Back Talk | Back Talk | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published July 24, 2002 at 4:00 a.m.

Is culture catching? Due north of the Williston whale tails, a landlocked salmon is taking shape along the South Hero recreational path. Three sculptors from the United Kingdom are crafting the state’s newest work of public art — a marble “big one” that acknowledges the aqueous origins of the Champlain Valley. The piece is destined for the cut in the railroad causeway that connects Colchester to the Islands. “It will be very dramatic,” says Elaine Sinclair-Fowler, describing the break in the narrow bikeway as “the most beautiful place in the world.” Sinclair-Fowler, who is co-publisher of The Islander weekly, personally financed the project as “a gift to the community.” The public can view the work-in-progress on Saturday at 11 a.m. Temporary ferry service will link the two sides of the strip the third weekend in August. Otherwise, the only way across is a short swim.

hot dog? No canine casualties are noted at Huntington Gorge, but dogs are just as susceptible to slipping into the churning waters. Frankie and Laurie Falese — of Junior’s Restaurant in Colchester — learned that lesson the hard way when their pooch, Hooch, went for a much-too-sudden swim on July 2. “He went over the falls and we lost him in the white water,” says Laurie. “Then we saw him trapped in a whirlpool 50 feet down. Nobody could get down to him, and there was nothing for him to climb up on.” Forty-five dramatic minutes passed as good Samaritans sprang into action. A group of boys lowered a rope to the dog, which he grabbed with his teeth. But it was Rod West — a former rescue-squad worker who now runs a vehicle recovery business — who hauled Hooch out of the hole. He raced home, got his climbing equipment and lowered himself into the whirlpool. “Rod had a harnass, Hooch put his front paws around his neck and everybody started pulling them up out of the water,” Laurie recalls. “By the time we got Hooch collected, everybody had dispersed.” The couple bought an ad in Seven Days trying to locate the rescuers. It worked. On Thursday the Wests are coming to dinner, so the Faleses can return the favor — in food.

dolce vita It would take a lot of gelato to melt the frozen-fat monopoly of Ben & Jerry’s. But Leonardo’s Vermont-made Italian gelato and sorbet is showing up with increasing regularity — and diversity of flavors — in local markets and restaurants. “This is our coming-out summer,” says distributor Michael Lesser. Barre-based Carlo De Prado makes the stuff, just like his father and grandfather before him. De Prado ran a gelateria north of Venice before he came to the U.S. four and a half years ago. There is less air in Italian ice cream, he says, and small batches guarantee freshness. At maximum capacity, De Prado says he can crank out 3000 pints a week. Vive la differenza.

mista vista He may be done running Americorps for George W. Bush, but 32-year-old Hartland resident Matt Dunne left his job to restart a political career in Vermont. He’s running for the Windsor County seat vacated by singing senator Dick McCormack, who, coincidentally, just released three CDs of “Selected Songs.” (Sounds like he had a hard time selecting.) Dunne served for eight years in the Vermont House, where he was a tireless champion of the arts. A cover story in a recent issue of the Brown alumni magazine recalls how he stayed up all night to draft a bill to establish the Vermont Film Commission. He’d been running Americorps Vista for three and half years when he got the call from McCormack. “I hadn’t planned on making any decisions until after the wedding was over,” Dunne says. He tied the knot two weeks ago with Sarah Taylor, a former reporter from the Valley News who just sold her first novel.

mixed media Life is sweet in the U.S. Senate — at least for three lawmakers who received gifts last month from Bob Dole. The New York Post reported the retired presidential hopeful celebrated the sixth anniversary of his retirement by sending Tom Daschle a devil’s-food cake, Trent Lott an angel-food cake and Jim Jeffords a pineapple upside down cake. No mention of free samples of Viagra . . . Vermont Governor Howard Dean may not be a household name yet. But he was in good company with White House adviser Mary Matalin, “Weakest Link” former host Anne Robison and Times columnist Bill Keller in a New Yorker quiz linking celebrities to their comments about George Bush. Dean got credit for “I think it’s appalling that the president of the United States would cut vaccine money for children so he can give a tax break to Ken Lay” . . . The shelves of City Market were the backdrop for a recent Sunday New York Times article about Burlington native and “shopping scholar” James Twitchell. His latest book is a celebration of conspicuous consumption. In Living It Up: Our Love Affair with Luxury, the part-time Charlotter takes an anthropological approach to excess and applauds it. At one point in the story, Twitchell takes a stroll through downtown Burlington, noting how Ann Taylor and Banana Republic have replaced the hardware stores and J.C. Penney. He relays cheerfully, “Church Street once served needs, now it services desires.” Twitchell should venture a few blocks north some day.