After MSNBC anchor Katy Tur gave birth to her first child in 2019, she devoted her comeback show to the need for a family leave policy that matches that of other developed countries. Her plea was personal.

It was the day after Christmas 2017 with temperatures hovering at 12 degrees at noon with a stiff north wind. Vermont Public Radio personality Mark Breen in his Eye on the Sky forecast was predicting four straight days of sub-zero temperatures.

What a strange and misleading headline on last week’s Stowe Reporter. The way the headline reads, it appears that Prop 5 has already been ratified. In fact, it has not. Would not a more accurate headline have read, “Prop 5 would enshrine abortion in state constitution”?

What’s the radical center between a neatnik and a hoarder? A clutterbug — an organized clutterbug, to be exact — is someone who spends at least one hour every week organizing, filing, recycling. Why radical? Because a neatnik can be obsessive, compulsive and anxious. Hoarders can suffer from a debilitating, depressing deprivation complex. It’s pretty radical to hit the middle.

Work took me away this week, to the west of Ireland and Connemara, and this trip made me realize something about home. First, a few words about my travels, but don’t worry, this is not a travelogue.

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Whenever anyone asks me where I live, I answer Lamoille County. I don’t name my town, although it’s a lovely one. I want everyone to know that I come from Lamoille, a county so committed to taking care of one another that we have gotten national attention for being consistently among the most vaccinated against COVID-19. Where the schools and the health care professionals and the librarians and the human services organizations and the selectboards all pulled together to help all corners of the Lamoille Valley ride out the pandemic. I am wicked proud of how we helped one another across town lines.

Joy. It’s in short supply. Or is it? These were my thoughts as I awoke last Sunday in a familiar swirl of anxiety that greets me each morning. I can’t help it; chalk it up to an unstable childhood.

In no way did I expect to feel like this. Driving north on Interstate 93, headed to drop off Dehlia at school followed on all sides by rain and fog and rain, my windshield wipers barely keeping up with any of it, I’m fine.

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Twenty years ago, Congress quickly enacted the Patriot Act, which abridged civil liberties to confront a clear and present danger whose extent we did not know. In the last two years many civil liberties have been curtailed because of the actuality of a pandemic and the impossibility of predicting its course.

The quality of the education and skills that Northern Vermont University provides the Northeast Kingdom and the Lamoille region are vital to their economic success. From the quality job force that the university produces for local employers to the multi-million-dollar economic benefits that the college generates, the economic benefits are immense.

Contact your local House Representatives and Senators.

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