GRAND ISLE – A balloon test is in progress until 1 p.m. today for the proposed AT&T cell tower at the Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department.
The tethered balloon offers a visual depiction of the proposed 180 foot tower.
Virtual Site Simulations, LLC (VSS) is conducting the Balloon Test which is being used to generate photographic simulations from various vantage points within one-and-a-half to two miles of the site.
The photographic simulations will be available for viewing and presented for the Grand Isle Selectboard’s consideration at a public hearing anticipated to be held on Monday, Jan. 20.
Jennille Smith, a Site Acquisition Consultant of Centerline Communications told The Islander at the site today, the photographic simulations would be available in about a week or so.
They can be viewed at https://www.drm.com/news/att-firstnet-gsid-balloon-test.
The Sheriff’s Department signed a preliminary lease agreement for a communications tower to be constructed next to the new sheriff’s office off U.S. 2 last December.
Sheriff Ray Allen said the parties are looking to sign a permanent agreement for the 180-foot cell tower at the Island Industrial Park at 10 Island Circle.
AT&T began to investigate placing the tower next to the new Sheriff’s office after separate pitches by the utility for two lots on Lovers Lane, a residential area, received considerable pushback from local residents early last year.
The residents expressed strong disappointment over the lack of transparency in each proposal and both tower applications were proposed at 140-feet among homes.
Sheriff Allen and the town of Grand Isle had signed a 5-page memorandum of understanding
in October that looked to put the tower on the 2.39 acre parcel that the sheriff’s department recently bought.
That agreement set a Feb. 3, 2020 deadline for the town to be satisfied enough to be able to write a letter of recommendation. A 2,500 square foot compound also is proposed to service the tower.
Allen has said he was interested in helping find a solution to house the tower because his department is seeking improved service for both cell phones in and near his office and for mobile computers in the patrol cruisers. The sheriff’s office has been designated recently as the new Emergency Operations Center should a disaster hit Grand Isle County.
A public hearing is scheduled at the Grand Isle Selectboard meeting Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
SOUTH HERO -- The owners of a leading Vermont-based convenience store chain say they hope to have Island Beverage and Redemption in South Hero in full operation by the end of the month.
Joe Handy, whose family operates a string of Simon’s convenience stores mostly in Chittenden County, said the South Hero purchase should be complete in the next three weeks.
In an interesting twist, Simon’s Island Beverage plans to offer Mobil gasoline, obtained from R.L. “ Skip” Vallee, a St. Albans-based fuel distributor, Handy said.
Vallee has proposed to build a 2,000 square-foot Maplefields Convenience Store with fuel pumps on the backside of McKee’s Pub on a 4.7 acre lot adjoining Island Beverage.
Vallee declined on Monday to say if the sale by Tim and Kelly Cota to the Handy family will impact his application for Maplefields.
“Joe asked if we would supply them with Mobil and we are happy to accommodate,” Vallee said in a phone interview.
Joe Handy said his family has an excellent working relationship for two generations with Vallee. He said Mobil gasoline, which had been offered by Island Beverage until a few months ago, is liked by customers and has a good price.
“We will stick with Mobil,” Handy said. That raises questions about what Maplefields would offer if the application proceeds.
“I’m not sure what his plans are,” Handy said about Vallee’s application.
The South Hero Development Review Board held one hearing Aug. 28 on Vallee’s request. The hearing is due to resume Feb. 26.
South Hero Zoning Administrator Martha Taylor-Varney said Monday she has not heard anything new. She asked Vallee to have any site plan updates filed with the town by Feb. 1 so they can be reviewed and shared with the board before its meeting on Feb. 26.
Handy said Island Beverage will be the 20th convenience store for the family and its first in Grand Isle County. Among Simon’s stores is one at Chimney Corners on U.S. 2 & 7 in Colchester.
Besides the Chittenden County locations, Simon’s also has stores in Montpelier, Waitsfield and Enfield, N.H., Handy said.
Handy said his business is in the process of obtaining its final permits from the state.
