Author - Live Well Lamoille

Biking For Everyone
Expect Some Pain
Walkable Communitites
Morristown Community Gardens
National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day
The Importance of Early Childhood
Move of the Month: The Bridge
Angels Among Us
Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center
Rorie Dunphey, Family Practice Associates – Cambridge

Biking For Everyone

By: Caleb Magoon

mountain bike

Biking should be a fun, healthy activity that anyone can do, right? Well, it is…but there are limitations. Whether you like to mountain bike, road bike or just cruise around with the kids, riding can be intimidating. Finding safe and accessible terrain can be a challenge for the young, old and novices. Our paved roads are crowded and often quite hilly. Our mountain bike trails are second to none, though they are mostly intermediate or expert level with very few true beginner trails. Although our assets for biking around Lamoille County are great, we’ve historically had limited options for people who aren’t hard-core enthusiasts.

I am happy to say that this is changing. Clubs and organizations have recognized the need for terrain, trails and pathways more suitable for the young, old, novices, and first timers. One huge development will be the completion of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. I don’t know of any other surface in the state that is equal in length, flat, and free of motorized traffic.

Such a project represents the democratization of biking. It will be a place where anyone can ride comfortably, easily, and safely. Whether you ride for fun, exercise, commuting, or all three, LVRT will open up a lot of terrain for use during all four seasons. It will also connect our communities in a new way, linking together many existing recreation assets.

Another new development is the new mountain bike trails being built on Cricket Hill in Hyde Park. Cricket Hill has been a fantastic free community resource for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking for over a decade. Now they’re poised to add mountain biking to the repertoire. Mello Velo is one of the newest mountain bike clubs to spring out of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association. For their first project, Mellow Velo wanted to focus on trails for novice riders. Cricket Hill was a great location already possessing parking, a trailhead and some double track trails. The group wrote a state recreation trails grant for $30,000 to make the project happen. These trails will be fun for anyone, but will be especially great for kids and adults new to the sport. Completion is expected this summer.

Creating recreation for “non-expert” riders can sometimes be challenging since novices don’t always speak out or advocate as strongly as sports enthusiasts. But as these biking assets have become available, I have realized the importance of providing biking to all. I’ve heard countless stories of kids finding their first groove on a mountain bike or older folks getting back into riding late in life because they have a safe place to do it. Providing resources to everyone is an important part of growing any sport. It’s good to see things moving in that direction for the health and benefit of Lamoille County residents.

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.

Expect Some Pain

By: Leah Hollenberger

I recently listened to an interview on NPR about how doctors are wrestling with helping their patients who are in pain without contributing to the growing levels of opioid-addiction.

pain medicineIt was interesting because they spoke with a physician from Massachusetts who commented that he has changed how he prescribes pain medication. It’s now understood that even a short course of opioids (morphine or Dilaudid for example) for a few days can put some patients at risk for developing drug abuse. Now he tends to try NSAIDs first – ibuprofen or Toradol – and has found them to often be effective for his patients.

The interview finished with him saying “a little pain is going to be necessary,” which the radio host then rephrased as “pain is a part of healing.”

It made me think of Copley’s total joint replacement surgery program, during which it is clearly explained that day two and day three post surgery will be the toughest days. Where each patient signs a narcotic contract that clearly spells out when and how clinicians will prescribe along with when they will not. That, while clinicians will try as much as they can, there will be pain and the goal is to keep each patient’s pain managed in the 1-3 level on a scale of 1-10. So, yes, in this case, pain is part of the healing.

However, I think the radio host did a dis-service by continuing the misconception that everything can be healed, that everyone can be pain free. Certainly, that is true much of the time, but not all of the time. And the truth is, if we as a society are going to really reduce opioid-drug addiction, we are going to have to stop believing that a pill is going to be able to solve everything. We are going to have to expect some pain.

So where does that leave us? As a patient what is our responsibility in managing our pain?
Copley encourages you to:

  • Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management
  • Discuss pain relief options with your doctors and nurses
  • Work with your doctor and nurse to develop a pain management plan
  • Ask for pain relief when pain first begins
  • Help your doctor and nurse assess your pain
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if your pain is not relieved, and
  • Tell your doctor or nurse about any worries you have about taking pain medication

Every clinician wants you to be pain-free, but they cannot guarantee it. Accepting that, expecting a little pain, may help you experience a better outcome in the long run.

