The Vermont Health Department has unveiled a new website called “Let’s Talk Cannabis” as the Legislature continues its work on establishing a commercial market for the drug, something expected in the next session. The website is essentially a big, yellow, diamond-shaped warning sign.

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This is just a passing observation, but Swanton, to this outsider, seems on the rise and it’s about its people and the choices the town’s leaders are making. There was the news of Kathy Lavoie and her appointment by governor to the state board of education. No one works harder that she does,…

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Two years ago the school asked the tax payers to approve a $16 million bond indebtedness that was voted down due to a lack of specificity providing breakdown of cost and separating need to do versus nice to do portions.  

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As the decade winds down and we assess how the economy did, two things stand out: productivity growth has been disappointing since the Great Recession and yet economic growth hasn’t been all that bad, compounding at a 2.3% annual rate. But we’ve only been able to manage that level of growth …

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 It was recently announced that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has reached a record high of 407.8 parts per million according to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen sharply with the…

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Much is being made regarding this week’s unveiling of a “climate-change simulator” by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and think tank Climate Interactive. It poses a series of questions and offers several choices for the reader to pick. When the reader finishes, the simulator shows …

For senior couples who struggle to make ends meet and scratch their heads wondering why, here is some affirmation of that painful puzzle: According to the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging [part of UMass Boston] Vermont’s cost of living outpaces their ability to keep up. Fo…

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Many have been curious about the expanded nursing program being created through the partnership of the new building at Congress and Main in downtown St. Albans. NMC is working with Vermont Tech on an expanded nursing program here in our region. This is a vital strategy in light of the nation…

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About 1 in 4 elderly people will develop dementia. Many of them will be tortured by doctors. I should know: I am one of those doctors.

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This week, after spending time with their families and loved ones, more than 165 million Americans are expected to participate in the busiest shopping weekend of the year as we kick off the holiday shopping season. Forecasters estimate that Americans will spend more than $730 billion during …

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a disturbing new report on antibiotic resistance, the first since its benchmark survey in 2013. Antibiotic resistance is the tendency of pathogens — bacteria and fungi — to fight back against antibiotic drugs, making some infection…

Vermont has long ranked at the top of the list when it comes to being healthy, one of the key reasons being that those who do the ranking give us high marks for the number of health-related programs we fund, our low crime rate, our low pollution, and high school graduation rates. Together th…

I would be remiss in not reaching out and commending the Messenger for the story on Rob Cioffi and his almost 40 years of coaching the Steelers youth football team. The story was a like a whos who of St. Albans and its storied history with youth football. It was truly interesting to go throu…

If you ask 10 people about the purpose of primary and secondary education, you may well receive 10 different answers. Among those purposes frequently cited are: preparing students for college and a career, learning to engage in our democracy, improving social justice and equity, and establis…

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Hard’ack is arguably the largest legal billboard in Vermont, a visual invitation to the mountain itself and to the community that surrounds it. At long last, we are plumbing its potential, realizing it as an amenity — in the largest sense of the word — that distinguishes greater St. Albans a…

When regulations are contemplated to address an epidemic of teenagers using e-cigarettes, vaping advocates complain loudly. The restrictions will obstruct adult access to these products, they say, foreclosing the opportunity for smokers to use the devices to quit cigarettes. Another complain…

At Wednesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Bernie Sanders got an easy question — easy, that is, for a minimally reasonable politician seeking to govern a diverse nation. Sanders gave the wrong answer.

For young generations, clean energy is not an option, it’s an expectation. For seniors, health-impaired neighbors, and businesses, reliable and affordable electricity is a lifeblood necessity. We’ve heard scientists’ alarms, seen that dangerous planetary warming is underway -- happening even…

With the advantage of hind-sight, the no-brainer of the decade was the decision by St. Albans Town in 2014 to put in place a one percent local option tax. The tax has generated over $800,000 annually, which has provided the town a war chest from which to pay for whatever it wishes, including…

Improving health and access to care for all Vermonters, within the context of developing a sustainable economic cost-management (containment) model, has been the modus operandi linked in multiple attempts to innovate the health care delivery system in the state. The all-payer model which bri…

This is a shout out to Peter DesLauriers, former Mayor of the City of St. Albans and a teacher at your City Elementary school. If my memory is correct it was Mr. DesLauriers who came up with the idea of getting local school children involved in the Veterans Day activities at Taylor Park. He …

Why would Michael Bloomberg, worth in excess of $50 billion, and counting, decide to enter the Democratic presidential primary at the last possible moment, with no public support and a winnowed down field with whom the public is just starting to become familiar?

