Op/Eds

Ripton’s choice to withdrawal its elementary school from the Addison Central Supervisory Union should be just that: the town’s choice. On Jan. 12 this year, town residents voted 163-107 to withdraw from the school district and become an independent school. After a two-year discussion — and a full-on push throughout this past year of advocating to keep its school open — residents there have taken this action with eyes wide open. Is there risk? Absolutely. Could town taxpayers have to pay a little more in taxes to keep their elementary school open? Yes. Taxes for Ripton residents are projected...
Some of us are having trouble counting our blessings lately, so I’ve put together a handy guide to get you started. So as not to deter or offend anyone, I won’t specify to what or to whom — or to Whom — you address your thanks. Dear [insert name here], Thank You for today. Today I [choose from the following]: won the Nobel prize; graduated; met someone I like; dressed myself; went to the bathroom; woke up feeling better; woke up. Thank you! Or perhaps, Today I: drove alone to Burlington; remembered where I parked the car; didn’t lose one glove; was able to help someone; told three people I...
A major item on the agenda for next year’s Vermont Legislature will be redrawing the lines for the state’s 30 Senate and 150 House seats. Later this year, the U.S. Census Bureau will provide states with detailed population counts from the 2020 census needed to redistrict state legislatures in accordance with the Constitution’s “one person-one vote” requirement. Preliminary population estimates from the Census Bureau, based on data through 2018, indicate that Vermont’s population has remained nearly constant, at about 626,000 people, since the last census in 2010. This is very different from...
In this year’s Town Meeting balloting, the towns of Middlebury, Vergennes, Brandon and Salisbury (among many others around the state) will vote on allowing the retail sale of cannabis. If approved, retail stores would not open until October 2022. The reason to hold the vote now is to provide town officials more than a year to establish appropriate zoning, create oversight boards (if wanted), provide for educational campaigns and other actions towns may choose to do well ahead of opening day. We applaud the early vote. In the end, the issue is where to locate such sales to the best retail...
We are writing as friends in neighboring towns within ACSD to share our support for Mary Heather Noble as a candidate for the ACSD school board.  Like many of you, we have spent hours on text chains and in backyards (then zoom); talking, listening, and struggling to determine the best path forward for our schools and our district. Like many, we are daunted by how complex ACSD’s path forward is. But we are united in the belief that we need more leaders like Mary Heather to support the next phase of this process.  As a friend, we know Mary Heather as a whip-smart investigator, a thoughtful...
If you have ever attended a meeting of the Middlebury selectboard you soon realize that it is a lot of work — and not remotely glamorous. Though we may like to envision our selectboard deftly steering us into an ideal future, the fact is that much of the work is steeped in procedure and involves the rather routine governance of our little town. Quite a substantial amount of the selectboard’s work involves making a limited number of dollars stretch to do the most possible good for the community.  Andy Hooper has shown himself to be someone who is willing to put in that level of thoughtful and...
The downtown railroad bridge reconstruction project of last summer created a difficult time for our local business community. At the same time came an unprecedented pandemic we are all still hoping to recover from, causing even more strain on our local economy. As the Town of Middlebury prepares to emerge from one of the most challenging periods in its history, our local government will play an important role in how quickly and effectively our community recovers. This is a time, more than ever, when experience and understanding the role of a selectboard member is crucial. The challenges are...
Dear Voters of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge. My name is Maggie Hoyler and I am a fifth-grader at Ripton Elementary School. It is my last year at Ripton because the district is moving sixth grade to MUMS and I want to leave a school that is not going to be closed and make more room for new students. I don’t want to leave a school that is about to close. I have heard about the closing of my school and I don’t like it. I love Ripton Elementary School. I love the playground, the soccer field, and most of all the teachers, the teachers are the best. They are...
We are writing to support Susan Rakowski for Vergennes City Council. We have all served with Sue in one of her many leadership positions.  In her many years as a Vermont resident, Sue has served this community well in so many capacities. Whether it was the Evergreen Preschool Board of Directors, the Vergennes Swim Team Council, the Vergennes Elementary School Community Group, the Vergennes Union Elementary School Board or as Chairperson of the Addison Northwest School District Board, Sue demonstrated outstanding leadership, organization and advocacy for the people of this community. She has...
We came to Vermont 36 years ago when George was appointed to serve as pastor of the United Methodist churches in Middlebury, East Middlebury and Ripton. We loved this area and the people here. We found Ripton to be a very special place, a unique community. We made many good friends in Ripton, some of whom have passed on, but many with whom we stay in touch. We were away for another appointment for 12 years until we fulfilled our goal of moving back here when we retired in 2001. In the first years we were here the Ripton school was next door to the church. At Christmas families would gather at...

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Addison County Independent