Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gene McCormick Brilliant at the Tasting Center

By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg

Gene McCormick is more than a superb musician; This Newport resident is working on special programs for the Department of Corrections all over the state, he is charming and certainly looks much younger than his 64 years, quite a feat considering the many years he has been on the stage. He is usually accompanied by his charming wife Cynthia and a coterie of friends and fellow musicians which sadly made up the audience last Saturday at the NEK Tasting Center where Mr. McCormick gave a sterling performance of jazz and blues favorites.
As a singer McCormick can modulate his amazingly rich voice from James Earl Jones right through the lilt of a Harry Belafonte but he does it without theatricals or artifice. This is just his voice, his gift, and when he tells you "I live for music" you believe him. This is a unique musician who also is a virtuoso on the keyboard and of course his famous saxophone where his talent shines as brightly as the highly polished brass in his hands.
The repertoire ranged from old standbys like "Brown Eyed Girl" to "How sweet it is to being loved by you" or James Taylers famous "Fire and rain", "Honky tonk blues" or "Slip sliding away" brought all but the bar staff to the dance floor and the backdrop of cars gliding silently by on the glittering fresh snow and among the lights of Main street made the perfect backdrop to an enchanted evening in Newport.
Mr. McCormick's friend Marc Burroughs-Biron, a gifted amateur guitarist sat in on a number of song sequences and added yet another dimension to a performance which should have been enjoyed by hundreds, not a dozen enthusiasts. Gene will play this Friday at the Tower Bar in Jay Peak, so anyone who has missed his Newport performance will have another opportunity to hear this gifted Vermonter.

Always present, Mr.McCormick's wife Cynthia More (right) in conversation with Nancy Kenney

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everything You Need to Know How to Live Healthier

My friend Eddie Vos, a forensic scientist, engineer and nutritionist from Glen Sutton, Quebec, has studied nutrition, health and heart related issues for decades and has put all of his findings into a comprehensive web-site which you can access here:
Mr. Vos has lectured internationally and is a regular contributor to major medical publications. This site will provide everyone with a wealth of information about how to live better. I am grateful to Mr. Vos to allow me to publish this on my blog.

Mr. Vos, a trice a week visitor at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport also enjoys his balanced diet!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Have a Wolf Hybrid? Get it Neutered or Spayed for $ 25.-

By M. Rieder Starhemberg

I do not exactly know what a wolf hybrid is but if you have one and you are a low income Vermonter, the Vermont Spay Neuter Incentive Program (VSNIP) can help you get that wolf or of course your cat or dog spayed and neutered. A simple application which is available on-line at:
will get eligible Vermonters a voucher which can be taken to a participating veterinary surgeon and all one has to co-pay is $ 25.-
This program is unique to Vermont and there are other ways that the state's SPCA gets involved in the healthcare of animals. One of them is to have regular "round-ups" of homeless or partially owned cats and the neutering or spaying of those animals. In Newport there is an abundance of "stray" cats. This writer has thus far adopted four and they are a lasting joy. To understand the VSNIP program you have to know what they cover:

The copay covers the fee for the entire surgical procedure, including:
  • The pre-surgical physical exam;
  • Surgery;
  • Maintenance;
  • Hospital care;
  • Anesthesia;
  • Pain medication before and during the surgery;
  • Discharge; and
  • Removal of sutures.
The only thing that does not get paid for is after-operation pain medication which every responsible pet owner will hopefully provide.

