Profiles

In This State: Who tends this hallowed ground?

The Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph is one of the most spectacular veterans cemeteries in the country. Caretaker Bob Durkee says it is not as well known in the state as it should be, but it still attracts a steady stream of visitors who appreciate its stone walls, colorful trees, vistas, rows of markers, bushes, and flowers. Photo courtesy of Robert Durkee.

The Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph is one of the most spectacular veterans cemeteries in the country. And its caretaker Robert Durkee divines in every shovelful of dirt, in May’s glorious display of apple blossom, and in every piece of polished marble, the higher purpose of his labors.

In This State: Paul Gillies gleefully mines our legal past

Attorney and writer Paul Gillies, here standing outside his office in Montpelier, has found a  niche with his lively, informative writing about Vermont's legal history and personas. Photo by Tom Slayton

In his lengthy legal and governmental career, Gillies has successfully combined writing and the law, using his way with words to turn even arcane legal subjects into witty and erudite commentary and unexpected insights.

In This State: For Bob Vasseur, being selectman for 54 years came naturally

Sitting on his home's deck high above Route 17 in the Mad River Valley, Robert Vasseur jokingly says he ran for Fayston Selectboard at age 26 because "somebody had to do it, I guess." He's now been on the board for 54 consecutive years. Photo by Andrew Nemethy

When Vasseur was voted onto the Fayston Selectboard in 1959, the board often met in a milking parlor.

In Stowe’s Jack Nash, a mentor, a sport, and an era in the making

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Jack Nash left a remarkable imprint on the Vermont we know today, with a formidable passion and character that touched many lives as it went quietly spinning through the sporting world, like the cycles that he loved.

Vermont’s inhabitants – human and otherwise – owe much to volunteer extraordinaire Sally Laughlin

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The “grandmother of Vermont’s endangered species law” and VINS founder leaving after 32 years on state committee for endangered species.

Bob Stannard: Black belt, Super PAC chair, former lobbyist

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“I went from politics to garbage and saw it as a promotion,” says Stannard, a Statehouse insider for 30 years who is calling it quits.

In This State: For Bob and Kim Gray, it’s been a satisfying cultivated life

Bob Gray inspects vast rows of plastic-covered raised beds where he grows vegetables at 4 Corners Farm in West Newbury next to the Connecticut River. The former Nordic Olympian became a trend-setter by jumping into raising market garden crops in the mid-1970s. Photo by Andrew Nemethy

Their 4 Corners Farm in West Newbury ranks as one of Vermont’s larger market enterprises, diversified in so many edible directions a visitor’s head is left spinning like a salad drier.

In This State: The smell of paper and the business of books

John Graham's "A Descriptive Sketch of the Present State of Vermont" sits on the shelf to the left with other 18th and early 19th-century leather-bound and gilded books that still stand today as works of art in the Pleasant Street Book Store in Woodstock.

“Everything’s a treasure in its own way,” says Sonny Saul looking around his Pleasant Street Books in Woodstock, where John A. Graham’s book is just one of many treasures for sale.

Madeleine Kunin looks at the past and to the future in the fight for women’s rights

Madeleine Kunin

Thirty-two percent of women make more than their spouses — that is very different from the time when Friedan’s book was published, and this is good news because it brings the family income up significantly.

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: Don Heise, the iceman of Curtis Pond

Don Heise is a familiar sight on Curtis Pond near Maple Corner in Calais. Heise has created a vibrant winter recreation community with his unstinting passion for making ice and keeping it clear on the pond. Photo by Andrew Nemethy

What Heise has created over the years is not only a recreation gathering spot and pond hockey paradise but a thriving outdoor winter community.

In This State: Five hundred teacups and counting

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The East Barre Antique Mall is a repository of stories about times gone by.

In This State: Tim Matson is Vermont’s supreme ponderer of ponds

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He is finding that pond owners these days are confronting a whole new set of challenges that come with erratic weather, possibly the result of global climate change.

In This State: Artist Kathleen Kolb finds “moments of sublime contact”

Artist Kathleen Kolb of Lincoln. Photo by Mark Bushnell

Kolb hopes to soothe and comfort people. “I want my art to contribute to their sense of place, their sense of home, their joys and responsibilities.”

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