The Daily DFM (08.20.13)

The Brattleboro Reformer has many colleagues around the country producing news for our "sister" papers. The Daily DFM is a "top picks" of today's national news. Consider it a collection of "things you should know, today."

1. Vodka pipeline uncovered in Asia. Yes, really.

By Angus West, GlobalPost

A burst pipe. (GlobalPost/)

The authorities in Kyrgyzstan shut off a pipeline carrying alcohol from Kazakhstan after it was discovered last week, the Kyrgyz news agency AKIpress reported.

It's believed to have carried mostly vodka through an 8 inch-wide tube over a third of a mile under the Chu River, which divides the two countries. The pipeline ended in the city of Tokmok in northern Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz border guards found the pipeline during a routine search.

"We assume that thousands of liters of alcohol were smuggled," a Tokmok police official told AKIpress.

Police are searching for the pipeline's operators.

Kyrgyzstan, a majority Muslim country, has a growing demand for cheap alcohol from Kazakhstan, one of the largest grain producers in the region.

Last fall, the authorities discovered a similar pipeline smuggling oil under the Chu River.

2. Watch video of Sunny, the new dog at the White House

By Karen Workman - Digital First Media

The Obama family is welcoming a new member to the family - a 1-year-old Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny.

Sunny is the same breed of Bo and was born last summer in Michigan. She joined the Obama family at the White House on Monday.

According to the White House blog, Sunny was named for her cheerful personality.

The Obama family

In this image released by The White House, Bo, left, and Sunny, the Obama family dogs, on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (The White House/Pete Souza/AP)

3. Would you drink a 'just-add-water' beer?

By Staff, Relaxnews

As his answer to reducing the environmental impact of excess packaging and the need to reach for a cold one as a reward for summiting a mountain or padding across a lake, an entrepreneur out of Alaska has created a 'just-add-water' beer concentrate for outdoor lovers.

Patrick Tatera of Pat's Backcountry Beverages has created a concentrated beer formula that can be turned into a tall frothing pint on a mountain peak or lakeside with the addition of water and the use of a carbonator.

It's a concept that tries to spare campers and hikers from having to lug cans of brewsky in their backpacks and yet provide parched outdoor lovers with a sudsy refreshment in the wilderness.

The company also sells portable carbonators.

In its concentrated form the beer has a high percentage of alcohol akin to vodka or whiskey but it is diluted with the addition of water and the carbonation process.

The formula is made with a "hybrid brewing technology' and a patent-pending fermentation process.

The beer concentrate is expected to be available mid-September, with a potential roster of international distributors.

The four-pack Pale Ale and the Black IPA will be sold for $9.95 USD. Each pouch makes one 16oz beer.

Meanwhile, outdoor experts at have come up with a gallery

of the best outdoor-inspired cans of beer for 2013, including the best post-surf brew and beer for barbecues.

4. Study explores the mindset of moguls, finds it's all about them

By Dawn House, The Salt Lake Tribune

In this 1987 file film publicity image originally released by 20th Century Fox, Charlie Sheen, left, and Michael Douglas are shown in a scene from "Wall Street." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, File)

When it comes to powerful people, it's all about them.

Think about the fictional Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film "Wall Street,' who was convinced that others shared his world view. His statement, "greed, for lack of a better word, is good,' mirrored his own certainty that colleagues were motivated by greed, too.

This type of mind-set is explored in a new University of Utah study, which points to a concept called self-anchoring, in which powerful people see others' behavior through the lens of their own tendencies.

In short, powerful people incorrectly judge traits, attitudes and emotional states of others to be the same as their own, said lead author of the study, Jennifer Overbeck, an associate professor with the David Eccles School of Business.

"People in power don't want to think they are calloused or self-centered so it is more palatable to think that their views represent the group,' said Overbeck. "Rather than simply saying, 'I want this so I will do this,' they can think, 'I want this and it clearly reflects what the rest of the group wants - therefore I will do it.''

Overbeck's paper, "One for All: Social Power Increases Self Anchoring of Traits, Attitudes and Emotions,' is slated to be published this fall in the journal Psychological Science.

The study extends existing research on how power-holders construe themselves positively, and includes findings that they often see members of their own group and those they supervise in a negative light.

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5. Gilbert flag stolen from memorial, possibly burned

By BOB AUDETTE/Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO - Did someone steal a flag from the Kyle Gilbert Memorial Bridge and turn it into a Molotov cocktail?

