The Difference DULCE Makes
Vermont Farm Fresh at Copley
The Global Big Latch On — Saturday August 5th, 2017
Help Me Grow
Activity Diversity
Why a Creative Economy Is Important to All of Us
Sound Advice and Sun Safety
A Walkable Village and Morrisville Complete Streets
June is Men’s Health Month
Summer Meals for Kids and Teens

The Difference DULCE Makes

By: Scott Johnson

Susan had just had her first child. She was excited to be a new mom but was overwhelmed with caring for her newborn, the family’s financial stress, and tension between her and her partner. At the baby’s initial newborn Well Child visit at Appleseed Pediatrics, Susan met Jenn, our DULCE Family Support worker.

DULCE (Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone) is a three year demonstration project sponsored by the Center for the Study of Social Policy taking place in seven sites across the country. The Lamoille Family Center and Appleseed Pediatrics is the model for the program in a smaller rural community. DULCE is an innovative pediatric-care-based intervention through which primary care clinical sites proactively address social determinants of health and promote the healthy development of infants from birth to six months of age and provide support to their parents. DULCE’s intervention adds a Family Specialist (FS) to the pediatric care team, and the FS provides support for families with infants in the clinic setting, connecting them to resources based on parents’ needs and priorities – with the option of providing home visits, at the parents’ choice. The DULCE intervention incorporates a protective factors approach and draws on and incorporates components of the Medical-Legal Partnership model to ensure that families have access to the resources they need.

The DULCE family specialist meets with families at their first newborn pediatric visit and stays connected with them through their first six months. This gives new families support with issues that arise, but also in connects families to concrete supports that are designed to help families thrive.

Jenn referred Susan and her family to Economic Services and encouraged them to apply for Reach Up, a program that helps eligible parents gain job skills and find work so they can support their children. This family was already receiving WIC and 3Squares food benefits but they didn’t know about the program that provides supplemental income support for families with children. Receiving these benefits helped ease their financial stress.

Jenn worked with the DULCE Medical Legal Partner to help the child’s father apply for Social Security benefits. Over the next six months Jenn’s encouragement helped the family keep their scheduled well child visits, increased their food stability, and lifted some of the financial stress with a monthly Reach Up grant.  They also connected to Children’s Integrated Services at the Family Center for additional in-home parenting support and education.

In the year since their child was born, the increased support of the DULCE program helped the family develop a good rapport with their Pediatrician, keep current on their well child visits, and enroll in social programs that strengthen their family.

“I think this service was a nice addition to the already wonderful relationship we enjoy with Dr. Balu. I believe for families in more difficult family or friend circumstances it is probably essential. I can’t stress enough how important these types of services are to families. Emotional support and creating access to vital resources.” – DULCE parent

For more information about DULCE, visit https://www.cssp.org/pages/dulce.

Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.

Vermont Farm Fresh at Copley

By: Leah Hollenberger

Farmer Angus Baldwin of West Farm delivers produce to Copley Hospital Chef Robert Wescom.


Copley’s Food Services Team serves nearly 112,000 meals annually. We have an extraordinarily busy kitchen, preparing tasty, visually pleasing meals for delivery to hospitalized patients, along with managing a more mainstream café serving visitors and staff.

In 2015, we began to tweak our menus to incorporate more locally-sourced, sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables from Vermont farms. Locally-sourced is defined by the state as “Vermont plus 30 mile radius.”

Working closely with Green Mountain Farm Direct, we have been able to bring many local farmers’ products to our kitchen. It is a balancing act because we buy in great volume and must stay within our budget. Food Services Director David Vinick estimates about 5% of the food served is locally-sourced and that figure continues to grow.  David shares that year-round, Copley is able to serve locally grown root vegetables including carrots, potatoes and beets. He also strives to serve more locally grown fruits and vegetables seasonally. Right now, Copley is serving local greens, zucchinis, squash and cucumbers; in the fall, all of our apples will be from Vermont.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is also a valuable partner. With their help, we expanded what we are able to purchase right from Lamoille County and are purchasing produce directly from West Farm in Jeffersonville. Farmer Angus Baldwin is able to both grow the volume of produce we need and deliver it to us twice a week to supplement what we are buying from Green Mountain Farm Direct.