My interest in the presidency started with a Jesuit priest who played a part in our government procedures that establish how we select and elect our president today. That was a long time ago. Since that time I have usually started my day reading the daily newspapers and watching C-Span on te…

Steve Howard, executive director of the Vermont State Employees Association, is being quoted as saying his 10,000 person union would not add its numbers to OneCare next year. OneCare is the accountable care organization implementing the state’s all-payer health care system.

It says something about the state of the Democratic presidential race that a $500 billion college affordability plan might be considered modest and incremental. In fact, we would argue that South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s new education proposal is both more affordable and more pr…

Michael Bloomberg is well-known for his philanthropy, and his dedication to causes such as reducing gun violence and reversing climate change appears entirely sincere. His tentative conclusion that his money and time might be best used running for president is faulty, as well as a regrettabl…

After President Erdogan of Turkey spoke to President Trump an inept decision was made by Trump to pull our military forces from northern Syria. This allowed Turkey to invade and attack the Kurds.

There is a hole in the middle of Burlington they are trying to fill and are two years behind schedule. There is a scandal-plagued hole in the middle of Newport they are trying to fill. Good luck. And there is a hole in the middle of downtown St. Albans which was created several months ago, a…

Sometimes it’s better not to have a plan. That would be the case for Sen. Elizabeth Warren who felt obligated to match the progressive’s ardor for Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All plan. She has made herself politically vulnerable when there was no need; she could have refrained and kept Mr. …

The protesters for Milk with Dignity actions are misdirected.  They should have been protesting the low milk prices paid  to our local Vermont Farmers.  Ben and Jerry's (Unilever) has been paying farmers below what it  costs them to produce a gallon of milk or cream for years. Unilever negot…

After President Erdogan of Turkey spoke to President Trump an inept decision was made by Trump to pull our military forces from northern Syria. This allowed Turkey to invade and attack the Kurds.

When I write about leaders and leadership, I would hope the readers of this column don’t feel that I am on the same schedule as the locust: every seven years.


The truism that you are only as good as the people leading you is being played out in St. Albans Town with selectboard chair Brendan Deso playing the lead. Gone is the weight of past litigation with the City of St. Albans over sewer and water issues. Gone is the negativity that comes with en…

I’ve previously written about how our unfunded pension liabilities are Vermont’s sleeping giant. We owe our state employees and teachers about $4.5 billion more than we have in the bank. We’ve seen two credit-rating downgrades in one year. Our “funded ratio” (the ratio of assets to liabiliti…

“The state’s accountable care organization produced no evidence of results from some of the community health programs it invested in, according to an analysis from the state auditor’s office.”

Nothing is as nostalgic as the image of the bucolic Vermont countryside, with the freshly painted red barn in the background and the Gothic couple standing, pitchfork in hand, in front of the white clapboard home. The 1940s image could be stamped all over Vermont; the couple’s farm was one o…

For hundreds of years Vermont has had many things to be proud of,from it's strong work ethic to protecting our environment. Now we have obtained a label that has no pride in it whatsoever. Vermont now leads the entire nation in the number of teens and young adults using and hooked on drugs.

Vermont television stations Monday reported that “Vermont has the highest youth obesity rate in New England.” It was part of a state-by-state analysis provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which ranked Vermont 20th overall for youth ages 10-17.

I join others in the political world who wish Senator Sanders a complete recovery from his recent health problems.  I also want to commend the senator’s many followers for sending in their support over the past several years. That speaks well of the senator as a person. I have not met him in…

Of all the fifty states California has been blessed with every advantage. A mild climate. Fertile land. Tall timber. Mining riches. Strategic location for shipping, trade and finance. Great universities. Glorious scenery. And of course, Silicon Valley, the world-leading center for high technology.

The recent passing of Paul Bruhn, a champion of preservation and community development for more than 40 years, is a blow to the heritage conservation movement. Much like the vacant lots and storefronts in the historic town centers that Paul spent his life defending, his loss has left many of…

The Green Mountain Care Board Wednesday came to Northwestern Medical Center to find out why the hospital was losing money and what it could do to help rural hospitals like ours to survive and to continue to be pivotal players in their communities.

Set aside your political preferences. Blank out the names. Read the words and ask yourself how you would respond if you were in the room.

For Vermonters who share a 40-year history with Bernie Sanders last night’s debate was important in that he looked healthy, he was warm in thanking those who thought of him during his convalescence, and he was able to put to work his wit and humor. For anyone expecting his support to dissipa…