Bill Mares


Writer Bill Mares of Burlington is also a former teacher and state legislator. His most recent book is a collection of his VPR commentaries, titled "3:14 And Out."

Bill Mares

While co-authoring a recent book about Vermont and presidential politics, I come up with an idea that could neatly shorten the Democratic selection process for 2020 – and it merely involves a simple change in the nominating procedure. It would mean over-turning 200 plus years of practice, but we're not talking about amending the Constitution here.


Over the long holiday weekend, many small parades and ceremonies throughout the state began or ended under the watchful gaze of uniformed Civil War Soldiers standing atop nearby monuments. And in researching a book I co-authored about war memorials, I learned some interesting facts about these so-called 'standing sentinels.'

Mares: The Bee Bill

Apr 18, 2019
Kosolovskyy / iStock

A proposed new law with 60+ co-sponsors to address neonicitinoid pesticide use in Vermont has certainly struck an ecological nerve. Bill H-205 responds to the perils facing all pollinators these days, including stress, climate change, forage loss, narrowed genetic pool, pesticides, and pathogens.

Mares: Seeing Yo Yo Ma

Jan 24, 2019

Just this week, superstar cellist Yo Yo Ma made headlines again when he surprised a small group of onlookers with an outdoor, informal performance in Mumbai, India. One lucky observer said it left him ‘spellbound.’


In his new film the acclaimed New Zealand film director and producer of Lord of the Rings, Sir Peter Jackson, has all but raised the dead – by means of one hundred hours of film and six hundred hours of interviews with scores of survivors, preserved by the Imperial War Museum in London. For Jackson, it was in part a cinematic labor of love in tribute to his grandfather - a professional soldier who fought through the entire war.

I was in Kennebunkport to interview George Bush senior for a book on presidents who fished. As former First Lady Barbara Bush waved cheerfully from the veranda, the former president was welcoming, and refreshingly candid.

Mares: Reporter Murders

Nov 6, 2018
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In my first week as a cub police reporter in Chicago, when I called in to ask the night editor, Arnold Dornfeld, “What do you have for me?" he replied with drill-instructor like scorn: "Infinite contempt, chum!"

Mares: A Keg Half Full

Oct 15, 2018
Chris Hadsel

When Matt Damon recently satirized Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday Night Live as a "keg half-full kind of guy" I realized our new Supreme Court Justice’s many references to beer during his confirmation hearings had won him instant and maybe even eternal notoriety.

Mares: Island Weekend

Sep 26, 2018
Bill Mares

It all started when we won a stay at a 150 year old house on Isle la Motte that coincided with the island’s annual Teddy Roosevelt Day - sponsored by three local preservation and historical organizations.

John Locher / Associated Press

Seems like we’ve barely reacted to one wave of bad news these days when the next one breaks over us – reminding me of the '60's musical and film Stop the world I want to get off!

Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The city of Burlington is polling residents for ideas on how to re-develop Memorial Auditorium, hopefully an easier task than trying to save the hulking Moran Plant on the lakefront.

Jake Wheeler, East Burke

Slowly, I edge down the forty-five degree slope, on rain-slick pine needles and maple leaves. I’m in waders with fishing rod and wading stick in one hand, reaching for saplings with the other, and impatient to get to the river.

First, Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, upset by many of President Trump's policies, asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and her party to leave her restaurant – politely by first-hand accounts.

Mares: Bee Democracy

Jun 6, 2018

Normally, I work in the bee yards to escape thinking about the direction of American politics and the state of the world. But this year is different.

Mares: Museum Tour

May 7, 2018

From the raising of another Black Lives Matter flag, this time at Brattleboro High School to the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, race relations in America are increasingly in discussion and on display.

Mares: March For Life

Mar 28, 2018

As both a former high school history teacher and a gun owner, I’d been trying to decide how the Parkland school tragedy last month might be transformed into a "teachable moment."

Mares: Common Ground

Feb 27, 2018

I wish Americans today might follow the sensible example of an organization I’ve belonged to for quite a few years now.

Orwell and Churchill were two of my boyhood heroes. Both men regarded politics, not as dirty work, but as an honorable calling, capable of changing the affairs of people for the better and protecting both the individual and free speech. In fact, Churchill once declared that "A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure."

I was lucky. I grew up in a house full of books and often heard my mother say that "Books are the next best thing to friends."

Mares: Critical Thinking

Dec 15, 2017

For 20 years, my license plate read THINK as an injunction to both my students and the general public.