Copley’s Cassea Mercia works directly with NOFA-VT and Green Mountain Farm Direct to order produce based on Chef Robert Wescom’s menus. Cassea and Robert are shown with West Farm’s Angus Baldwin following a produce delivery.


We also pay attention to the other end of the food system. Once we’re finished preparing the meals, the kitchen and cafe composts food scraps and any recyclable material. In FY16, we composted more than 81,000 pounds of food scraps thanks to a program with Black Dirt Farm in Greensboro Bend. Our team is proud that we helped fertilize six acres of mixed vegetable crops at the farm!

Copley’s Food Services Team enjoys showcasing fresh Vermont grown food and our patients, visitors, and staff enjoy knowing we contribute to the local food system.

Here’s a recipe we’ve used this month to showcase cucumbers sourced from West Hill Farm in Jeffersonville. It’s a fresh and easy cucumber salad recipe with a sweet and tangy dressing. It makes a great side dish, or enjoy it as a snack.

Tangy Cucumber Salad

From Copley’s Nutritional Services Team


  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to flavor
  • 2 pounds cucumbers (about 4 medium size cucumbers)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


  1. Place the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Slice the cucumbers into 1/8” rounds.
  3. Place them in the bowl, add the chives and toss to combine.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight to allow the flavors to marry.
  5. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Nutritional Value (based on 4-6 servings in this recipe):

  • Calories, 105 per serving
  • Fat, 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat, 1 gram
  • Carbohydrate, 10.5 grams
  • Fiber, 1.2 grams
  • Sugar, 6 grams
  • Protein, 1.5 grams
  • Sodium, 482.6 mg

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

The Global Big Latch On — Saturday August 5th, 2017

We’re on the map! During International World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7 (this week!) the Lamoille Family Center and the Vermont Department of Health are partnering to host the 2017 Global Big Latch On. During this event, women and their children will gather together to breastfeed and offer peer-to-peer support. Friends, family, and community members are encouraged to join in this celebration to show their support for breastfeeding.

This free event will be held on Saturday, August 5th from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Lamoille Family Center (480 Cady’s Falls Road, Morrisville, VT). Light refreshments and prizes will be provided. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to 888-5229 ext. 141.

The Global Big Latch On events aim to protect, promote and support breastfeeding families by:

  • Providing support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raising awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Helping communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Making breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increasing support for women who breastfeed.

The Big Latch On has grown from two countries participating in 2010 to 28 countries participating in 2016. There could be over 18,000 participating breastfeeding women and children this year!

Please consider attending this community event. If you have questions, you can reach out to Carol Lang-Godin at the Lamoille Family Center 888-5229 x141. We hope to see you there!

Help Me Grow

By: Steve Ames

Here in the Lamoille Valley Region, we’ve been excited to assist with the rollout of the Help Me Grow call center and other components of the Help Me Grow project. Together with my council, the Maternal Child Health Team, and other partners, we’ve been spreading the word about the availability of anonymous early childhood support from the Vermont Department of Health.

Help Me Grow is a new part of the Vermont Department of Health’s effort to ensure all children in Vermont are screened for developmental delays and to ensure that all kids and young families have the resources they need to grow and thrive. It’s part of the State’s 2-1-1 information center.

Vermont 2-1-1 is the number to dial to find out about hundreds of important community resources, like emergency food and shelter, disability services, counseling, senior services, health care, child care, drug and alcohol programs, legal assistance, transportation agencies, educational and volunteer opportunities, and now early childhood development. It’s free and confidential for all callers to use.

There are many kids and families who would benefit from support, but who slip through the cracks. They don’t get the help that could benefit them during early childhood – when support is most effective.