Walkable Communitites

By: Valerie Valcour

Is your neighborhood or community walkable? What does walkable mean, anyway? Walkable or wheelchair roll-able means that anyone of any ability can get around by walking or using their wheelchair. Getting around can mean getting to a grocery store or the post office, or being able to exercise and have fun. Did you know that the average person who lives in a walkable community can weigh 6-10 pounds less? You can check your community’s Walk Score here.

walkable community

If your community is walkable and you feel safe walking or wheelchair rolling, here are a few helpful tips to get started on your journey:

  • Set a realistic goal for yourself.
  • Take a look around you and figure out what you can do every day to add more walking or wheelchair rolling to your routine.
  • Track your progress and celebrate your success!

Find more health tips by going to the Health Department’s mymoment web page. You can also check out Copley’s Wellness Resources here.

Some communities do not have sidewalks, or there may be safety concerns. There are ways you can get involved to make your community more walkable and wheelchair roll-able. You can reach out to your Town Clerk and ask about your town’s plan regarding walking, biking and recreation. You can start a conversation by asking your town to conduct a walking audit. Walkable communities are not just healthy, they are also attractive and fun. The Vermont Department of Health’s Active Living guide can give you some ideas to help make your community more walkable.

Live well! Promote walking and walkable communities for all ages and abilities. Learn how by visiting .

Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level 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.


Morristown Community Gardens

By: Tricia Follert


It’s that time of year again that many of you who live in Northern Vermont dream about all winter: springtime. The trees are starting to blossom, the garlic is showing its scapes, the robins are singing, and it’s time to think about gardening.

Morristown community gardens are located at Oxbow Riverfront Park and there are lots of good organic plots available, large and small. Are you interested in having a plot of your own? We’d love to have you! Please contact Jake Rehm at

Don’t worry if you’re not able to crawl around the ground, planting gorgeous little seedlings and then weeding them all summer. We also have 13 raised bed boxes available! Contact Kylie Brown at or call 888-3252 and she’ll set you up with one of the raised beds.

There is no better way to spend the great summer months than enjoying your own little garden plot at the park and then heading home with your bounty. Gardening can help you stay active and can also feed your soul. So ride your bike or stroll down to the park and enjoy one of the many our wonderful assets, the community gardens.

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.

National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day

By: Nancy Wagner

Many of us are affected by diabetes or know someone who is. In fact, experts say that diabetes is now an epidemic. But there’s good news: Type 2 diabetes can be managed and even prevented with a more active lifestyle! To help raise awareness of this connection, the American Diabetes Association is sponsoring National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

National Get Fit Don't Sit Day

Sitting for too long is harmful to our health. Getting up at least every 90 minutes to stretch, walk around the office or do some simple exercises can go a long way in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. I encourage you to visit the American Diabetes Association’s website for a list of moves you can do at your desk or try some of the following ideas:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Take the long way to the bathroom or the mail room
  • Park farther away from the building
  • If you go out to lunch, walk to the restaurant
  • Get up and stretch at your desk

Here at Copley Hospital we are challenging our employees to first fill up the parking lot that is farthest away from the hospital. We’ll have some healthy breakfast foods waiting for those that do! And they’ll be entered into a “Get Fit Basket” raffle. We’ll also tour the hospital throughout the day handing out raffle tickets to those we see taking a fitness break.

Happy National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!

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.

The Importance of Early Childhood

By: Steve Ames

While running River Arts in 2007 – and in the middle of the renovation of the Lamoille Grange – now the River Arts Center – I had a chance to visit the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor. The jail has a maximum-security section and a section for inmates with mental health issues. It was a profound day – I wish we all had a chance to do that. Then a couple weeks later, I heard Howard Dean talk about working early childhood educationwith pregnant and mothering teens in Harlem. It was like a light bulb moment for me as I realized that early childhood is the time to make progress in so many issues in our communities. It was after these experiences that I began to move River Arts programming more towards young kids, and with Kati Furs, started Open Gym and My First Camp…

Since then it has only become more clear how critical the first few years of our lives are in determining our health and well being for the rest of our lives. In fact, in the first three years of our lives, 80% of our brain development takes place. 700 synapses are created every second in a two year old! WOW. And the most significant way to foster great brain development in babies is for them to have stable positive relationships with the adults in their lives.

So I’m delighted these days to be working with Building Bright Futures and working with early childhood issues in the Lamoille Valley area and across the State – even a little at the national level. And, I’m looking forward to sharing our work with our community on this blog.

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.

Move of the Month: The Bridge

Copley Hospital’s certified athletic trainer, Vin Faraci, demonstrates a great exercise to strengthen your glutes, thighs and abs. It is also great for your lower back and strengthening your core overall.

What are some of your favorite strengthening exercises?

Angels Among Us

By: Mary L. Collins

Angels Among Us

There’s nothing funny about thinking you may possibly be dying.

I am not a religious person, so don’t let the title of this blog fool you. I am, however, aware of things that may have special, even universal meaning; and so, let me tell you the story of waking up to an angel.

