts of the proposal said:

  1. Racing shells and rowing sculls are allowed at all times except not between… and ….
  2. Waterskiing and any towing of persons by a motorized vessel is allowed between… and …, or when other boats are not on the water.

The blanks will be filled in with set times and a new regulation put in place by late summer, according to Ms. Ellis.

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Craftsbury library plant, yard, book, and bake sale

 

The annual Craftsbury Public Library plant, yard, book, and bake sale will be on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The sale will be held in the basement of the church on the Common and also in the library. With good weather, some of the sale will be outside on the lawn, too.

Over the years, the plant sale has grown into a large event, with a fine assortment of plants. There is an excellent selection of perennial plants that are reliably hard in this area, donated by neighbors. There are also usually some great shrubs and small trees such as lilacs, forsythia, and hydrangea. There will be an array of tomato plants from the High Mowing Organic Seeds greenhouse, plus other vegetable, annual, and herb starts. Linda Wells and Susan O’Connell will be on hand to offer advice on the best plants for any setting.

The book sale will feature lots of great books at great prices, including new fiction, mysteries, cookbooks, how-to, and children’s books. There will be a wide assortment of yard sale treasures including some furniture, and there will be a baked goods table with treats of all sorts.

Please contact the library at 586-9683 for any questions. — from the Craftsbury Public Library.

For more things to do, see our events page.

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Merrick dies from injuries related to crash

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Addison Merrick (left) and his longtime friend Seymour Leven were captured together in a video made last year.  Photo by Catherine Dunbar

Addison Merrick (left) and his longtime friend Seymour Leven were captured together in a video made last year. Photo by Catherine Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle July 29, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

Addison Merrick of Craftsbury died at the University of Vermont Medical Center on Tuesday, July 21, from the effects of a traffic accident a few days earlier.

According to a press release from State Trooper Steven Fauteux, Mr. Merrick was headed north on Route 14 in Craftsbury around 5:15 p.m. He attempted a left turn onto the Wild Branch Road, but turned into oncoming traffic.

Mr. Merrick’s 2000 Subaru Legacy collided head on with a Honda truck driven by Scott Smith, 57, of Hardwick. His car was totaled, while Mr. Smith’s truck sustained front-end damage.

No injuries to Mr. Smith were reported by Trooper Fauteux, but Mr. Merrick was transported to Copley Hospital in Morrisville, and then to Burlington.

Mr. Merrick was 91 years old, and a well-respected member of the Craftsbury community where he often taught classes on…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Alan Greenleaf and the Doctor July 18

Alan Greenleaf (right) and the Doctor, Jonathan Kaplan (left), will play at the Music Box in Craftsbury on July 18.  Photo courtesy of the Music Box

Alan Greenleaf (right) and the Doctor, Jonathan Kaplan (left), will play at the Music Box in Craftsbury on July 18. Photo courtesy of the Music Box

A bit of farm life and life in the Northeast Kingdom in song will be heard at the Music Box in Craftsbury on Saturday, July 18 at 8 p.m., with Alan Greenleaf and the Doctor.

Mr. Greenleaf lives on the farm he has worked for a good part of his life in northern Vermont. His songs are inspired by his life on his farm and the people and countryside around him. They are a report of events, people, feelings, and observations of his life experiences, with a great deal of poetic license. Living in Vermont, the weather and seasons play a significant part in his stories. Musically, he draws on many American traditions, including country, Appalachian, blues and jazz. His newest CD, Songs from Lost Mountain, is now available.

Mr. Greenleaf is joined by “the Doctor,” piano player Jonathan Kaplan. The two have been playing together for over a dozen years. Mr. Kaplan is a classically trained pianist who fell in love with the blues and old-time traditional music. Together they bring a wide variety of original ballads, rhythm and blues with moving melodies. Listen to some of their tunes at alangreenleaf.com.

For more information, call 586-7533 or themusicboxvt.org. — from the Music Box.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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More agriculture, more jobs

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Sweet Rowen Farmstead owner Paul Lisai poses in front of his creamery with his 16-year-old dog, Bailey.

Sweet Rowen Farmstead owner Paul Lisai poses in front of his creamery with his 16-year-old dog, Bailey.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle May 6, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The six-year-old Farm to Plate initiative appears to be doing its job and has noticeably helped bolster Vermont’s farm and food economy, according to a report released earlier this year.

Among other things, the report, conducted by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, says that, statewide, there were 748 food manufacturing firms in the state in 2014, a 37 percent increase over 2009. And between 2009 and 2013 4,189 new jobs were created in the food system. In all, about 60,000 Vermonters are employed as farmers, waiters, cheesemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, grocery stockers, restaurateurs, manufacturers, marketers, distributors and other food related jobs, the report says.

Farm to Plate was part of the Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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Lussiers leave the Craftsbury Vibrations after 40 years

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Bernie and Linda Lussier of the Craftsbury Vibrations in front of their music library. They will perform in Hyde Park on April 11 at 1:30 p.m. for the last time — probably.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Bernie and Linda Lussier of the Craftsbury Vibrations in front of their music library. They will perform in Hyde Park on April 12 at 1:30 p.m. for the last time — probably. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle April 8, 2015 

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

CRAFTSBURY — Bernie Lussier and his wife, Linda, have been playing and singing together as members of the Craftsbury Vibrations for over 40 years, but after their gig on Sunday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. in Hyde Park, they will call a halt to their professional careers. The name of the band will depart with them.

In a recent interview, Mr. Lussier explained that a single show could take eight hours with four hours spent setting up and packing, and another four hours standing up singing and playing.

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