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Opinion: Vermont possesses many positives to be celebrated

Our pioneers ventured to an expansive new land of country fertility and vast horizons. An opportunity for a new life, where in England and Europe they were oppressed and religiously persecuted. The Homestead Act, the Boston Tea Party, Jamestown settlements — all our forerunners indicated they wanted to be fair, just and equitable in giving a new generation an opportunity of a lifetime.
The entrepreneurs and explorers of the North also took advantage. Our beloved areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, the rich mountains and valleys of the raw Northeast Kingdom, were rich and abundant in forests, stone, fishing and animal wildlife.
My landlord’s name is Walter Miller. There are big names in Addison County and the North like Phelps, Miller, Battell and so on. The names are even larger — Champlain, Richelieu, Barre, Montpelier. The early Millers ventured into the northern Canada area to explore furs, metals and native products. Although the takings were minimal, traded at outposts, the meager profits were brought back to start businesses upon which the Vermont economy today flourishes.
We Americans today have much gratitude for those who “weathered God’s storms and became the backbone of the United States.” Don’t Tread on Me became our motto as eventually Vermont established as a progressive and independently thinking 14th state. A leader in giving slaves and the black man rights, instilling an institutional culture of education, and legislating free marriage — Vermont strong is respected as a truly innovative state. Of certain, home is where the heart is for strong, solid reasons, and those who have family names here are deeply invested in preserving our resources and parks. Nine hundred thousand people seasonally come to use our 53 state parks.
On the other hand, and sadly, we have poachers stealing wood from properties. We suffer for towns like Rutland who dump sewage into our fresh creeks. We have plants that are endangering use of our state with radioactive containment danger, and we have dumps that are growing a quickly proportional levels. Our Montpelier senators and congressmen are keenly aware, and also believe, Vermont is a home where our heart is. They adeptly trade views, and do a great job of advocating for the common man.
I have been in grocery stores, short of change, where an unfamiliar face has reached out and helped me get my needed goods. I have a philanthropic food shelf that provides me with my nutrition and sustenance throughout the month. I have an Episcopal church that has opened its arms lovingly, and when my mother passed away, gave her three sisters and immediate family spiritual attention and a service at a stately and respected house of worship. Vocational counselors have responsibly scoped a struggling market so I could seek a job. The list goes on — hands reaching to hands.
Then again, we need to look at our everyday, mundane life of work and family obligations. Can motorists and truck drivers heed pedestrians and cyclists? I have resided here since 2014 and already read of two unfortunate deaths or more due to negligence. Can we protect our homes against unwanted invasion, such as the felon, to get drug money, who went up and down Route 7 from Brandon, casing houses and apartments, ripping them off nonchalantly and unobserved? Can landlords nurture our golden eggs, our paying residents, by upkeeping properties, being fair on pricing, and preserving our history by keeping an established code? These are questions we need to consider as voters.
I become disillusioned when I think of these controversial questions. Like Darwinian theories and the book of Hebrews in the Bible, societies have proven competitive — a healthy thing — but that positively “they work for the good.” For the sake of setting a pace as a progressive and great state, let’s pay attention and truly make Vermont a place of respect and dignity.
This Vermont for ages to come can be “a home where the heart is.”
Barry Churchill
Middlebury

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