Mutual aid in a pandemic: Vermont volunteers confront COVID-19

As Vermont grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers are stepping forward to play key roles in their communities. We talk with Vermonters involved in mutual aid and community-level response to the pandemic. (April 9, 2020 broadcast)

Allison Levin, executive director, Community Harvest of Central Vermont, currently leading volunteer coordination, Washington and Northern Orange Counties Regional Response Command Center (WNOC-RRCC)

Carrie Stahler,  director of community engagement, Green Mountain United Way 

Monique Priestly, executive director, Space On Main, organizer, Bradford Resilience

Joey Buttendorf, senior chef instructor, Community Kitchen Academy, Capstone Community Action

Jessica Tompkins,  Mad River Valley Emergency Response Team

Drew McNaughton, Marshfield & Plainfield mutual aid

Schools on the frontline: Delivering lessons, meals & hope in one Vermont school district

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools and students to transform overnight. Classes have gone from in person to online, meals are being served not in school buses instead of cafeterias, and teachers are conjuring new ways to maintain bonds between their distant students. We look at the challenges confronting the Harwood Union Unified School District in Vermont. We talk to teachers, students, food service workers, and administrators to hear how they are adapting to the new normal. And we hear how one 3rd grade teacher inspires hope and humor among her students everyday. (April 1, 2020 broadcast)

Tom Drake, principal, Warren Elementary School
Jonah Ibson, teacher, Harwood Union High School
Aliza Jernigan, 11th grade student, Harwood Union High School

Brigid Nease, superintendent, Harwood Union Unified School District
Katie Sullivan, grade 3/4 teacher, Warren Elementary School
Paul Morris, food services co-director, Harwood Union Unified School District

From masks to sanitizer: VT businesses adapt, worry & work for change in face of pandemic

How are Vermont businesses coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? For some, it means reinventing themselves. Caledonia Spirits and Silo Distillery have transformed from distilling spirits to making hand sanitizer for area hospitals and residents. Vermont Glove has transformed from sewing handmade leather gloves to making hand-sewn face masks for health care providers and public servants. Twincraft Skincare, a leading manufacturer of soap, is hiring to meet unprecedented demand. But other businesses are struggling with layoffs and uncertainty about what the future holds. We speak with Vermont businesspeople about how they are innovating, adapting and worrying about the uncertain future, and the chance to enact long-term change as a result of the crisis.(March 25, 2020 broadcast)

John & Jen Kimmich, The Alchemist, Stowe, VT

Ryan Christiansen, Caledonia Spirits, Montpelier, VT

Peter Jillson, Silo Distillery, Windsor, VT

Michele Asch, Twincraft Skincare, Winooski, VT

Bill Butcher, Mocha Joe’s Roasting Co., Brattleboro, VT

Sam Hooper, Vermont Glove, Randolph, VT

“Our house is burning down:” Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steven Goodman on COVID-19

In our second COVID-19 conversation (first episode here, article on Medium), Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steve Goodman discusses the latest scientific information emerging from Europe and China about how COVID-19 is spread and stopped, the evolving response, how lockdowns work in containing the pandemic, the ongoing US testing debacle, how the outbreak could have been handled in the US, and what lessons must be learned.  (March 18, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article in Medium based on this Vt Conversation.

Dr. Steven Goodman, Associate Dean, Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, and Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine

“It’s really really serious – we have to be all in:” Rep. Peter Welch on federal response to COVID-19

Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) discusses how the federal government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has evolved from “a slow response, to a little bit of denial, to a cavalier response…to a sense of urgency and action.” He explains emergency funding that Congress is approving to assist businesses and individuals, and guarding against bad legislation slipped through during the emergency. “There is going to be massive unemployment. This is a time when there absolutely has to be a governmental response. We are in such a state of urgency that all of our energy has to go into how best to respond. It’s really really serious.” We also discuss Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and how the pandemic will affect the 2020 election. (March 18, 2020 broadcast)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

“This is an impending catastrophe:” Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman on the coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is sweeping across the globe and has arrived in Vermont. Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman discusses the uniquely dangerous dimensions of this new pandemic, the botched federal response, the impact of the Trump Administration’s misinformation, and why he calls COVID-19 “a tsunami.” (March 11, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article version of this show in Medium.