Help Me Grow proactively addresses a family’s concerns about their child’s behavior and development by providing an early childhood specialist at the other end of an anonymous phone line (2-1-1 extension 6) and making connections when needed to existing community-based services and high quality parent education resources. For example, a young family looking for child care, a playgroup, or advice on how to handle a rambunctious two year old will find help and solutions with a call. By strengthening connections and providing resources for families in this way, Help Me Grow supports caregivers to promote their child’s social and emotional well-being.

When parents, caregivers or child care providers work with children, a screening tool helps kids learn and adapt very early in their lives, allowing them to develop appropriately and get the help they need, when they need it, early on.

The Help Me Grow project has added a Developmental Screening section to the State’s Immunization Registry so that a child’s physician can see results of a screen and review it without re-screening if the screen was conducted by a child care provider or educator. It’s a great example of making the system of supports more efficient and less duplicative.

Additionally, Help Me Grow now has two Child Development specialists at the 2-1-1 call center that can help anyone with child-related questions. Parents and caregivers can call 2-1-1 x6 anytime and get answers to challenging questions about their kids.

I’ve been psyched to help the Department of Health spread the word about Help Me Grow, and to help develop the website and various tools to measure how effective the 2-1-1 line is. In addition, at our Regional Council meetings, we’ve been sharing call center data to track the development of any gaps in the systems of support for kids and young families.

A team from the Vermont Department of Health and Building Bright Futures was fortunate to be able to attend the Help Me Grow National Conference as well, where we learned about successful aspects of implementation by regions and States from every corner of the Country.

One of the key components of Help Me Grow around the country and here in Vermont is the ability of the team to share anonymous call data with partners and others. For us in the Lamoille Valley, this data sharing allows the Regional Council to get a better sense of what young families are struggling with. We get quarterly reports from Help Me Grow about what areas of concerns folks are calling in about. That allows us to identify gaps in support and work with partners to address those gaps.

Each of these types of activities strengthens kids and families, and the fabric of support that we have all built for our neighbors and fellow citizens. It’s a wonderful time to be a kid in Vermont!

As the Regional Coordinator for Building Bright Futures, Steve staffs The Lamoille Valley Building Bright Futures Regional Council, a volunteer committee focused on the well being of young children and their families. There is one such Council in each of twelve regions of the State. Steve also works with the Playroom in Morrisville. He writes about early childhood, families, community, play, and equity.

Activity Diversity

By: Caleb Magoon

It’s summer! Time to get out and have a little fun. If you aspire to be more active, fit and healthy, what are the best activities to get you there? Turns out, it doesn’t matter much what you do to stay active. What’s far more important is being active consistently and doing a variety of activities.

We all have that one activity we love above all else. For me, it’s mountain biking. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and love riding more than all other forms of summer fun. During the summer months, I consistently ride the trails in our area 3-4 times a week.

There is nothing wrong with riding a bike to stay fit and healthy. But only riding a bike and not participating in other activities limits fitness progression. Our bodies are built to adapt to different activities and get efficient at them. For me, biking only provides a minimal amount of fitness. My body has figured out how to be really efficient at it over the years.

Diversification is the name of the game. You may love that one activity, but try and sprinkle in some others to raise your fitness level. You don’t have to go crazy. I drop in on an Ultimate Frisbee game once in a while. For me, an hour of that is better than several hours of biking. The fast cuts and sprints my body aren’t used to provide maximum fitness impact. On days where I feel like something low key, I’ll just shoot hoops at the local outdoor court or go for a quick hike. Everything helps!

The point isn’t to kill yourself, but to provide your body with different activities working different muscle groups. These will prevent it from getting too efficient at any one activity. Study after study shows that a variety of fitness activities lead to better calorie burn, all-around fitness and strength.

So get out and try lots of things. Throw a baseball or football or Frisbee in the yard. Join a volleyball or basketball pickup game when time permits. Hike, bike, walk or run. Keep doing those things you love too, but add some twists to your repertoire to keep yourself lean and mean. You will see the results. Plus, do you really need an excuse to enjoy all the different activities a summer in Vermont has to offer? I didn’t think so…

Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Why a Creative Economy Is Important to All of Us

By: Tricia Follert

Judith Wrend wrote an exceptional piece on the creative economy and I’d like to put it in perspective as it applies to Morristown. Investing in our community and especially in public art shows a commitment to our citizens and our future. Art and culture supports community engagement, increases the potential for people to understand themselves and each other, and changes how they see the world. Public art is also an economic driver.

