Randolph Center Lady Says Trades Can be Alternative to Debt-Laden College Education; Sees Dickey Drysdale as Leader

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Aimil Parmelee, 35, has lived in Vermont 30 years with a hiatus in the middle. She lives in Randolph Center.
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Randolph Center is strong?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I do. We know our neighbors really well. My parents and siblings are all within about three miles. Most of my in-laws are over in Middlebury, about an hour away. We live in a town of about five thousand people and there’s a lot going on in town and everyone is really pretty friendly and watches out for each other. There’s a lot of community events that we are able to partake in, which is really nice. We have a two and a half year old, so the library has a lot of stuff going on, and then there’s events in town usually about once a month, more often around Fourth of July and holidays.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life right now?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Jeez I don’t know. I’m pretty busy at work and with my two and a half year old. We have a family wedding coming up this summer, and my sister in-law is due with her first baby in two weeks.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for work?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I’m an occupational therapist at an outpatient center.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I love it. I’ve lived in a couple of other states in New England. I went to college undergraduate in Boston and we lived in Maine for seven years, and I’ve been to over half the states in the US. And Vermont…there’s just something about it that you bring with you everywhere, and we were happy to come back.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Is there anything that isn’t being covered by the local media that you would like to see covered?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “No, I guess not. I listen to DEV and read Seven Days and Vermont Digger and our local newspaper and I think pretty much everything in my community that I’m aware of is being covered. I think Vermont media has some good respect for boundaries also, like you know, they’ll cover news but they don’t, like when we lived in Maine they sometimes would really harp on things or really spend a lot of time focusing on stuff that maybe was hard for families to listen to every night. And I feel like Vermont presents the news and they kind of move on to the next thing. I appreciate that. We also spend a lot of time covering the good things that are happening in our state. That doesn’t happen everywhere. So that’s nice too.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I don’t know about Burlington cuz we are only up here about once a month, but in Central Vermont I think that…maybe tension’s not the right word. There’s good commentary back and forth about what it means to be a young or new Vermonter and what it means to be an old Vermonter. And I think there’s benefits of both, and I think that there’s maybe downside that comes with both. So I guess within my own community I definitely see that there’s a difference, and I think there’s an acknowledgement and there’s sort of an embracing also, which I think is nice. But then again I don’t know about up here [in Burlington].”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Who do you see as leaders in Vermont?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Boy that is a tough question. I really like Phil Scott and Peter Shumlin. I know they sit really on different ends of the political spectrum, but I think that they both have done a lot for Vermont in different ways. But I think there both well spoken and so respectful of each other that it’s really nice to see that. And then the mayor of Barre, gosh and I can’t pull his name up, been very impressed with him and how he’s handled things. And then if we’re looking outside of the political spectrum, people like Jane Lindholm come to mind, and Ken Squire, Dickey Drysdale who’s retired now, he ran our local paper for decades. But those are the people who come to mind.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should learn how to grow food in a hands-on environment?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Absolutely. Again, I don’t know about in Burlington, but in Randolph where I live there is a strong growing community. I think most people I know who have kids also have vegetable gardens at home. I know for a long time, I don’t know if it’s still the case, Brookfield elementary school bought their meats and produce locally. Most of the restaurants in town, their food is locally sourced.”
 
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?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I do. Yeah. And again, in our community there are programs that do that. There’s the White River Craft Center. Our vocational program does some of those things. So yeah. I do.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the message is out there or do you think it should be more out there that the trades could be just as valid as going to college and getting a degree?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I absolutely think about that and agree with that. My father was a tradesman, my brother is a tradesman. You know, my grandfather was a plumber, my other grandfather was an electrician. I have an uncle who is an electrician. I believe that strongly. College is so expensive. The debt that comes with it does not always, you can’t always pay that off with a salary that you’re making with a four year education or even a master’s degree. I think the trade’s is a fantastic way to make a living. It gives you something meaningful to do. Often you can have your own business and work in town and have flexible hours. I mean there are definitely downsides to it. It’s a very physical job. Even if you own your own business as much as like to think you set your own hours sometimes your hours really set themselves based on the time of year or what you have going on for work. But I think that there really should be a stronger focus on that as a valuable career option. It’s just a very worthy profession.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aims to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Absolutely.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood corrupts the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that are found in movies?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I would say yes in theory but you’re talking to someone who doesn’t watch television, so I can’t really comment on that.”
 
Vermont Gossip; “How do you feel about refugees in the state?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Boy that’s an interesting question. I think it’s great. I have seen…when we first moved back to Vermont we lived in Waterbury and there’s a strong Bosnian population there. And it was really wonderful to see their culture in Vermont. I think that the refugees that I’ve known have been really hard working and dedicated and have brought some of their culture with them, which I think is really a good thing for any place. The food and the celebrations that come from a place outside of here.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would make it illegal to charge women more than men for the same services?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “Yes.”
 
