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Burlington

June 08, 2009

What's Good: Year 2

College students may have recently made their annual migration home for the summer, but before they can say "there are no jobs," they'll return to their Vermont wintering grounds, bringing with them the usual flock of newbies. Er, freshmen.

It's our responsibility, as the "What's Good" staff, to make the transition for these college hatchlings — if you will — as seamless as possible. But even as self-declared Vermont culture scholars, we admit that the breadth and scope of our knowledge is far from absolute.

So we're reaching out to you, upper classmen and area residents — was there something we missed in last year's guide? An update we might not be aware of? Something you saw and liked, or hated? We want it all. Leave a comment or shoot and email to miked@sevendaysvt.com. It's all much appreciated.

June 01, 2009

One Person's Trash...

Burlington area residents and students scrapped their well worn couches, roller blades, skis and other miscellaneous bric-a-brac yesterday at the annual Spring Move Out Project (SMOP).

SMOP is a collaborative swap provided by the City of BurlingtonChittenden Solid Waste DistrictRecycle NorthThe Center for Community and Neighborhoods, as well as the University of VermontChamplain, and St. Michael's colleges. For the past 10 years they have invited Burlingtonians and local undergrads to a cluttered Loomis Street: a junkyard for some, a free IKEA for others.

SMOP not only recycles the city's undesirables, it keeps soggy and haggard goods off porches and curbs.

"There was a problem with materials being left on the streets and cluttering the streets. So we turned it into a community event where the locals benefit from what the students are leaving behind," says Marge Keough, the business outreach coordinator for CSWD, whose favorite running shoes came from the SMOP a few years ago.  

Aside from collecting, disposing, and keeping the local environment clean there was also a bake sale. One Loomis Street mother and her friends took the opportunity to raise money for their children's Fourth of July Parade. 

Free stuff and cookies always equals a good time.

Video edited by Will Ryan.

April 16, 2009

Happy Record Store Day!

This Saturday, April 18, marks the second annual celebration of Record Store Day, in which the culture of independent record stores is celebrated worldwide. Indie stores all over are celebrating with free giveaways, in-store performances, and tons of Record Store Day exclusives. During last year's Record Store Day celebration, Burlington's beloved Pure Pop Records even threw in a huge used vinyl sale, with so much selection the store's floor was nearly covered in boxes of records.

Check out the list of Record Store Day exclusive releases here. I'm looking most forward to the Wilco live DVD, the My Morning Jacket live album, and the 7" of two brand new Modest Mouse songs. But I hope and expect to discover more surprises on Saturday. So stop by Pure Pop on Saturday and support indie music stores--because without them, we'd have to rely on Best Buy and iTunes, and that's a scary thought.

April 08, 2009

Of Onions and Rock Bands

Enough about student government/media drama for a while. Let's discuss more important things: the arts. Today's a big day for arts of the written, visual, and musical kinds at St. Mike's.

Today is the release date for the 2009 edition of St. Michael's annual literary arts journal, the Onion River Review.  The Review contains poetry, prose, paintings, drawings, and photography, and competition is tough every year to get in. I'm impressed every year at how professional and well-curated it is (and I'm not just saying that because I finally got a photograph accepted this year). There's a release party tonight at 6:00 in the Hoehl Welcome Center, but if you can't make it, you can grab a (free!) copy of the Onion River Review at locations around the area, including Crow Bookstore and Muddy Waters in Burlington and the Green Closet in Winooski.

Later tonight, Higher Ground hosts three St. Michael's bands, all graduates of our campus's Saturday night Turtle Underground concert/open mic series. The headliner is Cadrin, a four piece rock band. The band's titular singer-songwriter, Tom Cadrin, received a lovely review in Seven Days late last year with his previous album, and his music is even more well-rounded with a full band. Cadrin's music is blends emotive, singer-songwriter rock music with prog/math-rock influences like odd time signatures and all kinds of unusual structures. The band's got some chops. It's like pop-rock for music majors.

