Index - September - October, 2014

Two Women Center Wind Energy’s Vortex
by Allison Teague

Few in Vermont argue anymore about needing to change from fossil fuels, but opinions about alternatives vary town to town. While solar energy got slow traction from Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREIP), enacted by Governor James Douglas in 2003, commercial wind power has found the state's mountain ridgelines fertile for development.

Four commercial wind farms have been developed since 1996. More than a dozen other wind farms across the state are in various stages of permitting and data gathering. Commercial wind has divided communities as people grapple with rising energy costs, alarming weather events, and slowly emerging environmental studies that show energy development has costs to Vermont.

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Publisher's Message: Lights Dimmed
by Suzanne Gillis  

This past month several public deaths have shaken many, profoundly. Gone are three long time celebrity national figures and three well-known Vermont women. All dead for different reasons.

It does not matter that most who feel their loss never met them. We feel like we knew them. That sensibility seems ingrained in our celebrity-crazed culture.

So now six bright, high energy, very public stars are gone. Indeed their candles burned brightly on both ends, so brightly no one could escape their intensity. Any encounter seemed to reach deeply into our psyches.

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Photo: Jan Doerler

How Stowe’s Women Saved The Helen Day Art Center
by Cynthia Close

In the 70’s, newcomer Anne Lusk was tenacious enough to convince natives of the value of Stowe’s historical buildings.

On Stowe’s Main Street, Claire Ashley’s 18-foot tall, inflated, spray painted sculpture, “limppunklovejunk” fairly leaps off the front of the Helen Day Art Center, eliciting giggles and double takes. It hooks passersby, inviting them to come in, grab a map, and discover what lies within the seemingly tranquil village of Stowe, Vermont.

This year’s show marks the 23rd year of Exposed, an annual exhibition of sculpture sprawling beyond the confines of the art center’s walls, confronting the viewer, demanding one’s gaze, interrupting routine. Coordinated by curator Rachel Moore and extending from July into October, Exposed, like any event of this scale, could not exist without the enthusiastic support of town officials, the engagement of the community, and the commitment of working artists.

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Biologist Seeks to Transform Sharks’ Bad Rap

by Sarah Galbraith

Photo: courtesy Lindsay Graff

Graff of Montpelier dives and teaches at Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji where numerous species of sharks live year round.

"In the end we conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught." -Baba Dioum, environmentalist

Vermont’s own shark biologist, Lindsay Graff, seems always to be surrounded by the color blue, whether it’s the snowy hillsides of Vermont winters or tropical waters. Graff has worked and studied all over the world, including the Bahamas and South Africa. Currently, she splits her time between Pacific Harbor, Fiji, where she conducts shark dives and teaches, and Montpelier, Vermont, where she skis and writes curriculum for her students.

Some may be surprised to learn that Vermont, with no ocean shoreline to speak of, has produced a shark biologist. But this inland state has produced a very interesting Graff, and she is educating the world one student at a time. She’s working to break down myths about sharks, and is educating young people about shark biology and the importance of shark conservation.

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Governor’s Institutes of Vermont:
Hands-on Learning for Youth with a Passion
by Elayne Clift

Photos courtesy of Governor's Institutes

Participants in the Governor’s Institute on Engineering present a robotic hand that they built and programmed during the 8-day Institute to interested passersby during a public showcase at University Mall.

The outspoken voices of four young high-school women, who just participated in one of nine Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV), best captures the spirit of GIV’s educational empowerment:

“I wanted to have conversations that don’t happen at school.”
“Traditionally men are in leadership roles. The women here want to change that.”
“There is only so much I can do on my own. Here I learn ways to make a difference.”
“I wanted more confidence to speak out.”

Their particular Institute happened to be focused on Current Issues and Youth Activism and was held at The School for International Training in Brattleboro in July. But each summer, in nine different focus-areas and locations, 12-day long residencies geared to Vermont high school students on Vermont college campuses provide transformative educational opportunities. GIV also organizes two winter events.

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Screwnomics: The economic theory that women should always work for less or, better, for free.
by Rickey Gard Diamond & Peaco Todd

Building on our editor’s National Newspaper Award in 2012 for her economic reporting, An Economy of Our Own series, Vermont Woman now introduces a new economic cartoon, written by Rickey Gard Diamond and illustrated by Peaco Todd.

Congratulations to Rickey for her recent selection for a residency at Hedgebrook, the nation’s only writer’s retreat with a commitment to “visionary women writers.” She’ll be on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington this coming month, working on a book she’s tentatively calling Making Economics Sexy: What Women Need to Know To Make Change. She says, the book’s definitions of economic terms will include cartoons.

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