He said the gasoline pumps and canopy also are needed.
The plan is to open as soon as possible and there may be some renovation in the store. He said other changes may be possible down the line.
The Cotas had confirmed to The Islander on Dec. 1 that a purchase and sales agreement had been reached with an undisclosed buyer for the business and land at U.S. 2 and Ferry Road.
Multiple attempts in recent days to get an update from the Cotas have been unsuccessful. They had operated the popular store and redemption center for 19½ years.
Vallee had expressed interest last year in buying Island Beverage, but the deal fell through when it was reduced to writing and the sellers had concerns, co-owner Tim Cota has said. Another attempt recently also failed.
During the Development Review Board meeting some local residents had expressed disappointment with Vallee’s plan. They thought the location would lead to major traffic issues and the area was well served between Island Beverage and the nearby Keeler Bay Variety.
The state has plans to upgrade the intersection, including adding a full-cycle traffic light. Ferry Road, which comes into U.S. 2 at an angle also would be squared off, the town has said.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
GRAND ISLE -- A Winooski man is facing court charges for taking fish illegally in Hatchery Brook near the Grand Isle Fish Culture Station, officials said Tuesday.
Justin Cianchetta, 41, has been ordered to appear Dec. 19 in Vermont Superior Court in North Hero for two counts of taking fish illegally, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said.
The case involved more than 60 hours of overnight surveillance by pairs of wardens on about a half dozen dates, Lt. Carl Wedin, the northwest supervisor, told The Islander.
Game Warden Jeremy Schmid developed information during the investigation that lead to the issuance of a search warrant for Cianchetta’s residence, the department said. Wardens said they seized fillets from four illegal landlocked salmon that were caught in Hatchery Brook. They also impounded fishing equipment.
The investigation was sparked by various complaints received by wardens regarding anglers illegally fishing in Hatchery Brook during late night and early morning hours in both late October and early November.
Hatchery Brook is closed to fishing from the mouth of the brook at Gordon's Landing, Lake Champlain, upstream 1,150 feet to the main hatchery driveway off Bell Hill Road.
Fish and Wildlife staff also observed wounds consistent with illegal taking while conducting biological evaluations of landlocked Atlantic salmon in Hatchery Brook, Schmid said.
If convicted, Cianchetta will lose his privilege to hunt, fish and trap in Vermont for one year and need to pay fines up to $466 and make $100 in restitution.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
NORTH HERO – A Vermont Superior Court jury was unable to reach agreement on three criminal charges filed against an Alburgh man in connection with the theft of several firearms during a residential break-in two years ago.
Theodore Bruce, 29, was charged with burglary into a dwelling, grand larceny and aiding in the commission of a felony, all on July 17, 2017 in Alburgh.
Grand Isle County State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito presented about a dozen witnesses, including members of the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Border Patrol along with a few eyewitnesses.
Bruce was the lone witness called by defense lawyer Kathy Strahm of Burlington as part of the 2½-day trial, which ended Thursday.
The jurors deliberated about three hours before reporting to Judge Robert Mello that they were deadlocked and it was unlikely there would be any movement by either side.
Bruce was returned to the Northwest State Correctional Facility where he has been serving time for two burglaries, aggravated assault and false pretenses, records show.
DiSabito said he plans to proceed with a second trial for Bruce, formerly of Highgate.
A co-defendant, Storm Choiniere, 28, of Swanton is awaiting trial. He also is detained at the prison in St. Albans.
The Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department said the case centers on a burglary in progress complaint about 7 a.m. July 17, 2017.
The home owner, Brian Gaudette, said he allowed Bruce to live in a camper on the property. Bruce and Choiniere said they were looking for Choiniere’s mother, who is listed as Gaudette’s girlfriend, court papers show.
Gaudette said Choiniere knew his mother was not there, but in the hospital. Gaudette said he had made clear that when he is not home, Bruce can not enter the house, court records show.
