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Calling e mail-in votes in ‘The Republican Parties Accuse Gavin Newsom’



Calling e mail-in votes in 'The Republican Parties Accuse Gavin Newsom'

On Sunday, republicans fired a vote-by-mail plan against California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom released a Management Order earlier this month to allow postal voting in the fall elections. The order indicated that in-person voting will still be allowed, but clarified that, “every Californian eligible to vote in the General Election of November 3, 2020 shall obtain a vote by mail.”

A legal case has been taken in the United States by the Democratic National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party. The Western District Court in California.

The move aims at California’s news officer and secretary of state Alex Padilla.

“Governor Newsom issued a Management Order aimed at rewriting the whole electoral code of the November 2020 election in a direct usurpation of the legislative authority,” said the prosecution.

“It does not comply with state laws and breaches both the U.S. Election Clause and the U.S. Electoral Clause. Constitution. Constitution: The order of the governor is unconstitutional and should be revoked, “he added.

The complaint alleged that Newsom “created a program that would infringe the freedom of electing people.”

“He produced a catastrophe receipt by immediately demanding that voting-by-mail ballots be sent to any eligible elector — including those who are absent, voters who become null, voters who transferred, electors who died of death and voters who did not wish to vote.

Although every country can accept absentee mail-in votes, according to the lawsuit, California’s efforts are unique.

Do you agree with the GOP lawsuit that e-mail voting is a “disaster recept?”

“No State which holds State elections in all mail on a regular basis mails ballots automatically to inactive voters, as it calls for bribery, intimidation, stealing and any illegal vote. Fraudulent and unjustified votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and in violation of the 14th Amendment they deprive them of their right to vote.

The action was also made, because the governor “reservated the sole discretion of choosing whether and where voting will take place, to deprive voters of their rights. The discretion of the Fourteenth Amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause, “which leads to an arbitrary and disparate vote for individual electorates.

The lawsuit claims that California does not recognize that voting rolls are often inaccurate because of “bureaucratic failure, intentional fraud and mistakes.”

“A state sending ballots to all registered voters will necessarily send votes to people with false registrations, unlawful registrations or outdated registrations, as a result of these widespread inaccuracies. It is a grave threat to the true and perceived integrity of the electoral system that hundreds of thousands of ballots are placed “outside both the control of electoral officials and the hands of voters who are supposed to vote them out of control.”

“This vulnerability is exacerbated by election procedures — that is, concerted attempts to ensure the selection from absentee ballots by third parties and their processing in polling stations or polling sites,” she adds.

The case claimed that polling by email had been the Democratic Party’s primary target.

“To force a hurried switch to no-excuse postal voting, to remove voting-identification requirements and other existing safeguards, the democratic national committee, the Democratic Parties, and various related group organizations throughout the country have filed lawsuits. Democrats advocated these changes long before COVID-19, because they think their electoral prospects will benefit from the resulting free-for-all. The Democrats have not been able to convince lawmakers to support such revisions, arguing that the COVID-19 means that the Constitution is now obliged to make their desired reforms.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel explained in a speech the partisanship of the vote via mail.

Do not make a mistake. This pandemic is being used by democrats to redesign our entire election systems to achieve political gain.

Go to https:/ and help us fight against it!

— McDaniel Ronna (@GOPChairwoman) May 24 , 2020

‘Democrats tend to use this pandemic as a means of enforcing their political voting agenda, and the newest overt assault on the legitimacy of our democracy is the executive order of Governor Newsom,’ she added. “The illegal seizure of power by Newsom is a disaster recipe that destroys the trust Californians merit in their vote.”

“In a pandemic, promoting voting by mail is not partisan-a social obligation to protect voting rights and national welfare” Padilla responded to a Twitter complaint. For years voting by mail in red, blue and purple countries has been used safe and efficiently.

The complaint is just another part of Trump ‘s anti-voting campaign by mail. We won’t encourage this virus to be used to intimidate voters. (2/2) TTC / dGyp5sMbQ2 (2/2)

— Alex Padilla, May 25 , 2020. May 25, 2010.

The Democrats called the prosecution part of the “political disregard for voting by mail” campaign of President Donald Trump. We are not going to allow this virus to be used to abolish the voting.