Victorian Charm Abounds - A Newport Walking Tour

By Manfrried Rieder Starhemberg

In it's heyday in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Newport saw an incredible building boom and many of the structures are still standing albeit most have been converted to low income apartment dwellings or professional offices. Sadly, the historic hotels and the opera house, majestic stores and imposing lumber and rail yards have been lost to fire or newer construction but many smaller buildings make for a visibly enjoyable walk through this charming city.
While technically, the buildings were constructed in the Victorian style, they were mercifully spared the gingerbread and artifice often seen in New England. Bay windows are everywhere however and many houses have turrets which give a unique charm to the otherwise straightforward construction. If one looks carefully, there are many original stained glass windows and the amount of granite slabs abutting side walks and entrances is impressive.
The center of the city is the blocks around the magnificently restored court house with a clock that, on a good day, can be seen from across the lake through field glasses. Down the street is the Goodrich Memorial Library and from there, walking up Third street, across Pleasant to the right and up to the catholic church which lords it over the whole landscape, then down Prospect street and Second street, there is an abundance of the dwellings mentioned. You can feast your eyes on fine porch columns, ornate windows and the ever present turrets.
Even walking along Coventry street where the "Pick and Shovel" and other businesses have stood for years, one gets a feeling of history, more so because you can walk along the railroad track which had been the mainstay of Newport's booming lumber business for almost a Century. From there you can look at lovely houses across the south bay of lake Memphremagog.
Beautiful and surprising vistas can be had everywhere in this city and a walk around town should make this a worthwhile Sunday destination for everyone.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snow Shovels, Rockets, Reptiles and Underwear - Newport's Pick and Shovel is Worth the Trip

By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg

If this were the time of the "Little House on the Prairie" the "Pick and Shovel" hardware emporium in Newport would have been called a "mercantile". All across America stores like that were later just called general stores but while this famous long established Newport establishment could be called either, it is more of a two city block long entertainment center. We sometimes think of it as a combination of Epcot center and amusement park.
Where else in the N.E.K. can your  kids eat ice cream while you shop for a snow shovel, your wife buys new underwear and your brother in law loads up the truck with pine boards to re-side the garage.
And this is just a thin veneer of what is going on here. Almost all of the street level is dedicated to every tool amateur or professional may require. There are the common hand and power tools but also every accessory on the planet is well displayed. Then there are rows and rows of fasteners, electrical equipment, hinges and door knobs, locks and the friendly guy who can make any key ever invented. From light bulbs to candles and toilet seats to clock making supplies - it is all there and the helpful staff knows exactly where to find it. A box of magnets? "Right over here in the back on top, let me show you". You have an odd color cabinet you wish to repaint in the original color and there are paint specialists who will analyze a chip  of paint and match it exactly. Of course there are garden hoses and sprinkler systems, all the stuff you need to hook up or ventilate your washer or dryer and if gets boring, amble on upstairs - its right behind the popcorn machine which churns out fresh buckets all day. Upstairs there are endless rooms of clothing for every conceivable need. You find jackets and waders, hundreds of boots for all occasions and more hunting gear than the National guard has in its arsenal. There is ammo and knifes, camouflage jackets and if you are not into killing Bambi, hook a right into the pet store where you can see snakes and lizards, pet a bunny, watch the colorful birds or get mesmerized by watching thousands of colorful fish in all sizes in their beautiful tanks.
Had enough yet?
We have not even scratched the surface. There is a magnificent toy store where you may find a remote controlled helicopter or a rocket kit next to traditional sleds and even that pretty little red bicycle which looks just like the one your sister had when you were little. Another section has games and art supplies and in yet another level of the store you find lamps and lighting fixtures and every needed appliance made, ranging from the apartment-affordable to the luxurious.
Enough - they don't sell fresh eggs like the old country general stores but you can still buy nails by the pound and across the parking lot is a huge lumber yard with all dimensions of wood for your project. They also sell you pallets of stone or brick, ladders of any imaginable size and for any use and in yet another building you find two stories of outdoors furniture, grills and umbrellas and the occasional sundial. The groundfloor there is a huge display of maple syrup making equipment some of which costs more than a new Volvo. Anyone wishing to get into the sugaring business has to talk to the experts here, they know more about sugaring than some people we know who are in the business...
So, when in Newport or wishing to spend a rainy day shopping for an iguana or a rocket propelled toy, or just to enjoy the ambiance of Newport's finest store, visit the "Pick and Shovel" in the heart of downtown Newport City.