High taxes, bad business climate, youth exodus, and other myths: Doug Hoffer challenges conventional wisdom

Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer keeps a watchful eye on the numbers, both in his official duties and as a frequent contributor to local blogs and comments. Here, he takes down some persistent economic myths.

Doug Hoffer, Vermont State Auditor

Enemy of the people? David Moats on press freedom, Nixon & Trump

David Moats has been editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald for 35 years. He won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing for his coverage of Vermont’s debate over civil unions. Moats discusses editorial writing, the parallels between Presidents Nixon and Trump (“It’s not hard to foresee the collapse of the Trump administration”), Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (first budget is “far-fetched” and reflects “naiveté or cynicism”) and his reflections on covering civil unions. (February 22, 2017 broadcast)

David Moats, editorial page editor, Rutland Herald

“Not welcome here:” Immigrants react to racism and raids

In early February,  Fadwa Alaoui, a resident of the Montreal suburb of Brossard, was turned away at the U.S. border station at Highgate  after being questioned about her Muslim faith and her views on Donald Trump. The Moroccan-born Canadian citizen was headed to Vermont to do some shopping, which included buying a toy for her five-year-old son Youssef who had recently completed chemotherapy. In Vermont, undocumented farm workers discuss their fear of immigrant roundups, and activists discuss strategies for defending basic rights. (February 15, 2017 broadcast)

Fadwa Alaoui, Muslim Canadian citizen denied entry to US

Will Lambek, Migrant Justice

Wilmar Santiz, undocumented Vermont farm worker 

 

“We will fight back:” Immigrant advocates react to crackdown

The Trump administration’s first immigration crackdown led to more than 680 arrests in just a week in a series of operations around the country. Two leading immigration advocates and attorneys discuss the fallout and how Vermont is fighting to protect the rights of immigrants. (February 15, 2017 broadcast)

Erin Jacobsen – supervising attorney, South Royalton Legal Clinic, professor, Vermont Law School

Jay Diaz, staff attorney, Vermont ACLU

Is Gov. Scott’s budget busted?

Gov. Phil Scott has proposed a budget that key Vt. legislators charge is out of balance, raises property taxes, is unconstitutional, and impossible to implement. Is Gov. Scott’s first budget irreparably broken? Paul Cillo, president of Public Assets Institute and a former House majority leader, discusses the politics and dollars of the new budget, and what lies behind the new politics of resentment, nationally and locally. (February 8, 2017 broadcast)

Paul Cillo, president, Public Assets Institute

Will Vt. subsidize child care? The big return on investing in kids

The Vermont Business Roundtable, along with VBSR and others, released a report, Vermont’s Early Care and Learning Dividend, which details the return on investment that Vt stands to gain by increasing public investments in high-quality early care and learning programs. The report found that investing in a high-quality, affordable early care and learning system would yield net benefits to Vermont’s economy of $22 million a year. These benefits would continue to accrue over the working lifetime of the children receiving that care, totaling $1.3 billion over the next 60 years. This equates to a return of $3.08 for every dollar invested. Gov. Phil Scott has expressed support for investing in child are, but has proposed funding it by taking money from K-12 education, which the Legislature has nixed. Has the governor punted on child care? What’s the future for early childhood education in Vermont? (February 8, 2017 broadcast)

 

Robyn Freedner Maguire, campaign director, Let’s Grow Kids

Lisa Ventriss, president, Vermont Business  Roundtable

Kelly Klein, owner and CEO, of Groennfell Meadery, Colchester

See you in court: Vt ACLU prepares to take on Pres. Trump

In President Trump’s first week in office, the American Civil Liberties Union handed him his first defeat: successfully challenging his refugee and Muslim ban in court and winning a stay in multiple federal courts. Now the Vermont chapter of the ACLU prepares to defend immigrant rights, privacy, LGBTQ rights, press freedom and other civil liberties in Vermont. We discuss the road ahead.

James Lyall, executive director, Vermont ACLU

Free Lake Champlain: Community Sailing Center makes lake accessible for all

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center is a community-based nonprofit group that provides lake access to over 6,000 people each year regardless of age, ability or income. In May 2017, the CSC moves into a new permanent facility on the Burlington waterfront that will offer free and affordable usage of sailboats, paddleboards, and kayaks. It also has programs for people with disabilities, women, and others. We discuss the vision of a Lake Champlain accessible to all

Make Naud, executive director, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center

The end of local control of education in Vermont?

