36 Hours in Burlington, Vermont

August 19, 2015

36 Hours | By JEREMY EGNER | New York Times

"Burlington, Vermont’s largest city at just over 42,000 residents, comes alive in summer. The deep aquamarine Lake Champlain thaws and Waterfront Park, built on industrial land reclaimed in the 1980s during Senator Bernie Sanders’s tenure as the city’s mayor (he announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination there in May), teems with students and families. Kayaks and skiffs dot the water’s glassy surface while runners and bikers fill shoreline paths. Abundant recreational opportunities along with the city’s high walkability factor — you can stroll from the postcard-pretty downtown to the burgeoning arts scene in the South End — mean foodie tourists can burn off calories as quickly as they pack them on. (It’s a nice thought, at least.)"

My wife and I have enjoyed wonderful meals at Hen of the Wood, A Single Pebble, Henry's Diner, Leunig's Bistro & Café; and others, of course. We regularly explore and shop at the Church Street Marketplace; and, we've explored the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. We've also been treated to a weekend 'in town' at the Hotel Vermont

Read the complete article at NYTimes.com | See the video on my homepage

Rewarding Stellar Credit

MORTGAGES
By LISA PREVOST | THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: October 10, 2013

Lending terms are easing up for borrowers who have superior credit. But mortgages are no easier to come by for applicants with unexceptional FICO scores.

According to a recent analysis by Ellie Mae, a mortgage software company in Pleasanton, Calif., credit-score and down-payment requirements have eased. A national sample of mortgage loans closed in August showed an average FICO score of 734 for approved borrowers, down from an average 748 last year. (FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with higher being better.)

Lenders are also approving more loans for those whose credit scores are below 700, according to Jonathan Corr, the president of Ellie Mae. “About 31 percent of loans in August had scores less than 700, compared to 15 percent a year ago,” he said

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Quotable Vermonters — on Hurricane Irene

I love Vermont. I loved it long before I moved here. I always knew that Vermonters were special people — here, from The New York Times, is the most recent evidence: “We’re used to storms,” the governor said. “We’re used to taking care of ourselves in the winter, living on top of mountains in the middle of nowhere. You know, we know how to tough it out here. You’re not going to talk a Vermonter out of their house.”

...

Here in Pittsfield, where residents have taken it upon themselves to try to patch roads with local equipment and to fetch urgent supplies using all-terrain vehicles, Ray Rice, a resident of 11 years, said he had not even begun to think about what Mr. Shumlin and state government could do for the town.

“Oh God, no,” Mr. Rice said. “We’ve been taking care of ourselves pretty good.”

"For the Governor of Vermont, a Crash Course in Disaster Management" By  New York Times, September 1, 2011

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“It’s brought out our strengths and created community heroes where we never knew there would be any,” said Kathryn Schenkman, a resident.

"Relief in Vermont Towns as Crews Make Inroads" By  New York Times, September, 1, 2011

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In some places, stranded residents have taken matters into their own hands. When a bridge was shut down in Royalton, isolating many residents, local fire and rescue workers cleared a path through a sunflower field at the Hidden Meadow Farm. Uprooting a tree that stood in the way, they cut a hole in a chain-link fence to allow residents to temporarily drive their cars right onto Interstate 89 on what may be the shortest on-ramp in the country.

“They’re calling it the Hillbilly Highway,” said Rachel Bigelow, who set up a little farm stand selling sunflowers, tomatoes and corn by the jury-rigged interstate entrance that now cuts through her farm. Evelyn Saenz, a Royalton resident who drove through it on Thursday, praised it as “Vermont ingenuity” and had another name for it: “Exit 2 1/2.”

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At the command center in Dummerston, Mr. Flynn tried to bolster his troops at a morning staff meeting by quoting a speech Calvin Coolidge gave when he returned to his native Vermont as president to help the state recover from the floods of 1927.

“I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate,” Mr. Coolidge said then, “but most of all because of her indomitable people.”

Mr. Flynn said later while holding a printout of an e-mail of the speech: “This may be corny, but it is something that was sent to me last night. It’s always been my favorite quote of Calvin Coolidge, but I never knew it was attributed to the flood of 1927. I think it says it all right there.”

"Battered Vermont Looks First to its Roads" By  New York Times, September 2, 2011

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The outpouring of help has moved Mr. Perley and the Severance family. Some heard about them through word of mouth. Others read about their plight in The Valley News. Others offered assistance after the farm asked for help on Vermont Public Radio and on a Web site called #VTResponse, which was created after the storm as a sort of Twitter-age version of the venerable Swopper’s Column in Yankee Magazine, connecting volunteers and supplies with the flood victims who needed them.

“We are in desperate need of 16% pellets for cows whose food will run out tonight,” read one post on the Web site. The next day, people arrived with feed for the cows.

"Vermont Turns Out for Its Dairies as They Take Stock and Dig Out" By  September 4, 2011