The Morristown Alliance for Culture and Commerce (MACC) started the Chair-art-able project six years ago to add more public art and improving the walkability to our community. They purchased 25 folding Adirondack chairs and offered them to the community to be painted by the local citizens. Peoples Academy has painted five plus chairs each year as part of their curriculum. This year, I went to the open house at the school, and it was heartwarming to hear the students brag about the chairs they painted. (And they should brag about them, they are fantastic!) The students had sparkles in their eyes when they talked about their creative process and how the chairs would adorn the streets of Morrisville.  I’ve had friends from near and far come into town to see the “chairs”.

Last fall, the town installed the first of three permanent sculptural trees in the downtown area. The community selected artist Gordon Auchincloss for the project, as his work is beautiful, compelling and timeless. His stainless steel sculptures stimulate the imagination of local voters and will serve the community through public placement in the downtown area. This summer the second sculptural tree will be installed at Morristown Centennial Library.

These works create a “creative industry” which will create jobs, attract investments, generate additional tax revenues, and stimulate the local economy through tourism, consumer purchases, drawing and retaining a talented work force. An active cultural scene fosters social connectedness across cultures, ages, and other divides. It promotes well-being, fosters cooperation, and builds social and civic connections. Public art creates a common experience and helps to build a vibrant community. It starts a conversation, good or bad, but public art is always engaging. The very first discussion of bringing in public art creates a positive influence as residents begin to think about what they want their community to be.

I hope you enjoy reading Judith’s piece, below, as much as I did.

How the Creative Economy Boosts the Life of a Town

 By: Judith Wrend

How does the “creative economy” affect us and benefit our town?

The basic element of the creative economy is the so-called cultural workforce, which is composed of the many creative people who live among us: painters, craft artists, performers, writers and poets, filmmakers and photographers, designers, musicians,architects—and sculptors, like me. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Vermont ranks #3 in the nation for artists, is #2 for fine artists and writers, and is #8 for musicians and photographers as a percentage of the total workforce. We are what help give Vermont a high ranking in the national census.

Members of this creative workforce directly contribute to the economy of the region. Many of them are self-employed. They pay income tax and sales tax, and they purchase supplies and services, thus supporting other local businesses. They buy paints and canvas, steel and aluminum, craft materials, equipment and other supplies. They use the services of tax preparers, welders, auto painters, art framers, movers, photographers and many others. Arts and cultural enterprises total nearly 5 percent of all businesses in Vermont, according to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. These businesses employ more than 7000 Green Mountain State residents.

A second element of the creative economy is the non-profit sector: community organizations that provide cultural opportunities and services for all ages in the area. The Morrisville Centennial Library links the public to the literary arts. River Arts brings opportunities in the visual arts, offering exhibitions and classes for adults and children. These centers are focal points in the community where the public can access the arts and, very importantly, have contact with other people who share their interests. Connecting community members to each other through the arts is a vital function of these non-profit centers.

A third element of the creative economy is the for-profit sector: businesses that sell or exhibit creative products. A restaurant or a gallery that exhibits the works of local artists would be in this category. A shop that sells crafts, photography and handmade gifts, such as Haymaker Press, is a part of the creative economy.

Individuals who offer music lessons can also be included here. A commercial designer who helps create presentation materials for a local company is in this sector.

