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Vote now for Vermont Varsity Insider Athletes of the Week: Ballots for June 3-9

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Vote now for Vermont Varsity Insider Athletes of the Week: Ballots for June 3-9


Welcome to the eighth and final installment of the 2024 spring season for the Vermont Varsity Insider Athletes of the Week voting by high school sports fans.

This week, and every week during the sports seasons, members of the public may vote for a top girls athlete and a top boys athlete.

Varsity Insider Athletes of the week: Winners for the 2023-24 school year

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How do I cast my vote?

All voting is through the two ballots at burlingtonfreepress.com. We will not accept votes through email or through social media.

Voting began June 10, and continues through 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

How do we learn who wins?

The two winners will be announced in a story published at burlingtonfreepress.com on Friday.

Athlete of the week feature to return in the fall

This is the final athlete of the week ballot for the 2023-24 school year. The long-running feature will return in the fall for the 2024-25 school year. We accept nominations via email: sports@burlingtonfreepress.com (Subject Line: Athletes of the Week nomination).

Girls Athlete of the Week nominees

More on this week’s candidates:

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Trinity Anaya, Essex softball: The junior tossed a pair of complete games to lead Essex into the D-I semifinals. She hurled a two-hitter while going 2-for-3 at the plate in a 14-0 win over South Burlington. Then in the quarterfinals, Anaya yielded six hits and one earned run over seven innings to eliminate host Colchester 5-1.

Iris Cloutier, Stowe lacrosse: After a six-goal splurge in Stowe’s 17-7 playdown win over Lamoille, Cloutier struck for a hat trick in a 5-4 road triumph over Mount Abraham/Vergennes in the quarterfinals of the D-II playoffs.

Ava Kingsbury, Blue Mountain softball: Kingsbury hit for the cycle with two home runs and seven RBIs in a 5-for-5 performance at the plate during Blue Mountain’s 22-2 D-IV quarterfinal win over Twinfield/Danville/Cabot.

Hayley Raiche, West Rutland softball: Raiche’s 4-for-4 day at the plate included a double, triple and a trio of RBIs as West Rutland dispatched Leland & Gray 18-0 in the D-IV quarterfinals.

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Finley Strong, Rice softball: The junior smacked the game-winning homer in the top of the seventh inning as Rice ousted Middlebury on the road 3-2 in the D-II quarterfinals. In the playdowns, Strong also doubled twice and drove in a run.

Boys Athlete of the Week nominees

More on this week’s candidates:

Nick Casey, Harwood baseball: Casey tossed a three-hitter with two earned runs and eight strikeouts over five innings in Harwood’s 7-5 D-II playdown win over Lake Region. He also doubled in the first-round playoff game and then went 2-for-4 with another double with three RBIs in Harwood’s 10-0 shutout of Milton in the quarterfinals.

Ezra Mock, Hartford lacrosse: The multi-sport standout registered a team-best four goals as Hartford dropped Mount Anthony 12-7 in the D-II quarterfinals.

Griffin Piconi, Woodstock lacrosse: Piconi’s three-goal, three-assist performance included the game-winning goal in overtime as Woodstock outlasted South Burlington on the road in the D-I quarterfinals.

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Wyatt Smith, Montpelier Ultimate: After tallying six goals and two assists in a 15-7 playdown victory over Rice, Smith had three goals, two assists and two blocks on defense in Montpelier’s 11-9 triumph over South Burlington in the quarterfinal round.

Travis Stroh, Champlain Valley baseball: Stroh went 1-for-3 with a triple and RBI in a 6-0 win over Rice in the D-I playdowns. Then in the quarterfinals, Stroh doubled twice with two RBIs in a 3-for-3 effort as the Redhawks blanked Brattleboro 10-0.



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Season’s first heatwave in the forecast for Vermont. What to know.

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Season’s first heatwave in the forecast for Vermont. What to know.


Vermonters, brace yourselves for a sizzling week.

The first heat wave of the year is due to hit Vermont starting at noon on Tuesday, June 18 and lasting until around 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, according to the National Weather Service in Burlington.

“The pleasant weekend we experienced will be a distant memory soon enough,” NWS Burlington said in its area forecast discussion on Monday afternoon.

This week is projected to boast some of the highest temperatures Vermonters have seen in several years, averaging in the 90s in most places during the day. Additionally, multiple Vermont cities and towns are posed to break daily heat records on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

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National Weather Service Burlington meteorologists also predict high humidity − close to or above 65 on the dew point scale − for the duration of the heat wave, extending into the evenings as well.

The heat will likely reach its peak on Wednesday, which is also the most probable day for the temperature to hit 100 degrees or higher. For perspective, Burlington has only experienced five 100 degree days since 1995.

However, the days may feel even hotter than what the thermometer reads in some cities and towns. Vermont’s top projected heat index value, also known as apparent temperature, is 105 degrees for the week.

Excessive heat has the potential to be deadly. Heat waves claim more lives annually in the U.S than any other weather event − surpassing tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning − according to AccuWeather.

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What is a heat wave and heat index?

NWS Burlington defines a heat wave as three or more consecutive days of 90 degrees or above.

A heat index value − the combination of the air temperature and the relative humidity − represents how hot it feels outside in a particular location. Think of it as the veil twin of the wind chill factor, something with which Vermonters may be more familiar.

This week’s heat index value of 105 is considered to be within the high risk category for developing heat-related illnesses after pro-longed physical activity, according to NWS Burlington.