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has proposed a radical change in how education is funded and governed. In his first budget address on Jan. 24, 2017, Scott proposed mandating level-funded budgets for all schools, pushing back school budget voting nearly three months, and funding early and higher ed by cutting $50 million currently allocated to pre K-12 education. Two education advocates debate the proposal and its impact on local control of education in Vermont.

Geo Honigford, president, Vt School Boards Association

Martha Allen, president, Vermont-National Education Association

Buying local for less: Local First Vt promotes localism and deals

Buying local is a powerful economic driver: for every $1 spent at a local business, 45 cents is reinvested locally. For every $1 spent at a corporate chain, only 15 cents is reinvested locally. Local First Vermont has been spreading the gospel of localism with its annual coupon book, which has over $3,000 in savings. This year, Vermont localvores can turn to a new mobile app to find deals at their favorite business. We talk about the impact of the Buy Local movement in Vt, and where to find local bargains, and the mobile app.

Wendy Wilson, manager, Local First Vermont

James JT Thompson, CEO, Daft Labs

Chris Morrow, owner, Northshire Books, Manchester, VT

A Conversation with Amy Goodman & Bill McKibben

20170114_195015Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, the daily grassroots global news hour, and Bill McKibben, author and founder of the international environmental group 350.org, participated in a public conversation at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, Vermont on January 14, 2017. They discuss climate change, the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Goodman’s ensuing legal battle when North Dakota authorities unsuccessfully charged her with rioting, McKibben’s experience being spied upon by Exxon, the critical role of independent media, and the importance of movements in making change–especially now. This audio is their unabridged 70 minute conversation (thanks to Chandler Music Hall for the recording). (January 18, 2017 broadcast)

Fighting environmental backsliding and holding leaders accountable: Paul Burns & VPIRG

Paul Burns is executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, a position he’s held since 2001. In just the past few years, VPIRG has played a major role in the nation’s first ban on fracking, new regulations on toxics, and the movement to have GMO foods labeled. Previously, Paul worked for 15 years as an attorney, advocate and organizer for PIRGs in New York and Massachusetts. Burns talks about Ralph Nader and the PIRG movement that he launched, why he pursued public interest law, and how he was inspired by Lois Gibbs and her fight for environmental justice in Love Canal. He also discusses the backlash against renewable power in Vermont, toxics, government ethics, clean power, Gov. Phil Scott and Donald Trump. (January 11, 2017 broadcast)

Single payer health care in Vt: What went wrong and what’s next?

What’s next for single payer health care in Vermont? Dr. Deb Richter, a family medicine physician in Montpelier, Vermont, is a former President of Physicians for a National Health Program. For two decades, Richter has been a leading national and local advocate for single payer health care. When Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the health care bill in 2011, he praised Richter as a leading mover behind the reform effort. Richter discusses her new initiative: enacting publicly-funded universal primary care in Vermont. She also talks about her work with people with addictions, and her reflections on dealing with loss after the death of her son. (January 4, 2017 broadcast)

Dr. Deb Richter, physician and single payer health care advocate

Sen. Bill Doyle: A half century of Vermont politics

For 48 years, Vt Sen. Bill Doyle has participated in the ebb and flow of Vermont politics from inside the Legislature and from his classroom at Johnson State College. He notes proudly that about 50 of his former students have run for elective office. Doyle, who is now 90,  is one of the longest serving state legislators in the US. He has served under seven different governors. Sen. Doyle narrowly lost his re-election in Nov. 2016.

In this Vermont Conversation, Sen. Doyle talks about the high points of his career, his advice to others considering running, and says he is considering running again in 2018. (December 28, 2016 broadcast)

Sen. Bill Doyle, Vermont State Senator, Washington County

 

Is there a solution to Vermont’s child care crisis?

Some facts about Vermont’s child care crisis:

  • Nearly 80% of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs
  • Middle-income families with two children are paying up to 40% of their income on child care.
  • Child care workers earn on average less than $25,000, which is less than a livable wage.

