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This was a Letter to the Editor in the Rutland Herald as today folks lined the streets to wish the National Guard troops that have given so much of themselves to our state over the past month a fond and very grateful farewell as they head home. Thank you National Guard men and women!
Thanks to fellow blogger Kelly at thisvtlife.wordpress.com for pointing it out.
Letter to the Editor:
Thank you Vermont:
We are accustomed to “Southern hospitality,” but the people of Vermont have taken it to a new level. Everywhere we go the locals stop and thank us, but I really just want to thank you.
This gratitude goes out to the hundreds of thumbs-up we have received, and especially the little girl who gave me that great smile at a stoplight and a little boy that hugged one of our guys and said, “Thank you, Army man.”
To the people at the Spartan Arena that graciously allowed us lodging and the servers at the Armed Forces Reserve Center that fed us morning and evening meals, we thank you. To Mark, Jen, Tim and the rest of the volunteers, we thank you. For all the plates of cookies, brownies and boxes of personal items — and those tasty Vermont apples — we thank you.
But most of all, thank you, Vermont, for showing how people can pull together in times of need. You were all so generous, gracious and hospitable. I can only hope that if this ever happens in Virginia, or anywhere else in this great country, the people would act the same way. When I leave here in a few days, I will take with me a piece of Vermont and know that Vermont will be just fine thanks to her people.
- Vermont national guard unable to help in Vermont due to Iraq (americablog.com)
- National Guard Key to Irene Recovery in Vermont (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
It’s not everyday that you open the newspaper and see a picture of your child smiling back at you. At least I don’t think it happens for many people. But it happened for us this morning. Tim and his Odyssey teammates were front page news in the Rutland Herald with an article lauding their achievement at World Finals this last weekend.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. Just when you think your heart can’t swell any bigger with pride, it does. Magical….just plain old magical.
Here’s the entire article from the Rutland Herald:
By Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER – Published: June 3, 2011
A group of local high school students recently got a one-up on their careers — with the help of 28 mousetraps.
The Mill River Union High School Odyssey of the Mind clinched second place in the world for conquering Odyssey’s “Extreme Mousemobile” vehicle engineering challenge.
The 33rd annual global competition forced students to work together as a team. The goal was to harness each student’s creative thinking skills in order to solve divergent, long- and short-term problems in fun and creative ways. The results were then presented before a panel of judges.
This year, the Mill River team figured out how to re-engineer the mousetrap’s metal loop, which is designed to catch a mouse, into a device that propelled a “Pi-Rat” ship through one challenge and over the next.
While many engineers have tried making mousetrap-powered cars, the team’s vehicle earned such a high ranking because of its creativity — using the energy of multiple mousetraps and the leverage and shape offered by bicycle wheels to move a ship long and short distances. In addition to movement, the ship also could drop an anchor and raise a flag, among other tasks, according to team leaders.
Through trial and error, the team of youngsters used bike wheels as big pulleys and made the most of a long string by figuring out to use the full amount of force provided by the mousetrap flap, according to Tim Vile, the team’s coach and engineer.
The spring power from the mousetraps powered the wheels and moved the vehicle, Vile said.
The finished ship was revised by the team four times prior to the world competition and it looked completely different than any other mousetrap-powered vehicle, Vile said.
Mill River’s winning Odyssey team is composed of ninth-grader Rowan Dubin-Masuck, ninth-grader Sarah Osmer, eighth-grader Ian Dansereau, eighth-grader Tim Heffernan, eighth-grader Anjelica Carroll, and eighth-grader Elizabeth Bushey.
The team was coached by Vile and parent Nan Dubin.
The accomplishment not only resulted in two awards for the team, but also drew recognition from the University of Vermont’s School of Engineering.
Educators there say the team is comprised of the exact group of students the college is looking for.
Jeff Frolik of UVM’s School of Engineering said America’s workforce needs students like them now.
“To solve a problem, you are going to need more than one point of view,” Frolik said.
Frolik said today’s mechanical engineering field is morphing into something more consumer-friendly and students in his school need to learn how to communicate and present the highly technical information they have mastered to the average audience.
