The ACSD School Board seems to be moving quickly in the direction of closing town schools. I strongly urge everyone from all towns to pay attention and become involved.
Below is an edited version of the letter I wrote to our school board when they solicited public comments this past spring:
“I am very upset that closing schools is the direction in which the board seems to want to move. Please reconsider and change directions. We should instead be working to strengthen ALL of our schools.
“It seems to me that my opposition to school closures has often been minimized, as some feel I am overly...
The two main selling points for school unification are lowering school costs and improving student performance by providing a wider experience. We have no guarantees that this will happen. Research actually shows the opposite. West Virginia decided to force school consolidation all at once through the entire state. The results: increased school costs and declining student performance. So after the unified school board closes enough of our local schools, if we end up with still higher property taxes and lower student performance, we will be stuck with lots of empty buildings and a bloated...
Recently we’ve been busy at Vermont Family Forests letting people know about our upcoming Commons Conservation Congress, during which we’ll be exploring how we community members can care well for those parts of our home place that everyone shares and no one owns—namely air, water and wildlife. We hired a local artist to paint a picture that evokes our region and its natural commons, and we’ve been using her beautiful watercolor in our publicity.
The other day, we got some friendly feedback about the painting from a community member in the Mad River area of our ecoregion—someone who’s actively...
Change is a natural condition of life, but it seems to me that the social and environmental changes we are confronting currently are huge and out of the ordinary. School structure and consolidation, population changes, and the impacts of climate change are some of the big ones I have been thinking of lately. We nibb around the edges and making tweaking adaptations as school populations decrease, and rain events increase. What if we took several steps back, and considered these problems more holistically? What if we undertook some big changes, as a community, to better enable us to live in a...
“There you go again” was a phrase used by Reagan against Carter in the 1980 debates and is apropos today regarding Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Even after the Mueller Report was released, Schiff still insisted that there was “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight” between President Trump and Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. The 448-page Mueller Report outlined an investigation, which lasted 675 days, employed 19 attorneys, “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication...
The following letter to the selectboards of Addison and Ferrisburgh was also sent to the Addison Independent for publication.
In reference to the ANWSD’s proposal to close your towns’ elementary school buildings, I see a third option from closure or tax increase. The district board views the maintenance of buildings remote from Vergennes as risking severe cuts to high school programs vs. tax increases that they perceive as probable rejection by taxpayers. It’s unfortunate that the district board and administration are fearful of loss of high school programs to the extent that they are willing...
Here in Vermont we mark the changing seasons in autumn by familiar sights and sounds: green leaves turn red and gold, geese gather on Otter Creek and say it’s time. Some familiar changes seem absent this year: not a single lady bug on my screen door.
But there are also indoor signs of change. Stopping by Aubuchon Hardware after church to buy new light timers, I walk through an aisle where two young men are at work. One empties shelves of chemicals to clean swimming pools while across the aisle the other is stocking Christmas lights. And a big gray and white cat has settled down for a nap in...
On Sept. 10, John Flowers wrote an article on the Marquis Theater that appealed to both of us.
Ben Wells, owner of the theater, is always open to suggestions and as movie lovers he has never disappointed us. Running this week in The Peanut Butter Falcon, highly recommended by Joan Ellis, who does reviews in the Addison Independent each week.
Ben supports many groups in the community, which you’ve probably read, including Homeward Bound.
And we enjoy the food in the Marquis restaurant — just check for times to be sure it’s open.
Sarah and Dayton Wakefield
I am heartened by my Addison County neighbors and faith communities that have extended hospitality to agricultural workers from other countries. It can't be easy being a stranger in a strange land, working 12 hours a day, far from family. That’s got to take pretty impressive strength, courage, and commitment!
I imagine that, as a community, we have widely divergent ideas about the systems and geopolitics shaping our farms and the demographics of farm workers. I also know that here in Addison County, no political viewpoint has a monopoly on hospitality and generosity.
How impressive we will be...
In September, the Board of Addison County Home Health and Hospice voted not to renew the contract for provision of volunteer coordination with End of Life Services, formerly Hospice Volunteer Services. This decision was the subject of many months of discussion and thoughtful consideration and was not an easy one in view of the long relationship and shared goals of service to the dying that our two organizations have had.
Although we feel that this is a private matter between two organizations, we realize that there have been some questions from community members regarding the decision, and we...