September, 2011

Asking A Lot!
Fran Stoddard – Keeping Beat with Community

Fran Stoddard recalls vividly the summer evening she was outside hosting a barbeque when her phone rang. “This is the Supreme Court!” boomed a gruff male voice, that went on to brusquely convey the message that Chief Justice William Rehnquist had declined her request for an interview on her Vermont Public Television (VPT) program, Profile.

“I was this close [to getting him],” she recalls of Rehnquist, who for many years had a home in Greensboro, VT until his death in 2005 – and who had been high on Stoddard’s list to court for an interview.

While that live-to-tape conversation with the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court did not come to be, there has been no shortage, however, of luminaries who have sat across the table from this award-winning interviewer, as well as many other intriguing individuals who may not be household names. Profile, which Stoddard has produced and hosted since October 2001, features guests from Vermont as well as from the national and international realm.

“I can show you my continuous running list [of potential guests] and it never gets short! Which is great!” Stoddard laughs as we talk in the kitchen of her Williston home.

Guests are selected with the criteria that they are individuals who have made a significant contribution, with diversity in terms of gender, race, occupation, issue, and geography. Stoddard describes her modus operandi: To consider the audience; research thoroughly; be responsive; value knowledge and inspiration over merely entertainment; get to the hard questions in a human, not sensational, “gotcha” way; and to listen intently.

Stoddard let us put her in the guest seat to talk more about Profile, the art of live interviewing, the thrill of Taiko drumming, and much more.


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Fran Stoddard



From Receptionist to Editor – Farewell to Long Time Editor, Margaret Michniewicz


The best thing about loss, loss of any kind, is that a new form of change begins which presents new opportunities for all involved.

That said, it is with mixed emotions that I announce that the issue you are now holding is the last for long time editor, Margaret Michniewicz. While we are excited for her and her new endeavor we are at the same time saddened by her departure and her loss is near impossible to measure.

Margaret has been by my side in one capacity or another for all four of my publications over thirty years. We have shared a remarkable journey together including the peaks and valleys of the business intertwined with the heartaches and joys of our personal lives. In addition to working on the first incarnation of Vermont Woman from 1985-1990, Margaret was my assistant on three more start-up publications; two weeklies, Vermont Times 1990, The Provincetown Banner 1995 and Vermont Woman 2003-to present.


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Publisher Sue Gillis

A Fond, Sad Farewell


Eight years after stepping in as editor of Vermont Woman, the time has come for me to move on – a difficult decision that brings me much, much sadness.

Being a part of this profoundly important endeavor has been an extraordinary experience for me professionally, and even more so, personally – for, Vermont Woman is a most unique and special publication. And how could it not be, given its subject matter? This state has no shortage of extraordinary individuals doing remarkable things, and it has been a joy, honor, and privilege to serve this community, my home state – the Freedom & Unity state.

With the mix of articles we’ve presented in each issue, it has been my objective to inform, engage, and inspire readers through the compelling stories of what other women are doing around the state; to draw attention to the serious issues facing all Vermonters and help convey ideas for potential solutions.


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Margaret Michniewicz

Reproductive Health Care 2011:
It’s About Access


First, the good news. On August 1, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services adopted a mandate that private insurance companies provide coverage for eight critical preventive reproductive health services without cost-sharing, i.e. co-pay requirements. The new Family Planning Option of the Medicaid program, adopted by Vermont this summer, expands coverage for these services for lower income women as well. These services include an annual well-woman visit, gestational diabetes screening, HPV DNA testing, STI and HIV screening and counseling, breastfeeding supplies and support, and birth control counseling and supplies.

This expanded realm of economic access to preventive reproductive health care for women is scheduled to go into effect in August 2012. (Just some of) the bad news is that the span of time between now and August 2012 stretches like a wide, hot and hostile desert inhabited with political, economic, and state-level legislative attacks being waged against women’s access to reproductive health services. It will be a long hard walk across that desert, including the need to navigate a baffling wilderness of state and federal health care reform, and when we get there, we may find that the shriveling economy has withered the promised oasis of progress to a desiccated mirage.


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People protesting

Outpacing Low Esteem –
Girls on the Run!


We all remember that red-faced feeling of standing in front of a classroom as an oral presentation goes awry, classmates tittering in the background. Or the I’m-not-good-enough feeling, while fruitlessly scanning the cast list after a school play audition. Or the feeling of self-doubt that descends when a new haircut loses its sheen in the wake of a backhanded compliment. It’s not easy being a girl.

Girls on the Run, a program for eight-to-13-year-old girls, strives to combat the social pressures of the pre-teen years. In twice weekly meetings over the course of two months, the girls train for a 5K running event while also participating in lessons that encourage team work, good health habits, self-esteem, and an overall sense of identity. Started in North Carolina in 1996 by Molly Barker, a four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete and former high school teacher and track coach, the program is now offered in 45 states and the District of Columbia, as well as two Canadian provinces.


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Girls running