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with service dogs and a lifetime of free dog food?”
 
Ms. Parmelee: “I would.”
 
Just then Ms. Parmelee’s wife, Avery came up and we realized that we had a Vermont connection. This reporter went to high school with Avery.

Burlington Man Says Trade Skills Would Make Kids Less Dependent for Routine Repairs

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Brendan Hamilton, 28, has lived in Vermont on and off for about ten years. “I started undergraduate at UVM in 2006. Went back and forth between here and Massachusetts for a while, but I’ve been here steady for about four or five years now.” He lives in Burlington.

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

Mr. Hamilton: “Yes, compared to other places I’ve lived, which is basically just the suburbs of Boston. Strong community.”

Vermont Gossip: “How so?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I just know a lot of my neighbors. Kind of the way the city is built. I feel like the things you have to do, for example, grocery shopping, whenever I go to City Market I see lots of people I know. I know people that work there, so it’s like even when I’m doing non-social things, you see people. It’s a small enough town, and I think that’s particular for people my age cuz there’s so many 20-somethings here. It’s just very concentrated people between like 24 and 30. And to have a city built like that, fosters community. You know, we’re at an age we don’t have families. We’re being social, going out, work in town for the most part. So that sense of community, and also just the sense that I know the politicians around here because it is a small community. City counselors, the mayor makes himself available at coffee shops and stuff like that. I think that’s pretty valuable.”

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

Mr. Hamilton: “I’m kind of at a steady thing right now, working. It’s spring break, I work at the University, that’s noteworthy I guess. A couple death’s in the family I guess fairly recently…”

Vermont Gossip: “Sorry to hear that.”

Mr. Hamilton: “That’s okay. Uncle’s, grandparents, kind of things that happen, but yeah for the most part things are pretty steady, even keel right now.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I do like living in Vermont. Burlington’s starting to feel pretty small for me at this point. I’ve been here for enough time that I’ve kind of seen everything, and I think I’d like to move either to a bigger urban area or to a really rural area. So like getting out of Burlington and Vermont. Getting out to a property.”

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

Mr. Hamilton: “To be perfectly honest I don’t follow local media too much. I read the Seven Days but mostly just for the cultural stuff, like the music and arts scene in Burlington. Then I follow national level news and international news, but as far as what’s going on with the school system in Burlington or housing situation, I’m not too keen on that.”

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

Mr. Hamilton: “Yeah. In the context of Burlington, I would say, yes. Families that have been here for some time…rent’s getting pushed up essentially by people like me who come to the University or one of the universities in town and really like it and decide they want to stay. And when that happens you get crowded. It’s not that affordable a place to live. You need two working parents to afford an apartment anywhere in town, and even still the apartments are pretty crumby, for the most part, unless you’re in that next income bracket with two incomes that are substantial. I think that’s where tension comes from, just the old story: gentrification. We’re coming in, there’s people who have been here for generations, and there is a culture clash. For the most part white young liberals coming in and kind of changing the city in many ways to serve us. You know, with the foodie culture that pops up around here…it’s hard to go out for dinner for under ten bucks because of that. You’ve got spend $20 for a cheeseburger. I mean it’s a good cheeseburger, but not everybody wants that. Not even myself, sometimes I just want a regular cheeseburger, and you’ve got to drive out of town for that.”

Vermont Gossip: “Who do you see as leaders in Vermont?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I would say the responsible business owners that are from here. So I’m really proud of companies like Seventh Generation, Ben and Jerry’s, lots of the solar companies that have been popping up and doing pretty well alternative energy stuff. I consider those people to be the leaders of what’s happening and what I hope continues to happen at the state-wide level.”

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

Mr. Hamilton: “Yes. Definitely. I mean even if it’s just an after-school program or something, just make it available. In the same way you make sports available, you know, I think it’s as if not more valuable for kids to be involved in that.”

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

Mr. Hamilton: “Yeah. I think shop is really good. I don’t know what the situation is with shop class in Burlington. I know where I came from in Massachusetts you could only take shop class if you were really struggling with your school work. It’s a complicated situation cuz in a sense I suspect what the school does is they want to get those kids out of the classroom, which I don’t think is the fair approach, and on the other hand they want to start teaching those kids a trade. So in a sense they’re kind of like giving up, so I think that’s a silly way to treat shop. I think it should be available to all students and it should be encouraged. It’s a good skill. I mean people don’t really know how to do stuff any more. You know? Like fix a door. They’re calling a handy man to come over. It’s like, just do it yourself. It’s not that complicated. You just need experience with it. We should give that to kids I think.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think Hollywood is corrupting the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that are found in movies?”