What are some solutions to this challenge? Earlier this month the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality Affordable Childcare released its final report to the governor and legislature. We discuss the findings with Commission members and child care provider. (Dec. 21, 2016 broadcast)

Sarah Squirrell, executive director of Building Bright Futures, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission 

Charlotte Ancel, chair of Blue Ribbon Commission, vice president, Green Mountain Power

Paula Nadeau, parent and owner-director of an infant-toddler center for 20 children 

Can poverty be eradicated? Chris Curtis on the enduring challenge

Christopher Curtis has dedicated his life to eradicating poverty. Though he has never held elected office, Curtis, staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid and co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty, has been the force behind many key policy changes made on behalf of low-income Vermonters.He discusses the final report of the Governor’s Council, growing up as the adopted son of parents who later divorced and both came out as gay, and why he keeps fighting for the poor. Whitney Nichols joins the conversation to talk about his experience being homeless in Vermont and his work with Curtis on the Governor’s Poverty Council. (Dec. 14, 2016 broadcast)

Christopher Curtis, staff attorney, Vermont Legal Aid, co-chair, Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty

Whitney Nichols, consumer advocate, member of Governor’s Council

Changing lives a book at a time: Children’s Literacy Foundation

Duncan McDougall quit his job as a globetrotting management consultant in order to help those in need. In 1998, he founded the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). Today, CLiF has provided free and inspiring literacy programs and brand-new books to low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 in almost 85% of the communities in New Hampshire and Vermont. McDougall discusses how CLiF is fighting poverty in rural towns and prisons one book at a time. He is joined by several beneficiaries of CLiF’s work. (Dec. 7, 2016 broadcast)

Duncan McDougall, founder and executive director, Children’s Literacy Foundation

Jess Kell, Kids-A-Part program for incarcerated mothers, Lund Family Center

Jamie Kinnarney, principal, Williamstown Elementary School

In Search of Lowell Thomas with Filmmaker Rick Moulton

Journalist and broadcaster Lowell Thomas is best known for dramatizing the story of Lawrence of Arabia. But Thomas had a storied career as a radio broadcaster for CBS, which often originated from Stowe, Vermont, where Thomas loved to ski. Thomas traveled the world in search of his stories, combining his lust for adventure and journalism. This summer, filmmaker Rick Moulton retraced one of Thomas’s trips to Tibet, where he was one of the few westerners to visit. Moulton recounts his odyssey, and the story of Lowell Thomas. (Nov. 23, 2016 broadcast)

Rick Moulton, filmmaker

Can fungus save the planet? Eben Bayer on disrupting the toxic economy

Eben Bayer discovered something on his family’s Vermont farm that could save the planet: mycelium, the fine white filaments that are part of fungi such as mushrooms, form a bond as dense and strong as commercial adhesives used in plywood. His company, Ecovative, is now literally growing building materials that can replace plywood, Styrofoam, and packing materials. Fortune 500 companies are lining up to use it. Bayer talks about this “disruptive technology” and how it can transform manufacturing and help the environment. (Nov. 23, 2016 broadcast)

Eben Bayer, founder, Ecovative Design

Rules for Revolutionaries: Lessons from the Sanders campaign on waging a political revolution

Two senior advisers to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign are out with a new book that they intend as a playbook for progressive activists. Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything (Chelsea Green, 2016) challenges conventional wisdom about how to wage a political campaign. It tells the story of the organizing behind the Sanders campaign: a technology-driven team that empowered volunteers to build and manage the infrastructure to make 75 million calls, launch 8 million text messages, and hold more than 100,000 public meetings—in an effort to put Bernie’s insurgent campaign over the top. The authors reflect on Donald Trump’s victory and suggest a way forward for progressive activists and those who want to advance Bernie’s “political revolution.” (Nov. 16, 2016 broadcast)

Becky Bond and Zack Exley, co-authors, Rules for Revolutionaries

Vermont climate activism under Trump

Pres.-elect Donald Trump has declared that climate change is a “hoax.” What are Vermont climate change activists to do? An organizer of a Climate Solutions Summit sponsored by Energy Independent Vermont discusses plans to press ahead on climate issues, and how she will maintain her activism under a Pres. Trump. (Nov. 16, 2016 broadcast)

Shaina Kasper, Vermont state director, Toxics Action Center

Chuck Collins: How the Oscar Mayer heir gave away his fortune to fight for economic justice

Chuck Collins is the great grandson of meatpacker Oscar Mayer. At age 26, He gave away his inheritance and has spent the last three decades mobilizing against inequality.