State and local governments have realized how important a vibrant creative sector is to the overall wellbeing of a region. The New England Foundation for the Arts collects data supporting the idea that a state or town with a relatively higher concentration of creative enterprises and creative workers gives that area a competitive edge by raising its quality of life and ability to attract economic activity. In 2016 the Vermont Legislature established the Vermont Creative Network, in partnership with the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Downtown Program, Common Good Vermont, the Emergent Media Center of Champlain College, the Regional Development Corporation, and the Vermont Department of Libraries. The Network divides the state into six organizational zones. The zone that includes Morrisville is called the Four-County Creative Zone, encompassing Franklin, Grand Isle, Washington and Lamoille Counties. Morrisville’s representative for this Network is Tricia Follert, who will help to connect our town into the statewide creative initiative. As they coordinate with other sectors of the Vermont economy, such as tourism and skiing, both locally and statewide, they will help the creative enterprises here to flourish and to be an asset to our town. Having a thriving creative economy is one of the ways we make a community as attractive as possible. A town with a healthy creative community is likely to also have good schools and profitable businesses. Realtors report that their buyers are drawn to communities that have these features. People want to live in such towns. As the arts community grows, tourists are attracted to these towns and come to visit. A creative town also draws in people from surrounding communities. The town becomes a destination.

Many of the economic benefits of the creative economy are quantifiable. We can measure them and print out reports, but there are other benefits that are not so easily measurable. What can we look for? There may be a group of elders who make art together and as a result feel connected and energized. There could be a business that gives a new look to its façade and makes the downtown more attractive and lively looking. A new sculpture installed in the town may provoke opinions and conversation and a desire to take a closer look. Signs that educate about the history of the town and link with a walking pathway enhance the sense of place. Children in an arts-focused class gain confidence in their own ideas and creative ability in a place that is safe for their explorations. People who gather for a regular book club discuss ideas and feel connected to each other and to the town. An exhibit of poetry written by a local group of poets graces a wall of the post office. People come in to pick up their mail and then stop to read a poem or two. The town gets a new logo emblem, designed by a local artist. We see it on the town website, town trucks and t-shirts worn by town workers. All of these, and more, give the impression that things are happening here, that people care about their town, and that people are engaged with the life of the town. All of these make the town inviting and indicate a high quality of life.

Judith is a sculptor who maintains her studio in Morrisville. She was a member of the founding board of River Arts and continues to support River Arts programs. www.judithwrend.com

Tricia Follert is the Community Development Coordinator for the Town of Morristown, where she coordinates and implements activities for the town. She currently sits on three local boards, River Arts, Lamoille County Planning Commission and the Morristown Alliance for Commerce and Culture, and works closely with many local nonprofits on community projects. She is also actively involved in the community gardens, the rail trail and the arts.

Sound Advice and Sun Safety

By: Valerie Valcour

How often do you think about your ears? Do you protect your ears from the sun and loud noises? If you do, good for you! I’ve become increasingly aware of my ears after attending a local Farm Health and Safety training sponsored by the Vermont Farm & Safety Task Force.

Regarding hearing loss, the Farm Health and Safety training emphasized that hearing loss is preventable. I did not realize that being exposed to noises above 85 decibels such as noise from a lawnmower, shop tools or a chain saw for more than 2 minutes can cause permanent hearing loss. Check out these fact sheets for more information about protecting your ears:

Sun safety is another way to protect your ears. I am getting better at putting on sunscreen before going outside, but I still have to remind myself to apply it to my earlobes! According to the Vermont Department of Health Cancer Control Program, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and Vermont. Melanoma is the least common, but most serious, form of skin cancer. Vermont has one of the highest rates of melanoma incidence in the United States. Most cases of skin cancer are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Sunburns, especially during childhood, significantly increases an individual’s melanoma risk. It’s important to use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, even in the winter – and don’t forget your earlobes. Here are more Sun Safety Tips to keep you and your family safe from sunburns.

For more information about health promotion and disease prevention visit the Office of Local Health, Morrisville District website.

Valerie Valcour is a nurse and serves as District Director for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

A Walkable Village and Morrisville Complete Streets

By: Josh Goldstein

Josh Goldstein stands tall amongst the next generation of developers in Morrisville. He cares deeply about creating a sense of place in our community, and recently donated all the pavers and his time for the install for the new front patio of the Morrisville Food Co-op on Pleasant Street. Recently, Josh has focused his time on improving both the physical appearance and the functionality of downtown Morrisville – especially for pedestrians. As you will see in Josh’s below column, if we start to remake downtown Morrisville for pedestrians, more walkers and bikers will be able to take advantage of this infrastructure. And for me, the more people we have on our streets, the healthier our downtown (and its residents) will be. I hope you enjoy Josh’s perspective on our downtown as much as I do. Thank you and happy reading.