Mr. Hamilton: “No. I don’t have any reason to suspect that’s the case. I think kids have always been partying and being irresponsible and having sex and it is a problem, and it’s something that parents should keep an eye on, but it’s also what kids do, and I think have always done. It might get normalized by Hollywood in the sense that it becomes okay, but I don’t think it’s really a problem. I’m not concerned about it.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?”

Mr. Hamilton: “Yes. And I say that…humans sense danger and threats and stuff like that. We respond to those things in our environment I think so yeah.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that emotions are instincts that were selected by nature for our survival?”

Mr. Hamilton: Yeah. An emotional response…yeah I think that would be instinctual.”

Vermont Gossip; “How do you feel about refugees in the state?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I am pro…I have no problem welcoming refugees here, to live here. I don’t know a lot about those programs, my impression is that it’s been rather successful. I live pretty close to that housing complex that’s over on Riverside Ave where I believe lots of refugees are re-settled. I mean I think it’s great. If at a national level people have a problem letting people into this country who are not ‘American’ quote unquote, Vermont seems like the type of place where people are more open to it and we should take advantage of that. Welcome refugees.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see more light rail built around the state?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I don’t know what the need is for something like that, you know, if that would accomplish things that a bus system cannot accomplish. The only times I really have to travel in Vermont is like down to Middlebury or to Montpelier for which I find buses pretty useful. I mean you have to go in the morning and in the evening so it is limited in that sense, but there’s often only like three people on the bus so I wouldn’t expect them to you know just be running empty buses back and forth. I’m more interested in long distance travel: helping people in Vermont get down to places like Boston and New York City, which the bus system does. I’m not sure if a train can do it cheaper. Amtrak is usually more expensive and takes a pretty long time. I don’t see any need for more trains.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think political correctness in Vermont is a virtue or a problem?”

Mr. Hamilton: “I think that the Left definitely has a problem with sensitivity. I think sometimes people on the Left…people on the Right as well…but I think on the Left it’s particularly problematic for what the Left wants to accomplish in terms of social racial justice. People are really worried about being offended or about offending someone and I think being honest is a lot more important than that. Not disguising what you think with clever language. So in that sense I feel like if it is the fact that people in Vermont try to be politically correct more often than people in other places, yeah, I could see that being problematic. I don’t think political correctness in short is itself a virtue. I mean there’s a threshold you should be respectful and responsible, but you should also try to be objective and honest and open and that way we can have real dialogue.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would make it illegal to charge women more than men for the same goods and services?”

Mr. Hamilton: “Yes.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with service dogs and a lifetime of free dog food?”

Mr. Hamilton: “Yeah.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a private initiative to raze some of the property in Rutland and Burlington and build three story apartment buildings like Brooklyn or San Francisco?”

Mr. Hamilton: “It’s a good question. If Burlington wants to grow, they have to grow up. They have to go up. There’s not really that much space left. And you know it’s a balance because there are a lot of really nice old homes in Burlington, which I’m sure was the case in Brooklyn, and they all got knocked down. So I think there should be a responsible approach that involves the community and the property owners especially in that process. What I would fear happening, you know the apartments they put up in Brooklyn were often really nice, like Brownstones. There was a lot of money around when they did that. And I could see them putting up pretty crappy apartments in Burlington just based on the types of people that own a lot of the property where all the college kids live, on Buell Street into the old north end. They don’t take care of their properties, so I don’t know why they would be willing to put up nice apartments. Cuz they don’t live in them anyway. I feel like the first step to doing something about the housing situation in Burlington is holding property owners more accountable and doing something to regulate what’s becoming an out of control renters market, and that it’s not a renter’s market. The market is working very much against people who want to rent property. It makes it pretty hard for people to get out of their economic situation when 75 percent of their income is going to rent. So I would be okay with building up. I was just looking at the photographs of what they want to put down here. Fourteen stories, something like that, I think that’s kind of absurd depending on what’s going to be in there and how accessible it will be for the community. I don’t see why you need to jump from what two to three stories suddenly up to 14. So we’ll see. I’m not thrilled about that project just based on what it would do to the skyline, what it would do to people’s view of the lake from various second and third story porches on this hill going up. From the university from people who live on this side of the street, stuff like that, is really going to shorten the day. It’s going to block the sun for a couple of hours.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aimed to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”

Mr. Hamilton: “Yeah, that would be really neat. Cuz I tried to get into carpentry a couple of years ago. And it can be tough you know if you didn’t grow up doing that thing and you want to start doing it you need someone who is willing to work with you. And I think there’s probably a lot of people out there that would be happy to have somebody who is trying to learn the trade working under them. I don’t know who’s going to pay them. I would assume the master would have to pay the apprentice. Maybe it would be unpaid for a while or it would depend or vary, but yeah it strikes me as a good idea.”