Collins is now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org. His newest book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016). He is also cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good which has merged with the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy, higher wages, and campaign finance reform. (November 2, 2016 broadcast)

Chuck Collins, author,  Born on Third Base

Harwood Strong: Trauma, grief & recovery

On October 8, 2016, a wrong-way driver on I-89 killed five teenagers, four of whom were juniors at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, Vermont, and the fifth was a Waitsfield teenager who had been a student at Harwood through 8th grade. Several of the teenagers who were killed were close friends of my family; my son was their friend and classmate. I reflected on this tragedy in a recent op-ed.

How do you deal with a tragedy of this magnitude? How does trauma affect people? What is the new normal? That is the topic of our Vermont Conversation. My guest in the first half hour is Margaret Joyal, and Brigid Nease is the guest in the second half hour. (October 26, 2016 broadcast),

Margaret Joyal, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Washington County Mental Health; on temporary assignment to coordinate recovery process at Harwood Union High School

Brigid Nease, Superintendent of Schools, Washington West Supervisory Union

Peace Has No Borders: American War Resisters in Canada

During the Iraq and Afghan Wars, veterans from the United States crossed the border to Canada seeking relief and refuge from serving in what they viewed as an unjust and immoral war. Peace Has No Borders is a new documentary by Vermont filmmakers Deb Ellis and Dennis Mueller. The film follows a group of these war resisters caught between two countries as they struggle to remain in Canada. Today, little is heard from the veterans who made a stand when the wars were raging. Peace Has No Borders is the story of their efforts to seek refuge and of the people who supported them when they arrived in Canada. (October 19, 2016 broadcast)

Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller, directors, Peace Has No Borders

How the Scandinavians got it right

George Lakey is a long time activist, strategist and trainer for nonviolent movements. He is a co-founder of Movement for New Society, Training for Change, and Earth Quaker Action Team, and the author of nine books. His newest book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got it Right, and How We Can Too, explores how the Nordic nations have instituted innovative policies and social movements to gain long-lasting economic justice. (October 5, 2016 broadcast)

George Lakey, author, Viking Economics

End of Life choices in Vermont

There are more options for palliative and end of life care in Central Vermont. Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice is a full-service, not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Association serving 23 communities in Washington and Orange Counties. They are also involved in the community with maternal-child health, long term care, and health promotion services. In 2015, CVHHH served over 2,600 central Vermonters, or about 750 patients per day. We talk about palliative and hospice care in Vermont with a range of providers from CVHHH. (September 28, 2016)

  • Jewelene Griffin, RN, Hospice & Palliative Care Program Manager
  • Virginia Fry, MA, Bereavement Coordinator
  • Jonna Goulding, MD, Director, Palliative and Spiritual Care at Central Vermont Medical Center and Medical Director, CVHHH
  • David Zahn, David’s wife, Anci Slovak, was served by CVHHH 

Philanthropy for change

Individuals and businesses do not just want to give charity. They want to support social change in creative ways. Businesses are paying employees to volunteer for local nonprofits, offering products for sale that support local organizations, building cutting edge net-zero manufacturing facilities, and individuals are giving money and their expertise to causes they care about. We talk with local entrepreneurs and a philanthropic adviser about creative 21st century philanthropy for change. (Sept. 21, 2016 broadcast – no audio)

Esbert Cardenas, Image Outfitters

Christine Zachai, Forward Philanthropy

Allison Weinhagan, City Market

Harry Khan, Magic Hat Brewery

 

Capstone Community Action: A half-century fighting poverty and giving hope

For more than a half-century, Capstone Community Action (formerly Central Vermont Community Action Council) has been helping Vermonters in need. Today, they serve thousands of people with services including emergency food and fuel, weatherization, business advice, family support and child care. We take a virtual tour of the work of Capstone with their program leaders and several program participants. (Sept. 14, 2016 broadcast)

Dan Hoxworth, executive direct, Capstone Community Action

Eileen Nooney, director, Family & Community Support

Maryanne Miller, director, Head Start & Early Head Start

Michael Deering, Head Start Parent & VP of policy council of

Paul Zabriskie, director, Weatherization program

Kelly Richardson, owner, Sunflower Salon, Waterbury

Arlie Hochschild on rage and mourning in Tea Party country

Arlie Russell Hochschild is professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of nine books, including The Managed Heart: the Commercialization of Human Feeling, and The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home.  In all her work, she focuses on the impact of large social trends on the individual’s emotional experience.