Math is at the core of engineering, but today, communication also needs to be a critical factor, Frolik said.
Graduates of UVM’s School of Engineering have gone on to work in the industries of aerospace, manufacturing, composites and carbon fiber. Graduates also have had the opportunity to work in renewable energy or electrical engineering for state-sponsored projects like Smart Grid installation.
Dawn Densmore, a director of outreach and public relations for UVM, said the Odyssey competition caters to the best and brightest – exactly what the college wants in its engineering program.
“We are interested in hands-on application and students learning creatively,” she said. “We want those students at UVM. Businesses are clamoring for applicable knowledge – how do physics and math apply? … Not just book knowledge, but a tangible way to solve a problem.”
Companies seeking to hire graduates want to know that students understand why they are learning what they are learning, Densmore said.
“The thing that doesn’t work in a given project is what you remember the most. And it’s critical in our world to work in a team because nothing is done without one,” she said.
A team from Stowe Playhouse also earned second place for its “Full Circle” theatrical performance about how different parts of our brains store and recollect memories.
Vermont has been ranked as the second safest state in the country, behind Maine, which was ranked the safest. Considering our little rash of burglaries by some drugged up teenagers before the holidays, this is comforting. Evidently, Vermont likes to throw this statistic at Boston when it complains that Vermont’s liberal gun laws are the reason that there is so much crime in Boston. A little neighboring tit-for-tat? See the Rutland Herald article for the full scoop.
This article appeared in our local paper, The Rutland Herald and was in fact, quite disturbing.
|State urges Vermonters to be prepared for pandemic
October 20, 2008
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
|COLCHESTER — The Vermont Department of Health is urging residents to prepare for what officials believe will be a worldwide flu pandemic by stocking their pantries.
Public health officials say that during a flu pandemic families won’t be able to go to work, school or the store.
Health Commissioner Wendy Davis says people should buy things like dried foods that have a long shelf life.
In 1918, a worldwide flu pandemic killed millions of people.
Davis says it’s only a matter of time before another pandemic spreads across the world.
Burlington is one of nine communities around the country taking part in a pilot project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get ready for a pandemic.
This, coupled with a comment from a neighbor about a possible resurgence of the Spanish Flu from something she read from the CDC, put my fingers to the keyboard to find out more. And find out, I did. Several things, some of which were quite disconcerting. In New Jersey, a law was just passed mandating flu vaccines for children under 5 attending preschool or daycare. Mandating. That is a strong word as it relates to the flu vaccine. Makes me glad that I don’t live in NJ anymore. The CDC has in fact recommended flu vaccines for all children between 6 months and 18 years of age. Normal, healthy kids, not just children who are considered “high risk”, although I do have one of those. My youngest son, Tim has asthma and has gotten a flu shot for years. My other two boys, neither of whom suffer from any “high risk” conditions, have never gotten a flu shot.
Why? Why all of a sudden is this of utmost importance? The news is replete with articles from all over the country urging parents to get their perfectly healthy children vaccinated this year. While I am not the conspiracy type, I do have to admit that living with my adorable Mr. Paranoia for all these years does rub off on me. We went through childhood without a flu shot, my other non-high risk children for their 12 and 13 years have survived without a flu shot, so now why this sudden urge to vaccinate healthy children, coupled with this article? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
It certainly makes me wonder and give the whole thing a second thought, particularly in light of the fact that thermisol is found as a preservative in most flu vaccines. Okay, I admit that this makes me nervous. While years ago, call me stupid, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to the vaccines administered to my infants; age and experience have made me more cautious and much more protective. I am no longer willing to “turn my kids over” to the pediatrician’s wishes, especially in light of the fact that Tom and I have a nephew who is autistic. While I know the controversy surrounding thermisol in vaccines is inconclusive from a scientific point at best, I also know that I have a sister who believes in her heart of hearts that little Damian “was different” after he was given his MMR vaccine. A mother’s instinct is nothing to be messed with and that is enough to give me second thoughts.