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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Politics

Re: “Independents Turn Up the Heat in Addison County Senate Race

Interesting. Chris Bray is suddenly now "pro-environment" and in favor of clean water? Because during the Shumlin years, Mr. Bray was a fervent advocate and supporter of policies that provided for fast-tracked status for industrial energy developers, regardless of zoning, regardless of open space protections, regardless of even whether such development took place directly in headwaters, for example, of places like Shelburne Pond.

South Burlington spent tens of thousands of tax dollars to comply with Act 250 and Act 200. Developed a Comprehensive Plan, in compliance with Governor Kunin's Act 200. Hired wildlife corridor experts; hydrologists; etc. Enacted zoning in the Southeast Quadrant to protect Shelburne Pond headwaters. Literally "Natural Resources Protection" zoning. And thanks to Chris Bray, Tony Klein, Claire Ayer and the Shumlin administration, all of that was ignored. The South Burlington Planning Commission directly appealed to the state and was ignored. Thanks to the legislation supported by Chris Bray, they were basically told to go fly a kite. And this happened in community after community across the state.

A 40 year bipartisan commitment to protect the ridge lines, gone. Vermont's path-breaking leadership on land use planning and support for open space, flushed down the toilet. Because campaign donors to the Vermont Democratic Party like industrial energy developers Blittersdorf and Duane Peterson wanted a bigger return for their money. This is the Chris Bray I remember.

He should be commended for the sudden about-face to now perhaps support clean water efforts with respect to Lake Champlain. Would like to see Mr. Bray also come around to supporting zoning; open space protections; Act 250; Act 200; ridgeline protections; and headwaters protections.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 09/13/2018 at 1:49 AM

Re: “Convict-Turned-Lawmaker Pushes Criminal Justice Reform in Vermont

Janssen was one of my close friends in college. He lived across from me, we both were were active in College Republicans and student government. Janssen's story is more fascinating than maybe reported on. He was a victim of a terrible car accident and despite grievous injuries, recovered and was a stellar student. He did grow up, like me, in humble beginnings. We shared this bond - and laughed how two kids with such background could become Republicans. But I think in a way, it was a return to our roots - that one needed to be responsible with the little money they had and that hard work should be cherished. But I would add more, sometimes we get thrust into life a little quicker than we are ready for, sometimes our compass goes astray - but then it recalibrate, and the lessons we learn give us a much broader perspective, and an intense compassion and empathy. Republicans of all stripes could use more of this, Democrats could to but from a different vantage point. The point is he learned and developed empathy in the process, and he will bring all of this into the attorney general's office. We need more boomerang stories like this in our halls of government and on the bench. In a time when politics is so divisive and the world seems to be coming apart at the seams, it feels good to know that we can come together as whole people, trusting in the redemption that faith and friendship can bring. Super proud to call him a friend - I hope you all give him your vote.

Posted by Scott Harkless on 09/05/2018 at 2:06 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Here's how to contact the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Anson Tebbetts - remember today state offices are closed. Anson Tebbetts is not from afar. He was born and raised on a farm in Cabot where he still lives. Phone: 828-2430, then 7 for the Commissioner's Office, also 828-5667, also possible cell phone at (802) 324-9850; email at;
snail mail at Anson Tebbets, Secretary
Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901

You may also want to contact Diane Bothfeld, a dairy farmer who hails from Cabot. Her current role is Director of Agricultural Development
Same snail mail address as for Anson Tebbets. Her email is:; phone numbers: 828-5667 and possible cell phone, (802) 498-3337.

