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It’s been made clear in Vermont, as elsewhere, that we have more fault lines than we knew existed, courtesy of the pandemic. Margins were wafer thin; what we assumed was robust wasn’t. Now, we are having to choose what must be let go, and what can be salvaged, and what can be not only salvag…

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The Center for Disease Control reports that on a 10-year average Vermont loses 57 people a year to seasonal flu. The total deaths in Vermont from Covid-19 stands at 54, with seven months left. Keeping the case numbers low, and, hence the rate of mortality low, is our overriding objective. It…

Now the fun starts. Gov. Phil Scott Wednesday proposed a $400 million recovery package intended to provide essential relief to businesses laid low by the Covid-19 pandemic, including housing and agriculture. The proposal goes to the Legislature, where it will be reviewed, tweaked, or redone …

South Burlington has passed a resolution requiring people to wear masks in city-owned buildings. Burlington has done the same, but has added the requirement for customers in retail stores. Legislative leaders in Montpelier are pondering whether to pass legislation that would require all Verm…

Vermont reports, again, no new cases of the coronavirus and no new deaths even as the number of tests has increased. By anyone’s definition that should be good news, which gives Gov. Phil Scott the momentary freedom to say Vermont’s the “envy of the nation.”

When talented leaders leave their positions, it’s important to recognize their work, and what they have added to a community’s value. It’s an process that should be dressed in reflection and perspective and a sense of good will. It’s this exercise that allows us to plan with our eyes wide op…

Sometimes is as valuable to know what not to do as what to do. The Scott administration’s proposal to have all Vermont’s school districts schedule revotes on their budgets, and to have the revotes complete by late summer or early fall, is an example of what not to do.

The heads of Vermont’s agencies and departments have been instructed to put together three-month budgets for fiscal 2021 and to do so budgeting at 23 percent of their fiscal 2020 level. If the economy continues to sink and if the percentage cut is maintained for the remainder of the fiscal y…

The coronavirus has infected the University of Vermont’s finances to the tune of at least $15 million, and potentially double that if fall enrollment figures fall short of expectations. UVM, like all other universities, is putting in place plans to cut costs where possible, not unlike the ex…

The political picture is a lot less clear than most people believe, and that applies to Vermont as well as it does nationally, the reason being that the havoc wreaked by Covid-19 is not fully understood and voters are, by nature, fickle. States are just now budgeting for the next year and wh…

College presidents are sitting on the edges of their financial seats fervently hoping the students already enrolled will return and that today’s high school seniors will commit to their schools in numbers sufficient to keep them solvent. In a state like Vermont, it’s a billion dollar-plus worry.

By almost any measure Gov. Phil Scott has been on the conservative end of opening up the state’s economy, most obviously Wednesday when he told out-of-staters not to come to Vermont for their summer vacation. Ouch.

There are two realities that confront us with the coronavirus; the first is the need to do whatever is necessary to find and fund a working vaccine that can be produced quickly and in sufficient quantity, the second is the need to reopen our economy as safely as we can but more aggressively …

The Green Mountain Care Board this week denied an emergency request from Northwestern Medical Center for a 15 percent rate increase. The hospital lost in excess of $9 million last year, and it’s on its way to lose far more than that this year. Apparently NMC’s pain is not severe enough, it h…

One of the laments raised about Vermont’s “citizen Legislature” is that it’s not as open to its citizens as it first appears. It’s a five-month a year job that requires legislators to travel to Montpelier. It pays little. And, like moths drawn to the flame, it’s a magnet for lobbyists who sp…

One of the laments raised about Vermont’s “citizen Legislature” is that it’s not as open to its citizens as first appears. It’s a five-month a year job that requires legislators to travel to Montpelier. It pays little. And, like moths drawn to the flame, it’s a magnet for lobbyists who speci…

The month of May will be a difficult one for Northwestern Medical Center. The hospital last week released a 10-point plan to substantially reduce its expenses, including an offer to employees of a voluntary leave program twined with a severance package. NMC has lost money for the last three …

Vermont State College Chancellor Jeb Spauding resigned his position Wednesday. Karen Scolforo, president of Castleton University, resigned Thursday. Northern Vermont University President Elaine Collins is a finalist for a job in her home state of Michigan. To call the exodus a challenge to t…

Comparisons may be odious things, but they seem to be unavoidable as we tend to justify our choices, or impressions by the information we gather, even when the information seems at odds with commonsense. Thus, when the state released town-by-town data this week on the coronavirus it was surp…

The Wall Street Journal Monday told the story of a secret group of the nation’s top scientists, interested billionaires and industry leaders who have banded together, in a Manhattan Project-like venture, to find answers to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a combination of the nation’s best min…

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is pushing commentators to stop being part of the reality TV circus by refusing to go on news programs that broadcast President Donald Trump’s press conferences. He said Mr. Trump is a “crackpot” and that the media does more harm than good by airing the presid…

As Vermont begins to slowly open the spigots of commerce it’s important to prioritize what opens, and when, and how we can avoid the need to shutdown the economy once again should the virus’s infection rate return at worrying levels.

It turns out our sermons about the need to be flinty Vermonters paid off. Vermont is one of 12 states that can handle the stress of the Covid-19 crisis, according to Moody’s Analytics, the national ratings agency.

