August, 2007

Publisher’s Message:
Outed CIA Spy, Valerie Plame Wilson, to be Next Vermont Woman Speaker

As a spy, Valerie Plame Wilson found herself in a terrible position.

In 2003 her covert identity - as an operative in weapons of mass destruction - was revealed by conservative Robert Novak in his syndicated column. Overnight she was catapulted from a secret agent onto every front page newspaper and TV screen in the world. Her career was over - that was clear. And by association, the missions of many agents around the globe were now in jeopardy, not to mention their very lives. At the CIA's request, the Justice Department began an investigation into the leaking of her name to several national journalists, and the alleged involvement of White House individuals.

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Suzanne Gillis

Born of a Red Flame, Documenting the History of the Black Panthers - Filmmaker Roz Payne

When Black Panther Party (BPP) member Dr. Curtis Powell was about to be arrested on April 2, 1969, it wasn't an attorney or a family member that he called. Roz Payne and her colleague in the Newsreel film collective, both white, accompanied Powell to his apartment where he prepared to turn himself in to the NYPD. As the trio entered the apartment, police in bullet-proof vests with rifles rose from behind furniture while Payne and her colleague went in shooting - with cameras.

Powell - one of the so-called Panther 21 indicted and subsequently cleared on charges of conspiracy, arson, and attempted murder in New York City in 1969 - feared that when he turned himself in to police he might never get to a courtroom - that instead, he would be shot while supposedly "trying to resist arrest." Just one year before, fellow Panther Bobby Hutton had exited a building surrounded by police in Oakland, California with his hands in the air, and was shot twelve times, fatally. Powell believed that if he was accompanied by white photographers he would stand a better chance of getting to the courthouse. And so, Roz Payne was the second person to enter that apartment, right behind Powell. She shot; fortunately the police didn't.


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For an Increasing Number of Vermonters - There's No Place Like Homeschool

"When I was teaching in public schools, I had to say, 'Okay, it's time to stop reading,' even if the kids were totally engrossed in their books, or 'No, you can't do another project on Greek history, because we have to get to these other things we are required to do,'" says Rebecca Yahm, an elementary school teacher who provides homeschooling families with tutoring support and individualized classes through Open Path Homeschooling in Plainfield.

The problem, Yahm says, is that educational institutional structures teach to standards rather than focusing on children's natural enthusiasm for learning. "With No Child Left Behind, the pressure starts at the national level and works its way down. And even the best and most experienced teachers, even aided by tons of enthusiastic parents, will not be able to get around that. It's hard to create authentic, interest-based learning experiences when the focus is on standards."

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Vicky Shaw and Sarah

No Longer a Need to Suffer in Silence: Treating Incontinence & Pelvic Floor Disorders

Ellen's (not her real name) story began with the birth of her first child. During the prolonged pushing stage of the delivery of her nine-pound-plus child, she was given an episiotomy, or surgical enlargement of the vulval orifice, without her expressed consent or knowledge. The procedure caused a third-degree tear extending from the episiotomy into the rectal muscle. After the birth, she experienced frequent bowel incontinence and occasional urinary incontinence.

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Public Restroom Sign

Discovering Vermont's Dairy Haute Couture

Allison Hooper is a lot like her cheese - mellow, unassuming, and yet remarkable and unforgettable - even if it is a characterization with which she isn't yet totally comfortable. Hooper, with partner Bob Reese, founded the Websterville-based Vermont Butter and Cheese Company in 1984 with three products most Americans had never even heard of - crème fraiche, fromage blanc, and chèvre. Since then, she has introduced the country to French varieties of cows' and goats' milk cheeses, if not single-handedly, then as one of less than a half dozen women around the country similarly inspired by a love of artisan cheeses.

In Hooper's case, the love affair began as an accident of housing: she was between semesters during her junior year abroad in Paris and needed room and board to remain through the summer. "I thought oh, how am I going to do this? I had no money for a Europass, nothing," Hooper recalls. With the help of France's version of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, she wrote an estimated three dozen letters to farmers around France offering her labor in exchange for room and board, despite having no experience in agriculture. Responses came slowly from several vegetable farmers in the south, but then one reply came from a small dairy farm in Brittany, and Hooper dove into what would ultimately become a nearly $8-million-a-year company three decades later.

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Allison Hooper and Bob Reese display the newest line of cheeses

Emily Carr: Waiting for the World to Catch Up

In her autobiography, Growing Pains, the painter Emily Carr indignantly related how French painters of the time dismissed the landscape of her Western Canadian home as "unpaintable." She was determined to prove them wrong. Ultimately, she did - though, because she was ahead of her time, success for this disobedient Victorian woman was a long time coming.

Carr, who lived from 1871 to 1945, is now recognized as one of the most influential Canadian landscape painters. She pursued an ever more modern and abstract style despite her geographic and cultural remoteness from the art hubs of New York and Paris.

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Indian War Canoe