Dr. Steven Goodman, associate dean, Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, and Medicine, Stanford Medical School

Should there be billionaires? Chuck Collins, Oscar Mayer heir, says no

“The problem isn’t really individuals making money. The problem is having an entire system that grows the wealth of billionaires at the expense of everything else we care about — including our democracy,” writes Chuck Collins in an op-ed for CNN Business, “The US would be better off with fewer billionaires.”  Collins, who is the heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, has long championed raising taxes on the rich and campaign finance reform, and writes extensively about inequality. Collins discusses Mike Bloomberg, the problem with philanthropy, and the many ways that billionaires undermine the middle class and democracy. (March 11, 2020 broadcast)

Chuck Collins, co-editor, at the Institute for Policy Studies, author, Born on Third Base

“I am incredibly proud of the title Madam Speaker:” Vt. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson is 1 of just 8 female Speakers of the House in US legislatures. Johnson was elected to the VT House of Reps in 2002. She rose to be chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and was elected Speaker in 2017. She discusses the recent historic veto override of Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on raising the minimum wage — the first such override in the state since 2009. She also discusses the presidential run of Bernie Sanders, a tax and regulate system for marijuana, climate change, sexism, and how women lead. (March 4, 2020 broadcast)

Mitzi Johnson, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives

Act 250 at 50: Debating the future of Vermont’s landmark environmental law

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Act 250, Vermont’s signature land use and development law. It was passed at a time when Vermont was undergoing significant development pressure. Two new interstate highways, I-89 and 91, had recently opened, increasing development pressure. But in the late 1960s, Vermont had no environmental regulations or land use controls. So Gov. Deane Davis appointed a commission to explore how to deal with these new challenges. The result was Act 250, which the Vermont legislature passed in 1970. The law provides a public, quasi-judicial process for reviewing and managing the environmental, social and fiscal consequences of major subdivisions and developments in Vermont.

Fast forward a half century. In January 2020, the Scott administration and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, which are often adversaries on environmental issues, proposed a package of Act 250 reforms. This reform plan has generated controversy among environmentalists and legislators. Last week, the legislature stripped out a key reform proposal to professionalize the development review process. What is the future of Act 250 and reform efforts? What has Act 250 contributed during its half-century? (February 26, 2020 broadcast)

Peter Walke, commissioner, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Brian Shupe, executive director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Sen. Pres. Tim Ashe challenges “governing by veto” and talks political future

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe on the key legislative issues in 2020, including the failure of paid family leave and the veto of a higher minimum wage. He accuses Gov. Phil Scott of “governing by veto or veto threat.” And he discusses his political future and his run for Lieutenant Governor. (February 19, 2020 broadcast)

Sen. Tim Ashe, Vermont Senate President Pro Tem

Transforming disability to ability: Vermont Adaptive changes lives

Visitors to Vermont’s mountains will encounter people with disabilities skiing and participating in sports that once might have seemed beyond reach. They are participants with Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, a nationally recognized organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. We discuss the impacts and origins of this pioneering program. (February 19, 2020 broadcast)

Kim Jackson, director of communications & marketing, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports

Emily Cioffi, mono skier

Kyle Robideaux, a skier with visual impairment who is also an ultra trail runner


Stop the cuts: Advocates defend antipoverty programs

The programs that low-income rely on are under attack. Nationally, Pres. Trump is slashing money for food stamps and affordable housing, to name a few. In Vermont, Gov. Scott is proposing to eliminate funds for two longstanding anti-poverty programs: the Micro Business Development Program, established in 1988, which provides free assistance and access to capital to help low-income Vermonters start their own businesses, and the Vermont Matched Savings Program, established in 2000, which matches saving and offers financial education program for low-income Vermonters. Representatives of Vermont’s community action agencies and program participants discuss the role and impacts of these antipoverty programs and what will happen if they are eliminated. (February 12, 2020 broadcast)

Jan DeMers, executive director, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)

Liz Scharf, Director of Community Economic Development, Capstone Community Action

Jennifer Fowler and Tim West, program participants

“I will have your back:” Rebecca Holcombe on her race to be Vermont’s governor

In fall 2019, Rebecca Holcombe became the first declared candidate for Vermont governor in the 2020 gubernatorial race. Holcombe is a former teacher, principal, and she served as Vermont’s secretary of education under Governors Peter Shumlin and Phil Scott. Now she is running to unseat Scott as governor. Holcombe discusses why she’s running and the issues that are a priority for her, including climate change, workforce development, health care and education. (February 5, 2020 broadcast)

