Need an Ambulance, But Don’t Require a 911 Call?

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Business

Trans-Care opens in Essex, serves entire Valley

Trans-Care Ambulance Service is a new, locally owned “24/7 non-emergent medical transportation service,” in Essex that serves the entire Champlain Valley.

Non-emergent transport is simply a form of medical transportation provided in non-emergency situations to people who require special medical attention. Ambulances or other vehicles are used to get the patient from one location to another safely while offering medical support, rather than offer 911 emergency field treatment and rapid transport to an emergency facility.

A candidate for non-emergent medical transport is a medically stable patient, who needs “medical support.”

For example, a resident of a nursing home who has just spent time in the hospital might need non-emergency transport to get back to the nursing home so that Emergency Medical Service personnel can monitor the patient’s condition and deal with any medical issues associated with the patient’s needs. Likewise, a chronically ill patient might need medical transport to get to scheduled doctors or rehabilitation appointments.

The patient is transported on a stretcher, and he or she is accompanied by at least two Emergency Medical Technicians-Basic (or higher). The vehicle has medical equipment and is inspected by the state’s EMS Department. The equipment is also utilized to monitor the patient during transport.

Trans-Care’s services are Medicare and Medicaid approved, and most insurance is accepted.

Craig and Lisa Butkus own Trans-Care. Craig Butkus is the Executive Director of Essex Rescue. He has been involved in fire and rescue service since 1992, and was previously the Chief of Essex Fire Department. Lisa Butkus has worked for Frontline Fire & Rescue since 2003. She is currently the General Manager.

For more information, call (802) 288-1286.

Girls Nite Out to Hold Auditions for ‘The Hallelujah Girls’

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Girls Nite Out Productions will present The Hallelujah Girls October 6-9 at The Black Box Theatre at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in Burlington. The show, which will be holding open auditions in May, is being produced by Jennifer Warwick and directed by Carole Vasta Folley.

Written by the team that penned the Golden Girls TV show, Hallelujah Girls guarantees lots of laughs. Hilarity abounds when the feisty females of Eden Falls, Georgia, decide to shake up their lives. The action in this rollicking Southern comedy takes place in SPA-DEE-DAH!, the abandoned church-turned day spa where this group of friends gathers every Friday afternoon. After the loss of a dear friend, the women realize time is precious and if they’re going to change their lives they have to get on it now. But Sugar Lee, their high-spirited, determined leader, has her hands full keeping the women motivated. The comic tension mounts when a sexy, ex-boyfriend shows up unexpectedly, a marriage proposal comes from an unlikely suitor and Sugar Lee’s arch rival, Bunny, vows she’ll stop at nothing to steal the spa away. By the time the women rally together to overcome these obstacles and launch their new, improved lives, you’ve got a side-splitting, joyful comedy that will make you laugh out loud and shout “Hallelujah!”


OPEN AUDITIONS: 5 females*, 2 males, all in their 50s & 60s
AUDITION DATES: Friday, May 13, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
WHERE: Shelburne Town Hall, Shelburne Road, Shelburne
SCRIPT AVAILABLE: Pierson Library, Shelburne
FOR MORE INFO: For details on character descriptions and rehearsal schedule, visit the Girls Nite Out Productions Facebook page or contact Jennifer Warwick  at or 802-238-2634
* The role of Mavis Flowers has been cast.

New Contemporary Work at BCA Center

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Burlington City Arts recently announced a new contemporary exhibition at the BCA Center (formerly the Firehouse Gallery) on Church Street in Burlington entitled “Good House,” featuring new work by Vermont artist Scott Lenhardt.

Taking inspiration from classic fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, snowboarding culture and his own native Vermont landscape, Lenhardt envelops visitors in a parallel reality of otherworldly landscapes. From a hulking sculptural giant dominating the east gallery to delicate hand-carved bird-like creatures in the west gallery, Lenhardt’s work is simultaneously idyllic and unnerving.

