The last hermit: Michael Finkel’s stories of crime, war, adventure and penance

Michael Finkel is the author of the bestselling new book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, about a man who disappeared into the Maine woods for over 30 years. Finkel is also the author of  True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, about a quadruple murderer who stole Finkel’s identity. The book was turned into the film, True Story, in which Finkel was played by actor Jonah Hill. Finkel was fired by the New York Times over fabrications in his 2001 article about child slavery in Africa, an experience that he revisits in his books. Finkel has written for National Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and the New York Times. He lives in Bozeman, Montana. (June 14, 2017 broadcast)

Michael Finkel, author

America at the black & white edge

John Gennari and Emily Bernard are both professors of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont. As academics, they explore the volatile interface of race, ethnicity, politics, literature, music and culture. As a married couple, they live the issues they teach: Gennari is Italian American, Bernard is African American. They discuss issues ranging from teaching the N-word, the relationship between Italian Americans and African Americans, their experience when their local high school in South Burlington, Vt. engaged in a heated debate over a mascot that evoked the Confederacy, and being an interracial couple. (June 7, 2017 broadcast)

John Gennari, Associate Professor of English & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, University of Vermont. Author, Flavor & Soul: Italian America at its African American Edge (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Emily Bernard, Professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, UVM. Co-author, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, and author, Black is the Body (forthcoming).

Jay Karpin: D-Day veteran on liberating Europe, human cost of war, and life

One of the most moving Vermont Conversations was my 2016 interview with First Lt. Jay Karpin, a bombardier in the first wave of bombers that attacked Normandy in the famous D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. It was the first time that Karpin, 93, among the most highly decorated living WWII veterans, spoke about his own PTSD and some of his secret missions over Europe. Karpin, who has lived in Vermont since 1959, flew 39 combat missions over Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 2016, 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. Karpin talks about his experience during D-Day, the realities of war, and his advice to young people today (May 31, 2017 broadcast)

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

“We were too optimistic:” Sen. Tim Ashe on Gov. Scott’s marijuana veto and union attacks

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe discusses Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of Vermont’s first-in-the-nation legislative marijuana legalization and the governor’s attack on teachers’ unions. “Perhaps we were too optimistic that there would actually be compromise,” he says. “I can imagine what might follow next is some type of proposal related to state employees, right to work laws which have gained currency in other states. …We will do everything that we can to stop that.” (May 24, 2017 broadcast)

Sen. Tim Ashe, Vermont Senate President Pro Tem 

Is Gov. Scott following national union busting playbook? A look at the Ohio and Michigan models

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s 2016 attempt to weaken the collective bargaining rights of teachers has a familiar ring. In 2010, Republican governors won elections in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, in each case taking over from Democratic governors. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder surprised many by immediately attacking teachers’ unions. Another Vermont Conversation discussed Gov. Walker’s battle with unions. Today, we talk with leaders of teachers’ unions in Ohio and Michigan for the national dimension of this issue. (May 24, 2017 broadcast)

Michael Charney, former vice president, Cleveland Teacher’s Union

Amanda Miller, president, Kalamazoo Education Association

The Road Ahead for Socially Responsible Businesses

A live broadcast from the VBSR Spring Conference talking with leaders in the socially responsible business movement in Vermont and nationally about issues from SR Business 201, gender diversity in the workplace, a quarter century of SR business in Vermont, and social entrepreneurship and the new bottom line. (May 17, 2017 broadcast)

Jason Haber, keynote speaker, author, Business of Good: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line

Duane Peterson, co-president & founder, Suncommon, VBSR board member

Lindsey Lathrop, Change the Story

Michelle Asch, VP, Twincraft

Leah Schulz, UVM sustainable MBA graduate, Cope & Associates

Paul Dickin, Senior Consultant, Cope & Associates

Who is behind the national campaign to weaken unions?

As Vermont Gov. Phil Scott attempts to assert state control over collective bargaining with teachers over their health benefits, we examine the national network of conservative organizations that is backing statewide efforts to weaken unions. A new expose shows how the Bradley Foundation, the Koch Brothers, and the American Legislative Exchange Council are behind national anti-union efforts and are leading a campaign to flip blue states red. (May 10, 2017 broadcast)

Mary Bottari, Deputy Director, Center for Media and Democracy

Is Vermont the next anti-union state?

In his first few months in office, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has attempted to level fund K-12 education and weaken teachers’ collective bargaining power. Scott’s moves have elements in common with the strategy of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican governors who have launched bitter fights with public sector unions. We explore whether Vermont is part of a national campaign to undermine unions. “Take this fight seriously and unite and push back harder than you’ve every pushed back before,” warns Wisconsin union leader Amy Mizialko. (May 10, 2017 broadcast)

Martha Allen, president, Vermont chapter, National Education Association

Amy Mizialko, vice president, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Transcription available here.