Rebecca Holcombe, candidate for Vermont governor

Building community through music: Anne Decker & TURNmusic

TURNmusic is a chamber music ensemble with attitude. It is taking classical music out of its comfort zone, venturing into the community to play in bars, meeting halls and other offbeat venues. Conductor Anne Decker of Waterbury, Vermont, says the professional ensemble is part of her mission to use music to build community and support good causes, such as an upcoming concert to benefit the ACLU of Vermont. Decker talks about the power of music to bring people together. (February 5, 2020 broadcast)

Anne Decker, conductor, TURNmusic


“Now is not the time to be complacent:” James Lyall of ACLU Vermont on defending civil liberties in the Trump era

More than 8,000 Vemonters are under some form of correctional control. One in four people incarcerated in Vermont have not been convicted of a crime. A new bipartisan consensus is emerging for criminal justice reform. A poll released this week by the ACLU of Vermont shows that two in three Vermonters want to reduce the prison population by investing in community-based alternatives, and four in five Vermonters support alternatives for offenses resulting from substance misuse, mental health conditions and poverty. James Lyall discusses efforts to cut Vermont’s prison population in half, other criminal justice reform legislation, as well as recent court decisions around immigrant rights. He also talks about his greatest concerns about civil liberties in the Trump era. (January 29, 2020 broadcast)

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

Will local journalism survive? Anne Galloway of VTDigger

This week, Vermont’s nonprofit news publication VTDigger was awarded a $900,000 grant by the American Journalism Project to support its work as a daily statewide news source. This is the largest grant ever received by VTDdigger, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. VTDigger has been cited by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics & Public Policy and the New York Times as a national model for providing local news. Anne Galloway, the founder and editor of VTDigger, talks about the future of local journalism in the age of Facebook & Google, how she started what began as a one-woman operation to cover state politics, the Trump effect on local news coverage and what is next for VTDigger. (January 29, 2020 broadcast)

Anne Galloway, founder and editor,

Is VT wasting money on programs that don’t work? VT State Auditor Doug Hoffer

Does it make sense to pay people to move to Vermont to solve a workforce shortage? Does spending more on tourism marketing actually bring more tourists? Is Vermont losing or gaining workers? Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer follows the money and offers his often contrarian view of what works and what doesn’t. Hoffer, who took office in 2013, also dispels rumors of his retirement to confirm that he will run for re-election in 2020. (January 22, 2020 broadcast)

Doug Hoffer, Vermont State Auditor

Will VT get paid family leave, higher minimum wage & legal pot sales? Vermont House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski weighs in

Will Vermont finally get paid family & medical leave, a higher minimum wage and legalized marijuana sales that are taxed and regulated by the state. Vermont House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski (B-Burlington) discusses the politics and possibilities of the 2020 legislative session in Vermont. (January 22, 2020 broadcast)

Rep. Jill Krowinski, Vermont House Majority Leader

Progressive on the move: Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman on why he is running for governor

This week, Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman announced that he would run to replace Gov. Phil Scott, who is widely assumed will run for a third term in 2020. If Zuckerman were to defeat Scott, he would be the first candidate to defeat an incumbent Vermont governor in 60 years. Zuckerman is a Progressive/Democrat who will run on the Democratic ticket, and he will first have to win a Democratic primary against former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe. Zuckerman talks about the issues that matter to him, his strategy for winning and how he got into politics. (January 15, 2020 broadcast)

Vermont Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, candidate for governor

Legendary broadcaster Ken Squier on local media, America & his legacy

Ken Squier is an American broadcasting legend and Vermont icon. He is best known to Vermonters as the owner of WDEV Radio Vermont, the 90-year-old independent radio network, and to its listeners as the host of Music to Go to the Dump By. The last three years have been especially momentous for Squier. He sold Thunder Road, the Vermont car racing track that he co-founded more than a half century ago. In January 2018, he was the first journalist inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a recognition of his lifetime achievement as a broadcaster with CBS and TBS and as the founder of Motor Racing Network. Squier reflects on community media, the state of the country and his legacy. (January 8, 2020 broadcast)

