by Peter Freyne
The only problem is, it's December 14 and the thermometer reads 51 degrees. Can you say "global warming?"
Thursday morning, I jumped in the Saturn-awaiting-inspection and drove to Montpelier to catch Gov. Jim Douglas' announcement of his choice for Vermont's next Secretary of Agriculture.
After parking, I bumped into Roy Carlson, a Montpeculiar regular. Roy's a retired surveyor and civil engineer who works part-time for the City of Montpelier as a "Community Services Officer." Roy was engaged in removing the coin from state capital city's parking meters, one of his hallowed tasks.
Asked about the nice spring-like weather in December, Roy said he wasn't worried for himself, but he was worried for his grandchildren. "I'm 81," he told us. "It's not going to have much affect on me until I hit 100."
But the grandkids will be having problems, he said, with a tone of concern in his voice.
"If they don't do something right now," said Roy, "they'll really have to scramble." The Arctic ice, said Carlson, is melting a lot faster than anyone thought it would. The sea levels are rising.
"They're predicting a Northwest Passage will be open to shipping within 20 years," he said.
Later, at the end of the Ag Secretary presser, yours truly asked the Guv for a comment on the strange December weather.
"It's a little warm, isn't it?" Gov. Douglas replied. "I was talking to a ski-area operator this morning and he's not at all concerned because it's very slow until Christmas."
Then looking at what he called "a plus side," the Guv noted "our low-income heating assistance program is not in as great demand when the weather is so warm."
Douglas did say he hopes "we get some cold weather in the next week or so, so the Christmas holiday will be strong for our ski areas and we'll be off to a good winter."
Don't we all? However, this warm weather this December is a rather inconvenient truth, isn't it?
And, oh, yes, Gov. Jim Douglas appointed Roger Allbee (at right) the new Secretaryof Agriculture. One of the most interesting things about him is thefact that 20 years ago, his twin brother Ron Allbee had the job underDemocratic Gov. Madeleine Kunin. Back then it was Commissioner ofAgriculture. And are they ever identical twins. Yours truly even calledhim "Ron" when we asked a question.
He happilly corrected me. Roger's the second-born. Amazing resemblance.
P.S. I drove down hoping WCAX Statehouse and bird reporter Anson Tebbetts, a Cabot dairy farmer, would get the nod. His name was reported on the final list. As it turned out, Ol' Ch. 3, "Vermont's Own," did not even send anyone to cover the 11 o'clock presser even though WCAX has an office/studio on State Street in Montpelier.
A crew from the Plattsburgh, New York station, WPTZ, however, did drive down from their station's nearest outpost in Colchester, Vermont, to cover the Vermont announcement.
Vermont's largest daily, The Burlington Free Press, was also missing-in-action.
Hey, at least they have blogs!