Around Town: April 19

Easter Sunday Charlotte VT Rainbow
An Easter Sunday rainbow in Charlotte. Photo by Lee Krohn.

Congratulationsto Tom and Lori Delia, Charlotters, who for 24 years have owned and operated Trattoria Delia Restaurant as well as its neighboring wine bar on lower St. Paul Street in Burlington. Now the Delias are ready to do something else, and they sold the restaurant and Soto Enoteca to Leslie McCrorey Wells and John Rao, owners of Pizzeria Verita, another Italian spot on St. Paul. Wells and Rao will, as a result, become the overseers of what many fondly call “Burlington’s Little Italy.” Housed in an old house under a high-rise set of apartments and condos, Trattoria served a standard Italian cuisine – squid, pasta, cuttlefish, antipastone – items generally quite new to northern Vermont native customers. According to an article in the April 14 Burlington Free Press, the menu came as a result of the Delias’ trips through the Puglia and Milan regions of Italy, as well as Tuscany, for wine ideas. The Delias will stay in Charlotte and kite board.

Congratulations to Ben Hyams of Charlotte, a senior at CVU who was named an “Academic All-Star” by the Burlington Free Press in its April 16 issue. The son of Robert and Krysten Hyams, Ben has earned a National Merit Scholarship and was elected Student Body vice president. He also says that one of his greatest accomplishments is learning to play the bagpipes.

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Christopher Cullen of Charlotte whose son Benjamin Patrick Cullen was born March 11.

Congratulations to Alex Bunten former editor of The Charlotte News who was recently hired by Pale Morning Media, a traditional and digital public relations agency that specializes in the outdoor world.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Roy Whitmore, Jr. of Charlotte who passed away April 2 at the age of 88. Professor Emeritus of Forestry at the University of Vermont, Roy served as department chair for 13 years from the mid-1970s until 1988. After retiring from academia, Roy spent many good hours cooking at the Charlotte Senior Center, canoeing and exploring waterways as well as birding in Northern Vermont. He married his wife, Roberta, in 1987 who survives him. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in Roy’s name to the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue, 170 Ferry Road, Charlotte would be appreciated.

Sympathy is extended to family and friends of Lawrence Halvorson of Charlotte who passed away April 9 at the age of 88. Following a span of living in California where, among other things, he won the state Golden-Glove boxing title at 155 pounds, he and his family moved to Vermont where he bought a small business on Church Street and turned it into Halvorson’s Upstreet Café. His surviving family includes his wife, Jackie, his son Tim and Tim’s wife, Kristin, as well as their children Lawrence, Lucy and Tim, all of Charlotte. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations to Burlington Discover Jazz would be appreciated.

In other news

Greg Pierce looms large in uncle’s eyes
In the April issue of Vanity Fair magazine, the “Proust Questionnaire” features actor David Hyde Pierce. Among the series of questions he was asked was, “Who are your favorite writers?” He proffers some usual names; Shakespeare, Chekhov, Bryan Hargrove and a gang who wrote for his TV show, “Fraiser.” Then, he includes Greg Pierce, a Shelburne native who grew up just across the Charlotte line, attended CVU and moved to New York City where he has become a very productive playwright. Oh yes, he also happens to be David Hyde Pierce’s nephew. His recent play, Slowgirl, inaugurated Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater. He has three additional plays that have played around the world, including The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in Edinburgh and Singapore. The Vermont Stage Company produced The Quarry with music by Randal Pierce, Greg’s younger brother and another CVU grad.

Greg has received a number of prestigious fellowships for his work, and his stories have appeared in numerous magazines.

Speaking at Greg’s commencement at CVU, uncle David began with one of very few memorable lines by a commencement speaker that I can recall. He simply looked the audience straight in the eyes and said, “Watch more television!” (And if you can’t watch more TV, at least stick to “Fraiser.”)

CVU news

A Habitat for Humanity House off Greenbush Road, Charlotte, under construction. Photo by Edd Merritt.

Students raise money to travel to North Carolina to work on affordable houses
For a number of years Habitat for Humanity has been building houses that are affordable to the partners who live in them. Begun in Americus, Georgia, by Millard Fuller, Habitat work in that area and the Carolinas received positive publicity with the active involvement of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn.

This year, as it has in the past several decades, CVU will be sending a group of about 20 students to Winston-Salem during spring break to help with Habitat-Forsyth (a development located just outside of town). The cost per student to make the trip runs at least $850, and a number of the applicants are eager to go but unable to afford the cost. Any donation toward their travel is appreciated. To make it, click on a “GoFundMe” website that will create scholarships for at least five students and will go into this or future years’ Habitat Scholarship Fund. A $150 “participant donation” for each of the 20 students plus the three volunteer chaperones will go directly to Habitat.

Once there, the CVU students will be part of the Habitat Collegiate Challenge Week—the only high school group to participate. They will work with college-age interns and Habitat “partner families,” that is, those families who will live in the houses they build once they have contributed a required “sweat equity” to the construction. The students will also work side-by-side with retired contractors, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and others who contribute their time and energy to make Habitat homes affordable and well-constructed.

Rahn Fleming, who has traveled as chaperone for the last two years, says he has helped build as many as five different houses in newly formed neighborhoods. Helping means doing the full range of building activities from digging out an entire foundation to putting on siding to laying floor and installing cabinets. In more recent years it has included renovation of older dwellings from the ground up to provide a more comfortable home for the people living in them—often elderly and unable to make or pay for the renovation themselves. The students this year will stay in lodging that previous groups of CVUers helped to build.

This will be the first year in over a decade that Activities Director Dan Shepardson will not be making the trip as chief chaperone, handing that title to Rahn and Sarah Cox. He said in talking with student volunteers that their experience on the builds has made him aware of how positively affected they were. For many it was a new experience, a service to needy groups, and the students used it in essays once they returned to CVU as well as on college applications.

One reason that the high school students travel south to do their work is that the threshold age for participation there is 16 rather than 18 as it is in Vermont.

Nonetheless, Green Mountain Habitat is an active organization in this area, with two projects in Charlotte—one on Greenbush Road, the other on Albert’s Way off Spear Street. These particular houses have been praised for their energy efficiency due to extra insulation and solar panels and have won awards for their placement and design.