Rutland Man Longs for Social Club

lewis

Ray Lewis Jr., 32, lives in Rutland. He has lived in Vermont for four years.
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Rutland is strong?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “In its own way yes. In some ways they could work on it. I see a lot of good people out there helping each other out every time I go to the super market and one time I didn’t have that much money for my groceries, a person in back helped me with my groceries. You know they do got good people out here, but you got some messed up a-holes you know? I don’t want to curse for that part. You got some bad people that don’t listen. People gotta understand that you gotta have patience. You know it’s all about the patience and praying to the lord above. You know?”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Is there a central place, location to hang out in Rutland that you know of?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “I do not know for young people. My bud told me a good place is the Boys and Girls Club, but I don’t know for us adults they’ve got bars, but what if you’re not a drinker? Where’s a good place for us?”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see a central place to hang out in Rutland?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “If there were community dances held would you attend? Would you support that?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “I would support it with my finacee, yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to make the community stronger?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Everybody just look out for each other. Brotherly love like Philadelphia. That’s what people form Philadelphia do, the brotherly love, the unconditional love for each other. That’s what we need up here.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the older generations are supportive enough of the younger generations?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Sometimes. Sometimes they just worry about themselves.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “I’m moving again. My parents is moving again. I’d say I like it a little bit here. They just need to have some place, somewhere to go to have fun other than stay home constantly and not get out nowhere.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “So where are you moving to?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Um she won’t tell me yet. It’s a surprise.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “You’re moving with them? So you’re leaving Vermont?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Yeah, but I’ll come back by myself or with my fiancee to live out my life here.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think you’ll live out the rest of your life here in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “If I can, if I can’t then I’ll stay where I’m at, but I want to come back. It’s just that they have to be something poppy you know? Like a club, not like a club-club where you drink, like a club to socialize with people and play games and you know, how can I say it? You know with different stuff to do like a treasure hunt type or stuff like different games like that.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Lewis: “Yeah I really do.”

Chittenden Man Makes Impassioned Case for More Treatment for Heroin Addicts

Roland Smith, 35, has lived in Vermont all his life. He lives in Chittenden.
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Chittenden is strong?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, for the most part, you know, I mean they got a good background, you know, they got good, they have, they do good stuff for the community, you know, as small as the town is. I mean there’s a lot of people who go on that have second homes there. So they’re not full time residents. They could always use more jobs, or more businesses. I mean, they got a couple decent businesses there and there’s some people that do their own company work and stuff like construction things like that you know. Small businesses.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Is there a central place to hang out in Chittenden?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Not really, unless you consider the playground at the school. I mean, they got tennis courts and the playground for like, but they don’t really have like a park or anything.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see one?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I mean we have a lot of national forest in town. There’s the Chittenden reservoir and stuff, so there’s, you know there’s stuff to do. And there’s a hike, there’s trails you know you can hike on the VASA trails and stuff, you know, so I think as far as like a park park, no not really. I mean because they got everything at the playground at the school that you would have in a park pretty much.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see community dances and if they were held would you attend?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I’d like to see something, like you know dances or you know like plays or something like that maybe, but I don’t dance so as far as dancing goes, no not me personally.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to deal with the heroin and opioid crisis in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I think they should let more doctors be able to prescribe help if the people want it because the waiting lists are so long, and as far as shutting down pharmacies or whatever for selling i guess needles to people that aren’t just diabetic, they’re putting a crunch on the people that were doing drugs using them…chance of getting infections because they were reusing needles and they weren’t able to get new ones. And they just got the needle exchange in Rutland like a year ago, which is a good thing, you know, but they come around like once a week or once every two weeks. Like, if they had more things like that…I mean I know that’s not necessarily helping it’s kind of giving em a crutch to get away on, but it’s a lot better than spreading disease.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the older generations are supportive enough of the younger generations in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Not necessarily because i feel that some of the older people in Vermont don’t really they don’t understand like uh, the crisis of, like they think, ‘Oh yeah you can just quit drugs and it’s okay.’ But it’s not. It’s kind of like alcoholism, it’s bad. I mean you can’t necessarily die from it like you can from detoxing from alcohol but the old people don’t support the want to have more help to come in for the drug addicts, you know like more doctors being able to prescribe Suboxon and needle exchange, or the clinic, there’s not a lot of older people who are real supportive of that.
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life right now?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I’m just waiting for spring so I can go back to doing construction again. That’s pretty much what I’m waiting for right now. I mean I don’t have any real happy things going on in my life. I’m an only child and I just kind of stick to myself for the most part.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, but I’d like to go somewhere else and see what it’s like. You know, like South or maybe towards the West. I’ve never been down South or out West. I’m getting a little older I should see some of the country.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Are you married?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yes I am.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you have kids?”
 
Mr. Smith: “No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, and most of that’s due to lack of respect from the younger generation to the older generation. I mean I see that a lot like…kids they don’t really have any respect for their parents or anything nowadays. Course it’s also in how they’re raised. I mean I was raised where you’re seen and not heard. That kind of thing.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Explain ‘seen not heard.’ What does that mean?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Like children are meant to be seen and not heard. You only spoken if spoken to. They don’t get all rowdy and make a bunch of noise and stuff. They play with their toys and sit on the couch or wherever, and there’s other adults talking and stuff, they don’t try to always interrupt.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “And that worked for you?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, for the most part, I mean I have consideration for my older generation, and I don’t interrupt people all the time, and I didn’t lash out when I was a kid. I didn’t get in trouble as much as some of the other kids that whose parents didn’t discipline them as much. Maybe I got a little too much, but I didn’t get beat and I didn’t get put in a closet. I didn’t get reprimanded and I can remember the five or six times I did get reprimanded was cuz of something I did that I wasn’t supposed to.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “So you believe we do have to reprimand kids when they do something wrong?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, maybe not physically. Maybe not like total spanking, stuff like that, cuz that can get out of control very easily.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe elementary school students should be taught how to grow food in a hands on environment?”
 
