Op/Eds

11/19/2020
Gov. Phil Scott’s decision this past Friday to ban inter-household gatherings, while allowing schools to remain open and limited access to restaurants and bars, prompted rare public pushback among Vermonters who have been model-citizens in obeying the dictates Vermont has successfully imposed since the pandemic’s outbreak in March. Numerous letters on this page and others in today’s paper attest to that displeasure. We agree the complete ban of inter-household gatherings is stringent and may invite disregard of the state order, rather than the compliance Vermonters have demonstrated for the...
11/19/2020
The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and Vermont Medical Society join Governor Scott and the Vermont Department of Health in calling on Vermonters to refrain from any social gathering in order to protect and prioritize essential services like schools, child care, and health care as we see rates of community transmission of COVID-19 rise.  The new restriction on multi-household gatherings is based on epidemiology or systematic observations of how the virus is spreading in our communities. Since October 1, 71% of cases associated with an...
11/19/2020
Political party organizations are already starting to focus on the 2022 elections for the U.S. Senate and House, even though some contests from the 2020 cycle are still unresolved. The final partisan breakdown of the 117th Congress, to convene in January, has yet to be determined. Two senators from Georgia will be elected in Jan. 5 run-offs. As of early this week, winners of nine House seats had yet to be determined, either because absentee ballots were still being counted, or because results were so close that recounts will be conducted.  After the Georgia runoffs, the Senate will have a 52-...
11/19/2020
When faced with solving a problem, the first step is admitting there is one.  The Better Middlebury Partnership presented the Middlebury selectboard Tuesday night with a request to boost town funding for the organization by an overly modest $5,000 — from $25,000 to $30,000 — to help a retail community battered beyond recognition by three years of road construction, the crippling effects of the pandemic and a shift in consumer shopping habits to online retailers. The hard reality is that Middlebury’s downtown — once thriving — has more than a dozen prime storefront vacancies, eight of those on...
11/19/2020
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  — The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution America has long been known as the land of the free. It’s in our national anthem. It was and still is the motivation that drives so many people to these shores: the idea that whatever they are being persecuted for or whatever they are fleeing from they can come to America and...
11/19/2020
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series called "The Life of the Mind in America." Perry Miller did not live to complete “The Life of the Mind in America.” Among the unwritten parts of his book was the introduction. From his manuscript notes, we know that he planned a grand opening, for he entitled the introduction: “The American Sublime.” He never wrote the introduction, but he left some clues about what he intended sufficient to reconstruct his meaning. To begin with, “Sublime” is a term used to judge the value of a work of art. The two chief values in European aesthetic thought are ...
11/19/2020
A modest pandemic proposal: Governor Scott, and other governors, might issue an order to lower all flags to half-staff for the duration of the pandemic to 1. commemorate the dead and 2. remind the living of our public health responsibilities to ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation and our world.  Jack Mayer, MD, MPH Middlebury    
11/19/2020
Dear Governor Scott, I am disturbed by the unrefined nature of the recent COVID-19 mitigation pronouncement  — “Attendance at all public and private social gatherings, indoor and outdoor ... shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household.” I understand in urban areas and towns, where clusters in parks, yards and sidewalks may present close contact opportunities, that such measures are sensible. This does not account for the open spaces of rural towns and dirt roads where two residents may walk 10 to 15 feet apart and not meet another individual. I find the nature of...
11/19/2020
I have been a strong supporter of Gov. Scott’s efforts to curb COVID-19 in Vermont. But with his most recent dictum, something has gone awry. I hope the governor and his team will consider another approach. It makes zero sense to me that under the new dictates, I can still go into a marginally ventilated restaurant and hang out with unmasked strangers while eating and drinking as much alcohol as the restaurant is willing to serve me in a marginally ventilated indoor space for the entire evening. Or I can go into a gym with others who are exercising and pump iron and exhale vigorously for...
11/19/2020
Editor’s note: The writer of this letter spent 35 years working as an epidemiologist in state health departments before retiring a few years ago. Health Department Director Mark Levine and Gov. Phil Scott have been doing a good job communicating about the pandemic. There is, however, something they and others have not been emphasizing enough, in my epidemiologic opinion. Avoiding group events, wearing masks when unavoidably near other people, washing hands frequently and vigorously, and so on are indeed important. But the single best thing you can do to avoid infecting others is to stay home...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100