Opening the show are Fink, a jammy rock band that reminds me of Dispatch or O.A.R. plus jazz, and Free Louis, a scarily-tight bunch that will bring the heady instrumental jams. Show starts at 8:00 and tickets are $10.

March 11, 2009

David Byrne is Playing at the Shelburne Museum on June 1

Yesterday, Higher Ground unveiled the lineup for the 2009 Ben & Jerry's Concerts on The Green, a series of concerts taking place over the summer out on the beautifully scenic green at the Shelburne Museum. Each of the previous summers I've attended one of the shows (Wilco in 2007, Feist last year), and I wondered how they'd top those acts this year.

Answer: David Byrne.

Yes, the same David Byrne who made his name as the frontman of Talking Heads. Last year he reunited with famed producer and electronic music pioneer Brian Eno for the album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, which contained perhaps Byrne's strongest songs since the heyday of Talking Heads in the mid 80s. Since then, Byrne has been touring with a new band and a setlist centering on the songs Byrne and Eno collaborated on--both from their two albums together as well as from the three Talking Heads albums Eno produced.

I got to see the tour's Montreal stop back in October and it was a brilliant show. Byrne hasn't lost a step, and his voice is as strong as ever (obviously thanks to all that bike riding he does). If this show is anything like that one, expect inspired dancing and Byrne sounding as fresh as ever.

February 25, 2009

Stimulating Burlington

Wondering what that stimulus package might buy for Burlington? According to the United States Conference of Mayors report on the stimulus, Burlington has submitted a mere $145 million worth of projects for consideration in the stimulus package.

Check out the list of proposed projects at StimulusWatch.org. The projects named range from the mundane (building bus shelters, renovating lights in city parking garages) to the spectacular (building a friggin' funicular to the waterfront).

I'm not an economics major, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that the city will actually get about 3% of that $145 million. Will that ugly median on Main St. up in the Davis Center area get transformed into something other than an eyesore? Will we be riding around on a new fleet of clean-burning CCTA buses in a few years? Will the Moran Plant be redeveloped into an ice rink/climbing center? I'm kind of rooting against that last one actually — I know the Moran Plant currently looks like it got a bomb dropped on it, but it makes for some damn cool photographs.

There's no doubt that conservative Burlingtonians (both of them) will decry all these projects as nothing but "pork," and they may have a point — but come on, riding a funicular down to the lake would be pretty cool.

January 16, 2009

Frozen!

Some weather we're havin'.  Nothing makes the morning walk to class brighter like a temperature of -10°F.  A true Vermont welcome back to school, I guess. Not to be too gross, but I think the mucus in my nose froze solid today. Eeek.

It could be worse, though.  According to the National Weather Service, the record low temperature observed in Burlington was a reading of -30°F, set on January 15, 1957. And from February 12 to 18, 1979, Burlington went over six days without seeing the temperature go above zero on the thermometer. By comparison, this is but a light chill. Okay, maybe a medium chill. But once this snap goes away, the typical temperatures in the 20s that we'll have for the rest of the winter will seem downright tropical by comparison.

In the meantime, since it's far too cold to go anywhere, enjoy this video of a guy making a small orchestra of Tic-Tacs, and then wonder why you never had that kind of creativity or ambition (or corporate cash backing).

December 01, 2008

Why Can't We All Just Get Along!?

Homeprogdem_2 Welcome back to all you students who trekked home for Thanksgiving.  Today marks the beginning of the hellish two-week sprint to the end of the semester. Now's the time when words like "library," "Adderal," and "my damn professor" begin circulate more frequently in the university lexicon.

But mark this date:

Seven Days will be hosting a live debate between some important Progs and Dems following up on some voter concerns raised in the November election. Seven Days political columnist Shay Totten will moderate.