Vermont Should Embrace Bill that Would Outlaw LGBT “Conversion Therapy” on Minors

Vermont legislators will be considering a bill that would outlaw LGBT conversion therapy on minors. The lead sponsor of the bill is Senator Brian Campion who, according to the Vermont Press Bureau, came out to his parents around age 12 or 13. His experience, he reported, was positive.

The article notes that this is not the case for all children, some of whom are kicked out of the family or face stigmatization.

I strongly believe that having a population of LGBT people in the midst of the human species is selected for by nature and should be celebrated. My experience with gay men and women is that they are very supportive and friendly to younger generations. LGBT people humanize our race and bring out the best qualities that the human species has to offer. I believe this is because they recognize their own differences with people who identify as straight and celebrate the differences of others, making them more inclusive.

Vermont has led the way on equal rights for the LGBT community and it should lead the way here. There is no need to convert the LGBT community to being straight. This is especially true for youth, who may experience–more than older generations–confusion about their blossoming sexual orientation.

Being gay is not a choice, it is an orientation that is built into the human psyche. I believe that many men and women fall into a range of sexual orientation that spans straight to gay, and that not all people necessarily fit a boxed definition for their sexual orientation. For example I believe that very few people go throughout life without homoerotic attraction at the least. I’m sure they exist, but they are certainly an extreme minority. Men can recognize when another man is attractive. So can women.

It is our responsibility to stand up for the minority of teens and children who come out to their parents at a young age. The last thing they need is to face conversion therapy for their perfectly normal sexual orientation.

Burlington Lab Tech is New JV Ultimate Frisbee Coach, a Growing Varsity Sport in Vermont

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Sebastian Ventrone, 24, has lived in Vermont his whole life. He lives in Burlington.

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

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, everyone’s pretty tight knit over here. Everyone knows each other. That’s kind of what I like about it, you can go anywhere around Burlington and see someone you know.”

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

Mr. Ventrone: “I’m about to start coaching high school JV ultimate at South Burlington High school.”

Vermont Gossip: “Ultimate frisbee?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Ultimate frisbee, yeah. It became a varsity sport last year.”

Vermont Gossip: “Cool. Was it a challenge to get it implemented as a sport?”

Mr Ventrone: “I think the board has been trying for a couple years now to get varsity status and right now it’s in a trial phase. I haven’t really been a part of that. I was just hired as a coach to help develop the program. I think they’re definitely having some hurtles just in terms if how ultimate works and just how varsity programs work.”

Vermont Gossip: “Did you play a lot growing up?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, I’ve been playing ever since high school, I went to South Burlington. Then in college as well.”

Vermont Gossip: “Nice. Is it pretty competitive?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, I’d say so. Compared to when I was playing, it’s definitely a lot more competitive. I thin there’s about eighteen teams and when I was there there was maybe only about six or seven. I think ultimate is the fastest growing sport right now in America.”

Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for work?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I do research at UVM. I’m a lab technician.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, I love living in Vermont. I’ve been here my whole life. I like hiking. I guess Burlinton-wise you can kind of be in this little bit of a city and then you can just drive twenty, twenty-five minutes away and you’re out in the country, and just away from everyone if you want to be.”

Vermont Gossip: “Yeah. It’s hard to stay in Vermont. How did you manage to do it?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I got lucky I guess. I worked  as under grad in this lab and they just offered me a job at the end of my senior year and I’ve just been working here, trying to figure out what to do next.”

Vermont Gossip: “Nice. Cool. Are you married?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I’m not.”

Vermont Gossip: “Have any kids?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I do not.”

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

Mr. Ventrone: “I mean honestly, I guess not really. Well it’s because we’re in Vermont, so the whole Bernie election scene. He still gets a decent amount of coverage here, but compared if you look at the national news I feel like he’s not getting the coverage, but because we’re in Vermont, I think we are still getting pretty much everything that we want, in terms of the elections going. I don’t have cable so I don’t really watch the news on a regular basis.”

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

Mr. Ventrone: “Maybe a little bit, just because old school Vermonters, I guess maybe they’re just a little more old school in their thinking. But not really because Vermont is still a pretty liberal basis, and just living in Burlington I’ve talked to many older generations and there’s still kind of the same mind set that the younger generation has right now, in terms of just how the world works I guess. In terms of political wise, and environmentally wise, there’s definitely similar thinking. I mean there’s definitely like that sub-set of the older generation that is just a little bit more conservative, I guess. But overall I’d say tensions aren’t that high, at least in the Burlington area, but this is definitely a more liberal part of Vermont.”

Vermont Gossip: “Who do you see as leaders in Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “As leaders? I don’t really know. I guess [Governor] Shumlin, but other than that I’m not really connected that much.”

