Vermont Research Newsletter - June 19, 2018
Note: This is a web version of our bi-weekly Vermont Research Newsletter. To recieve these newsletters in your email, please sign up here

1800’s Same Sex Couple’s Silhouette Featured at National Portrait Gallery

Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant, who lived in Weybridge Vermont in the early 1800s are the first documented same-sex couple in the United States. A striking silhouette of the two women in profile is now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C -- on loan from by the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury. Read the story in the Addison Independent or  the Washington Post.

Small State & Great Credit

Vermont’s small businesses had the highest average business credit scores in the U.S., according to a recentExperian/Moody’s Analytics Main Street Report. The report used business credit data such as bankruptcies and foreclosures, and economic data like employment rates, retail sales and investments to determine an overall health rating.  Vermont’s score of 62.6 was followed closely by North Dakota (61.8) and South Dakota  (61.7) Read the Vermont Business Journal article here.

More Mosquitoes 

As the warm weather begins in Vermont, so does Mosquito Season. The Agency of Agriculture predicts that this will be anexceptionally bad year for mosquito breeding, since the state’s waters warmed up quickly in spring and mosquitoes were able to lay an unusually high amount of eggs. Since the state found 89 West Nile Virus-positive mosquito pools in 30 Vermont towns in an annual survey last year, the Department of Health urges taking extra precautions.  Click here for tips.

Preventing Gun Suicide Deaths

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VTSPC) has ranked suicide as the 8thleading cause of death in Vermont. Almost 90 percent of gun deaths in Vermont from 2011-2016 were suicides. The VTSPC is partnering with the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Gun Owners of Vermont to form the Gun Shop Project, a suicide prevention program. The project connects with gun shop owners to provide tip sheets, posters, and other supports to help prevent suicides with firearms.  Find more background about gun suicides in Vermont here.

Ethan Allen: Hero or Bully?

Ethan Allen, a leader of the famed “Green Mountain Boys” militia that captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775 is portrayed in a less flattering light in a new book --  Those Turbulent Sons of Freedom.  Former NYT reporter Christephor Wren found Allen to be a clumsy leader and a bully.  Read the VT Digger article here.  Vermont scholar’s Nick Muller and John Duffy had already cast some doubt on Ethan Allen in “Inventing Ethan Allen.”  See video here.

Revolutionary War heroine’s sculpture in the works

Ann Story, a pioneer and Revolutionary War heroine who tipped Ethan Allen off to a Tory invader, will be soon immortalized in marble.  A scale model for a sculpture of Story was revealed at the GMP Energy Innovation Center in Rutland in May.  Over the summer, sculptor Evan Morsewill create the large marble statue memorializing the widowed mother based on artist Amanda Sisk’s scale model. The final statue will be located in Rutland.  Read the full Rutland Herald article here.

Rutland’s Health: Up and Coming

The U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 ranking of Healthiest U.S. Communities ranked Rutland County 22nd in the index’s top 100 Up-and-Coming communities—the only Vermont region on the list. The magazine ranks communities across ten indicators, including population health, education, nutrition, infrastructure, and economy. Rutland's total score was 65.2, while top-ranked Island County, Washington, earned 75.3.

Locavore to the Core

For the seventh straight year, Vermont has been named the most  locavore state in the U.S., according to a recent Strolling of the Heifers report, The Index is calculated by using data from state farmer’s markets, food hubs, CSAs, Farm to School, USDA local food grants and hospitals sourcing local food. Strolling of the Heifers is aVermont-based farm and food advocacy and economic development organizationdedicated to promoting healthy food and strong local food systems.

Food Insecurity

UVM Anthropologist Teresa Mares looks at issues of food insecurity faced by migrant farmworkers in Vermont in an article here in the Food Systems Journal. See also  a longer conversation on the concept of food sovereignty with Teresa in Eric Garza’s podcast; “A Worldview Apart”  and a CRVT video with Teresa here. For a glimpse of what life is like for an undocumented worker on a Vermont dairy farm, see Erica Heilman's Rumblestrip Vermont podcast "Your Neighbor" here.

Reining in Data Brokers

 In late May, Vermont legislators became the first state in the country to limit “third-party data brokers” who buy and sell consumers’ personal information. The bill, a response to the massive Equifax data breach that affected some 240,000 Vermonters, eliminates fees credit firms charge to access and freeze credit reports and establishes a registry and security standards for data brokers like Equifax.  Read the Bennington Banner story here.

Tick-borne Diseases Up

Tick-related emergency room visits were above average in May, according to a Vermont Department of Health report.  In a recent study by the Vermont Department of Agriculture, almost 60% of ticks tested positive for one or more pathogen in Vermont, including Lyme disease. People are encouraged to report tick sightings with the tick tracker app. As Vermont is in a period of increased tick activity, the department urges the public to takepreventative measures such as covering up, wearing repellent, and avoiding high grass and bushy areas.

New Books:

The Long Shadow

Author Beth Kanell’s novels are typically set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and explore how teens see and change their own world. Her newest book, The Long Shadowis no exception. Set in 1850, it tells the story of two VT teens who stage a risky rescue of a former slave escaping to the North for freedom.

Samu Cycle and the Code of Bike-Shido

Luis Vicanco discusses biking and bike safety in this samurai-inspired comic book. The story begins as the narrator starts taking karate lessons. Soon he learns that the same principles learned in karate are applicable to other aspects of his life. He transforms... into Samu-Cycle.  


Richard A. Watts