Mr. Smith: “You mean like garden? Yeah. They should have more I guess like recreation stuff for the kids to do, like growing their own garden or learning about, yeah like growing gardens, surviving, being able to grow your own food and build stuff out of nothing, really. It would be able to help you even if you were living in a city and you wanted to grow plants. You’d have some sort of background on how to maintain them so they won’t die all the time. I worked on a farm since I was like 12 years old off and on. It’s a good education working on a farm.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Yeah. I mean even though there is more exotic wood out there that you can make furniture and stuff out of. But they should learn you know hands on and what is local that you can build stuff out of, what works best.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see charging stations for electric cars in parking lots and on city streets?”
 
Mr. Smith: “It doesn’t bother me. I’ve seen em around. They got em in a couple parking lots here in town. I guess it’s alright if you want to charge your car and pay the money to do it. I guess that’s your opinion, but I don’t see where electric cars would work real good in this state.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support an initiative to pair Vermont youth with police in an effort to combat drug abuse?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I think the younger kids should know that cops aren’t all bad. They are good. Even though they have a tendency to come off really strong. They should have more of a presence not more of a force. Like the sheriff in my home town, he gave me a couple of three four warnings before he’d actually take you home or write you a ticket.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood and advertising corrupts the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that are found in the media?”
 
Mr. Smith: “That there again depends on what the parents let the kids watch as well, I mean, TV isn’t always controlled and monitored now. It stays on 24 hours a day seven days a week. I don’t think Hollywood’s totally to blame. I just think it’s the way culture is advancing.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Seven in ten Americans take prescription medicine, and children in America are 25 times more likely than children in the UK to be prescribed medication for what doctors call ADHD, making America a very lucrative market for Big Pharma do you think doctors are over prescribing medication or do you think these medications are really improving our lives?”
 
Mr. Smith: “Kind of both. Sometimes doctors do prescribe a lot more medication sometimes than needed because they don’t really know how to control certain people and environments because they lash out so much that they don’t really know what to do. I was on Ritalin for a little while when I was a kid and I got taken off of it because one doctor in Burlington said that the doctor in Rutland didn’t know what he was talking about. I didn’t need to be on it. I was just a natural hyperactive kid. I wasn’t acting out during class or nothing like that. Like so many other kids that have been put on the medication that I know that it did help them.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we should hold doctors accountable who over-prescribe medication especially opioids and pain killers?”
 
Mr. Smith: “I guess it kind of depends on their record. On your past of what they’ve done. You know how much they’ve actually…if they’ve even been accused of using a drug. Being prescribed before and what not. I seen a thing on TV a month or so ago this doctor they were having a discussion. And this doctor said he could prescribe Oxycodone he could prescribe enough of em to keep half of New York City calm, but he could only prescribe 100 people a year Suboxone. Now that’s like, pretty whacked. You know, there’s a drug out there that could help some people who need the help. And they only allow doctor…any doctor that’s licensed to handle that like a hundred people a year, whereas you can prescribe a bunch of pain killers to a bunch of different people over and over again.”

Rutland Youth Says More Could be Available for Youth to do in City

miner
Cody Miner, 20, has lived in Vermont just about his entire life. 
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you live in Rutland now?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Pretty much. I’m staying with my friend.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Rutland is strong?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Sometimes, sometimes not. I think that they could do a lot more to improve the town.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Is there a central place to hang out in Rutland?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Not really. I mean they have the playgrounds for little kids, but for people my age there isn’t really any place to hang out.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see a place to hang out?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah, I’d say so.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see community dances, and if they were held would you attend?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Probably.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to make the community stronger?”
 
Mr. Miner: “There’s a lot of stuff. I mean, like I said there’s not really much places for people my age or younger to hang out. More or less if they had a place for people around my age to hang out. I guarantee there would be a lot less people around my age getting in trouble.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done, aside from that, to deal with heroin and the opioid crisis in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Crack down more on it. I mean pretty much they bust people but within twenty-four hours they’re back out on the street. So they don’t really do anything. It’s pretty much a slap on the wrist. So they need to do more than basically busting them, bring them to jail for twenty-four hours and then let them go.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that older generations are supportive enough of younger generations?”
 
Mr. Miner: “It depends on the generation I’d say. Some not so much, others they sort of know how it is.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Nothing really. I mean I don’t really hang out with my family much, I’m more hanging around my friends and trying to help my friends out.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for work?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Right now I don’t have work, but been trying but that’s hard enough.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yes and no. I mean growing up, well when I was younger it was a lot better, plus there was a lot more jobs, more stuff to do. Nowadays there’s not really anything to do and it’s harder to find a job because most places are moving out of Vermont.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you have kids?”
 
Mr. Miner: “No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah, I’d say so. Some are used to one way, and newer ones are used to a differed way. So yeah I’d say so.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should be taught how to grow food in a hands-on environment?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I think it could help, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it should, I mean little things but it would probably help them more than I went to school.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from Vermont wood?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah. I mean it’s different than trying to force someone to become interested, but if they’re interested I think yeah they should.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see charging stations for electric cars in parking lots and city streets?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Not really so much, I mean basically you see enough lights and everything else. So it just more or less takes up more space.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you on facebook?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Nice. Are you interested in networking with fellow Vermonters?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I can.”
 