Her latest book, Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press, 2016), is based on intensive interviews of Tea Party supporters in Louisiana, conducted over the last five years in the author’s effort to learn why they see, think and feel as they do. The book also delves into the politics of Donald Trump’s supporters. She discusses her most recent book, and also her lifetime body of work. (September 7, 2016 broadcast)

Filmmaker Bess O’Brien shines spotlight on eating disorders

Award-winning filmmaker Bess O’Brien is the director All of Me, a new feature length documentary film focused on the lives of women, girls and some boys who struggle with eating disorders. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and other eating disorders are among the most difficult addictions to treat and to cure. The percentage of young girls who start dieting as young as 10-12 years of age has risen dramatically over the last fifteen years. The film will premier in September and tour throughout Vermont this fall (tour dates here).

Bess O’Brien is also the director/producer of the documentary film The Hungry Heart, about prescription drug crisis in Vermont and the compassionate work of Dr. Fred Holmes. The film became as a catalyst for opiate addiction awareness in the state of Vermont. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said, “Every state in the Union should be so lucky to have Bess O’Brien working for them in support of children and families!” (August 24, 2016 broadcast)

Bess O’Brien, filmmaker

From Disabled to Enabled: Wheel Pad accessible homes

Wheel Pad, a new Vermont-based company, is creating eco-friendly temporary accessible housing for people newly using a wheelchair, allowing friends and/or family to provide support until permanent accessible housing can be arranged. Utilizing technology from the design of RV, Wheel Pad is a 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module
that can be temporarily attached to an existing home. The units can be leased or purchased. Wheel Pad president Julie Lineberger discusses the living challenges confronting people who have just begun using a wheelchair, and this innovative solution that she is taking from Vermont to the rest of the country. (August 24, 2016 broadcast)

Julie Lineberger, president, Wheel Pad

The inside story of a nuclear power whistleblower

Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer who defended the nuclear industry for 20 years, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US. In 1991, after complaining about lax nuclear safety to his superiors, he was fired, and the industry turned on him. That’s when he and his wife Maggie Gundersen, who worked as a sponsesperson for the nuclear industry, became leading critics of nuclear power, forming FaireWinds Energy Education. Arnie Gundersen now consults on nuclear power issues for the Sierra Club, the State of Vermont, the New England Coalition. This spring Arnie visited Fukushima, Japan, the site of a 2011 nuclear meltdorn. The Gundersens discuss their lives in the nuclear industry, the high personal cost of whistleblowing, the future of nuclear power, and their advice to young people interested in working on energy issues. (August 17, 2016 broadcast)

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer and nuclear industry whistleblower

Maggie Gundersen, former nuclear industry spokesperson, founder, FaireWinds Energy Education

Paul Millman: From bartender to socially responsible businessperson of the year

Paul Millman is CEO and president of Chroma Technology Corp. an employee-owned manufacturing company in Bellows Falls, Vermont. He is the recipient of the 2016 Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business, given annually by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility to a person exemplifying a commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community.

Millman attended Antioch College and is a graduate of the New School and the Antioch New England Graduate School. He is a director of the Vermont Business Roundtable and Valley Net. He is a member of the Steering Committee of ReThink Health in the Upper Valley and president of the Westminster Fire and Rescue Association. He is a former director of VBSR and former chair of the Vermont Employee-Ownership Center. Prior to moving to Vermont he worked as a bartender in New York City. He hopes to return to that profession when his days as a business big shot are over. He talks about his journey from being a bartender to business owner in Vermont and the progressive social issues he is passionate about. (August 10, 2016 broadcast)

Paul Millman, CEO Chroma Technology, recipient of 2016 Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business from VBSR

 

Vermont’s Senior Olympians Shatter Records and Stereotypes

Vermont has produced many Olympians, including some of the world’s top senior athletes. We talk with two of the world’s top senior athletes about the joys and challenges of competing into their ninth decade, and how it has prepared one of them to confront a life threatening cancer. These athletes compete in the Vermont Senior Games and the National Senior Games and encourage others to join them. (August 3, 2016 broadcast)

