Letter to the editor

I am writing today because of the proposed changes to the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System. As a native Vermonter, I have been an educator since 1995, teaching a variety of subjects and students in the Vergennes, Burlington, and Middlebury school districts. Most of these years, I designed and taught camp-like programs, such as the “Shark Tank Start-Up” that was lauded by Governor Scott, during the summers to offer rich and real-world experiences to our most vulnerable students. Also, I serve on numerous unpaid local and state committees, task forces, and boards to ensure equitable...
I wish I could vote for both Esther Thomas, who I helped recruit, and Andy Hooper, my good neighbor, on Middlebury selectboard for the one-year seat for which they are competing. I will have to choose. It is healthy to have such a robust choice. Esther brings a fresh, encouraging and open voice to our diversity efforts in this critical time of this focus. Andy brings local government experience serving on Montpelier’s selectboard and now on Middlebury committees, especially on our library board, working to sustain this essential town asset. You’ll need to decide on Middlebury’s priority for...
Andy Hooper for Middlebury selectboard! Andy is an all-around great guy. He is intelligent, erudite, compassionate, and even-tempered. I have known him as my neighbor and friend ever since he moved in next door to our farm on South Munger Street. My first impression of him was that he was willing to talk to anyone at any time, which is a great quality for an elected official. As I grew to know him I found him to be a quintessential Vermonter — a love of Cabot cheese and maple syrup, from multiple generations living in this state, wily, the whole nine yards. Andy taught me a lot about...
I would like to share my perspective on Ripton’s withdrawal from the ACSD District. I have been actively following the ACSD school consolidation discussion and have attended every ACSD Board and facilities master plan committee meeting since late 2019. I will be voting “yes” to ratify Ripton’s town vote. From firsthand knowledge, I know that Ripton is not making this decision lightheartedly. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to personally meet several Ripton families and I can attest to the fact that their decision to withdraw from this district is what they believe will be best...
The Democrats are the party of values. Remember when the Republicans caste themselves around “Family Values”? Well, these days, the situation is 180 degrees different. The Dems have stepped forward for these values: decency, integrity, honesty, the truth, respect for science and factual evidence. They support human kindness, compassion, empathy, respect for all, respect for the land and the environment. They are attempting to help the largest numbers of Americans and they are inclusive in their definitions of Americans. They are for the public good and the want to fight injustice and racism....
Peter Conlon is the right person for ACSD School Board. Throughout the 25 years I have known Peter, he has served our community with thoughtful, diligent concern for all residents. Peter does not pretend that there are simple answers to the difficult situation Vermont schools are in. He has what we need, including a depth of knowledge and experience to understand the state and federal laws that relate to education, and an understanding of local fears and concerns that run through all communities in the district. Peter is a clear communicator; he is very highly respected by his colleagues on...
Please vote “Yes on 3” to enable Middlebury to develop regulations to permit a retail marijuana shop to do business here. Such a shop will bring many good citizens to Middlebury and thereby benefit our downtown. Not having a marijuana shop here will just motivate residents of Addison County to shop elsewhere. It will not increase the usage of marijuana, which, by the way, produces far less anti-social behavior than liquor does.   John S. Freidin Middlebury
I live in Middlebury and feel a lot of sympathy with both Ripton and Weybridge as they face the likely closure of their elementary schools if they remain within the Addison Central School District. I’m interested that the two towns have voted differently on the question of leaving the supervisory union, and am curious as to why this happened. As I ponder my own vote on the question, one thing that concerns me is the impact of withdrawal on the property tax burden of low- and moderate-income residents in Ripton. Our state has a system of income-based school property taxes, but I believe that a...
I have been asked what my stance is on the proposed cannabis sales in Middlebury. Here is my public opinion. We as law enforcement wasted everyone’s time in Montpelier trying to fight it from happening, it was going to happen whether anyone wanted it to or not. What we should have done was lobby for the same types of rules that govern the sale and use of alcohol for cannabis. Cannabis has been around longer than most of us have been alive, I do not feel cannabis itself is a gateway drug. It should be well regulated in how it is grown; when you start adding stuff and altering it is where it...
I am a teacher at Middlebury Union Middle School (MUMS), where I have been teaching math since 1997. I am writing on behalf of the teachers of the Addison County School District (ACSD). My intention is to raise awareness on an issue that is causing great distress for teachers in my district and across the state: the shocking and promise-breaking attack on the teachers’ retirement system by Vermont State leadership. I would like to begin by thanking the community for their support not only during the challenges of this past year, but also throughout my time in the district. That support may be...

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Addison County Independent