The home owner’s son, Kolby Gaudette reported the two men had left the house carrying away some of his father’s property including rifles and other long guns, Deputy Sheriff Jason Essinger said in a court affidavit. The deputy said he later was told handguns also were missing.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents intercepted a blue Jeep Liberty that the two burglars reportedly fled in, Essinger said. He said Bruce, the driver, and Choiniere, a passenger, both admitted they were at the Gaudette home, but maintained they took nothing.
No guns were found in the Jeep, the deputy reported. However Steven Prenoveau of Homeland Security Investigations, who was off-duty, later reported he saw the Jeep stopped at a residence on Greenwoods Road about the time of the burglary, court records show.
Vermont State Police reported that night the missing long guns were recovered in the brush and field at Blair and Leduc roads along the Canadian border, Essinger said in his court affidavit.
The deputy noted the U.S. Border Patrol surveillance cameras captured the blue Jeep in the area of the recovered guns about 7 a.m. the day of the burglary. Several handguns and swords were still missing, he said.
By KATHLEEN SWANSON, Islander Contributor.
It’s checkout time in North Hero.
Not for the guests, but for several key owners.
Four iconic businesses - three hotels, two with popular restaurants, and the town’s general store - are all up for sale, all at the same time, awaiting a new generation to take over.
Their current proprietors say it’s a coincidence they all want to sell at the same time, and they do so with some reluctance, but all say it’s time to retire and for someone else to take the reins.
They will, however, have all left their mark and through care and significant improvements, will leave behind properties greatly improved over what they took over.
On the market are Shore Acres Inn & Restaurant, Hero’s Welcome, North Hero House Inn & Restaurant and Holiday Harbor Lodge.
This is not bad news, but time to bring new energy into the Champlain Islands while business is not only thriving, but growing, they say.
The picturesque village of North Hero is unique because its lies on the shore of Lake Champlain’s City Bay – the only village center in the islands directly on the lake.
It has one of the oldest functioning court houses in the United States, as well as antique shops, the North Hero House Inn and Restaurant and Hero’s Welcome general store and post office, which serve as the heart of the village.
“The Champlain Islands is well positioned for hospitality growth in the coming years,” said Sherri Potvin, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corporation.
Grand Isle County is within a day’s drive of 40 million people.
In most cases, the owners of the four properties said it was serendipity that they ended up in North Hero, and in every case the rehabilitations of the business properties became a labor of love.
It is bittersweet to sell, all the owners say, and they want to find the right buyer who will continue to nurture and grow their labor of love.
“All of these businesses contribute to the quality of life in North Hero and the entire county,” said Potvin. “These businesses provide jobs. We have a thriving village on the shores of Lake Champlain, thanks to these proprietors. Thanks to their hard work we are able to promote year-round activities and bring people to our community.”
-- Shore Acres Inn & Restaurant --
Mike & Susan Tranby were in their late 20s teaching school in Minnesota when a friend suggested they relocate to Vermont. They arrived with no job prospects, but saw a newspaper ad for a caretaker position at a South Hero estate on the east shore.
After working there for a couple of years they were recruited in 1984 by Doug Tudhope to run Shore Acres, which Doug, his wife, Billie and friends Jack and Shirley White bought in 1981 with hopes that it would stay an inn and restaurant and not be developed into housing lots.
The Tranbys had zero experience running a motel, let alone a restaurant. With an 18-month-old daughter in tow they said yes.
The rooms had stinky shag carpeting with beds, mostly twins, from the 1950s. The restaurant had orange vinyl table clothes. One of the items on the menu was hot dogs and beans.
“The previous manager was a gruff guy and he told us we were going to be so unhappy we took this job,” said Susan Tranby. “Later that day the Shore Acres sign near the road blew down.”
It was not an omen.
The Tudhopes and the Whites gave the Tranbys a $25,000 budget to make over the rooms. Mike pulled the shag carpeting out himself and over the next 35 years renovated each room, replacing twin beds with full, queens and kings.
“We’ve redone everything twice,” said Mike, 65, and who wears his signature bow tie behind the bar.
