Winter came early this year. Between the snow and the frigid temperatures, November and December have felt uncharacteristically winter-like.

Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, the head of U.S. Navy operations in the Middle East, was found dead over the weekend in his residence in Bahrain, the Navy confirmed.

I am compelled to respond to Mr. McClaughry’s unfortunate attack on the recent U.S. Government Climate Assessment.

If the purpose of our Iran policy is to bring stability to the Middle East, it can’t work. Long-existing internal Muslim animosities guarantee continued instability. All we do is exacerbate those existing tensions.

In 1969, in a place far away, a young student in Mrs. Nelson’s sixth-grade class wandered the school library in search of a book. The assignment was to make a book report. Most of his classmates searched the current events section. The Vietnam War, race riots, the assassinations of Robert Ke…

Between Montpelier meetings a few weeks ago, I stopped to watch the dedication ceremony for the new statue of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, at the top of the State House. My new-to-Vermont companion was amazed to see that hundreds of people had gathered around the State House, taking se…

Front-page news last weekend was about some 60 groups signing a statement to counter a 36 percent increase in hate crimes reported in our state between 2016 and 2017. This increase is also evidenced in figures across the U.S. and in Europe, as well — up 40 percent in England and Wales as rep…

On Nov. 23, the U.S Government‘s Global Climate Research Program delivered a Congress-mandated “National Climate Assessment” report. “Grim” is too weak an adjective for the terrors that the report describes.

Vermont has a steep climb to meet its 2020 goal of insulating and air sealing 80,000 homes. It’s a worthy cause to make Vermont homes more affordable, more comfortable and more sustainable. But on our current trajectory, we’ll only meet about half of that goal; it’s clear we have a lot of wo…

A report issued last week by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and the Vermont State Colleges System shows a trend toward better completion rates and college retention in our state.

I was thrilled to stand in the midst of hundreds of fans cheering our Goddess of Agriculture, as she was blessed and elevated to her third term atop the Golden Dome of the Vermont State House. Ceres was first placed on the dome in the mid-1800s, and is Vermont’s third wooden sculptural inter…

In his article titled “Dems, get some religion,” in the Dec. 1 Times Argus & Rutland Herald, John Nassivera reproaches the Democratic Party for, in his view, embracing secularism and in effect ceding the votes of committed Christians to the GOP. He cites statistics published by the (aptl…

Money. Moolah. Cash. Dough. Scratch. Dinero. Benjamins. Greenbacks. Cabbage. Lettuce. Gravy. Whatever you call it, nobody ever has enough of it: you, me, poor people, rich people and even, apparently, America.

Many of us in the lower tiers of punditry — minor prophets, editors, pedestrian preachers and habitués of the internet — like to quote authority to bolster our claims and arguments. Some of us employ the Pentateuch as a torch to blister the behinds of LGBTQ folks and consign them to perditio…

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Since the industrial revolution, the rich nations have exploited the Earth’s resources and its people. But the end-game is coming.

Legislative forecasts are a crap shoot at best, so rather than attempt to predict outcomes I will preview a few of the topics I expect the House Energy and Technology Committee to discuss in the coming term. This list is only on the energy front and does not include paramount topics like bro…

Who slides down the chimney in the well-to-do ZIP codes? Rich Santa. Who slides down the chimney in the inner-city slums? Poor Santa. Who slides down the chimney in middle-class areas? Middle-income Santa. So, Santa is a member of the American economic class system.

The Vermont Digger headline a day after the elections well captured the enthusiasm of the newly elected legislative majorities: “Democratic supermajority comes with sky-high expectations.” The final House tally was 102 Democrats and Progressives, 43 Republicans and five Independents. The Sen…

I recently attended a series of public workshops discussing the release of the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s 2018 State of the Lake Report. The workshops were sponsored by the Lake Champlain Citizens Advisory Committee on which I serve.

It’s a hateful time to be an American. Literally.

