guest editorial

11/11/2019
The latest round of flagellation of dead horse flesh has been provoked by the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores. After 20 years of overall progress, many of the scores went down. While all groups improved over the long haul, the gaps between white and other racial groups varied over time but generally remained in place. Education critics lament and proclaim, “It’s time to get tough! Let’s do some more of what didn’t work!” Meanwhile officials whisper measured words through steepled fingers saying they are “concerned,” that we must do more to ensure our...
11/04/2019
The recent passing of Paul Bruhn, a champion of preservation and community development for more than 40 years, is a blow to the heritage conservation movement. Much like the vacant lots and storefronts in the historic town centers that Paul spent his life defending, his loss has left many of us feeling like something is missing. Since 1980, Paul’s Preservation Trust of Vermont has served as the stalwart organization supporting communities in maintaining Vermont’s small-town aesthetic and in fighting off the type of development that threatens to change the very nature of our state.  In spite...
10/21/2019
What happens when you speak truth to power? Often no immediate impact. But the words themselves can be like planting an acorn that grows into an impressive oak tree. It usually takes about 50 years for a small acorn to grow into a big oak tree, a well-known fact for the farmer-horticulturalist from Putney, George D. Aiken. This analogy helps to describe the lasting impact of a speech delivered on the Senate Floor on Oct. 19, 1966, some 53 years ago, by Vermont’s senior Republican Senator Aiken.  On that fall day Sen. Aiken delivered a 10-minute speech that has since been called one of the...
10/14/2019
In accusing the intelligence community whistleblower of partisanship and treason, President Trump has redefined whistleblowing to serve his private interests rather than the rule of law. In the American tradition, whistleblowers expose illegal or unconstitutional acts that the powerful want to keep secret. That the current game-changing official intelligence community whistleblower complaint has reached the American people is a miracle for which we should be grateful. Americans must focus on the content of the whistleblower complaint, which the White House has not denied. The president has...
10/06/2019
Recent repeated instances of terrorist mass murder in our country have made it mandatory that we enact legislation to fix the issue and ultimately save our society as we know it.  As a young boy, I was extremely interested in guns and hunting. Out of deference to that passion, my parents enrolled me in an NRA course in Vermont that taught youngsters marksmanship and gun safely. That was one of the primary functions of the NRA in the l930s.  Later in my life, trading on the lessons learned from my NRA education and living mostly abroad, I took part in competitive skeet shooting and hunted from...
10/03/2019
Neither of my parents went to college. Yet, I can remember first considering higher education in second grade. I was only interested in careers with more than four syllables like paleontologist, anesthesiologist or archeologist. At that time, I was relatively aware of my family’s situation and the associated challenges, especially in the rural towns of Rutland County where I grew up.  Finishing college felt like the path to success and the key to financial security, even if I didn’t use those words at the time.  This past May, I completed my life-long aspiration when I graduated from Northern...
09/16/2019
In a recent conversation with Governor Scott, one of his principle economic concerns was the gap between job openings and applicants. With Vermont’s population either slightly shrinking or growing, depending on the most recent data, it’s fair to say our population growth is essentially stagnant. Of greater concern is that it’s ageing at a rapid rate. The average Vermonter is 43. Only Maine and New Hampshire are older. Nineteen percent of Vermonters are over 65 and when we hit 20 percent Vermont meets the World Bank’s definition of “super-aged.” In spite of the growth of automation, at this...
09/09/2019
There is absolutely no way to explain much of what President Trump does nationally or internationally, largely because he changes his mind so often on so many things. What can be said is that his actions are almost invariably consistent with the goals of Russia. Equally, up until this moment, there is absolutely no way to know what the motivation for his policies truly is. Some have speculated that he is motivated by his own personal economic goals. He would like to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Others have speculated that his past dalliances in Moscow have compromised him and that he has...
09/02/2019
I recently attended a quiet conference that brought together leaders and innovators in the arts, humanities and public broadcasting. We met for two days to explore how the arts and humanities, writ large, contribute to articulating and solving some of society’s most intractable problems. The program opened with a heads-up ceremony by Vera Sheehan of Abenaki Arts acknowledging and honoring the land and its earliest inhabitants. It was a wonderful reminder that we white Vermonters are not the beginning of civilization. The program looked at major challenges Vermont faces, such as health care,...
08/29/2019
The two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have increased the climate of fear and hateful rhetoric in our country, causing social division between people more than ever before. This division has eroded our ability to tolerate differences and embrace the richness of diversity. There has been a lot of misinformation and focus in the press and by politicians about people living with mental illness committing these kinds of heinous acts. Research indicates that individuals who are most distressed in our society, who are often labeled mentally ill, have had extremely...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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