Ain't it hard to keep track of all the news and politcal happenings of the week? Now you don't have to — because we're gonna do it for you!
Starting today, Off Message is launching a weekly feature that will compile all the upcoming week's news and politics happenings into a handy-dandy calendar. OK, not all of it — but the important stuff that seems likely to make news this week. Plus, some only-in-Vermont events such as the secession-tastic Vermont Independence Party happening at the Statehouse this Friday (poster at right).
Got a rally, press conference, speaker or other public event you want to plug? Send us an email by Friday afternoon to get in the following Monday's calendar.
Monday, September 10:
Gov. Peter Shumlin kicks off his "too busy governing to run for another term" reelection campaign with a day of radio interviews and a bash at Nectar's in Burlington (5-7 p.m.).
The Burlington City Council will vote on whether to place a "reeferendum" on weed legalization on the November ballot. Sponsored by councilors Max Tracy (P-Ward 3), Norm Blais (D-Ward 6) and the departing Ed Adrian (D-Ward 1), the nonbinding question would ask Queen City voters, "Shall the people of Burlington support the legalization, regulation and taxation of all cannabis and hemp products?" The council meets at 7 p.m. in Burlington City Hall. The council will also take up a $9 million bond issue requested by Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Tuesday, September 11:
Shumlin commemorates the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by ...speaking in Morrisville at something called "Firewood Public Service - 9/11 Event." According to his official schedule, the 9 a.m. event is a "United Way project to help folks who heat with wood." Which sounds like a worthy cause. But we're pretty sure "remember the fallen" refers to people, not trees.
Wednesday, September 12:
Shumlin and Republican challenger Randy Brock will face off in the first debate in the 2012 race for governor on Vermont Public Radio. The 90-minute smack-down begins at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by VPR's Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm. Unlike in 2010, when Shumlin debated Republican Brian Dubie 13 times, the gov says he only has time to debate Brock five or six times this year. So you won't want to miss this one. Got a question for the candidates? Call (802) 552-3425, email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @vermontedition, or leave it on Facebook Facebook.com/vermontedition.
Thursday, September 13:
The statewide recount in the Progressive primary for governor gets underway at 9 a.m. Write-in candidate Annette Smith called for the re-tally last week after learning she actually trailed declared winner Martha Abbott by a single vote — not the 17 votes the the secretary of state had certified. Smith is not even sure she wants to be a candidate for governor, but her big-wind-hatin' supporters who organized the write-in campaign want to see her on stage with pro-wind Shumlin this fall.
Friday, September 14:
Vermont Commons is hosting an all-day "Vermont Independent Party" (VIP, for short) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Statehouse in Montpelier. According to a release, the free event welcomes "anyone of good will who is concerned about environmental sustainability, economic justice, and Vermont self-determination and independence." Bread and Puppet performances, a "radical eco-feminist" speaker and a group Guy Fawkes photo. Yep, sounds like a secessionist hoedown.
WDEV-FM's "The Mark Johnson Show" will be coming to you live from the Tunbridge World's Fair, and hosting two live general election debates. At 9 a.m., attorney general candidates Bill Sorrell (the incumbent Democrat) and Jack McMullen (the Republican challenger) will square off. At 10 a.m., lieutenant governor candidates Phil Scott (the GOP incumbent) and Cassandra Gekas (the Democratic/Progressive challenger) will tangle. Afterward, they'll all take a kumbaya ride together through the Tunnel of Love.