Op/Eds

08/31/2020
We are following public comments regarding closure of the Trail Around Middlebury, or TAM, and feel it’s helpful to offer perspective and information. First, we do receive a mixture of support, understanding, and some concerns. I hope this letter offers concrete information about the TAM, how it’s protected and managed, and makes MALT’s support of closing the Middlebury College sections of the TAM understood. There are two common forms of trail protection for groups like MALT, the Green Mountain Club, etc. The first is a permanent trail easement, which gives the easement holder rights to the...

Voting in Lincoln in the August 2020 primary. Photo by Paul Forlenza
08/27/2020
This week’s writer is Lee Hamilton, a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. I’ve lost track of the times over the years I’ve heard a politician say, “This is the most important election of my lifetime.” In fact, I’ve said it myself. And I’m sure we all believed it at the time. But in my case, at least, I...
08/27/2020
On Aug. 18, Donald Trump posthumously pardoned Susan B. Anthony. who voted illegally in 1872, well before the 19th amendment granted some women that right in 1920. I wonder if he would have pardoned her if she were black. For decades, Anthony fought shoulder to shoulder with thousands of women, organizing parades, demonstrations, and other events to raise awareness to garner support for women’s suffrage. And although the group of suffragettes was diverse, those most remembered — women like Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, or Anna Howard Shaw — are white. Much of the work to get white women...
08/27/2020
Voters in Massachusetts will cast their ballots in that state’s primary election over the next several days, by mail, at early voting sites, and at the polls next Tuesday. Turnout is expected to be high, with over 1 million voters already requesting mail ballots. The Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate is the contest that is receiving the most national attention. Massachusetts is a state that has long punched above its weight in national Democratic politics. Over the past six decades, Massachusetts has provided one President, John F. Kennedy, two other Democratic presidential nominees,...
08/27/2020
$17 million. That’s a big number. A number of this magnitude deserves extensive review and analysis. Certainly it warrants second opinions and further investigation. I believe that’s what the ACSD board was on their way to doing when the TruexCullins Elementary School report came in, along with looking at the other legs of the stool and making decisions on the future of education in our community.  You know what happened next. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and there is mounting pressure to make cuts and push through closures in anticipation of the education funding shortfall in...
08/27/2020
We have written previously about the racist history of policing in our country and how police are doing exactly what they were created to do: protecting property over human lives. It might feel good to tell ourselves that Middlebury is different, but the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance’s database of traffic stops by race in Vermont has clear data showing otherwise. From this data set, covering years 2014-2018, we can see that the Middlebury Police Department (MPD) stopped Black drivers at a rate higher than expected, given the number of Black drivers, for four out of the five years. These...
08/27/2020
There has been considerable recent discussion about why Vermont’s response rate to the 2020 census form is so low. Several possible excuses have been floated, but one explanation is frequently overlooked when discussing why 43% of Vermonters have failed to complete the census form. The Census Bureau in its ill-conceived marketing plan virtually ignored advertising in community newspapers in Vermont — and some other states. The message about the critical need for an accurate Vermont population count by filling out the form is clearly not getting to residents through social media and other...
08/27/2020
I remember the first time I met House Representative Stephanie Jerome. She knocked on my front door and handed me a flyer announcing her candidacy. We spoke for just a moment, as I was heading out for an appointment, but I recall thinking, what a nice, down-to-earth woman. Though not a politically active person, I could see myself voting for her.  Fast forward two years. The pandemic closed my place of business, and that of so many others, and took our livelihoods with it. Until then I had never signed up for unemployment. My attempts to file online with the Dept. of Labor were unsuccessful...
08/27/2020
Editor’s note: The writer was the reporter/assistant news editor of The Reporter newspaper in Brandon, and a Bristol resident, until this past October. As a former Vermont resident who now resides in Texas, I often look back on my time in Vermont with fondness. Especially when I look at the growing coronavirus numbers in my current state or when I’m reminded of how Vermonters will go out of their way to help each other. I finally made it to the DMV to get my Texas driver license last month (the earliest appointment I could get back in April). After jumping through all the hoops to prove my...
08/27/2020
We believe in the importance of doing something in this critical electoral season to get out the vote. Our fragile democracy depends on voter participation, especially of formerly marginalized citizens and those who have not voted in previous elections. One particularly effective venue is “Vote Forward” (votefwd.org), an organization that encourages people to vote, not how to vote. Their goal is 10 million voters. Vote Forward encourages voters of traditionally under-represented populations and people who are likely to vote Democratic in key districts throughout the U.S. They send you letters...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100