KNN (RUTLAND, VT) — The story is an all too familiar one to Vermonters. Ask Cal Wilkerson, a 10th-generation Vermonter whose family has been maple sugaring for as long as he can remember.
“It’s always been a labor of love,” Mr Wilkerson tells KNN. “And I’ve been doing this since I was a little boy with my father and grandfather. But now I’m about to call it quits. And I’m not the only one. For the last two seasons, we come out to collect the sap, and more often than not we find that, well — as hard as this to believe — someone has removed the spiles, spilled all the sap out of the buckets, and has had intercourse with the trees! This is happening all over Rutland, and it’s destroying the sugaring business!”
Tommy LaFontaine, another Rutland sugarer, is more direct. “There’s no big mystery here. It’s those damn Syrian refugees. They destroyed our petting zoo by going after the animals, farmers have to lock up their livestock at night — especially the chicken coops — they stare at your kids, your little boys on the street like carnies, and now they’re destroying our maple syrup. I mean do we hire armed guards and get the trees tested for STDs? Who can afford to do that? Or do we just send ’em all back to where they came from and say enough is enough!”
Well, apparently enough was enough for pro-refugee mayor Christopher Louras, who was just voted out of office by Rutlanders angered over the Syrian refugee issue.
Louras contends that the tree “befouling,” as he calls it, is not linked to Syrians, and has been going on for years. He blames generations of uninhibited inbreeding among the French-Canadian population.
But his constituents saw it differently.