Here's the names: 
Donkeys — Rep. Johanna Leddy Donovan, D-Burlington, Jake Perkinson, Chairman, Burlington City Democrats
Moose — Rep. David Zuckerman, P-Burlington, Jane Knodell, City Councilor, P-Ward 2

Here's the details:
This Thursday at 7 at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center down by the waterfront at Lake and College.

I'll be liveblogging from the event with Seven Days Online Editor, Cathy Resmer.

Here's some links:
Seven Days - Facebook

Continue reading "Why Can't We All Just Get Along!?" »

November 19, 2008

Burlington City Council Shows No Love for Burton

Burton You might remember the Burton "Primo" and "Love" lines of snowboards featuring artwork depicting individuals mutilating themselves and also nude Playboy models, respectively. Many community members were upset that Burton, a company that has held fairly high reputation around the area, would not recall the line or even address the concerns of the community.

Well, Burlington's City Council is asking that the snowboarding company hold a meeting with community organizations such as Spectrum Youth and Family Services, The Howard Center, Women's Rape Crisis Center and others who feel the line goes beyond what is reasonable and responsible for a company.

The Council voted 12-1 in favor of passing a resolution requesting such a meeting. The one dissenter, Russ Ellis, a Democrat from Ward 4, felt that it isn't appropriate for the council to be dealing with the issue. He said, "I don't think we want to get into the issue of being a censoring board."

Is it responsible for the city of Burlington to respond to an issue of what some feel is offensive artwork? Where is the line between responsibly serving the citizens and meddling with the 1st amendment?

What do you think?

November 16, 2008

Weekend Reading: The Last Word on Personal Attacks in Chitty 3-4

Some reading for the weekend:

A few readers have been wanting to hear more about the personal attacks during the Chittenden 3-4 campaign that I mentioned a few days ago.

Personal attacks or tough campagining? Draw your own conclusion.

  • John Odum at GMD sheds some good light

Cynic coverage over the past months:

Regardless of the conclusions you draw on the tone of this election, and on-campus coverage of it, both winning candidates have drawn their own. Judging from my correspondence with the the two, I can say that after two weeks, considerable tension between Ram and Zuckerman still exists. Hopefully, they'll be able to move forward in a positive way for the people of Chittenden 3-4.

Ed. note: Ed Adrian, who commented here on one of these Chitty 3-4 posts, has just withdrawn from the Burlington mayoral race, citing family obligations — and a need to "work on repairing" some bridges...

November 06, 2008

Vermont Election Coverage

We all know by now that Obama is the President, but what happened to politics in Vermont? The gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican governor Jim Douglas, Democratic Candidate Gayle Symington, and Independent Anthony Pollina closed with Douglas running away with the election.

The governor received over 50% of the vote. Pollina and Symington each garnered 21% of the vote.

Peter Welch was reelected as a US Representative with 84% of the vote and Lt. Governor Brian Dubie was reelected as well, defeating Democrat Tom Costello by a double digit margin.

Jason Lorber and Rachel Weston won the uncontested election in the 3-3 district, which is comprised of much of the old north end, and Champlain college's campus.

The heated, well-publicized Chittenden 3-4 between UVM's former student president Kesha Ram, and Representatives Pearson and Zuckerman, concluded. Both Zuckerman and Ram were elected. Read Max's blog post for more.

Tim Ashe, a Democrat and Progressive, gained the final state senate seat, joining Hinda Miller, Diane Snelling, Ginny Lyons, Ed Flannagan and Doug Racine. After an incorrect vote count in one ward had been corrected, Ashe jumped ahead of Richmond candidate Denise Barnard for the final seat.

November 05, 2008

"We Finally Turned This Shit Around," Inebriated College Students Report

College students in Burlington, Vermont are excited that a liberal Democrat wins the Presidential election. The Free Press is there...

If you were within two miles of Church Street last night, you might have heard students shouting "this is our fucking country, too!" and "Who is tired of everyone else run our fucking lives?!" They eventually broke line and chanted "Obama!" for a few minutes before updating their twitter status on their cell phones.