Lenhardt grew up in West Rupert, and was heavily influenced by Vermont plein air painter Brian Sweetland, who also lived in Rupert.

The exhibition runs through May 28. For more information about gallery exhibitions, special events, classes and workshops, call 865-7166 or visit

Painting in Plein Air

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

New Summer Arts Festival Coming to Jericho

By Phyl Newbeck

Artists Michael Smith and Barbara Greene outside the Gruppe Gallery. (Contributed photo)

Jericho will be awash in color on July 23 — blue skies, green lawns, and a rainbow of flowers. But those colors won’t just be visible on the horizon. They will be on canvases set out across town as artists flock to Jericho’s first Plein Air Festival.

The term “plein air” is French for “open air,” and describes the act of painting outdoors in natural light.

Emilie Alexander grew up watching her father, Emile Gruppe, as he partook of this enjoyable painting style. In 2003, she opened a gallery that bears his name in a renovated 1860s sheep barn on Barber Farm Road in Jericho. Alexander has rotating exhibitions at the gallery, which also serves as a focal point for the annual Open Studio Tour. Recently she decided to try something different.

Billed as an opportunity to “Celebrate, Nurture and Enhance the Visibility of Our Art Community,” the Plein Air Festival was put together by Alexander, along with Barbara Greene, a nonprofit development consultant from Underhill, and Jane Morgan, an artist from Milton. To date, they have received 65 enthusiastic responses from artists.

The plan is to have dozens of artists set up at various places in and around the Gruppe Gallery, the Jericho Settlers Farm, and the Green in Jericho Center. The organizers expect participants will use a variety of mediums and styles including drawing, acrylics, oil, and watercolors. Breakfast will be provided to the artists, who are welcome to start working at 9 a.m. More refreshments will be provided at 4:30 p.m,. at which time there will be an artists’ reception at the Gruppe Galley with an opportunity for the artists and visitors to view the collected works and even purchase some.

The three organizers believe no similar event has ever taken place in the state — at least not in recent history. Greene noted that many Plein Air festivals are by invitation only and charge a fee for participation as well as extracting a commission on any sales. The Jericho festival is open to anyone — seasoned veterans and budding amateurs — and no fees of any kind will be assessed. “The general public doesn’t always realize the concentration it takes to make art,” said Morgan. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to appreciate the effort that goes into creating artwork.”

The event is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Organizers intend to rent a tent to create a covered space in the event of bad weather, but noted that many plein air artists have umbrellas which they can attach to their easels or even pop-up tents. Greene steadfastly insists that rain will not interrupt the festival. “We’re learning a highly effective sun dance,” she said with a smile.

Parking is available at the Gallery and at various locations on the Green in Jericho Center. Although most people will want to make their purchases at the end of the day, Alexander noted that someone watching a work in progress can actually walk away with a “wet canvas” directly from the artist. Since this is an informal festival rather than a juried exhibit, Morgan believes people will be more likely to come out and display their talents.

“We’re serious about our endeavor,” she said, “but we want this to be an enjoyable, relaxing environment for the artists to have their creative juices flow and have some fun.”
Cheryl Daye Dick, a Middlesex artist, is happy to be taking part in the festival. “The joy of this festival in part,” she said, “is the relaxed coming together of Vermont artists at breakfast in the morning followed by a full day to paint. Artists often spend a great deal of time alone with their craft, so a group event is a rare luxury outside of a workshop.”

Dick also looks forward to the gathering at the end of the day which will allow the artists to “savor the work done in the field as well as get feedback from all of the talent there. It will be delightful to see how different artists painting the same views treat the Jericho subjects before them,” she said.

Jane Neroni is a South Burlington artist who will also be attending. “This is a wonderful, wonderful thing,” said Neroni, noting that most plein air festivals have a short invitation list and a screening process. “Here, anyone can come,” she said. “That makes it a celebration of painting and the artists.”

