Op/Eds

10/03/2019
The old joke goes that the only time you need to lock your car doors in Vermont is during the summer, because if you leave your car unlocked someone will fill it with extra zucchini from their garden. Now there’s a new plant that’s becoming just as common. Of all the things I thought I’d never see in this life — gay marriage, the Red Sox and Cubs winning the World Series, Donald Trump as president — legal marijuana tops the list. Yet here we are over a decade into medical marijuana legalization and nearly two years into Vermont’s one-of-a-kind experiment with legal reefer. I grew up when pot/...
10/03/2019
Editor’s note: This is the 37th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. If this nation were endowed with a national religion, its name would be “democracy”; its foremost prophet, Walt Whitman (1819-92); its bible, “Leaves of Grass”; its original sin, slavery; and its redeemer, Abraham Lincoln. “Leaves of Grass” is a collection of poems, or better, one long poem with many parts, each one integral to the whole. It was published in 1855, and was revised and enlarged five times, the final or “deathbed edition” appearing in 1892. In the preface to the...
10/03/2019
It was a shock to parishioners and council members of St. Genevieve/St. Bernadette’s Catholic community to hear last month that Bishop Coyne may close down and possibly demolish St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church that heads Main Street in Shoreham Village. Built in 1873, St. Genevieve’s has a long-standing, proven Catholic presence in our community. This decision may be made as soon as Nov. 1. As a group, we are urgently campaigning to save our church. Please help us by sending a letter/message to Bishop Coyne proving we value the presence of our local, iconic, historic church in Shoreham, and...
10/03/2019
Burying one’s head in the sand is rarely an effective strategy for dealing with a problem. But that’s exactly what Vermont’s top officials are doing when it comes to the emerging epidemic of vaping-related lung disease that has hospitalized hundreds nationwide. Vermont’s Department of Health has confirmed one case so far, and is investigating several more suspected cases. At least 13 people have died in the U.S. as a result of vaping. While public health officials both in Vermont and nationwide continue to investigate, a common thread has emerged in nearly all suspected cases: unsafe...
10/03/2019
I am a volunteer at Middlebury’s Homeward Bound Humane Society. I am writing to raise awareness about the dogs at the shelter. We often take them on “outings” to allow them to experience life outside the shelter. During these outings they wear “adopt me” vests in order to mark them as adoptable animals. If you see a dog around town wearing one of these vests feel free to come say and say hello. They love attention and pets and these outings make the dogs’ day so much better. When you see these vests it’s important to not make assumptions such as “oh why did they get that dog in the first...
10/03/2019
The Addison Central School District (ACSD) school board is intending to “consolidate” three small town schools within the district by beginning a “facilities study” to determine which schools are or are not worthy of remaining open. The Ripton Elementary School would be a likely target of these planned school closings. Although the board appears to be focused on which school facilities would save the most money through closure, I argue that there is more to a small Vermont school than just financial considerations. Each small school in Vermont reflects the needs and diversity of the community...
10/03/2019
Mark Twain is arguably the brains behind the quote “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” What was once a brilliantly sarcastic quip about the futility of humans on planet Earth has taken on a new life and a new possibly unintended meaning centuries later. In recent days we have seen millions take figurative action on the warming trend Earth is seeing. Sobbing Swedish kids, ranting politicians and jet setting movie stars gave lots of sizzle but no substance. I write below a list of 10 things we all can do to curb the heating of our home. Some are easy, some...
09/30/2019
From mid-September to mid-October, Vermont’s Green Mountains transform into a vibrant landscape of gold, red, yellow and orange. It’s the ultimate fall foliage destination, with over one million visitors traveling to Vermont in the month of October alone. Here they capture memories while enjoying Vermont specialty products and attractions with mountain vistas, picturesque lakes, classic New England villages and countryside ablaze with color. While Vermont tourism is thriving and our brand is strong, visitor impacts go beyond lifetime memories and Instagrammable moments; last year, visitors...

DR. MICHAEL SHANK
09/30/2019
The way our society responds to problems — be they social, economic, or environmental — rarely prevents that problem from occurring again. We’ll quickly treat a cough, by temporarily suppressing it with cough medicine, for example, but not change the conditions that created the cough (e.g. maintaining healthy living environments, diet, exercise and rest). We tend to focus on the symptom, perhaps because it’s obvious or appears easier to address than the root cause or environment that created the problem in the first place. But unless the root cause or driver of that problem is addressed, it’...
09/30/2019
There has been a great deal written about the pros and cons of keeping Ripton Elementary School open; and, with the best of intentions, most of the positions have been built upon facts and figures dealing with populations, resources and money. While our community does its best to logically allocate available funds, there are times we need to step out from the shade of pure reason’s umbrella and allow the heat of emotion to touch us. In the Thai language, when you want someone to calm down you tell them to “chill their heart.” Well, I don’t think we should be calm at the prospect of having our...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100