Commentary Series

It was a warm April afternoon in nineteen ninety nine when I first heard about the Columbine massacre in which two Columbine shooters killed thirteen before taking their own lives. I was about to teach a yoga class and my yoga training hadn’t prepared me for how to respond to an event like this. So my students and I simply sat on our mats and talked.

Recently, The Washington Post published an Op Ed piece by Alexander Pyron, an evolutionary biologist at George Washington University, titled “We Don’t Need To Save Endangered Species.” The author argued that extinction is both natural and unimportant and that humans should take care of themselves, trusting Earth to correct any arrogant mistakes over deep time.

Recent news about sexual harassment and violence have lit up every point in the political heavens. The most discussed stories touch mainstream Democrats, like Harvey Weinstein; conservatives like Roger Ailes; left-liberals, like Al Franken and John Conyers; and nominally Republican President Donald Trump, himself.

Today, Gov. Phil Scott convenes an Education Summit to address “the crisis of affordability and how it impacts the opportunities we are able to provide our children.” In his letter announcing the Summit to education leaders, the governor said that he wants greater long-term cost containment in the public school system.

Galway Kinnell died at his home in Sheffield in 2014, at the age of 87. His many admirers mourned the loss, but also celebrated the poet who once said his job was “to figure out what’s happening within oneself, to figure out the connection between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a lasting shape.”

After the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 26 dead and many wounded, many of us had the same thought: of all places for this to happen – a church, and in the middle of a worship service. One might think a church would provide some shelter from such things.

The late attorney Bob Gensburg was a tireless champion against injustice, even when it was difficult and unpopular.

I want to begin by saying I was a former employee of Time-Warner and I’m not a fan of big media mergers. While I personally had a good experience at CNN, big media has become so big, it’s just scary.

William Mayer, pre-eminent American composer and some-time Vermonter, has died. Born in 1925, Mayer was a Phi Beta Kappa Yale graduate, and he studied composition at Juilliard and the Mannes School of Music.

Today, legislation is under consideration in Washington that would, by most accounts, amount to a massive transfer of wealth from middle class Americans to large corporations and the super rich.

I recently attended a gala celebrating Holton Home, a senior residence in Brattleboro, that’s been providing care for elders since it was chartered as The Brattleboro Home for the Aged and Disabled in eighteen ninety-two.

Holiday dinners are not what they used to be for my family. They’re smaller and quieter. Parents and grandparents on both sides of the family are long gone, and Liz and I are now the senior generation.

Frederic Silberman. / Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Growing up in a working-class family in Chicago, I did not experience a lot of culture - but a school trip to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater changed my life.

Discussions about the proposed Federal tax bill have focused almost exclusively on political winners and losers. But I think we should be debating larger questions like whether we should add $150 billion to the deficit each year, especially given the low unemployment rate.

Every year, about 4,000 people in Vermont turn 65 - roughly the population of Randolph – contributing to a nearly one-to-one ratio between young and older Vermonters.

One recent night I was late for a concert. But within minutes of my arrival in the hall, an unexpected harmony of words and melody startled me and brought tears to my eyes.

As the nation once again celebrates Thanksgiving, the annual question of what it really mean to be thankful reappears. Miles Anton of Brattleboro shares his perspective on what the purpose of Thanksgiving.

On the eve of a holiday full of tradition, Kiran Waqar of South Burlington reflects on what it means to be thankful in her family and how they've crafted their own traditions.


For the young and the agile, winter in Vermont means heading to the ski slopes or crisscrossing white fields, donning snowshoes or silver skates. But for many older Vermonters or anyone with mobility problems, winter can be more of a challenge than a game. Homes are shuttered, life moves indoors and social connections go dormant.

Women are speaking out and things are changing. Much of this shift can be traced to New York Times and New Yorker allegations that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein acted for decades as a serial sexual predator. More than sixty women have now spoken publicly about Weinstein’s transgressions against them, saying, “me, too.”

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