Ken Squier, NASCAR Hall of Fame broadcaster and owner, WDEV Radio Vermont

Part 1

Part 2

Why are so many women poor? Breaking out of the gender poverty trap

Why are women a disproportionate share of Vermonters in poverty? Why are 4 out of 10 women who work full time unable to meet their basic needs? Why do women earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by a man? What does it cost a young mom to take a few years off to raise kids? These questions and more are the focus of a report on Women, Work & Wages from Change the Story Vermont, an initiative to align policy, program, and philanthropy to fast-track women’s economic status in Vermont. The organization recently received national attention when it created sports jerseys emblazoned with #equalpay, which were worn by members of the Burlington High School girls soccer team during a game this fall. The players were penalized for wearing unauthorized uniforms but their advocacy of equal pay for women went viral. We spend the hour discussing the issues affecting women, work and poverty in Vermont. (December 18, 2019 broadcast)

Tiffany Bluemle, director, Change the Story Vermont

Cary Brown, executive director, Vermont Commission on Women

Part 1

Part 2

“A stain on the soul of our state:” Ex-Rep. Kiah Morris on racism, misogyny & her fight for justice

Kiah Morris was elected to the Vermont State Legislature from Bennington in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. She was the only female African-American Vermont state representative at that time. In September 2018, she resigned from the legislature in the wake of racist attacks from white nationalists. The shocking story of what happened to her was reported in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC and other news outlets. In January 2019, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announced that he would not bring criminal charges against the man who was harassing Morris and her family, insisting that racially offensive speech was protected. Civil rights groups including the NAACP and Justice for All denounced the decision and the Vermont ACLU called for an investigation of the Bennington Police for its “systemic racism problem.” Morris has continued to speak out against racism and misogyny both locally and globally. She was recently part of an Oxfam America delegation to Central America where she met with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Morris discusses her ongoing fight for justice. (December 11, 2019 broadcast)

Kiah Morris, former Vermont State Representative

Part 1

Part 2




Deep legacy: Snowboard trailblazer Jake Burton Carpenter, 1954-2019

Jake Burton Carpenter, who died on November 20, 2019 at the age of 65, was a trailblazer in many ways. He took his passion of riding a single plank — a snowboard — and transformed it into a global phenomenon and thriving business. He was also a much beloved member of the his community in Stowe, Vermont, where he built a pool and fitness center and could often be found riding the trails at Stowe Mountain Resort. We discuss Carpenter’s life and legacy. (December 4, 2019 broadcast)

Lisa Lynn, editor, Vermont Ski & Ride

Chris Doyle, Rapid Prototype Engineer, Burton Snowboards

Huts for all: A backcountry hut network rises in Vermont

Imagine Vermont with a network of trails and huts that would allow a mountain biker, hiker or skier to travel throughout the mountains staying entirely off the grid and in the backcountry. Other states, including Colorado, New Hampshire and Maine, have well-developed hut systems, but Vermont is new to this wave. RJ Thompson discusses how the decades-old vision of a network of mountain huts for Vermont is being turned into reality. (December 4, 2019 broadcast)

RJ Thompson, executive director, Vermont Huts Association

Filmmaker Bess O’Brien on incarceration, addiction and teen angst

Bess O’Brien is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has changed the public discourse on issues ranging from addiction to incarceration. Her film The Hungry Heart, about the prescription drug crisis in Vermont, impacted the state’s drug policy. All of Me shone a light on eating disorders and her latest, Coming Home, focuses on ex-prisoners returning to their Vermont communities. O’Brien is currently producing The Listen Up Project, a musical based on the lives of Vermont teens. She is the founder of Kingdom County Productions with her husband, filmmaker Jay Craven. 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.” (November 20, 2019 broadcast)

Bess O’Brien, filmmaker

Part 1

Part 2

Friend or foe? China, trade wars and human rights

China has been in the headlines from protests in Hong Kong, to human rights abuses in western China to Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war. China expert James Millward explains what is behind Trump’s obsession with China, the crackdown on ethnic minorities and what lies ahead for the world’s most populous country. (November 13, 2019 broadcast)

James Millward, professor, Department of History and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

On public assistance and against government: Arlie Russell Hochschild on the paradox of poor states

Arlie Russell Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of our time. She is the author of nine books, including her latest, the bestseller, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. In that book, she travels to Louisiana, the second-poorest state, to explore why its neediest populations both rely on federal aid and reject the concept of “big government.” She went there to gain insight insight in Donald Trump’s base. (November 13, 2019 broadcast)

Arlie Russell Hochschild, professor of sociology, UC Berkeley, author, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Why I quit the US Foreign Service: Lizzy Shackelford on the revolt of the diplomats

