Having spent a lot of time traveling the country, I believe Vermont’s political system is the most democratic of any of the 50 states — a state where each Vermonter really does have a say in what goes on around them. We are far from perfect, but we are closer to perfect than anyone else.

It’s National Mentoring Month, so, it is a good time to ask the question, “Why am I a mentor?” That is a question I have been asked many times by folks who know that my day job as superintendent serving the Twinfield Union and Cabot schools already involves me deeply in the work each school …

Two years ago, the Legislature created a six-member commission to assess the 50 years of experience with Vermont’s Land Use Control Act and “assess, to the extent feasible, the positive and negative outcomes of Act 250’s implementation from 1970 to 2017.” The commission was charged with deve…

Personally, I feel compelled to respond to the “editorial” of the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus stating why Bernie Sanders “should not” run for president in 2020, and it is an editorial against Bernie Sanders. All that is missing is who the candidate is whom the newspaper is supporting by “tr…

There have been many commentaries recently about what is happening to Earth caused by global warming. Most of the commentaries focus on what needs to be done about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and include suggestions such as putting a carbon tax on fossil fuels, moving to renewable …

A comfort zone is described as a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. I don’t get out much. As a result, it is fair to say that my personal comfort zone has shrun…

We all remember the tin woodsman and the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz,” right?: One lamented that he had no heart; the other that he had no brain. Each had the wisdom, however, to acknowledge the deficit and wish for improvement.

Rather than being the expert builder he proclaims himself to be, the president is once again showing that he’s in the demolition business and he’s the wrecking ball. He’s brutally punishing innocent folks because he can’t get his way with his wall. He’s an expert in inflicting pain and suffe…

Now that a legislative committee has come forward with recommendations for changes to Vermont’s storied environmental legislation (known to most by its bill number from 1969, Act 250), I thought it would be useful to review the recent work of the District 5 Environmental Commission, which I chair.

The federal government shutdown is absurd. Consider this analogy: if President Trump was denied a permit to expand one of his hotel resorts, would he then decide to close the existing hotel? Of course not, but that is what he is doing with the federal government. President Trump is just one …

Generally, right about now, we list out the expectations we have of ourselves for the coming year — the fresh start we so crave. It’s what drives Catholics to confession and rock stars to rehab. The symbolic purge of all that’s bad in us, creating space for new, enlightened ideas, diets, hab…

During Thanksgiving, I was hanging out with a couple of millennials who happen to share my name. It seemed, whenever a question came up in a conversation or there was a need to confirm a fact, one of these guys would quickly look up information on his smart phone.

Last Tuesday’s the day I talked to a deer. Yes, I did. It started back at our store when we got a call from the local church for some balsam boughs for its holiday services. It was cold, frigid, when I activated the glow plugs on th’old Kubota and after a couple attempts, she sputtered to li…

Imagine you’re being wheeled into surgery when you pass your doctor talking to the anesthesiologist. “The trouble with this hospital,” he says as he tosses your chart aside, “is we’re preoccupied with medical care. We spend all our time trying to make sick people better.”

The calendar may say December, but with the cold winds blowing and the snowdrifts piling up, it feels like we’re much later into winter. Vermonters typically take one of three different approaches to winter. Some (usually retired) Vermonters go the "snowbird" approach, spending the winter in…

General Mattis, Trump, Mattis Quits, political cartoon

I was appalled to read a commentary by John McClaughry in the Dec. 7 edition of the Manchester Journal called “That really scary climate report.” Appalled because after accurately quoting the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment report, he falsely stated that there is a “debate” as …

Anxiously lurching up the icy driveway after a month away, our first impression was that losing almost 100 degrees in transition was not only palpable but might take some serious adjustment. And even though we’d regularly monitored the frigid Vermont November while traveling, the house itsel…

In my 30-plus years of service to Barre Town, residents have known me to be an elected official who has always looked out for Barre Town’s best interests. While I have been a staunch opponent of Act 46 from the beginning, at this point, my research and efforts relative to Act 46 indicate the…

This time of year can be very stressful. Last weekend, I decided to be proactive with my holiday anxiety and research the calming effects of meditation. On Saturday morning, I sat down with a newly purchased “Meditation for Dummies” book to learn how to meditate.