Flo Meiler, 82, Shelburne, Vt., participated in 13 National Senior Games (formerly the Senior Olympics), winner of over 702 medals, holds 26 world records in track & field

Barbara Jordan, 80, So. Burlington, Vt., holds several world records in track & field

Elliot Burg, photographer who documented senior athletes, gallery here

Race, policing, Black Lives Matter and reform: Mark Hughes, Justice for All

The last few weeks have seen police killings of African American men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. These incidents have shined a harsh new spotlight on the issue of race, policing and reform. Mark Hughes, founder of Justice for All, discusses race and racism in Vermont, and how “to ensure justice for ALL through community organizing, research, education, community policing, legislative reform, and judicial monitoring.” (July 20, 2016 broadcast)

Mark Hughes, founder and director, Justice for All

Vermont’s mountain bike revolution

Mountain biking has taken off in Vermont, with estimates that there are as many as 50,000 riders in the state. We discuss the explosion in popularity in mountain biking, its implications for recreation and the economy, and what the future holds for riders with two leaders of the sport in Vermont. (July 20, 2016 broadcast)

Tom Stuessy, executive director, Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) 

Sabra Davison, founder and director, Little Bellas, a mentoring and mountain bike group for girls

Have Justice-Will Travel: Wynona Ward, domestic violence crusader

Wynona Ward grew up in poverty on a rural back road in Vermont where family violence was common. She and her husband drove long-haul trucks. She began to realize she could combine her vocation as a trucker with the desperate need for victims of domestic violence in rural communities to have access to legal and other services. In 1998, Ward founded Have Justice-Will Travel (HJWT) with a grant from the Vermont Women’s Fund and a fellowship from Equal Justice Works. The idea was simple: HJWT would provide free legal services, with Ward traveling rural backroads in her 15 year old Dodge pickup truck. HJWT is now an innovative, mobile, multi-service program that assists victims of domestic abuse through the legal process, from the initial interview and relief from abuse order through self-sufficiency and independence. Ward speaks about her personal journey growing up with domestic violence and the work that does today throughout Vermont to end generational cycles of abuse. (July 13, 2016 broadcast)

Wynona I. Ward, founder & director, Have Justice-Will Travel

Steps Against Domestic Violence: Kelly Dougherty

Between 1994 – 2014, half of all Vermont homicides were a result of domestic violence. Steps Against Domestic Violence — formerly known as Women Helping Battered Women — provides services to those affected by domestic violence in Burlington and Chittenden County, Vermont. Established in 1974 as Women’s House of Refuge, StepsVT fielded 4,800 hotline calls in 2015 and provided services including housing, counseling, and education to many more. StepsVT executive director Kelly Dougherty discusses the warning signs of an abuse relationship, the changing face of domestic violence in Vermont, and the four decades of work of her organization. (July 13, 2016 broadcast)

Kelly Dougherty, executive director, Steps Against Domestic Violence

Jay Karpin: Airman in WWII D-Day on liberating Europe, reality of war, and PTSD

DSC09779Jay Karpin, 92, was a bombardier in the first wave of bombers that attacked Normandy in the famous D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The invasion marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe, but came at a staggering price: over 200,000 Allied troops were killed, and an equal number of Germans died. Karpin, who has lived in Grafton, Vermont since 1959, is among the most decorated living veterans. He flew 39 combat missions over Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. This year, he was named a Chevalier, or knight, of the French Legion of Honor, the highest award given to a non-citizen. Karpin did not speak about his WWII experiences for 50 years, until his wife and daughter pressed him for  stories. He said that he now realizes he has suffered from PTSD. Karpin went on to work as an engineer and safety consultant for many Vermont companies, served on the Grafton selectboard for decades, and continues to work several days per week.