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, needs to tender his resignation. Mr. Spaulding is not the leader the state college system needs to weather the crisis before it. At this point he is more of a liablity than an asset.

The protesters came, as expected. The affected communities rose up in anger, as expected. The people whose jobs would be affected, expressed their indignation, as expected. And the students, whose futures were made uncertain, let it be known they were none too happy, also expected.

It seems as if Vermont has struggled with tight budgets since the dawn of time. Every legislative session begins with the affordability sermon and every year we pat ourselves on the back for how flinty we are with a buck, knowing deep down we’ve not been tested, that we’ve not had to choose …

It was like a clap of thunder from a clear blue sky when it was announced Friday that the Vermont State College System would shut down three of its campuses, eliminating the jobs of 500 employees, and casting doubt on where, and how the several thousand students affected might attend school …

For most of the last month — it seems like years — there has been a single national narrative, which has been the COVID-19 pandemic and its almost biblical wave of destruction, both in loss of life and loss of economic health, of which we’re reminded each passing minute. As humans, we’re not…

On Monday, President Trump said he would be the one deciding when the states would be open for business. He said he calls the shots. All of them. Past and present. He said any decisions made by the nation’s governors to deal with the pandemic were made because “I let that happen.”

How we manage through the coronavirus will depend on how long it lasts, how we were positioned before the crisis began, and the choices we make as it evolves. It will affect each state differently, and even within each state the impact will vary from municipality to municipality.

The Vermont Department of Education has issued a memorandum to the state’s superintendents that the week-long April school vacations should be observed. Secretary of Education Dan French noted that students and families were stressed and that the vacations could “provide them with an opportu…

Perhaps no system has experienced more fundamental disruption during the pandemic than health care. Hospitals have focused almost every shred of their capacity preparing for, or dealing with the coronavirus, and the cost to the system has been horrific. Revenue has dried up and costs have so…

Nothing is more dispiriting to a dairy farmer than dumping the day’s work into the manure pit, which is happening in Vermont and throughout the nation. The pandemic has had a cascading effect on dairy farmers, disrupting their supply channels and destroying the markets. They dump their milk …

In the weeks since the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted our lives here in Vermont, we have all struggled to adjust. Our work lives, home lives and social interactions have all changed dramatically. In Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, these changes have affected some of us more than others. Th…

In every crisis there is a point when the leader says to those being managed, “Don’t tell me why it can’t be done, tell me how it will be done, and it would be best if it happened yesterday.”

President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has meet with broad approval from 60 percent of Americans, according to this week’s Gallup poll. That may baffle many Vermonters, but the president’s polling numbers have been strong in a number of polls, in particular last week, through today.

As a state, we are about to learn the difference between what is essential and what is not. As commerce grinds to a halt, and expenses go skyward, the damage to the state’s budget will be nothing short of extraordinary. How we respond will define how well we emerge, and how we respond is goi…

As a state, we are about to learn the difference between what is essential and what is not. As commerce grinds to a halt, and expenses go skyward, the damage to the state’s budget will be nothing short of extraordinary.

There is an oft repeated rock climber’s prayer that goes like this: “Dear Lord, I realize I could be better, and do better, and I’ll get back to that in a moment, but right now I’ve got a problem. I’m hanging on to a little nubbin of rock, not sure I’m going to be able to make the next move.…

At this point in time I believe everyone understands the expectations as to preventive measures re: Covid-19 so I will not reinforce those measures. What I would like to focus on is all of the great work that is happening around the City and Town that many people may not be aware of. This pa…

Gov. Phil. Scott Tuesday ordered the closing of all Vermont’s restaurants and bars, effectively immediately. It’s another step in the state’s efforts to limit human interaction, thus slowing the spread of the coronavirus. With our schools, restaurants and bars closed, with with most business…

The headline from Sunday’s debate between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden was that Mr. Biden would pick a woman as his running mate. Assuming Mr. Biden wins the Democratic nomination and that he succeeds in beating President Donald Trump, she would be the f…

Gov. Phil Scott Friday declared a state of emergency in Vermont, enabling him to mobilize the necessary resources to deal with the repercussions of the coronavirus. He then spent roughly an hour answering any and all questions and doing so in a calm, completely transparent manner, with the s…

Twice, Vermont’s senator Bernie Sanders has said that whichever presidential candidate received the most delegates going into the party’s July convention should be declared the winner. A majority was not necessary; a plurality was good enough.

For those who will grasp at any straw that indicates the president’s political future is in trouble, the coronavirus is a gift. He was cavalier when he should have been serious. He exaggerated when he should have played it straight. He took the microphone when he should have handed it to peo…

Like most other things in life, we don’t have a clue about the coronavirus, the number of people who will die because of it, whether its mortality rate will exceed that of the flu, the damage it will do to the nation’s longest running bull market, or how prepared our health care system is to…

The Wall Street Journal last week made note that the total cost of the proposed programs by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would expand federal taxation levels to a poi not seen since World War II. The New York Times Friday had a piece titled “The Bernie Sanders Personality Test”, in …

St. Albans City continued its forward march on Town Meeting Day, with voters giving their blessings to the city’s budget, a first-ever local option tax, the construction of a community pool at Hard’Ack, a bond to complete sidewalks in the city’s neighborhoods, and TIF bonds to redevelop the …