Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Maggie Hunter Named VPT Grants Director

Maggie Hunter has been named grants and foundation support director at Vermont Public Television.  She is responsible for seeking and administering funds from foundations and government agencies to support VPT’s local productions and community activities.

Hunter joined VPT in 2006 as major events and corporate support assistant.

Since 2006, she has also been an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College, teaching art history and religion.  She has been an art buyer for McGraw-Hill publishing, a fashion designer and illustrator, and a graphic designer.

Hunter has a bachelor’s degree in multimedia and graphic design from Champlain College and a master’s degree in religious art from Union Institute and University/Vermont College.  She will be awarded a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies, humanities and culture, from Union Institute and University in spring 2013.  She lives in Essex Jct., Vt.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Great Experience inspired by Downton Abbey

After months of planning and anticipation, Saturday, January 5, 2013 arrived for the premiere screening of Episode 1 of Season 3 of Downton Abbey. The doors at the Essex Cinema were going to open at 2 for the reception leading up to the screening at 3:30. The doors opened up much earlier as Downton Abbey fans began to arrive around 1:15. And what fans they were! People dressed in authentic costumes arriving with energy and excitement. Watching the crowd, all that was missing was that people didn't arrive in horse-drawn carriages and classic cars.

At 3:30, Hugh Bonneville appeared on the 60-foot screen, welcoming everyone to the screening. Then, the familiar music swelled, the crowd applauded, and the show began. And what fun! Watching Downton Abbey with nearly 400 fellow fans is an experience in itself. Booing when Thomas appeared, cheering for Bates to be freed, and not a dry eye in the house when Lady Mary walks down the stairs in her wedding gown with proud father Lord Grantham and Carson looking on!

Then the lights came up - and off to the Essex Resort and Spa for an amazing evening of food, champagne, costume contests, photos, and etiquette lessons. People dressed in "upstairs" and "downstairs" attire, mingling and enjoying the wonderful event as the Resort was set up to transport you back in time to the Roaring 20s! And after a long evening of merriment, the following morning people were up early attending seminars on cooking, fashion of the day, and whiskey tasting. Then off to an amazing brunch where the winners of the costume judging were announced. Then suddenly, and sadly, the wonderful two days were over, with many walking away asking "same time next year?"

See more photos from this fun-filled event on Facebook.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Suicide in Vermont

To its pride, Vermont rates higher than most other states when it comes to health, safety, a clean environment, and good schools. Test scores of Vermont students are among the highest in the country. The crime rate is low, relatively few people lack health insurance. Compared to most other states, the air and water are clean.

But here's a less happy statistic: the suicide rate is high.

According to statistics compiled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2010, the last year for which information is available, 106 Vermonters killed themselves. That's a rate of 16.9 per hundred-thousand people, the 12th highest rate in the country. A study from the Health Department from 1999-2005 cites suicide as the 9th ranking cause of death in the state. Over that period there was an average of 80 suicides a year, or 1.5 every week. Is Vermont doing something wrong?