Jim Kenyon

Jim Kenyon: The Root of the Problem

After meeting Lisa Simon in downtown White River Junction a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about teeth. I blame Simon. She’s very passionate about teeth, which might be expected, considering she graduated from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine just last year. But Simon’s interest in dentistry goes beyond crowns and root canals. When she looks into a patient’s mouth, she also sees income inequality, lack of access to affordable health care and the hardscrabble lives that many people endure daily. That’s because

Jim Kenyon: The Big Eraser

In Vermont, a young adult who commits a misdemeanor of a nonviolent nature — shoplifting, for instance — is likely to face just a fine. Since no jail time is involved, the offenses, often chalked up to youthful mistakes, may not seem like a big deal. But as former Windsor County state’s attorney Bobby Sand tells first-year students in his criminal law class at Vermont Law School, “There’s no such thing as a minor crime.” With a conviction comes a criminal record. And that often

Jim Kenyon: Hired Gun Joins Thetford Range Debate

As a deer hunter, although not a very successful one, I can appreciate the Upper Valley Fish & Game Club’s desire to preserve tradition at the gun range that it has operated on town land in Thetford for nearly 40 years. In a rural community, it’s important to have a safe place where sportsmen and -women can practice before hunting season, where beginners can be trained on the proper use of firearms and where club members can enjoy occasional target shooting events. That said, I

Jim Kenyon: Policing the Police, or Not

Vermont State Police Cpl. Jonathan Graham, a 16-year veteran who worked out of the Rockingham barracks, resigned last month after some of his offensive Facebook posts made news. WCAX-TV, Channel 3, in Burlington broke the story. Other news outlets followed up by publishing samples of Graham’s posts, including this one: “Two guys kissing on Walking Dead tonight...ugh...does every show these days have to check the PC box?” After Channel 3 aired its story, state police launched an internal investigation into whether Graham had violated the

Jim Kenyon: Boston Has Strong Reactions to Bomber’s Sentence

On April 15, 2013, business was good at Juan Pedraza’s T-shirt stand near the main entrance to the Boston Common. But that’s the way it usually is on Marathon Monday. With thousands of out-of-town spectators milling around the heart of the city, it’s not hard to move inexpensive merchandise that refers in bold lettering to the Red Sox, Harvard or Duck Boats. Then, shortly before 3 p.m., Pedraza’s attention momentarily shifted off into the direction of the Boston Marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street. “I

Jim Kenyon: Round Numbers, or, .22 Skiddoo

I heard from a reader recently that the Upper Valley, and the nation as a whole, is suffering from a severe shortage of .22-caliber ammunition. That was news to me. I was also surprised to learn that ammo makers churn out 4 billion .22-caliber long rifle rounds a year. But apparently that’s not enough. The dearth of .22-caliber ammo goes back a couple of years. Hoarders get the brunt of the blame. Fearing a government crackdown on Second Amendment rights following the Newtown, Conn., school

Jim Kenyon: Detecting an Odor in Lebanon Pot Busts

Shortly before 1 a.m. on a recent Saturday, Tom and Kari Orkney were awakened by a knock on the door to their second-floor apartment in Lebanon. Standing on the other side were two or three Lebanon police officers. While responding to a “domestic issue” in another apartment, police “detected the strong odor of freshly burnt marijuana in the common hallway,” officer Adam Fisher wrote in his report of the April 25 incident. Tom Orkney, a 58-year-old disabled Navy vet, acknowledged to police that a few

Jim Kenyon: Hartford’s New Top Cop

I met Hartford’s new police chief at a community forum on substance abuse at the Wilder Center last Tuesday evening. I liked what I heard and what I saw — literally. Phil Kasten wasn’t projecting the image of a tough-guy, I’m-in-charge cop. No black boots or oversized Smokey Bear hat. No Taser, baton or can of pepper spray strapped to his utility belt. With all that we’ve seen and read about the militarization of police forces around the country, Kasten couldn’t help but stand out.

Jim Kenyon: Overdue Records from Vermont DCF

Last October, Sam Ramsey asked the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) for his medical records and other important information that the state agency had compiled while he was a juvenile in its custody. Six months after making the written request, Ramsey has yet to receive the records that he’s entitled to. These are records that could help him better understand his mental illness and explain what role DCF might have played in his life going off the tracks at a young age. “We

Jim Kenyon: A Dam Shame in Norwich

In late August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene devastated towns across Vermont. Six lives were lost and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. Norwich was among the more fortunate communities. Its biggest casualty was the Norwich Pool Dam. Flood waters washed out the concrete dam on Charles Brown Brook, leaving residents without a public swimming pool. To call it a pool is being generous. I saw it more as large frog pond that Norwich kids outgrew once they hit middle school and discovered Storrs Pond