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

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, I think that’s definitely very useful. It would be a very useful class, I mean, I just had…like an environmental kind of learning program, but I think farming would be really cool. Some of my friends are doing that out in California right now and it seems like the kids are really enjoying it.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest should be taught how to make furniture our of sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, just like Essex kind of does, right? I feel like if there’s a program and a kid’s interested in it they should definitely be allowed to do that. It’s definitely a useful profession and stuff.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood corrupts the minds of our youth with all he sex and violence and parties that they feature in movies?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Eh, not really. It probably definitely give the younger generation ideas, but I don’t think it really corrupts the youth. I mean just like every day experiences however, you realize that what happens in movies isn’t what happens in real life. So it’s more giving people ideas, but I wouldn’t say it leads to corruption.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that drugs are a problem in Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I guess. You hear stories, yeah I guess it is in some areas of Vermont it’s a problem. Here I don’t see it, but from just what I’ve heard in the news it seems like it is a problem in some spots.”

Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to combat that? Do you think that that’s rebellion against authority? Is it poverty?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I mean it could be some poverty, I don’t really know how you can really combat that except just education and trying to get more people out there trying to stop it. But people are going to try what they want so…”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah, I don’t see why not.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that emotions are instincts?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I don’t know if I’d count them as instincts. I mean it’s definitely a part of our being I guess. I mean animals have emotions, too, I guess, but they’re not really instincts.”

Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about refugees in Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I’m alright with it.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you support it?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see more light rail built around the state? Trains?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I don’t think we really have the need for more trains in Vermont. Maybe just make the Amtrack better for getting out of Vermont, but I don’t really see the need for a rail system to go through. The state’s so small, I mean buses and stuff would be fine.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that political correctness is a virtue or a problem?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I think there is definitely a need for it. I think sometimes people can take it too far, in terms of what is politically correct, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that people are taking it more seriously nowadays, I think it’s good but I think sometimes people do take it a little too seriously.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with a service dog and a lifetime of free dog food?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I mean I would support it, I definitely think that would be a huge cost, but it would be a very beneficial program, so if it was in our budget I don’t see why not.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a private initiative to raze the Victorian houses and build three story apartment buildings in downtown Burlington?”

Mr. Ventrone: “You mean destroy the houses and replace them with apartment buildings?”

Vermont Gossip: “Yeah.”

Mr. Ventrone: “I mean I kind of like some of the old Victorian houses, so I think that could be a shame for some of the older ones, but at the same time we do really have a housing crisis in Burlington so more apartment buildings would definitely be nice. So I guess if the house is really run down, like wasn’t enough money to fix it, I would say go for it, but if it was a perfectly working house I don’t see the need to.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see high tech jobs come to Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah. I mean more jobs in Vermont is always a good thing. More tech jobs would be pretty cool too. I’m more in the bio industry, but bio tech would be very cool. That way I could stay in Vermont I guess instead of having to move elsewhere for jobs.”

Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to bring them here?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I really just think it’s space and population. I mean, there’s nothing we could just add that would make them want to come here. It’s really more what people want. I think it’s more just because the population is too small is the reason they’re not here. The way we’re set up you can’t really have many more.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aimed to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Yeah. That could definitely be useful in terms of younger people trying to find something.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that Vermont youth are told often enough that having a family and kids could be one of the most satisfying things they ever experience?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I think kids hear it enough. I think it’s probably more how their family relationship is working in terms of if they think that’s something they want to do later in their life. You can be told all you want, but it’s really more in your personal experiences that’s gonna make you want to do that in your future.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we should be telling youngsters to be on the lookout for a life mate early on?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I don’t think so. I think it’s more personal experience. I mean, I’d say you should definitely encourage people to go out earlier and have that experience, but it’s not something that you should be forcing, like telling them should need to do that. You need to live your life your own way.”

Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would de-criminalize operating a driverless car while under the influence?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Wouldn’t that be the whole purpose of that car? If someone gets drunk it’s better that robot cars take them home I guess.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you know who you’re going to vote for for the next governor of Vermont?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I have not been keeping up to date with the new candidates, so I can not endorse anyone.”

Vermont Gossip: “Who is your favorite Vermont band?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Probably Grundle Funk right now, or Linguistic Civilians actually. Linguistic Civilians is my favorite Vermont band, well they’re more like hip-hop group.”

Vermont Gossip: “What’s your favorite Vermont brew?”

Mr. Ventrone: “Honestly, Long Trail Double Bag.”

Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about the promises of synthetic biology? Genetically engineering organisms…”

Mr. Ventrone: “GMO’s and stuff? I think I need to see more research on it to see if it’s detrimental to our health. Right now I guess it’s still too early on to see if it has any side effects on us. Right now I support doing it, but I would still like to see more research on long term effects.”

Vermont Gossip: “Do you lament that we’ve lost courting rituals or do you think they’re still alive and healthy?”

Mr. Ventrone: “I’d say they’re still alive. I mean it’s all based on personality and stuff in terms of who wants to do that.”

