As I was driving to work in Bennington on Thursday evening, Dec. 12, I came upon an elderly motorist that was broken down with a flat tire. He was jumping up and down trying to flag someone to stop and help him. Several motorists had passed him by, but not me: I stopped. He was in need of a jack to raise his car, so that he could change his flat tire. I loaned him my jack after speaking with him and finding out he was from Arlington. We agreed that he would return the jack to me via Stewart’s in Arlington.

I have checked several times in the past week and the jack has not been returned to me. I have a sneaking suspicion that my jack has been hi-jacked to God knows where and by God knows who. I did take down this person’s license plate number and will contact the police if it isn’t returned to me very soon.

So my ungrateful friend, who ever you are, Santa is watching and I think you are going to get a very small piece of coal for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all who read this.



For paid sick days

I’m a farmer and builder in Glover, writing about the importance of paid sick days. When folks initially explained the idea to me it seemed absurd. I’ve worked over 20 jobs and never had paid sick days. Yet I’ve seen firsthand how important paid sick days are to workers. When I was 19 at my first farm job, I whacked myself in the head pounding tomato stakes. I left work, drove myself to the hospital and got stitches. Because I was afraid to take unpaid time off, I returned to work the next day. The concussion I had received made it impossible to work. I was not paid during my recovery, and I struggled financially while trying to recover.

Last fall I got shingles,and continued to work with shingles in my eye. I wasn’t able to deal with my health because I was afraid of missing work, and it got bad enough that I became completely unable to work for a few weeks.

I’ve heard many stories of friends losing jobs for taking a day off for their or their children’s health. We need to see health as a collective responsibility, so that we can all live better lives. One step in that direction is Vermont passing a paid sick days law in 2014. I encourage you to join us at the Vermont Statehouse on Jan. 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the Cedar Creek Room as we rally for paid sick says.