Op/Eds

09/03/2020
On July 26 I sent a note to each ACSD board member asking each to find a way to receive input from constituents more successfully than the present and to respond to me. It’s a lengthy note, but the gist is important and in essence it is similar to the publisher of this paper’s editorial of a year ago, Aug. 30, 2019, which says, “the district benefits greatly from having seven vibrant, small towns with thriving schools. The ACSD needs to make sure it weaves that consideration into its discussion — and provide ample room and attention for individual towns to express their desires.” None of...
09/03/2020
These past few weeks have been what some may call a “s*** show” for Vergennes. We’ve even made the national news on a couple of occasions as the citizens attempts to form a citizen review board (CRB) were met with resistance from the people in power, or more accurately, the people left in power. A quorum of resignations later, we are left standing on the hope of momentum created by our citizen engagement as of late, the engagement starting with our BLM protests together on the park, followed up with the creation of the exploratory committee to see if we needed a CRB (don’t even get me started...
09/03/2020
By any measure U.S. citizens do not show up to vote in respectable or democratic numbers. Internationally we are listed in the bottom third of developed countries when it comes to voter turnout in national elections. Countries like Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Australia (in that order) all have average voter turnout rates above 78%, while in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, only 56% of U.S. citizens who were old enough to vote actually turned out and voted. Let us quickly examine at that reality. There are about 328 million people who live in the United States and about 250 million of...
09/03/2020
I am writing about COVID-19 contact tracing in the context of college opening plans. I think many people are not familiar with what a powerful tool contact tracing is, when combined with isolation of infected people and quarantine of exposed people. I spent 35 years working in disease control in public health departments, and am quite familiar with how contact tracing, isolation and quarantine work for control of transmission of tuberculosis, syphilis, and various vaccine-preventable diseases — most often in combination with curative and preventive treatment. The challenge is a bit greater...
09/01/2020
Editor's note: Get the link to the Zoom meeting, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.at the Town of Addison website. ————— To control costs, gain local control and own our town’s viability and destiny, the Addison selectboard is considering the voter option of dissolution of the ANWSD (Addison Northwest School District) union, which is under the purview of town municipalities. Dissolution of the ANWSD would once again create K-12 districts in one operating fashion or another; public or school choice school governances. Dissolution of the ANWSD would close the current central office. The Addison selectboard has...
08/31/2020
We are following public comments regarding closure of the Trail Around Middlebury, or TAM, and feel it’s helpful to offer perspective and information. First, we do receive a mixture of support, understanding, and some concerns. I hope this letter offers concrete information about the TAM, how it’s protected and managed, and makes MALT’s support of closing the Middlebury College sections of the TAM understood. There are two common forms of trail protection for groups like MALT, the Green Mountain Club, etc. The first is a permanent trail easement, which gives the easement holder rights to the...

Voting in Lincoln in the August 2020 primary. Photo by Paul Forlenza
08/27/2020
This week’s writer is Lee Hamilton, a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. I’ve lost track of the times over the years I’ve heard a politician say, “This is the most important election of my lifetime.” In fact, I’ve said it myself. And I’m sure we all believed it at the time. But in my case, at least, I...
08/27/2020
On Aug. 18, Donald Trump posthumously pardoned Susan B. Anthony. who voted illegally in 1872, well before the 19th amendment granted some women that right in 1920. I wonder if he would have pardoned her if she were black. For decades, Anthony fought shoulder to shoulder with thousands of women, organizing parades, demonstrations, and other events to raise awareness to garner support for women’s suffrage. And although the group of suffragettes was diverse, those most remembered — women like Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, or Anna Howard Shaw — are white. Much of the work to get white women...
08/27/2020
Voters in Massachusetts will cast their ballots in that state’s primary election over the next several days, by mail, at early voting sites, and at the polls next Tuesday. Turnout is expected to be high, with over 1 million voters already requesting mail ballots. The Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate is the contest that is receiving the most national attention. Massachusetts is a state that has long punched above its weight in national Democratic politics. Over the past six decades, Massachusetts has provided one President, John F. Kennedy, two other Democratic presidential nominees,...
08/27/2020
$17 million. That’s a big number. A number of this magnitude deserves extensive review and analysis. Certainly it warrants second opinions and further investigation. I believe that’s what the ACSD board was on their way to doing when the TruexCullins Elementary School report came in, along with looking at the other legs of the stool and making decisions on the future of education in our community.  You know what happened next. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and there is mounting pressure to make cuts and push through closures in anticipation of the education funding shortfall in...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100