Op/Eds

I was pleased to find myself downtown last weekend, just in time for the start of the Lazarus Park dedication event in Middlebury. It was an enjoyable, well-run event on the part of the town. It was nice seeing so many people there valuing civic engagement both functional and ceremonial. Gov. Scott and the rest of the speakers all had inspiring things to say, reminding me why I value an active and caring government at all levels. The entirety of Middlebury’s rail project was a model example of the best that government can be. There was one moment in the dedication ceremony however that gave...
It will be a big mistake if the flag poles at schools change the current policy and fly the Black Lives Matter flag. Aristotle rightfully said “when two people enter a room you have politics.” Unfortunately, the BLM movement has become a political issue in this country. The Constitution, with great wisdom, clearly separates the government and all its public institutions from getting involved with religion. Religion is a personal issue. In the same spirit, public institutions should remain neutral in politics. There are many causes fighting for a voice in this country. Will each cause receive...
Before the wind takes it. Before the voles make a home of it. Or a trunk-borer. Before the orioles weave one nest too many. Or later, in December, the snow weighs heavily for the thundering branch to go under. And looking ahead again to next summer, the tail end of a hurricane, whipping the leaves into their fury and filling the choked-up gutters. Before anything else can happen. Call Richard and his webb of chainsaws. His hundred-foot mechanical ladder. His throne of a bucket. He rises in. One branch-to-another. Opening a hole to the sky. Dropping the...
On Aug. 7 Vermont recorded 112 cases of COVID-19, at the time the highest single-day count since April 29. I was one of those cases, and the third person in my family to test positive to COVID with a breakthrough case in early August. All three of us who developed breakthrough COVID were fully vaccinated: my husband and I, residents of Westminster, and our son, visiting from Miami. Twenty people who spent time with us during the days we were potentially contagious were tested and all were negative. Thankfully, the vaccines are working, with a small number of exceptions. Vermont was a model...
When I entered college, a science class was required. I chose geology. Biology, chemistry and physics had been included in my high school education, and I had no plans to become a scientist. (I was going to be a writer!) Also, the geology course description temptingly promised field trips into the Vermont countryside. It turned out to be a great course, and I began to learn a lot about Vermont’s history from the ground down. Actually I learned about geology all over the world, although the local region was the focus for our investigations. Most people have, at some point in their lives,...
The Vermont Department of Health reported on Monday that there were 1,553 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the state over the past two weeks, and that there were 33 people hospitalized with COVID, 13 of them in intensive care. The count of new cases and hospitalizations in Vermont is now the highest it has been since mid-April, when the percentage of Vermonters who had received at least one vaccine dose was just over 50%, compared with about 85% today. The Department of Health also reported that, for the period from Aug. 8 through 14, 40% of the positive cases in Vermont — 288 of 725 — were...
35th in a series “How came a child born in Spain of Spanish parents to be educated in Boston and to write in the English language?” With this question, the philosopher George Santayana begins a short biographical essay. Jorge Augustín Nicolás Ruiz De Santayana, was born in Madrid, Spain, on December 6, 1863, to Josephina Borras and Augustín Santayana. He was Josefina’s first and only child from her second marriage. She had been married before to an American businessman, George Sturgis. They had five children. Sturgis died in 1857, and Josefina returned to Spain where she met and married her...
The Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) board and staff appreciates the recognition of our recent work. Recent articles about the anonymous $100K gift to the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM), our Counselor-in-Training program at Summer Camps, the three-dimensional map of the TAM, and our conservation of Willard’s Woods in Lincoln were joyful stories to share and read. We would like to take extra care in acknowledging those that made our current successes possible. First, thank you to all the former staff, directors, board members, and volunteers who set the foundation for the TAM to receive the...
I am writing to urge a “YES” vote on Middlebury’s Aug. 31 bond vote related to the Bristol Community Solar Project (BCS). The town’s investment will purchase a minimum of 15% of BCS and will begin returning value in the form of credits on the town’s electricity bill when the project is commissioned in December. The proposed investment is a good deal for Middlebury taxpayers. Unlike most investments that a town could make, say in hard infrastructure that depreciates over time, Middlebury’s BCS investment is estimated to have a positive return of about 7% over the first 25 years of the Bristol...
After 22 years teaching at Robinson Elementary, I made the difficult decision to take a different job and leave the MAUSD district. I have been thinking about my former colleagues who are starting a new school year after countless hours of thought, preparation and anticipation. Teaching was never an easy job, but in the past few years it has become even more complex for reasons related not only to the pandemic, but to changing needs of children, performance expectations, and funding challenges. Nevertheless, the dedicated members of the MAUSD community continue to step up, doing whatever it...

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Addison County Independent