Vermont Gossip: ‘Would you support an initiative to pair Vermont youth with police in an effort to combat drug abuse?”
 
Mr Miner: “Yeah. My opinion is that most kids who get in trouble with drug abuse they go to jail. They aren’t really learning anything, they just come out worse rather than trying to help the problem to begin with.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood and advertising corrupt the minds of our kids with all the sex and violence and parties that are found in it?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Nowadays yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Seven in ten Americans take prescription medications and children in America are twenty-five times more likely than children in the UK to be prescribed medication for ADHD. Do you think that doctors over prescribe these medications?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yes.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see doctors held accountable for over prescribing medications?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah, especially opiods because they prescribe one thing and if that thing doesn’t work, they still keep them on that one but they prescribe another one. In some cases the doctors are the biggest drug dealers. The only thing I’ve ever taken that was prescribed to me was an antibiotic, that’s about it.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yes and no. Some ways it is other ways it’s not.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that emotions are instincts that are selected by nature for our survival?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that humans will survive as a species for at least the next million years?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Probably not. No, if it’s not one thing it’s another. As I see it man’s going to kill man.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that there are human leaders, older women or men who want to bring about an apocalypse in their lifetime or shortly after they die?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Some, and others not really so much.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you ever just sit back and think about all the sacrifices your forefathers made to get you to this moment?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah. As my family puts it: they’re rolling in their grave.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you ever read the bible just to see the way people thought thousands of years ago?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I actually have.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Have you ever been to a pick-up truck bonfire party in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I’d say no I haven’t.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about letting refugees come into the state?”
 
Mr. Miner: “It’s iffy. Some I think they should do a background, others I guess it’s OK, but it also takes away jobs from people who are born in the United States.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see work camps set up for the poor, building things like apartment buildings and rail lines where things like healthcare, housing and food were all provided in exchange for work?”
Mr. Miner: “Yes and no. I think instead of trying to build a new building they should use the ones that have been abandoned and fix them up, because I’ve seen a lot of abandoned buildings around. Some of them are perfectly good.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about animals raised in cages?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I disagree with it. I mean personally if the shoe’s on the other foot I wouldn’t like living in a cage.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support an initiative that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with a service dog and a lifetime supply of free dog food?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Cool. Do you think that Vermont youth are told often enough that having a family and kids might be the most satisfying thing they ever could hope to experience?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I’ve heard it before, but personally I don’t think if you’re young you should really have a kid until you’ve pretty much got your life straight, you have a job this and that.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think we should be telling youngsters to be on the lookout for a life mate early on?”
 
Mr. Miner: “No, I believe that if you find one it’s going to happen, otherwise it takes time. I know people who in frickin (sic) sixth grade that say they have girlfriends. They’re way too young to start dating.”
 
Vermont Gossip: ‘Would you support legislation that would decriminalize operating a driverless car while under the influence?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I think basically if you’re driving a vehicle and you’re under the influence it should be against the law. You should get in trouble for it because you’re not only a danger to yourself you’re a danger to others, no matter what you’re under.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Researchers at the University of Iowa found that driving while under the influence of marijuana causes no impairment. Do you support Montpelier’s aggressive effort to crack down on stoned drivers if they legalize weed?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I used to smoke weed. Personally I wouldn’t be driving because other than making you tired I’ve know people to have smoked and still gotten in an accident. So they should really consider it like drinking and being behind the wheel.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Who’s your favorite Vermont band?”
 
Mr. Miner: “Can’t say that I really have one. I haven’t really heard much bands from Vermont.”
 
Vermont Gossip “And you’re too young to drink.”
 
Mr. Miner: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “So you don’t have a favorite Vermont brew yet?”
 
Mr. Miner: “I have drank before.” He  laughs.
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about the promises of synthetic biology which means genetically engineering organisms, everything from salmon to make them grow faster, to mosquitoes and killing them off?”
 
Mr. Miner: “It’s kind of iffy, I mean it’s basically sort of like trying to play god, which I don’t really agree with, other parts I do. So it’s really an iffy subject.”

The View From The Hill

by Ron Powers

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author who lives in Castleton, Vermont. His latest book, “No One Cares About Crazy People” about the dire state of mental health care in America and the loss of his talented guitar-playing son to the disease comes out February 2017. Here is his column:  

Several days ago in this space I took up the topic of the recent Easter-egg-hunt debacle at Wilson Castle in Proctor. You may recall the details: a gentle traditional frolic for children exploded into a proto-riot by their parents who had endured delays in the waiting line, an apparent shortage of plastic candy-filled eggs, and the failure of certain promised cartoon characters to show up. The kind of persecution, in short, that we associate with the downtrodden masses of Chad, Bolivia, Zambia, and North Korea.

Oh, and the inflatable bounce-house collapsed.

Human beings were not meant to live under conditions like this.

Many of the grownups in the line apparently agreed. They decided that they had taken enough. Is a lady in a bunny suit so dear, or jelly beans so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!  Revolution was in order! So the patriots streamed under the ropes and out across the meadow, grabbing every goddam egg they could get their hands on (including some from the children’s baskets). They demanded their money back. Scuffling broke out. Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene. Tear gas was employed. An arrest was made. The organizer of the Easter egg hunt was last seen in a shopping mall paying refunds from his own pocket to affronted survivors of the event. Peter Cottontail was reported to have sought sanctuary somewhere deep inside Toys R Us.