Neroni is thrilled that people will be attending the festival from across the state and beyond. “Here’s a wonderful situation,” she said, “where you have a whole bunch of people of different abilities, styles and palettes. You can’t paint for eight hours straight so you can watch others in action. It will be a superb learning experience.”

Neroni also praised the location of the event. “The Jericho/Underhill area is a fabulous place to do this,” she said. “There is a variety of landscapes; fields, forests, mountains and wonderful buildings that reflect all of New England’s architecture.”

While Neroni hopes it won’t rain, she recognizes that changing weather throughout the day can add to the experience. “You can have sunshine or mist,” she said, “and morning and afternoon light. There are so many opportunities to create an expressive landscape. Most artists have felt that, traditionally, nature is the best teacher.”

“I think the planners have been immensely generous in their concept of the event,” said Neroni. “To invite so many artists to come to breakfast and paint all day and at the end of the day send them off with an art show is just extremely generous.”

Greene is gratified at the reactions of those who will be attending. “It’s a community building event in many different ways,” she said. “We’ve got a community of artists, a community of art appreciators, and a community of great physical beauty.”

For more information visit or contact Barbara Greene at (802) 899-2974 or

Lyric Theatre presents ‘Chicago’

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Lyric Theatre Company will present “Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville,” on the Flynn MainStage April 14-17.

“Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville” is an entertaining satire of the prohibition era that invites you into the steamy dance club of hot jazz, crimes of passion and twisted celebrity with hot dance numbers and arresting vocal performances. Winner of both Tony and Oscar awards, this hit by Kander and Ebb and Bob Fosse is still playing on Broadway after 14 seasons.

The production, which features a live band, includes all the songs from the Oscar-winning film and some additional numbers that you can only see in the stage version.

Lyric’s 24-member cast hails from 15 Vermont communities. Leading players are Serena Magnan O’Connell of Burlington as Velma, Hannah Brown of Richmond as Roxie, Mark Cranmer of Burlington as Billy Flynn, Nora Pemberton of Burlington as Mama Morton and Phil Seiler of Essex Junction as Amos. Andrea Cronan of Williston makes her Lyric directorial debut.

Tickets are on sale through the Flynn Box Office in Burlington; by telephone: 802-86FLYNN; or online: The show offers five performances including matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

UVM Lane Series presents….

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Atria Ensemble

Atria Ensemble features Jessica Lee on violin/viola, Romie de Guise-Langlois on clarinet and Hye-Yeon Park on piano. The group was formed by clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, whom Burlington area chamber music enthusiasts are familiar with from her guest appearances at Soovin Kim’s Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival. Jane Ambrose has praised Romie’s playing as “the most beautiful clarinet sound she has ever heard.”

First prize winner of the 2008 Plowman National Chamber Music Competition, the ensemble was formed in January 2008. The term Atria, which in anatomy describes heart’s chambers, is a metaphor for the group’s philosophy of touching the audience with chamber music – the most intimate and heart-felt form of classical music.

They will perform Martinu: Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano; Ravel: Tzigane for Violin and Piano; Milhaud: Suite for Clarinet, Violin and Piano; and Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. Friday, April 29, 7:30 pm at UVM Recital Hall. Tickets $25.

Finest Kind

Finest Kind is a remarkable folk trio from Ottawa, Canada, whose exquisite harmony singing and brilliant vocal arrangements bring a fresh sense of discovery to the performance of old songs. The trio’s glorious sound, and easy-going humor, has won a devoted following. Tradition-based yet modern, the trio’s harmonies are a feast of opulent chords and ever-changing textures.

The group was founded in 1991 by Ian Robb (concertina player and composer of folk standards), and Ann Downey (guitar, banjo and bass), and Shelley Posen (professional folklorist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist). Friday, May 13 at 7:30 pm at UVM Recital Hall. Tickets $20.

For more information, visit or call 656-4455.

Sculpture Garden Welcomes Visitors

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

“Garliques,” 2007 by Katherine Clear is one of the installations at the Vermont Arts Council’s Sculpture Garden.