Some even took their shirts off in the name of democracy while shouting "USA! USA! USA!" followed by the European soccer chant, "Oley, oley, oley, ohhhh-ley!"

Finally, they concluded their celebration with "No more Bush!" and a spirited rendition of "We Finally Turned This Shit Around, No Blood For Oil!" The popular college student hymnal dates back centuries.

Young voters were not the only ones excited, it seems. A 34 year-old man on North Street "shots" 18 rounds in Burlington neighborhood to express his joy of Obama's victory.

If nothing else, Wednesday, November 5, 2008 will prove that it's not just politics as usual.

Ram, Zuckerman to Represent Chitty 3-4

Zuckerman Kesha_headshot Former UVM SGA President Kesha Ram will join Representative Dave Zuckerman in representing Chittenden's 3-4 district in the Vermont State House in Montpelier.  "The first reaction I had was humbling," she explained to me in a phone call, "It's incredibly humbling that people from all walks of life will actually circle your name."Or, you know, fill in the oval next to your name.

In securing victory, Ms. Ram has defeated incumbent Chris Pearson, a Progressive.  This comes at a major blow to the Vermont Progressive Party; Mr. Pearson served as Caucus Chair.  For Representative Zuckerman, victory has extended his decade-plus tenure of service in the State House.  I have contacted both Representative Zuckerman and Mr. Pearson for comments — I'll post them when they get back to me.

October 23, 2008

UVM: Stomach Epidemics and Window Creeps

The past few days have been tumultuous to say the least at the least here at the University of Vermont.  Just look at our inboxes. On Tuesday, we got this from Jon Porter, M.D., Director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing (my Apple Mail labeled it as junk):

In the past 24 hours approximately 24 students have consulted UVM Health Services for gastroenteritis, an illness characterized by symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. University of Vermont officials — in close collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health — are in the process of investigating the cause and tending to the immediate needs of our student body.

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea? Sounds like Friday evening, Friday night, and Saturday morning at college. That happens like, 2400 times in 24 hours at UVM, Doctor Porter.

By Wednesday, we were about to make a run on Brooks (agh, Rite Aid) for all the Pepto-Bismol we could find, but our inboxes had other plans. This time from a Mr. Garry Derr at Police Services:

Since October 17th 2008, during the early morning hours, numerous incidents of a male subject looking into windows and entering into residences have occurred in and around the neighborhood of UVM’s Trinity Campus. Trinity Campus is located off from Colchester Avenue in the city of Burlington. Several screens and/or windows in the area were found to have been tampered with.

Additionally, an incident of unlawful entry also occurred in a residence around the area west of the campus in the city of Burlington on 10/21/08.   

Oh, Great! Now we're really screwed. Not only are we all going to be vomiting our brains out, but our screens and/or windows are going to be tampered with too!

Then, Wednesday evening, another twist in the plot. Something to say, Dr. Porter?

Thus far, approximately fifty students have made contact with us over the last 36 hours.

Fifty?! Maybe the guy who has been tampering with all our screens and/or windows is clandestinely passing along a secret vomit-diarrhea-puking virus. But wait! Can't we get some advice on how to deal with this menace? Mr. Derr of the UVM 5-0?

-Lock your doors and windows at all times
-Draw your window shades at night and when privacy is needed
-Never allow unauthorized persons into the residential halls
-Report suspicious persons or circumstances immediately to UVM Police @ 656-3473 or 911

Yes. Excellent advice. Oh, and I assume you have something to add, Dr. Porter.

In the meantime, we recommend the following precautions:
-Regular hand washing
-Avoid sharing utensils or glasses
-Seek medical advice if you become ill

Thanks guys. And we all thought it was a good idea to sleep in flu-infected sheets with the front door wide open. We appreciate your concern for our health and safety, but give us some credit, okay?