As the years went on Mike and Susan became equity partners in the business. They now own 50% of the business, while the Tudhopes retain 30% and the Whites 20%.
In the ensuing 35 years, a son was born and with the help of Susan’s mother and a string of Swedish nannies, thanks to Mike’s cousins in Sweden, the Tranby’s were able to hold body and soul together.
Both their children Majken, 36 and Paul, 33 worked at the inn and restaurant.
“Majken was six when she started to bus tables,” said Susan Tranby.
The restaurant has been under the capable hands of chef Dan Rainville, of Isle La Motte, for 27 years. Shore Acres serves breakfast and dinner, with a menu featuring gourmet entrees to homestyle pot roast and turkey dinners.
The Tranbys operate Shore Acres from Easter to Thanksgiving.
When they decided to put the property on the market in April Mike wrote 150 hand-written letters to loyal customers and long-time employees.
“It’s very personal. We’ve had multiple generations of families work for us and every year many of the same families return,” said Mike Tranby. “We’re not in a hurry. We’re not anxious to sell. We’ll keep doing what we’ve always been doing, but we wanted to be organized and thoughtful.”
The property is listed at $2.9 million with Hearthside Group, a hospitality business broker based in Vermont and New Hampshire. The property located on the east shore of North Hero is 45 acres with 1,800 feet of lakeshore. There are 23 guest rooms, 19 with a lake view. There is capacity to build six more rooms.
There is a separate home located on the property that provides privacy and 2,150 square feet of living space to the owners.
The Town of North Hero has the property appraised for tax purposes at $1.66 million, which does not include the value of the business.
“This is a unique, wonderful property with a long history of bringing people to Lake Champlain,” said Wendy Beach, the Hearthside Group broker listing the property. “It is a fantastic offering. This is a turnkey sale. The business is solid with many returning customers.”
“The Tranbys have worked really hard and have created a very marketable business. It is truly amazing what they have accomplished,” Beach said.
-- Hero’s Welcome --
The iconic general store is one of the Champlain Islands destination locations since Bob and Beverley Camp bought the shuttered store in 1993.
The couple had planned on a sabbatical in the islands for only a year after Bob retired as an executive at Pier 1, a home goods retail chain and Beverley closed her business Westminster Lace. The couple, who have four children between them, were living in Seattle at the time.
“During the time here for the sabbatical my dad died and it made me think about my own mortality,” Bob said. “I was out rowing in a skull and I came home and said to Bev, ‘Let’s just stay here.”
Soon the couple bought a dilapidated home in North Hero, north of the village. Almost every window was broken, but the lakeside house had potential.
They were fully involved in renovating that house when they went to look at two business properties for sale in the village of North Hero.
One was the former Tudhope general store, which was originally built by John Tudhope in 1899 and run by the family continuously for 90 years.
The other was the North Hero House, also with a rich history, but had also fallen on hard times.
“First property I looked at was the North Hero House. The general store was empty and dark. The only light on was at the post office. With our retail experience we thought the general store was a better fit.”
Bob and Bev, who are now in their mid-seventies, bought the general store from the bank and renamed it Hero’s Welcome.
“We started this as a project and then 26 years rolled by and the business has thrived,” Bob Camp said.
On a September morning the store with its well-stocked shelves of everything from kitchen accoutrements, clothes, games, books, food, beer and wine, was bustling.
The Lake Store out back sells all manner of lake toys, including kayaks, floatables and athletic equipment. Basically, they sell everything. Hero’s Welcome is open year round and continues to be home to North Hero’s U.S. Post Office.
The Camp’s savvy marketing and branding has made Hero’s Welcome an institution in the Champlain Islands and beyond. Bob estimates that they have 150,000 visitors a year.
“In the summer we have all the business we can handle, really,” he said.
In the shoulder and winter months Hero’s Welcome uses its web business to sell items from the store and island branded merchandise that is shipped to every state in the U.S.
The property consists of the main store, the lake store, a garage that in the past has been a craft shop and now serves as a retail shop and the adjacent four-bedroom house that has been renovated.
