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Between the Lines: Death, drugs dominated legislative debates

Posted on May 30, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Memories of the recently ended session of the Vermont Legislature have, for all but the politically addicted, faded with the late spring heat.

But it’s worth taking a quick look back at the session, which will be remembered for two landmark pieces of legislation that will touch many Vermonters.

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Between the Lines: When a man's fancy turns to lawn mowing

Posted on May 16, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Is it just me, or can springtime seem a little overwhelming?

I get the part about how green and warm and wonderful it is. I’m reveling in it.

Even my cat is juiced about spring.

When I wouldn’t let him out one recent morning, he launched himself from an open second-story window and landed on the stone patio, 15 feet below. I found him down there, no worse the wear for his Superman imitation, licking his paws and purring.

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Between the Lines: Farming Vermont for wind power

Posted on April 18, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Sometimes it seems like environmentalists have put themselves on such a state of red alert that we can’t see a good thing when it’s right in front of us.

We’re so used to fighting every inappropriate intrusion upon Mother Earth, that even the idea of using wind to provide electrical power can seem like a threat.

So when they could be organizing to support alternative energy sources such as wind farms, a few environmentalists have decided that because wind power, like any energy source, has some small drawbacks, wind is a bad idea altogether.

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Greg Dennis: In quary photos, Vermont rediscovered

Posted on April 4, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



We are surrounded by marble and granite, so much so that we rarely give it a thought. Much of the state is made of the stuff, our mountains and courthouses and old inns.

Marble and granite are among our most famous exports. When we see TV images of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, we are looking at pieces of Vermont.

What happens, though, when we see the stone itself as art?

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Greg Dennis: Of pipelines and pie at town meeting

Posted on March 7, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Winston Churchill said of democracy that it is “the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” That may also be a good description of Vermont town meeting.

Voters at town meeting are asked to make decisions through a process that can be imprecise, contentious, confusing and ill informed.

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Between the Lines: In D.C., climate voices for the future

Posted on February 21, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Most Americans have never joined a political demonstration.

That’s too bad. Because as I was reminded again last Sunday while joining yet another demonstration, it can be tons of fun.

The rally this time was “Forward on Climate,” a boisterous gathering in Washington, D.C., of 35,000 people, who called on President Obama to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The future of the pipeline is up to Obama because it would cross the Canada-U.S. border to bring the dirtiest oil on the planet from Alberta to refineries in the southern U.S.

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Between the Lines: Tar sands and Town Meeting Day

Posted on January 10, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Vermont town meeting is traditionally a forum for issues that are local and often relatively small — how much money to spend on mosquito control, for example.

But sometimes the matters brought to town meeting are global and large. Many towns, for example, voiced their opposition to the continuing war in Iraq in 2005.

This year, a number of Vermont towns will be considering another big question with global implications: Should they go on record as opposing a proposal to pipe highly polluting “tar sands” oil through Vermont?

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Between the Lines: Tar sands and Town Meeting Day

Posted on January 10, 2013 |
By Greg Dennis



Vermont town meeting is traditionally a forum for issues that are local and often relatively small — how much money to spend on mosquito control, for example.

But sometimes the matters brought to town meeting are global and large. Many towns, for example, voiced their opposition to the continuing war in Iraq in 2005.

This year, a number of Vermont towns will be considering another big question with global implications: Should they go on record as opposing a proposal to pipe highly polluting “tar sands” oil through Vermont?

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Between the Lines: Books: My picks and pans of 2012

Posted on December 27, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



There are few things as boring as a dinner party where the dominant subject of discussion is what movies we’ve all seen. We’re all just casual moviegoers offering up pablum about how great Meryl Streep is and wasn’t the scenery pretty.

But a dinner gathering where the discussion turns to books? That’s my kind of party.

A conversation like that forces us to actually use our brains. To offer an informed view of why the novel we just finished was so remarkable, or what was lacking in the memoir that preceded it.

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Between the Lines: The election and deja vu

Posted on November 15, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Has anybody else noticed that it’s the 1960s again?

We’re trying to wind down an unpopular war.

The voices of blacks, women and young voters are louder than ever.

Last week, two states approved the use of marijuana just for fun. Three states voted to approve same-sex marriage.

Gays can now serve openly in the military and have increasingly prominent roles in business and government. Wisconsin just elected the first openly gay U.S. senator.

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