Commentary Series

We recently harvested our first-ever crop of sour cherries, which I figure took about ten years and four hours to produce. We planted and nurtured the tree for a decade, and this was the first time there were enough cherries to pick. With ladders and buckets, it took us most of an hour to pluck the cherries by ones and twos.

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

It’s obvious that Calvin Coolidge loved his hometown, the tiny village of Plymouth Notch. Even after he was President, he returned there whenever he could, went fishing as any country lad might, and did farm chores wearing his grandfather’s coarse homespun farmer’s smock.

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. 

Among June’s Supreme Court releases was a short per curium ruling in Hernández v. Mesa. It didn’t get much coverage – the Justices basically sent everything back to the lower court. But, the case itself raised some of the most controversial questions of the term … and the Court’s attempt to avoid answering them spoke volumes.

Implicit or unconscious bias is increasingly used to explain and address racist behavior in this country, like the disproportionate use of deadly physical force against Blacks by the police. In Vermont, Act 147 establishes deadlines for completing fair and impartial policing initiatives, and the Legislature is seeking funds to implement its own training on implicit bias.

My state representative Lee Oxenham recently asked me to sign a petition calling on the town select board to commit to the goals of the Paris Climate Accords. I gave it a quick look.

With all the talk in the news today about alternative facts and untrue statements, I’ve been reminded that before Google and Wikipedia, the best source of accurate information was usually the local reference librarian. And I’ve been wondering what librarians might say was the oddest question they’d ever been asked.

The kerfuffle between the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and Vermont’s Secretary of State has me thinking about privacy, secrecy and transparency.

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

The drive took me about ten miles west of St. Albans, through the pastoral countryside of Fairfield, surrounded by rolling fields of corn, lush pastureland, red barns and distant mountains.

This month, Vermont joined forty-three other states and the District of Columbia in defying a federal government request for personal data on millions of American voters. Republican and Democratic election officials from across the country are saying ‘no’ to an order that would turn over birthdays, partial social security numbers, voter history, and much more.

When Eric suffered a painful hockey injury during high school, the doctor prescribed painkillers. This started a life-long addiction that led to his death last year, just five months after marrying his long-time girl-friend.

Charlie Hohn

The flow from the July 1st downpour had jumped two streambeds and overwhelmed two culverts, trisecting Thetford’s Five Corners Road into three unequal lengths, scouring out a pair of nearly forty-foot wide spillways into the woods. It had left skirts of debris fixed to tree trunks and draped from low limbs, some more than a foot above the ground.

VPR commentator Kesha Ram, seen here at VPR's Colchester studios in 2016.
Meg Malone / VPR/file

I recently spoke with a young woman who fled from Syria with her parents. She's struggling with her identity in a family that straddles two countries that can often feel worlds apart. And the escalating political rhetoric hasn't helped; her father's been called a "terrorist" more than once as he tries to earn money for his family.

I’ve been watching the national effort to politicize Burlington College’s demise and am saddened by the venality of our politics and our dangerous ignorance of non-profit governance. It’s endemic in Vermont, where too many of our major non-profits have limped through a decade or two of un-reviewed leadership, mission decay, and disconnection from constituents because their boards have no idea what the obligations and liabilities of board members are or even what board service means.

Anyone who spends time in the woods knows that the tick check has become routine - as habitual as applying sunscreen or buckling up a seatbelt.

The West River Modified Union Education District - comprised of Brookline, Jamaica, Newfane, Townshend and Windham - has just had its first organizational meeting.

Janet and Jay Bailey, of Fair Winds Farm in Brattleboro, have operated a diversified horse-powered family farm for more than 40 years. The farm’s previous owner had donated the land to Earthbridge Community Land Trust, who later leased the land to the Baileys. In 2011, looking toward aging but wanting to ensure this land continue to be farmed, they formed an untraditional partnership.

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.

Mares: Bees And Farming

Jun 30, 2017

The facts of Vermont beekeeping are quickly told: beekeepers number between eight hundred and one thousand; annual honey production from two to three hundred thousand pounds of honey, with a retail value of two million dollars.

Craven: Strawberry Time

Jun 30, 2017

I treat each year’s strawberry season as a special holiday. The dates change according to the weather, but it lasts longer than even Hanukkah or the 12 days of Christmas - though not much longer.

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