Alyson Eastman is the agency's deputy secretary from the Rutland area, where she also grew up on a farm. Same snail mail address; email at Phone numbers: 828-1619, possible cell phone, (802) 622-4131.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Vermont Grandma on 09/03/2018 at 1:00 PM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

I've known Anson Tebbets for years. I can't imagine what misguided advice led him to decide that importing food scraps feed farm animals isnt farming. Farms bring processed food waste onto farms day and and day out in the form of commercial animal feed. Taking food scraps from restaurants, supermarkets, a food bank, or the neighbor down the road is a sensible approach, one that farmers used for decades.
This is entirely consistent with the Legislature's mandate that food scraps no longer go into landfills - restaurants must already comply.
Yes, some people complained. Yes, farming operations are often smelly. Yes, I'm not personally affected However, there are many entwined considerations. Vermont's declining landfill space, the cost to farmers and to the planet of commercial feed which must be processed and transported to the chickens that produce the eggs we eat, and farming has become financially dicey, with farmers needing to produce more than just farm product to stay afloat. Throwing up roadblocks up which impair farmers ability to maintain financially viable operations is NOT in Vermont's best interest. Then there is the insanity of ANR requiring that outside food scraps brought to a farm be put on a slab, versus the current practice of feeding the scraps directly to the chickens resulting in chickens incorporating food scraps and chicken manure directly into the soil.
Complaints should not result in an response across multiple Vermont government agencies to assuage such complaints. The response from the Ag Department should have been, "these things go along with farming, always have," and "farmers like these are a vital part of our Vermont farming community AND are a vital part of Vermont's efforts both to keep food scraps out of Vermont landfills and to reduce dependency on fossil fuels."

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Vermont Grandma on 08/31/2018 at 11:09 PM

Re: “Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?

"I stand corrected and embarrassed."

Very commendable.

Unfortunately, these are words we will never, ever hear from the 6 year old boy in the White House. He's never, ever,ever wrong, and he never, ever, ever makes a mistake. Never. Ever.

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by knowyourassumptions on 08/30/2018 at 10:31 AM

Re: “Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?

This discussion is a good example of what I see wrong with a lot of the polarizing factions that cannot compromise. btv4all jumps to a conclusion without all the facts which are completely erroneous and immediately negatively comments on the person in the article. BTW it is nice to see you admit you were mistaken as we all make mistakes. The problem is a lot of people blindly follow these without properly vetting the the facts and when they do make a mistake, they can't be wrong and never learn from them.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ConcernedVter on 08/30/2018 at 8:42 AM

Re: “Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?

I stand corrected and embarrassed.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by btv4all on 08/29/2018 at 10:15 PM

Re: “Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?

btv4all: As the article states, Alex Farrell's father is named Tom.

The developer involved with the property formerly owned by Burlington College is named Eric Farrell. He is not the candidate's father. (Alex Farrell told me that Eric Farrell is a distant cousin.)

38 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Taylor Dobbs on 08/29/2018 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?

The author seemed to fail to mention that his father is THE Farrell, of Burlington College and hyper-wealthy developer fame. Fortunately Vermont is in dire need of another 1%er kid born into wealth who wants to make himself, his friends, and his family wealthier - I can't wait for those corporate tax cuts to trickle down to me!

"Farrell said he wrote in a candidate for president in 2016 and didn't vote for Hillary Clinton or Trump. He sees merit in some of Trump's policy decisions, such as recent changes to the federal tax code. Farrell said the corporate tax cuts in the new law were "a good approach."

9 likes, 51 dislikes
Posted by btv4all on 08/29/2018 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Try this video with Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost, feeding 600 chickens a day with no feed, just water and compost. He has been doing this for over 20 years!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elrod on 08/22/2018 at 3:27 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Farm to table.....table to farm! That should be their slogan! Seagulls, flies etc are an essential part of life in and around farms. Anyone growing up on a farm or working on a farm know this!
Where I grew up its the farmers who donated land for schools not the influx of people moving to the country because our towns are better living then the cities! ANR has no right in this niche farmers created years ago, and that are once again stepping up to help our towns and cities with our growing problem. I just hope Anson has the gumption to make a stand rather then pussy-footing around! Kudos to the farmers!