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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Finding cause of pup’s upset tummy



Finding cause of pup’s upset tummy

As luck would have it, my dog finally stopped throwing up after a few days, but I wonder if you might add some insight into the cause. My dog is just under a year old and is a pitbull cross. She is spayed and fully vaccinated. Two weekends ago, I took her to a large outdoor festival where there were a lot of dogs with their owners. Many of the dogs drank water from the same bowls as we made sure to hydrate them during a hot day. The following day, I gave her some treats with some of the meat trimmings left over from our barbecue. It was the next day that she started vomiting some yellow bile in the early morning and this happened a few times as well as the next day. Could either the shared water or the meat been the cause of her vomiting? I want to make sure that I avoid exposing her again to whatever made her sick. Lastly, should I be concerned? Could she have picked up a parasite?

Sometimes we do not know what causes a dog to vomit. Vomiting may occur immediately after ingesting something that does not sit right with the stomach, or it can occur some time later. What you describe is called bilious vomiting, which is sometimes seen with an empty stomach, more often in the morning hours due to stomach acidity and a lack of food. It is usually not problematic and can be corrected by changing diet, time of feeding or medications as needed.

As such, it may be that neither the shared water bowls nor the meat trimmings caused what you observed and since it seems to have resolved there is little need for concern. There can always be some small amount of risk associated with many dogs being together, including parasitism, so having a fecal sample tested for that might be worthwhile. Giving a dog meat trimmings needs to be done carefully since some dogs have sensitive stomachs and too much fat can lead to a bout of pancreatitis.

Between your two events, there is always the possibility that your dog may have also ingested anything else that might have triggered an upset stomach but luckily it sounds as if things have resolved. Should the vomiting return, I would have your veterinarian take a look at your dog.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.

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Franks: Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs



Franks:  Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs

The last time Congress successfully fulfilled its administrative duties was during my third term in Congress in 1996 for fiscal year 1997. At that time, all 12 regular appropriation bills to fund the federal government were enacted before the start of the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Since then, we have been relying on continuing resolutions to fund the government. How can we stop the madness?

Just imagine if you failed to perform your job for 25 years, but still boldly requested a new service agreement every two to six years, per House or Senate re-election. Your boss may be impressed by your chutzpah, but he or she would likely laugh in your face and suggest you admit yourself into some other type of institution other than Congress.

This is a bipartisan problem. The mainstream media should be screaming daily about this, demanding that members of Congress do the basics and informing Americans of their negligence in doing so.

Americans should also know that Congress has only 15 cents to every annual dollar to spend on discretionary items once massive spending for our military/national defense is removed. It was not this way when I was in college. We had more than 60% of our federal budget for discretionary items and federal government agencies.

What has changed? Our national debt for one thing. It is out of control. As of today, our debt has ballooned to more than $28 trillion. It first eclipsed $1 trillion in 1981 when Reagan was president and Joe Biden was a senator. Our national debt is a bipartisan failure.

Of the $4.4 trillion federal budget of 2019, most of the dollars spent went toward mandatory entitlements, which accounted for nearly 62% of the whole. These entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid being the largest — must be paid to those eligible to receive them.

Then we must attend to our massive debt, which grows by the second. This debt accounts for about 8% of our entire budget. Defaulting on our debt payments is not an option.

That leaves 30% for discretionary spending. Remember, about 15% of the 30% is spent on our national defense. That leaves us with a dime and five pennies, or, if you prefer, three nickels. Not good.


1. Make the funding of the government and all budgetary matter biennial. Congress has more than proven that it cannot do the job on an annual basis. With an additional 12 months, hopefully, it can be accomplished on time via regular order and frequent open rules on the House floor for rigorous debate.

2. Seriously discuss entitlements, the elephant in the room. They cannot be allowed to eat up most of our yearly budget, despite the obligations to our fellow Americans, who did nothing to deserve ill treatment or a severely diminished quality of life.

3. The people who deserve admonishment are our politicians. Today, yet another potential federal government shutdown looms.

Congress and the White House should be able to at least complete the basics of governing smoothly or be forced to do so by risk of a personal penalty or fine.

