Vermont-based winemaker talks expansion and the effects of the tariff war. B4
Assistive technology at Castleton University is helping people with severe speech impediments communicate for the first time. C1
The Messiah — originally written by composer Handel for an Easter oratorio, has become a welcome staple of the Christmas season, our critic writes. D1
Street Talk visits the Super Galactic Toy Drop and Costume Extravaganza at Rutland Intermediate School to hobnob with famous superheroes who show up to promote donations of toys and cash for Rutland County kids. A5
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked President Donald Trump on Friday to say whether he’ll send his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings before the panel.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler also is asking Republicans on his committee which witnesses they plan to ask permission to subpoena.
Two weeks of Intelligence Committee hearings produced a mountain of testimony but didn’t seem to move the needle on Capitol Hill, where not a single House Republican supported establishing the chamber’s impeachment process.
Nadler instructed Trump and top panel Republican Doug Collins of Georgia to respond by the end of next week. The Judiciary Committee meets Wednesday in an informational hearing to examine the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment” and could move some time after that to hearings where witnesses testify about Trump’s actions with Ukraine.
Trump has labeled the proceeding by House Democrats a sham, in part because he could not have his lawyers cross-examine intelligence committee witnesses during hearings and depositions.
The intelligence panel is slated to issue a report of its findings next week that are intended to form the basis of hearings at the Judiciary Committee, which would be responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment for a vote by the full House.
The panel can also seek further testimony. Nadler can deny witnesses sought by Republicans, who are likely to want subpoenas compelling testimony from Hunter Biden and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment proceedings.
At issue in the impeachment probe is whether Trump abused his office by pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens and baseless allegations that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election.
Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, had some responsibility for the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
Earlier scrutiny by Ukrainians uncovered no wrongdoing by the Bidens, but Trump, in July, asked Zelenskiy for an investigation as a “favor,” while holding up military aid to that country for several months.
TROY — Carolyn Buttolph likes to makes things people can use.
She hooks rugs, everything from pot holders to large rugs, and leads a class on rug hooking at the Vermont Quilters’ Schoolhouse in Troy.
When she’s hooking a rug, she’s not thinking necessarily that “I am making an heirloom that the kids will fight over.”
“When you get to the end, you have made something. When you are finished, it is no longer a pound of wool cut into strips.”
Buttolph, of Morrisville, braved Wednesday morning’s freezing fog to share her love of hooking rugs, the techniques and the tips, at the class, or rather what she calls a sewing circle, at the schoolhouse craft room and store owned by Tina de la Bruere.
Rug hooking is a traditional way that old-timers turned scraps of wool — often from discarded clothing made at the many small mills across New England and southeastern Canada — into something new and useful.
They cut wool into narrow strips, from one eighth of an inch to a quarter or more width, and used hand hooks sized to match the wool to pull the strips through wide-weave linen bound to frames or hoops.
The linen type, from primitive to “monk,” varies in the weave opening, which determines the width of the strips of wool.
The art comes in the pattern and the color and nature of the wool.
Buttolph’s satisfaction with rug hooking comes from “the loose way I choose my colors.”
She enjoys an abstract style, where she has a “sort of love relationship with the colors” of the wool.
“Ooo, I like that,” she says, choosing how to blend colors for the design on the fly.
Robin Wright, of Eden, a relative newcomer to rug hooking, brought in her first small hooked rug to show and a new rug to work on.
She bought a pattern featuring mountains, trees and sky, but had to choose her own colors — a challenge for a first-timer. Buttolph loved what Wright did with it and offered some history about hooking rugs in Newfoundland about Wright’s preferred method of hooking the wool loops on a horizontal line.
Today, rug hookers can buy wool and dye it to suit their patterns. Or they can go old-timey and collect wool scraps from old clothing and materials.
Wool must be cut carefully to avoid fraying and damaging the strips. The size of the piece determines whether a lap frame or a floor frame is needed.
Once the piece is finished, Buttolph showed the different ways that the linen is bound off and the piece completed with a border and then pressed.
Buttolph urges rug hookers to use 100% wool because it is very forgiving and does not stain if cleaned properly.