The property has 50-feet of owned lake shore with a boat launch and another 50-feet of shared lake shore. There is also 160-feet of dockage and moorings.
This isn’t the first time The Camps have said they wanted to sell. In 2017 they quietly marketed the property with their long-time managers and business partners, Carlene and Paul Letourneau.
The Camps and Letourneau’s have the property listed with V/T Commercial, a Burlington-based commercial real estate and business brokerage firm.
John Beal, the listing agent, said the firm has worked with a number a Vermont country store sales and that there are very few stores that can rival Hero’s Welcome in terms of location, quality of the property and the all encompassing business model that includes retail, a bakery, deli, fuel sales, boat docking and a U.S. Post Office as a tenant.
“We’re excited to be involved with the project,” Beal said. “Country stores are a lifestyle business. We will market Hero’s Welcome nationally, especially in Boston and New York area. Typically you see folks looking at this kind of property who have made good money and are seeking a lifestyle change.”
The exact price will be set later this week on V/T Commercial’s website, but Bob says it will be in the “modest seven figures.” The town has the real estate appraised at $1.2 million.
Bob said he and Bev and the Letourneaus will be available to help the new owners transition.
-- North Hero House Inn & Restaurant --
The North Hero House has a rich and long history.
It was founded in 1891 by James H. Dodds, the descendant of a Scottish family that settled in North Hero in the early 1800’s and has been in continuous operation since then.
The Dodds family ran it until 1969, when it was sold to a New Jersey dentist. In 1985 it was briefly owned by another New Jersey couple, until Walter Blasberg, a long time summer resident of the Champlain Islands, bought the inn in 1997.
The inn was desperately in need of repair. There was Astroturf in the lobby and all the rooms needed to be upgraded. With the help of Bev Camp’s interior design skills, the entire inn was renovated and reopened in fall 1997.
Walt is conflicted about selling, not only because he’s put so much energy and investment into the inn, he feels like he has an extended family there.
“I’ve put a lot of work into this and want it to go into the right hands,” Walt said. “I’m not going to sell to just anyone. The new owner needs to have a strong commitment to the staff, our customers and the community. You have to understand that North Hero has been transformed over the last 25 years by private investment and I hope it continues.”
Walt, who is a 1970 University of Vermont graduate, worked in finance and investment brokerage before becoming an innkeeper. He’s looking for a buyer with the depth of financial and operational skills needed to run the operation.
He briefly had the inn on the market with a hospitality broker late last year, but canceled the listing in December. Walt now has the North Hero House listed with Pomerleau Real Estate’s business brokerage division.
“This property is absolutely charming,” said Stuart “Kim” Wichert, the broker listing the inn. “There is great access to the lake. It is a great venue for events and it’s a quick ride from Burlington or Montreal. Walt has a lot of Canadian clientele and we will market this in Canada.”
In its heyday in the early part of the last century steamships would deliver guests to the North Hero House from New York to escape the heat.
Although steamships are a thing of the past, the steamship pier continues as a destination for lunch and dinner, concerts and other events.
Today the Inn consists of 3 guest houses in addition to the Main Inn built in 1891, for a total of 26 rooms. There are two bars, event sites for weddings and family reunions, a sandy beach and marina.
The main inn dining room is open seven nights a week in the season, while the Steamship Pier Bar & Grill is open Wednesday-Sunday noon-8 p.m. through Labor Day and Friday –Sunday from noon-8 p.m. after that.
The town has the inn, lake front and adjacent buildings appraised at $1.3 million. Wichert said Pomerleau will list the property in the $2 million range.
-- Holiday Harbor Lodge --
Bruce and Joanne Batchelder have run Holiday Harbor near the bridge to Alburgh for 13 years.
The property is for sale by owner for $1.3 million, which includes 3 acres, 400 feet of lakeshore, 12 rental units (six with full kitchens and six with kitchenettes). The town of North Hero has the real estate property appraised at $774,700.