Will paid family leave become law in Vermont?

Paid family leave for Vermont employees moved a step closer to reality when the Vermont House of Representatives passed legislation for it on May 3, 2017. What form will the coverage take, and what will it take for paid family leave to become law? (May 3, 2017 broadcast)

Jen Kimmich, co-owner, The Alchemist

Lindsay DesLauriers, state director, Main Street Alliance

Vermont’s outdoor economy breaks out

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, wrote in a recent editorial in the LA Times: “America’s public lands perform best when protected for recreation. In fact, the business of outdoor recreation, which relies heavily on public lands, supports more jobs (6.1 million) than oil, natural gas and mining combined. Americans spend more on outdoor recreation annually ($646 billion) than on electronics, pharmaceuticals or automobiles. Public lands power a sustainable, homegrown economy. From 2008 to 2011, during the height of the recession, the outdoor industry grew 5% every year.” Vermont’s outdoor economy has been experiencing a similar growth spurt. From an explosion in parks use to a proliferation of trail networks, Vermont’s outdoor economy is now touching every corner of the state. We talk with four leaders in the sector about the outdoor industry, land conservation, and the next big thing in recreation. (May 3, 2017 broadcast)

Amy Kelsey, executive director, Catamount Trail Association

Drew Simmons, president, Pale Morning Media

Elise Annes, Vice President for Community Relations, The Vermont Land Trust

Jessica Savage, Recreation Program Manager, Vermont Dept. of Forest, Parks and Recreation

Amy Goodman & Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America

When Democracy Now! launched in 1996, it was planned as an eight-month experiment: a grassroots news hour on Pacifica Radio that would cover the 1996 presidential elections. Twenty years later, Democracy Now! airs on 1,400 radio and TV stations worldwide, with millions accessing it online. Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, internationally acclaimed journalist — and my sister — talks about how Democracy Now! has become “the modern-day underground railroad of information, bringing stories from the grassroots to a global audience.” Amy talks about our new book, Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing Americatraces the roots of the show, the importance of independent media that challenges power, Trump and the corporate media, and what gives her hope. (April 26, 2017 broadcast)

Amy Goodman, host & executive producer, Democracy Now!

 

How corporations are remaking America

It has been seven years since the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision unleashed unfettered corporate influence in politics. What has happened as a result? In his new book, political economist Gordon Lafer follows where the big money is flowing: into state politics, where corporations have succeeded in flipping legislatures and governor’s races, and passing a raft of anti-labor, pro-corporate legislation through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). (April 19, 2017 broadcast)

Gordon Lafer, author, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations are Remaking America One State at a Time

 

An alternative to austerity

Are social service cuts necessary? One Vermont, a coalition of advocacy and social service groups in Vermont, argues that proposed state budget cuts will hurt the vulnerable, and can be avoided by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and lowering tax rates for all. Three advocates make the case against austerity budgets and for a progressive alternative. (April 19, 2017 broadcast)

Stephanie Yu, One Vermont Coordinator, Public Assets Institute

Dan Hoxworth, Executive Director of Capstone Community Action

Ed Paquin, Executive Director, Disability Rights Vermont

Youth demand climate action

On April 12, 2017, hundreds of high school students from around Vermont descended on the Vermont State House to demand climate action in the second annual Youth Lobby Day. We speak with the student activists and the founder of Youth Lobby Day, Matt Henchen. (April 12, 2017 broadcast)

Matt Henchen, founder Youth Lobby Day, teacher, Harwood Union High School 

Zoe Werth, Liliana Ziedins, Ellie Zimmerman, Duncan Weinman, Page Atcheson, and Vermont student activists from Harwood, Stowe, Hazen Union, Winooski, and Randolph Union high schools

Time to put a price on carbon?

This week, Vermont state representative announced four proposals to tax carbon while eliminating or reducing other taxes. One bill would replace Vermont’s sales tax with a tax on carbon pollution; another would return all carbon tax revenue to Vermonters through dividend checks; a third proposal would cut income taxes while doubling a tax credit for low-income residents; and a fourth bill would cut property taxes for education and replace it with a tax on carbon pollution. We talk with two of the bills’ sponsors about how Vermont could put a price on carbon. (April 12, 2017 broadcast)

Rep. Diana González, P/D-Winooski

Rep. Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington

Is justice biased?

