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Friday, October 11, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics? 

Troopers, supers, guns, glass, reporters, editors, publishers, politicians, the dearly betrothed and... deer.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Oct. 11:

Winners:

Vermont's congressional delegation — Still no polls in Vermont (come on, Castleton!), but national surveys suggest that Sen. Patrick Leahy's, Sen. Bernie Sanders' and Congressman Peter Welch's no-compromise stance on the government shutdown/debt ceiling impasse remains popular in these parts. Runner-up winner: VPR's "Vermont Edition," which schlepped down to D.C. this week to broadcast a rare, three-way interview with Vermont's tres amigos.

Jim Deeghan — So much for two years in the slammer! After nine months in jail, the ex-Vermont State Police trooper is back in town. No word on whether he padded his time sheets in the prison kitchen.

David Blittersdorf — The wind magnate and AllEarth Renewables chief got cheeky this week by billing ISO New England $5490 after the regional transmission authority bumped his Georgia Mountain turbines offline. Runner-up winner: UVM, which is accepting a million-dollar donation from Blittersdorf for an endowed professorship on Friday afternoon.

Burlington Free Press reporters — Who will soon have one of the sickest views in the city from their new Bank Street digs. Note to Seven Days editor/publisher overlords: Where's my damn window?!

Deer — Because hunting legend Larry Benoit has bagged his last buck. May the great herd in the sky be plentiful.

 

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Friday, October 4, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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It was a big week in Vermont news and politics. Who won and lost?

Federal workers, Burlington city councilors, Congress critters, health connectors, latte-sippers, unions, Randy Brock and... this ice cream-loving guinea pig.

Here's the Scoreboard for Friday, Oct. 4:

Winners:

Vermont's congressional delegation — Typically when Congress engages in epic showdowns over fiscal matters, Democrats and their liberal allies fracture, fight amongst themselves and fold. But as this week's partial government shutdown enters its fourth day, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) remain in lockstep with their president and party leadership.

Randy Brock — Nearly a year after getting creamed in the 2012 gubernatorial election, the Franklin County Republican rejoined the fray last weekend with an epic op-ed trashing Vermont Health Connect. Though Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration disputes Brock's facts, there's plenty of political upside to slamming the roll-out of an expensive, complex, contractor-designed IT system. If he's right, he'll remind us all in a year. If he's wrong, we'll probably forget it ever happened.

AFSCME — After winning this week's (not terribly dramatic) election to represent some 7000 home-care workers, look for AFSCME to play a far more influential role in Vermont's labor community and political system.

Shumlin's gun dance — It takes a talented politician to get Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Vice President Evan Hughes and avid gun control advocate Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson (D-Essex Junction) to take part in the same gun-related press conference. But does the gov's call for storage facilities to hold firearms seized from accused domestic violence perpetrators undermine his argument that "only the feds can take on gun issues?" 

Mike Donoghue — The Vermont law enforcement community's least favorite reporter was named the "Sevellon Brown AP New England Journalist of the Year" by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors this week for his dogged coverage of last year's Vermont State Police overtime scandal. Our hats and badges are off to you, Mike.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Health care, hate, cops, women, congressmen, planes and Bolles.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Sept. 27:

Winners:

F-35 supporters — Vermont remains atop the Air Force's list to host a squadron of F-35s, according to a final environmental report released this week. While the top brass won't make a final decision for at least 30 days (starting next Friday), it's sure looking good for those hoping to replace the Vermont Guard's F-16s with the next-generation fighter jets. 

Binders full of (Democratic) women — Former governor Madeleine Kunin led an expertly choreographed roll-out this week of a new effort to reverse Vermont's glaring gender imbalance in its top political ranks. But Republican and Progressive women? They need not apply.

Welch leadership cred — U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and, um, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) held a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday calling on Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling without any other political meddling. Welch earned his star turn by talking 185 of his colleagues into signing a letter calling for the same.

Geographic (not party) unity — Burlington's New and Old North Ends joined forces Monday night to break the Queen City's redistricting logjam. Northerly Progressives, Democrats and the council's lone Republican backed the new plan, while southerly independents and Democrats unsuccessfully opposed it.

Chittenden County cops — As the Burlington Free Press' omnipresent Mike Donoghue reported this week, Burlington Police Department deputy chief and alleged DUI-er Andi Higbee is heading back to work, while an independent investigator hired by the Winooski Police Department cleared Cpl. Jason Nokes of using excessive force against a mentally ill man. Both officers are still facing criminal charges.

Hate groups — 'Cuz they can freely rake in the cash from the state's VtSHARES charitable giving campaign.

The Bernie-Buster — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) inspired/irritated the hell out of America for 21 hours this week with his epic, Seussian "filibuster" intended to, uh, do something about that Obamacare thing. As our friends over at the right-wing National Review pointed out, he was following the loquacious lead of our own Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 8.5-hour non-filibuster three years ago also didn't delay a thing, either. 