– Todd Thomas

After an entire generation of designing streets and roads around the car, truck, and snowplow, American cities from coast to coast are re-investing in and re-examining the use of streets and sidewalks. Bigger cities like Seattle, San Francisco Austin, Chicago, New York, and Miami have all adopted progressive policies toward multi-use streets by implementing dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic-calming implements such as raised/textured crosswalks, and green space “bumpouts.” There is also more public seating, pocket parks or “parklets’” and increased greening with urban trees and other landscaping. Scores of articles and research papers point out the socioeconomic benefits of better designed streetscapes and offer empirical evidence that shows how these re-designed or re-purposed streets are providing better health (both mental and physical), greater tax revenues through increased retail sales, less pollution, fewer traffic incidents and injuries, and other valuable civic benefits. These improvements have been studied  and well documented, and finding the results is as easy as a Google search. But less publicized efforts and results exist right here in Vermont.

Cities like St. Albans and Barre, and of course the Queen City of Burlington, are easy examples with a walk down their recently improved streets and sidewalks. New decorative light posts, brick pavers, granite curbing, and tree grates welcome pedestrians with aesthetically pleasing and safe walking zones.  Stores, cafes, restaurants, and other retail establishments are moving in and thriving in these new, vibrant streets.  Children and seniors are crossing the streets more safely. Bicyclists are coming in from outer regions of the city and have ample space to ride, or to park and lock a bike. These Vermont cities were, as little as a decade ago, facing high vacancy rates and depleted downtowns, and now look like bustling economic and community engines. And with recent projects like the Route 100 Truck Route and other community improvements, like the “Chair-art-able Project” and growing music series at the Oxbow, it’s high-time Morrisville re-thinks our downtown with an attitude toward “Living Streets” and greater connectivity.

The European woonerf (pronounced VONE-erf), Dutch for “living street,” functions without traffic lights, stop signs, lane dividers or sidewalks. Indeed, the goal is to encourage human interaction. Those who use the space are forced to be aware of others around them, make eye contact and engage in personal interactions. These spaces invite pedestrians, bicyclists, slow moving vehicles, playing children, peddling vendors, and just about any community member to pass through, stay and linger, or play and be active. It’s a beacon for life in the village, and more than 6,000 woonerfs exist in the Netherlands, alone, and thousands more across Europe and United States. Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace is our best local example, but the brick paved streets of Portland, ME or crowded Commercial Street in Provincetown, MA are familiar to New Englanders, as well. Couldn’t we create such a space near Pleasant Street, or in an oft-forgotten quad like the Brigham St. parking lot?

Walkability in the streets comes with measurable results. The Journal of the American Planning Association notes that just a 5 % increase in walkability is associated with “a 32.1% per capita increase in time spent in physically active travel, a .23-point reduction in body mass index, 6.5% fewer vehicle miles traveled, 5.6% fewer grams of NOx emitted, and 5.5% fewer grams of volatile organic compounds emitted.” The Landscape Architecture Foundation found that “an increase of walking for errands amounted to 70 more minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week.” In one Colorado case study, a newly improved streetscape lowered vacancy rates from over 13% to 7.2% over three years, and increased tax revenues over 16% in one year after construction, doubling the typical rates for all of metro-Denver. Morrisville counted 860 homes in the village in a recent census, with over 25% of those homes having children. Nearby, within walking distance, are The Manor, Copley Hospital, and other senior service centers. Surely our children and seniors would benefit from more pedestrian activities in and around town.  The AARP has been promoting “Complete Streets” for decades, supporting research and guides for implementation.  And, likewise, our retail and restaurants would benefit from more pedestrians on the sidewalks and streets.