That is a possibility the Brattleboro Police Department is investigating.

"At about 7:30 this morning (Aug. 20) we got a call for a vandalism or stolen flag," said Brattleboro Police Sgt. Mark Carignan, who is handling the investigation.

Officer Ryan Washburn was dispatched to the scene of the complaint, in front of the Brattleboro Food Co-op where Main Street crosses the Whetstone Brook, to find someone had busted a lock off a panel housing the flagpole's pulley mechanism.

"Someone took a brick and smashed open the door, lowered the flag down and stole it," said Carignan.

And then at about 10 a.m. that same morning, police dispatch received a call from a Brattleboro Department of Public Works employee who found a burned flag under the Interstate 91 bridge over Williams Street.

"We don't know 100 percent for sure that it's the same flag," said Carignan, but if it isn't, he said, it's a heck of coincidence that a flag was stolen at one point in town and burned in another, all on the same day.

Evidence at Williams Street included a significant char mark in the road and a large amount of glass, perhaps a 40-ounce beer bottle, said Carignan. And in addition to the burned remnants of the flag, a wick was found, he said.

"We can't say conclusively, but it looks like somebody made a Molotov cocktail and threw the flag on the fire after tossing it, or stuffed the flag in the bottle before setting it on fire," said Carignan.

Rosemary Haselton, the events coordinator for the VFW, was driving past the flagpole the morning of the theft when she saw Gilbert's mother, Regina Meckle, on the bridge.

"It's said," she said. "I sat with her for a while. She was quite upset."

"I am so disgusted and upset," said Meckle. "He was just a kid doing his job."

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Meckle has been in contact with Kyle's dad, Robert Gilbert, since the theft was discovered and said they both are having a hard time understanding the perpetrator's motivation.

"It's so disheartening. I can't stop shaking. I just want to meet the person and ask them why. I won't judge them, but give me a reason why."

Gilbert, who was 20 when he was killed by a sniper's bullet on Aug. 6, 2003, was one of two Windham County residents who was killed in Iraq. The other was Mark Dooley, a member of the Wilmington Police Department, who was 27 when he was killed by an IED while riding in an armored vehicle on Sept. 19, 2005.

On Aug. 10, Gilbert's life was remembered at the VFW by hundreds of people at a ceremony commemorating the 10 years since his death.

Twice before, the monument in honor of Kyle Gilbert was defaced, but Haselton said the flag theft seemed downright mean, especially in light of the recent remembrance. The flagpole and the flag itself was originally paid for by the VFW and later given to the town. Haselton was pretty sure the flag is the original that was donated to the town when the flagpole was erected.

"When you work with veterans and know what they went through for this country and for our freedom and then you see something like this, well, it's devastating. If whoever did this could sit down with some of these guys and hear their stories, perhaps they would have a different outlook."

Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland sad he was saddened by the news.

"It's deeply disappointing and disrespectful that an American flag was defaced through an act of vandalism," he said.

"I think that's terrible," said Pat DeAngelo, who was a member of the Selectboard when the dedication of the bridge and the acceptance of the flagpole came before the town. "What the hell is wrong with people? Kyle's family has suffered enough."

The dedication of the bridge and the wording of the memorial caused a flap in town, but eventually the wording was agreed upon and the board voted unanimously to commemorate the bridge in Gilbert's honor. An appeal went out to fund the memorial, eventually raising $10,000 in donations from the community and around the country.

On Veterans Day 2004, the bridge was dedicated. The memorial reads "Brattleboro remembers all the brave men and women who served our country or made the supreme sacrifice in Iraq."

Above those words is the inscription "As Kyle said, 'Just don't forget me."

Carignan said he was personally offended by the action.

"People are generally entitled to free speech and can do whatever they want, but infringing on other people's rights or destroying other people's property crosses the line."

Carignan said if a perpetrator is ever apprehended, he or she could be charged with vandalism, larceny, unlawful mischief, arson and even manufacturing an explosive device.

"This is an ongoing investigation," said Carignan. "We are in the process of looking at cameras in the area on buildings downtown to see if any of them cover that area."

Anyone who might have information related to the theft or the burning of the flag is urged to call the Brattleboro Police Department at 802-257-7946.

Bob Audette can be reached at, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.


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