The three triggers for punishing members of Congress should be related to the three most basic parts of their job — passing a budget, funding the federal government under regular order and managing the debt status of the United States.

A fine should be a percentage of their adjusted gross income from their most recent federal tax return. This would make it fair. Make the fine equal to 10, 15 or 20% of their AGI payable to a nonprofit like the United Way of America.

The result? Congressional gridlock would end. There would be a rebirth of compromise and bipartisanship. The work in Congress would get done.

Gary Franks is a former U.S. representative from Connecticut and visiting professor/adjunct at Hampton University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia. He is now a public policy consultant and columnist. This column provided by Tribune News Service.

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McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back



McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back

Nonunion workers make up nearly 90% of the U.S. workforce. President Joe Biden is stabbing them in the back.

The massive $3.5 trillion budget bill Biden and Democratic lawmakers are trying to ram through Congress discriminates against nonunion workers and even forces some of them to pay higher taxes than union workers.

Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for over 50 years. Biden is bent on reversing the trend, using the federal government to rig the system in favor of organizers and twist the arms of nonunion workers and employers.

Biden said that unions “brung me to the dance,” and he has promised to be “the most pro-union president” ever. Nonunion workers are in for a raw deal, starting with the budget bill.

The bill offers an up to $7,500 tax credit to almost all buyers of electric vehicles, but adds a $4,500 sweetener for buying a union-made vehicle. That sweetener discriminates against nonunion auto workers and threatens their jobs.

Toyota objects that it pits “one American autoworker over another.” But Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who took the lead in drafting this provision, says that “in a time when we’ve seen decreased rates of unionization,” he wants to “tilt the scale.”

Coercive tactics such as this don’t belong in legislation. But Biden and his party are determined to make the renewable energy sector unionized. Workers’ rights be damned.

The bill’s tax provisions slam workers who refuse to support a union’s political activities. Union members can write off a portion of their dues even if they take a standard deduction. But some workers in unions choose not to join and instead pay an “agency fee.” That gives them representation without compelling them to support union politicking. The bill punishes that, barring any deduction for agency fees. Workers get stuck with higher taxes for refusing to fund union politics.

It’s a scheme to coerce workers into paying into the union’s political kitty, which — you guessed it — almost always end up filling Democratic campaign chests, no matter what the rank and file want. A whopping 88% of labor union donations went to Democrats in 2020, though Biden got only 57% of the union vote.

The Democrats’ budget bill also threatens hefty penalties on employers who “misrepresent” employees as independent contractors. It’s a backdoor attempt to discourage employers from using freelancers and gig economy workers such as Uber drivers. Why? Because employees can be organized and made to pay dues. Congressional Democrats would like to eliminate independent contracting altogether, but legislation of that nature can’t be crammed into a budget bill under Senate rules.

Also slipped into the Democrats’ colossal bill are new limits on what employers can do when a union tries to organize, though these changes will probably be stripped from the bill by the Senate parliamentarian for failing to be budgetary in nature. Even without them, the bill stacks the deck for unions.

In February, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union launched a campaign to organize Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Biden got behind the effort, blasting out a pro-union video and offering to send the first lady.

The White House pulled out the stops, but Amazon workers still voted 1,798 to 738 against unionization. However, there’s an ongoing appeal to the National Labor Relations Board.

Unfortunately, Biden and the Democratic Party won’t take no for an answer. They’re also pushing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would outlaw right-to-work laws in 27 states, forcing workers to fall into line and pay dues once their workplace is organized. And in April, the White House announced a task force to identify other ways the federal government can push union membership.

Biden claims it’s to build the middle class. In truth, it’s to benefit the Democratic Party. That’s an outrage.

Workers should be free to choose whether to join a union or not, without Uncle Sam strong-arming them.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic.”

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Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths



Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths

Heily is a bright and engaging young girl of Hispanic descent. Heily is very creative and expresses herself well. She likes being creative, doing arts/crafts, dying her hair with paint, baking and listening to music. Heily also enjoys being out in her community. She also loves animals and is very caring towards them. She is a personable child who cares deeply about the people in her life. She is able to build strong connections with both peers and adults. Heily does well academically and enjoys being in a school setting.

