Op/Eds

As Middlebury College ends the school year and graduates of the Class of 2021 leave our midst, let us take a moment to recognize what these students — and all faculty and staff at the college — have sacrificed for the past 15 months in an extraordinary effort to keep the community safe during this pandemic. It’s a story of insightful planning, bolstered by adept responses by the administration and faculty to adopt remote learning last spring, cancel language and summer school, and adopt a hybrid sort of school year this past fall and spring with many restrictions on students and wisely having...
Gov. Phil Scott’s only veto of the 2021 session is of a bill (S.107) that would raise from 19 to 20 the age before which the identity, arrest and criminal charge of young adults must be kept confidential.  The governor opposes the bill because it would “raise the age of accountability for crimes and afford young adults protections meant for juveniles, without adequate tools or systems in place for access to rehabilitation services and other supports needed both to hold these young adults accountable and help them stay out of the criminal justice system in the future.” It’s worth reviewing the...
The 2021 Vermont Legislative Session came to an end last week, as we adjourned after passing a $7.3 billion state budget and numerous other important bills. The session was historic for several reasons: 1) We met remotely throughout the session and were able to maintain public access, health and safety, and generally smooth operations during a global pandemic; 2) We passed the largest budget in the history of the state focusing on nearly universal priorities and buoyed by unprecedented federal support; and 3) Both chambers of the Legislature were led by women for the first time ever, Speaker...
We are living through a transformational moment in public preK-12 education. This is true at county, state and national levels. Recently in Addison County, each of our three unified school districts has considered the closure of elementary, middle and high schools due to financial pressures. Those pressures were exacerbated in 2020 as wild swings in state education fund projections resulted in dire warnings for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget development. Early in 2021 these warnings instilled a new urgency in conversations about school closures. But even as those conversations heated up in...
This past week was a momentous one in a way that I could have never foreseen: I hugged four friends for the first time in over a year. Of course, all COVID precautions and necessary security clearances were clearly established before any hugging could proceed. And the hugs themselves? Well, they weren’t quite the full-on “big brown bear hugs” that I prefer to both give and receive. I’m just not quite there yet; nor, apparently, are most of my friends. But hugs they were — as welcome and long anticipated as the usual signs of late spring: the distinct scent of purple lilacs that wafts in,...
Last September, the Vermont Legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. Among other things, the act requires Vermont to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by specified increments over the coming years: 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In recent weeks, several state agencies and advocacy groups have released reports showing where Vermont stands now in terms of meeting these requirements, and what remains to be done. Carbon emissions in Vermont have declined slightly in recent years, from 9.54 million tons of carbon...
Consider the universal custom in the United States to present the National Anthem, or to salute the flag, or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as a prelude to school days or public events. Where in the United States Constitution is there mention of a national flag, or a national anthem or a pledge of allegiance? There is no reference to these “patriotic” practices we are expected to engage in even if we have doubts about what any of it really means. Maybe the most audacious of these observances have been at professional football games: the immense U.S. flags, the fighter fly-overs, the...
Saturday afternoon, my 10-year-old great-granddaughter and two 12-year-old grand nephews walked to Nino’s to get pizza from our Seymour Street yard sale. On the way home they were walking through the underpass and there was a mishap — the pizza dropped out of the box on the ground. A Middlebury police officer was going by and saw what happened. He stopped and offered to go back to Nino’s with the kids to get another pizza. Nino’s gave the kids a new pizza and the officer bought them all drinks. Then he gave them a ride back to the yard sale in the police car. This was an unforgettable...
A friend asked me recently what I do to get a break from the demands of my everyday life: from the constant noise, mess, decision-making, and physical labor involved in parenting (and homeschooling) five children — with a husband and a bunch of animals thrown in, too. In the past, I would have mentioned rising at dawn for daily quiet time to recharge my spirit, or how my husband sometimes watches our children for a chunk of hours on the weekend to give me a rest, or the occasional two-day retreat (the last of which happened three years ago). But this time I had a quick response: “I go to work...
As Vermont’s Legislature temporarily cools its jets and Gov. Scott’s administration reviews the final draft of the budget and other important pieces of legislation for either approval or rejection, we applaud Gov. Scott for his recent veto of S-107. The bill, S-107, would have allowed defendants up to age 20 to avoid public disclosure for a long list of serious crimes in Vermont, including DUI fatal vehicular accidents, domestic abuse, hate crimes, lewd conduct, embezzlements and more. The concern among those who passed the measure was that Vermont juveniles who commit crimes should not be...

Pages

Login for Subscriber Access

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Addison County Independent