When I was 24, I was in a terrible car accident. Note to self: cute sports cars are no match for a massive SUV on icy roads. Let’s just say, if not for a seat belt, a more-than-healthy dose of luck, and a split second’s difference in where my head landed upon impact of one vehicle with another, I’d probably not be here. But my story isn’t about my accident; it’s about the relationship healthcare providers have with the person they care for after that person has suffered some kind of trauma.

Now, back to my story, my tangled car, and the gargantuan SUV that just hit me head on. Did you know that shock and trauma often catapult a person into another consciousness that is hard to explain unless you have also experienced it? I was completely unable to speak, and kind of, shall we say, “drifty”. I can recall being cold, bleeding, having trouble breathing (busted ribs) and knowing that my life was in someone else’s hands. Thankfully, I didn’t have to talk at all and was whisked off to my local hospital courtesy of the town’s volunteer EMT crew.

Upon arrival at the emergency room, I remember being surrounded by a team of doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians – you name the position, there was probably someone on the trauma team waiting to greet and care for me. However, shock really can do a number on a person. It particularly messes up one’s ability to communicate. I recall fading in and out of consciousness. I knew I was in the best possible hands. What was missing, however, was the one thing that surgery could not repair; and that was to help make a connection between my confused, semi-conscious self and someone who could tell me that I was going to be okay. All the while that doctors hovered over me assessing my external and possible internal injuries, no one talked with me. Admittedly, the ER staff had other, critical concerns to deal with. I wasn’t being ignored. Quite the contrary. There was a huge outpouring of expert medical care. Yet, during my few moments of clarity, I was desperately wondering if I was going to live or die. That level of panic made me feel strangely invisible to everyone. And, due to my traumatized state, I was not able to ask the question.

Soon thereafter, I was stabilized, wheeled out of the Emergency Room, onto an elevator, and in to surgery. “Was this it?” I thought. “Is this how life ends for me?” Dang! This wasn’t my plan at ALL!

Fast forward to the recovery room some hours later.

Groggily, I woke to soft beeping noises, low lights, a warm room and a comfortable bed. “So this is heaven?” I thought. Geez, is THIS a disappointment, or what?! You have to understand, the brain has a way of making sense of the most unbelievable things. I was sure I had died. And this was my reward: the deck of the Starship Enterprise.

And that’s when the angel appeared.

He arrived at my bedside, and whispered gently into my ear, “Mary, you are in recovery. You’re just waking up. You’re hooked to a few monitors, but you’ll be okay.”

Mind you, all this time I was convinced I had died. And so, my first thought was, “Seriously, THIS is heaven?” And this voice I was hearing, is the intake coordinator. Then he spoke again in that hushed, reassuring tone, “My name is Steve. You’ve been in an accident. I’ll be taking care of you.”

That’s it. Three sentences that sounded like a prayer. And an angel named “Steve”.

And then I realized, I hadn’t died at all. Steve was a nurse and I was in the post-operative recovery suite. That was my miracle. I had been alerted to where I was. It felt like a second chance at life – even though I was never in jeopardy of going anywhere. I was forever grateful.

What’s the lesson?

It’s this: When a person is injured or has fallen ill and is in need of medical care, it is not only important to care for the body, but to recognize that the mind and spirit of the person is very likely active and present. How you engage with that person can make all the difference in their recovery. Anyone can do this. No medical training is necessary. To say, “I’m right here by your side,” to a loved one who is in the emergency room; or, “You’ve got the very best care. Everything will be okay,” while a person you know is waiting for a prognosis, can make a huge difference in their sense of wellbeing – no matter what the outcome.

At the time of my accident I had never experienced real trauma. Afterward, I’ve made it a point to always be, whenever possible, the reassuring voice for someone at a time of need. Whether or not that person can communicate, in words, back to me or you, doesn’t matter. Just imagine what it is they NEED to hear and speak to it. “You’ll be okay.” “I’m right here with you.” “My name is Steve….I’ll be taking care of you.”

This is what our staff at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice does every day. Whether it is a nurse, a therapist, a personal care attendant or a homemaker; we let our patients know, “I’m right here with you. You’ll be okay.”

Words of an angel, indeed.

Mary L. Collins is the Marketing Director at Lamoille Home Health & Hospice. A 2014 Home Care Elite Top Agency, LHH&H is one of eleven VNAs of Vermont home health and hospice agencies serving Vermont. She also serves as Marketing Director at The Manor, a 4 star nursing home and short term rehabilitation facility in Morrisville, VT, and she chairs the Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 

Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

Scott JohnsonScott 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.

Rorie Dunphey, Family Practice Associates – Cambridge

Rorie DunpheyRorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.