News Shorts

Your 10 Most-Read Stories of 2020

Below are the most popular posts of 2020, starting with the most-read story of the year:

  1. Did Biden really promise Beto O’Rourke would run national gun control policy? Yes – September 25

“Yesterday on Twitter a prominent liberal Vermont pundit (oh okay, it was Kevin Ellis) asked if anyone really believes a President Joe Biden would appoint Beto “we are going to take away your AR-15” O’Rourke as his national gun control czar. I picked up the gauntlet…….”

As of today, it appears that Kevin Ellis is right – Beto O’Rourke (so far) is not in the prospective Biden administration’s plans to run gun control policy. Just another empty campaign promise?

2. Second Amendment advocate today asks Sgt. Of Arms, Capitol Police to remove sponsors of H610, gun seizure/domestic violence bill – March 12

Prior to running into him at a 2019 State House public hearing, I hadn’t seen Jim Sexton since junior high in Colchester. Back then he was big into challenging the unwarranted assumption of authority. The more things change…..His petition went nowhere. Undeterred, he has become an organizer and political candidate on behalf of supporting police, the Second Amendment, and the right to life.

3. School board may have violated Windsor principal’s free speech rights – June 15

“Gov. Phil Scott is concerned about the constitutionality of the Ascutney School Board’s decision to put Windsor School principal Tiffany Riley on leave for questioning some Black Lives Matter tactics.”

Ms. Riley was eventually fired. The school board’s decision was just one of many free speech infringements perpetrated this year in defense of Black Lives Matter.

4. ‘Today, I saw something horribly dark in my county’ – May 2

Putney farmer Kate Bowen wrote this troubling first-person essay in the depths of the lockdown.

“Thoreau said ‘I was not born to be forced’ and today I saw something horribly dark in my county. Someone saw a small business trying to serve their community and decided to pick up the phone and report their neighbors. I learned that the people have to stand apart and wait outside, but officials can breath on you and enter a business without an invitation.”

5. Asking students to inform on Thanksgiving travel draws reader pushback – Nov. 25

“After Gov. Phil Scott yesterday announced that on Monday, school workers will ask both students and parents if they traveled for Thanksgiving, Associated Press reporter Wilson Ring asked if this plan puts children in the position of tattling on their parents. Scott replied: ‘This is fair warning. If you’re planning on having gatherings outside your households, if you don’t want to have your kids in remote learning and quarantine for a 7 day period, maybe you should make other plans. I’m not sure it’s ‘tattling’ on anyone.'”

An angry backlash ensued. Gov. Scott softened the ask a little. In the end, many school districts refused to ask their students to fink on Mom and Dad.

6. New bill: all game wardens, sheriffs, state police etc. to work under one new agency – Jan. 30

Vermont Public Safety Commissioner calls it modernization. Readers had other words for the plan to centralization much of the hiring, training and policing policies for numerous police agencies under the Vermont Department of Public Service. The bill never went anywhere due to the Legislature’s changing priorities under Covid, but the planning for police centralization continues under an executive order.

7. National experts question social bans like Vermont’s – Dec. 7

Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine say data and science support the need to ban multi-household gatherings. But epidemiologists like Julia Marcus of Harvard University and other public health leaders say the data does no such thing, according to the November 23 New York Times.

8. Burlington pushes electric heat, but power plant biggest CO2 emitter in Vermont – October 21

Readers wondered why the City of Burlington wants to ban oil and gas heat but is willing to power inefficient electrical heat with power from a 24% efficient wood-chip burning plant that is Vermont’s largest CO2 emitter.

9. Vermont should help women escape prostitution, not legalize it, human trafficking official says

Kara Krier, Director of Human Trafficking Victim Services, disputes that prostitution is ‘consensual’ based on her six years of working with human trafficking victims in Vermont prisons. “Most of the women in prostitution did not make a rational choice to enter prostitution. They did not sit down one day and decide that they wanted to be selling their bodies,” Krier told House Judiciary Wednesday, the second day of the 2020 session.

10. Schools to quiz students, parents about Thanksgiving travel – Nov. 24

This is the story that prompted #5 – “The Monday after Thanksgiving, Vermont school staff under direction from the Agency of Education will be asking students and parents if they traveled to other households for Thanksgiving dinner. If they answer yes, they will be required to go to remote learning for 14 days.”