The story “went viral,” as our pioneer forefathers used to say, and gained attention throughout the world. Vermont, a state once rated as “the most livable” in the country, where billboards at the border assure incoming tourists that “Yep! Even the gas stations are friendly,” suddenly found itself with an image problem. It was beginning to resemble the United States of America.

 

In my column, I repressed the urge to unleash my initial reaction—revulsion—at the news of this incident. I refused to fight ire with ire. I opted for the less-blunt weapon of satire. This was just a small incident, after all. Only a few instigators, no doubt. Let it go.

I couldn’t let it go. It wasn’t just a small incident. (See: “went viral,” “gained attention throughout the world.”) Something had been violated, and needed to be restored.

Call me a dreamer. I believe in Vermont, in the idea of Vermont, in the implicit promise of Vermont, in the hope that Vermont represents. (I know. I know. I am a recovering flatlander; our kind gets all verklempt about these things sometimes.) I believe in a Vermont that embodies and respects tradition (Easter eggs are of course an early-Christian symbol of new life); which in turn means a Vermont that respects religions without necessarily subscribing to one. I believe in a Vermont that, contrary to its host nation, rejects commodifying everything, which means not getting grabby and surly over children’s jelly-bean Easter eggs. I believe in a Vermont that accepts human frailty instead of lashing out against it (See: Wilson Castle Easter-egg hunt, debacle). I believe in a Vermont that believes in children, and resists—oh, say, resists snatching away their jelly-bean Easter eggs.

Aren’t I wonderful?

No, but see, I do believe in these things. And this is where Brenda of Modern Cleaners in Rutland comes in.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I returned to Vermont after a few days in the United Sta—after a few days away. A day or so later, I noticed that I’d apparently lost something valuable: an electronic amplifier that I wear on a cord around my neck to boost sound into my hearing aids. (I come from a long line of the hearing-impaired, including my father, who used to go, “Do whut?” every time he misunderstood someone, which was often. I grew to love that phrase as much as Captain Hook loved the sound of the ticking alarm clock in the belly of the crocodile that was following him.)

I called my sister and no-account brother-in-law, in whose house we’d stayed. Called the airport hotel where we’d spent the night before flying home. Called the airline. Each time, I got either a “haven’t seen it” or a “do whut?”

I began to accept the fact that I was out a few thousand dollars.

I hadn’t yet noticed the missing four hundred dollars in cash or the credit card.

I stewed over this for a day or so longer, until I got a phone call from Marilyn, who works behind the counter at the Village Store, down the hill from where we live. The Village Store is where I take my laundry to be sent off and cleaned. I never bothered to ask where it was sent. Flatlander.

Marilyn told me that she’d received a call from Brenda in Rutland. Brenda is an owner of Modern Cleaners. Modern Cleaners is the place to which the Village Store sends my laundry. Modern Cleaners is also the place where for years I have taken clothes to be altered. I like the people at Modern Cleaners. But I never realized that they were the same people who cleaned my duds.

You know—flatlander.

Marilyn told me that Brenda had told her that she had found some items in the pocket of my jacket. One item was my hearing-aid amp. Another was a wad of cash—four hundred dollars—that I’d put in the pocket, so that if our hotel room was burglarized, the bad guys would never find it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been burglarized in hotel rooms.

And a final item was an active credit card.

I’d forgotten completely about the cash and the credit card. Brenda at Modern Cleaners had found everything. She’d sealed the items in a little plastic pouch and called up Marilyn at the Village Store.

Now, cleaners-owner X might have discovered this stash and returned everything but the four hundred dollars. Or the four hundred dollars and the credit card. Or even all of it—electing to get in touch not with Marilyn but with Ebay.

Brenda didn’t do any of this. She returned every item she found.

 

Now, you might say that this is only to be expected of an honest business-owner, especially a Vermont business-owner.

I would agree. And I’d add that civil, forbearing behavior and respect for children are only to be expected of grownups at an Easter-egg hunt, especially a Vermont Easter-egg hunt.

And I’d finish by saying that Brenda at Modern Cleaners represents the kind of Vermont I believe in. The kind of Vermont that the whole country believes in, and needs to believe in, perhaps more than it realizes.

I choose to believe that Brenda’s Vermont is larger Vermont, the authentic Vermont, and that anyone who disagrees with this is a rotten egg.

Thirst for Money is Instinct Gone Wild

Desires for sexual relations and economic security can be blamed for the thirst for money that drives so much of our waking life on earth. If only we could pause life for a second and talk some reason into the powerful executives at energy companies and law firms and all of the legislators who run our country.

If we could press pause and have a frank conversation we could point out that for centuries humans relied on farming and hunting and communal gathering to form the daily habits of their existence. There was no money to be made and hoarded away in a bank account, there was a bartering system where work in various areas was exchanged for work in other areas.

Many people depended on farming as a way of life and in Northern climates the summer was used as preparation for winter. Food was stored away and people stayed busy, feeling productive. Everyone had a role to play.

Nowadays the energy industry makes billions and we live in a capitalist society. Greed is almost accepted as a virtue. Desires for sexual relations and economic security have run rampant. We are detached from our physical world which we depend on for survival.

An article in today’s New York Times tells of the consequences of climate change on the world’s coral reefs. Up to a third of the world’s coral reefs are in immediate danger of being wiped out due to climate change and these scientists continue to point to the warning signs and we continue to bury our heads in the sand and press on, many of us poor and desperate and drug or alcohol addicted or sexually addicted or money addicted.

The millennial generation was raised on Eminem and rap music which all but begs for the destruction of the planet and human existence. Depression rages as it dawns on many of the America’s inhabitants that we will not survive for the long term. Instincts have run riot.

