Letter to the editor

09/03/2020
Dear fellow residents of Vergennes, The field for our city’s Sept. 22 special City Council election is crowded, with 14 citizens running for four City Council seats. I am grateful to all 14 candidates for their willingness to serve and their desire to move our city forward in a positive direction. Four candidates for City Council have identified a goal of making Vergennes welcoming to young people and families from diverse backgrounds: Huizenga, Small, Austin, and Murray-Killon. This goal is my goal and for that reason I will be voting for these four candidates. I moved to Vergennes two...
09/03/2020
As a Middlebury alum and current public health practitioner, I understand how difficult it is to make decisions that ensure the well-being of students, staff, and community. From a public health standpoint, the college is following the recommendations set forth by the State, but from a behavioral standpoint, there is no way that you will be able to control what will inevitably be an unsafe situation for the entire community. Controlling the actions of students has always been difficult, even prior to the global pandemic. When has Middlebury successfully stopped students from breaking rules?...
09/03/2020
With the Vergennes City Council Special Election on Tuesday, Sept. 22, we don’t have time to waste. We’re Ian Huizenga, David Small, Dickie Austin and Jill Murray-Killon, and we hope you’ll vote for us in the Special Election. The last few months have been challenging for the entire Vergennes community. Lately, some residents have lost confidence in our city’s governance and management. We believe we can repair fractures, welcome change, and restore trust to create a vibrant future for everyone in Vergennes. While we each bring different views and roles to the table, we share attributes that...
09/03/2020
On July 26 I sent a note to each ACSD board member asking each to find a way to receive input from constituents more successfully than the present and to respond to me. It’s a lengthy note, but the gist is important and in essence it is similar to the publisher of this paper’s editorial of a year ago, Aug. 30, 2019, which says, “the district benefits greatly from having seven vibrant, small towns with thriving schools. The ACSD needs to make sure it weaves that consideration into its discussion — and provide ample room and attention for individual towns to express their desires.” None of...
09/03/2020
These past few weeks have been what some may call a “s*** show” for Vergennes. We’ve even made the national news on a couple of occasions as the citizens attempts to form a citizen review board (CRB) were met with resistance from the people in power, or more accurately, the people left in power. A quorum of resignations later, we are left standing on the hope of momentum created by our citizen engagement as of late, the engagement starting with our BLM protests together on the park, followed up with the creation of the exploratory committee to see if we needed a CRB (don’t even get me started...
09/03/2020
By any measure U.S. citizens do not show up to vote in respectable or democratic numbers. Internationally we are listed in the bottom third of developed countries when it comes to voter turnout in national elections. Countries like Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Australia (in that order) all have average voter turnout rates above 78%, while in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, only 56% of U.S. citizens who were old enough to vote actually turned out and voted. Let us quickly examine at that reality. There are about 328 million people who live in the United States and about 250 million of...
09/03/2020
I am writing about COVID-19 contact tracing in the context of college opening plans. I think many people are not familiar with what a powerful tool contact tracing is, when combined with isolation of infected people and quarantine of exposed people. I spent 35 years working in disease control in public health departments, and am quite familiar with how contact tracing, isolation and quarantine work for control of transmission of tuberculosis, syphilis, and various vaccine-preventable diseases — most often in combination with curative and preventive treatment. The challenge is a bit greater...
08/31/2020
We are following public comments regarding closure of the Trail Around Middlebury, or TAM, and feel it’s helpful to offer perspective and information. First, we do receive a mixture of support, understanding, and some concerns. I hope this letter offers concrete information about the TAM, how it’s protected and managed, and makes MALT’s support of closing the Middlebury College sections of the TAM understood. There are two common forms of trail protection for groups like MALT, the Green Mountain Club, etc. The first is a permanent trail easement, which gives the easement holder rights to the...
08/27/2020
$17 million. That’s a big number. A number of this magnitude deserves extensive review and analysis. Certainly it warrants second opinions and further investigation. I believe that’s what the ACSD board was on their way to doing when the TruexCullins Elementary School report came in, along with looking at the other legs of the stool and making decisions on the future of education in our community.  You know what happened next. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and there is mounting pressure to make cuts and push through closures in anticipation of the education funding shortfall in...
08/27/2020
We have written previously about the racist history of policing in our country and how police are doing exactly what they were created to do: protecting property over human lives. It might feel good to tell ourselves that Middlebury is different, but the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance’s database of traffic stops by race in Vermont has clear data showing otherwise. From this data set, covering years 2014-2018, we can see that the Middlebury Police Department (MPD) stopped Black drivers at a rate higher than expected, given the number of Black drivers, for four out of the five years. These...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100