The Vermont Arts Council invites the public to visit the current exhibit of outdoor sculpture in the Council’s Sculpture Garden at 134-136 State Street in Montpelier, next door to the Capitol Region Visitors Center.

This year’s exhibit features work by Leila Bander, Katherine Clear, Chris Curtis, David Tanych and Denis Versweyveld.

The Sculpture Garden is a public/private collaboration that features rotating two year exhibits of contemporary sculpture created by Vermont artists. Designed in 2002 by Burlington landscape architects H. Keith Wagner and Associates, it offers a place to picnic or just for quiet reflection in Montpelier’s downtown, and is fully accessible.

For more information visit

Flynn Center Offers Full Roster for Spring

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts offers a wide variety of entertainment for spring including:

Global Traditions Series

Called “an upbeat heroine of contemporary Afro-pop” by the New York Times, Grammy Award-winning singer, dancer, and songwriter Angélique Kidjo returns to the Flynn Center with musical connections that link every part of the world—Afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, Zairean rhumba, zouk, and makossa. Kidjo’s recent performance at the World Cup has received accolades worldwide (Friday, April 29).

Dance Series

Jane Comfort and Company’s Faith Healing, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie will have two performances in FlynnSpace, Thursday and Friday, April 7 and 8.

Broadway Series

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, the two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning, fast-paced whodunit that features nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters, an on-stage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance (Friday, May 13).

Jazz Series

Robin Eubanks transforms the trombone from an aging relic to a youthful augur of the future, with his band EB3 (Saturday, April 9).

Family Series

The Emmy-Award winning science show starring Paul Zaloom, Beakman on the Brain (Saturday, May 7).

Info: Tickets for the Flynn’s 2010-11 season are on sale — call 802-863-5966 or visit For a brochure describing the entire Flynn 2010-11 Season: download a pdf at

Diversity Studios Brings Big Apple Flavor to Vermont

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Theresa and Yukio McDonough recently opened Diversity Studios For Art & Entertainment on College Street in Burlington. (Photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Hoping to bring a bit of the Big Apple to Vermont’s performing arts scene, Theresa and Yukio McDonough opened Diversity Studios For Art & Entertainment in downtown Burlington in February.

The young couple, both 24, grew up in Vermont, but spent several years immersed in the acting and music scenes in New York and Los Angeles. Theresa, a director and actor, studied at the Weist Barron acting school in New York City. Yukio, a producer and musician, has a degree in arts management from New York’s Purchase College. They met as teens and have been together ever since, recently getting married and forging ahead with their entrepreneurial plans. “Working together and doing this as a couple is huge,” Theresa says.

The idea for the studio was borne out of inspiration…and necessity. After trying unsuccessfully to land “decent jobs” when they returned to Vermont, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands. The nonprofit company’s mission “is to provide a fun, safe and professional environment for students of all ages who want to learn a new art or improve their talents,” says Theresa.

To that end, the duo are surrounding themselves with professionals in a variety of arts-related genres including musical theater, comedy, acting, voice, music, and even “hobby art.” In addition to the couple, instructors for Diversity’s classes include: actress and vocalist Natalie Miller; actor, musician and recent Higher Ground Comedy Battle winner Nathan Hartswick; musician and poet John Powell, a Williston native; and musician Brendan Coyle. “Diversity Studios wants to put Vermont’s best art educators back to work,” the McDonoughs say.

They are also working with Bruce Wilson, the director of Service Rendered. The nonprofit organization runs the Chill Out Centers – teen activity centers–at the University Mall in South Burlington and Diamond Run Mall in Rutland. With Wilson’s guidance, the McDonoughs hope to encourage “at-risk youth” to become involved with the studio and channel their energies into positive activities in the arts. “We chose the name Diversity Studios because we want it to encompass everything…music, theater, acting, and all different kinds of people – (the name) has a positive connotation,” Theresa says.

Adult classes include standup comedy, acting and poetry. Summer offerings are being finalized.