Elizabeth Shackelford was a career diplomat in the U.S. State Department until December 2017, when she resigned in protest against the Trump administration. Shackelford served in U.S. embassies in Poland, South Sudan, Somalia, and Washington, D.C. She was considered a rising star in the diplomatic corps and received the State Department’s highest honor for consular work for her service in South Sudan. She now lives in Rochester, Vermont. She discusses why she quit, why more than half of career foreign service officers have also resigned, what happened in Ukraine, and the importance of democratic protest. (November 6, 2019 broadcast)

Elizabeth Shackelford, US diplomat who resigned in protest

Part 1

Part 2

Innovate or die: Matt Dunne on helping rural areas thrive

Around the US, rural areas are in decline. Can rural areas thrive? Matt Dunne argues that rural areas can be centers of innovation and is piloting a model project in the struggling city of Springfield, VT with a new organization whose mission is to build “a network of rural innovation hubs to spark the revival of small towns across America.” (October 30, 2019 broadcast)

Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation

Where are the workers? Vermont confronts a workforce shortage

A recent study found that Vermont needs nearly 11,000 more workers per year than it currently has. How can Vermont solve its workforce shortage? Adam Grinold discusses options, from recruiting asylum seekers and New Americans, to raising wages to helping middle school students identify career paths. (October 30, 2019 broadcast)

Adam Grinold, chair, Vermont Workforce Development Board, executive director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, president, Regional Development Corporations of Vermont

From birth to menopause: The many roles of midwives

One in four births in Vermont are now attended by midwives and the number of midwife-attended births in the United States has more than doubled since 1991. A new study shows that greater access to midwife care is linked to better outcomes for families. We discuss birthing and midwifery today with Vermont midwives who attend home births, work in Planned Parenthood, hospital-based midwives and a midwife who works in Africa. (October 23, 2019 broadcast)

Bonny Steuer, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), president, Vermont chapter, American College of Nurse Midwives, practices at UVM Medical Center 

Rebecca Montgomery, CNM & Certified Menopause Practitioner, adjunct professor of nursing, UVM, practices at Vermont Gynecology in S. Burlington 

Elisa Vandervort, CNM, family nurse practitioner, practices at Central Vt Medical Center, Gifford Hospital and University of Dodoma in Tanzania, Africa

April VanDerveer, CNM, practices at Full Spectrum midwifery, specializes in home births

Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds: Amb. Peter Galbraith on why the Kurds matter and the new Mideast order

President Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds has resulted in the slaughter of a former American ally and has realigned the Middle East. Trump claimed that the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds, which he greenlighted in a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, “has nothing to do with us.” Peter Galbraith is a former diplomat and was a State Senator from Windham County, Vermont. He helped expose Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s, and from 1993 to 1998, he served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Croatia. He recently returned from northern Syria where he was mediating with the Kurds. He condemns the betrayal of the Kurds, saying it will result in a resurgence of America’s adversaries, and accuses Trump of behaving like a Russian asset. (October 16, 2019 broadcast)

Peter Galbraith, former ambassador

Tell your story: Resumes, LinkedIn and rebooting your career

Re-entering the workforce? Changing careers? Two career coaches discuss how to effectively tell your story, from writing resumes to using LinkedIn. (October 16, 2019 broadcast)

Etienne Morris, founder and president, Morris Recruiting & Consulting

Kate Paine, founder and president, Standing Out Online

Can Vermont solve its childcare shortage?

Vermont’s record low unemployment rate – now hovering at around 2% — has spawned another problem: the state can’t find enough workers. One recent study says Vermont is short about 11,000 workers per year.  What does child care have to do with this problem? A lot, it turns out. Parents who can’t find or afford quality child care can’t reliably show up at work and some even end up leaving the workforce altogether. But crisis is the mother of opportunity, and employers are turning to new solutions to lure workers with innovative childcare option. We explore the childcare challenges & solutions with employers, advocates and parents. (October 2, 2019 broadcast)

Emily Blistein, director of business strategy, Let’s Grow Kids

Shelley Sayward, vice president, Casella Waste Systems

Lindsay DesLauriers, president, Bolton Valley Resort

Kailie Speciale, housekeeping supervisor, Bolton Valley Resort 

Nicole Grenier, owner, Stowe Street Cafe, Waterbury; director, Children, Youth & Family Services, Washington County Mental Health, author of op-ed piece on childcare crisis

