Op/Eds

01/30/2020
At the beginning of the millennium, I watched modernization take over the traditional nomadic culture in Mongolia at a fast rate and feared that the culture might be lost. In Vermont, we have had time to come to terms with industrialization, electronic technology, and globalization. We have had many decades to do this. We observed the rest of the country and often decided not to be glitzed by the newness that others adopted. We took our time becoming a state, the 14th one, not one of the colonies, so we have a tradition of independence. Because of this we have a character that other states do...
01/30/2020
National attention will be focused on Iowa and New Hampshire over the next two weeks, as Democratic voters begin to select the candidate who will oppose President Trump in November. How does delegate selection in those states work? Iowans will vote in an evening-long caucus on Feb. 3, not a primary where they simply go to a polling place and cast a secret ballot. Separate Democratic and Republican caucuses will be held in 1,681 precincts. Participation in these caucuses is limited to voters who have registered in advance as Democrats or as Republicans. National Democratic Party rules require...
01/30/2020
Editor’s note: This is the 44th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. The best way to introduce readers to William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879) is to allow him to speak for himself: “Assenting to the ‘self evident truth that all men are created equal,’ I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population … I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak,...
01/30/2020
Winter’s Delicate Solitude   This is the closing-in time of year: The weary earth rests, leans back and retires; Pine-quilted hills guard the brink of the world, Horizons now strangely attainable. The sky yawns, heavy-lidded and colored With sleep, and lowers on the lazy creek. As wind chimes silence their icy tingle, The streets gather closer; the village curls, Like a mouse, into itself to preserve A vital warmth in a long night so still With cold, so brittle, an unkind word or A wayward careless thought could shatter it. — By Matthew McDonough   Originally from Rhode Island, Matthew...
01/30/2020
Act 46 is flawed, deceptive legislation that should be repealed. Act 46 consolidation is being carried out in the Addison Central School District as a process of disempowering and disenfranchising the small towns of the district. Rather than each town electing its own director to the board, at-large voting has been imposed in order to meet what is interpreted as a constitutional mandate for proportional representation. This voting system, rather than achieving proportional representation, strikes at the essence of the small towns. Middlebury, with its overwhelming majority in voting numbers,...
01/30/2020
My wife Nikki and I were truly humbled by the incredible response to our benefit party last week in Middlebury. A simple “thank you” does not adequately express our gratitude but since we lack the words, let us say “thank you” to: friends, colleagues and acquaintances who attended and showed such love and support; the Marquis Theater for donating such a great space; the Addison Independent for organizing the event; the Silverbacks and The Grift for entertaining all of us with their amazing talents; and the local businesses for donating raffle prizes. It was a great night and a real testament...
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...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100