Op/Eds

I am the driver education instructor at Middlebury Union High School. My job is to keep kids alive. A large part of my role is to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears as they learn to drive. When they come into my classroom — and into the DE car — they must have total faith that I will be there for them. It’s a promise I make so that they can travel into the future with less distraction, anxiety or fear. You know the construction zone worker along the highway holding the Stop sign? They have an important job, too. They are there to keep their coworkers safe. Safe from being hit by a wayward...
Hang-in just a bit longer, Vermonters, and we’ll be able to return to pre-COVID lives by May or June, if we remain diligent. That was Gov. Phil Scott’s message at his Tuesday, April 6, press conference — a twice-weekly event that has become the epitome of public transparency and press access. In that press conference, Gov. Scott cited much good news, but also news of a spike of COVID cases among younger Vermonters. The good news was that 90% of Vermonters 65 and older had received at least the first COVID vaccine shot, ranking it first in the nation. The state ranks fourth in the nation for...
This is the best moment of my life. When I see this sentence on a young woman’s T-shirt as she walks with friends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, I think, you know, that’s right. As I think about it more and more, I realize that I don’t recognize life’s normal moments as the best. Of course, they are, since at any time something could happen that changes everything. So I keep saying it. I could get overheated in the Gobi Desert sun. I could become exhausted while riding a horse for four hours. My sleeping bag could get wet in a rainstorm. Whenever I need an attitude adjustment, I say,...
Vermont’s constitution is the most difficult to amend of any of the states. In many states, proposed constitutional amendments may be placed on the ballot by petitions signed by voters, or after a single vote by the state legislature. There is no procedure for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments in Vermont; they can originate only in the Legislature. Amendments must be approved by both houses in two successive Legislatures, with a general election intervening, before they appear on the general election ballot for approval by the voters. The Vermont Senate will vote soon on two...
20th in a series “Democracy in America” is the title of a book that has become an American Classic. Its author was not an American, but a French aristocrat, Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville (1805–59), Tocqueville for short (pronounced toke/vil, with the accent on the first syllable). He was the most observant of men, and his book is a record of his observations of America a half-century after Independence. It is a great rambling work, better read in bits and snatches, rather than as one continuous work, and over time digested. Which is not to say that his book lacks unity. In...
Among the many fascinating stories of the week is the rising chorus of big business leaders coming out against Georgia’s moves to restrict voting access, as well as other Republican-led state legislatures embracing similarly restrictive laws. Normally, the business world is content to throw their weight behind political candidates or parties on business policies that help their cause. But the Republican effort to restrict voting access in Georgia, in particular, has been a step too far for many. Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game out of the state and shifted it to Denver as a sign...
Question for Addison Central School District: At the last ACSD Board Meeting on Monday, March 22, the board held a discussion on transparency, spurred by a letter I had submitted the previous month, summarizing findings from certain records I had received through the public records request process regarding the Facilities Master Plan. After the board discussion, I sent the board and administration three follow-up questions, but the questions were not answered. I sent them again two more times that week, and three more times the following week, still without the questions ever being answered....
To the Citizens of Vermont and their Legislature: Please do not change the bottle deposit system we now have in Vermont. The bottle deposit system of today is working. The recycling of other bottles is working. Please leave things alone. Adding non-carbonated beverages to the deposit system will divert valuable waste plastic from the current recycling system. This will reduce income of solid waste districts and will really hurt the trash and recycling haulers financially. Deposits on non-carbonated beverage bottles will immensely complicate our lives by making us haul huge amounts of bottles...
We have a modest array of solar panels on our sloped metal roof in Ripton, Vt. Since they were installed several years ago they have generated electrical power through much of the year without problems; however, during approximately 70+ days of the winter months, these panels are covered with snow and generated no electricity. I am surprised that after all these years of solar panels being installed in northern climates, no one seems to have come up with a solution for this problem. I’ve been told to use a long pole with a brush on the end to push off the snow. Doesn’t really work and the...
This situation with the state teachers’ and state workers’ pension fund is incredibly incompetent and unjust. Certainly, the burden for fixing it should not fall on the teachers and state workers. Just to propose such a solution is tone deaf at least, and callous, considering the already outrageous wealth inequities in this state and nation. Too bad we cannot sell off the F-35s and fund the pensions that way. We would all be better off. To me, that is the perfect solution. Millard Cox Ripton

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Addison County Independent