Local talent — After conducting a national search for its next news director, Vermont Public Radio opted to promote from within, hiring veteran Statehouse reporter John Dillon for the gig. If you see a BMW bike with a VPR sticker flying up I-89 to the station's Colchester headquarters, be sure to throw a tote bag or mug at its rider.

Dan Bolles — As he proved with his exclusive interview with Joel Najman's beard, the Seven Days music editor has the rest of us reporters beat by a mile — or at least a whisker.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Gun owners, cops, windmills, bridge-crossers, Upper Valley-ites, unions, pot-lovers and more!

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Sept. 20:

Winners: 

Updated résumés — It was appointment week in Vermont. Gov. Peter Shumlin named a new Vermont Supreme Court justice, education secretary, Public Service Board member, state rep, chief performance officer, deputy finance and management commish and legislative liasion. Talk about job creation!

Renewable energy — The newest member of Vermont's powerful Public Service Board, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Margaret Cheney (D-Norwich), established herself during her seven years in the legislature as one of its strongest renewable energy advocates. That bodes poorly for those who oppose ridgeline wind. Runner-up winner: Welch/Shumlin cross-pollination. Cheney also happens to be married to Rep. Peter Welch (though, to be clear, she earned the job in her own right). Shumlin also hired former Welch flack Scott Coriell (disclosure, disclosure) as a new legislative liaison.

Strained analogies — In Shumlin's mind, the fight for legalizing marijuana is a lot like the fights for civil unions and same-sex marriage. Wait, what?!

Lobbyist turnover — Kevin Ellis is leaving KSE Partners, while Tim Meehan's retiring from MMR (KSE's K left a couple years ago). Perhaps the two top lobby shops should bury the hatchet, merge their alphabet soup names and call themselves SMR. Or MRS. Or something.

Labor — Vermont's labor community this week rallied for higher wages at the Vermont State Colleges, against the firings of two St. Mike's custodians and for paid sick days. Are Vermont's unions trying to increase their relevance? 

Hikers — With L.L. Dean (ahem, former governor Howard Dean) and Shumlin in attendance, the Green Mountain Club on Monday broke ground on a new cross-Winooski footbridge that will soon eliminate a major road walk on the Long Trail. Runner-up winners: Everyone in attendance, because we got to tromp around on the LT and call it work.

Seven Days — (Warning: raging self-call) In hiring the Valley News' Jeff Good, Vermont's fave alt-weekly scored a top-notch news boss. Plus, after dropping by the Alchemist Cannery on Wednesday, the Atlantic's James Fallows stopped by Seven Days and had this to say about us.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Cats, Midd kids, political donors, your civil liberties and most definitely Vermont's congressional delegation.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Sept. 13:

Winners:

Vermont's congressional delegation — Last week they were sweating bullets over their pending vote on Syrian air strikes. This week, they dodged a bullet. Now repeat after me: "Thank you, Vladimir!"

Friendship — It sure is great to be chummy with Shummy. If you're tight with him, Gov. Peter Shumlin might buy your solar trackers, roll with you to China and meet with you privately in Manchester

Rural Vermonters — Front Porch Forum, the online epicenter of municipal musings, has gone statewide, thanks to $300,000 from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Now if everyone else's FPF is anything like my Old North End forum, you can look forward to plenty of bat-shit crazy.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

MILF-lovers, pot-smokers, hair-dyers, plane-haters, nudists and, well, Vermont's congressional delegation.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Sept. 6:

Winners:

Bud smokers — After Attorney General Eric Holder said last week he wouldn't crack down on states that legalize pot, Gov. Peter Shumlin told reporters Tuesday he's "open to further discussion" about letting the green grow freely here in the Green Mountains. But don't light up just yet. Shumlin clarified to Seven Days Thursday he's "in no hurry" to legalize it — and would prefer to see how it works in Washington and Oregon first. "I personally favor legalization for Vermont at the right time," he said. 

Democratic F-35 DIS-unity — Until Wednesday, nearly every major Democratic politician in the state had either endorsed the F-35's proposed basing in South Burlington or dodged the question. But now, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden) is getting involved. On Wednesday, he joined two other Dem reps and a slew of local Progressives in calling for the city of Burlington to just say no. [Ed.'s note: The Scoreboard spaced out Friday and put "Democratic F-35 unity" in the winner's column. That, obviously, makes no sense. It's been edited to reflect that the real winner was "Democratic F-35 disunity."]

Perseverence — Dylan Gingues really wants to let it all hang out. After the dude got busted for violating Bellows Falls' nudity ordinance last week, he showed up in court the next day wearing nothing but a (presumably borrowed) police coat. By Wednesday, he was back in action — this time allegedly exposing himself in White River Junction. "Awww! He's cute," said one witness to Gingues' loin-clothed handcuffing, according to the Rutland Herald's Eric Francis

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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Paul Heintz is on vacation, so this week's scores have been tallied by Seven Days digital media manager Tyler Machado. (CONFIDENTIAL TO HEINTZ: You picked a hell of a week to take off, dude!)

