Op/Eds

To all: Please vote for school board members on March 2nd either by mail or in person. Next to food and safety, education is the most important gift we can give the youngsters of our towns. To me a good education should provide each student the skills to become a secure, self-confident and productive adult in whatever area is chosen. My personal “sell by” date as far as having children in the school system is long past and like many without kids in school I’ve taken much for granted. No more. During my single term as an Addison Central School District school board member I have been awed and...
I am excited for what Andy Hooper’s experienced and levelheadedness can bring in Victor Nuovo’s absence to the Middlebury selectboard. I have known Andy since he moved to Middlebury by way of Montpelier several years ago. He was a consistent patron when I was managing a restaurant in town, often coming in with his kids or to steal away on a lunch or dinner date with his wonderful spouse. I know him to be an intelligent, capable and confident person, whether discussing current events, technology, Tigers and Panthers hockey or playing Settlers of Catan. Andy’s extensive work in the community...
Esther Thomas is running for the one-year post on the Middlebury selectboard, the seat previously held by Victor Nuovo. I have come to know Esther as a fellow board member of the Middlebury Natural Foods Coop. She adds energy and thoughtfulness to our work, is a very discerning listener, and has no personal agenda to promote. Esther moved to Middlebury a couple of years ago to take a position at Middlebury College. She is a Residence Director within the Student Life staff, a job that requires sound management skills, excellent communication, and firm knowledge of guidelines and campus...
I am writing today because of the proposed changes to the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System. As a native Vermonter, I have been an educator since 1995, teaching a variety of subjects and students in the Vergennes, Burlington, and Middlebury school districts. Most of these years, I designed and taught camp-like programs, such as the “Shark Tank Start-Up” that was lauded by Governor Scott, during the summers to offer rich and real-world experiences to our most vulnerable students. Also, I serve on numerous unpaid local and state committees, task forces, and boards to ensure equitable...
I wish I could vote for both Esther Thomas, who I helped recruit, and Andy Hooper, my good neighbor, on Middlebury selectboard for the one-year seat for which they are competing. I will have to choose. It is healthy to have such a robust choice. Esther brings a fresh, encouraging and open voice to our diversity efforts in this critical time of this focus. Andy brings local government experience serving on Montpelier’s selectboard and now on Middlebury committees, especially on our library board, working to sustain this essential town asset. You’ll need to decide on Middlebury’s priority for...
Andy Hooper for Middlebury selectboard! Andy is an all-around great guy. He is intelligent, erudite, compassionate, and even-tempered. I have known him as my neighbor and friend ever since he moved in next door to our farm on South Munger Street. My first impression of him was that he was willing to talk to anyone at any time, which is a great quality for an elected official. As I grew to know him I found him to be a quintessential Vermonter — a love of Cabot cheese and maple syrup, from multiple generations living in this state, wily, the whole nine yards. Andy taught me a lot about...
I would like to share my perspective on Ripton’s withdrawal from the ACSD District. I have been actively following the ACSD school consolidation discussion and have attended every ACSD Board and facilities master plan committee meeting since late 2019. I will be voting “yes” to ratify Ripton’s town vote. From firsthand knowledge, I know that Ripton is not making this decision lightheartedly. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to personally meet several Ripton families and I can attest to the fact that their decision to withdraw from this district is what they believe will be best...
The Democrats are the party of values. Remember when the Republicans caste themselves around “Family Values”? Well, these days, the situation is 180 degrees different. The Dems have stepped forward for these values: decency, integrity, honesty, the truth, respect for science and factual evidence. They support human kindness, compassion, empathy, respect for all, respect for the land and the environment. They are attempting to help the largest numbers of Americans and they are inclusive in their definitions of Americans. They are for the public good and the want to fight injustice and racism....
Peter Conlon is the right person for ACSD School Board. Throughout the 25 years I have known Peter, he has served our community with thoughtful, diligent concern for all residents. Peter does not pretend that there are simple answers to the difficult situation Vermont schools are in. He has what we need, including a depth of knowledge and experience to understand the state and federal laws that relate to education, and an understanding of local fears and concerns that run through all communities in the district. Peter is a clear communicator; he is very highly respected by his colleagues on...
Middlebury’s $50,000 appropriation to boost the downtown is a needed step in the right direction. The money will seed “Kick Start Middlebury,” an effort to fill downtown storefronts with viable businesses by way of offering $10,000 incentive packages for interested entrepreneurs. It’s a bit of a gimmick, and the timing’s not perfect being as we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, but the hope is that the $10,000 will jumpstart conversations about what types of potential businesses would not only succeed in the downtown, but contribute to its vitality. The hurdles are high. Retailers, as well...

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Addison County Independent