Op/Eds

09/26/2019
Early this week, VTDigger, the online news nonprofit based in Montpelier, stretched its tentacles to report a salacious and juicy tidbit of news about Porter Hospital President Dr. Seleem Choudhury being under investigation for plagiarizing parts of his weekly blog. The blog is meant to be an uplifting message from the new president. It is sent out to hospital staff and a few folks from outside the hospital community, including a reporter here at the Addison Independent. The thrust of the blog is inspirational and its intent, Porter spokesman Ron Hallman says, is to keep staff and a few...
09/26/2019
My husband and I leave Arches National Park in Utah on a bright morning, driving along the Colorado River then over the Rockies toward Denver, where we’ll visit his son and our eight-year-old grandson. The scorched river valley and vast mountains we traverse captivate our imagination. This place is the setting of countless Westerns. It’s well past lunchtime when we pull off I-70 into a parched rest area. Three small picnic shelters are scattered across a scrubby field — each one shades a couple of tables and a handful of travelers. The only open table parallels another one where a leggy man...
09/26/2019
I appreciate journalism as an occupation because it provides an opportunity to dive into perspectives I wouldn’t otherwise have a reason to understand. Sources open the door and allow reporters to question personal details about their lives. As farmers are responsible for feeding us and scientists are responsible for monitoring water, I am charged with seeing what my sources see and understanding the gravity of the decisions they face. During my months-long reporting for the Addison Independent’s three-week series titled “The Giving Stream,” I encountered dynamics between groups of people...
09/26/2019
Most projections of possible Electoral College outcomes in the 2020 presidential election use 270 as the minimum number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Two-hundred-seventy is the smallest possible majority out of the total of 538 electoral votes.  However, for President Trump, the minimum number of electoral votes needed could well be 269 rather than 270. If Trump were to receive 269 electoral votes, with no electoral votes being cast for a third-party candidate, the Democratic presidential candidate would also have 269 electoral votes.  One possible outcome that would...
09/26/2019
Editor’s note: This is the 36th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” rightly belongs among the founding documents of this nation. It complements the “Declaration of Independence.” It adds something altogether new to political thought, and therefore should be counted as a world classic. In the first instance, like the “Declaration,” it was a declaration of independence, as fundamental in its resolution and its consequences as its predecessor. In 1776, the American colonies declared their independence...
09/26/2019
Down to Earth   The heart of a farmer is made of muscle and clay that aches for return to earth. And when the sky releases a steady rain, massaging each row of sprouted beans, my husband leans out of the car window and opens his hand to hold that water for a single instant, his heart now beating in sync with rain seeping through layers to kiss the roots of every plant alive on this living, breathing planet on whose back we were granted permission to live for a limited time. — By James Crews     This poem first appeared in Birchsong, Volume II, 2018. James Crews is the author of two full-...
09/26/2019
I had my first tennis dream last week. Although the particulars faded as my alarm chimed, I woke with a feeling of contentment. I am fairly certain that in my dream world I hit that sweet spot without fail. I am grateful for this subconscious fantasy, as in reality, the connection between the ball and my racket is few and far between. As my observant daughter noted this summer, I’m not particularly good at tennis, but I am entertaining. Curiously, this doesn’t leave me particularly embarrassed or disappointed. On the contrary, each week I can’t wait for my 6:45 a.m. Friday lessons to arrive....
09/26/2019
On Sept. 20, millions of young people poured into the streets around the world to strike for global climate justice. They did so because too many adult leaders have failed them. Students are afraid and angry and rightfully so. Climate change is a scientific fact, and this truth has devastating consequences for their futures. This is a crisis. It is time for educators to take a stand and give students the support they deserve. It is time for the important adults in their lives to stop failing them. Taking a stand means confronting the supposed political neutrality that school institutions...
09/26/2019
The industrial methane digester that is being built on farmland in West Salisbury by Massachusetts company Vanguard Renewables is described by their CEO as “the largest biodigester east of the Mississippi.” An industrial complex such as this belongs in the Middlebury industrial park adjacent to the Vermont Gas pipeline. According to Vanguard’s certificate of operation, 69 percent of the material needed to feed the digester will be in the form of food waste (176 tons per day) trucked over country roads to West Salisbury from Middlebury College and other as yet undesignated food sources....
09/26/2019
I write regarding the recent editorial by Bill Schubart called “Imagine If Vermont Got Immigration Right.” I appreciate many of the points he made. But I want to draw your attention to the last sentence, “There are those among us who choose to forget that we’re all descended from immigrants.” To my fellow white Vermonters: Please stop saying stuff like this! We are not all descended from immigrants because: 1. Indigenous people are not immigrants. They are the original inhabitants, guardians and protectors of this land that we all live on. 2. Most Black people are not immigrants either. The...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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Fax: 802.388.3100