Have you ever noticed that the loudest voice in the room is — frequently enough — emerging from someone so convinced of their own intellect that it leaves you speculating that maybe they’re incapable of feeling embarrassment? Well, it turns out that they very well may not be, because they’re…

Peter Berger’s recent commentary on the subject of violence in this country touched briefly on the changes in our society that have coincided with the rise in these occurrences. I believe this country needs to have a serious discussion on the subject of culture.

One thing you can usually plan on here in our state of Vermont is that Murphy guy; you know, of “If anything can go wrong, it will” fame.

The holiday season has arrived and brings not only celebrations, presents and decorations but also concerns for pet safety. There are many dangers to be aware of as you begin to celebrate this year. These includes specific types of plants, certain foods and even decorations.

I was talking to a friend about the holidays, and he commented that this time of year makes him think of two things: lots of food and an uncle who can’t resist telling painful puns at family gatherings. “I’ll bet you could write a column about food and bad puns,” he suggested. “In fact, I ch…

On Oct. 23, Moody’s Investors Service announced that it was downgrading Vermont’s general obligation bond rating from Aaa to Aa1, citing demographic concerns along with the state’s unfunded pension obligations.

Most Vermonters would agree that the varied seasons are an essential backdrop to the quality of life in Vermont: the breathtaking colors of our forests in the fall, the winter snows that let us ski, sled and warm up in front of the fire, maple syrup and muddy roads in the spring and cooling …

Vermont is known as a progressive safe haven. However, some of our citizens struggle to connect personal experience to this sentiment.

Vermont is known as a progressive safe haven. However, some of our citizens struggle to connect personal experience to this sentiment.

Our cherished small town way of life is going to pot and ironically, pot might be able to save it. There are a number of meetings across the state asking for input on what to do with revenues from the legal taxation of cannabis.

Rick Santorum has apparently emerged for the holidays, just in time to shame the greedy scientists he claims are making money on their estimated 97-percent agreement that climate change is not just real but an exponentially growing danger to the environment, our health and the long range pro…

George Conway, Kellyanne Conway, Trump criticism, political cartoon

The autumn harvest is complete and the season for giving thanks is here. Thanksgiving offers time for family and friends to reconnect, pause and enjoy a few hours together over a meal. As we picture our nation’s fields, forests and barns and the people who work within them, we thank our Verm…

My dad died last month at the age of 88. I couldn’t possibly convey what an amazing person he was in an 800-word column, so today I thought I would write about just one of the many things I learned from him. My dad taught me the importance of being able to laugh at yourself.

Boy, do dogs ever have it made — no bills to pay, cards to write, beds to make — wait a dog-gone minute. They do make beds. In fact, they’re quite precise about that process. It’s not that they’re particular about location — the living room rug or hard maple floor, cold porch or even a dog-l…

In his letter titled “Blame goes to Feinstein,” Gesualdo Schneider claims that “equal dignity of all humans is to be found in the Judeo-Christian understanding” … “because we are all made in the image of God.” He also believes that “it is only in societies that have a basis in Judeo-Christia…

As in all elections, there were many winners and losers last Tuesday – but one of the biggest winners in Vermont was the environment.

In November 2016, we listened via an intermittent cellphone connection in stupefied horror as the election returns half a world away confirmed fears we didn’t know enough to have until it was too late. We were at an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand where one of the coolest things we’v…

A few weeks ago, President Trump unveiled his long-promised plan for lowering prescription drug prices. It has two main features, relating to Medicare Part B. The first part responds to a real problem and is a useful solution. The second part offers a Trump solution that promises to cripple …

Recently Betsy and I paid a visit to friends who live in Ely, over on the easternmost edge of Vermont. In spite of several prior days of “nor’easter” weather reports, I deemed it safe to travel there even with summer tires ... “after all, we’re hardly through foliage season,” I thought.

One of my favorite parts about living in Vermont is our ability to defy description, particularly in a time where it has become acceptable in our country to separate and label entire groups of people, placing them in boxes based on beliefs, actions or appearance.