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Concern Grows About Environmental Damage From Irene Cleanup

10/26/11 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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Courtesy of Vermont Fish and Wildlife/Shawn Good
Following Tropical Storm Irene, excavators worked to channel and armor both banks of the Middlebury River.

In the days and weeks after Irene, excavators were allowed into rivers with verbal permission - rather than the typically required written permits - to extract gravel to rebuild road beds and shore up banks. Environmentalists are saying much of this work has caused more harm than good. We talk to Louis Porter, the Lake Champlain Lakekeeper at the Conservation Law Foundation, and Kim Greenwood, the Water Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council, about how Irene cleanup may have increased the risk of future flooding and caused environmental damage. And we hear from Justin Johnson, the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Evie Lovett
Also on the program, an exhibit currently on display at the Folklife Center in Middlebury brings to life a scene few of us get to see: the transformation of male performers into larger than life drag queens. 

Westminster West photographer Evie Lovett spent a couple of years taking photographs at a now defunct gay bar in Dummerston that had a popular monthly drag show.  The resulting photographs and accompanying audio profiles of the performers have become the show "Backstage at the Rainbow Cattle Co."

We meet Lovett and two of the performers she profiled: Mike Powers, who lives in Orange, Massachusetts, and brings to life a character called Candi, and Mark Hermon May, who performs as Mama.  They describe what working on this project was like, and why it was important to reveal these moments of transformation on camera.

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tropical_storm_irene environment

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"Backstage at the Rainbow Cattle Co." at the Vermont Folklife Center Evie Lovett
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