Legally freed for adoption, Heily will do best with a local family who can keep her in contact with her siblings and those she is close with. She will thrive in a two-parent family or in an experienced one-parent household that is structured, energetic and can give her the attention and support that she needs. A family with either much older children or no other children in the home would be best for Heily. She may also benefit from having a visiting resource.

Who can adopt?

Can you provide the guidance, love and stability that a child needs?  If you’re at least 18 years old, have a stable source of income and room in your heart, you may be a perfect match to adopt a waiting child. Adoptive parents can be single, married or partnered; experienced or not; renters or homeowners; LGBTQ singles and couples.

The process to adopt a child from foster care requires training, interviews, and home visits to determine if adoption is right for you, and if so, to help connect you with a child or sibling group that your family will be a good match for.

To learn more about adoption from foster care, call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange at 617-964-6273 or go to The sooner you call, the sooner a waiting child will have a permanent place to call home.

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BLO’s new challenge: stage ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ at rock venue



BLO’s new challenge: stage ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ at rock venue

In 2015, director Giselle Ty created a series of immersive theatrical installations at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Titled “All at Once Upon a Time (or Variations on the Theme of Disappearing),” the project took audience members through three floors of the Gardner-Pingree House for dreamlike performances created specifically for the National Historic Landmark. At first blush, Ty’s Peabody Essex installations seem a world away from the director’s upcoming production of  “Cavalleria Rusticana” from the Boston Lyric Opera.

But in a theater scene still figuring out how to thrive while coming out of a pandemic, Ty has adapted what she’s learned in the past to create a unique telling of composer Pietro Mascagni’s one-act opera at a rock venue.

“I’ve done a lot of site specific work where you have to be flexible with what you can do in a space and how an audience lives in that space,” she told the Boston Herald. “At the Peabody Essex Museum, where the space is so present, not only are there logistical concerns like you can’t screw anything to the walls of these historic houses, but also each space has its own vibration, its own soul. You have to acknowledge truthfully and honestly what the space is. Everything doesn’t fit everywhere.”

Boston Lyric Opera’s Michelle Johnson rehearses a scene from “Cavalleria Rusticana” with Adam Diegel.” (Photo by Liza Voll)

For the BLO production of “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Ty needs to navigate a space diametrically opposed to the history halls of the Peabody Essex. The BLO opens its new season with Oct. 1 and 3 performances of  “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Leader Bank Pavilion, a concert venue on the Boston Waterfront that hosted Alice Cooper, the Violent Femmes and Megadeth in recent weeks.

The move could make these two of the BLO’s best-attended performances — the Pavilion can hold over 5,000 for rock shows, it is an open-air venue on the breezy waterfront making it safer than an indoor space, and tickets start at $10 (that’s less than the cost of a movie). It also makes mounting the show a logistical challenge.

“If you are used to touring with Lady Gaga or pop stars, the show is set and they have done it 200 times,” Ty said. “We have very little time to tech it. Normally BLO would be in residency for a week with more time to do lighting, more time to do spacing, more time to settle into the space.”

At the Pavilion, the BLO can’t bring in a set. The team has only a few hours to map out the production in the space. One performance is at night, one during the day, so lighting will have to shift dramatically.

The BLO team seems to be rising to the challenge — for instance, lighting designer Molly Tiede has created a 3D-model of the lighting design with cutting edge software. Costume designer Gail Astrid Buckley and wig-makeup designer Ronell Oliveri have been instructed to “go a little wilder than a traditional opera house (production).” Ty is working with choreographer Levi Marsman to bring an emotional depth and excitement to the stage without a lot of clunky set pieces.

“I tend to not love naturalistic or realistic staging anyway,” she said. “I’m not a fan of huge, heavy operatic sets even when it’s not a question of time or money. I like things to move.”

The BLO has a reputation for reinventing spaces: Right before the pandemic, the company reimagined an adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” at a Harvard gymnasium and transformed an ice skating rink in the North End into a roadshow carnival with midway games and circus performers for “Pagliacci.”

This version of “Cavalleria Rusticana” looks to continue that tradition while playing to its director’s strengths.

