Index - April/May, 2015

Racing Women: Stories from the Track
by Amy Brooks Thornton

Ashley Freibert, award-winning race-car
driver from Bondville, Vermont
photo: Margaret McKay | CKCMNS

Women have raced since 1897, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the sport of car racing shifted into high gear for women. Along the way, a number of women pioneered the sport, among them Vermont’s own Shirley Muldowney, a Burlington resident, now 74 years old. Known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” Muldowney won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980, and 1982, becoming the first person to win three Top Fuel titles, and eventually won a total of 18 NHRA national events. (For more on Muldowney, see sidebar, below the article.)

A new lineup of women race-car drivers now lives and works Vermont. Though car racing continues to be predominantly a man’s world, and corporations providing sponsorship seem slow in figuring out how to leverage women drivers, this has not deterred these women from pursuing a sport that requires mental and physical strength and endurance, financial resourcefulness and business savvy, good mechanical know-how, and excellent interpersonal skills. And hunger for competition and the thrill of speed.

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Barbara Bardin and Her Fight to Survive Ovarian Cancer
by Sue Gillis

Barbara Bardin at Splash! at the Boathouse in Burlington summer of 2012. photo: Jan Doerler

We sadly report that Barbara passed away on April 27, 2015.

In the June 2012 issue of Vermont Woman, Barbara Bardin was our featured cover profile. It was a joyfully honest and sometimes painfully revealing interview. Barbara is the founder and owner of Splash at the Boathouse, located on the dock on Lake Champlain in Burlington. She is famous for her fun-loving spirit, imaginative catering and party management, and love of fine food and good champagne. She has a big persona, and with her generosity and knack for easy engagement, she has made hundreds of adoring friends over the years.

In October 2012 Barbara was diagnosed with ovarian cancer Stage III.

Friends, family, and associates were shocked, saddened, and worried. Typically, Barbara, though scared, immediately waged a mighty effort to win the toughest battle of her life. Like everything else she has had to overcome, Barbara took this on with the fierceness of a swashbuckling Viking, believing that by her own sheer will and with the experience and expertise of the gynecologic-oncologist team at the UVM Medical Center, the victory of life would be hers. Though the survival statistics are not good, a small percentage does beat the odds. Barbara believed she would be one of those lucky ones. Everyone was rooting for her.

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Ovarian Cancer: Facts, Treatments, and the Vermont Response
by Elayne Clift

Deb Clark prepares to administer chemo to patient Barbara Bardin at the chemo infusion room at the University of Vermont Medical Center. photo: Jan Doerler

From Vermont Woman, February, 2015

Ovarian cancer is serious but fairly rare. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States and accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers in women in the US.

According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer begins either in the cells on the surface of the ovary, called epithelial cancer, or in egg cells, where growths are identified as malignant germ cell tumors. Fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer are similar to ovarian epithelial cancer and are staged and treated in the same way. Like other cancers, ovarian cancer spreads through the lymph system. An estimated 22,000 cases were expected in 2013 with about 14,000 deaths anticipated.

The exact causes are still unknown.

Risks, Screening, Detection

Risk factors for ovarian cancer include a family history of the disease, the presence of certain genetic mutations including those found in BRCA1 and BRCA2, and a genetic link to a hereditary form of colon cancer called Lynch syndrome. Women who have used estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or taken fertility drugs or who are obese or very tall are also more vulnerable. Heavy use of talcum powder in the genital area, suspected as a risk factor, does not appear to pose a general threat, but it can be relevant in one type of relatively rare ovarian cancer.

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Yvonne Daley : Vermont Journalist, Publisher & Author
by Amy Lilly

Yvonne Daley with her dog, Daniel.
photo: Pamela Gerard

When writer Yvonne Daley identifies a good she can contribute to the world, she makes it happen. Just months after tropical storm Irene hit Vermont in 2011, Daley saw the need to record instances of community togetherness in the face of devastation, so she authored A Mighty Storm: Stories of Resilience after Irene.

That same year, she published Octavia Boulevard, chronicling her years on the San Francisco boulevard, from 2003 to 2007. A 20-year part-time resident of the city, Daley had noticed her neighborhood was losing its affordable housing to Silicon Valley gentrification and gave the poor and homeless on her street a voice in this innovatively narrated memoir.

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How Does Your Garden Grow? Give Your Garden a Healthy Start
by Sarah Galbraith

A teepee-style support is an effective way to stake pole beans. photo: Tristan Von Duntz

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. —Janet Kilburn Phillips, gardener

May is for planting in Vermont. If you’re a vegetable gardener, these longer days and the more direct sunlight and warming temperatures have got you looking at seeds packets at the store, pulling out your seed-starting supplies, and putting upcoming seedling sales on your calendar.

Although planting is an important part of gardening, there is much to be done to get your garden ready before the plants go in it. Successfully growing vegetables can take planning, precision, and perseverance—and a good deal of luck as well. While gardeners are on their own in the luck department, there are a number of things backyard growers can do to get their garden off to a good start.

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Making the Grade with Lifelong Learning
by Sarah Galbraith

Central Vermont OLLI members
enjoying a recent lecture.
photo: Reidun Nuquist

Learning doesn’t have to end with your diploma. Vermont’s colleges, universities, technical education centers, and nonprofit organizations offer many opportunities to become a lifelong learner. These programs are ideal for everyone, whether participants are seeking new career skills, new perspectives, or personal enrichment. Importantly, these programs offer a chance for socialization and fun, too.

Continuing Education

College campuses offer on-campus and online learning opportunities for adult or nontraditional students. The Community College of Vermont (CCV,, with 12 locations around the state and an online center for learning, offers traditional associate’s degrees in disciplines like graphic design, accounting, communications, hospitality, and medical fields, among many others. They also offer certificates in the fields of health care, child care, website design, and substance abuse.

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Breast Implants: How Safe Are They?
by Elayne Clift

Largely influenced by pop culture icons suggesting her breasts were inadequate, Denee Dimiceli felt unhappy about the size of her breasts. At age 27, she opted for breast augmentation, despite her spouse’s reassurances that her breasts were fine.

Dimiceli’s decision isn’t surprising. Ads promoting breast augmentation abound. “Envision Your New Breasts!” “Fast Breast Enlargement!” promotions boast. Such ads are proliferating and aimed at younger audiences who are choosing augmentation at increasing rates.

Wendi Myers had a different experience than Dimiceli. She wanted to remove her implants. Having suffered unexplained dizziness, hair loss, and fatigue, she believed her silicone implants were to blame. When Myers’s implants were removed, she was shocked by the gelatinous material that was excised.

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