With the upcoming addition of Morrisville’s first co-op and downtown grocery store since 1890, the village should piggyback off what is sure to be an exciting and vibrant addition by increasing the walkability and connectivity to a re-born Portland Street.  A vivid, colorful pedestrian mall or mixed-use plaza from the new MoCo on Pleasant Street would create just such an avenue, and could boast rich vegetation, interesting and functional paving patterns, public seating and shelter, and maybe some kiosks or carts selling local wares and crafts.  The plaza would encourage more commercial business activity and fill long-vacant storefronts on Portland Street, perhaps fostering growth to Hutchins or Brigham Street.  A pocket park, or parklet, would encourage community members to “linger” in town a little longer, and life brings life. More people equals more people. We should re-open dialogues about connecting downtown with the also-emerging commercial side of town, or “Morrisville-North,” with a walkable/bikeable recreation path that could follow the river through and over the Oxbow, or over to Clark Park.

The community should come together and voice preferences on these aspects, much like a well-attended Charrette between local planners, architects, community members, and businesses did in 1999. This local study and open-forum of ideas labeled many concepts we still hear milling about in Morrisville almost two decades later. The study is available at the town offices, and is still very relevant today.  Let’s re-open the conversation and capture the excitement of a burgeoning downtown to create a better downtown. To make it happen, though, will require holistic involvement from the people who will use it. In a quote about the lessons of promoting pedestrian malls and complete streets, one planner commented “it just can’t be the city. The private businesses, the community, and the public sector all have to strongly support it.”  I’m in.

June is Men’s Health Month

By: Nancy Wagner

Each year in June we celebrate men’s health. Why? Much of the focus is to bring awareness about men’s health to both men and women. Statistics tell us that men have more heart disease and cancer than women and have a shorter life expectancy. Some of this is genetics and lifestyle but some is also awareness, prevention and education. Men, as a group, don’t see their health care provider as often as recommended.

What would happen if men started going to see their provider more regularly and received regular preventative care and education? Perhaps we’d pick up warning signs and diseases earlier to help better prevent and treat them; creating longer lives or at least healthier lives. That’s the goal. So what can be done? Below is a list of suggestions from the CDC:

  1. Get good sleep: Adults need 7-9 hours per night.
  2. Toss out the tobacco: It’s never too late to stop smoking or chewing.
  3. Move more: Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of activity/movement.
  4. Eat healthy: Have a variety of fruits and vegetables daily and limit intakes of salt, sweets, fried foods and processed foods.
  5. Tame stress: while some stress is actually good for us, too much is not. Learn to deal with your stress in healthy ways.
  6. Stay on top of your game:
    1. See your provider regularly so problems are detected early.
    2. Pay attention to signs and symptoms and report them to your provider.
    3. Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI.
    4. Get vaccinated.

Men’s health is a family affair as it also impacts mothers, daughters and sisters.

More information can be found at:



Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital. She provides health and wellness to Copley employees through screenings, education and fun activities; educates patients regarding their nutrition and diabetes needs; and works with community members providing education to schools and businesses. Nancy enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases.

Summer Meals for Kids and Teens

Summer meals for kids and teens


Looking to stretch your food budget, try new foods and support local farmers? This summer, 3SquaresVT will provide free meals to children 18 and under; no registration, no application, no reservation required. In fact, many who apply are surprised they qualify. Below is a list of local meal sites in our community.

If you need a different location, call 2-1-1 toll free or text “FOOD” to 877-877 to find drop-in summer meal sites anywhere in Vermont.

The 3SquaresVT program helps Vermonters stretch their food budgets and put three meals a day on their tables. 3SquaresVT is for everyone who qualifies, including individuals, families, seniors, and people with disabilities. Receiving a 3SquaresVT benefit this summer means automatic free school breakfast and lunch for your kids in the fall.

3SquaresVT is a federal USDA program administered in Vermont by the Department for Children and Families, Economic Services Division that helps put healthy food within reach. Visit www.vermontfoodhelp.com to learn more and get an application,  or call 1-800-479-6151 for assistance.