If we could hit pause and assess the situation we might decide that returning to farming and the trades while keeping the benefits of modern advancements like medicine is ideal. We might not acquire great wealth but everyone would have a role to play and everyone would feel important. We might decide that the religious ideals of one partner for life are really a better way of going than using up multiple partners solely for the reason that we’re in the 21st century and sex can run rampant.

We would not return to the dogmas of one man and one woman. Gays would still be allowed to couple and get married, but at least we could decide that having multiple partners throughout one’s lifetime leads to problems and depression. When sex goes out of control and people are single later in life it leads to the acquisition of money to have sex. The older men get the less sexually appealing they are and the more they need money to get laid. When women remain single they find it more and more appealing to take money in return for sex. The high-end escort rings in Washington D.C. and New York City and elsewhere support this conclusion. Prostitution happens elsewhere as well.

It takes family values first to combat the perverting influence of money and refocus our attention on leaving a better world for our children than the one we inherited.

Another problem for leaving this world better off for the next generation is the role most, but not all, Republicans play in supporting the polluters of the world. They say it is for economic gains that we pollute and destroy the world. That environmentalists are just tree-huggers with bleeding heart causes. This is not true. Environmentalists simply know, instinctively, that without a sustainable approach to living in the world we cannot survive for the long term.

Republicans band together with more resolve than their liberal counterparts who are as independent as cats. Liberals, on the whole, don’t band together and identify as liberals with as much passion and fervor as conservatives. There is not as much mutual support among liberals as there is among conservatives. And liberalism is more cold and calculating, on average, than conservatism. It takes form in intellectualism without the emotion of family, country, God and pride.

If only we could take the family values aspect of conservatism and blend it with the environmentalism of liberalism, we would arrive at the perfect cocktail for survival. We would have heritage and family conscious leaders who promoted caring for the environment as a chief concern. We would have the military protecting and listening to the scientists.

It’s not too late to save the planet and survive for the next million years, but we are running out of time. Something radical needs to happen.

Helpless Feeling As Human Growth Destroys Habitats, Kills Endangered Species

An article in the New York Times highlights the destruction that palm oil plantation farmers are bringing to Indonesia in the name of growth and profits. The destruction is endangering and killing orangutans, some of our closest relatives. Where is the central planning commission guiding humans as they take their course through time and space?

I can’t help but feel helpless in the face of all this destruction: the rain forests, the oceans, etc. Some day I want to have kids and I want to pass on an inhabitable planet. Don’t humans realize that when we destroy the planet we are endangering our own survival? When we burn trees down for mega farming projects we are harming the climate, endangering our own survival? And all for what? Money, which is the bartering chip for sex for those men who have no sex appeal on their own.

Vermont Gossip will now begin asking respondents if they support using the United States military to threaten or destroy all who bring harm and destruction to the planet. Those who kill the orangutans or the elephants or the whales or who obliterate their habitats.

In these times we must take control of our destiny as humans and preserve this great earth for our children, and their children, and so on. We must see ourselves engaged in a struggle for survival for the next million years.

When we feel powerless to stop the destruction of our habitat we must unite and forge a group consensus to rage against the greed and selfishness that drives the destruction of our planet.

Rutland Man Supports Pairing Youth with Police in Effort to Combat Drug Abuse

brown
Joe Brown Age, 34, has lived in Vermont all his life for the most part. He lives in Rutland.
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Rutland is strong?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I don’t know. Compared to what community?”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that it’s socially a strong community?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I go to church. The church is pretty strong.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that Rutland has a central meeting place or location for young folks to gather?”
 
Mr. Brown: “No I don’t think so.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see one?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Sure. That’d be cool yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “If Rutland held dances would you attend? Would you support that?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “One thing I hear a lot about when I do interviews in Rutland is the drug problem, the heroin and the opioids going around, what do you think could be done to combat that?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think more things to do. More alternatives.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that the older generations are supportive enough of the younger generations?”
 
Mr. Brown: “No.:
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Sports. I like to keep track of sports.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “March madness?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yep.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “You’re following that? Did you do a bracket?”
 
Mr. Brown: “No I didn’t, I never do.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Are you married?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Nope.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Have any kids?”
 
Mr. Brown: “No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah out-of-staters. Yeah, there’s a little bit of tension.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should be taught to grow food in a hands on environment?”
 
Mr. Brown: “They should definitely..”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”
 
Mr. Brown: “That’s a good option, yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see charging stations for electric cars in parking lots and on roads in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think moving towards electricity’s good.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Are you on facebook?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Nope.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support an initiative to pair Vermont youth with police officers in an effort to combat drug abuse?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Sure.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood and advertising corrupts the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that are sound in television and media?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Seven in ten Americans take prescription medications and children in America are twenty-five times more likely than children in the UK to be prescribed medication for ADHD. Do you think that doctors over prescribe these medications?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Definitely. Definitely they’re over prescribing medication.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think they should be held accountable for it, especially over prescribing opioids?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I’m not sure how, but yeah definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think our instincts are more complex.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our emotions are instincts that were selected by nature for survival?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think that emotions are different than instincts.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that humans will survive as a species for at least the next million years?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think so.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that there are human leaders, older men or women who want to see an apocalypse happen in their lifetime?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Sure. Definitely yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Does that bother you?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah, definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Yeah, because you don’t want to see life end?”
 
