Op/Eds

The National Guardsman standing by the front door of our town’s rec center had a copy of War and Peace tucked under his arm. He wouldn’t be able to read his book for some time, because the line of people waiting for temperature checks stretched into the parking lot. I was standing in that line on a sunny April morning, ready to receive my first dose of the Pfizer vaccination against COVID-19. My fellow vaccine recipients were a diverse group: Judging by appearances, I stood in line with people of numerous races and occupations, ranging from teens to senior citizens. This may have been the...
When President Joe Biden addresses Congress this Wednesday night (after today’s deadline) he’ll likely tout his successful turn-around of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic — from worst in its class among developed countries to near the top in terms of vaccination role-out, and getting our incidence rates under control. And he’ll tout the quick passage of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a second round of national aid given to individuals and businesses struggling with the effects of pandemic-related restrictions. He gets high marks on both achievements. Americans should...
This is part two of four win-win solutions to the current challenges facing our school districts and small rural towns. It is called Pre-School Parity and outlines a simple approach to significant transformation. School districts have begun inviting innovative ideas from the community, we are beginning to see light at the end of the COVID tunnel, legislation related to education reform has been introduced, and the shifting Federal landscape means these four significant changes could be implemented this year: •  Remove the burden of health care from employers (ideas presented in the last...
Three weeks ago, on a rainy afternoon, you could have found me sneaking across our property, the picture of stealth. Like a phantom, I flitted from tree to truck to barn, swift but silent, waiting and watching. (I probably didn’t need to wear a cape, but I had a whole look going on.) The rain dripped down the back of my neck as I peered around the corner of the main barn. I shivered in the cold. In reality, this was neither gothic thriller nor gritty detective story, and I was no sleuth. I was just a woman stalking a hen. (What, like you’ve never done that?) I could see her, just outside the...
If you were hesitate to get out of the house last year to pick up the litter for Green Up Day, let’s double-down on our Green Up efforts this year by spending a couple hours each to make Addison County’s roadsides, parks and streams cleaner than ever. Green Up Day is Saturday, May 1, and it comes with a few modern touches, including: • There’s an App for that. That’s right, you can download the Green Up app that lets you be in communication with fellow community members on what streets need picking up, where others have been, and how much trash everyone has collected. • You can also find out...
23rd in a series During the middle of the third decade of the 19th century, there occurred in New England a third great awakening. It did not pertain only to religious sentiment; rather it involved a renewal of the human mind, a renaissance, even a revolution. It ranged over every aspect of human life, and caused social as well as religious and intellectual reform, notably the moves towards abolishing slavery and establishing women’s equality. Its principal movers were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott (the father of Louisa May), Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker and...
As always I want to thank those serving on the Addison Central School District board for the time and energy they put into the work. It is no small task and it is appreciated. The following quote is from “A Matter of Public Record, A Guide to Vermont’s Public Records Laws” by James Condos, Secretary of State. “Officers of government are trustees and servants of the people and it is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize their decisions even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment.” As someone who attends most board meetings and quite a few...
When President Biden announced the end to the Forever War in Afghanistan was near, I was elated. Over the past 20 years, we have seen countless troops serve in that conflict, and now troops who were not even born when the war began are fighting in it. Thank you, President Biden, for bringing the troops home. I know military veterans, like the ones with the group Common Defense, have advocated for an end to this conflict for years. Today, we all celebrate this drawdown with them. Tomorrow, we will have to turn our eye to the 40 other countries around the world where U.S. troops are deployed,...
Recently this newspaper featured a special seasonal section devoted to automobiles  (April 15 - Spring Auto Feature). I applaud the choice to devote the entirety of that section to electric vehicles (EVs). However, while moving from gasoline powered vehicles to EVs is a necessary step in addressing our climate emergency, a simple switch from gas powered to electric vehicles will leave a host of other critical problems unaddressed. Simply replacing gas-powered vehicles with EVs will do nothing to curb local traffic congestion. Route 7 in Middlebury will continue to slow to a crawl at the start...
In any normal year, the task facing the Legislature and the governor’s administration is how to accomplish too many objectives without enough money. The legislative and administrative process is to analyze the known needs, prioritize them and allocate funding according to how much tax revenue can be justified. But this is no normal year. With President Biden’s successful passage of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act on March 11, one big task facing the Legislature and governor’s office is to determine how to spend Vermont’s $2.7 billion portion of the ARPA wisely, or more accurately,...

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Addison County Independent