Peter Berger’s recent commentary on the subject of violence in this country touched briefly on the changes in our society that have coincided with the rise in these occurrences. I believe this country needs to have a serious discussion on the subject of culture.

Place permeates everything. It’s a marker of culture, habits, pastimes, shared hopes and shared tragedy. It forms communities and lays out priorities for education. Place provides shared experiences and landscapes: vistas, lakes, stands of maples, green pastures and slate quarries. It bonds …

The holiday season has arrived and brings not only celebrations, presents and decorations but also concerns for pet safety. There are many dangers to be aware of as you begin to celebrate this year. These includes specific types of plants, certain foods and even decorations.

I was talking to a friend about the holidays, and he commented that this time of year makes him think of two things: lots of food and an uncle who can’t resist telling painful puns at family gatherings. “I’ll bet you could write a column about food and bad puns,” he suggested. “In fact, I ch…

After an almost month-long slide into the darkest days of the year, mercifully punctuated by early snows which, like it or not, tend to reflect what meager light there is, we arrive at the foreboding start to the holiday season. That our most festive and to many, sacred and religious time of…

The respect, even adulation, accorded to writers and artists just because they are good at what they do seems to me misplaced and, in some cases, destructive. It’s a common human frailty to value the opinions of a writer, say, who just happens to have a talent for putting words together bril…

My dad died last month at the age of 88. I couldn’t possibly convey what an amazing person he was in an 800-word column, so today I thought I would write about just one of the many things I learned from him. My dad taught me the importance of being able to laugh at yourself.

The autumn harvest is complete and the season for giving thanks is here. Thanksgiving offers time for family and friends to reconnect, pause and enjoy a few hours together over a meal. As we picture our nation’s fields, forests and barns and the people who work within them, we thank our Verm…

Boy, do dogs ever have it made — no bills to pay, cards to write, beds to make — wait a dog-gone minute. They do make beds. In fact, they’re quite precise about that process. It’s not that they’re particular about location — the living room rug or hard maple floor, cold porch or even a dog-l…

This is in response to the recent commentary by George Simpson (Oct. 3) where he states that Robert E. Lee and all Confederates are “traitors” and do not deserve to be honored by statues. How cowardly is it to judge long-departed people, who can no longer defend themselves, as unworthy of respect?

Everyone needs recognition once in a while. Our local school support staff have demanding (and sometimes, thankless) jobs, and we don't always hear that "thank you." As a current Vermont NEA Board director and the 2017 Vermont NEA ESP of the Year, I am trying to spread the word about ESP (Ed…

A few weeks ago, President Trump unveiled his long-promised plan for lowering prescription drug prices. It has two main features, relating to Medicare Part B. The first part responds to a real problem and is a useful solution. The second part offers a Trump solution that promises to cripple …

Recently Betsy and I paid a visit to friends who live in Ely, over on the easternmost edge of Vermont. In spite of several prior days of “nor’easter” weather reports, I deemed it safe to travel there even with summer tires ...”after all, we’re hardly through foliage season,” I thought.

As a taxpayer and citizen of Orwell, I’m writing to share my reasoning for supporting the district voting YES to accept Orwell into the Slate Valley Unified Union School District. I am thankful we live in a town that is extremely passionate about our school, children and community as a whole…

I live in a quiet neighborhood in Northfield. This fall I had an opportunity to greet numerous ghouls and goblins at my front door. But let’s forget about the politicians for a bit and talk about the trick-or-treaters who came by on Halloween.

I live in a quiet neighborhood in Northfield. This fall I had an opportunity to greet numerous ghouls and goblins at my front door. But let’s forget about the politicians for a bit and talk about the trick-or-treaters who came by on Halloween.

In the last few weeks, the issue of a carbon tax has become a hot campaign item. As a member of the House Energy and Technology Committee, I’m often asked if I support it. Recognizing that “it” isn’t an actual bill, but a concept with endless variables, I state my beliefs that any such propo…

In the tumult surrounding Donald Trump, we’ve seen ever more serious implications of the president’s toxic, irresponsible rhetoric. Coupled with his complete self immersion; his inability to accept criticism even if it’s constructive; and his abject failure to recognize the connection betwee…

Tick, tick, tick. That’s the sound of the latest zinger from Montpelier. It’s called Act 173, and it’s the equivalent of a legislative dirty bomb that will take about four years before its full impact makes its presence felt. The side effects will be a bit more long lasting. While we were al…

There are two essential qualities necessary to be a good probate judge. The most important is the ability to listen to all sides of the story. The second is the work ethic necessary to resolve a conflict in a way that makes sense to all the parties. Although the position of probate judge is …

The leaves are mostly gone, headed toward New Jersey on a brisk wind, along with a pack of Canada geese destined for their annual migration to befoul suburban parks and attack joggers. The foliage has been replaced by snow pellets that periodically whiten the ground as I trudge down the far …

In a 2017 survey conducted by UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, 75 percent of Vermonters polled support a ban on trapping, yet the use of leghold and body gripping traps remains legal, even on our public lands. The official trapping season in Vermont starts on the fourth Saturday of October ea…

I’ve recently been reading “The Cow That Tried to Swallow a Potato: A Quirky History of Worcester, Vermont,” by J. David Book with Douglas E. Hull and Dell Waterhouse. It’s indeed a “must” read for anyone who values Vermont life the way it used to be. The word “quirky,” however, drew me dire…

As legendary journalist Bob Schieffer said on CBS, “How did we ever get to this point?” As moderator Chuck Todd said to Joe Biden on “Meet the Press,” “We have a coarse culture that gives permission to sexual abuse.” Biden responded, “This guy acknowledged he is a sexual predator and abused …

As a child, I spent many Saturday afternoons with my father trudging through the woods with my rifle in hand. When I was about 13, I got a job loading clay pigeons at my local gun club. As a father, I take my children to our local range to practice gun safety and to have fun. My positive and…

We need the press to do its job and both fact check and hold accountable those in positions of power and authority when they make misleading statements intended to confuse the public and when they lie — blatantly lie — to the people. They have the bully pulpit and exert inordinate power. Ord…