Sen. Dick McCormack: Why I voted against the anti-slavery amendment

This commentary is by Sen. Dick McCormack, a Democrat from Windsor County. Proposition 2, recently passed by the Vermont Senate, is not an anti-slavery amendment, as sometimes described. The Vermont Constitution already prohibits slavery, as it has since the first Vermont Constitution, written in 1777. This was the first prohibition of slavery in America, an…

Alexia Venefra: Standardized testing’s racist origins and its impact on children

This commentary is by Alexia Venafra of Waterbury, a mom, public servant, social justice and mental health advocate, and member of the Waterbury Area Anti-Racism Coalition. You may know that standardized tests are biased against many children of color, English language learners, children with disabilities, and youth in low-income households.  But did you know that…

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Weekend and night court proposal floated in $13.5M plan to address case backlog

A sign on the door of the Vermont Supreme Court in March 2020 says that non-emergency hearings have been postponed. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger A four-year, $13.5 million plan to help Vermont’s court system emerge from the pandemic could involve after-hours court sessions on nights and weekends. That has prosecutors and defense attorneys worried. Patricia…

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All Vermonters 16 and older eligible for Covid vaccine starting Monday

Anna St. John receives her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic in Beecher Falls on March 29, 2021. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger To register for a vaccine appointment, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine (preferred) or call 855-722-7878. You will be asked to provide your name, date of birth, address, email (if available), phone number, and health…

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Vermont Health Connect had 10 data breaches last winter

Vermont Health Connect has set up a special enrollment period in response to the coronavirus outbreak. VHC photo In mid-December, a Vermont Health Connect user was logging in when the names of two strangers popped up in the newly created account. The individual, who was trying to sign up for health insurance, deleted the information…

Karl Meyer: Why renew a federal license to continue killing a river?

This commentary is by Karl Meyer of Greenfield, Massachusetts, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Fifty-one years after the first Earth Day, the four-state Connecticut River remains prisoner to an ecosystem-crippling license the Federal Power Commission issued in Massachusetts for the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project in 1968.  Finished in 1972 and built…

Vermont case numbers tick downward; Franklin County recovers from outbreaks

After nearly three weeks of rising case numbers, Vermont’s Covid-19 surge is trending downward again, an encouraging statistic in the battle against the pandemic and a reflection on the state’s successful vaccination strategy. While case numbers remain high in the northern half of the state, reflective of a long-lingering surge in Franklin and Orleans counties,…

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Then Again: After 37 days in the wild, ‘Are you Mr. Everts?’ ‘Yes. All that is left of him.’

Writing in Scribner’s Monthly magazine in 1871, Vermonter Truman Everts described the hallucinations he experienced while lost for 37 days in the Yellowstone wilderness of Montana. At first glance, the dark figure on the trail looked like a small bear. But the form soon resolved itself into that of a man, an almost unimaginably skinny…

Maura Collins: Growing wealth gap hurts Vermont’s economy

This commentary is by Maura Collins, executive director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency and chair of the board of Pathways Vermont. This is part of a 10-part series in which the authors respond to pressing topics identified in a draft “Proposition for the Future of Vermont” developed by the nonpartisan Vermont Council on Rural…

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Report finds striking disparities that affect people of color in Chittenden County

The 2020 ECOS annual report presents two very different versions of Chittenden County: one for white residents, and another for Black, Indigenous and other people of color.  The report, published yearly by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commision since 2013, tracks progress toward a set of broad community goals. ECOS stands for environment, community, opportunity…

Charles Martin: Act 250 and the stifling of economic opportunity in Vermont

This commentary is by Charles Martin of Huntington, government affairs director of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.  While recent news of the cancellation of Montpelier’s hotel project is troubling, those familiar with Act 250 are not surprised. The decision to terminate the project is yet another example of how truly broken our state’s principal land…

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Dry air, fewer crops and ‘painting rocks’: How the drought is hitting Vermont

Dry vegetation sits under the hot Sun in Jericho on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger In Montpelier last weekend, residents lounged on the Statehouse lawn and bought gelato from a table set up outside Chill. Burlington’s North Beach had so many people enjoying the warm weather that it led others to complain…

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PHOTOS: Vergennes edges South Burlington in 2021 season opener

Photos from Saturday’s high school girls lacrosse game between Vergennes and host South Burlington. Vergennes won 10-8.        Top Featured Tags: – Vermont NewsPress Release Distribution Service

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A Vermont developer’s challenge: Survive today to thrive tomorrow

A storefront sign advertises a vacancy at Brattleboro’s Brooks House. Photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger Mild-mannered engineer Bob Stevens wasn’t seeking to become a development superhero when he donned a hard hat 10 years ago to venture into the smoldering shell of Brattleboro’s fire-ravaged Brooks House. “I went through with emergency responders to determine if the…

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Madeleine Kunin: Finally, a big step forward on financing child care

Lincoln Irwin, then 4, of Essex Junction, attends a 2019 press conference with his mother at the Statehouse about a proposal to increase child care access and affordability. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger This column is by Madeleine May Kunin, a Democrat who was the 77th governor of Vermont, serving from 1985 until 1991 governor.…

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Final Reading: Defending New Hampshire’s governor

Gov. Phil Scott and Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire in 2019. Photo from Phil Scott’s official Facebook page Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and his health commissioner, Mark Levine, defended New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday after the Granite State governor lifted his state’s mask mandate the day before. During Scott’s twice-weekly press briefing,…

Don Keelan: Except for a few, everybody in Vermont is a flatlander

This commentary is by Don Keelan, a retired certified public accountant and a resident of Arlington. Years ago, my wife and I sold several old buildings in East Arlington, Vermont. We may have been the fifth or sixth owner since the buildings were constructed by an out-of-state speculator who came to Vermont to take advantage…

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What does Johnson & Johnson’s extended ‘pause’ mean for reopening plans?

Jesse Dimick, of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, schedules patients for their second dose appointments at a Covid vaccine clinic inside the Beecher Falls fire station. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger Let’s start with the good news: More than 50% of Vermonters 16 and older have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine — meaning…

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Prosecutor questions whether fatal shooting in Rutland was accidental, as shooter alleges

Rutland District and Family Courthouse, where Rutland Superior Court meets. Photo by Andrew Kutches/VTDigger Prosecutors say they are not buying the story from an 18-year-old from Rutland that a fatal shooting occurred accidentally as he was handing a gun to a friend. “This is someone who took a loaded firearm and played with it,” Assistant…

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UVM clerical, technical workers push for union representation for 3rd time

University Row on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger For more than a year, University of Vermont workers have pushed to unionize roughly 720 employees on the university’s clerical and technical staff. It’s the third time in a decade that the same group of employees…

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‘This is the way the world is’: North End Studios founder accused of sexual misconduct

Ben Bergstein at the North End Studios’ Winooski location in January 2019. Photo by Oliver Parini It began with lewd comments about her body.  At a 2016 community dinner in Burlington’s Old North End, Vermont Performing Arts League President Ben Bergstein approached Mellisa Cain, she alleges, and remarked on her breasts and weight. “It was…

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Vermont National Guard severs ties with guardsman accused of sexual assault

More than 100 Vermont Army National Guard soldiers deploy to multiple locations on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger Updated Friday, April 16, at 11:48 a.m. Daniel Blodgett is no longer a member of the Vermont National Guard nearly a month after Seven Days reported on his extensive criminal record and allegations of…

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