The Holiday Harbor is a favorite of fishing enthusiasts because the property is on a protected part of the lake but easy access to the broad lake and the inland sea.
“We’re a little hesitant (to sell). I’m turning 70 this year, which is the inspiration for the decision,” said Bruce Batchelder. “We’re not in a rush to get out. We love the work and the people we serve.”
Bruce was principal at the Alburgh Elementary School for many years and he and Joanne raised their three daughters there. Bruce and Joanne were recruited 20 years ago to help found a Catholic elementary school in Morrisville. Once the school was built, Bruce served as principal and Joanne as guidance counselor for 10 years.
“We were looking for something to do together and missed being on Lake Champlain,” Bruce said.
Holiday Harbor was for sale and both Bruce and Joanne shared a passion for fishing.
But the property needed work. The individual cottages were built in the 1960s as a roadside motel. The main house, one of the oldest homes in North Hero, built in 1850, was also in need of rehabilitation.
Bruce and Joanne have renovated every cabin and the entire house, where they live and have an office and tackle shop.
The Batchelders split Holiday Harbor’s season in two with open water from around April – October and ice fishing season from January – March. Last year they were open 30 weeks.
“We’ve put a lot of work into the property. We’ve been very successful,” said Bruce. “I would say 75 percent of our clientele are return customers.”
On a recent morning the parking lot was full of trucks and trailers and boats on the docks. Holiday Harbor functions essentially as a fishing lodge. Guests, mostly men and fishing buddies, stay in the tidy cabins Saturday to Saturday. The well-appointed cabins also have grills and picnic tables.
Bruce likes to remind people that a business like Holiday Harbor is for people who enjoy hospitality work. “You have to be a people person,” he said.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “Living in the islands is spectacular. There is nothing like it.”
By Liese Reagan
Did you know youth with mentors have higher rates of high school graduation and are less likely to drop out of school? They find more self-confidence, higher self-esteem and are able to create big goals for themselves. Additionally, studies show that behavior, attitudes and relationships improve when a youth has a mentor.
Do you have an hour a week during the school year to share what you know and mentor a child? If so, we would love to hear from you!
The Grand Isle County Mentoring Program is a school- based mentoring program, which matches community children with adults who have similar interests. They meet once a week for one hour in the school at a mutually convenient time. We are currently recruiting new mentors to be matched with children in our community. All five island schools are involved in the program and students range from grades K to 8. Mentoring doesn’t require an expert; it only requires your time.
“Make a difference in a youth’s life; be a mentor.”
If you would like more information, please contact Liese Reagan at 233-5846 or email email@example.com.
By SULLIVAN CRADY, Islander Corespondent
GRAND ISLE - If you asked Julie Prior to describe herself, she would probably answer you with “… a wild child” who never felt the need to hide her personality from the world. The walls of her home are nearly covered in photographs of white-water rafting, cliff jumping, weight lifting, soccer and a plethora of other sports and activities which she fell in love with so many years ago. However, the physical and mental impact which Lyme Disease has had on her during the past few years has made engaging in her favorite pastimes next to for weeks at a time.
When she was first bitten by a tick at the base of her skull while climbing a mountain on November 1st, 2008, Julie’s primary care physician felt confident that despite developing cold and flu symptoms, she did not have Lyme Disease. It eventually took months of pleading with her physician and other doctors around the state before she was finally diagnosed with the condition. The medical community at the time felt the presence of Lyme in a patient could accurately determined by the appearance of a large, circular welt on the bite, commonly known as a “Bulls-Eye” rash; Julie never developed this rash, so her doctor sent her home, assuring her that she was simply feeling the effects of cold and flu season (according to a 2014 survey, 50-70% of Lyme patients in Vermont never developed any rashes).
Unfortunately, by the time Julie, with the help of her mother who has become her “… number one health advocate, always fighting for me and making sure the doctors believed…” were able to get the antibiotics necessary to treat the disease, the damage had already been done: “… my body didn’t respond as well as it would’ve been liked to those treatments because of the stage it was in, it was too far.” Over the course of the following decade, Julie Prior would undergo repeated surgeries to help treat neuroborreliosis, a late stage condition in Lyme Disease sufferers which can affect a patient’s brain, nervous system and joints. Just the enormous stack of medical records sitting in Julie’s house speaks volumes about how extensive her treatment has been during this process.
