Picture to yourself, as a resident of downtown Montpelier, that the Onion River is an international border. You need a passport to go across to the rest of the city — as well, of course, to Berlin and Barre — and, on any of these crossings, your car might be searched, you questioned and that…

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, my family lived in a fourth-floor walkup a few blocks from the Capitol in Albany. I remember there was a gap of maybe a quarter of an inch between the linoleum flooring and the bottom of the wooden baseboards in the kitchen. I went in there one night to…

It is amazing that in the same week, it was science — not necessarily politics — that stole headlines: We took a photo (so to speak) of a black hole; and we found some distant human relatives.

In 2018, Seven Days ran a series of articles regarding nonprofit organizations. They did a great service explaining to Vermonters how large the Vermont nonprofit sector has become, their CEO salaries, etc. Unfortunately, I believe they may have missed an important story. They could have focu…

The Vermont Legislature is right to consider amending the state’s provision that ended slavery. Our Constitution should clarify that Vermont prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all its forms. But we should be careful precisely how we do it. The current proposals threaten to obscur…

This column is being written (and read) in New England, the least religious area of the United States, as per various recent studies. And Vermont is usually tied with Massachusetts or New Hampshire for first place. Not necessarily unrelated to this distinction is the fact that Vermont, New H…

If one hangs around motorcyclists for any length of time, you will eventually see one wearing a T-shirt that says: “If I have to explain, you’ll never understand.” This rather snarky expression embodies the frustration of a motorcyclist confronted by those who don’t ride and have little tole…

On Friday, March 15, images and video flowed in from around the world, Australia, the Pacific, Asia, Europe and Africa, as more than a million students in 120 countries walked out of school to strike for the climate. Thousands of scientists supported them, but the real driver was their reali…

It’s hard to know what to make of Pete Buttigieg.

I have had many conversations with hundreds of people, including local school leadership, in regard to the current state of education in Vermont. I have written many commentaries that have been published in newspapers throughout the state, have met with the governor in his office, and engage…

There is growing consensus that paid family and medical leave is a valuable program that benefits individuals, families and businesses alike. Generally, paid FML provides an individual with income replacement while away from work to bond with a new child, recover from a serious medical condi…

Vermont students flooded the State House last month to speak to legislators about the dire need to take bold action to address climate change. Their pleas and passion were welcomed by the many new climate champions who joined the Vermont Legislature this year. As the Trump administration sco…

There is an interesting policy discussion going on right now about attracting people to Vermont to fill our jobs and stimulate entrepreneur activities. It seems one can get paid a bonus to come to Vermont and work. And maybe that is all well and good. But there is a reality right on the hori…

Protecting the environment has too often become a partisan matter, to the detriment of both Vermont’s people and our wildlife. Birds do not belong to political parties and cannot vote, so they rely on us to ensure our elected leaders make the right decisions.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book in 2000 that focused on how little things can end up making a big difference. “The Tipping Point” explains how ideas spread like epidemics and which few elements need to come together to help an idea reach the point of critical mass, where its viral effect becom…

Twelve years ago, when I founded Vermont College of Fine Arts by creating a new nonprofit and raising the resources to save the historic campus here in Montpelier, three nationally acclaimed graduate arts programs and around 100 jobs, I was not only the newest college president in Vermont, b…

There are more than 89,000 chemicals on the market in the United States and, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was given the authority to regulate chemicals in 1976, only five have been banned. Compare this to the European Union, which has banned more than 1,300 chemicals,…

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For two weeks in January, I traveled south with my husband, Paul, and Dr. Francois Clemmons, a trip that was to become a journey through a part of my own life.

The creation of a universal paid family medical leave system in Vermont would give security to workers who require time off to recover from an illness or welcome a new child, and to businesses that rely on qualified and experienced employees. This is a common-sense, business-friendly solutio…

Back in Napoleon’s day, a philosopher who’d survived the French Revolution observed that “in a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve.” Like most proverbs, it doesn’t apply literally and absolutely in every circumstance. People subjugated by force of arms, for example, aren’t culpabl…

Several days ago, Donald Trump stunned the entire world, including Israel, by declaring the U.S. will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a piece of land just off the current northeast corner of Israel. This area, for thousands of years part of Syria, was occupied by Israe…

The House Health Care Committee has brought out a bill (H.524) that, at best, has nothing to recommend it and, at worst, would make Vermont’s health care situation worse for thousands of innocent people.

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During the first half of March on our way to Presidio, Texas, a border town on the Rio Grande, to do volunteer work, Juliana (henceforth “Ma”) and I made a side trip to Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. Black Gap is a hunting and fishing preserve, a home to deer, bighorn sheep, mountain li…

Bruno Bettelheim, the Jewish psychologist imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps during the 1930s, once observed that, after a few months of capricious and unpredictable cruelty, he no longer wondered why this or that guard acted the way he did. What became important, he said, was what he di…

Eleven years ago, my wife Jessica and I relocated to the state of Vermont. Although we didn’t grow up here, at heart, we have always been Vermonters. Throughout our lives and, more importantly, when it mattered most, we were able to recognize in the state of Vermont an appreciation of place …

The most recent climate reports tell us we have less than 12 years to radically reduce our carbon production or the storms, the droughts, the floods and the extreme weather events of climate change will make life unlivable for most of us. Fortunately, youth, at least, are focusing on what is…

Robyn St. Peter never thought college was in her future. She worked as a firefighter, an EMT and a special-education paraprofessional. She raised four children. Two years ago, while working as an LNA at UVM Medical Center, she realized that college could be part of her life after all.

Unlike many financial institutions, VSECU is not run by outside investors; we’re run by our members. This makes us uniquely positioned to respond to what Vermonters need from their lenders. That’s why we’ve put a strong focus on investing in renewable energy. Our members know that investing …

The State Auditor’s Office serves Vermonters by ensuring that state government and entities that receive taxpayer funds are operating effectively and efficiently. As such, I would like to clear the air about some misinformation regarding my office and my intention to audit Vermont’s Accounta…

Every election season, legislative candidates campaign on the issue of health-care access. Yet, once in office, our representatives quickly learn to keep silent on this fundamental issue. Vermonters deserve better.

Sunshine Week is an opportunity for us to reflect upon the foundational principle that a democracy hidden from the people is no democracy at all. Our government’s legitimacy is derived entirely from the consent of the governed. But how can the governed consent to that which is concealed from…

Poor Elijah went to the mall. He wasn’t a shopper himself, so he took up residence on one of those benches provided for men who don’t want to be there. He was doing his best to appear comfortable when he realized he’d perched opposite an Apple store, filled with row upon row of tables and co…

Freshman member of Congress Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, has become a lightening rod in a new form of character assassination and ad hominem argument: to the effect that any criticism of the policies of the State of Israel — or even of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee…

An editorial board with Gov. Phil Scott and Times Argus and Rutland Herald editors this week offered a stark reminder that most of the solutions to the state’s economic concerns hinge on luring and keeping more people in our state.

“You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.” — Carl …

A report issued this week by the Energy Action Network sheds light on how well we are doing as a state on our energy and emissions commitments.

Did you ever wonder why it’s so hard to say no when you’re offered a piece of cake, even though you know it isn’t good for you? Or how hard it is to save money for retirement? In both of those situations, our brains are working against our own better judgment in surprising ways.

New England is home to some of the first and finest colleges and universities in the nation. We are also the home of the nation’s first offshore wind farm. But this small, five-turbine, 30-megawatt facility off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island is just the beginning. Thanks to the lead…

There is new momentum for bringing electric cars, trucks and buses to Vermont. That is good news for our climate and for our pocketbooks.