Commentary Series

Mares: March For Life

Mar 28, 2018

As both a former high school history teacher and a gun owner, I’d been trying to decide how the Parkland school tragedy last month might be transformed into a "teachable moment."

Shelburne Museum

The album quilt craze is thought to have emerged in the mid-Atlantic in the early 1840s, making its way to northern New England within a decade. Marked with the names of family and friends, these were keepsakes meant for hope chests that commemorated major life events and reminded their owners of heritage and history.

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Kwai Nedobak! Nd'elewizi Vera Longtoe Sheehan du Elnu Wôbanaki – that translates into English as: Hello my friends! My name is Vera Longtoe Sheehan, and I’m a citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe.

My daughter’s in seventh grade - the age of pre-algebra, dances, and crushes. Once it was also the age of many newlyweds and it startles me to realize that in New Hampshire, legally speaking, it still can be.

Sue Pitiger / Norwich Historical Society

On the first anniversary of the Women’s March, Norwich residents woke to find a giant pink pussy hat atop the welcome sign at the entrance to town.

Fleming Museum of Art / University of Vermont

Making useful items from fiber is an ancient skill employed by both men and women throughout history.

In early America, hand-weaving was a male occupation but women took it up in the eighteenth century, and continued until the 1820s, when consumer preference turned to machine-woven products.

Mark Kastel is the co-director of the organic advocacy non-profit, Cornucopia, and Mark says we’re seeing the rise of two definitions of organic.

Recently, I attended a local forum on School Safety put on by representatives Laura Sibilia and John Gannon. Its purpose was for the legislators to get a sense of how their constituents felt about pending gun legislation.

The dreaded Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Orange County – an invasive pest that has the potential to kill most or all of the estimated 32 million ash trees in Vermont.

Craven: Student Activism

Mar 20, 2018

The sudden burgeoning of high school-driven youth activism, focused on issues of gun violence, reminds me of the 1963 Birmingham Alabama Children’s Crusade, which changed the course of history and moved President Kennedy to take a dramatic stand against racial segregation – in Alabama and elsewhere - which had until then stubbornly refused to yield.

John Philip Hagan / Bryan Memorial Gallery

For the last few weeks, the community of Jeffersonville has been playing host to a group of Russian painters, and their presence in our midst has been a form of painterly détente.

When I first ran for Secretary of State in 1997, I was new to politics and many people offered me advice.

I am a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association with a healthy distrust of our government, and I was as heart-broken as anyone to learn how one young man turned predator and hunted down and murdered fellow human beings – most of them children not unlike my own.

Federal tax changes could seriously affect Vermont’s nonprofit organizations that rely on contributions to deliver mission-related services. With the new legislation enacted in December, taxpayers can now choose a doubled standard deduction or can elect to itemize their charitable contributions up to sixty percent of their adjusted gross income.

“Build it and they will come” is the oft-misquoted meme from the classic movie Field of Dreams. And in the case of the proposal by CoreCivic, a private prison firm, to build and lease back to the State a 925-bed prison in Franklin County, this meme embodies the worst fears of the corrections reform movement.

Before it was invented in a Vermont legislative committee room in the spring of 2000, the concept of Civil unions didn’t exist anywhere in the world.

Community members hold signs in favor of gun legislation in Brattleboro, Vt.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Historically young people haven’t had the best reputation: Teens have often been characterized as too busy texting and tweeting to be aware of or to engage in current events.

On his way to a National Ballet performance of Sleeping Beauty, a young boy heard its plotline for the very first time: A man approaches a sleeping woman he has never before met and kisses her. Never schooled on Disney, and allowed to defy gender stereotypes to follow his love for ballet, this boy asked his mother, “Isn't that sexual harassment?”

When you told your mom you loved her
before you caught the bus this morning
you meant it in the way a teenager means it
when they kiss their mother on the cheek,
cereal on their breath,
backpack on their shoulder,
head in a million places.

At least 30 years ago, when a student brought a gun into the middle school where I was teaching, I realized with a shock how vulnerable we were.