From grief to action: Jenna’s Promise offers hope against addiction & stigma

In February 2019, 26-year-old Jenna Tatro died of a drug overdose at her family’s home in Johnson, Vermont. Now her parents, Greg and Dawn Tatro, have dedicated themselves to fighting opioid addiction and helping those who suffer with it. The Tatros have established Jenna’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that is building a community-based center in Johnson for people in recovery from addiction. They have renovated a former church and plan to open a coffee shop to both house and employ people in recovery. The Tatros are the owners of G.W. Tatro, a family-owned 60-year-old construction company based in Jeffersonville. They share Jenna’s story, discuss the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies in driving addiction, and describe how they will help those struggling with addiction. (September 25, 2019 broadcast)

Greg and Dawn Tatro, founders, Jenna’s Promise


Closed for business, open for action: Why Vermonters are on #ClimateStrike

On September 20, 2019, millions of people walked out of schools, workplaces and homes to heed the call of a global climate movement: “Join young climate strikers in the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.” The strike was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who launched a climate strike outside the Swedish parliament to demand action on climate change. In Vermont, student activists from around the state and leading businesses joined the call during a week of action. We speak with businesspeople and activists on why they support the strike. (September 18, 2019 broadcast)

Jenn Swain, global senior sustainability manager, Burton Snowboards

Kristin Kelly, director of communications, Green Mountain Power

Divya Gudur, student organizer, Middlebury College

Business for good: Bram Kleppner of Danforth Pewter on being a change agent

Bram Kleppner, CEO at Danforth Pewter since 2011, has been a forceful advocate for progressive change while turning around his company from losses to growth and profitability. Under his leadership, Danforth has become the world’s first 100% solar-powered pewter workshop, implemented company-wide profit-sharing, paid parental leave, paid time off for community service and given employees a seat on the Board of Directors. Danforth is now striving for zero fossil fuel use and raising its lowest wage to $15/hour a year before Vermont does. He is the recipient the 2019 Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement from Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. He is also the great nephew of feminist pioneer and aviator Amelia Earhardt, who vanished in 1937 while flying around the world. Kleppner discusses how business can be a change agent, as well as his view on what happened to Earhardt (September 18, 2019 broadcast)

Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter


Hooked: Kate O’Neill fights opioid addiction stigma in stories about her sister’s death

Writer Kate O’Neill is on a mission to end the stigma surrounding drug addiction, which she identifies as the biggest barrier to treatment. This mission is personal: her sister, Madelyn Linsenmeir, died in October 2018 after years battling opioid addiction. O’Neill is the author of “Hooked: Stories and Solutions from Vermont’s Opioid Crisis,” a remarkable year-long series of articles in the Vermont news weekly Seven Days. The series explores the state’s opioid epidemic and efforts to address it using traditional journalism, narrative storytelling and O’Neill’s own experiences. O’Neill discusses addiction and pregnancy, links to sex trafficking, and the personal impact of researching and writing about her sister’s death. (September 11, 2019 broadcast)

Kate O’Neill, author, “Hooked: Stories and Solutions from Vermont’s Opioid Crisis,” Seven Days

Can businesses win Medicare for All?

Medicare for All has evolved from a progressive pipe dream, to a central plank in Sen. Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, to a mainstream policy idea embraced by nearly every leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.  Now a new group has emerged to make the case for single payer health care. Business for Medicare for All was started by former health insurance executive Wendell Potter and MCS Industries Chairman and CEO Richard Master, who say the existing health insurance system costs companies more than a single-payer plan would. The two want to uncouple health insurance from the workplace, making health care more available to independent contractors and others. Dan Barlow, the organization’s executive director, discusses the evolution of the movement for single payer health care and lays out the plan to sign up 10,000 businesses to advance the cause. Barlow was the former policy manager for Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and a longtime journalist. (September 11, 2019 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, executive director, Business for Medicare for All


Are interns the solution to VT worker shortage?

Vermont now has the lowest unemployment rate in the country (2%). That’s good news, but the bad news is that Vermont employers are struggling to find help. Meanwhile, many college graduates are pondering their future. Internships may unite these employers and employees. A recent study by the Vermont Futures Project suggests that internships are under-utilized. We speak with reps from VBSR’s Vermont Intern Program, Champlain College, employers and  interns to learn who is offering paid internships, how issues of equity are being addressed and how employers and employees can turn internships into jobs.

