Vt. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson on COVID relief and the road ahead

The Vermont Legislature have temporarily adjourned after appropriating about $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds. The money is intended to help Vermonters, businesses, and communities survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson discusses what was passed, how governing is happening during the pandemic, and the challenges ahead. Note: Due to a technical problem the first 15 minutes of the interview was not recorded. (July 1, 2020 broadcast)

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson

 

Essential but abandoned: Undocumented farmworkers in Vermont demand recognition

Immigrants and undocumented workers on Vermont’s dairy farms have been hit with a triple crisis: the coronavirus pandemic, the collapse of dairy farms, and the ongoing threat of deportation by ICE. Farmworkers, led by Migrant Justice, are demanding support to weather the multiple crises. “We may not be USA citizens, but we are Vermonters. We are sustaining the industry. There is an irony of being called essential workers but at the same time not being taken into account,” says Marita Canedo of Migrant Justice. (May 27, 2020 broadcast)

Marita Canedo, Migrant Justice

Thelma Gomez, Migrant Justice

Who lives and who dies? Harvard epidemiologist Nancy Krieger on health disparities, COVID-19 & “our common humanity”

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions of people around the country and the world, but the rates of death among low-income and minority communities is disproportionately high. Why? Dr. Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is an internationally recognized social epidemiologist who has been an activist and scholar on social justice, science, and health. She discusses how social factors, including racism, poverty, and where you live and work, often determine who lives and who dies when health crises hit. (May 20, 2020 broadcast)

Dr. Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

“We are in an unprecedented moment:” Sens. Sanders, Leahy & Rep. Welch on COVID-19 response and road ahead

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many businesses and employees are relying on lifelines from emergency federal relief programs. Vermont’s Congressional delegation — Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch — discuss the federal response and the road ahead. “We have to express solidarity with each other,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders. “We have to rethink the basic structural foundation of American society.” This virtual Town Hall was sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility on May 7, 2020 and was moderated by Kristen Carlson of Green Mountain Power, a former reporter for WCAX. (May 13, 2020 broadcast)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

Is Trump accountable for COVID-19 deaths? Eugene Jarecki launches #TrumpDeathClock

In just the first two months of the pandemic, 70,000 Americans died of COVID-19–more Americans than died during the decade-long Vietnam War. Epidemiologists have written that if Trump had instituted social distancing on March 9, a week earlier than he did, there would have been a 60 percent reduction in deaths. Will President Trump be held accountable for the deaths? Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki writes in the Washington Post, “A national death clock is needed to measure the number of American lives that have been unnecessarily lost to President Trump and his administration’s failures in managing the coronavirus pandemic.” Jarecki discusses his effort to make the death clock go viral, and the silver linings that he sees in the pandemic. (May 6, 2020 broadcast)

Eugene Jarecki, filmmaker and author

“Lean on me:” Coping with COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are impacting many people’s mental health. A recent poll by Kaiser showed that 45% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. In another indication of stress, alcohol sales are up by over 50%. Social distancing makes everything harder. Child abuse advocates point to a concerning drop in reported cases of abuse as children are no longer in school and seen by teachers and counselors. Vermont mental health and child abuse experts discuss what they are seeing and what people can do. Washington Country Mental Health is preparing a group singing of the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me.” A global performance of the song can be found here. (April 29, 2020 broadcast)

Mary Moulton, executive director, Washington Country Mental Health Services, VT

Margaret Joyal, director, Center For Counseling & Psychological Services, WCMHS

Linda E. Johnson, executive director, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be:” Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman on COVID-19 testing, easing restrictions & a Second Wave

As President Trump pushes states to relax their COVID-19 restrictions amid protests, many sponsored by national conservative activists including the Mercer and Koch families, we talk with Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman, MD, MHS, PhD, about where we are in the pandemic and what lies ahead. He warns, “Without testing… you’re just waiting for another wave. We’re not really ready for meaningful re-engagement in most of this country.” (April 22, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article in Medium based on this Vermont Conversation.

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

 

“This is a wake-up call:” Donna Carpenter of Burton Snowboards on fighting COVID-19, climate change & paying it forward

When Donna Carpenter, owner and board chair of Burton Snowboards, heard that local hospitals were asking for donations of personal protective equipment to deal with the widening COVID-19 pandemic, she thought of the nurses and physicians who cared for her late husband Jake Burton Carpenter, who founded Burton in 1977. Jake died in November 2019 of cancer. She was determined to help the people who helped her family  and so many others. Burton tapped its suppliers in China and she purchased a half-million N95 face masks that it is donating to the University of Vermont Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, and to hospitals in Boston and New York City. The company is also donating goggles and other items for personal protection. Carpenter says the federal response to COVID-19 is “a national disgrace.” She discusses the impact of the pandemic and climate change. “Maybe this a wake-up call. This is Mother Earths’ dress rehearsal.” (April 15, 2020 broadcast)

Donna Carpenter, owner and board chair, Burton Snowboards

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)