How to prepare for this week’s heat wave

NWS Burlington provided a list of ways to protect yourself from excessive heat:

  • Stay hydrated, remain in air-conditioned rooms and avoid the sun if at all possible. Indoor temperatures could continue to increase after peak hours in spaces with poor ventilation, putting people without air-conditioning at risk for their health.
  • If you must venture outside, wear light-weight and loose clothing.
  • Limit strenuous tasks to early morning or night.
  • If you are working outside, take frequent rest breaks in the shade or air-conditioned spaces. Move individuals overwhelmed by the heat to cool or shaded areas.
  • Call 911 if someone is exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke.
  • Do not leave young children and pets in cars unattended. The inside will reach deadly temperatures within minutes.

Cooling sites in Burlington

To help residents beat the heat, Burlington will operate cooling centers between Tuesday, June 18 and Friday, June 21.

The following places will act as cooling centers:

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  • Public Works / Parks – 645 Pine St.: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday.
  • Fletcher Free Library – 235 College St.: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, Friday .
  • City Hall − 149 Church St.: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday.
  • O.N.E. Center – 20 Allen St.: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.
  • Leddy Arena – 216 Leddy Park Road: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday.
  • Fletcher Free, New North End – 1127 North Ave.: 2-6 p.m., Tuesday & Thursday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday .

For more information on cooling centers, visit https://enjoyburlington.com/burlington-cooling-centers-where-to-cool-off-during-a-heat-wave.

More: Summer is officially here in Vermont: How to keep pets safe while the weather is hot

Megan Stewart is a government accountability reporter for the Burlington Free Press. Contact her at mstewartyounger@gannett.com.



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Vermont lawmaker publicly apologizes after being caught on video repeatedly pouring water into colleague’s bag

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Vermont lawmaker publicly apologizes after being caught on video repeatedly pouring water into colleague’s bag


Politics

An apparent personal rivalry between two state representatives from the same district in Vermont spilled into public view Monday in an emotional and tense interaction on the House floor.

A Republican lawmaker publicly apologized to a Democratic colleague before the Vermont House of Representatives after she was caught on video pouring water into his bag multiple times over the course of five months. 

“I am truly ashamed of my actions,” Representative Mary Morrissey, who serves Bennington, Vt., said at a House veto session Monday. 

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Videos of Morrissey pouring cups of water into a personal bag belonging to Representative Jim Carroll, who also represents Bennington, were first acquired by Seven Days. The news outlet obtained the videos via a public records request after Carroll mounted a camera above where he hung his bag to find a culprit for the frequent soakings his belongings were getting.

“For five months, I went through this,” Carroll said at the meeting after Morrissey’s apology. “It was torment, there’s no doubt about it.”

When House Speaker Jill Krowinski first saw the videos and confronted Morrissey about it, she initially denied it, Seven Days reported. But she later apologized to Carroll, an encounter the latter told the outlet was “uncomfortable.”

On Monday, Morrissey admitted her behavior was “disrespectful” and said she had apologized to Carroll privately. She added that she will be “working toward resolution and restoration through our legislative process.”

“It was conduct most unbecoming of my position as a representative and as a human being, and is not reflective of my 28 years of service and civility,” Morrissey said. She also asked for forgiveness from her colleagues and the citizens of Vermont.

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Morrissey has held her seat since 1997.

She did not provide a reason for her actions, and Seven Days reported that the representative claimed to not know why she did it. 

Carroll said he has faced repeated verbal harassment from his colleague, mainly for his policy decisions, according to the outlet.

“I hear the sincerity in your voice,” Carroll said. “And I’m gonna be quite frank with you … for five months, I went through this. And each month, each day that I went through this, Representative Morrissey had a choice to make. And each time, she didn’t choose to either drop it or come to me and say ‘I’m sorry, I screwed up, let’s put our heads together and serve our constituents the way they ought to be.’ And for that I’m really sorry and sad.”

Carroll said that he is willing to sit down with Morrissey to talk through their issues, though he admitted it may be “awkward” at first. 

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“There’s gonna be some work to be done between the two of us,” he said. “That first time that we sit down together its gonna be kind of awkward, but we have to start somewhere.”





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Vermont Botanists Find a Long-Lost Friend

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Vermont Botanists Find a Long-Lost Friend


Blink and you’ll miss it, in more ways than one. Not only is false mermaid-weed “absolutely tiny”—with flowers the size of a head of a pin—but it surfaces for only about a month in the spring before dying, explains Smithsonian and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. All of which helps explain why the flower hadn’t been seen in Vermont in 108 years—until now. Last month, a state botanist inadvertently spotted the plant, formally known as Floerkea proserpinacoides, after she’d been sent a photo of a rare form of wild garlic.

“There was this little weird plant in the corner of the frame,” Grace Glynn tells Vermont Public radio. “And when I zoomed in, I immediately knew that it was Floerkea, that it was false mermaid-weed,” she says. “I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing this plant.” Glynn went to the rural site in Addison County the following day and confirmed the patch of false mermaid-weed on private land alongside a stream. She then found another patch on public land.

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“There was a lot of screaming,” Glynn tells the New York Times of her own reaction. The plant’s official status in the state has been changed from “possibly extinct and missing” to “very rare and critically imperiled,” per Smithsonian. The plant is found elsewhere in North America, per the Native Plant Trust. So why all the fuss? “False mermaid-weed is a floodplain plant, and historic populations are believed to have been destroyed by some common challenges facing Vermont’s floodplains: extreme floods, invasive species, and development,” the state post explains. That it has resurfaced after a century “is a sign that good stewardship by landowners and conservation organizations really can make a difference.” (More Vermont stories.)





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