Samantha Sheehan, communications manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Vermont Intern Program

Pat Boera, associate director, Career Collaborative, Champlain College

Patrick Dansereau, intern at Vermont Mutual, Champlain College, Class of 2020 

Blaise Schroedersecker, intern supervisor, Vermont Mutual

Molly Aldrich, intern at Suncommon, Champlain College, Class of 2020

Molly Bisulca, intern supervisor, Suncommon

Stealing food from babies: Will 5,000 Vt children lose food assistance?

The Trump administration is proposing to kick over 3 million people off of food stamps, about 8 percent of the total the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In Vermont, over 13,000 people would lose 3SquaresVT benefits, some 13 percent of the current caseload that equates to an approximate loss over $7.5 million in annual benefits for Vermonters. This includes 4,600 children who are expected to lose 3SquaresVT benefits under this proposal, and many of these school-aged children are at risk of losing access to free meals at school as well.  We discuss this threat with Anore Horton, executive director of Hunger Free Vermont, which is leading a campaign to oppose the cuts. We are also joined by officials from several Vermont schools to talk about the face of hunger in children and the threat of losing financial support. (August 28, 2019 broadcast)

Anore Horton, executive director, Hunger Free Vermont

Bruce Williams, assistant superintendent, Orange East Supervisory Union 

Doug Davis, food services director, Burlington School District

Part 1 (Horton, Williams–edited)

Part 2 (Horton, Davis)

Is the economy rigged? Marjorie Kelly on building prosperity for the many

Over 70 percent of Americans believe that economic system is rigged against them. And the three wealthiest men control more resources than the bottom half of all Americans. What’s the alternative? Marjorie Kelly, co-author (with Ted Howard) of The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few, highlights projects that build community wealth and democratize our economy. Kelly is executive VP at the Democracy Collaborative and the co-founder of Business Ethics magazine. (August 21, 2019 broadcast)

Marjorie Kelly, co-author, The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few

Building community with bikes: Dan Hock & Old Spokes Home forge connections

Dan Hock began volunteering at Bike Recycle Vermont in 2005 while attending Saint Michael’s College. Bike Recycle was a social enterprise with a mission of giving bikes to those in need. It was located across the street from Old Spokes Home, a much loved Burlington bike shop founded by Glenn Eames in 2000. In 2015, Hock and several others raised $300,000 and bought Old Spokes Home from Eames and integrated Bike Recycle into it. The bike shop and nonprofit moved into a new location in early 2019. Old Spokes Home — its motto is “creating access to bikes and the opportunities they provide for our whole community” — is now a thriving social enterprise and a commercial business. Hock discusses the role that bikes can play in transforming the lives of low-income people and his journey as a former bike racer and global cyclist to being a co-owner of a bike shop with a social mission. Dan Hock was named a 2019 VBSR Young Changemaker of the Year. (August 21, 2019 broadcast)

Dan Hock, programs director, Old Spokes Home, Burlington, Vt. 

Brave new medicine: Dr. Cynthia Li on her recovery from autoimmune disease

Millions of people worldwide are affected by autoimmune disease, which includes conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome. The symptoms are often dismissed by doctors, families and friends. Cynthia Li faced this firsthand, but as a doctor herself, she found herself becoming what she and colleagues dismissively called a “difficult patient.” Li’s life, career and marriage nearly came crashing down when she began experiencing mysterious health symptoms. Tests came back normal, baffling her doctors—and herself. Li has written a new book about her journey, Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness. She discusses how she came to terms with her condition and how she is now helping others. Dr. Cynthia Li received her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and has practiced as an internist in San Francisco. She now has a private practice in integrative and functional medicine and serves on the faculty of the Healer’s Art program at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and their two daughters. (August 7, 2019 broadcast)

Dr. Cynthia Li, author, Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness

Brain injured: The strange world of foreign accent syndrome

When Gwynne Berry fell on the ice while skiing in January 2017, she suspected she had a concussion. A Vermont native, she was shocked a short while later when she awoke speaking with a foreign accent. Berry, a former ski racing coach and a mother of two in Waterbury, Vermont, who works part-time as an office administrator, has been grappling for over two years with foreign accent syndrome, a rare disorder that strikes about 100 people worldwide. Her accents have ranged from French Canadian, to Swedish, Czech and now Irish. Berry is the subject of a short documentary, “Miss Me, I’m Irish.” She talks about the challenge of recovering from a serious brain injury and her healing journey. (August 7, 2019 broadcast)

Gwynne Berry, on foreign accent syndrome



VT Climate Caucus confronts climate change: Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas & Sen. Chris Pearson

