Op/Eds

On my Town Meeting Day ballot, I will be voting for Peter Conlon for the Addison Central School District Board. I have known Peter for many years, and value his experience and insight as a colleague in the Vermont House for the past five years. Peter’s years of service on the ACSD Board have come during difficult times as the district faces the headwinds of declining enrollment while trying to keep an excellent school system affordable to taxpayers. He has helped the board approach these challenges with foresight and sensitivity. The board is several years into creating its master plan, and...
I believe Esther Thomas is the right choice for Middlebury selectboard. The town of Middlebury is currently undergoing multiple challenges, some of which predate, but have been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. These include challenges with affordability, a declining commercial downtown, and demographic shift. Esther Thomas will bring a much-needed perspective to the selectboard as the town grapples with best approaches to these challenges. Her close work with college students gives her insight into what is attractive to a younger crowd. Her history with communities of color will help us...
“Daddy, don’t forget to pick up some cupcakes at the store, okay?” My husband, who was heading out the door to run his usual Saturday morning errands, turned to look questioningly at our 9-year-old daughter. “What are the cupcakes for?” “For Pip’s birthday party!” “Wait…sorry…um…. Who is Pip?” “You know,” she said, undaunted. “Pip is my little china dog figure.” My poor husband: You could almost see him thinking, this is not what I signed up for, as he spluttered, “Your china dog…? NO. I’m not going to get cupcakes for a china…. Oh, okay, fine.” My husband wasn’t aware of It, but Pip’s...
So much happens in a week’s time, it can make a weekly commentary seem out of touch, but in the interest of reflecting on the vital issues of the times, here’s a wrap on issues from local to national. SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION SPARKS BOARD RACES Today’s Addison Independent features stories on more local school board and selectboard races throughout the county. Interestingly, the school board races have multiple candidates competing for single seats and have attracted highly engaged candidates with thoughtful ideas. The issue sparking the heightened interest is consolidation. Each district has...
Lately, I have been binge watching travel videos on YouTube. They are a little escape. I just click from place to place, ogling the architecture and the natural scenery, drooling over street food, feasting my eyes on outdoor markets, and marveling in a sense of otherness. I have always wanted to travel — a feeling that I need to go and explore somewhere new. Feeding this need is always a question of having time and money, but never before have I been as stuck as I have been during the Pandemic. Never before have there been actual travel restrictions keeping me from picking up and flying to...
In the past few weeks, I’ve called all my friends and relatives to tell them the great news: “Mark is gonna redo our kitchen!” They all react the same way: with a long pause and a stifled giggle, followed by “OK, sure. Congratulations.” I’m pretty sure I can hear their eyes rolling. That’s fair. They know that four years ago, Mark began building me my dream walk-in pantry from scratch. In that time, he’s worked on it intermittently but never with any enthusiasm. I’ve used the situation to my advantage. If Mark gets annoyed because I left the Christmas ornaments in the upstairs hall for six...
14th in a series The Constitutional Convention completed its work on Sept. 17, 1787, by adopting the Constitution that it had drafted and sending the document to the states for ratification. Article VII of the draft Constitution provided that it should become operational upon ratification by nine of the 13 states. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it. The remaining states would follow suit. Rhode Island was the last, on May 29, 1790. In between these dates there occurred a great national debate. In New York state, a series of 85 essays in favor of ratification...
Two notes from the side of the mountain in Ripton: •  The cross-country skiing is better than I ever remember up here. The regular installments of snow, and the cold temperatures, have let Barney Hodges, Mike Hussey and their team at Rikert, and Andy McIntosh and his fellow volunteers on the backcountry trails, produce tracks that are just sublime. Please come up and share them •  Ripton residents voted by a wide margin to try and run their own elementary school, and I think many of us would be grateful if our friends down in the valley would let us give it a try. It seems to me you could...
While I’m pleased that the very sensitive and critical decision on what to do about the Mount Abraham Unifies School District facilities has been delayed until August, I do wish that the full percentages had been provided in the little inset about the school survey in the Addison Independent’s Jan. 28 story. As a Monkton resident who is fully opposed to closing our school or any other school in the district, and does not support “repurposing” schools, I feel that the wording pits towns against each other: Lincoln and Starksboro residents, the towns that will be the most impacted by these...
Racism is a public health issue. Black communities and other communities of color have higher rates of newborn death, childhood illness, women dying in pregnancy and childbirth, and shorter lives with higher rates of severe illness. Porter, as a healthcare organization, has an imperative to address the racism and inequities built into our system. As an organization, we believe there is more we can do to be intentionally inclusive and equitable. We acknowledge that we can do more to make sure all members of our community feel welcome and have equal access to our services. We are committed to...

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Addison County Independent