Op/Eds

A couple of years ago, I posted a question on social media to the effect of, “How do you build community?” It was something I was pondering as I watched what seemed like the destruction of our democracy. I was slowly coming to the realization that democracy is fragile, that it must be nurtured, and that we all need to be serious in our role as its stewards. I received a number of responses to my query, from a variety of people, and they were all a little different. After thinking things over, I realized what they all had in common was that they all required action. Community isn’t something...
On March 2, Middlebury residents will vote on whether or not to allow regulated cannabis stores to open in town. As downtown merchants and property owners, we write to urge all Middlebury residents to vote “Yes” on Question 3. Middlebury’s downtown has lost numerous businesses over the last few years. For remaining businesses like ours, the vacant storefronts pose a serious threat, diminishing the sense of vibrancy that makes people want to visit, shop, and eat here. A well-run and socially responsible regulated retail cannabis business will not only fill a vacancy, but also generate...
Please vote for Andy Hooper for Middlebury selectboard. Andy is a caring, competent, and committed member of our community. He cares about us, as evidenced by his service on the Ilsley Library Board of Trustees, Addison County Regional Planning Commission, Solid Waste District, and Communications Union District. Andy and his wife Caitlin Myers, who teaches economics at Middlebury College, are committed to living and raising their four school-age children here. They have put enormous energy and love into renovating their in-town Victorian home. Andy is professionally competent in business...
As we approach this year’s Town and School Meetings, things will be very different, especially for those used to attending in-person meetings for voting, or informational discussion. This year, all meetings will be virtual. Conversations that happen quite literally at a distance also tend to feel more remote. Of course, the budgetary amounts represent real dollars, and the names on the ballots represent real people. The issues are also real. One of the names on the ballot is Chris Kramer, who is seeking to be the Cornwall member on the ACSD board. (All district towns vote for this position.)...
In discussions with people in the Addison Central School District, I find, as an advocate of Ripton withdrawal from ACSD, that many people do not know why Ripton voted to withdraw from the District. Here is why I believe Ripton is seeking withdrawal: • It is best to have our own school right here in our town where our young children can be taught and cared for as an integral part of our community. That is why we built and paid for our town school. For 27 years after our school was built in 1989, we successfully educated our elementary children in Ripton, elected our own school board and voted...
I am writing a letter in support of Esther Thomas for the open Middlebury selectboard seat. Esther is a brilliant, organized and enthusiastic young woman who would be an asset to our town. Vermont continues to face population declines for young adults and families with school age children. We need to develop creative solutions to ensure that our state is an attractive place to live for both young native Vermonters as well as younger transplants from other regions. As the ongoing school consolidation discussion illustrates, Vermont cannot continue down the path of losing young workers, college...
I didn’t know if I should cry, yell, be angry, be sad. I did it all but mainly I just cried. Cried for our country, cried for our people, and I cried for all those people who supported the former President. I cried for them because they placed their trust in a person that lied to them for four years and convinced them that the lies were the truth. And even worse were the ones who knew it was all lies but still went along. Because of those lies the truth was often lost as too many were convinced the truth was the lie. Our capitol was raided and lives lost because people believed Trump; that...
I am writing to the Addison Independent to express my support for Andy Hooper as a member of the Middlebury selectboard. I discovered Andy’s eclectic demeanor soon after meeting him indirectly through my friendship with his son Zeke. My first interactions with Andy were at Tinker and Smithy in downtown Middlebury, where he could often be found spending time playing games with his family. However, Andy’s care now extends beyond his family as he campaigns for the betterment of the community. With previous experience on the Montpelier City council, Andy brings confidence, knowledge, and...
At this critical time in ACSD history, it is essential to elect people like Chris Kramer to serve on the school board. His current role as an elementary parent, active engagement, creative thinking, and genuine compassion for all our community members offers a potent combination of talent and experience. As a former elementary school board director, I appreciate the value of having someone with current knowledge and involvement in the local schools serve in this important role. It can be easier to dismiss the effects of consolidation, the impact of moving 6th grade to MUMS, or the adjustment...
I am energized to cast my vote for Esther Thomas to become the newest member of the Middlebury selectboard. Esther is unlike the perennial candidate for elected office, a quality that is both refreshing and imperative. Esther is a woman, a single mom of two kids, a person of color, and a full-time worker. Striving to make Middlebury work for working families, Esther brings an intersectional perspective that has long been missing from town discussions of priorities, policies and budgets. A thoughtful listener, Esther will bring to the selectboard the experiences and voices of Middlebury...

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Addison County Independent