Monthly Archives: July 2010

Oh, no: Magic Hat sale rumors


I was shocked to read this morning that the South Burlington brewery may be sold.

No executives are at Magic Hat today, according to the guy who answered the phone at their offices, because they are all attending a beer festival in Newport, Rhode Island.

But here's what the company rumored to be in talks to buy Magic Hat had to say today:

Hi Dan. I received your phone message. The stories that you referenced have been written based on speculation. It’s our policy not to address inquiries like these. Thanks. Mary Beth Popp

When companies respond this way to rumors – it usually means there is some truth there.

– Dan Barlow

Matt Dunne: Ambition and love for Vermont


The Vermont Press Bureau's profiles of the major gubernatorial candidates continued this past weekend with Matt Dunne.

Here's the lede:

By Peter Hirschfeld
Vermont Press Bureau – Published: July 25, 2010

Matt Dunne’s political arc took flight in front of a television set about 35 years ago, when he insisted his parents let him watch the era’s defining drama play out.

“I refused to go to preschool so I could watch the Watergate hearings,” says Dunne.

His precocious affinity for politics never waned. By the time he was 10, Dunne was helping a local politician – Peter Welch – hand out campaign fliers at the dump.

“Peter asked if I wanted to go,” Dunne says. “I couldn’t think of anything more exciting.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

– Dan Barlow

Yep, we’re moving

The Times Argus' offices in downtown Montpelier are moving … but not too far away.

Here are the details:

After more than 100 years as a newspapering fixture on Main Street, the Montpelier office of The Times Argus is relocating Sept. 1 to 3 Pitkin Court.

The office serves the three-member Vermont Press Bureau, whose prize-winning content is shared by The Times Argus and Rutland Herald. The VPB reporters include Bureau Chief Louis Porter and reporters Daniel Barlow and Peter Hirschfeld. The office also serves Times Argus Montpelier reporter, Thatcher Moats.

Editor Steven Pappas said now that circulation and business transactions can be done online at or at the Barre office, located at 540 North Main St., the Main Street space in Montpelier is “too big for our present needs.” The Times Argus stopped using the storefront space nearly a year ago.

Pappas said the move “keeps the reporters in the hub of downtown Montpelier.”

“They rely on running into people on the street and picking up news tips by virtue of being downtown,” Pappas said. “This keeps them at the center of what’s going on. It keeps them where news is happening.”

I'm looking forward to the new digs.

– Dan Barlow

State Auditor race heats up

The Democratic primary between Sen. Ed Flanagan and Doug Hoffer – leading into the November election against incumbent Republican Thomas Salmon – could be the race to watch this year. It seems, anything could happen.

Especially if Hoffer, a political newcomer, keeps up criticisms such as this one:

MONTPELIER — A Democrat running for state auditor says his opponents’ campaign finance reports don’t add up.

That’s not a good thing for the men who want the job of keeping tabs on state government’s financial reporting, Doug Hoffer said Monday.

Citing clerical oversights, contributions counted twice and lack of documentation, Hoffer blasted fellow Democrat state Sen. Ed Flanagan and Republican incumbent Thomas Salmon for mistakes that he said give auditors and CPAs headaches.

Flanagan blamed his brain injury for the sloppy paperwork of past years. Salmon never returned calls.

– Dan Barlow

Leahy, Powell thank the troops

Sen. Patrick Leahy and former Gen. Colin Powell send a video message to Vermont troops serving overseas. The clip, according to Leahy's staff, was shot Monday in the senator's Washington, D.C. office.

– Dan Barlow

Susan Bartlett: The moderate in the race


The Vermont Press Bureau's series of profiles of the major gubernatorial candidates began this past weekend. First up is Susan Bartlett. Next Sunday is Matt Dunne.

Here's the lede on the Bartlett profile:

By Peter Hirschfeld
Vermont Press Bureau – Published: July 18, 2010

Susan Bartlett has read her own political epitaph before.

In 1997, she alienated powerful constituencies in her Lamoille County Senate district by helping to shepherd Act 60, the landmark education funding law, through the Statehouse.