Mr. Brown: “No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you ever just sit back and think about all the sacrifices that your forefathers made to get you to this point?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yes, I do definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you read the bible just to see the way people thought thousands of years ago?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah, I did yep.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Have you ever been to a pick-up truck and bonfire party in Vermont?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yup. I used to have a pick-up truck, so yeah yup. Just outside of Rutland…”
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about letting refugees come into the state?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I’m for it.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see work camps set up for the poor, building things like apartment buildings or rail lines, where things like healthcare, food and housing were provided for forty or fifty hours of work?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I don’t think that’s a good thing.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “No? Why not?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Capitalism. I think we should leave it natural. Natural growth process instead of trying to plan it out and do things more of a socialist way.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “So you are stronger for capitalism than you are for socialism?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about farm animals raised in cages?”
 
Mr. Brown: “My dad’s a chicken farmer and we follow the Joel Salatin method where you raise them, it’s pretty big on Youtube. He’s got some good methods on cage farming. He’s all about moving the cage so you get fresh grass underneath. It’s a little bit harder method but it’s but what my dad does.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students should be taught about our instincts and be taught to follow our good instincts?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with a service dogs and a lifetime of free dog food?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah that’d be good.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a private initiative in Rutland to build three story buildings for apartments?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Three story buildings? What for and where?”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Just surrounding downtown Rutland.”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think Rutland is pretty much built up and we should fill in the gaps, but I don’t think we need to build much.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aimed to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Definitely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that Vermont teens are told often enough that having a family and kids could be the most satisfying thing they ever hope to experience?”
 
Mr. Brown: “That’s probably true. I’ve always been under the impression that you should follow god first and a lot of people think that family is the most important thing, but I think that when people make family the priority of their life it ends up messing things up because it’s hard to function as a family.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think we should be telling youngsters to be on the lookout for a life mate early on because they may not get a better chance at it?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Yeah I think people should be cognizant of how special people are to each other early on.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would decriminalize operating a driverless car while under the influence?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I don’t know about that, I don’t think so.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Researchers at the University of Iowa found that driving while under the influence of marijuana causes no impairment. Do you support Montpelier’s aggressive effort to crack down on stoned drivers if they legalize weed?”
 
Mr, Brown: “No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you now who you’re going to vote for for the next Governor of Vermont?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Next Governor? No.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Who’s your favorite Vermont band?”
 
Mr. Brown: “It used to be Phish. I guess it probably will be because there recordings are still around and stuff, so Phish.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s your favorite Vermont brew?”
 
Mr. Brown: “Long Trail.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about the promises of synthetic biology which means genetically engineering everything from salmon to mosquitoes?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think they should slow down on it.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you lament that we’ve lost courting rituals or do you think they’re still alive and healthy?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I think that we have to adapt to the way things are happening now. So I don’t know how that should be but I think it should be a new way. There should be new ways about courting, because sometimes you do it online and stuff. I think we have to adapt to it culturally.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that political correctness is a virtue or a problem?”
 
Mr. Brown: “I’d say that honesty and political correctness are not the same thing and honesty is a virtue but political correctness isn’t.”

Rutland Small Business Owner Says Neighbors in Pawlett Helped Him Out When He Was In Need

lichtman

Tom Lichtman, 59, has lived in Vermont for about 25 years. He lives in Pawlett, but he has had a business in downtown Rutland for the last 15 years. He has two companies. One is a web hosting design company, VTWeb and the other is Sidekick Publishing, which does packaging and trading cards for artists and small specialty work.

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Pawlett is strong?”

Mr. Lichtman: “Yes it is. It’s a small town. It has about 1,100 people, and there’s a strong regard for community there.”

Vermont Gossip: “How does that manifest itself?”

Mr. Lichtman: “Well. In my case, personally, I had a culvert for a stream running through my property which became blocked with a snag. And immediately several of my neighbors came over, one with a truck and we set up a chain hoist and stuff. There was no discussion. I didn’t even have to ask. They just showed up and we cleared the snag. It was quite a dire situation for a while. It was going to flood my house. So I was very grateful for neighbors who just stepped up immediately without even having to be asked or even saying anything, they just immediately pitched in.

Vermont Gossip: “What do you think can be done to deal with the heroin and opioid crisis in Vermont?”

Mr. Lichtman: “In general I think it should be treated as a social problem not a criminal problem. In that there has been a historical legacy of total denial of drug’s existence and severe punishments to try to obliterate it. It’s part of human nature. It’s an offshoot of social issues that has become criminalized, but the reality is that it’s…it’s like tooth decay that sets in after bad hygiene. There have been a lot of underlying financial economic issues that have led to a reduction of people’s livelihoods. There’s been an exodus of manufacturing in Rutland, an exodus of reasonable jobs, which has led to a situation where people are seeking escape, and drugs seem to be part of that escape. Be that as it may how we got here, but now that we are here, it needs to be solved as a social economic problem, not how can we jail these people faster.

Vermont Gossip: “Do you know a lot of people in your neighborhood?”

Mr. Lichtman: “I know a few. I have to say most people I know by face, but I’m not that social a person, so I don’t have strong connections with most people, but there are a few that I know well.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think Vermonters are supportive enough of each other’s success?”

Mr. Lichtman: “I do. I think that. I rarely encounter any sense of rivalry or I wish ill of somebody or I wish they didn’t have the success that they have. So absent that jealousy rivalry I’ve found most people to be supportive or at least accepting of other people’s success or victories and good events that happen for them.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that older generations are supportive enough of younger generations in Vermont?”