According to Justice for All: “People of color are being treated unfairly as a result of institutionalized racism across the nation and here in Vermont. In the criminal justice system these disparities create challenges ranging from disproportionate traffic stops to overrepresentation in prisons. Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project reported that Vermont leads the nation with one in 14 African American males incarcerated. Stephanie Seguino of UVM reported that the Black arrest rate is almost double the White arrest rate.” Advocates discuss the reasons they are calling for a Racial Justice Oversight Board in Vermont. We begin with an update from Migrant Justice about the arrest of three of its members for immigration violations and the campaign to free them. (April 5, 2017 broadcast)

Will Lambek, Migrant Justice

Mark Hughes, Justice for All

Sarah Robinson, Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

The New Sanctuary Movement

As the Trump Administration intensifies its crackdown on immigrants in the U.S., the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has received national attention for its creative and determined efforts to protect undocumented people. It has pioneered a Sanctuary in the Streets campaign to shield immigrants from police raids. The movement declares, “Through grassroots organizing led by affected immigrants, we fight and win immigrant justice campaigns with our members across nationality, faith, class, and immigration status.” We discuss its goals, tactics, and national implications. (April 5, 2017 broadcast)

Blanca Pacheco, assistant director, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

 

Gov. Howard Dean: Why Republicans can’t govern

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean discusses President Trump’s failure to repeal Obamacare, the Clinton-Sanders schism in the Democratic Party, what it will take for Democrats to win again, Gov. Phil Scott’s first 100 days, and why he believes that today’s Republicans can’t govern. (March 29, 2017 broadcast)

Gov. Howard Dean

Procuring fairness

Can the power of state procurement be used to give incentives to companies that create livable wage jobs and good benefits? We discuss legislation that would level the playing the field for socially responsible businesses. (March 29, 2017 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, public policy manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Pat Heffernan, president, Marketing Partners

Jennifer Chiodo, co-owner, Cx Associates

Is there life after prison? Dismas House offers hope & second chances

Is there life after prison? For 30 years, Dismas House of Vermont has been a welcome home for those leaving prison. There are now four Dismas Houses in Vermont: Burlington, Rutland, Winooski and Hartford. The mission of Dismas is “is to reconcile former prisoners with society and society with former prisoners.” The success of Dismas can be seen in the fact that the recidivism rate for its residents is about 15 percent; the recidivism rate nationally is over 70 percent. The cost of living at a Dismas House is about $19,000 per year, versus about $60,000 per year to incarcerate prisoners in Vermont. We explore this innovative approach to working with former prisoners with staff and residents. (March 22, 2017 broadcast)

Richard Gagne, House director, Dismas House, Burlington

James King, resident, Dismas House, Burlington

Jan Tarjan, executive director, Dismas of Vermont

Prison nation: Are there alternatives to jail?

The US incarcerates more people than any country in the free world, and Vermont spends more money on incarceration than it does on higher education. Who is in jail in Vermont? Is there a better alternative than prison? (March 22, 2017 broadcast)

Suzi Wizowaty, execuive director, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform

What was the source of the “fake news tsunami” that swamped the Bernie Sanders campaign?

Hillary Clinton murdered her political opponents, used body doubles, and ran child sex rings. Sounds absurd? It is. But these stories were part of a tidal wave of fake news that hit the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Where did it come from? An explosive Huffington Post expose details how fake news from Russia and Eastern Europe — from the same shadowy sources that were working to promote Donald Trump — began overwhelming Sander’s social media in mid-2016. We discuss the story, fake news, and its impact with two investigators.

Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post and an MSNBC contributor 

John Mattes, former Emmy-award winning investigative consultant for ABC World News I-Team in Miami and reporter.

Transformative education: Governor’s Institute of Vt changes lives

Every summer since 1982, high school students from Vermont and beyond spend up to two weeks living on college campuses and immersing themselves in current affairs, math, engineering, the arts, and other topics. This is the transformative experience offered by the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont which “provides young people with intensive, hands-on learning experiences in college settings, igniting academic and creative passions, building confidence and leadership, and expanding students’ sense of possibility.” Some 88 percent of alumni say GIV was one of their most important life experiences. Leaders and participants discuss the role and promise of GIV:

  • Karen Taylor Mitchell, executive director, Governor’s Institute of Vermont
  • Simon Norton, co-director, Governor’s Institute on Current Issues and Youth Activism, School for International Training, Brattleboro 
  • Madelyn Koff, student and GIV participant, Hartford High School

Supporting schools, rejecting austerity

Vermont voters overwhelmingly rejected Gov. Phil Scott’s call to slash education spending, as 91 percent of school budgets were approved on Town Meeting Day. We discuss the politics of school budgets in Vermont, the impact of education cutbacks, the controversy around independent schools, and future of school district mergers. (March 8, 2017 broadcast)

Nicole Mace, executive director, Vermont School Boards Association

Jeff Francis, executive director, Vermont Superintendents Association

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