Category Archives: podcast

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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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Philanthropy for change

Individuals and businesses do not just want to give charity. They want to support social change in creative ways. Businesses are paying employees to volunteer for local nonprofits, offering products for sale that support local organizations, building cutting edge net-zero manufacturing facilities, and individuals are giving money and their expertise to causes they care about. We talk with local …

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

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

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Arlie Hochschild on rage and mourning in Tea Party country

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

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Filmmaker Bess O’Brien shines spotlight on eating disorders

Award-winning filmmaker Bess O’Brien is the director All of Me, a new feature length documentary film focused on the lives of women, girls and some boys who struggle with eating disorders. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and other eating disorders are among the most difficult addictions to treat and to cure. The percentage of young girls who start dieting as young …

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From Disabled to Enabled: Wheel Pad accessible homes

Wheel Pad, a new Vermont-based company, is creating eco-friendly temporary accessible housing for people newly using a wheelchair, allowing friends and/or family to provide support until permanent accessible housing can be arranged. Utilizing technology from the design of RV, Wheel Pad is a 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module that can be temporarily attached to an existing …

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The inside story of a nuclear power whistleblower

Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer who defended the nuclear industry for 20 years, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US. In 1991, after complaining about lax nuclear safety to his superiors, he was fired, and the industry turned on him. That’s when he and his wife Maggie Gundersen, who worked as a …

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

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

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Vermont’s Senior Olympians Shatter Records and Stereotypes

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

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

The last few weeks have seen police killings of African American men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. These incidents have shined a harsh new spotlight on the issue of race, policing and reform. Mark Hughes, founder of Justice for All, discusses race and racism in Vermont, and …

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Vermont’s mountain bike revolution

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

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

Wynona Ward grew up in poverty on a rural back road in Vermont where family violence was common. She and her husband drove long-haul trucks. She began to realize she could combine her vocation as a trucker with the desperate need for victims of domestic violence in rural communities to have access to legal and other …

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Steps Against Domestic Violence: Kelly Dougherty

Between 1994 – 2014, half of all Vermont homicides were a result of domestic violence. Steps Against Domestic Violence — formerly known as Women Helping Battered Women — provides services to those affected by domestic violence in Burlington and Chittenden County, Vermont. Established in 1974 as Women’s House of Refuge, StepsVT fielded 4,800 hotline calls in 2015 and …

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

Jay Karpin, 92, was a bombardier in the first wave of bombers that attacked Normandy in the famous D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The invasion marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe, but came at a staggering price: over 200,000 Allied troops were killed, and an equal number of Germans died. Karpin, who has lived …

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

On July 1, 2016, new bias-free policing policies were enacted for all police in Vermont. This followed charges of racial profiling leveled against multiple Vermont police agencies. Capt. Ingrid Jonas of the Vermont State Police is the highest ranking female police officer in the state. She is the Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community …

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Kim Fountain: The LGBTQ Struggle Continues

In the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 1,000 people marched in Burlington, Vermont — and in numerous other cities — in solidarity with LGBTQ people. Achieving marriage equality was a milestone, but the struggle for LGBTQ rights continues. As the New York Times reports, “Since the marriage ruling, several Republican­-led state legislatures and Republican …

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Migrant Justice: Human Rights & Food Justice

There are approximately 1,500 migrant workers on Vermont’s farms, especially in the dairy industry. Often working up to 80 hours per week, many migrant workers live in isolation on rural farms and earn less than minimum wage. Migrant Justice is an advocacy organization with a mission “to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners …

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Twincraft: New Americans build a business & lives

There is a Vermont connection behind national brands of skin care products such as Estee Lauder, Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena, and Whole Foods. Twincraft Skincare makes soaps. lotions, sunscreen and other products from its manufacturing facilities in Essex and Winooski, Vermont. Twincraft has become a booming business with a special story: the numerous New Americans, many of them refugees …

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Paul Bruhn: Preserving Vermont and Fighting Sprawl

Paul Bruhn went from becoming a UVM dropout, to managing Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first campaign, to the job he holds now as the executive director of Preservation Trust of Vermont, an organization known nationwide. He has served as director since the nonprofit’s inception in 1980. Under his leadership the Preservation Trust has worked with Vermont communities …

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

Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center. Solomon’s 2012 book, the best-selling Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, 2012), tells the stories of families raising exceptional children who not …

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