Is E.O. Wilson Right? Should we Give Half the Earth Back to the Wild?

We need more farmers and mechanics and tradesmen running our legislature. David Zuckerman, a farmer and senator running for Lieutenant Governor, is a prime example of the types of people Vermont should be electing into the legislature. Intellectualism has its perils: being too devoid of the passion to just survive against all odds. So does rigid dogmatism to a scripted political mindset. There is no way that a state of 600,000 can be defined by only TWO parties: Republican or Democrat.
 
My dad said this morning that we’re due for a hot summer. There are going to be more of those in the future and that’s not good for human survival. It is said that if we don’t dramatically curb our greenhouse gas emissions soon the Middle East will be too hot to live in in less than 100 years.
 
As Stephen Colbert said of this a couple months ago, “Finally peace in the Middle East.” 
 
I know he’s trying to be funny, but doesn’t it seem like some percentage of living humans actually want to see an apocalypse in their lifetime? Take, for example, North Korea’s behavior recently: indicating their interested in nuclear war with America.
 
I certainly don’t. I think we should be spending every living breathing second of our lives thinking about what we want to leave to our children, and their children. We want a wild earth. E.O. Wilson recently suggested that humans retreat from half of the world and give it back to the wild. I don’t think this will ever happen, but it could be the right idea.
 
I believe there are too many humans on the earth. I don’t believe any human has any more right than another to live here, but I don’t think earth can support this human population for very much longer. I wish our intelligence was on greater display because I think if we were smart about it we could prepare for the future. But I believe we are overpopulated as it is, and that we must dramatically slow growth.
 
Europe has already done this on its own. I believe it can happen in North America, India, Africa and in China. But right now, we have a model for economic prosperity that depends on ever-lasting economic–and therefore, population–growth. We should be teaching the youth how to farm and grow their own food in America and in Vermont especially. We should teach them to limit their families to two children and be on the lookout for a life mate early on and keep their vows to be monogamous because their is something special about finding and keeping a true love for all time. There was once a time for big families. No more. We should aim for food and energy independence in this country and in this state if we cannot do it in this country.
For too many there is just a sense of auto-pilot: just depending on the assumption that the powers-that-be know what they are doing and that we are on a sustainable trajectory to survival in the future as a species. This is not the case. Capitalism removes the king from the equation. It used to be the duty of a king to think about his people and think through their survival. That was, of course, if he wasn’t corrupt and selfish, but not every king was corrupt and selfish. The current prince of Britain is deeply concerned about poaching wildlife.
Nowadays, there are no kings running the country, just egotistical capitalists like Mitt Romney who never gave a damn about the earth to begin with. They have no concept that when we destroy it in the name of capitalism that consequences like Flint, Michigan, happen. Suddenly our water is contaminated, then our food, then our pollinators die off. It’s all the consequences of what scientists are warning about and humans are ignoring. Why? Ask yourself. Why are we ignoring the warning signs? Why don’t we get back to a more pastoral way of living? It’s better on the senses.

Burlington Teen is Learning Guitar; Doesn’t Care for Vermont Weather

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Charles Hemingway, 19, has lived in Vermont all his life. He lives in Burlington.