For tickets and details, go to

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Best TV and streaming picks for the week ahead



Best TV and streaming picks for the week ahead

DON’T MISS: “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” — “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. hosts a lively concert special celebrating the joys of live theater and the reopening of Broadway. Among the stars appearing at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre and performing stage musical classics are Annaleigh Ashford, Kristin Chenoweth, Andre De Shields, Jake Gyllenhaal, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Platt, Chita Rivera and more. The special follows a livestream presentation of the “74th Annual Tony Awards,” honoring the top shows and performances of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, which was halted by the pandemic. “Broadway’s Back!” (9 p.m. Sunday, CBS); “Tony Awards” (7 p.m., Paramount+).

Other bets

SUNDAY: The new drama series “BMF” tells the true story of two brothers — Demetrius and Terry Flenory — who rose from the streets of Detroit in the 1980s to form a powerful crime operation. Their unwavering belief in family loyalty would be the cornerstone of their partnership and the crux of their eventual estrangement. (8 p.m., Starz).

MONDAY: As a new season of “The Good Doctor” begins, Shaun and Lea’s upcoming engagement party has everyone in a festive mood. Meanwhile, a young single mother learns her son may have contracted his cancer from a surprising source, and Mateo finds out if his previous issues in America will be resolved. (10 p.m., ABC).

TUESDAY: Someone obviously believes prime time could use a good, old-fashioned disaster saga. So bring on “La Brea,” which kicks off when — yikes! — a massive sinkhole opens in the middle of Los Angeles, pulling hundreds of people and buildings into its depths. (9 p.m., NBC).

WEDNESDAY: Tonight’s edition of “Nova” deals with “The Cannabis Question.” It examines America’s relationship with the long-demonized plant and delves into what scientists have discovered about its effects on the body and brain, including the potential risks and medicinal benefits. (9 p.m., PBS).

THURSDAY: Shondaland dramas “Station 19” and “Grey’s Anatomy” launch their seasons with a crossover event. Beginning with “Station 19,” much of the action happens at Seattle’s annual Phoenix Festival, which brings out some reckless behavior that challenges the teams at Station 19 and Grey Sloan Memorial. The storyline continues on “Grey’s Anatomy.” (8 and 9 p.m., ABC).

THURSDAY: Jon Stewart’s back. Will viewers still want to hear what he has to say? The former “Daily Show” host headlines “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” a weekly one-issue series that will focus on current events and issues. (Apple TV+).

SATURDAY: Horror-loving fans should get a kick out of “The Haunted Museum.” Produced in collaboration with filmmaker Eli Roth, it’s a new anthology series that presents hellish tales inspired by the creepy relics on display at Zak Bagans’ paranormal museum in Las Vegas. (Discovery+).

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Editorial: Instagram is no place for kids



Editorial: Instagram is no place for kids

Social media is a minefield of adolescent anxieties, as any parent can attest. Numerous studies have suggested a connection between excessive use of online platforms (and the devices used to access them) and worrying trends in teenage mental health, including higher rates of depressive symptoms, reduced happiness and an increase in suicidal thoughts.

Even in this grim context, Instagram, the wildly popular photo-sharing app owned by Facebook Inc., stands out. Its star-studded milieu — glossy, hedonistic, relentlessly sexualized — seems finely tuned to destabilize the teenage mind. Studies have linked the service to eating disorders, reduced self-esteem and more.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that an internal research effort at the company, revealed this month, found that teens associate the service with a host of mental health problems. “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” said one slide. “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

If Facebook was concerned about these findings before they became public, it didn’t do much. In July, Instagram rolled out several policy changes it said were intended to protect teens, such as limiting how advertisers can target them and setting their accounts to private by default. “Instagram has been on a journey to really think thoughtfully about the experience that young people have,” a company rep said at the time.

Unfortunately, all that thoughtful thinking yielded an incoherent result. In the very same post in which Facebook announced the changes, it also conceded that it was moving ahead with a new version of Instagram intended for children under 13. Dubbed Instagram Youth, the concept was so obviously distasteful that it earned the opprobrium of health experts and consumer advocates, lawmakers of both parties, and nearly every state attorney general in the country.

