Author Archive: David

Ken Squier: A life on the air

 2017 has been an eventful year for Ken Squier: he became the first journalist ever inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he sold Thunder Road, the race track that he has owned for over a half century, and he has put his beloved WDEV radio station up for sale. In its Hall of Fame …

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An Alzheimer’s Journey: Vt. couple fights stigma & promotes understanding

In summer 2016, Sky Yardley, 66, was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure for this disease. He and his wife, Jane Dwinell, decided to begin writing and speaking about their shared experience of Sky’s dementia. “We started this blog as a way to erase the stigma attached to dementia and to …

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Is Trump’s vote fraud commission a fraud? Vt. Sec. of State Jim Condos says yes

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration’s so-called election integrity commission, according to CNN. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos declared, “I will not compromise the privacy of Vermont citizens to support the Trump Administration’s witch hunt for widespread voter fraud, which …

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Dr. Ben Kligler: Alternative medicine goes mainstream

Dr Ben Kligler is a pioneer in the field of integrative health and medicine – sometimes referred as complementary and alternative medicine. Last year, he was named the founding National Director to leading integrative health strategy at the Coordinating Center for Integrative Health of the U.S. Veterans Administration. In his new position, Kligler, a family …

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Vt. veto session politics: Killing pot, attacking teachers

This spring, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the state budget after the legislature rebuffed his last minute demand for the state to to strip local school boards of the right to collectively bargaining health care benefits with teachers. Scott also vetoed the Legislature’s marijuana legalization bill. The standoff over these issues forced the Legislature to …

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Pete Seeger: The dissident who was never dissonant

“Wherever he went, he got people singing.” So begins the beautifully illustrated children’s book, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got American Singing (Roaring Brook Press, 2017), by Vermont author Leda Schubert. The book chronicles the life and times of America’s most famous musical dissident. Schubert discusses her meeting with Seeger, and her personal shared history: Seeger was …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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“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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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

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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, …

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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 …

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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

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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

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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 …

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“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 …

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“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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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A Conversation with Amy Goodman & Bill McKibben

Amy 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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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