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Robin Martin on 08/19/2018 at 12:42 PM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

This is mind boggling. Feeding food scraps to chickens, and making compost in the process is one of the simplest, most obvious win-wins for the environment and the economy. Converting a problem (food scraps being wasted) into jobs, food, and healthy soil to grow more food is not only common sense, but it is a partnership that human beings have had with chickens for millenia.

I understand that rules can get people twisted up and in a bind... but it is imperative for the officials to allow the farmers, restaurants, and community to continue functioning while they sort out these insane rules. There is no sense destroying what these good people have gotten going.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jason Padvorac on 08/17/2018 at 4:15 PM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Feeding food scraps to animals makes sense. It also makes sense that complaints would rise as the amount of food scraps diverted to farms rise. The Agency of Ag should take complaints and explain why this is an important part of our food system. We cannot have a working landscape without the smells and sounds associated with a working landscape.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Ainley on 08/17/2018 at 9:29 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Another example of over-privileging those who complain, and under-appreciating closing the loops on a "perfect circle" of nutrient-cycling, benefitting so many, including Vermont's farmers. If Vermont can tolerate manure pits and slurry-spreading, it can certainly tolerate compost piles managed by chickens,and visited by crows and seagulls.

12 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Melissa Smith Hoffman on 08/17/2018 at 7:57 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

ridiculous. this is exactly what we should be doing. State of Vermont needs to get with the program.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Amber Alexander on 08/17/2018 at 7:39 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

This should be such a win win, but oh dear 12 people complained so it's time to shut it down. What a waste.

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by aubergiste on 08/16/2018 at 11:11 AM

Re: “Solid Waste or Chicken Feed? Regulatory Change Riles Farmers

Let freedom ring......
The man is clearly doing the right thing here. Food scraps to birds. Genius!!!!
Savory farmers helping with composting. Why such a big deal. Because of some seagulls....
Well I guess we should crack down on McDonald's burger king and the entire waterfront of Burlington. One time a seagull pooped on me up there in burly.

10 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Countykid802 on 08/15/2018 at 10:04 PM

Re: “Vermont’s Most Powerful Offices Are Up For Grabs This Election. So Why Is It So Slow?

A lot of Vermonters sadly have given up, knowing the voting is fixed.. I'm not saying at the polls I don't know at the cities, but most towns the voting is by paper. you mark who you want. I prefer paper, not push the button. voting.. Because there are so many liberals plus college kids who don't live here who vote. They don't care about Vermont. They vote for the socialist Sanders the fruitcake..

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Donna Boutin on 08/13/2018 at 3:57 PM

Re: “Vermont’s Most Powerful Offices Are Up For Grabs This Election. So Why Is It So Slow?

Scott may have more to worry about than his right wing gun constituents. I've talked with a number of Dem friends (I'm a Prog) who voted for Scott two ears ago, and are unlikely to repeat. Their thinking? WTF is going on with special sessions two years in a row? Upon closer reflection, my friends noticed that both were caused by Scott's bringing up new policies late in the session. As they pointed out to me, he was in the Senate, and he knows how it works. These things she have been brought up much earlier. So he'll lose their votes. Are they alone?

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Barbara Alsop on 08/12/2018 at 3:18 AM

Re: “Chittenden Sheriff Faces Challenge From His Own Deputy

If I was a Democrat I'd certainly be supporting Michael Major for Sheriff. The entitlement McLaughlin feels he has for an elected position (and remember, his father was Sheriff too) is scary. It's more reminiscent of South American dictatorships than of Vermont democracy.

This office has been rendered largely irrelevant under McLaughlin's leadership while it could be an impactful asset for the community. Look at the amazing work Sheriff Marcoux is doing in Lamoilled County. A department under ambitious and energetic leadership can do a lot to make our County safer, connect with at-risk youth, and do more to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence through partnerships with STEPS. I have strong faith Major will deliver in these areas.

I am dissapointed that Seven Days didn't point out Major's endorsement from the Burlington Police Officer's union.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/10/2018 at 3:38 PM

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