Keeping our food safe was Sutton man’s career

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copyright the Chronicle May 31, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

This country frets about terrorism a lot. But one of its more potentially effective, if less splashy, forms — attacking the food supply — has occurred with surprising infrequency.

Hank Parker, an agroterrorism specialist who has retired to Sutton, is among those who have played a part in that.

Mr. Parker is a scientist, and one of the things he’s spent his long and unusual career thinking about is the safety of U.S. agriculture and food. He was a fellow at the National Defense University, where he wrote a treatise on what the federal government could do to protect American agriculture and the food supply. He’s been acting director for homeland security for the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA). And in retirement he teaches a graduate level class in agroterrorism at Georgetown University.

Before September 11, 2001, he said in a recent interview, the U.S. food system was highly vulnerable — and in many ways still is. But back then agriculture wasn’t even considered a critical infrastructure, he said.

Yes, there were people in the federal government who recognized the potential threat, but it took the September 11 attacks to improve coordination of security in general. There was also a more serious effort to make sure that Americans don’t have to worry about eating, at least not because of terrorists.

Mr. Parker’s career has not run in a straight line. He started out in biological oceanography, specializing in aquaculture. Basically, that’s fish farming. The USDA hired him as coordinator of its aquaculture program in 1992, and over time, he got involved in research programs.

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Cold water swimming draws one back home

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Brynna Kate Tucker makes a snow angel before a swim.  Photos courtesy of the Tuckers

Brynna Kate Tucker makes a snow angel before a swim. Photos courtesy of the Tuckers

copyright the Chronicle January 28, 2015

by David Dudley

NEWPORT — Though Brynna Kate Tucker was born and raised in Sutton, it didn’t occur to her that swimming in cold water might be the thing to do until she moved to Brooklyn, New York.

“In November of 2006, one week before my birthday, I joined the Coney Island Polar Bear Club,” Ms. Tucker said, via phone. “I’ve been swimming every week since.”

Her matter of fact delivery might raise some eyebrows, but there are numerous benefits to cold water swimming and bathing. She says that, among other things, it’s a great conversation starter.

“People never forget you when you say that you’re a cold water swimmer,” Ms. Tucker said. “Of course the first question I always get is, Isn’t that cold? The obvious answer is, Yes!”

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Exhibit brings Gerald Bull back to light

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The Gerald Bull exhibit at the Sutton, Quebec, museum includes large photographs of the cannons at the international Space Research compound.  The gun in the top photo has a 172-foot-long barrel.  Photo by Chris Braithwaite

The Gerald Bull exhibit at the Sutton, Quebec, museum includes large photographs of the cannons at the international Space Research compound. The gun in the top photo has a 172-foot-long barrel. Photo by Chris Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle June 4, 2014

by Chris Braithwaite

SUTTON, Quebec — People who end up on the wrong side of history tend to fade quickly from public view. Too quickly, perhaps, because history is not entirely written by its heroes.

Though he was once vital to its economy, Orleans County has no streets or schools or public parks that grateful community leaders have named for Gerald Bull.

And though it must stand as the most disturbingly fascinating place in the region, the headquarters of Mr. Bull’s Space Research Corporation are all but impossible to find. A narrow dirt road runs into the woods off a back road out of North Troy. There’s a For Sale sign outside the rusting gates, whose No Trespassing signs warn off the curious.

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