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The coronavirus has upended the way we learn about candidates running for office. We’re limited in being able to talk to them directly. There are no crowds, which subtract from the energy. Most Vermonters are singularly focused on surviving; parsing through a candidate’s positions takes a se…

In the 1960s, the Canadian government inaugurated a monthly quota system for its dairy farmers and today those farmers say that if it weren’t for the supply management system the dairy industry in Canada would not exist.

When campaigning on the issues does not work for a candidate, step two is to discredit the opposition. That is the step Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe has taken with Molly Gray, his most serious rival in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

In 2008, Audubon Vermont and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation teamed up to create a program called “Foresters for the Birds.” The idea of this program was that, while there is a lot to love about Vermont’s forests – from the way they make our state so beautiful, clean …

In mid-July the state of Vermont issued the guidance our school boards were to follow as they cobbled together plans to start the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance was not prescriptive; like the flippers on a pin ball machine, it was meant to keep things centered, with no one going off kil…

Sophie Zdatny was named chancellor of the Vermont State College system on Monday. She has been in the role as in interim chancellor since April. She had been VSC’s general counsel and is regarded as someone who is a talented collaborator, a strong negotiator and someone committed to a sound …

Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) is a striking tree: golden, metallic bark shines among the greys and browns of other trees. The cousin of our most-identifiable tree, the white or “paper” birch (Betula papyrifera), yellow birch has many of the same attributes: bark with little horizontal…

The nation’s hospitals [including Vermont’s] suffered grievously during the pandemic as its services were shut down, but the patients that fill their beds and line up for their scheduled visits apparently did not suffer, raising questions about whether the health care system we’ve built is n…

Vermont legislators are pushing a package of police reform measures intended to be passed by this Friday, the date being set for adjournment until August when legislators address the FY2021 budget.

If the average Vermonter were to have been asked a week ago whether a business had the right to fire an employee for being gay or transgender, most would have answered no, thinking the issue had been settled long ago. But until Monday, it was legal in more than half the states to fire worker…

Talk about a gift. Talk about an idea that should be emulated by others who have the means. Talk about a proposal that could make a life long difference to those involved, and to Vermont as a whole.

As the controversy swirls about how to reform the nation’s police forces, including Vermont’s, with a growing chorus favoring a cut in police budgets, it’s worth noting that on a per capita basis the United States employs about 35 percent fewer police officers than other nation’s worldwide.

As the weather gets warmer, Vermonters are comforted by the simple pleasures of summer, among them, fun with friends at Vermont country fairs and festivals. My own family has enjoyed fairs all over the state year after year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused this summer’s fairs and festival…

It’s being called the “Covid-slide.” It began mid-March when the schools were shut down and teachers and their students were sent home and expected to keep the learning process alive and well remotely.

I’ve always loved Vermont’s state motto: Freedom and Unity. We Vermonters take our freedom and independence seriously. It gives us the kind of true grit required to withstand snowstorms in October and May. But our independence has never been challenged like it is being challenged now. In the…

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The political picture is a lot less clear than most people believe, and that applies to Vermont as well as it does nationally, the reason being that the havoc wreaked by Covid-19 is not fully understood and voters are, by nature, fickle. States are just now budgeting for the next year and wh…

College presidents are sitting on the edges of their financial seats fervently hoping the students already enrolled will return and that today’s high school seniors will commit to their schools in numbers sufficient to keep them solvent. In a state like Vermont, it’s a billion dollar-plus worry.

There is no hiding from Covid-19. This virus has no borders and travels at will, menacing people and businesses in every sector of society. The pandemic threatens agriculture and with it our food security, as farmers work to produce the food on our tables. Our farmers, producers and those ma…

Vermont State College Chancellor Jeb Spauding resigned his position Wednesday. Karen Scolforo, president of Castleton University, resigned Thursday. Northern Vermont University President Elaine Collins is a finalist for a job in her home state of Michigan. To call the exodus a challenge to t…

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, needs to tender his resignation. Mr. Spaulding is not the leader the state college system needs to weather the crisis before it. At this point he is more of a liablity than an asset.

The protesters came, as expected. The affected communities rose up in anger, as expected. The people whose jobs would be affected, expressed their indignation, as expected. And the students, whose futures were made uncertain, let it be known they were none too happy, also expected.