A letter from health experts could hardly have been blunter. “The platform’s relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents’ privacy and wellbeing,” it said. “Younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges, as they are learning to navigate social interactions, friendships, and their inner sense of strengths and challenges during this crucial window of development.”

Facebook justifies this plan on the (rather shameless) theory that, since it has largely failed to keep children off of adult Instagram, the kids’ version will “reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age.”

One might ascribe all this to Facebook’s standard-issue tactlessness. Its Messenger Kids app is targeted at users as young as 6, even though experts have warned that it’s highly likely to “undermine children’s healthy development.” That these schemes keep going horribly awry doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent.

One wonders what would be. As a start, lawmakers should pressure Facebook to scrap Instagram Youth entirely and make a more earnest effort to protect teenagers across its services. Congress should consider extending existing online protections for children to all users up to age 15, for example, and create a legal expectation that platforms do more to prevent minors from lying about their ages.

Social media is hard enough on consenting adults. It’s no place for kids.

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Head to Vermont for vivid, vibrant fall foliage



Head to Vermont for vivid, vibrant fall foliage

The days are shorter and still feel a bit warm here in the Northeast. But in the evening, that crisp autumn air is blowing in.

And I say this: Forget the pumpkin spice flavored everything: Give me the foliage.

Few places give you more ways to celebrate all that seasonal color than Vermont.

This week, as far northern Vermont moves toward peak color and all points south from there begin their show, it’s a great time to head north.

First, some honesty from Michael Snyder, Vermont’s “Chief Foliage Forecaster,” (or as he is officially known, commissioner of forests, parks and recreation for the State of Vermont).

“I was burned by too many misguided snow reports as a kid, so I always like to be transparent,” he said.

Snyder notes that the state did experience an uptick in LDD caterpillar impact on the west side of the state, as well as some Maple Leaf Cutter caterpillar impact on some hillsides throughout the state.

The good news, he said, is that most has grown back and even with the spots where it has not, the vast majority of trees are healthy, the weather has been cooperative and the colors are starting to burst.

In other words: The show will go on.

Dylan Debruyn, meteorologist for Local 22 and 44 in Burlington, told the Herald that viewers are already sending in photos showing brilliant color against the Vermont backdrop with enthusiastic comments.

“The geography of Vermont makes it unique and beautiful,” said Debruyn, who grew up in Plymouth.

“The lakes, the mountains, the fields — it’s all just a perfect backdrop for this,” he said.

“The hype is there for a great foliage season,” he added. “It always lives up to expectations.”

How to see it all?

Snyder says the timeline can dictate where in the state you head — and can also give you a few opportunities to see peak colors over the coming six weeks or so.

First up, he said, is the Northeast Kingdom, “where the show begins.”

The Northeast Kingdom is sparsely populated and dotted with quaint towns. Taking Route 2 can bring you to some great spots.

Pro tip? Head to Jay Peak ( and take a tram ride — or hike — to the top of the mountain for foliage views of both the U.S. and Canada.

The foliage peak moves south bit by bit, into mid Vermont in early October and then spreading both west and south.

Vermont has ample spots for cycling, hiking, kayaking and canoeing as well.

“Seeing foliage from the water is a special experience,” Snyder said. “The combination of the water, forest and hillsides, well, you just cannot go wrong with it.”

Some less busy and totally worthy foliage spots include the Molly Stark State Park (, a lovely park just past the Massachusetts border in Wilmington, where you can hike to a fire tower, have a picnic with a view and savor nature. That’s a great choice for later in the season, as the southern locale means later peak color.

Farther north, should you head out sooner, Elmore State Park ( offers fire towers along hikes, water views and more.

Those who like bikes should consider heading up to Burke Mountain, where mountain biking is king. Located far north, Burke is a great spot for any level cyclist, even a first timer, to get out and move among the color.

It also should be a law that every foliage peeper spends some time hanging out at a Vermont brewery. Yes, the beer is great (craft beer was pretty much born in Vermont) but so are the settings. You can find just the right brewery for you via the Vermont Brewer’s Association ( And yes, most are family friendly.

Another favorite foliage visit many have may seem strange: Montpelier.

