Op/Eds

Three articles in the Jan. 21 edition of the Addison Independent (“Farmers Can Make Change,” “Farm to Plate Videos Help Entrepreneurs” and “New USDA Dairy Business Innovation Center Opened”) suggest that Vermont’s conventional dairy farmers are hard at work addressing their industry’s impact upon water quality and the effects of COVID. There is no question that Vermont dairy farmers and their coop leaders could influence water quality and no question at all that they could benefit from innovative ideas. But the articles ignore a few large issues that are endemic to the conventional modality...
Conflicting stories: In the Jan. 14 Addison Independent there was an article “Sheriff envisions a major expansion of service” and in the January 21 Addison Independent there was an article “Police agencies face evolving social needs.” Having read through these two articles and comparing the goals and objectives of each it would appear that there is a great deal of duplication in the two programs. The Addison County Vision North program involves several existing nonprofit and state agencies including, Vergennes Police Dept., Vermont State Police, State’s Attorney’s Office, Vermont Department...
On Jan. 25 a collection of 54 business and community leaders, advocates and activists from across the state of Vermont and from across the political spectrum sent an open letter addressed to the Vermont press corps advocating a change in the way Vermont media presents information on women, particularly in government. The letter appears below and also can be seen online at vermonthasherback.com/read-the-letter. ————— January 25th, 2021 To: The Vermont Press Corps Vermont is the only state in the nation which has never elected a woman to Congress. Only one woman has served as Governor. We have...
Thanks to a big push from congressional Democrats to extend federal COVID relief aid to states, on Tuesday, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott proposed a dream $6.83 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022: It proposed no increase in proposed taxes or fees, it avoided cutting any essential services, and it added $210 million in new investments to bolster the state’s economy. In recent times, that’s unheard of and it’s a far cry from worries last spring when economists initially projected budget deficits of more than $430 million. Even as recently as early January, economists were projecting a $70-$75...
It’s Thursday morning on the farm. As I write this, the children at Wren’s Nest Preschool are singing and laughing as they slide down the snow covered hills. A spirit of hopefulness fills the air and my heart once again. And so we turn now to the gift of focusing on how to make things better for those who are suffering, instead of worrying what horrible thing will happen next. For the past year or so, many of us have been trying to figure out ways to turn the huge financial challenges facing our school districts into an opportunity to do things differently: with greater benefit for our...
For 36 years, my job was all about mingling with people. In their homes or businesses, in coffee shops, schools, office buildings, on park benches, in statehouses, homeless shelters, college campuses and packed meeting rooms. I was once accorded 10 minutes with the late Gov. Richard Snelling — if I didn’t mind interviewing him in his car while en route to his next appointment. This was, after all, before cell phones. Sure, the phone works in a pinch, but my preference has always been to look people in the eyes when asking them questions. There’s no real substitute for personal interaction,...
Last week, President Biden announced the outline of what he called the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion package of measures to speed up the response to COVID-19 and accelerate the pace of economic recovery. The package includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most adults, an extension of supplemental federal unemployment benefits (now $300 per week) at $400 per week from their current expiration in March through September, a fully refundable tax credit of $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under six), $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $170 billion in aid to K-12 schools...
Eleventh in a series. George Washington (1732–99) was not an intellectual. He did not attend college. He did not read books; he was not a great orator, and wrote nothing that might become a classic. As Joseph Ellis has written in his excellent biography, fittingly entitled “His Excellency”: “Benjamin Franklin was wiser; Alexander Hamilton was more brilliant; John Adams was better read; Thomas Jefferson was more intellectually sophisticated; James Madison was more politically astute,” yet they were unanimous in regarding Washington as their superior. And in historical memory, Washington...
January 6’s attempted coup was the totally predictable outcome of years of targeted misinformation by an entrenched minority of our population bent on maintaining power by any means necessary. They can’t hold it through honest democratic means, so they have increasingly resorted to promoting alternate realities through right-wing media and ethically bankrupt politicians. They were trying to harness the manufactured anger of a weak-minded mob, but — as it did in 1930s Europe, and in the Balkans and Rwanda in the 1990s — it got away from them. I hope they have finally learned a lesson, but I’m...
To members of the Addison Central School District community: I am writing to announce my candidacy for a position on the ACSD board. I am a resident of Middlebury and a parent of two students in the district. I am a writer and former environmental regulator, and have volunteered my time with several organizations to support our community, including the Better Middlebury Partnership, the Middlebury Elementary School Association (MESA), Girls on the Run, WomenSafe and ACSD. As a writer, I hope to offer my abilities to strengthen the communication between the ACSD Board and the public. And as a...

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Addison County Independent