Op/Eds


LINDSAY KURRLE
This week’s writer is Lindsay Kurrle, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. It’s easy to look back over the last 18 months and see all of the ways that COVID has set us back: from shuttered businesses, to the thousands of Vermonters losing their jobs, a disproportionate amount of whom were women who had to exit the workforce to care for their children. As businesses and families struggled, government provided a safety net through Paycheck Protection Program loans, business grants, stimulus checks, and extended unemployment benefits. The intent of all those...
I’m starting to think I’m too naïve to be a gardener. I tend to assume that whatever flowers I find growing are meant to be here, but it turns out there are plenty of nonnative plants that have moved to Vermont and now think they own the place. I thought I was more savvy. I mean, I’m at least aware of Japanese knotweed; an aggressive patch of it is squatting on the edge of our yard. I know of only one surefire method of eradicating it, but the garden center refuses to carry plastic explosives, so for now I have to tolerate it. In recent years, I’ve been shaking my fist at it. Surprisingly,...
That Gov. Scott set a goal of dropping all COVID-19 restrictions once the state hits 80% of Vermonters vaccinated is a worthy strategy for getting stragglers into and through the vaccination program. It’s also kind-of fun: there’s a reward for helping the state’s common good. Moreover, the governor says he’s not stopping the push once the state hits 80%; getting as many Vermonters vaccinated as possible is the ideal goal he says, and who can disagree? The more thoroughly Vermonters are vaccinated, the less likely we will catch and/or spread the virus. We’d even advocate for a county-by-county...
I have one question about the plan by the Vergennes City Fire Department to conduct a planned burn of the building at 40 North Street (“City Firefighters Plan Training Burn,” Addison Independent, May 6, 2021). Has anyone considered how much carbon dioxide, a damaging greenhouse gas, will be released into the atmosphere as a result of this fire? Current regulations do not allow for outdoor trash burning. Wood stoves are required to meet stringent air pollution control standards. How, then, can burning a large wooden building be permitted? Even if this burn is permitted under current...
I understand that there is a proposal seriously being considered at Mount Abe to have the Star-Spangled Banner played every day at the beginning of school. A public message to the Mount Abraham School District decision makers: Repetition is not education. It is indoctrination. If the valuable time at Mount Abe is intended to spoon-feed our students with the goal that they should accept simple unquestioning nationalism, then I would understand the decision to do such an activity. If on the other hand Mount Abe is an educational space, they should take some time to study the song’s origins....
Amidst the flurry of concluding business last week, the Vermont Senate passed three resolutions that are small but important steps to acknowledge and address racism in the state. The first, JRH 6, a joint resolution of the House and Senate, declares that racism is a public health emergency. The second, SR 10, designates May 2021 as Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Vermont. The resolution also condemns anti-Asian and anti-Pacific Islander hate in the United States. SR 11 was the third resolution, passed by the Senate with a unanimous vote. The measure...
As the Vermont Department of Labor begins to deny unemployment benefits to people whose job search does not please them, remember some factors. Schools are starting to reopen, but less experienced workers often must work odd hours. With summer coming, and day care cost and availability limited, some children will be left home alone. The state preaches about “the work ethic.” That means the hardest work usually pays the least. Vermont’s Mickey Mouse minimum wage is adequate — for a person living with their parents. We need to focus on better education and job training. High school guidance is...
My colleagues and I at your local Health Department office wish to express our gratitude to the members of the American Legion Post 27 in Middlebury for their help in the effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January, the Middlebury American Legion has given the Health Department and Porter Medical Center full access to their hall for our COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The Middlebury American Legion members have been generous hosts, and we especially thank Adjutant Tom Scanlon and Post Commander Laura Flint for their ongoing support and assistance. We also want to thank the many Addison...
When it comes to parents being unsure of whether they should give their children the vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, we get it. Parents are naturally protective; we are momma or papa bears protecting our cubs. It’s an instinct that lasts long into adulthood. But we also understand the scientific process, and the exhaustive tests and the data to date clearly show that adults and children age 12 and over are better served by getting the vaccine than not. Parents must also consider that while the Center for Disease Control botched the initial diagnosis under the Trump administration by...
This past year I got a croquet set for Christmas. I know, I know, croquet? The name conjures up images of British aristocrats playing on manicured lawns and upper class gentry at exclusive garden parties. While I am neither of these things, I was excited about my croquet set. As December is not an ideal time to play lawn games it had been languishing beside the couch for more than four months. While waiting for the snow to melt I looked up a little about croquet because I had never in fact played before. From the vast resources I scoured (Wikipedia) I gathered that it emerged in its modern...

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Addison County Independent