The state capitol is a city, but it’s quaint, comfortable, walkable and most of all, tucked up against nature. The view of the capitol building surrounded by autumn colors is totally worth a visit, and their downtown is perfect for shopping and dining among the beauty.

Foliage season is busy in Vermont, but with its wide open spaces, plentiful lakes, unique mountain towns and an endless supply of “oh my gosh” vistas, there’s room for all.

“You can’t go wrong, is my point,” said Snyder. “Vermont foliage is well known for a reason.”

You can learn more, including updated foliage maps, at

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Go to court & put together parenting plan



How to avoid the blame game

What would family court think of my ex, a mother who prompted our separation (we were never married, but have two children together) and then three months later proceeds to move in with my brother? What’s good ex-etiquette about that?

Although morally questionable what you describe is not against the law in most states. A handful of states still have laws on the books offering various fines and restrictions if you move on too quickly when you have been married, but I know of none that have those restrictions if you were never married. (Remember, I’m not an attorney.)

In states where no law has been broken, although a judge might reprimand the parties from the bench, the main concern is the safety of the children. If they are not “safe,” Child Protective Services would most likely be involved, and that adds another layer to the story.

Some might question the children’s emotional “safety” under these circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the emotional aspects. Safety is most often determined by outward scars and bruises.

So as reprehensible as you feel your ex’s behavior was, I don’t believe the courts will intercede. My suggestion is to keep the lines of communication open, no matter how you feel. That means look for ways to communicate calmly. Respond when she calls about the kids, and never badmouth her in front of the children, no matter what you think of her. The last thing your children need right now is two parents bickering about things they probably do not understand.

Finally, under the circumstances, I suggest you do go to court, but to put a parenting plan in place so you can successfully share the children’s time and keep arguing to a minimum. Routine and stability are important for children, especially immediately after a breakup. The not knowing where you will be and with which parent can be very confusing. A parenting plan will assign days and times, and they will then know when they will be with mom and when they will be with dad, and hopefully be able to settle in more quickly. It will also reduce the time you and their mother will spend negotiating things that could erupt into arguments.

You are right in the middle of your breakup turmoil. It will not be easy for anyone. The most important thing, no matter how angry and hurt you are, is to be a stabilizing force for your children. That is good ex-etiquette.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation” and the founder of Bonus Families, 



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New MA online child support calculator useful tool



Sharing a home during divorce can work

My ex is on SSDI. I do my best to make ends meet as a home health aide with the funds the children get from SSDI and his nominal $25 per week child support payment but it is incredibly stressful. I only work part time because child care is so expensive. I know the child support guidelines are changing in October and I hoped this meant he was going to pay more. But someone told me his support might be cut in half. That would be so unfair. I can’t imagine why they would cut my support.

I was going to try to modify the order to get more money from him since your last column said day care costs are going to be shared. If I can get him to pay half of day care, I can work more hours, which I really want to do — I would like to make enough that I can start nursing school. Now I don’t know whether to try to get more or to sit here grateful for the small amount I do receive. What do you suggest?

The new child support worksheet calculator is now available on the website as a fillable pdf. You can find it at Make sure to use a browser other than Internet Explorer if you want the form to work. In order to make a decision as to how to move forward, play with the form and run some different scenarios. The form now has distinctive places for you to include what your children receive on account of SSDI, what he receives and, of course, the amount of child care costs.

When I say play with the form, first put in the numbers used to arrive at your current support order when it was entered so you know what the new order would look like. Then increase your child care expenses, which will allow you to work more hours — of course you will also need to increase your income if you are working more.  See whether it makes sense to take on more hours and more child care based on the new formula and what that does to your child support order. If it makes sense, you need to enroll them in more child care and take on the new hours before you file a modification.

As you look at scenarios, keep in mind that the task force who came up with these new child support guidelines recognized that some lower income folks were losing out on government benefits because their child support was too high. The new minimum weekly order is $12. You have the previous weekly minimum so before you make a decision, you may want to inquire into what additional government subsidies you and your children might receive if your child support was decreased. While you are at it, look into whether there are low-income child care programs you are not already participating in that could also allow you to work more hours.

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