Op/Eds

01/30/2020
Twenty-five years ago I had my moment of “fame” when I took my sheep to town hall as payment for my property taxes and as a protest of the constantly increasing bill. Then and now the major portion is the school tax. As I reread the newspaper articles from back then I don’t see much change in the conversation around high taxes. Per pupil costs and overall budgets continue to escalate. Buildings continue to deteriorate while previous bonds are not paid off. As a recently retired school district employee I have had access to many years of details of school budgets. Even as a lay person I can...
01/30/2020
Editor’s note: Sarah Kaeck is the founder and CEO Middlebury manufacturer Bee’s Wrap.  For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that companies shouldn’t tackle hot-button political issues. It’s advice borne out of fear: the fear that, in exchange for voicing our opinions, we risk angering customers or losing sales.  As the founder and CEO of Bee’s Wrap, I’m motivated these days by a greater fear: that, should our elected officials fail to act on the crisis of climate change, the damage we cause to our planet will be irreversible, negatively impacting our families, our communities, and...
01/30/2020
This open letter to the Addison Central School District Board of Education was also submitted to the Addison Independent Democracy is difficult to maintain. We must be vigilant at times like these when the seams of our democracy are unraveling. Citizens United, gerrymandering, shrinking attendance at Town Meeting, and voter suppression are all taking a toll. Of course, voter suppression is not relevant to Vermont; or, in some odd sense, is it? I was deeply disappointed to read in the Addison Independent that the Addison Central School District (ACSD) Board has not elected to warn two citizen...
01/30/2020
Editor’s note: This letter was sent to Addison County’s two state senators and the two state representatives from Middlebury and cc’d to the Addison Independent. Dear Sen. Hardy, Sen. Bray, Rep. Scheu and Rep. Sheldon, I am writing this letter for my housemate Raymond Bapp. Raymond is a man with special needs. These needs have not stopped Ray from becoming an active part of his community. He is a member of Middlebury Lion’s Club, he is an honorary member of the Bristol Fire Department and he has worked at Floyd’s Automotive for 12 years. Ray is unofficially known as the Mayor of East...
01/30/2020
First, Middlebury voters should reject the proposed Addison Central School District (ACSD) budget with a “no” vote on Town Meeting Day. Ramifications of this budget include cutting one full-time classroom teacher at Mary Hogan. Justification for this staffing reduction at our small and socio-economically diverse elementary school is flawed and it cannot be allowed so long as ACSD maintains six other outlying, less efficiently operated, micro schools. ACSD must cut buildings before the critical staffing that will impact the educational experience for our students. There is an anonymous online...
01/28/2020
Our children had some friends over this past weekend, and they decided to embark on an outdoor adventure. The negotiations, as I overheard them, went something like this: “Let’s pretend we’re on the Oregon Trail!” “YES!” “And also, some of us could be runaway slaves.” "Okay, that works; that was around the same time.” “I’ll be the Quaker person helping the slaves escape.” “And also, we’re orphans….” If they hadn’t been so insistent on historical accuracy, I’m pretty sure they would’ve added a couple of Jews fleeing the Nazis for good measure — they’ve played that before. (Jewish orphans, of...
01/27/2020
When the Addison Central School District board (greater Middlebury) voted not to warn two petitions calling for changes in the district’s charter, they did so with significant differences to what faced voters in the Addison Northwest School District a week ago: First, the ACSD has not yet made a decision to close any elementary school in the district; second, no district town has held a vote in which a large majority of residents expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the district board’s decision. That might happen within the ACSD, but it hasn’t happened yet. Ripton representative to the...
01/27/2020
This month, Vermonters from all corners of the state returned to the Statehouse for the 2020 legislative session. The Speaker kicked off the first day with her vision to create an economy that works for everyone, not just a select few. Vermont faces its share of challenges and opportunities. We have a plan of action to give all Vermonters a fair shot and ensure a strong Vermont future.  During the 2019 Session, House Democrats led initiatives to move all 14 counties forward. We invested in childcare to strengthen our system and make it more affordable for working families. We worked to extend...
01/27/2020
I was pleased to read about the students who are advocating for building tiny houses to help address the affordable housing problem in Vermont. One possible site could be the land adjacent to the police station along Otter Creek. About 15 years ago a group had proposed building more housing there, but withdrew plans after running into opposition when those plans were shared with the surrounding community. Residents of the nearby homes and condos had not been involved early enough in the process and their concerns were not addressed before the proposal was withdrawn. With better planning and...
01/27/2020
Any economic system consists of many interacting parts. They can be boiled down to three key elements: capital, land, and labor. We all know examples of each. Different political constructs put varying weights on the three elements. Capitalists think it is primarily, if not all, about the capital. Socialists think that the key element is the people. Environmentalists believe that the ecology is the most fundamental and, that without it, there can be no economy or community. Vermont’s original human inhabitants saw the land as being alive and enchanted and humanity and its associated labor...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100