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May 6th, 2015
MIDDLEBURY — The Physics Department at Middlebury College is again hosting an open house night at the college observatory this spring. The observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evening, May 8, from 9 until 10:30 p.m., provided the skies are mostly clear.
Last week, during a brief family vacation to Florida, I found myself at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an attraction that straddles two Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando.
My initial reaction to going? Yeah, no.
When I was 19 years old, I found out that my mom had cancer. She had known for some time, but only when surgery was imminent did she tell us of her diagnosis, during a routine exam, of lung cancer. She was 50, and had quit smoking the year before. The subsequent surgery left her with one fully operating lung, a horror movie scar from one end of her chest to the next, follow-up radiation, nerve damage, burning and scarring. We all felt blessed she was alive.
Journey with me now to the mysterious world of healthcare — where nothing costs what they say it does, and no one can figure out what it really costs, anyway.
Where you’re never quite sure of the differences between your premium, deductible, co-pay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum.
Where your health history is now available through an online patient portal — but you can’t remember the password. Where the doctor will see you in a few minutes, but you’re just as likely to end up seeing a physician assistant.
Many years ago, Bernie Sanders left his native home in Brooklyn and came to Vermont to lead the simple country folk out of political backwardness. He came to us as a “socialist,” which morphed into “progressive” and finally into the more acceptable “independent.” Beginning as mayor of the Socialist Republic of Burlington, he ranted his way up the political ladder until he won a U.S. Senate seat.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a Senate Education Committee hearing on H.361, the education reform bill before the Legislature. It was a unique experience to sit among the crowd, and hear plaintive, impassioned pleas that clearly fell to one of two categories: for or against school governance change.
In a recent letter to the editor, Orwell resident Paul Stone argued the Senate and House education bills were mainly aimed at two goals: closing small schools and getting rid of school boards to put more power in the hands of bureaucrats, not citizens. That is a pretty cynical view.
Let’s be realistic. Small schools are already closing due to declining enrollment and high costs, and the enlightened trend among school boards is to do more governing, and less managing, as it should be.
Robert Kennedy Jr. continued his nationwide anti-vaccine tour with a stopover in Vermont this Tuesday, spreading his campaign of misinformation and misguided claims that the Centers for Disease Control was corrupt and in the hip pocket of “big pharma.” A Vermont-based anti-vaccine group sponsored Kennedy’s visit to Montpelier, paying for his flight and expenses in a last-minute effort to dissuade the Legislature from cutting out the philosophical exemption that currently allows parents to avoid school-mandated vaccinations when children enter kindergarten.