April, 2009

Gloria Steinem: Feminist Warrior at 75!

Coming to Burlington June 11
Why Steinem Matters More Than Ever


As we go to press, the Statehouse is in a flurry of activity; legislative pages darting around the House floor, bearing the latest communiqués to Vermont’s Representatives as they take on H.178. This bill would grant the right of marriage to couples of the same gender. It is the next, and necessary, step forward in our society towards achieving true civil rights for all its citizens.

The stakes are high and the outcome uncertain. Proponents know they must attain a veto-proof majority of 100 votes to nullify Governor Jim Douglas’ promise to reject the measure if it comes to his desk. Perhaps it is for the best that the Governor’s stand was made clear in advance, so that the will of the people may in the end prevail over a single individual’s opinion.

It could be said that I, an unmarried heterosexual woman, have no dog in this fight. Unless, however, I take into account the love and pride I have for my home state, which has always been at the forefront of doing the right thing. I fervently count on Vermont to once again lead the way with courage and compassion, not regress out of fear and prejudice.


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Margaret Michniewicz

Wrong Governor, Right Time


Dear Governor Douglas,

Your declaration to veto the marriage equality bill instilled in me profound sadness.

And your stated reasons for doing so are, quite frankly, pitiful.


Those excuses appear on the surface to be politically-calculated or personally-motivated, and certainly not based on the merits of the legislation itself.


Your personal beliefs regarding gay marriage are not my concern. However, you happen to be governor at a time when this issue has an historic groundswell of support from Vermonters. You are only one individual – yet you have the power to impede efforts to rectify one of the last remaining civil rights injustices.


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Publisher Sue Gillis

Reflections of Herself: k.d. lang’s Watershed Moment


“There aren’t any bombs I can drop here today,” laughs k.d. lang in an apologetic tone, at the suggestion there might be an exclusive scoop the singer-songwriter’s harboring these days.


Certainly it would be tough for the older, mellower lang of today to prompt the raising of eyebrows higher than she did during the first several years after she burst beyond the wide open prairies of Alberta, Canada into stardom in the U.S.

And, it’s clear from our conversation that the older, mellower lang of today, now 48, does not want to raise eyebrows, necessarily. But that’s not to say she’s done thrilling us with that voice she possesses, nor has she lost the spirit to challenge many aspects of the world’s status quo.


The four-time Grammy winner spoke with by phone from her California home, in advance of her April 24 concert date in Burlington. She’s been touring over the course of the past year in support of her most recent CD, Watershed, which was released in February of 2008, and is her first recording of original songs since 2000. At the time of our conversation she’s on break and scheduled to resume a jam-packed spring schedule starting March 20.


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k.d. lang

Fletcher Allen’s CEO Melinda Estes: No Soloist


If Dr. Melinda Estes – chief executive officer and president of Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) – had pursued an earlier life goal of becoming a symphony orchestra bassoonist, Fletcher Allen’s story of redemption might well have turned out differently. Under Estes’ leadership since October 2003, the state’s largest hospital has experienced nothing short of a transformation.


Vermonters will recall the mismanagement of the Renaissance Project – a $371 million expansion project that included a new emergency room, birthing center, ambulatory center, and parking garage – which culminated in 2005 with former Fletcher Allen president and chief executive officer William Boettcher pleading guilty to federal conspiracy charges, in exchange for a two-year incarceration and rescinding of his retirement package. With a few exceptions, the entire board of trustees at Fletcher Allen resigned.


With Boettcher gone, interim CEO Ed Colodny stepped in from 2002-2003, while a search went on for a new CEO. The job was offered to Estes, then CEO and chair of the board of governors of Cleveland Clinic Florida, and a practicing neurologist and neuropathologist – with a Master’s degree in business administration.


Bill Schubart, chair of Fletcher Allen’s board of trustees and a member of the search committee that ultimately hired Estes, recalls, “Of the three finalists, she was a standout for me. Not only because she was a physician with business experience, but it was the absolute clarity of answers she provided that made her my first choice, and eventually the whole committee’s.”


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Dr. Melinda Estes

Three Luscious Reasons to Have a Garden
– A Glass of Mint Iced Tea,
A Pitcher of Lilies of the Valley & a Fresh Tomato


Two weeks ago a friend of mine confessed, almost in a whisper, that she had been very close to plugging her blow dryer into an extension cord and heating the soil in her window boxes to a temperature that she imagined would support, though perhaps only for a moment, a tiny plant with fuschia flowers. This was not a sign of emotional instability. It was merely a measure of my friend’s desperation to see living things pop up around her. Vermonters do anything and everything to welcome Spring. Maybe we are trying to convince the reluctant season that it’s safe to return to the Green Mountains. We spend hours at flower shows, take slow strolls through greenhouses, and curl up on Sunday afternoons with a stack of seed catalogues to prove our sincerity. Really, Mother Nature, we’re ready. Come on up North! We’re beggin’ ya! So we let our imaginations go, planning and picturing the gardens that are yet to be planted, the fire pits to be built someday, the stone paths about to be laid. If you’re finding yourself pacing around the outside of the house picturing this and that, Rebecca Lindenmeyer recommends bravery. The Vermont certified horticulturist, landscape designer, and co-principal of Linden Landscaping and Design of West Addison endorses the courage to rip out old plantings and the vision to start over.


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Green Beget$ Green
45 Ways to Green the Not-So-New House


Whether your home is a year old or so-last-century, it’s never too late to inspect every nook & cranny for spots that you can “green up.” By going with energy-saving appliances and methods, using environmentally-friendly products, and making a few adjustments in your home upkeep practices, you can reap financial savings for yourself while doing the right sustainable thing for the planet and next generation. Here are a range of ideas, some virtually free and totally easy; others calling for a little more effort or initial layout of cash – but all can ultimately bring you significant savings.


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