So who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Stoners, Catamounts and Lake Monsters, oh my!

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Aug. 30: 

WINNERS:

Almost Everyone — Entergy's announcement that it will shut down Vermont Yankee in 2014 was good news for everyone — except, of course, the folks who work there. Entergy saves some loot. Vermont ratepayers won't notice the difference since local utilities weren't buying its power anyway. Environmentalists will close the book on decades of activism. And nearly every political entity in Vermont (and elsewhere!) scored an easy layup — even if cheap natural gas was the final death blow for the state's sole nuclear power plant.

Pot smokers — Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department won't challenge state laws legalizing marijuana. That should ease the minds of Vermont's marijuana reform opponents, including House Speaker Shap SmithRunner-up winner: Sen. Patrick Leahy, who may have forced Holder's hand on the issue.

More winners, and losers, after the jump...

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Friday, August 23, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics? 

Pork, towels, scammers, former govs, vets and one lucky reporter.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, August 23:

Winners:

Pork Tornados — Sen. Leahy rolled through Northfield and White River Junction Thursday and left a trail of federal largess in his wake. 

Vets, state workers and the state budget — All three dodged a bullet this week when the feds inspected the Vermont Veterans' Home and gave it a passing grade, sparing it a loss in Medicare and Medicaid funding. Runner-up winner: Sen. Bernie Sanders, who used his perch as Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman to press the feds on funding.

Rosetta Stone — Gov. Peter Shumlin's gonna have to brush up on his Mandarin before traveling to China next month to sell visas for cash — ahem, I mean, seek overseas investment for job-creating projects in Vermont.

Ted Brady — After 13 years on Sen. Patrick Leahy's staff, the loyal staffer's in line for a plum federal patronage post: director of the USDA's Vermont and New Hampshire rural development office. 

Solar City — Rutland will be brighter than Vegas by the time Green Mountain Power's done with it

John Dillon — The Vermont Public Radio reporter went canoeing on Mirror Lake and passed it off as work. We'd never try that!

 

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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Nukers, governors, firefighters, posturers, farmers, government contractors, Wiffleballers and... Bill Sorrell.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, August 15: 

Winners:

Entergy — Say what you will about Vermont Yankee — that its finances are shaky, its employees are being laid off, it won't last another refueling cycle or two, the Public Service Board will shut 'em down — but a win's a win. And Entergy, VY's Louisiana-based owner, won big this week. Runner-up winner: Entergy's hired gun, attorney Kathleen Sullivan, who's now two for two.

Peter Shumlin — Three and a half years ago, Senate President Pro Tem Shumlin heroically led his chamber to reject granting Vermont Yankee another 20-year license. That political victory led him to the governor's office — and the state to a two-year, million-dollar legal battle. Now that the state's lost at the appellate court level, ol' Teflon Shummy seems once again to be dodging the blame. Which reminds us of an apt question posed by Vermont Public Radio's Bob Kinzel last September: "Some say your strategy has been a total failure. You've achieved none of your goals, and you've cost the state millions in legal fees with more costs to come. Why are they wrong?" 

Peter Shumlin — Because Dodge Gate is now finally, totally, officially over. Runner-up loser: Peter Shumlin in 14 months, when Dodge Gate will be featured in his opponent's 30-second TV ads. Second-runner-up loser: Peter Shumlin in five years, when the bulk of Dodge's $30k debt comes due.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Switch-bumpers, snake-haters, calculators, power companies, TV stations, defense attorneys, creepy travel writers and more!

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Aug. 9: 

Winners:

Brooks McArthur — The Burlington defense attorney played some serious offense this week on behalf of his client, Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Andi Higbee. When the Vermont State Police refused to give the Burlington Free Press a copy of a cruiser cam video of Higbee's July DUI arrest, Brooks took it upon himself to hand over a copy. A savvy way to score points with Freeps transparency czar Mike Donoghue and shift the conversation to why Higbee was pulled over in the first place. 

WPTZ-TV — Last month WCAX-TV announced that, come September, it would expand its news coverage to weekend mornings. But the station's main competitor, WPTZ-TV, beat Channel 3 to the punch, launching its own weekend news programming last weekend without fanfare. What's more? Channel 5 will feature four full hours of news coverage — twice as much as Channel 3's promised.

The Timothy Szad Beat — The recently-released sex offender is back in town after a brief trip to California. And that's got the state's cops and courts reporters in a tizzy reporting his every last move. Public service journalism or tabloid reporting?

Patrick Leahy — Because the U.S. Senate President Pro Tem's got some very special friends in the entertainment, defense, telecom, legal, tech and beverage industries.

Peter Welch — A BuzzFeed puff piece on the Vermont Congressman's bipartisan street cred netted something even better for Welch: a glowing editorial from the Saint Albans Messenger's Emerson Lynn echoing Welch's — ahem, BuzzFeed's — talking points.

Losers and tie score after the jump...

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