Archive - Feb 2010 - Editorial
New Hampshire was a key to the Democratic resurgence from 2004 to 2008. John Kerry won the state in the 2004 presidential election, the same year Democrat John Lynch defeated a Republican incumbent to become New Hampshire’s governor. In 2006, Democrats Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter defeated incumbent Republicans to win New Hampshire’s two congressional seats. In November 2008, Barack Obama won New Hampshire, while Democrat Jeanne Shaheen defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Sununu.
The state’s school finance laws are again under public scrutiny because of escalating property taxes even in the face of declining school budgets. Politicians and residents opposed to Act 60 and Act 68 have been quick to pounce on the legislation’s shortcomings and demand reform, or use the issue to fan the fires of discontent to gain favor (by virtue of a public disconnect with reality) among voters.
Along with this hoopla comes the inevitable lament that the finance laws are overly complex and we need to simplify the system.
Measures taken by the Middlebury selectboard to encourage Green Mountain Beverage to expand here, rather than move out of town, are to be applauded. More importantly, such measures should be encouraged and supported by Middlebury taxpayers for reasons that can be summed up quite simply: a stable or growing population helps support the town’s existing infrastructure by spreading the tax burden, lowers taxes and fees (such as water and sewer rates) per capita, and provides needed commerce for area businesses and services. The opposite leads to community decline.
Shortly after a Jan. 12 earthquake devastated the Caribbean country of Haiti, I earned myself a new nickname in the office: “Haiti Katie.” (Granted, I’d divvied up the duty of covering the local angle on the disaster with reporter John Flowers, but “Haiti John” just didn’t have the same ring to it.)
They say everyone has skeletons in their closet. I probably would, too, but I just don’t have the room.
My bedroom closet is packed right now. I’ve been meaning to clean it for months, but you know how busy Vermont winters are. Most nights and weekends I’m out straight watching TV and sleeping.
Until recently, the closet would have been called a walk-in. Sort of. Not the kind that you actually walk into to get dressed, or the kind with a full-length mirror and floor-to-ceiling shoe racks and adequate lighting.
When life gives you lemons, the saying goes, make lemonade.
So it is that on a Sunday afternoon, instead of returning from cross-country at Rikert or snowboarding at Sugarbush, we are heading west into the sunset — to go ice skating.
The torrential rain that washed away most of winter’s snow has had one huge benefit: It flooded hayfields all over Addison County. That, combined with two weeks of frigid temperatures, created ice where once there was only snow and grassy stubble.
Vermont’s educators are the primary actors in a crucible that has the potential to reframe the state’s social and economic profile. The question is whether they will embrace the need for change, or hold on to the past.
We rely on history in our search to move forward; it recounts lessons of our success and failure and is littered with the many experiments that put us here today. Some of the problems we face today result from yesterday’s solutions and literally from us waiting for a response in order to move forward. A lack of response confines us to facing the result of our current dilemma in a repetitive cycle of crisis after crisis.