Charlotte Albright

Commentator

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.

Every time I hear someone use the word “dreamers” to define children brought to this country by undocumented parents, I think back to when the so-called D.R.E.A.M Act - which stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors – was first introduced in Congress in early August, 2001.

News 7 is a daily television show produced by journalism students at Lyndon State College which, when it officially merges with Johnson State College next July, will become Northern Vermont University.

As tropical storm Harvey ravaged parts of Texas and Louisiana, it again became obvious - to me, at least - that the forces of nature don’t give a fig about political affiliations.

In April of 1968, as I was graduating from boarding school near Baltimore, the city went up in flames, as protesters raged over the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I was only dimly aware of that turmoil.

Catamount Arts

Here’s something you don’t see at every farmer’s market: a guy driving a steamroller over a piece of paper big enough to fill a parking space. The paper is laid over a piece of intricately carved wood or linoleum, which has been inked, and the result is a big, bold, beautiful print.

I’m old enough to remember when digital learning meant using human digits to move a pencil around on a piece of paper.

When I first heard that Senator John McCain had undergone emergency surgery for a blood clot in his brain, I was really worried for him and his family. Those are not simple operations, no matter what the cause or prognosis. 

Governor Phil Scott’s proposal to create a statewide contract for teachers’ health care coverage landed with a thud in the State House last April. Lawmakers were furious that it came so late in the session. Opponents said the plan would kill collective bargaining and weaken local control; supporters said it would lower property taxes.

Every time I hear the word “leak,” as in “surreptitiously disclosing information,” I cringe. It’s not that I oppose the practice itself - as a former reporter, I occasionally relied on leaks to start stories, or get facts. But lately, “leaking” information has taken on a negative connotation it shouldn’t have.

I suspect James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a déjà vu moment for many baby boomers.

I’m staring one of those big fat numbers in the face. Forty-five. Forty-five years ago, I graduated from Bennington College with a degree in literature. But I remember graduation day as if it were yesterday. I covered lots of commencements over the years as a reporter, but I’ve never been to one quite like mine.

I know almost nothing about football, but I have noticed that when the going gets tough, a team huddles to figure out how to turn things around. And in today’s political arena, small huddles - neighborhood meetings - are popping up everywhere.

Never mind the robins; one of the first signs of spring in Vermont is the orange-breasted flagman - or flagwoman – as is increasingly common.

Vermont lawmakers are currently chewing over “an act relating to providing meals to health care providers at conferences.”

When I was a reporter covering the Upper Valley, I did a story about a controversy that erupted on the Norwich list serve. Issues often come to a boil on that email forum. This one, I thought, was amusing, yet it touched serious issues that can rile people up - like the environment and public safety.

Recently I heard a woman defend her support of our new president by declaring in an interview that jobs “trump everything.” It reminded me that long before President Donald Trump entered politics, I often used the word trump, with a lower case “t,” to mean override, as in “love trumps all,” or “my love for French fries trumps my New Year’s resolution to eat healthy foods.”

The world premiere coming into its final weekend at Northern Stage, in White River Junction, is called Trick or Treat, and it’s an emotional roller coaster ride. Playwright Jack Neary gives us a working class family trying to hold itself together in Lowell, Massachusetts. For years, they’ve been keeping dark secrets from each other, and from the rest of the town.

In this session of the legislature, lawmakers have the chance to help student journalism thrive in Vermont.

I understand, in theory, why the State Board of Education wants more watchdog power over independent schools that educate some students at state expense, if there are no public schools available in those communities. I also get why some private school parents are outraged. But not all the media coverage I’ve seen accurately explains the proposed rule changes.

Here in Vermont, we might scoff at the House Republicans for trying to muzzle their own ethics watchdog. But that would be hypocritical, because Vermont is one of only three states without an ethics commission of its own.

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