Op/Eds

01/23/2020
At the heart of Gov. Phil Scott’s budget address to the Legislature this week is defense. It’s a budget that promises a smidgeon to almost every political issue his political opponents might ponder, while offering few initiatives one might criticize. That’s smart politics, but it also locks the state into a holding pattern of slow decline — particularly throughout the state’s rural areas. As with his prior budget addresses, Scott has emphasized efforts to rein in spending, holding this year’s $6.2 billion budget to a spending increase of about 2% over the current year, and maintaining a no-...
01/23/2020
Democrats have long been the champions of working families, women and children. We believe in a Vermont where our families and communities can thrive and where the Vermont dream is accessible to everyone — not just a select few. When we rewrite the rules so that families can care for and support themselves, we boost the economy and build stronger, healthier communities. Today, too many Vermonters struggle to care for and support themselves and their families. That’s why I have been a strong supporter of a universal paid family leave program for Vermonters. Working Vermonters should have the...
01/23/2020
Friends, I moved to Vermont in 2008, after living in many cities and towns in four states and three countries. I planned to stay for a year or two. Life laughed at me, and here I am still. Recently, I came across some observations on Vermont’s uniqueness from the first years, and thought you would enjoy them. I have moved to a new town. My mailing address is Vergennes, and the nearest road sign says Welcome to Monkton. I lived here for two months before I found out I live in Ferrisburgh. I’m on Route 7 near Vergennes, looking for Middlebury. The first sign says Middlebury — 13 miles.  The...
01/23/2020
In December, rumor had it that an intense stomach bug was leveling large swaths of Addison County residents with a double whammy of upper and lower GI distress. I prepared for the worst. The last time I got hit hard by such an illness was just before Thanksgiving over a decade ago, after a week when I’d been trying out new winter squash recipes. It was no 24-hour thing, either. I spent five miserable days on the couch, lost 11 pounds and didn’t touch coffee for two weeks. As for squash, it was over a year before I could even hear the word “delicata” without gagging. Having braced myself for...
01/23/2020
Many of you (by which I mean none of you) have been asking how things are going with my presidential campaign. Today I’m happy to announce that to avoid confusion with another candidate from Vermont —I think his name is Benji something — I am changing my name to “The Anti Trump.” More on that below, after I solve all the problems in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — states that I have chosen randomly and not in any way because they have an early caucus or primary. Well, I won’t really try to solve the problems in Iowa and Nevada. They have entirely too much corn and sand for...
01/23/2020
Editor’s note: This is the 43rd in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. American slavery was a crime committed against black Africans by white Bible-reading Anglo-Saxons, who regarded their victims as movable, disposable property, household animals or livestock, whose only value was in the labor of their bodies. It was a savage institution, unrestrained in its brutality, totally vile. Slave masters and their overseers often took sadistic and prurient delight in beating their slaves, especially if they were women and even more if they were shapely...
01/23/2020
We are unsettled, anxious, heart-broken by the images of the inferno in Australia. Tens of thousands of people are displaced, millions of animals have died and Primal Spaces are burning, some having been wet and unignited for eons. Prior to the fires, unprecedented years of drought and heat had already ravaged the landscape and the wildlife in Australia. It was a slow and less dramatic devastation and we barely noticed it. The bush fires now raging in Australia are of biblical proportion, apocalyptic. They are, perhaps, equal in significance to the continual razing and burning of the Amazon...

COACH GAIL JETTE, left, lines up with MUHS field hockey player Ari Margolis (later Moulton) for a team photo in 1996.
01/23/2020
It is with deep respect that I write this reflection on my high school field hockey coach, Gail Jette. I grew up in Cornwall and attended Middlebury Union High School (MUHS). When I was 9, my mother drove me to the high school to attend a youth field hockey program. I was handed an old wooden stick by Coach Jette. I remember tall green grass, many girls my age, older girls helping us learn the difficult skills of dribbling, push passing and driving. At the time, I didn’t know that many of these girls and I would later hand Coach Jette (“Jetts”) one of her eight Division I State Championships...
01/23/2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors in the Addison Northwest School District: In recent months I have had many private conversations with people in our district about the future of our schools, yet I have chosen not to speak publicly about the subject. I am involved with several volunteer organizations in our community, and I did not want any public comments I might make to be construed as the opinions of those organizations or to impact how I interact with individuals in those settings. I was wrong not to speak up. I want to apologize publicly to our school board. While I do not always agree with...
01/23/2020
Our planet Earth, the only birthplace to any life we know of, is the central piece that all of human existence revolves around. All of the smallest pieces on our planet connect to complex systems, creating the perfect environment for us to live in. It’s one of a kind, and without it, humans are nothing. But now things are changing, and our planet is in danger. Our climate is rapidly growing more and more unstable without showing signs of slowing down. We are seeing the results of humans altering the systems too much, and now the stakes are high. As a whole, climate change is one thing that...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100