Commentary Series

How quickly we forget. Just short of four decades ago Vermont policymakers decided that a competitive healthcare system had not lowered healthcare costs, but was, in fact, driving costs up, as hospitals vied for more expensive technology and market share. The relationship between our thirteen community hospitals and our tertiary-care hospitals – then Fletcher Allen and Dartmouth – were tortured and riddled with expense.

Krupp: New Recycling Law

Jun 22, 2017

Landfill disposal of recyclables like glass, paper and plastic milk jugs – fully half the trash discarded by Vermont residents and businesses – is banned by Vermont’ New Recycling law.

I’ve often wondered about the standards we expect political candidates to meet. Not the formal requirements of age, citizenship, or length of residence; but the intangibles – a kind of “litmus test” of qualities that candidates must pass before we entrust them with public office.

When Governor Phil Scott made his last minute Hail Mary pass to the legislature with a proposal to move local teachers’ insurance to the state level, his staff claimed that a statewide insurance contract would save $26 million that the state would use to reduce 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 attended my first gay pride festival in 1973, a mere four years after disenfranchised drag queens rioted against police harassment at New York’s Stonewall Inn.

As more tapes from President Richard Nixon’s oval office conversations have been released, the transcripts make for some compelling reading.

Amazon’s planned purchase of high end grocery chain Whole Foods introduces a lot of questions - many of them around technology, delivery, and the future of retail. It’s also a time to consider what, exactly, the Whole Foods value proposition is. After all, we’re told that Whole Foods seeks the finest organic food, but not all their customers have been fully satisfied with what they get in return for their dollars.

While the announcement of new Cuba policy changes has been rumored for months, it looks like the President’s newly announced directive may have a significant impact on the ability of United States citizens to travel, trade or generally engage with our Cuban neighbors.

Artwork by Joanna Bodenweber

On Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. VPR hosted a new, streamlined version of the annual Commentator Brunch at our recently expanded Colchester facility on the theme: SLEUTH! UNCOVERING THE TRUTH!

When I was in the third grade, kids in my class were spreading a rumor. It was 1968, Hubert Humphrey was running against Richard Nixon – and in Massachusetts, where a Nixon Presidency was widely feared, my classmates insisted if Nixon got elected, we would have to go to school on Saturdays.

Superlatives are rare.  The biggest, the best, the oldest – they are unique: there’s only one “biggest.”   Superlatives are particularly noteworthy when they relate to something important, something people value, and perhaps collect, like books.  

My husband celebrated his own first Father's Day after welcoming our son three years ago. By this time next year, he'll have double the pleasure on his big day since I’m now pregnant with a little girl.

In 1964, a fifteen-year-old boy named Gerald Gault was arrested after he and a friend made a lewd phone call to their neighbor. Over the next few weeks, Gault was repeatedly interrogated by police, adjudicated before a judge twice in chambers, and was subsequently committed to an Arizona juvenile detention facility until his twenty-first birthday.

Never mind that the snows had melted and the first green spears of new growth had pushed up to announce spring’s arrival. For weeks the entire state of Vermont had been held in the messy grip of an extended cold and rainy season.

Norwich Vt. is known for its architecture, especially Federal and Greek Revival - but Mid-Century Modern, not so much.

Americans are anxious. In the wake of two recent terrorist attacks in Europe and a contentious presidential election, stress levels are understandably high. In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association found that the current political climate is a “very or somewhat significant source of stress" for a majority of Americans.

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

Coffin: 1917

Jun 9, 2017

 From a wall in my Montpelier home, the kindly oval-framed faces of two great-grandparents and their two sons have watched me down the years.

From as early as I can remember, I’ve been an opera buff. I remember sitting in the orchestra section at the Old Metropolitan Opera House on 39th and Broadway and hearing the great mid-century singers. My great-grandmother Selma was having a platonic affair with Caruso. My Aunt Rose hung out with the greats of the time: Gueden, Schwarzkopf, Kunz, and Jerome Hines. My fervid childish imagination lit up at the live passion, violence, and madness on stage that made the comics littering Al Melendy’s barbershop in Morrisville seem pale by comparison.

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