November always brings to my mind one of T.S. Eliot’s most famous poems, “The Hollow Men” (1925), which opens with the lines “We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men / Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!” It is a poem about our failures, about death and about our rel…

It’s true: not everyone needs to go to college. But consider this: over 95 percent of the jobs created since the Great Recession 10 years ago have gone to workers with at least some college education, according to Georgetown University, while those with a high school diploma were left behind…

We need to change the face of our investment community. Female entrepreneurs receive less than 5 percent of all venture capital funding despite owning 38 percent of the businesses in the country.

Climate change is the biggest environmental and public health challenge of our generation. And fighting it just got tougher. Since 1990, climate-damaging emissions have increased 16 percent in Vermont. On top of that, the most recent report by more than 90 of the top climate scientists from …

There are times when being out of the information blitz defining America’s new normal is a satisfying venture into what feels like a protective bubble: fleeting, but secure for the moment. Reentry is the problem. When the conduits of data suddenly reopen, the bliss of ignorance quickly fades…

Vermont has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation. We also have one of the lowest rates in the country for high school grads entering college. At a time when two-thirds of jobs will require some form of education after high school by 2020, Vermont needs to make sure t…

Stories are absolutely integral to us as humans. Some stories have lived for millennia. A gifted storyteller can capture our hearts and minds — and a good story can transform us and sometimes even give us new perspective.

In the late-1960s, our country was torn apart. Protesters marching for basic civil rights met brutal resistance from police. Rioters looted and burned inner-city businesses. Young people speaking out for change rebelled against traditions that comforted their elders. The White House called f…

From time to time, folks will ask our agency, “how safe is the milk we buy in our stores?” The simple answer is, “very safe.” Let’s dig a little deeper.

We’ve had a few days to digest the results. No doubt about it, these midterm elections marked a turning point for our nation.

There’s nothing new about November. The hoorah surrounding the midterm elections will go on for a bit, no matter how they turn out. But the rest is the same: the cloudiest month of the year, “before the coming of the snow,” as Frost so memorably says. The leaves are pretty much down, and the…

For all those occasions, including elections, when using your head comes in handy, education reformers promote what they call critical thinking. They act as if thinking is something new, but it’s more likely that nobody used to talk as much about it because everybody figured it was a pretty …

In the final weeks of the election cycle, supporters of the Vermont State College System and early-education proponents made their pitch for additional funding in a challenging fiscal environment. Their ideas are constructive, their tone civil, and they’re making a good-faith effort to add t…

In October 2016, the state of Vermont entered an agreement with the federal government to experiment with a new means of health-care financing called an All-Payer Model. Since 2017, an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) called OneCare Vermont has facilitated this payment delivery system und…

If Judge Francis McCaffrey had a mantra, it was hope. He bestowed it equally on the convict and the friend, a man whose life, so beautifully attuned with that of his wife, Rita, not only touched many, but changed many for the better. As a district court judge, as Vermont’s chief administrati…

On Oct. 23, Moody’s, the investors credit service, downgraded Vermont’s bond rating from AAA to Aa1. This has significant implications for the state’s ability to borrow money and the cost of doing so.

Unable to credibly defend his corporate tax giveaways or Republicans’ unending zeal to strip health care and coverage of pre-existing conditions from millions of Americans, President Trump, one week ahead of an election that could place a check on his presidency, is returning to a familiar p…

Back in July, I addressed the subject of Christian nationalism, but now in November, the subject of nationalism demands our attention again — after all, our president has announced proudly, “I am a nationalist.”

I’ve been thinking hard about how I might vote on the $10.5M bond for the City of Montpelier’s downtown parking garage. I’ve been on both sides of the idea. Until recently, I’ve been hopeful that I could vote “yes” for the bond item on the Nov. 6 ballot.

We are nearing the end of another year of catastrophic weather around the globe.

The state of Vermont has a rare opportunity this year to demonstrate its support for public higher education in this state without raising taxes or shifting money from other priorities. Read on.

When we flick on a light, or snap on the TV, chances are pretty slim that we think about the vast and sprawling connections — of power plants, people, machines and wires — that make up the electric grid. But as we celebrate National Co-op Month in October, we at the Vermont Electric Cooperat…