It seems as if Vermont has struggled with tight budgets since the dawn of time. Every legislative session begins with the affordability sermon and every year we pat ourselves on the back for how flinty we are with a buck, knowing deep down we’ve not been tested, that we’ve not had to choose …

For most of the last month — it seems like years — there has been a single national narrative, which has been the COVID-19 pandemic and its almost biblical wave of destruction, both in loss of life and loss of economic health, of which we’re reminded each passing minute. As humans, we’re not…

Perhaps no system has experienced more fundamental disruption during the pandemic than health care. Hospitals have focused almost every shred of their capacity preparing for, or dealing with the coronavirus, and the cost to the system has been horrific. Revenue has dried up and costs have so…

Nothing is more dispiriting to a dairy farmer than dumping the day’s work into the manure pit, which is happening in Vermont and throughout the nation. The pandemic has had a cascading effect on dairy farmers, disrupting their supply channels and destroying the markets. They dump their milk …

In every crisis there is a point when the leader says to those being managed, “Don’t tell me why it can’t be done, tell me how it will be done, and it would be best if it happened yesterday.”

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It was terrific to see so many young people engaged in the workings of government this week. The 2019 class of Eagle Scouts were honored for their accomplishments with a House resolution. Congratulations to all the Eagle Scouts for their accomplishments and to their families, Scoutmasters, m…

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The life of S.23 – an act relating to increasing the minimum wage continued last week. The Governor vetoed the bill on Monday. He cited in his veto message his concerns with a mandated increase to be projected job losses, decreased employee hours and increased costs of good and services. The…

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It’s no secret that like many northeastern states Vermont faces difficult demographic challenges. In a state with an aging population, we’ll need more younger workers in the coming years to have a healthy tax base and to provide the services many older Vermonters rely upon.

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Vermonters value our strong communities. We celebrate the good times with cheers and hugs, and we lend a helping hand when times are tough. Taking care of our neighbors – that’s what we do. During a power outage, we check in on our neighbors. After a heavy snow, we help shovel stoops and pus…

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If you visit the Statehouse this time of year you won’t see many long debates in the House chamber. Instead, House committees are deep in the work of developing and refining proposals, some of which will make it to stage where those bills are voted on by the full body. About 1250 ideas in th…

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The hot topic of this past week was Paid Family Leave. The Governor had vetoed the bill and it was again take up in the House with hopes of overriding his veto. After much discussion and debate it was voted on again. The two thirds majority needed was not attained and the bill did not become…

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On Tuesday, voters in Iowa will traipse to their individual caucuses to give the nation its first report on who is leading among the Democrats running for the presidential nomination. Depending on the poll, the lead has bounced from Pete Buttigieg, to Elizabeth Warren to Bernie Sanders and n…

At VTrans, we know how much you count on us to keep Vermont’s roadways safe for travel during winter weather and storms. This time of year, you’ll see our fleet of 268 plow trucks out in full force, plowing millions of miles of roads and highways and doing our part to keep you moving.

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I am a civil engineer, a matter of considerable personal pride. And when I think about some of the significant challenges that Vermonters have met and overcome, many of the most impressive that come to mind (or at least the mind of a civil engineer) are feats in which engineering had a centr…

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Last week, Vermonters from all corners of the state returned to the State House for the 2020 legislative session. The Speaker kicked off the first day with her vision to create an economy that works for everyone, not just a select few. Vermont faces its share of challenges and opportunities.…

We stare at our children and envy their lightness of being, like snowflakes swept along the hard edge of winter’s first breath. They are spared the cares that shadow their parent’s lives. Their Christmas orbits are drawn with the truest of lines; you are their center, and they yours.

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We’ve had a busy and productive year to cap off the decade. I couldn’t be more grateful to our town staff, who work tirelessly to deliver the services and amenities we expect of Milton. Team morale is strong and we’re all ready for another exciting year of working with friends.

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One of the public policy issues of our time is looking ahead to see how we can rejigger our educational system to adjust to the expected impact automation will have on the workforce. The warning is that if we don’t adjust we will run headlong into a future of greater income inequality, less …

Ever since the passage of Act 60 in 1997 and Act 68 in 2003, Vermonters have been perpetually frustrated with our education financing system. And for good reasons. Vermont has the second highest property tax burden in the nation. Marry that with a declining student population and wild inequa…

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The topic of health care consolidation – or, the coming together of hospitals, doctors and other types of providers – has been in the news quite a bit recently. In fact, early last month, the Health Reform Oversight Committee of the Vermont Legislature heard from a Stanford University econom…

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Winter is coming. But we’re not letting these last fall days go unappreciated.