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(Re: Two freight train cars derail in Middlebury; no injuries or spills.) As someone whose home is right alongside the tracks just north of that incident this latest near miss concerns me. It’s not about the bullet that was dodged; it’s also about the potential for a real catastrophe. There was another even nearer miss about 11 years ago. I had just moved here in August 2007 when the first derailment occurred downtown. Less than a year later, with no media coverage that I know of, there was another derailment right next to my property (behind Catamount Park). I awoke in the middle of the...
I regret that Sarah Laroche, who wrote a letter decrying the use of the term “concentration camp” in a recent article to describe the detention camps for would-be immigrants now in existence all over this country, won’t be reading this letter (having said that she’ll never purchase another copy of the Addison Independent), as perhaps the information would be helpful or at least clarifying. The term “concentration camp” is indeed a horrific one conjuring horrific images and memories. And it should not ever be used lightly to label a phenomenon not usually historically associated with it....
This past Thursday morning, 31 area residents gathered at the Ilsley Library meeting room to discuss what positive steps could be done in Vermont to confront the climate change crisis. “This is the nation’s top priority,” said one. “Health care, minimum wage, trade issues, immigration… we can deal with those issues any year and every year, but climate change… we can’t afford to delay, we have to act now.” Heads throughout the room nodded in agreement. It was a like-minded group that had assembled in response to an editorial invite in this paper the previous Monday. That such a crowd gathered...
I read Cindy Hill’s letter to the editor from last week’s Addison Independent and the Town Hall theater she described is not the Town Hall Theater I know. I have a different point of view. The THT I know is inclusive — our audiences range from ages five to 95 and beyond. THT offers 150 events each year — plays, concerts, movies, art shows, memorial services and more. For Town Hall Theater, the purchase of the Park Diner was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire property right next to the THT building. Here was space to grow. The long term goal is to build a new structure on the site...
Summer is gooseberry picking time. Sure, we have already picked asparagus, peas, cherries, currents and others, but picking gooseberries brings memories back of a young goat that lived here years ago. When she met the bush, she tried to nibble, but the bush has small prickles. I had heard that goats were experts at eating all sorts of things, and maybe she was so young that she hadn’t learned such important things yet. She hit the prickles and was so shocked that something she wanted to eat would fight back that she stepped back two steps and lowered her head and attacked the offensive bush....
Abraham Lincoln sat peacefully in the National Lincoln Memorial. A tear drop fell. Our National Statue of Liberty stood peacefully on our NYC shore. A tear drop fell. The tanks rolled in. The Lincoln Memorial was blocked. We could not sit on the steps. A tear drop fell. We could not quietly walk up to Lincoln as he peacefully sat and watched over our capital. As he looked down our National Mall that was made for and is for all of us, As he shared the stage with Martin Luther King who had a dream, As he listened to Marian Anderson sing “America”, A tear dropped from Lincoln and from Lady...
Ignorance, racism and poverty are perpetuated by education that avoids such delicate subjects to please our politicians. A majority of college-educated white women voted for Trump in 2016. Fascists were elected in other major countries. Our democratic institutions are endangered along with the climate, health, fair justice and national decency. The top one percent laugh as they take most of the wealth that workers produce. The U.S. is the only advanced country without paid family leave. The minimum wage leaves many children deprived of a good chance to become middle class citizens. In Vermont...
The key take away from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was Mueller’s emphasis on his report’s key finding: that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election in an effort to help Trump get elected “in sweeping, systematic fashion” and that it was not an isolated instance. “They’re doing it (now) as we sit here.” And when answering a question from Rep. Peter Welch about whether the use of foreign help in future elections was likely, Mueller replied: “I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is.”  Mueller also...
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future.” Frederick Douglass said that in a speech he delivered on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, N.Y. As a historian, I think a lot about the past. I am trained to study it, analyze it, interpret it and, if I am doing it right, I can make my work accessible to my students as well as to the broader public and hope that with some knowledge of history, people will make more informed decisions about the future. On the Fourth of July, my very good friend Marisela, also a historian, reminded me of Douglass’s poignant...
For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a new feeling: pain. So far, I’m not a fan. To be fair, it’s not excruciating; but I hurt my shoulder this spring, and it’s still giving me trouble. I’d like to say I wrenched it in heroic fashion — sweeping a toddler from the path of a charging bull, for instance. But no. The cause was a less exciting though still dangerous activity called “life after 50.” Being in pain is, like eating olives (the worst!), something I’ve managed to avoid for most of my life. So when my shoulder first started bothering me, I assumed I should ignore it and “power...

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Addison County Independent