Archive - 2010 - Editorial
Twenty-six years ago, I attended my first town meetings as a reporter. I was new to the state and its Town Meeting Day traditions and was awed by the purely democratic form of government many of the small towns throughout Addison County had long embraced. In those days (not all that long ago, I like to think), many towns still held the meeting on that first Tuesday in March with potluck luncheons or early dinners as part of the community heritage.
Not many people bake their own bread these days.
I’m not surprised. To read a cooking magazine, you’d think it requires a $49 digital kitchen thermometer, a convection oven and a kitchen scale accurate to 0.05 grams. We forget that early man was cranking out homemade bread way back in the days when the wheel was still being tested in focus groups.
Armando Vilaseca, Vermont’s Education Commissioner, delivered a sobering message to area school board members last Wednesday in a session that is meant, in part, to shock-and-awe his audience. The numbers tell most of the story, which is that budgets will either have to be cut again and again for the next two years or new revenues will have to be found.
Part of the role of a town selectman is to advocate on the behalf of town residents. So when a Middlebury woman approached selectman Craig Bingham and complained that smokers at a public event at a Middlebury park had caused her kids to breathe smoke from their cigarettes or move, Bingham dutifully took the problem to the selectboard with a proposed solution: ban smoking in all town parks.
One of the roles of the selectboard is to reign in suggestions that are likely to cause friction without effectively solving the perceived problem. This is one of those times.
What was an encouraging, hopeful and humanitarian response to Haiti’s desperate plight in the aftermath of its major earthquake ended abruptly this week in what we suspect was a heap of bureaucratic red tape.
Middlebury Union High School officials confirmed on Wednesday that plans to accept six Haitian students at the school for a year of study were cancelled when an U.S. Department of State official told MUHS Principal Bill Lawson that complications in obtaining visas for the students presented hurdles too large to surmount.
I know envy is one of those deadly sins, but I can’t help it. Other columnists can write pieces about their smart, charming and funny pets. Or heartwarming pieces about growing up with dogs and finding just the right one now, like my colleague Katie. That helped her win a New England Newspaper and Press Association Rookie of the Year prize.
I’m not jealous of that award. She earned it, and it’s a little late for the particular honor for me. (See picture.) But the topic? That would be nice.
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.