Op/Eds

The COVID-19 summer of 2020 taught us that being outside was safer than being inside, as long as you had a mask at the ready and stayed at least six feet away from the nearest human. Well, the early summer of 2021 has me wishing the insect world would learn how to social distance. Is it just me, or are others also sensing that bugs — not the essential pollinators, but the kind that can really harass you — have grown stronger, more abundant and bolder during the past 18 months, while we humans have been so intently focusing on germs? I’ve seen almost 60 summers, but none have boasted the...
28th in a series In 1859 Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” and in 1860 the American Civil War began. These two events had a profound effect on the life and mind of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841–1935). An ardent Abolitionist deeply committed to the Union, he immediately enlisted, securing a commission in the Union Army, and was in combat almost constantly for the next four years, except for the times he spent recovering from his wounds, for he was gravely wounded three times. The experience of war led him to dismiss all belief in God, even more in a benevolent one, as a...
We would like to thank our community for the tremendous outpouring of support you showed to Viva El Savor, the collective of women who cooked for the Fiesta at the Marble Works on Saturday, June 26. It is heartwarming to see and feel our community respond with such love and affection. The women will be planning for their future, and are confident now about how they will be received. Paul Ralston, Middlebury Elizabeth Ready, Lincoln
I was delighted to read the Independent’s coverage of the Viva el Sabor Fiesta. Nevertheless, I was surprised that the paper did not identify any of the Central American persons featured in the photographs that accompanied the story. Nor did the paper name any of the 14 women who prepared the food and organized the event. Elsewhere in the paper virtually all persons whose photographs appeared were identified, and the Fiesta article itself named two individuals — not Central American: one a “helper” and another whose nonprofit offered future support. John Freidin Middlebury Editor's note: We...
About the 4th I take the 5th Because of the 6th   Yet on 2nd thought Perhaps I ought Declare the blame And name the names   Who tweeted the tweets Who took to the streets Riled. Defiled. Went totally wild Who fueled the schism As patriotism Who left for Cancun Who kept changing their tune Found no need for inspection Of insurrection   Once lambs to the slaughter Wouldn’t do what they oughta Hiding on Senate floor Elephants memory now ignore Till Election Day lets them know Which way the wind will blow   The embers get stoked By the mantle and yoke Of fear and false pride And no place left to...
It is long past the time when Vermont should pause and honor the many significant contributions to this state by former Gov. Philip H. Hoff. Quite simply, the Vermont we know today — a state where human dignity and a strong culture of community support — had its seeds planted in the six years (1963–1969) that Philip Henderson Hoff served as Vermont’s first popularly elected Democratic governor in 109 years. Vermont’s first Democratic governor, John Robinson of Bennington, was elected by the Legislature. He served a single year from October 1853 to October 1854. So, after more than a century ...
Middlebury’s Riverside Park in the Marbleworks was overwhelmed this past Saturday night as 1,500 or more people flocked to a first-ever “Viva el Sabor” festival that celebrated Central American cuisine created by 14 area women building a business from their culinary skills. The food was delicious and the community support abundant, signs that a business could flourish. To be there was exciting not just because it was one of the first community activities post-pandemic shutdown, and there were many unexpected folks to see and visit with, but more importantly that the community had turned out...
This is part four of four win-win solutions to the challenges facing our school districts and small rural towns. The topic is Incentivizing Towns and School Districts to work together. The great news is that H.106, now Act 67 “The Community School Act,” was signed into law by Gov. Scott on June 8! Federal money is flowing, and residents in all three Addison County school districts have an opportunity to deepen their work and thinking, together. As a reminder, these are the four significant changes that could productively be implemented: 1.  Remove the burden of health care from employers. 2...
Last week, the Legislature overrode Gov. Scott’s vetoes of two bills that will allow non-citizens to vote in local elections in Montpelier and Winooski. Those provisions, changes to the cities’ municipal charters, had already been approved by the voters of Montpelier and Winooski in local referenda. Some readers may wonder why, if local voters had already approved the proposals, they needed to be approved again by lawmakers and the governor. The answer is that, when it comes to the authority of local governments, Vermont is not a home rule state. In Vermont, cities and towns are, legally, “...
The organization Let's Grow Kids has been at the forefront of an effort to establish legislation that makes having children in Vermont more affordable and, as it should be, desirable.  It recent years it has not been affordable, and therefore, to many, not a desirable option. That’s to Vermont’s great detriment. If the state is to have a promising future, it’s an issue that must be fixed. Progress is being made.  In this past legislative session, H.171, aka the child care bill, was passed with significant bipartisan support. And, as Let’sGrowKids.org said in a recent statement, “the bill...

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Addison County Independent