“They said re-election was impossible after that,” she says now. “They'd dug the hole and nailed the coffin.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

– Dan Barlow

2010 campaign finance filings on-line

Want to find out who donated to Peter Shumlin's campaign? Or how much money Brian Dubie has in the bank?

The Vermont Press Bureau has put all the campaign finance filings on-line as handy PDFs.

Happy reading.

– Dan Barlow

Politics in the Facebook era

Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie on Facebook yesterday:

CNBC ranks Vermont as the 37th best state for business. Elect me as your Governor, and I will work to improve our rankings by creating jobs and improving the economy.

Here's what a few of his Facebook friends wrote in response:

Stop Giving our money to the sloth on welfare!!! Make them start cleaning our roads and parks. I am sick of my hard earned tax dollars going to whores and druggies!!!!


To all of those who say your kids want move out of the state, let them move, more jobs for the fellow black men of america


Leave VT, black men will move in to take your place….Vote Obama and for the liberals…..Free black men…

The campaign might want to take a second to screen their comments.

– Dan Barlow


Staff changes in Leahy’s office

Megan DeMers, a spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, announced today that she is stepping down from her role.

But she is not going far.

DeMers is moving over to Leahy's reelection campaign and will be based out of Burlington for the rest of the year.

Leahy is facing a Democratic primary opponent this year: Wilmington resident Dan Freilich. But the Leahy camp seems to have no reason to be worried; In addition to his years of service and familiarity with voters, Leahy's camp has $3.2 million in the bank for his campaign.

Freilich has $1,698.

– Dan Barlow

Fundraising numbers roll in

Today is the fundraising filing deadline for Vermont politicians. Obviously we are watching the gubernatorial campaigns.

Here's what we have so far:

Peter Shumlin – $418,000 raised with $207,000 on hand

(It should be noted that $150,000 of Shumlin's total is from his own pocket).

Matt Dunne – $267,860 raised with $132,000 on hand

More as we have them …


Doug Racine: $210,000 raised with $77,000 on hand


Deb Markowitz: $524,000 raised with $180,000 on hand


Susan Bartlett: $70,920 raised with $11,146 on hand.

-Dan Barlow

Dunne takes aim at Dubie

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne took aim at Republican Brian Dubie Thursday, criticizing the Lieutenant governor for his statements about the alleged poor business environment of Vermont.

Dubie has run advertisements pointing out a poor business-friendly ranking that Vermont got. Some of the Democrats were critical of Dubie's approach here, saying it essentially paints a bad picture of the state to outsiders.

In a press release today Dunne makes the case that the debate over the ranking is a distraction from the real discussion over the future of Vermont's economy.

Here's what he had to say:

“Our approaches could not be more different. Brian’s vague proposals have focused only on reducing taxes and eliminating red tape. However, during his tenure, Vermont has fallen to the bottom of the list in terms of states who use the Internet to engage its citizens and nearly last in transparency. During my experiences leading businesses in Vermont, I have found that Regional Development Corporations and Planning Commissions are currently head and shoulders above the current state government in terms of responsiveness. Yet the Lt. Governor’s position in supporting Challenges for Change was to cut funding dramatically to these advocates for jobs.”

– Dan Barlow

Dubie raises almost $1 million

Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie has raised nearly $1 million for his campaign for governor, a fundraising total that is expected to outpace the five Democratic candidates in the race.

Dubie, the sole Republican running to replace retiring Gov. James Douglas, announced Wednesday afternoon that more than 4,000 people had donated a total of $943,960 to his campaign.

Democrats are expected to announce their fundraising totals tomorrow. Watch for those numbers to be much lower than what Dubie pulled in.

– Dan Barlow

Dunne supporters: We want to come home

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne has launched a series of YouTube videos pushing home a line that he has been using on the trail: He's the guy who will convince the "lost" generation of Vermonters to return home. – Dan Barlow

I am VY is back


The I Am Vermont Yankee website has relaunched.

– Dan Barlow

Pete the Moose endorses Sen. Bartlett!