With a climate denier in the White House, states are taking the lead in passing climate change initiatives. The vice chairs of Vermont’s Climate Solutions Caucus discuss their priorities, what laws have won and lost in Vermont and future plans. The nonpartisan Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus of the Vermont Legislature was founded in 2012 to support legislation that promotes Vermont’s economy while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It currently includes 82 members in the Vermont House and Senate. (July 31, 2019 broadcast)

Vermont Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford), vice chair, Climate Solutions Caucus 

Vermont Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Burlington), vice chair, Climate Solutions Caucus 

From Classroom to City Hall: Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson

Anne Watson was elected mayor of Montpelier, Vermont’s capital city, in 2018. By day, she is an award-winning teacher of science, math and financial literacy at Montpelier High School. She is also coach of MHS’s boy’s varsity ultimate Frisbee team, which just won the state championship, making it the first state-sanctioned high school varsity ultimate Frisbee title in the country. Watson talks about her work to advance energy efficiency and fight climate change in her work with the city, and the challenges and opportunities facing women in political leadership. (July 31, 2019 broadcast)

The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement

2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It also marks another milestone: the 50th anniversary of the height of the Vietnam War and the popular movement that arose to confront it. By 1969, more than 14,500 young American soldiers had been killed and a half million had served in combat. Antiwar protest raged in the streets, on campuses and in capitols across the country. One of the unusual features of the Vietnam era was the emergence of citizen diplomacy — Americans who traveled to Vietnam and return to tell what they saw. In 2013, one group returned to Vietnam to participate in observances of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords that ended the war. Out of that trip came a book, The People Make the Peace: Lessons From the Vietnam Antiwar Movement, edited by Karín Aguilar-San Juan and Frank Joyce. A number of the contributors recently returned from Vietnam where they launched a Vietnamese language edition of the book. Three of those contributors discuss their history with the Vietnam War, their trips to Vietnam during the war and lessons that the antiwar movement holds for today’s activists. Judy Gumbo is an original member of the Yippies who visited the former North Vietnam and helped organize a Women’s March on the Pentagon; she spent most of her professional career as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. Jay Craven is a Vermonter, award-winning producer, independent film writer/director, impresario, and community arts activist. He traveled to Vietnam in 1970 as part of a delegation of college newspaper editors and student body presidents and returned to help lead the 1971 May Day demonstrations in Washington that resulted in the largest mass arrest for non-violent civil disobedience in U.S. history. Frank Joyce has been in involved in many labor, antiracist, human rights and antiwar campaigns. He was a member of the UAW International Union staff for eighteen years. (July 17, 2019 broadcast)

Judy Gumbo, member of the Yippies

Jay Craven, filmmaker  

Frank Joyce, labor activist

Has cheap renewable power rendered conventional energy obsolete? Nuke whistleblowers Arnie & Maggie Gundersen say the future is now

Could a space-based nuclear weapon trigger the simultaneous meltdown of every nuclear power plant on the East Coast? And has the plunging price of renewable power rendered every other form of energy obsolete? Nuclear whistleblowers Maggie & Arnie Gundersen think so. They also assess whether Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to the US. The Gundersens know the nuclear business from the inside: 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 spokesperson for the nuclear industry, became leading critics of nuclear power, forming Fairewinds Energy Education. Arnie Gundersen now consults on nuclear power. (July 10, 2019 broadcast)

Arnie & Maggie Gundersen, nuclear whistleblowers, founders, Fairewinds Energy Education

An advocate returns to the mountains: Lindsay DesLauriers of Bolton Valley on paid family leave, skiing & climate change

For the last decade, Lindsay DesLauriers has been in the news as an advocate for paid family leave and other progressive causes in her role as the state director for Main Street Alliance. In 2018, DesLauriers turned her skills from advocacy to her family business. She is now president and COO of Bolton Valley Resort, which her father Ralph purchased in the 1960s, and which she now runs with two of her brothers. DesLauriers discusses her journey from being a child growing up on a ski mountain, to ski bumming in Colorado, to returning to Vermont to champion socially responsible businesses, and now to shepherding her family’s ski area into a new era as one of the ski industry’s few female chief executives. She is implementing paid family leave in her own business and tackling the challenges that climate change poses to a Vermont ski area. (July 10, 2019 broadcast)

Lindsay DesLauriers, President & COO, Bolton Valley Resort