Karpin talks movingly about his experience during D-Day, the realities of war, his own PTSD, and why he thinks that if today’s politicians want to go to war, “they should carry a rifle.” (July 6, 2016 broadcast)

Jay Karpin, WWII veteran, recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross, Chevalier in French Legion of Honor

Capt. Ingrid Jonas: Vt’s Top Woman Cop on racial profiling, bias-free policing & diversity

captain_ingrid_jonas_vermont_state_police_scOn July 1, 2016, new bias-free policing policies were enacted for all police in Vermont. This followed charges of racial profiling leveled against multiple Vermont police agencies. Capt. Ingrid Jonas of the Vermont State Police is the highest ranking female police officer in the state. She is the Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs at the VSP, a new position. Jonas is blazing a new path in state’s largest police agency. Until 1977, VSP was an all-male institution, and early efforts at integrating the ranks with women and minorities went badly. Jonas speaks about her own journey from domestic violence activist to police officer, the challenge of diversifying the police and confronting bias, her desire to see more LGBT officers, and how to change the traditionally macho culture of the police. (June 22, 2016 broadcast)

Capt. Ingrid Jonas, Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, Vermont State Police

Kim Fountain: The LGBTQ Struggle Continues

In the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 1,000 people marched in Burlington, Vermont — and in numerous other cities — in solidarity with LGBTQ people. Achieving marriage equality was a milestone, but the struggle for LGBTQ rights continues. As the New York Times reports, “Since the marriage ruling, several Republican­-led state legislatures and Republican governors and federal lawmakers have redoubled their fight against legal protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. So far this year, more than 200 anti-­L.G.B.T. bills have been introduced in 34 states.” Kim Fountain, executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont, a “comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and the health and safety of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters,” speaks about larger effort to achieve safety, dignity and acceptance of LGBTQ people. (June 15, 2016 broadcast)

Kim Fountain, executive director, Pride Center of Vermont

Migrant Justice: Human Rights & Food Justice

There are approximately 1,500 migrant workers on Vermont’s farms, especially in the dairy industry. Often working up to 80 hours per week, many migrant workers live in isolation on rural farms and earn less than minimum wage. Migrant Justice is an advocacy organization with a mission “to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights.” On June 13, 2016, Migrant Justice scored a major victory when the Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department agreed to pay nearly $30,000 to settle a case regarding discriminatory treatment against an immigrant dairy worker, Lorenzo Alcudia, who was turned over to Border Patrol after a traffic stop in which he was a passenger. We talk with farmworkers and activists from Migrant Justice. We also speak with a representative from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a nationally known farmworker’s organization that has won landmark agreements with Taco Bell and other major restaurants. (June 15, 2016 broadcast)

Will Lambek, Enrique Balcazar, Gilberto Lopez Morales, Migrant Justice

Gerardo Reyes, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

 

Twincraft: New Americans build a business & lives

There is a Vermont connection behind national brands of skin care products such as Estee Lauder, Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena, and Whole Foods. Twincraft Skincare makes soaps. lotions, sunscreen and other products from its manufacturing facilities in Essex and Winooski, Vermont. Twincraft has become a booming business with a special story: the numerous New Americans, many of them refugees who have been relocated to Vermont, who are part of the 200-person workforce. We go on location to company headquarters in Winooski to learn how Twincraft’s commitment to employ a diverse workforce — including senior citizens, non-English speakers, ex-convicts, and others — has translated into success in business, and changed lives.(June 7, 2016 broadcast)

Pete Asch, CEO and owner, Twincraft Skincare

Joel Marquardt, VP Operations

Angela Ibragamova, employee from Azerbaijan

Kaji Rai, employee, refugee from Bhutan

[Part 1 features Asch & Marquardt; Part 2 includes all 4 interviewees]

Paul Bruhn: Preserving Vermont and Fighting Sprawl

Paul Bruhn went from becoming a UVM dropout, to managing Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first campaign, to the job he holds now as the executive director of Preservation Trust of Vermont, an organization known nationwide. He has served as director since the nonprofit’s inception in 1980. Under his leadership the Preservation Trust has worked with Vermont communities to preserve nearly 2,000 structures and properties, from churches, barns, and general stores to hotels, town theaters and county courthouses. These formidable efforts have saved and solidified the essential character of Vermont and are revitalizing Vermont villages and downtowns, a critical aspect of the smart-growth framework for the state’s future.

This year Bruhn finally received his degree from UVM — an honorary degree, which notes: “Bruhn has used his talents as an advocate and adviser to preserve the most unique and defining aspects of Vermont and to advocate for a future based on smart land-use development and vibrant community centers. It would be difficult to find a nook or cranny, village or gore in Vermont that has not felt the influence of Bruhn’s vision.”

