August 14th, 2014
MIDDLEBURY — After a long day of classes, the 22 students of the five-month residential course moved from a classroom behind the Drop-In Brewery to the tasting room, where they chatted with friends and drank freshly brewed beers.
When the head of a state agency is fired, the reasons for the dismissal should be required reading for other agency heads and potential successors. That is particularly true in the case of ousted Agency of Human Services Secretary Doug Racine.
You’d have to be a little crazy to start a weekly newspaper in rural Vermont today. The economics just aren’t there.
You also had to be crazy to start a weekly paper here 40 years ago. But that didn’t stop a bunch of us from doing so, when we launched the Valley Voice in the summer of 1974.
I bought a car this past December. While I had been mostly concerned about finding something reliable, I admit the car’s extensive bells and whistles came as a welcome bonus. Over the past eight months, however, they have turned me into a spoiled, though very comfortable, brat.
When I was four, my dad made me a small, wooden rowboat. It was simply but sturdily built, with a varnished seat and two slender oars. When it came time to paint it, I insisted that it be orange. I named it Terrific, inspired by the words written by the spider in “Charlotte’s Web,” which was being read to me at home.
My engine overheated in Brandon Friday evening. I was putting antifreeze into the overflow when a stranger came up to me and helped me diagnose what was wrong, get air out of the system, and assured me it was OK to drive home to Middlebury. When I asked him what I could pay him, he said to Pay It Forward.
First, a disclosure: Fred Baser is my brother-in-law and has been for over 40 years. I’m happy to support him as he starts his campaign to represent the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Starksboro and Monkton in the Vermont Legislature.