Robin Rieske

A matter of equity

The tobacco industry’s attempt to co-opt proven harm-reduction strategies or to supposedly support those in recovery is faulty on many levels


Robin Rieske, a certified prevention specialist and community substance-prevention consultant, has worked in the field of substance use for over 35 years.


I recently turned down a deal with the devil.

Two lobbyists with Altria, a big tobacco company, reached out to me because of my work with Vermont's recovery and harm-reduction community.

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Green Up Day, the Month of the Young Child, and hope for the future

Someone recently described Brattleboro as a paradox, and I think it's safe to say this is true for all of Vermont and, possibly, the entire planet. In these times of devastating loss and challenges, we all need to find those things that help keep us connected and grounded to...

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Kornheiser: dialogue, transparency, and a balanced approach

I am reaching out to my friends and neighbors in West Brattleboro to encourage you to vote for Emilie Kornheiser for state representative (Brattleboro District 1). Over the years, I have had the honor to work with Emilie as a fellow state employee and as a community partner at...

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Rapists are responsible for impregnating their victim — not the victim

I say to myself, “Don't take the bait.” But when a man writes to The Commons that “[v]ictims of rape and incest have available to them the ability to prevent pregnancy” and therefore, implies that it is a woman's fault should she become pregnant during rape or incest ... aargh. Imagine, Kenneth Scipione, that a woman you love is the victim of rape. The rapist might be someone she knows, someone she loves, a stranger, a family member, a friend.

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Thanks to AOT for water rescue

I extend sincere gratitude to the seven-member crew from the Agency of Transportation (Brattleboro, Springfield, and Jamaica garages) who recently saved two young women in fast-moving water in Jamaica. This team - Shawn Westney, Andrew Fraser, John Bedard, Victoria Biller, Josh Donna, Kevin Munson, and Tim Bills - was fully prepared, took quick action, and utilized training skills and instinct to help the two women out of the West River safely. Thank you to these hard-working state employees for this...

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Labor board need a voice for all Vermonters

A recent decision of the Vermont Labor Review Board (VLRB) clearly shows severe cracks in our system of democracy in Vermont. Under the administration of Governor Phil Scott, Karen O'Neill - a retired corporate attorney - was seated at the last minute to this board who then voted against the interests of many hard-working Vermonters. This seat was supposed to be a “neutral position,” meaning “not connected to any labor organization or management position and who can be reasonably considered...

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Owning our genocidal history

I recently had the opportunity to join a local group of students in Berlin, Germany who were on a three-week study-abroad program on the subject of World War II, including how a country commemorates atrocities committed during its history. As a visitor to the many memorials and monuments in Berlin, I was impressed most by the intentional ownership of the atrocities that took place during the reign of the Nazi regime. The Holocaust Museum, for example, is actually called the...

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Green Up Day is Saturday

This year marks 47 years for Vermont's unique Green Up Day tradition. Always the first Saturday in May, the event will bring volunteers statewide to the town roads in their communities on May 6 to tackle trash and litter along roadsides, in public spaces, natural landscapes and waterways. Vermont was the first state in the nation to designate one special day for cleaning the entire state. Many thanks to the hardworking state employees at the Agency of Transportation who clean...

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