Dirk Van Susteren

Dirk Van Susteren

Dirk Van Susteren is a freelance writer and editor, who has 30 years experience in Vermont journalism. For years he was the editor of Vermont’s Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus, assigning stories dealing with the environment, agriculture, politics, energy, health care and a host of other topics important to Vermonters. He assembled teams of writers and photographers to produce books for the Herald and Times Argus, including A Vermont Century: Photographs and Essays from the Green Mountain State and Howard Dean: A Citizen’s Guide to the Man Who Would Be President. During his career Van Susteren has been the publisher of a weekly newspaper, The Suburban List in Essex Junction; an editor at the Providence Journal (R.I.); and a writer for United Press International. His freelance stories have appeared in various publications, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Northern Woodlands magazine, Saltscapes of Nova Scotia and AMC Outdoors. Van Susteren has taught writing at Community College of Vermont and in the University of Vermont Summer Writing Program. He is a native of Appleton, WI. and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and his wife Marialisa Calta live in Calais.

Email: dvansusteren@vtdigger.org

    In This State: The ever-present and everlasting Sen. Bill Doyle

    Sen. William Doyle holding up a copy of this year’s “Doyle Poll,” a survey he has been presenting to voters since 1969. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    He first sat in his Senate seat the year Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Vermont’s longest-serving lawmaker, Bill Doyle, has no plans to retire.

    In This State: Bringing medical care to the homeless

    Dr. David Adams, a doctor for Safe Harbor community health center in Burlington, checks the blood pressure of a patient, Jim Fysh. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    At a time when almost no doctors make house calls, a doctor and nurse team goes to shelters and to the streets in Burlington and treats homeless people.

    In This State: Documentary and doctor ‘star’ delve into tragedy of drug use

    ITS Holmes thumb

    For years, Dr. Fred Holmes made house calls, caring for youngsters with childhood ailments. For the past five months he’s been addressing another affliction of the young: drug addiction.

    In This State: Outdoor adventurer Mike Rosenberg builds a business with his Garuka energy bars

    A photo by Mike’s brother, Mark Rosenberg, in Bell’s Canyon, Utah, shows how Garuka Bars get around. Courtesy photo

    A wakeboarding accident grounded Mike Rosenberg, and while he was recovering, he took to the kitchen. And there, the Garuka energy bar was created.

    In This State: A new chapter for the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

    A woman makes her way down the front steps of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, a Second-Empire edifice built in 1871 by Horace Fairbanks. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    Bob Joly, the new executive director of the library and gallery, expresses excitement about the future of the Athenaeum, which has struggled over recent years.

    In This State: A thing or two you might not know about John McClaughry

    John McClaughry with his dog Lassie on the porch of his log home in Kirby. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    How did McClaughry arrive where he is? What’s his view of his contribution to the political discourse?

    Vermont’s wetlands rules put onus on landowners

    A wetland in Putney. Creative Commons photo by putneypics via Flickr

    Vermont’s wetlands rules, established in 1990, require that landowners obtain permits if they wish to build on what’s designated Class 1 or 2 wetlands, tracts that the state deems “significant” for wildlife habitat, aesthetic or other environmental reasons.

    In This State: An obscure Vermont folk artist gets her due every year in Woodbury

    A close-up view of one of Bessie Drennan’s paintings, this one titled “Kitchen Junket.” Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    Like Grandma Moses, Bessie Drennan didn’t pay much attention to perspective or scale. The two painters shared other attributes: both focused on the rural way of life; both had a nostalgic streak; neither began painting until late in life, and neither had any formal artistic training.

    In This State: What ties Stowe church to a Hawaiian leper colony?

    A closeup of Andre Girard’s mural depicting Father Damien meeting Brother Joseph Dutton on Molokai, the island leper colony. The mural was painted on the exterior of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe in the late 1940s. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    In This State: Stowe’s Catholic Church has “fingers” that touch people from the past, like Ira Dutton, who was born on its site, and noteworthy figures from afar, from places like Belgium, France and Austria. Not to mention Hawaii.

    In This State: At Allenholm Farm, everything’s coming up apples

    Lodi apples, for of the season, are on sale at Allenholm Farm in South Hero. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    “I’ve been told Allenholm Farm is the oldest commercial apple orchard in the state,” says owner Ray Allen, whose ancestors settled on Grand Isle in the 1780s.

    In This State: Schools of fish provide sustainability lesson

    Tilapia grow under the supervision of horticulture teacher Tim Gustafson-Byrne at North Country Career Center in Newport. The fishes' waste provides nutrients used to grow hydroponic vegetables in the school's greenhouse. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    Four thousand years ago, Egyptian fish farmers raised tilapia in ponds along the Nile; now a northern Vermont teacher is raising the fish at school.

    In This State: Filmmaker Jay Craven and author Howard Frank Mosher mine the Kingdom

    Grandson and grandfather, both named Austen Kittredge, played by Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick and Bruce Dern, drive the pickup truck back from the railroad station in an opening scene of “Northern Borders,” a film by Jay Craven, based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher.

    At the Burlington premiere, Craven called the making of “Northern Borders” a big step in his effort to create “sustainability” in regional film production.

    In This State: Thai Phat – a neighborhood market with an Asian taste

    Loc Tran (Anthony) serves a customer at Thai Phat, the market on North Street in Burlington that his family bought five years ago. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    Consider the produce: long beans, Japanese yams, fresh bamboo, fuzzy squash, banana blossoms, and various greens wrapped in plastic and simply labeled “Asian vegetable.”

    In This State: The lure of friendship is part of the ice fishing catch

    Ron Chaffee poses in front of his shanty with the only white perch he caught on a day when he hauled in more than 40 yellow perch. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

    Chaffee says he gets a special kick out of putting his lake fish on the table; it’s in keeping with a time-honored area tradition, a custom on which lots of guys are hooked.

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