Mr. Lichtman: “I think there’s a large case of bafflement and lack of understanding of younger, but that is something that I think has gone on for hundreds of years, where the older people have a different sense of priorities than young people and so a stress or strife between generations is just natural. In this modern internet age there’s a lot more access to information about current culture and there seems to be a lot of anti-aging attempts to stay current and relevant which has led to older generations accepting and trying to join the younger generations which causes them to actually seek further outstream edges like tattooing and piercing and so forth to differentiate themselves from the older people who are embracing their culture.”

Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy in your life right now?”

Mr. Lichtman: “Business is steady and moderately successful. We have some new jobs in which are nice, and as far as personal events, not many. I live alone and being older, being 59, I’m sort of out of the dating age and seeking somebody age. So it’s a very peaceful life of just enjoying myself rather than seeking relationships which has led to a calmness in my life. As far as work, I have created these businesses to fulfill my curiosities and desires to be active in certain ways and they’re succeeding so I’m happy.”

Vermont Gossip: “Is there anything that isn’t being covered by the local media that you would like to see be covered?”

Mr. Lichtman: “In general I enjoy success stories. I like victory stories, and many times the local media seems to focus on fear and danger because it is what is most riveting for most people. If there is a rustle in the bush you immediately look at it because it might be a tiger about to jump at you. Whereas I find that is of less interest to me I’m much happier or enjoy encountering news items of people who have met challenges or difficulties and have found solutions for them personally. It doesn’t have to be ra ra feel good stories, but more a case of where…like a local business that faced a loss of a contract and suddenly they’re scrambling to find new business and this is how they succeed in finding that new business. I like challenge and response stories and some that don’t succeed. So if I had my magic wand and asked for more news coverage of certain kinds of stories that would be it. How did the local carpentry shop handle the loss of a key employee? What did they do about it?”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”

Mr. Lichtman: “Yes. My new Vermonters you mean flatlanders I assume, or newcomers to Vermont versus the woodchucks and the older more traditional Vermonters that are coming from an agricultural background. There is a tension that exists, which is parallel with our country as a whole, between conservatives and progressives. It was manifested back in same sex marriage, where you had the dueling lawn signs and I saw them with neighbors who’d have alternating signs ‘Take Vermont Back’ ‘Take Vermont Forward’ and that conflict, I think it is a lot more sedate and humane in the state than elsewhere in that we seem to lack rioting and fisticuffs and fighting and go for the throat. In general, politics to me over the last twenty years has become more parallel with sports: your team sucks, my team is wonderful. And to see all the news in the sense of who won the debate, who lost the debate. Political debates should not be a winning and losing, it’s more who stated an interesting viewpoint or who presented an interesting solution. Not who won? Who lost? A manifestation of the sportification (sic) in politics is now manifested in things like the tensions of old Vermonters/new Vermonters: Who’s won? Who’s losing? It becomes like a football game, and I think that it is a very wrong direction for news coverage to treat sports metaphors, or to utilize sports metaphors for politics and social issues.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should be taught to grow food in a hands on environment?”

Mr. Lichtman: “Absolutely. I was raised in an era where every family in the background had a small garden, a family garden. Also, Dad always had a fix-it bench in the basement or the garage with an array of tools and spare parts and old lamp cords and things and if something broke, or needed some adjusting it would go to Dad’s fix-it bench and I learned a tremendous amount about how to use tools and about the proper strength of materials and what can bare the weight and what can’t. how to drill properly so you don’t break the bit or injure something. Nowadays I visit friend’s houses and there is no fix-it bench. A light switch might need an adjustment, the plate to come off and I’ll ask them ‘do you have a screw driver?’ and they’ll rummage around the kitchen to find a leftover IKEA assembly screw driver and that’s about it. So we have embraced the digital age and we lost a certain about of tactile, hands-on, practical knowledge, whether it be gardening, I’m expanding from your point of gardening to generally using hand tools. and using electric drills and being able to fix a piece of lawn furniture because it needs a new hole drilled, a new bolt put in where a welded joint has failed. You just drill a hole and put a bolt through it and now you’re good.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”

Mr. Lichtman: “There’s a very specific slant to your question, with the ‘sustainable’. I am not as strong on sustainable issues, I am strong on the hands-on, as per my earlier answer. So learning hands-on activities in high school: all for the better. Whether it be utilizing plexi-glass or Home Depot lumber or sustainable lumber. I think you’ve added two issues together. One is sustainable resources and hands-on learning in high school, so I’ll separate those two issues. Hand-on learning: Absolutely, A+, we need more of it. The sustainable issue, as a society as a whole it is a goal and something that is a good thing to work towards, but I wouldn’t link it with any specific issue that way.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood corrupts the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that is found in TV and the movie culture?”

Mr. Lichtman: “No, I don’t think it’s a corrupting influence. I think it’s a mirror. In order to cut through the noise, entertainment always needs to strive towards the edge of what’s acceptable. Stories about happy puppies that cross the street successfully don’t sell. There has to be a little bit of edge, whether it be titillation or societal edge of social issues. So, as a result Hollywood will create content that either reflects current issues or pushes the edge on them, but they are not leading the parade, they’re following the parade of change that’s occurring in society.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that, given that, that there is too much emphasis on violence and sex and parties in society or do you think it’s natural?”

Mr. Lichtman: “I’m trying to parse your question a bit. You’re saying a pervasive element of parties and sex and so forth, and I’m not sure from what viewpoint you’re asking. Your earlier question had motion pictures and Hollywood, but this second one was more generic. Are you talking about the average person and their attitudes towards sex and drugs? I need to know more about your question in order to answer it.”

Vermont Gossip: “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.”