Despite the severe impact of the disease, Julie refused to let it be an excuse for her to give up on her life, crediting her passion with remaining active as a huge factor in retaining her stamina this late into her fight with Lyme: “The doctors have said that if I had stopped going out and pushing myself, I would be permanently bed-ridden or in a wheelchair right now.” She was driven to do something to help give her life purpose, stating, “… that no matter how bad things get, you can always still do something to make someone else smile.”
The opportunity came after several years after she contracted Lyme, when Julie met Carl Penske, her current partner and someone she credits as “… one of the people who has kept me going.” While helping Carl in his business, Julie would do anything she could to make him and his employees smile, striking mockingly risqué poses while clad in a Carhartt jacket and blue jeans, playing up the part of the “… sexy Vermonter, which is ironic because I couldn’t be sexy if I tried,” Julie commented.
Eventually someone suggested combining Julie’s goofy nature with Carl’s amateur photography to create a “Vermont pin-up girl” calendar, scrapping the bustiers and high heels for denim jackets and steel-toe boots. The photos contain settings from Julie lounging in a dinghy out on the lake to showing off her inner cowgirl on a 2500 lb. keel winched up from the lake bed.
Due to health complications the project was pushed back repeatedly, but Julie is glad that, thanks to the support of her family, friends and local businesses, the calendars will be available for release in 2020.
The calendars will also include information on the prevention, symptoms and treatment of Lyme Disease, all sourced from VTLyme.org, a non-profit which Julie has become involved with during her illness.
When asked where the profits for these calendars will be going, Julie, positively beaming with pride, said “100% of the money we make from the calendars will be donated to VTLyme.org as a thank you to their support for me and to help them fight Lyme Disease in the future.”
When all is said and done, Julie expects to be able to donate roughly $20,000 from the 2,500 calendars she plans to sell.
Calendars are available at local Island businesses for $10 or if mailed for $12. You can email vtpinupgirl@gmail. com for more information.
While upbeat, Julie knows there will continue to be worse days in the future, but she is thankful for the good days. Making a calendar was not in fact Julie’s first idea for raising money and telling her story; she initially thought of writing a novel about the experience, but it just didn’t fit her style, “… and eventually I thought, ‘Well, this book is going to be really depressing and boring, and there won’t be a happy ending, so who’s going to want to read that?’ It depressed me just to write it!” Showing people that, despite the bad days, weeks or even months, the good moments don’t have to stop has become her mission with this project.
One of Julie’s greatest worries about putting her story out in public was unintentionally causing fear of the outdoors and a reluctance to being adventurous, which is why she finds so much of the literature on Lyme Disease somewhat depressing. When asked whether she would have stayed off that mountain in 2008 if it meant that she wouldn’t have gotten Lyme, she said, “Definitely not, because it’s not in my nature… I will never not do something because ‘Oh, it’s dangerous’ or ‘Oh, I might get hurt’; it’s just not who I am… And, if I never had Lyme, I wouldn’t have met Carl. Would I go through all of this again, to have what I’ve had with him? Yeah.”
At the conclusion of the interview, Julie mentioned that after being bed-ridden through the winter, she was headed to her daughter’s house that evening to celebrate a belated Christmas with her children, presents and tree included. In honor of a woman who wants everyone’s day to end on a high note, you just can’t beat an ending like that.
By Tonya L. Poutry
The Champlain Islands, The Islander, and Vermont lost a unique treasure when long-time journalist Lynville “Lyn” Jarvis of South Hero died Dec. 29, 2018.
For more years than I can remember, Lyn has shared his journeys across all seven continents with readers of The Islander and viewers of WCAX-TV’s “Across the Fence” and “In the Kitchen with Across the Fence”.
