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EWSD and the Village of Essex Junction made an unprecedented decision to mail all active voters a ballot. Let’s do our part and vote by mail! Polls will be open on June 2 from 10am to 7pm for those who need to vote in person.

COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of daily life and has the potential to impact our civic duty of voting in upcoming elections. At a time when public health is at risk, the Vermont House of Representatives has been working with our Secretary of State to develop ways to ensure that our demo…

A “keystone species” is a species, usually of wildlife, which has a disproportionate effect on its environment. In our region, the classic example of this is the beaver. Beavers dam and flood fields and forests, essentially creating, or “driving,” their own natural disturbance events. Beside…

I’ve always loved Vermont’s state motto: Freedom and Unity. We Vermonters take our freedom and independence seriously. It gives us the kind of true grit required to withstand snowstorms in October and May. But our independence has never been challenged like it is being challenged now. In the…

As sectors of the economy reopen and Vermonters are called back to work, the need for Vermont's childcare system to be operational again has become a top priority.

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.

There is no hiding from Covid-19. This virus has no borders and travels at will, menacing people and businesses in every sector of society. The pandemic threatens agriculture and with it our food security, as farmers work to produce the food on our tables. Our farmers, producers and those ma…

It’s hard to believe it’s May. We’re nearing two straight months of COVID-19 disruptions, and for many of us, our calendars seem irrelevant as we adjust through continued social distancing measures. I know this is a stressful time for those who are out of work, our small business owners who …

This Mother’s Day, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains would like to thank all the moms (and mom substitutes!) who step up to volunteer for our organization across New Hampshire and Vermont.

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…

When my last column was sent to The Reporter at the end of March, the Vermont Legislature had been on Covid-19 recess for just over a week. In that week we learned we would be meeting via video-conferencing using Zoom as our method of communication, the IT department in the Statehouse instal…

I call it engineered chaos with an essential outcome and a timeline that had to be completed before it begins. The outcome is to “flatten the curve” and provide a space for healing and recovery for the homeless, those who have no home to go to safely and are covid positive. They do not need …

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 …

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…

Whether you are a forest manager, landowner, or enjoyer of the outdoors, it can be intimidating to know your role in the management of our forests. While there are some examples of good stewardship, humans’ track record as land managers over the last few hundred years has been mostly poor, r…

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…

During these challenging times, postal employees are working hard to ensure residents stay connected with their world through the mail. Whether it’s medications, a package, a paycheck, benefits or pension check, a bill or letter from a family member, postal workers understand that every piec…

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 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.”

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns during the COVID-19 crisis. Both Rep. Houghton and I have been busy sharing your feedback with the administration in an attempt to keep them updated on the pressing needs of our community. We know thi…

In the winter of 1776, the American Revolution was in its infancy, hanging on by a thread and in danger of failing. Morale was evaporating as the weather turned colder. Between September and December, 11,000 volunteers had given up the fight and returned home.

Fishing is an activity that I have done for virtually all my life. So, with all of these admonitions about social-distancing, it was pretty easy for me to see that fishing is one activity that nearly everyone can enjoy, and one that is inherently “socially-distancing.” In Vermont there is no…

Created by Irene Wrenner of personalpuzzles.com.

Your Essex legislators want you to know that we are taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously and are continuing our work while at home. We are in regular communication with legislative leaders, the administration, each other, and you--our constituents.

In mere weeks, society as we know it has halted. Many of our lives are on pause while the pandemic is anything but. Exponential rises in the number of cases speak to the critical weaknesses in our systems, immune systems compromised not only by the virus, but by political and economic system…

As I write this column, the Vermont Legislature has been on hiatus since March 13. A decision by the House of Representative Rules Committee ordered that the Statehouse would close at 5 p.m. on March 13, to return as to be determined. My committee, Appropriations, which writes the fiscal yea…

Each day brings new information and new decisions on COVID-19. As I’m writing this article on Sunday for publication on Thursday, I hesitate to provide what is happening today. Instead I will remind readers to go to www.healthvermont.gov for up to date information, wash your hands, don’t tou…

Vermont's Bernie Sanders had his rally at the Fairgrounds but I still have a lot of questions. Do progressives believe in liberty? What is liberty and why is it important? Why is America a republic, not a democracy? In a democracy when you ask two wolves and a chicken what’s for dinner the v…

On March 3rd, the message from voters to their Selectboard was loud and clear: District Representation is the way forward for the Town of Essex, whether merger happens or not.

Not since 2009 has the Legislature overridden a Governor’s veto. It’s a rare occurrence and an important check on the Executive branch that’s part of our democratic system. I was proud to vote for an override last week to raise the minimum wage for working Vermonters. The vote of 100-49 achi…

I fully support the Fair Representation—the name says it all—Charter Change (3 + 3) being proffered by two of our concerned citizens.

I’ve lived in Essex for 38 years. I am outside the village, but my property line is the town-village border. The whole separate town-village thing has always seemed silly to me and it would make sense to merge. But not at the cost of higher taxes.

At a recent Town Selectboard Meeting, a taxpayer in the audience noted that 9 of the past 10 fiscal years have ended with a surplus, which gets rolled into the Fund Balance. The FYE 2019 surplus was $1 million dollars.

One of the amazing things about Essex is the diversity of our town. Essex agricultural operations include working farms, orchards, forests, and syrup producers.

On February 18, 2020 the Town Selectboard voted against supporting the proposal to create an even-numbered board (Article 5 on the Town Meeting ballot). The vote was one member in favor (Andy Watts) and four not in favor. We voted this way because the majority of board members does not belie…

I have attended both meetings for the charter change proposal. I can understand why people who have not lived in Essex for long, or people who have not been to many meetings of the Selectboard, might be confused or not understand why the charter change is so important to many of us who live …

While at first glance the 3-3 Representation model proposed in the Charter Change may appear like a fair solution, there are some effects that it would have that are neither fair nor a solution to representation.

How we discuss and decide merger issues will determine whether our community will come together or be perpetually divided by Town/Village disagreements. In some ways, residents like me who live only in the Town have accommodated the Village’s desire for “tax equity” despite the increased tax…

The Town of Essex Select Board consists of 5 members elected at-large, throughout the town. Currently 3 of the members live in the village-part-of-the-town and two from outside this area. Weather true or not this can seem as a geographical imbalance of representation. To be clear, in the pas…

You wake up in the morning and realize your spouse seems confused, can’t seem to get out of bed, and is having difficulty speaking. You’re in a meeting at work when you notice your coworker’s face seems to be drooping on one side, and they don’t seem to understand what you’re saying to them.…