October 20, 2008

Chittenden 3-4: Competing Circles

Downsized_1020081253 UVMers began the week walking by these flyers side-by-side all over the Davis Center. Big dominating circles seem to be in vogue —looks like Dave and Chris opted for the Progressive-inspired Japanese flag look (post-WWII of course), while Kesha is going for the Vermont color-esque Bangladesh-ish look. 

Content-wise, Dace and Chris sport a prominent endorsement from Senator Bernie Sanders, "Outstanding Representatives in the VT Legislature..." (ammo for my spirited Progressive commenters).  Kesha's circle contains an off-centered Obaman slogan, "we are on the cusp of a new era."

15 days till the election.  Thoughts on the race? 

The Best Careers in the Best State This Saturday at Champlain College!

150x200vt3_2 Fellow students — if finding your dream job after college is important, clear your Saturday schedule! The Vermont 3.0 Career Jam will be at Champlain College on the 25th to dispel the rumor that there are no jobs in Vermont.

No, you won’t find any covered bridge engineers or sugarers here. Fortunately, from real-life CSI’s, to video game designers, to professional facebookers, to robot makers and tons more — there are some extremely cool jobs at the Career Jam. Some of the most dynamic jobs and most innovative professionals, not just in Vermont, but nationally, will be participating in panel discussions throughout the day.

So, who are the players, you may be asking? Take a look:

Definitely check out Steve Benen at 10 a.m. Benen is a blogger and contributor to The Washington Monthly. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08." If you’re interested about making a career as a blogger, or even a journalist, this is your guy! This is not just some college blogger working for a local paper, this guy is big! A must-see!

But if blogging and political reporting doesn’t cream your coffee at that hour, listen to Nate Herzog, Director of Information Services at JDK Design. Before JDK he worked for MIT in the support division of the IS/IT Department where he was a support specialist, system administrator, and technical writer. This bears mention--his college degree was in English literature… and then he worked in technology at MIT. There is absolutely no way this guy will be a bore with a skill set like that.

Continue reading "The Best Careers in the Best State This Saturday at Champlain College!" »

October 14, 2008

Chittenden 3-4 Election Update

Kesha_headshot Chris_2 Zuckerman As election day approaches, Vermont's hottest statehouse race is reaching a hearty boil. Both tickets are stepping up their efforts to court the lucrative UVM on- and off-campus votes.

On the donkey side, Kesha Ram supporters continue to keep a vigilant presence on-campus, tabling at campus chill spots, distributing materials. I was even invited to a "Kesha for Vermont House Party" last week. Invitations via Facebook, of course.

On the moose side, Chris Pearson and David Zuckerman are holding a press conference today (Tuesday) outside UVM's Bailey-Howe Library to talk about their environmental creds. (And oh, how we UVM-ers love all things green...) Plus, they've been flexing some money muscle, buying ad space in some of UVM's weekly student publications.

The Cynic has already published some rather tame profiles of Dave, Chris and Kesha but expect both sides to continue to regularly appear in on-campus media up through election day. Some more in-depth interviews with The Water Tower, UVM's alternative newsmag — yes, I'm one of the editors — are planned to take place in the upcoming weeks.

This election, like its national counterpart, is stirring up a great deal of emotion as B-Town grapples with its own battle of change versus experience. I'll be speaking again with all three candidates before Catamounts hit the polls on November 4th, so check back for more updates.

October 13, 2008

Founder of Magic Hat Speaking at Champlain College on Tuesday

7_days_art_hop14alan Alan Newman will be speaking in the Alumni Auditorium at Champlain College on Tuesday night as part of the college’s BYOBIZ "Speaking From Experience" series.

Newman, a serial entrepreneur, helped found Gardener’s Supply, a gardening catalog business, Seventh Generation, which capitalized on the wave of interest in environmentally friendly products, and Magic Hat, the popular South Burlington-based brewery.

