Jessica Lara Ticktin

Commentator

Jessica Lara Ticktin is a freelance writer and childbirth educator who lives in Burlington with her husband and their four children.

Burlington City Hall on a winter afternoon with the U.S. and city flags blowing in wind.
Meg Malone / VPR File

Not every kid learns best in a classroom, and five years ago Vermont began pushing school districts to find creative ways to reach more students and get them to graduation. In Burlington, the school is encouraging some students to learn more about their own city and the lake that runs alongside it.

Rose Kinnick stands before an open piano
Jessica Ticktin / For VPR

If you hire someone to tune your piano in Vermont, chances are good that it will be a man who shows up to do it. In the Vermont chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild, only four of the 20 members are women.

A PRO-NOX machine at Copley Hospital in Morrisville.
Jessica Ticktin / For VPR

Most of us associate nitrous oxide with dental work, but it can also be used to relieve the pain of childbirth. While four hospitals in Vermont offer nitrous oxide in their birthing center, and others are contemplating it, the University of Vermont Medical Center is not on board.

Jessica Ticktin for VPR

Technology has made communication easier for many of us – we can communicate with cell phones and on computers in ways never imagined a few decades ago. But what about a subset of people for whom even the most basic communication has been a struggle?  How has technology helped them?

Jessica Lara Ticktin

Just five miles from the largest town in Lamoille County is the Elmore General Store. 

In continuous operation since the early 19th century, Warren and Kathy Miller have owned the Elmore Store for the past 31 years. The store, like so many in the state, has struggled to stay in business. 

“We needed to mix it up and make some real changes to compete in today’s world,” said Warren Miller. “I’ve been away for a long time working out of the store and I came back and said, 'We’ve got to do something to spark some new interest.'”

This week at the Statehouse, five young people who grew up in foster care testified before legislative committees.

The youth were in Montpelier to share the challenges they faced in trying to apply for and attend college while under the custody of the state.

The story of Nelson Mandela was one that accompanied my childhood. His dream of freedom and democracy echoed in the rooms and conversations of our family life.

So in 1997, a year after I had graduated from McGill University, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the building of the New South Africa, three years into Mandela’s presidency. I felt my family’s history was intertwined with the country and I wanted to be a part of its renewal, I wanted to help. I went to South Africa and worked in the townships over the course of two years.