Cleaning a hooked rug can be easy if it’s all wool, Buttolph says. They were made to last.
Don’t put in washing machine. Do not dry clean.
“Do it the same way your great-grandmother would have done it: Throw it out in the snow and cover it up.”
But don’t use wet snow, Buttolph said, it has too much water content.
And don’t throw out a rug from a warm room, because the snow will melt, she added.
The snow lifts the dirt and refreshes the wool, she says.
“People probably put their old suits out there,” she said.
Old hooked rugs were woven tight, so none of the linen showed on the back side, Buttolph said. The little gaps are called “vacations,” and are OK for most works but not for usable rugs because that’s where the rugs will show damage first.
Hooking rugs is one of many crafts that crafty people enjoy. Some do many different crafts, knitting for relaxing evenings, rug hooking on long afternoons.
Some rug hookers use multi-media to create three-dimensional art works to display. Buttolph urges anyone interested in the history of run hooking to check out “American Hooked and Sewn Rugs: Folk Art Underfoot,” by Joel and Kate Kopp. It details the history and evolution of the craft and shows some of the famous pieces over the years.
She encourages people to try rug hooking or any other craft that they think they would like.
“It’s addictive, it’s fulfilling, it’s reinforcing.”
When the 108th Basic Recruit Class graduated from the Vermont Police Academy, the members quietly made history.
There were a number of female recruits who graduated to go on to positions in various departments in the state, but the Vermont State Police graduated 10 recruits in that class. For the State Police, it was the first time there were more female graduates than male.
One of the Nov. 22 graduates who is becoming a trooper, Isabella Corrao, said she has been an athlete her whole life. She said the structure and teamwork involved in public service was something she hoped to make a part of her career.
“I have two friends that live here in Vermont. I love to hike, I love to be outside, and Vermont’s a beautiful state, so I went for it and decided to choose the Vermont State Police,” said Corrao, who is originally from Long Island, New York.
While they didn’t know the high numbers of female recruits, 11 overall in the class, the women in the class soon found the value.
“Having each other and able to rely on each other and work together as one female force was definitely beneficial. It’s nice to have a camaraderie and have each other’s backs,” said Corrao, who will be assigned to the Westminster barracks.
The female recruits made their mark. Trooper Audrey Currier was the class president for the basic recruits and Trooper Marina Pacilio won the class award for being Most Physically Fit.
Increasing diversity among the ranks of the VSP has been a “huge goal of ours for many years,” said Lt. Steven Coote, commander of the office of professional development for the VSP.
“I’ve been in this position now, as the director of recruiting and training for about two years now, and I can tell you that is one of my missions, as the commander here, to increase diversity not only female troopers but troopers of color and just diverse backgrounds because it makes us a stronger unit,” he said.
Coote said having six new female troopers join the state police is a “huge step forward.”
“Generally, this is a pretty male-dominated profession nationally. The Vermont State Police has made some pretty good strides for years,” he said.
Adam Silverman, a spokesman for the statewide police agency, said 60% is the highest percentage of a particular class of graduates for the Vermont State Police who were women. Six is also the VSP’s largest number in one class, although Silverman said there had been a number of occasions when five female recruits graduated.
“With this graduating class, we currently have 41 female troopers out of 315 sworn personnel — for a total of about 13%. That’s among the highest, if not the highest, percentage for state police agencies in New England. It’s also the highest number of female troopers VSP has had at any point, best as we can tell,” Silverman said.
Coote said he likes to think some of the advances in making the VSP more diverse comes from active efforts by the department and not just changing culture.
“We’re actively recruiting women. We’re using female recruiters. We’re using partnerships with (the New England State Police Administrators Conference.) … I think social media is a big deal for us. I think we’ve done a pretty good job with our social media page which reaches a lot of different people. The old adage is, ‘You cast a wide net, and you’re going to get a pretty good return,’” Coote said.
The social media outreach has helped spread the word that police work is not what people always expect.
Corrao said when she signed up, she didn’t know how much diversity there would be in her basic recruit class. But the class members learned pretty early on theirs would be the first class to have more female recruits than male.
“It was just proof that the Vermont State Police and law enforcement in general is really trying to diversify their units,” she said.
