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Greg Dennis: A few thoughts offered for debate

Posted on June 25, 2015 |
By Gregory Dennis



Some fragments for the column today. Perhaps in the future, each of these sketches will grow up to be columns.

The town of Middlebury plans to oversee development of the parking areas between the Ilsley Library and Otter Creek. As the last major piece of soon-to-be-developed land in the downtown, this site has the special quality of being owned not by a company or an individual, but by the town itself.

So shouldn’t we expect something from the project that has town-wide benefits?

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Gregory Dennis: The human factor in Vermont politics

Posted on June 11, 2015 |
By Gregory Dennis



It’s easy to watch political figures on television or read about them in the paper and forget one thing.

Those are human beings up there.

It may seem that those who live and breathe politics are thick-skinned creatures programmed to the point of being semi-robots. Different from you and me.

They look completely consumed by the process. Everything is a calculation, and every move dissected under the microscope.

But the people at the podiums also bring every emotion to the table.

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Gregory Dennis: A fence viewer in need of a fence

Posted on May 28, 2015 |
By Gregory Dennis



Good fences make good neighbors, Robert Frost famously wrote in “Mending Wall.”

Perhaps that’s why Cornwall and many other Vermont towns still appoint official fence viewers who, according to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT), “examine fences within the town when requested to do so by the selectboard.”

Turns out, though, that this duty is essentially bogus. “The role of the fence viewer has become somewhat limited,” VLCT’s literature explains, with some municipalities abolishing it altogether.

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Gregory Dennis: No exit from the healthcare maze

Posted on May 7, 2015 |
By Gregory Dennis



Journey with me now to the mysterious world of healthcare — where nothing costs what they say it does, and no one can figure out what it really costs, anyway.

Where you’re never quite sure of the differences between your premium, deductible, co-pay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum.

Where your health history is now available through an online patient portal — but you can’t remember the password. Where the doctor will see you in a few minutes, but you’re just as likely to end up seeing a physician assistant.

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Gregory Dennis: Remembering the Frost Heaves

Posted on March 12, 2015 |
By Gregory Dennis



Some people do crazy things in midlife. They get divorced from a person they love, or they change careers or move across the country for no apparent reason.

But almost no one can say their midlife crisis involved creating a professional basketball team. A team that brightened the days of a rabid coterie of cowbell-clanging fans amid the winter gloom — and gave Vermont its first professional sports championships.

But Alex Wolff can say he did that.

Along with his wife, Vanessa, Wolff founded and ran the aptly named Vermont Frost Heaves.

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Greg Dennis: The governor and ungrateful liberals

Posted on December 3, 2014 |
By Gregory Dennis



Midway between the November elections and the start of the Vermont legislative hunting season, the question on most political observers’ minds is this: Will Gov. Shumlin get his groove back?

On the answer to that question hangs the fate of liberals’ hopes for statewide action on healthcare reform, climate change and property tax relief.

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Greg Dennis: Why a gratitude holiday matters

Posted on November 19, 2014 |
By Gregory Dennis



North America is a land where, as Jackson Browne says on his new album, “Even in the richer neighborhoods, people don’t know when they’ve got it good. They’ve got the envy, and they’ve got it bad.”

Which is one more reason it’s a good thing that in Canada and the United States, we set aside one holiday weekend a year to count our blessings.

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Greg Dennis: Climate movement's secret weapon — fun!

Posted on September 24, 2014 |
By Gregory Dennis



World leaders are meeting at the U.N. this week, in the wake of Sunday’s historic People’s Climate March — which filled the streets of Manhattan with more than 400,000 people calling for action to curb climate change.

U.N. conference rooms will be filled with ponderous discussions, hard negotiations and perhaps a bit of progress toward a new global treaty to fight what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

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Greg Dennis: On the road to People's Climate March

Posted on September 11, 2014 |
By Gregory Dennis



We’re still marching in the streets

With little victories and big defeats

—Joan Baez, “To Bobby”

Baez wrote those lyrics to her old boyfriend Bob Dylan more than 40 years ago. And sadly, they’re still true today.

The climate change movement certainly knows about little victories and big defeats.

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Greg Dennis: Lies that liberals tell themselves

Posted on August 27, 2014 |
By Gregory Dennis



I am, by any contemporary definition, a political liberal. No other approach seems to me both practical and morally justifiable.

But I’ve got enough journalistic skepticism to know that not all the liberal truths are really true. And not seeing the truth, in all its nuances, can be dangerous for any political philosophy. (See pre-World War II isolationism; or “We can bring democracy to the Mideast by invading Iraq.”)

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