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Maintaining balance

For more than a year, the Council on the Future of Vermont (CFV) has been going around the state listening to Vermonters and striking up a dialogue on where we are, where we are going and the forces that will shape our future.

The Windham County meeting will be held on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden in Brattleboro. Just in time for the Brattleboro session is news of a new survey by CFV, the Vermont Council on Rural Development and the University of Vermont's Center for Rural Studies.

Editorial: Working landscape for past and present

We Vermonters like our beautiful state, but think it is getting harder to afford to live here.

The Council on the Future of Vermont asked hundreds of Vermonters about their values and concerns and that's what they said. Among values, "I value the working landscape and its heritage" was tops with 97.2 percent of respondents saying they agree with the statement. For concerns, "The increasing costs of living, such as transportation, heating and electricity" came in first with 96.1 percent.

Shaping the future through art

Lyman Orton was putting together a 2006 art exhibition from his private collection, "Lost Vermont Images," when the work inspired him to look in another direction: Not back at the way Vermont was -- but forward to what it might be...The Vermont Council on Rural Development, through its program called Council on the Future of Vermont, will share with the selected artists the information it is gathering from Vermonters about issues that concern them.


Rising Cost of Living a Major Concern

Researchers at the University of Vermont released a survey Monday showing many residents share a common vision of their state ... Virtually all of those responding - 97 percent - said they value Vermont's "working landscape and its heritage" - a term researchers said refers to a strong agriculture and forestry economy. Ninety-four percent expressed pride in being from or living in Vermont. And 93 percent said they value the state's "spirit of independence."


Survey Tries to Pin Down Vermont Values

Politicians, business leaders, and the public often talk about "Vermont values." But what exactly are they? A new survey released Monday attempts to quantify those in a scientific way.

"The question is what are Vermonters' common values?" asked Sarah Waring of the Council on the Future of Vermont. "Do we still have values in common?"

The UVM Center for Rural Studies released a survey that showed there is more that unites Vermonters than divides them. The results were based on listening sessions in every Vermont county and a phone survey of 699 adults.

Burlington CFV Forums

For 45 seconds, no one in the small crowd seated in City Hall's Contois Auditorium clamored for a turn at the microphone Thursday evening. Paul Costello, director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, didn't look surprised. He repeated the questions: "What does Vermont mean to you? What common values do we share?" In advance of the forum, titled Conversations on the Future of Vermont, Costello said the council's statewide effort to gather and sort opinions never stalled for long.

Chris Graff Commentary

Speaking in 1931 to the Vermont Commission on Country Life, Vermont Supreme Court Justice Wendell Stafford said, "Of Vermont have many books been written, many pictures painted, many songs sung. Yet who shall say that he has ever really seen Vermont? She cannot be seen or described. She can only be suggested."

Steve Delany Commentary: Deciding Our Future

For the first time in a generation Vermonters are being asked to help define what the state's future should be.

The Council on the Future of Vermont is nearing the end of a two-year process of inquiry, asking people in each county what challenges lie ahead, and what we should do first. Now it's Chittenden County's turn. There's a free forum on the future next Thursday, June 19 at Burlington's Contois Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.


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