Corrao said she felt a sense of pride because she didn’t believe the VSP was choosing recruits based on gender but choosing the best candidates they had available for each class.
“That was really nice because with law-enforcement being so male dominant, it solidifies that females are in fact being considered, and we can do the job, just like everybody else,” she said.
Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said the addition of Avery Schneider will bring the number of female officers serving the city force to three after three female officers left the department this year.
Diversifying the department has advantages, Kilcullen said.
“It allows us to provide services we otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide. (Female officers) bring experiences that half the population may have experienced,” he said.
Schneider is an “incredibly mature and passionate individual, and I think she’s a great fit for the department,” Kilcullen said.
“We expect a lot from her, and I think she won’t disappoint us,” he said.
Corrao said what she most looks forward to about being a trooper, although she said she knew it was a cliché, was helping people.
A powerful storm making its way east from California is causing major disruptions during the year’s busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions of people across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving.
The storm caused the death of at least one person in South Dakota and shut down highways in the western U.S., stranding drivers in California and prompting authorities in Arizona to plead with travelers to wait out the weather before attempting to travel.
The storm was expected to track east through the weekend — into the Plains on Friday, the Midwest by Saturday and the Northeast on Sunday — pummeling a huge portion of the country with snow, ice or flash flooding.
The National Weather Service said travel could become impossible in some places, although the Burlington station predicted the storm would mostly bypass Vermont, with only the state’s southernmost counties affected by moderate snow late Sunday night into Monday, while the rest of the state was forecast to get light snow or flurries.
Nationally, the weather could be particularly disruptive on Sunday, when millions of holiday travelers head home. Airlines for America, the airline industry’s trade group, expects 3.1 million passengers during what could be the busiest day ever recorded for American air travel.
The weather service issued storm warnings Friday for a swath of the country stretching from Montana to Nebraska to Wisconsin, with heavy snow anticipated in parts of Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.
Strong winds gusting to 90 mph were possible in mountains and foothills, and could reach 65 mph in the Plains, creating poor visibility.
One hopeful traveler asked the weather service Friday on Twitter whether it would be advisable to drive to Duluth, Minnesota, over the weekend. The agency warned: “If you are in Duluth by tonight, you will likely be stuck there until at least Sunday afternoon due to heavy snow and blizzard conditions.”
Northern Michigan University reopened its residence halls, two days earlier than normal for a Thanksgiving weekend, to give students more options as forecasters predicted a foot or more of snow.
“We want to make people aware of what they could be driving into,” campus police Chief Mike Bath said.
The airline industry group estimated a record 31.6 million people will travel over a 12-day holiday period. Airlines on Friday said they were so far operating as usual as they monitored the weather.
Delta said inclement weather could disrupt travel at airports in the upper Midwest on Saturday and the Northeast on Sunday and Monday. It offered to let customers reschedule or cancel flights. American Airlines issued similar waivers for Rapid City, South Dakota.
Sections of South Dakota were under a blizzard warning and could see howling winds and as much as 2 feet of snow.
Authorities reported a fatal crash after a driver lost control of his pickup on an ice-covered road. A 37-year-old passenger died after the truck slid into a ditch and rolled. The driver and one other passenger survived.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol posted a photo on Facebook of another crash — a semi-truck that veered from Interstate 90 near Rapid City. “Do not travel if you don’t have to!” the agency wrote.
Karlee Wilkinson, a 22-year-old college student in Long Beach, California, missed a Thanksgiving weekend gathering entirely because of snow on the way to her destination.
She, her girlfriend and her roommate left Thursday for what was supposed to be a two-hour drive. But the snow started falling in flakes bigger than she’d ever seen, the highway became gridlocked, and their car kept overheating.
At first it seemed like an adventure: They made snowmen in the highway median. But when the sun set, the temperature dropped, and they decided to turn around and head home. Their Thanksgiving dinner was chicken nuggets from a fast-food drive-thru.
“This is not how this is supposed to go, this is not what an American Thanksgiving is supposed to be,” Wilkinson said. “It can only get better than this. I’ll never have a worse Thanksgiving, knock on wood.”