In an unprecedented year, perhaps it’s only natural that we have an unprecedented election—the first in our lifetimes to occur during a global pandemic, and one in which an astounding number of votes will be cast after being mailed to voters. While many of us are used to staying up late to l…

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Commentary by Gov. Madeleine Kunin, Jen Kimmich (co-founder and CEO of the Alchemist Brewery), Deborah Markowitz (former Vermont Secretary of State and Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources), Melinda Moulton (CEO, Main Street Landing), Mary Powell (former CEO, Green Mountain Power), a…

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Many of us have had the experience of walking through the woods, when suddenly the raucous sounds and green-tinted light of a deciduous forest becomes dark and quiet. If this has happened to you, you have already had the unique experience of entering a hemlock forest.

Whether you realize it or not, the lives of Vermonters are massively enriched by forests, both aesthetically (we are the Green Mountain State, after all, and the “green” on the mountains are forests), economically and culturally (through our working landscape and our forest-based recreation …

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“Public opinion in this country is everything.” - Lincoln

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University of Vermont students on Tuesday began their measured return to campus with more on their shoulders than the rigors of the classroom. They are being asked to do the right thing, to be responsible, to be safe so that their in-class learning can proceed and the university can resume a…

Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger can be excused for questioning the thoroughness of the University of Vermont’s plans to guard against a Covid-19 outbreak when the school’s 12,000 students return to school this month.

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.

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The Vermont Legislature has felt like a a huge compression chamber during the past few months. Bills in committees that would have taken weeks to craft, hear testimony on, and debate now follow the same process but in a much more focused and limited timeline. If this were a typical session w…

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…

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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 liability 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.”

March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day. As the nation celebrates the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women, we are fortunate to witness these achievements in many areas of our life. However, it is important to not lose sight of the discrimination which prevail…

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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…

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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Our current shared effort to clean up our waterways is just as significant both in its benefit for our state and its people and for the engineering challenge it poses.

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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.…

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The Vermont legislature returns in January with a long list of daunting challenges, all with potentially astronomical price tags for Vermonters, who are already some of the most highly taxed people in the United States.

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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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…

Sometimes it’s better not to have a plan. That would be the case for Sen. Elizabeth Warren who felt obligated to match the progressive’s ardor for Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All plan. She has made herself politically vulnerable when there was no need; she could have refrained and kept Mr. …

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The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (LCRCC) recognized Hazelett with its Business of the Year Award at the LCRCC 109th annual dinner on Oct. 24.

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“The state’s accountable care organization produced no evidence of results from some of the community health programs it invested in, according to an analysis from the state auditor’s office.”

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The most demanding job in state government is running the Agency of Human Services, which normally means it’s a one-time experience. Agreeing to serve in the position twice is usually a sign of being unemployable, or being a glutton for punishment.