All ages can take advantage of private and group music and voice lessons. The cleverly and comfortably designed studio space – with stone walls, strategically placed stage curtains and a distinctly urban vibe — has a fully equipped music studio for budding singers and bands, a rehearsal room and music production services. In addition, the ambitious duo is producing a concert at the Memorial Auditorium Annex on April 29 featuring local R & B artists as well as Inner Core, a “positive” R & B, jazz and classical group from New York City that Yukio has worked with and managed for about five years.  A hip-hop event is in the works for June 29 at Memorial Auditorium Annex.  “We really want to bring a New York feel to Vermont,” Theresa says.

Diversity Studios For Art & Entertainment is located at 115 College Street in Burlington. Phone: 865-ARTS. Web:

Spring Fashion Cleaning

April 7, 2011  
Filed under Blogs

By Sharon Mosley

It’s that time of year — spring ahead and get a fresh start. Start by cleaning out your closet! It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right?

“Cleaning out your closet is always tough, because our clothes hold memories and ignite feelings and emotions,” says Andy Paige, fashion expert and author of “Style on a Shoestring” (McGraw Hill, $16.95). “We all remember the dress we wore for a special date with our honey or the business suit that got us our first real job or the jeans that made us feel like a rock star. Letting go of garments that we don’t wear anymore but still have fondness for can often be bittersweet.”

However, we have to admit that when we’re finally able to see the floor of our closets for the first time in years, it does feel good. The purge is worth it, even if we haven’t lost those 10 pounds and still aren’t able to wear all those “old” size 8’s still hanging around.

“Truth is, when you do lose the weight, the first thing you want is new clothes,” says Paige. “The last thing you want to do is put on something decades old to celebrate your new body. You want new party frocks and sexy modern look-at-me wear, not parachute pants and a dress from the Alexis Carrington Collection circa 1984.”

And the average woman actually wears less than 20 percent of her closet’s contents on a regular basis, according to Paige. “We live with the delusion that we have a much larger wardrobe than we really do,” she says. “We all stand in front of our closet that’s slap full of clothes and declare that we have nothing to wear. Damn that Eve. If she had not eaten that darn apple, then we would be happy as jaybirds, running naked and free.”

OK, so we’re going to ditch the fig leaves and get busy creating our own closet of Eden — the perfect place to get dressed every day. Here are a few tips to get you started:

♦ Yes, you need to try things on if you’re going to keep it in your closet. You’d be surprised how much wardrobe weeding out you can do by just looking in a mirror. We forget why we’ve never worn that jacket with the weird darts or that skirt that hits us at mid-calf. Yuck, get them out of your life. Fit is key, and yes, proportions change regularly.

♦ The “pile” routine really does work. Or you can do the trash bag thing, but I find that it helps to be able to “see” what you’re getting rid of … not just sticking it in a big black bag.

Think a “Donate” pile, a “Re-create” pile, a “Think About It” pile and a “Fits Me Great” pile. Then be ruthless. Yes, you can have some of your things altered, but I often find that it’s better just to go ahead and let it go once and for all, unless it’s just a matter of sewing on a button or having something hemmed.

♦ Have a friend help you. This tip usually does NOT work for me, but one of my best friends loves to have me help her clean out HER closet. There is something about having an outside opinion. But I find that I know my tastes best, and I usually feel pretty confident about my choices of what stays and what goes. But if you need some help, go for it.

♦ Color-code your clothes. This is probably one of my best tips. Group like colors together. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can mix and match pieces. You’ll also be able to tell immediately if you need new pieces to coordinate with what you already own.

♦ Here are a few “anchor pieces” that Paige suggests keeping in your closet:

• Great fitted suits

• Fitted blazers

• Trousers with straight legs

• A-line or pencil skirts hemmed to the knee

• Basic black dress

• Fitted denim jacket

• Dark boot-cut or straight-leg jeans

• Accessories, accessories, accessories (well-kept scarves, costume jewelry, handbags,     belts, and shoes)

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