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Originally published in the Rutland Herald and Rutland County Express on Dec. 29, 2011.

Two thousand eleven is almost behind us, and it’s a year I think almost all of us are happy to put in the rearview. But before we ring in 2012, let’s take a moment to look back. Borrowing from Twitter, I’ve compiled my list of the biggest stories trending in #RutVT in 2011.

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Originally published in the Rutland Herald and Rutland County Express on 9/15/11.

Over the years, I’ve often had doubts about my generation. Amid the unceasing intellectual debasement of our culture, which increasingly — almost gleefully — rejects substance for style, I feared that our potential would be squandered, lost in a malaise of self-absorbed apathy.

With the advent of social and technological phenomena like Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone, I worried that we would only slip further into this solipsistic vacuum, egocasting ourselves into irrelevance as we became ever more acutely able to filter the information to which we are exposed.

Each generation has a defining moment — a time when a single event changes everything and requires us to act, to unite and change the world, one hopes, for the better. Our collective response will, for better or worse, leave an indelible mark on the wall of history. Our grandparents had Pearl Harbor. Our parents had JFK’s assassination.

Ten years ago on Sept. 11, my generation had its moment. As I sat outside in near silence with some friends on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that night, frightened and numb, I felt the time had come.

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Vyto Starinskas photo

Originally published in the Rutland County Express on 9/8/11.

What a difference a week makes.

As I stood in line at the Rutland Food Co-op last Sunday morning waiting to buy my iced coffee, like I do every week on my way in to work, I paused for a moment to reflect. A week ago (almost to the hour) I was standing in the exact same place.

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