Mr. Lictman: “I don’t know because I’m not that up on the street knowledge of what the average person feels. I can speak about myself but I can’t speak about society in general. I can talk about Hollywood because I watch a lot of movies and I can see what they’re producing. But the average person I don’t know.”

Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about letting refugees come into this state?”

Mr. Lictman: “I’m OK with it. They’re suffering. This country was founded on “Give us your poor, your yearning to be free.” We have established ourselves, or at least claim to be the peak of human society and two elements of that are, or two offshoots of that should be to lead by example and i.e accepting refugees. People who are in need, again it fits with the Vermont credo, which is I was suffering with my stuck culvert and I was unable to handle it by myself, so my neighbors immediately stepped in and lent assistance. So this is another form of assistance, where people have suffered tremendously. I do believe that the process of reviewing and interviewing and vetting candidates for refugees is quite extensive, so I’m accepting that candidates who are declared OK to come here are OK. As many news stories these days are saying, more people are killed by toddlers with found guns than terrorists or terrorists who have infiltrated through the refugee process. There’s a current backlash against refugees as a whole because there’s a fear that there will be a hidden terrorist in there who is suddenly going to firebomb downtown Rutland or New York City and it’s an unfound fear. It’s not impossible, but it’s also possible that a meteor is going to strike and obliterate all of humanity and life in the next five years. What do you stay up at night, there are more drunk drivers killing people every day, than have even been killed by terrorists in this country. I mean it’s just phenomenal the false fears that we are drummed up to pay attention to and in the big scale of things, it’s probably more dangerous crossing the street here in the long run. There are more pedestrians killed in crosswalks in New York City than any terrorist activities, let’s say over a period of time, because there was that one big 9/11 that hit, so if you then say over a ten year period more people are killed. Since 9/11 more people have died as a pedestrian crossing the street than from terrorist activities.”

by Jeremy Void

Jeremy Void was born and raised in Boston, MA, where he played in a Punk rock band called Lethal Erection and stirred up chaos everywhere he went.  Friends, enemies, and followers alike called him “St. Chaos,” and he kept up his reputation at all times, finding the funny side of just about everything, and leading a life of misadventures that eventually led him down a rocky road to Rutland, VT, where he resides for the time being. Here is his column:

It’s a beautiful day in Rutland, VT.  The sun is out, making the thick layer of clouds appear shiny and bright.  I sit on the steps leading into the Coffee Exchange, located on the corner of Center St. and Merchants Row, across the way from Wal-Mart, which looks like a grotesque, hairy wart protruding out of the hot busty model’s glistening stomach.  Not that Rutland is Busty or Hot like a model, because it’s not, I realize; although it’s surely something—a thing of beauty, a thing of neglect.  A thing that some people detest, and a thing that some people cherish, and finally, a thing that some people could care less about.  I personally feel everything toward it—everything including nothing which seems to be my most prevalent emotion when I think about it—indifference, ambivalence, a jaded cocoon in which I lay.

I come from a small town known as Boston, MA, which I’m sure you’ve heard of—a town where life bustles and filth blossoms, I know it all too well.  Trust me, I do.  I’ve experienced my own brand of filth, I’ve extinguished my own brand of life.  I’ve lived a drug-fueled existence which occupied most of my time—fast and slow, cold and hot, die at a young and laugh in my grave, you know how it goes.

But today I’m not that way anymore—well, not entirely anyway.  I’ve come to realize that the madness I reaped on anyone willing to subject themselves to it, was not a sustainable way of life—it was either jails, institutions, or death: the cold slap of the handcuffs wrapping around my wrists, the cop spewing orders through his stern lips, and the sound of those bleak iron bars as they untethered my connection with freedom, clanking shut behind me.  There too was the soft gurney against my cold and pale skin as I rode in the back of an ambulance to the hospitable where I would bide my time for a few days, get out, and then do it all over again, etcetera etcetera, you know how it is.  Or maybe you don’t, maybe you’re one of the lucky few who made it through life unscathed.  Me, I was a zombie and everyday I saw that lucky but rare breed of people as they motored past me on their way to their corporate jobs dawning blue suits and black ties, with wide smiles that made me feel even deader than I already felt I was.  But it doesn’t matter anyway, we all die in the end, every last one of us; it’s unavoidable.  But you see, I died way ahead of the rest, my soul depleted as my body followed neatly behind, deteriorating in the blink of a crying eye.

That was my life.  Do I regret it?  Not one bit; and I’ll tell you why:

I’m a better person because of it, I think.  You see, today I feel bright and alive, almost healthy but not all there yet—this is something I lacked throughout all those wasted years of my past, but as a result I have a higher understanding of life. Which I don’t think I would have obtained if I hadn’t forgone hell through the first 22 years or so.

So I came to Rutland to get away from the drugs, the pain, the misery, but little did I know, it followed me here.

But even so, that’s behind me now, and I can honestly say life is good.  I’m still sick, still exhibiting mixed-up motives, but one day at a time I’m getting better and better and BETTER, and that’s all that any junky can ask for in the end.

Crowd Attends Ground-Breaking Ceremony at Baxter Street Park in Rutland

A crowd of maybe fifty attended a ground-breaking ceremony at 65 Baxter Street in Rutland for a park that will be built there soon. Several people spoke at the event including Rutland’s three state senators, Peg Flory, Brian Collamore and Kevin Mullen and the mayor, Chris Louras. Children played soccer and hot dogs were grilled.

Rain broke out midway through the speeches and everybody headed for cover under a tent that was set up. Then everybody grabbed hand shovels and broke ground ceremonially in the rain. Everybody agreed that the park would be a positive thing for the neighborhood.