BYOBIZ (Bring Your Own Business) is Champlain College’s innovative program that provides close consultation and advice to aid student entrepreneurs’ emerging businesses. Successes include Mophie, an ipod accessory company that won a "Best of Show" award at the 2006 Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Third Shift Clothing, whose products are sold in Burlington and online, and GoTradingPost.com, an eBay consignment business in Burlington. Upcoming speakers at the program include Michael Lane, founder of Dealer.com, Jerry and Rich Tarrant Jr. of mywebgrocer.com, and Roy Heffernan of Life is Good. All events are free and open to the public.

Newman speaks at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 14 at the Alumni Auditorium, Champlain College in Burlington.

October 03, 2008

Chris and Dave: We Started This Whole "Change" Thing

Zuckerman "It's not how long someone's been there," says Rep. Dave Zuckerman, referring to the 12 years he's spent representing B-Town in Montpelier. "It's how long they've been there, and what they have been getting done."

Smooth jazz tunes bounce off the rustic wooden walls of Muddy Waters Coffeehouse, making this downtown Burlington chill spot an even more inviting refuge from the cold and overcast Friday morning. As we talk at a table by the window, Dave leaps from his chair mid-sentence to open the door for a farmer burdened with two tremendous sacks of carrots. He sits back down with a smile. 

Dave, a farmer himself, is running alongside Rep. Chris Pearson against challenger Kesha Ram in an election that liberal blogger John Odum of the Green Mountain Daily describes as "culturally/socially speaking...the most fascinating race in Vermont this year."

Both Dave and Chris bristle at the suggestion that their time in the State House should make them casualties of the national mood — frustration with government inaction. Instead, both men cast themselves as the original gangsters of change. Their comments to me are reminiscent of when Dr. Dre and Eminem reminded a forgetful public of who really started the 90's rap explosion in "Forgot about Dre."  But instead of railing, "I was strapped with gats when you were cuddlin' with the Cabbage Patch," Dave and Chris (who graduated UVM when this year's senior class was about eight years-old) replace the former with "I was an agent of change when you were..."

Chris_2 But there is indeed much to be said in support of that claim. As Progressives, Pearson and Zuckerman have a history of challenging the traditionally partisan gridlock in Montpelier. These two men see their role, as Chris describes, "as an anchor," to force conversations in the legislature on issues that the Democrats and Republicans would otherwise ignore. They take great pride in forcing debate on IRV, Vermont Yankee, and campaign finance. "Pass good bills," argues Dave, "make him [the governor] veto them."   

They wasted no time in explaining their frustration with the Republicans and the Democrats in the State House, and their inability to promote anything beyond the party line. "Our role," says Dave, "is to be a much more activist caucus. And I think the Republicans have turned that into a bad word, and the Democrats are afraid of that word."

It should be noted that Ms. Ram is running as a Democrat, and although I pressed both Chris and Dave as well as Kesha to espouse policy differences between the two tickets, I got non-answers on both sides. It's clear that this election is not a debate on policy.

So what does any of this mean for us college students?

Continue reading "Chris and Dave: We Started This Whole "Change" Thing" »

September 29, 2008

Voting in Vermont

I like to consider myself to be relatively politically informed. Heck, I even vote! After reading Max’s post I was struck that I had no idea who was running in the primary for Burlington’s Chittenden 3-3 district, the area encompassing much of Champlain College’s campus. Dormitories like Summit, Main St. Suites, 396 Main and North House are swallowed into the 3-1 district, along with UVM, portions of the Hill section and the Old North End. Actually, I wasn’t sure how I could vote if I wasn’t a legal resident of the state or had a Vermont driver’s license.

So, listen up Champlain students. You can vote! And it’s pretty easy, even if you are a flatlander.

Luckily there is no waiting period for establishing residency in Vermont. According to Vermont State law,  “Residency is defined by where the person is domiciled, as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principle dwelling place in the town indefinitely and to return there if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.”

Voter registration forms can be found at City Hall on Church St. in Burlington.

Continue reading "Voting in Vermont" »

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