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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Opinion
Walters: Hundreds Pay Tribute to Woman Killed by Former Boyfriend

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 11:55 PM

Kate Root speaking at the vigil as Courtney's Allies stand behind her - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • Kate Root speaking at the vigil as Courtney's Allies stand behind her
A poster-size photo of Courtney Gaboriault was taped to the base of "Youth Triumphant," the granite statue in downtown Barre's City Hall Park. Flowers and candles were arrayed beneath the photo. People arriving for a Wednesday evening vigil in honor of Gaboriault stopped to take pictures of themselves with the image of the 29-year-old Barre resident, who was killed on the Fourth of July by her estranged boyfriend, Luke LaCroix. He then killed himself.

About 300 people encircled a gazebo as a group of young women calling themselves Courtney's Allies stood around a microphone and shared memories of Gaboriault. Candles, matchbooks, bottled water and packets of facial tissues were available on folding tables nearby. Most were put to good use. People did their best to protect candle flames from a summer breeze that wafted through the park. A donation box for the Central Vermont Humane Society, Gaboriault's favorite charity, overflowed with pet supplies.

Courtney's Allies had organized the vigil as the first step to give meaning to her death. There was no mention of the controversy that had erupted over a Barre-Montpelier Times Argus story that celebrated the killer more than his victim. The paper has published an explanation and apology.

"Courtney deserved this and so much more," said Kate Root, a friend of Gaboriault who had taken the lead in organizing the vigil. "She was the kindest person. She was always putting herself out for other people." And she added, speaking to Gaboriault, "You'll always be a boss babe to me."

Alex Johns, who had been Gaboriault's roommate, took the microphone to celebrate this "amazing, kind, caring, beautiful person" whose greatest loves in life were "her family; her dog, Roscoe; and T.J. Maxx." Johns recounted their frequent shopping trips to the T.J. Maxx in Burlington and speculated that her late friend may have been responsible for keeping the store in business.

Root told the crowd that Courtney's Allies planned to carry on as an organized effort. Those plans, she said afterward, are still being formulated. "We want to continue the conversation about domestic violence," she said. "We don't want Courtney to be remembered solely for what happened to her."

Judging by the community response and the determination displayed by the group of young women who had suffered a deep loss only a few days earlier, it's almost certain we haven't heard the last of Courtney's Allies.

Correction July 19, 2018: A previous version of this story misstated where the T.J. Maxx store is located.

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Nurses, UVM Medical Center Agree: Patients Should Feel Free to Cross Picket Line

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Nurses demonstrating across from the hospital - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Nurses demonstrating across from the hospital
The University of Vermont Medical Center and its nurses' union can agree on one thing — patients should still feel comfortable entering the hospital amidst a nursing strike planned for Thursday and Friday. The union and hospital still do not agree on nursing wages and were scheduled to engage in a last-ditch bargaining session Wednesday afternoon.

If the two sides do not reach a resolution, union members and supporters will rally and then picket starting at 6 a.m. Thursday on public property surrounding the main hospital. More demonstrations are expected at the hospital's other campuses, including Fanny Allen in Colchester, Essex Adult Primary Care and a dialysis center in St. Albans.

The hospital and the nurses’ union have both stressed that picketers outside the hospital want to raise awareness for the union and will not prevent patients or healthcare providers from entering the hospital. No entrances to hospitals or hospital parking lots will be blocked by picketers, and patients can expect to attend appointments without fear of harassment.

“We would never interfere with patients or patient care in any way,” said Samira Lawson, a UVM Medical Center registered nurse and member of the union’s bargaining committee. “Our goal is for patients to feel safe and feel like they can come to the hospital.”

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