His travels ,“Globe Trottin’ Travels with Lyn”, brought us to exotic locations such as Iceland where he stood on a wind swept beach and watched the Aurora Borealis dance overhead; Obidos in Portugal – where when 13th century Queen Isabel marveled at its beauty, her husband King Denis, simply gave it to her. For centuries after, the Kings of Portugal followed suit, presenting the picturesque little town to their queen as a wedding gift and Montserrat in Spain, a mountain top monastery, home to some 80 Benedictine monks
In 2015, Lyn shared his journey to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico with Islander readers. While there, he visited Chiapa de Corzo, the oldest colonial town in the state of Chiapas, to help celebrate the “Fiesta de los Parachicos.” This ancient festival honors the healing of a child by an Indian medicine man. Dancers parade around the entire town wearing elaborate hats made from ixtle, a fiber obtained from the yucca plant and carry tin rattles called chincnins. The girl’s dresses are all hand-made, embroidered with multicolored flowers decorated with lace.
Lyn said, “the celebration embraces all aspects of local life promoting mutual respect among communities, groups, and individuals including strangers like us who came all the way from Vermont to walk beside them, something we will never forget.”
Lyn lived a life full of mutual respect for everyone he met. His genuine pure heart and kindness made him the gentle voice that has filled our living rooms at 12:10 p.m. on “Across the Fence” and his written words in the pages of The Islander gave us all the chance to travel the globe alongside him.
You can only imagine the delight of this newspaper when Lyn came into the office to announce “The Islander” would make it to all seven continents. He was leaving for a trip to Antarctica with the latest issue of the newspaper. I remember asking him to snap his photo with penguins for our feature, “And The Islander Goes To…”. He certainly did not disappoint.
Other places Lyn has visited and shared with us include Quebec, Cuba, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janiero, Albania and Montenegro, Holland, Croatia, Italy, Vietnam, Portugal, Ireland, Cambodia, Spain, India, Rome, Peru and Turkey.
In 2017, Lyn completed his quest to visit all 50 states by visiting Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
Even when traveling to neighboring states, Lyn would share the stories with us. In April of 2016, he covered the World Figure Skating Championship in Boston for us.
In January of 2017, Lyn visited Times Square in New York City and brought stories of the Big Apple home to us.
These are just a sampling of the incredible experiences Lyn has shared over the last ten or more years.
He also shared his love for delicious food in his “In the Kitchen with Lyn” feature. Recipes such as Cherry Cobbler and Green Bean Casserole are just a couple of the dishes contributed.
Although he loved to travel, there was no place like home in The Islands.
From reporting on butterfly migration, the history of morning glories, recording breaking attendance on Vermont Day at the “Big E” in Springfield, Mass. to photographs of his neighbor’s cat, Irving - - Lyn filled our pages with knowledge, love and laughter.
Throughout the years, Lyn has covered the South Hero 4th of July parade, the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Hackett’s Orchard, culinary competitions at the Champlain Valley Fair - taking home a few blue ribbons himself, and countless concerts hosted by Island Arts for The Islander.
Island Arts was a very near and dear organization for Lyn’s. Early February, he would stop in to announce the St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage meal at McKee’s to support the scholarship program of Island Arts. Always early in hopes for a big turnout.
He joined Island Arts in 2004 and became Vice-President of the board shortly after. His tireless work has helped so many children further their interest in the arts.
The 2017 Island Arts’ program was dedicated to Lyn reading, “Thank you Lyn for being our long time marketing wizard and putting Island Arts on the map”.
We are all very lucky that the voice that has filled many living rooms for many years will never be lost. “Across the Fence” videos documenting Lyn’s travels are available on Youtube.com.
In one of Lyn’s “Across the Fence” adventures, he visited Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep temple, one of Thailand’s most sacred temples. Upon exiting, Lyn stopped at the Flame of Eternal happiness where you can add oil to the flame and receive a sacred and unique blessing.
Lyn’s blessing “I will be happy forever and ever and always be supported by angels.”