Op/Eds

From 1987–1991 I was a National Cancer Institute Epidemiology Fellow at Columbia University School of Public Health in a research group that is now the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, studying how air pollutants cause cancer. Our research group looked at various biological markers of the earliest causes of cancer, including mutations, oncogenes, and DNA adducts (organic pollutants bonded to DNA leading to mutations that may cause cancer).  Our principal investigator, Frederica Perera, has been doing ground-breaking research for 40 years to understand the interaction...
While at a conference in D.C. this week I walked by a protest where a display of buttons was being sold, my eye immediately catching the button in big red lettering, “Make America Humane Again.” Shortly after leaving that protest I got word of the school shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif., where a high school student killed two of his classmates and then himself. The conference I was attending was a joining of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) who I work with to pass gun violence prevention legislation. This administration is not humane, and gun violence is not humane, and...
A couple of times recently, I've driven through Brandon, which is now emerging from its own four-year ordeal of downtown disruption — leading to a whole new pattern of streets and sidewalks. While I’m sure that this period has been a trial for businesses, residents and those of us who occasionally pass through, the final result is a stunning success. As I admired Brandon’s new downtown, it occurred to me that something was missing: all the overhead utility poles and lines! As a by-product of reconfiguring and repaving all the downtown streets, Brandon took advantage of this opportunity to...
Dear Addison Central School District Community, If you’re a registered voter in one of our towns, you might have been approached, sometime in the last few weeks, to sign two petitions. For those of you haven’t been approached yet, I wanted to express some things to help with the understanding of those amendment petitions. First, here they are as written: The undersigned registered voters of the school district hereby petition the Addison Central School District Board to warn the following article for a District election to be held in the seven District towns (Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury,...
I am writing concerning the ongoing coverage of the outrageous incident of bear hounds attacking an out-of-state couple and their dog in Ripton. This story, from the standpoint of a civilized society, is alarming on so many levels. As stated in the Independent, the law reads, “A person shall not take black bear with the aid of dogs unless the person is in control of the dog or dogs.” The operative word here being control. It goes on to define Control of Dogs to include handling and restraining. How is it possible to handle and restrain one’s dog pack when they are miles away? Every bear hound...
I’m not sure if I can still call this “stick season,” since snow has lain on the ground for a week now. The most accurate definition of stick season is the period of time between the fall of the last golden leaves and the fall of the first sparkling snow. It’s not really a season at all – just a week or two between late October and early November, a time when the view out our windows displays only grey sticks against the grey sky. But early this morning as the sun was rising and I was feeding the baby, I couldn’t see the icy snow on the ground; all I could see were the bare branches of the...
While the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump proceed with damning evidence that neither Trump nor fellow Republicans have tried to refute (change the topic, yes, but not deny the evidence), we note only that impeachment is a political process, not a judicial one, and if the Republican Senate decides to put Trump above the law, they will be setting a dangerous precedent that has the potential to create authoritarian rule. Hopefully, enough Americans will come to understand that threat and reject the GOP in 2020. But on to more local, and happier topics. In this issue we highlight...
She is a single mom with a toddler who was living at the Lund Family Center. Brittany was surrounded by people who were pulling for her to succeed. Making a $50 a week stipend, though an extremely small amount, didn’t stop Brittany from looking for a way that she and her daughter could make a secure future for themselves. She knew that education was a way out and her first step was to take CVOEO’s Spend Smart and Keys to Credit classes.  “I learned a lot from the classes. I learned ways I could build my credit. I learned about tracking money. I think one of the biggest things was saving money...
The long awaited democratic decision of the school closure vote is officially behind us, and the communities have spoken! Both Addison and Ferrisburgh voted in the majority for keeping their schools intact. With a 50 percent voter turnout in both towns, and a 75 percent opposed vote in Addison and an 85 percent opposed vote in Ferrisburgh, it’s safe to say that each town has the same vision for their schools. Yet, the fate of Addison Central School (ACS) still sits in the hands of the school board. One of the reasons provided by the ANWSD School Board (the Board) for proposed school closures...
The use of plastic mulch by hemp growers this past summer brought a new dimension to the Vermont landscape. We have all been aware of ‘ag plastics’ like hay bale coverings and maple sap pipeline for some time, but we assumed the waste plastic would be managed appropriately. Acres of land covered with plastic mulch is something new. It goes against everything I believe about how to treat the land. If I am out hiking or camping and I see plastic on the ground, I pick it up. Loose in any environment it symbolizes carelessness and abuse and I could not suppress those feelings when I saw how much...

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Addison County Independent