Commentary Series

Adrian: Boldly Going

Feb 21, 2018

A couple of years ago, voters in Burlington overwhelmingly supported a local measure that would have restricted firearms in Burlington bars, required safe firearm storage within the city, and made it easier for police to confiscate guns in cases involving suspected domestic abuse. The legislature, controlled by a near supermajority of Democrats, failed to approve the special measure.

I recently happened upon a statement by a top Fox News exec that went something like this: In Olympics, let's focus on the winner of the race and not the race of the winner.

Levin: The Coyote Debate

Feb 20, 2018

Coyotes woke me up the other night with a serenade of the wildest kind echoing off the hills, a sound that makes me yearn for the passage of House Bill 636, which would make Vermont the only state besides California to ban coyote-hunting competitions.

Vogel: Impact Investing

Feb 19, 2018

Most of us have causes that we’re passionate about. In my case, I’m passionate about trying to eliminate homelessness and provide decent housing for low and moderate income families.

Kesha Ram, courtesy

In 1999, Portugal was the heroin capital of Europe, with fully one percent of the population addicted to hard drugs. But in 2001 they decriminalized all substances and spent a vast amount of their public money on treatment rather than drug enforcement.

It’s barely four months since the Las Vegas massacre, and already it’s all but forgotten. Now comes the Florida high school mass shooting and we must take steps to ensure it doesn’t become equally transitory.

Historian Kenneth Clark argued that, to survive, a civilization requires one thing above all: confidence. Confidence in itself; confidence in its culture and laws; confidence in the individual and collective capacities of its citizens to shape the future.

It’s such a joy to see the long list of Vermonters representing at the Olympic Games and fun to see the stories on so many athletes from Norwich. I grew up there with a generation of Olympic skiers and must be some sort of slacker.

Karin Friberg is pictured here mid-air at the Harris Hill Ski Jumping Competition in Brattleboro on Feb. 15, 2009.
Nancy Palmieri / Associated Press

All eyes are on Pyeongchang right now, but preparing athletes for elite contests begins locally.

Watts: Immigration

Feb 14, 2018

Early one morning last month - at five o’clock - 14 construction workers were arrested by immigration officials at a Colchester motel.

Facial recognition technology for chickens is not a completely ridiculous idea.

Okay, it is a completely ridiculous idea - but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad one.

It’s hard to imagine that Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Vermont author and ultra-respectable taste-setter in the Nineteen-Thirties and Forties, could become a figure of controversy, but that’s what’s happened.

Every year I’ve been Town Moderator, I’ve driven one hundred and twenty miles to Montpelier to attend a refresher course on Roberts Rules of Order.

Schubart: Depression

Feb 12, 2018

Seventy per cent of all Americans are taking some form of prescription medication, and ten per cent of them are on anti-depressants. Among women between 40 and 50, the number is twenty-five percent. In fact, antidepressant use has quadrupled in just the last thirty years.

In the winter of 1958 I was tending bar in Keene Valley, New York, in exchange for my supper and stocking the beer coolers for breakfast, when I heard the Olympic bobsled run near Lake Placid was looking for help.

In spite of the spending and doping scandals and political maneuvers, I love the Olympics. Mostly because as a kid, the Olympics helped me see what it takes to be a champion.

It seemed like an uncontroversial move when the Lebanon, New Hampshire, school board voted last fall to ban faculty, students, and members of the public from bringing firearms onto school property, into school vehicles, and to school events on any property in the city.

On snowy evening just before Thanksgiving, a meeting was held in Franklin, Vermont to discuss toxic pollution in Lake Carmi.

Recently, I was alarmed to hear that a middle school girl was being harassed by a teenage boy who leaned out of the window of a car to yell - "brown people don't belong in this country. Get out!" After it happened the second time, her father reached out to the community to help identify the offending teen. And I can easily see how he would be concerned for his daughter’s safety.

I have the penciled draft of a never-published short story written by my mother about the day in 1918 that her older sister, Evelyn, died from the Spanish flu.