Bruhn discusses how he engineered Sen. Leahy’s victorious first statewide campaign, to preservation, sprawl, and what he is proudest of. (June 1, 2016 broadcast)

Paul Bruhn, executive director, Preservation Trust of Vermont

Andrew Solomon: Reporting from the Brink of Change – 7 Continents, 25 Years

Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center.

Solomon’s 2012 book, the best-selling Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, 2012), tells the stories of families raising exceptional children who not only learn to deal with their challenges, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Far from the Tree has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; the J. Anthony Lukas Award and numerous other awards.

Solomon’s latest book is Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change – 7 Continents, 25 Years,  which collects his writings about places undergoing seismic shifts — political, cultural, and spiritual. From the barricades in Moscow in 1991 to the rubble of Afghanistan in 2002 to the cautious optimism of Myanmar in 2014, Andrew Solomon provides a unique view into some of the most crucial social transformations of the past quarter-century. (May 25, 2016 broadcast)

Andrew Solomon, author

Impact investing & sustainability issues

VBSR Spring Conference 2016

Sonia Kowal is the president of Zevin Asset Management, where she incorporates sustainability issues into investment decision making. Kowal spoke about about impact investing in her keynote talk .

Strategies to Improve Workplace Culture & Include ALL Employees — Dawn Ellis, President of Dawn M. Ellis and Associates, and Vermont Human Rights Commission 

Taming the Monster in the Machine: Engaging Employees Around Cyber Security — Kerin Stackpole, Paul Frank + Collins

How to Train Anybody to Do Anything —  Andy Robinson, Trainer, Consultant, Author

[May 11, 2016 broadcast — No audio]

 

 

Working more, getting less: Vermont’s working women struggle to get ahead

A new report, “Where Women Work and Why It Matters,” developed by Change the Story VT paints a disturbing picture of the plight of working women in Vermont. 43% of VT women who work full-time do not make enough to cover basic living expenses. Women who work full-time are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs – across every age group, at every level of education. And Vermont women are especially vulnerable in their senior years, when their median annual income from Social Security ($10,000) is half that of men ($20,000). The report was backed by the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Works for Women. We discuss the state of working women in Vermont and potential solutions. (May 4, 2016 broadcast)

Tiffany Bluemle, director, Change the Story VT

Marybeth Redmond, director of development & communications, Vermont Works for Women

David Bronner: Fighting soap maker

David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of other organic body care and food products. The iconic soap brand is noted for its famous label that espouses a philosophy of world peace it calls ALL ONE.

David Bronner is a grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soap maker. Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, the brand has grown from $4 million in 1998 to just under $100 million in annual revenue in 2015.

David has been a high profile activist on hemp legalization, organics, drug policy reform, GMO labeling, and livable wage. Dr. Bronner’s soap currently features a label advocating “Fair Pay for All People.” Bronner has been arrested in front of the White House for protesting about restrictive hemp laws.

David Bronner talks about his grandfather’s legacy, his company, and his activism. (April 27, 2016 broadcast)

David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s

Earth Day 46: Can businesses be environmentalists?

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets across the country to demonstrate for a sustainable environment. “By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” [earthday.org]

On Earth Day 2016, activists and sustainable businesses came to the Vermont State House for a People’s Lobby Day. We speak with participants from two leading Vermont businesses about the role of businesses in advancing environmental goals and the challenges that their own companies face in trying to meet them. [April 20, 2016 broadcast)

Ashley Orgain, Manager of Mission Advocacy, Seventh Generation

Chris Miller, Manager of Social Mission & Activism, Ben & Jerry’s

Shay DiCocco, brand manager, Seventh Generation

In the second half of the show, we discuss the carbon tax and other initiatives to address environmental and climate change goals:

Daniel Barlow, Public Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Johanna Miller, Energy Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Where to locate renewable power?

Should communities have more say in where renewable power is located? A group of farmers wrote to the Vermont Legislature this week to defend their ability to locate renewable power on their farms. We talk with a farmer and a solar power provider about some of the challenges in siting renewable power. (April 6, 2016 broadcast)

James Moore, co-founder, Suncommon

Meg Armstrong, sixth generation Essex Junction farm family