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Burlington is strong?”
Mr. Hemingway: “In some ways, yes. I feel like there are some things we could do to make the community stronger.”
Vermont Gossip: “How could you make the community stronger?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I feel like if the police would crack down more on what’s going around, than targeting specific races, because I’ve noticed a lot of that.”
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life right now?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I’m learning guitar finally. I’ll be the third member in my family.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for work?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I’m actually jobless right now but I am searching. I’m hoping to get a job at Applebee’s.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
Mr. Hemingway: “It’s nice. I feel like I’ll move at some point though. I don’t really care for the weather but…”
Vermont Gossip: “Yeah, you’re going to move out of state?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Is there anything that isn’t being covered by the local media that you’d like to see be covered?”
Mr. Hemingway: “No, I don’t pay attention to the media very often so, no.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I don’t know, like I said I don’t pay attention a whole lot. I’m sure in some ways there are.”
Vermont Gossip: “Who do you see as leaders in Vermont?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Bernie.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should be taught to grow food in a hands on environment?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes. It will definitely help them further on, in the rest of their life. They’ll be able to grow their own food and eat healthier than we do nowadays.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest in it should be taught to make furniture from sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Definitely.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood corrupts the minds of our kids with all the sex and violence and parties found in movies?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes, there are definitely movies, and it’s not just Hollywood’s fault, it’s parents’ fault for letting their kids watch those kind of movies. So you can’t blame just Hollywood. They definitely don’t do any help.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?:
Mr. Hemingway: “I think so.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that emotions are instincts that are selected by nature for survival?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about refugees coming into the state?”
Mr. Hemingway: “It’s a good thing that Vermont does it, but I really think they should pay more attention to the youth themselves. I mean right now I’m homeless, and I’ve been living in one of the few programs that helps homeless youth. They should definitely pay more attention to the youth than the refugees.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that the Vermont political and academic elite are too politically correct?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe schools should teach students about our natural instincts and teach us to follow our good instincts?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would make it illegal to charge women more than men for the same goods and services?”
Mr. Hemingway: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with a service dog and free dog food for life?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a private initiative to build three story buildings with storefronts and narrow roads in downtown Rutland and Burlington?”
Mr. Hemingway: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you want to see high tech jobs come to Vermont?”
Mr. Hemingway: “What do you mean by high tech?”
Vermont Gossip: “Technology jobs.”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah. I know there’s a lot of Vermonters who are really good at technology, a few of my friends are good at it but there are just not not enough jobs around here.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aimed to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that Vermont teens are told often enough that having a family and one or two kids, could be the most satisfying thing they ever hope to experience?”
Mr. Hemingway: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “They could be told more?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think we should be telling youngsters to be on the look out for a life mate early on in life? Because that might be the best time that they find a life mate?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I don’t know. If you believe that’s true then I’m not against it, but I think you should let your kids look for a partner whenever they’re ready.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would decriminalize operating a driverless car while under the influence?”
Mr. Hemingway: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you know who you’re going to vote for for the next Governor of Vermont?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Nope. I’m not big on voting, so…”
Vermont Gossip: “Who’s your favorite Vermont band?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I don’t really know Vermont bands. Actually I ought to get into that.”
Vermont Gossip: “How do you feel about the promises of synthetic biology? Which is genetically engineering organisms for everything from growing salmon faster to killing off mosquitoes.”
Mr. Hemingway: “I’m not really sure how I feel about that. That’s the first time I’ve heard about it, so…”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you lament that we’ve lost courting rituals or do you think they’re still alive and healthy?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I think we’ve lost some.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see them come back?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you on Facebook?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you interested in networking with fellow Vermonters?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you support legalizing pot in Vermont?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for hobbies and recreation?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Practice guitar, come around walk around Church Street.  Hang out with friends.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think is the most pressing issue of our time?”
Mr. Hemingway: “The way kids act nowadays. I mean it’s sad to see ten, eleven year olds walking around with iphones and stuff and things like this, and complaining when they don’t get what they want. When I was a kid I was out in the back yard playing with sticks and it was perfectly fun.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think climate change is a serious threat?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I think so.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a carbon tax in Vermont to push us away from carbon fuels?”
Mr. Hemingway: “Yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think most Americans make a livable wage?”
Mr. Hemingway: “I believe most do, most that choose to find an actual career. I feel that those who chose to stay with their high school jobs don’t exactly make a livable career, but that’s their choice.”

Castleton Man is Battling One-to-Five in a Million Cancer

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Vince Diamond, 76, has lived in Vermont for 30 years. He lives in Castleton.

Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that the community you live in is strong?”
Mr. Diamond: “Yeah, relatively. You always know what’s going on. They’re always involved in doing something. For instance building a police station, new fire house, building a new town office. The historical society…other than that I can’t think of much else.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you know a lot of people in your neighborhood?”
Vince Diamond: “Not a bunch, no. I used to be the animal control officer so I met a lot of people that way.”
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life?”
Mr. Diamond: “Not much of anything right now, other than hoping my cancer goes away. A really bad kind, a one in a million kind. I have cardio fungioitis. It’s like one to five people in a million get it. I got eight, nine more chemo treatments after ten radiation treatments.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you retired?”
Mr. Diamond: “Very. Always have been since I moved up here, I made the mistake of thinking I’d find a decent job. I have two degrees, one in mathematics one in electronics, doesn’t do you any good up here though.”
Vermont Gossip: “What did you do for work before you retired?”
Mr. Diamond: “I designed electronics for space.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
Mr. Diamond: “Oh, I love it.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you married?”
Mr. Diamond: “Very.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you have kids?”
Mr. Diamond: “Yeah, I have one daughter. She lives in Jersey.”
Vermont Gossip: “Is there anything that isn’t being covered by local media that you’d like to see be covered?”
Mr. Diamond: “I can’t think of much, other than identifying a little more about the candidates running for Governor because I find I don’t know much about them, and I would like to know a little more than I know, but I don’t much go out of my way. I usually vote just straight Democratic. Except I’ve heard good things about [Republican candidate Phil] Scott, so I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll find out more before the election.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
Mr. Diamond: “Once I thought there was. I don’t think it exists anymore though. There’s too many new Vermonters, they outnumber the old. So it’s just like I don’t think it exists anymore. I think it did twenty years ago, but not anymore.”
Vermont Gossip: ‘Who do you see as leaders in Vermont?”
Mr. Diamond: “Leaders? uhhh…[Representative Peter] Welsh. Certainly the Governor. [Senator Patrick] Leahy. Not much beyond that.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that elementary school students should be taught to grow food in a hands on environment?”
Mr. Diamond: “That’d be something beneficial, outside of the abysmal job they do of teaching. So that would be something positive.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from Vermont harvested wood?”
Mr. Diamond: “That would be something positive, yeah. It would give them a skill that’s worthwhile. Yeah, I’d be for that.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood corrupts the minds of kids with all the sex and violence that it has in it?”
Mr. Diamond: “Not even slightly. Look at the internet, that does a good job by itself.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that our instincts are as complex as other animals?”
Mr. Diamond: “Mostly. Mostly. Certainly not as keen. Our eyesight, our smell, our hearing it’s not up to par with many animals.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that emotions are instincts?”
Mr. Diamond: “No. No, not really.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would make it illegal to charge women more than men for the same goods and services?”
Mr. Diamond: “Oh god, that’s just unthinkable. Something like that is just not worth talking about, it’s like stupid.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would provide all Vermont service veterans who have PTSD with a service dog and free dog food for life?”
Mr. Diamond: “I don’t know about for life. They deserve something, but certainly not for life.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a private initiative to build three story buildings in Rutland, make it more like Brooklyn or San Francisco in downtown Rutland?”
Mr. Diamond: “I don’t see why not. It’s more efficient use of the ground, so I’d be for that.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see high tech jobs come to Vermont?”
Mr. Diamond: “Oh, god yes. Yes, definitely.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to bring them here?”
Mr. Diamond: “Well the first thing you have to do is create some kind of an industry. There has to be some industry to draw them in. That’s very difficult to have entrepreneurs do it. It just doesn’t exist in this area, at least not that I’m aware of. Yeah, I certainly think it’d be beneficial, but very difficult to do I’m sure.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a website that aimed to pair apprentices with master tradesmen?”
Mr. Diamond: “Yeah. That’d be a good idea, yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that Vermont teens are told often enough that having a family could be one of the most satisfying things that they ever hope to experience?”
Mr. Diamond: “I don’t know. When I came here my daughter was grown so I have no way of knowing that.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think we should be telling youngsters to be on the lookout for a life mate early on in life?”
Mr. Diamond: “Not really.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support legislation that would decriminalize operating a driverless car while under the influence?”
Mr. Diamond: “If you’re operating a driverless car, the car is doing the operation, so why would it matter if you’re stoned. It just doesn’t matter. Yeah sure, I would.”
Vermont Gossip: “Who’s your favorite Vermont band?”
Mr. Diamond: “Don’t have a Vermont band that’s a favorite. All my bands are so off in left field, that you’ve never heard of ninety percent of them I’m sure.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you lament that we’ve lost courting rituals or do you think that they’re still alive and healthy?”
Vince Diamond: “Oh, I think they’re dead. I don’t think there’s any rituals at all anymore.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we should bring them back? Or do you think that it’s better that way?”
Mr. Diamond: “I think it’s just let human nature take it’s course.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you on Facebook?”
Mr. Diamond: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you support legalizing pot in Vermont?”
Mr. Diamond: “Yeah I sit on the fence. I don’t see any harm in it, but there’s some problems that I really haven’t seen good solutions to. For instance: how to keep it out of the hands of kids. Pot in itself I think is harmless stuff. It should be legalized in that sense, assuming they know how to keep it out of the hands of kids and assuming they come up with a way of checking if someone is stoned on the road.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you do for hobbies and recreation?”
Vince Diamond: “Jeez, not much nowadays. I’ve done so much. I sled dogged for years, twenty some odd years. I don’t do much anymore, a little bit of cut glass that’s all.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you know who your state representatives are?”
Mr. Diamond: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together?”
Mr. Diamond: “I don’t know, I can’t answer that question.”
Vermont Gossip: “If you could give one piece of advice to a group of youngsters, what would it be?”
Mr. Diamond: “Get lots of education. As much as you can possibly get, in as many areas as you can get it.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think the most pressing issue of our time is?”
Mr. Diamond: “The lack of education for decent paying jobs. That to me is more of a bother than almost anything else.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that climate change is a serious threat?”
Mr. Diamond: “Oh god yes.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support a carbon tax?”
Mr. Diamond: “Yeah.”
Vermont Gossip: “What’s your favorite Vermont restaurant?”
Mr. Diamond: “Jeez, it used to be Hemingway’s but they closed. Don’t have a real favorite anymore. Trying to think, we occasionally eat at uhh…nope no favorite.”
Vermont Gossip: “What could be done to keep Vermont children safe from sexual predators?”
Mr. Diamond: “Jeez, I don’t know. Educate them. Educate them in the way predators use to entice kids into their snares.”