Thank you to everyone who has been in touch to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns during the COVID-19 crisis. Both Rep. Houghton and I have been busy sharing your feedback with the administration in an attempt to keep them updated on the pressing needs of our community. We know thi…

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

In the winter of 1776, the American Revolution was in its infancy, hanging on by a thread and in danger of failing. Morale was evaporating as the weather turned colder. Between September and December, 11,000 volunteers had given up the fight and returned home.

Fishing is an activity that I have done for virtually all my life. So, with all of these admonitions about social-distancing, it was pretty easy for me to see that fishing is one activity that nearly everyone can enjoy, and one that is inherently “socially-distancing.” In Vermont there is no…

  • Updated

Created by Irene Wrenner of personalpuzzles.com.

Your Essex legislators want you to know that we are taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously and are continuing our work while at home. We are in regular communication with legislative leaders, the administration, each other, and you--our constituents.

In mere weeks, society as we know it has halted. Many of our lives are on pause while the pandemic is anything but. Exponential rises in the number of cases speak to the critical weaknesses in our systems, immune systems compromised not only by the virus, but by political and economic system…

As I write this column, the Vermont Legislature has been on hiatus since March 13. A decision by the House of Representative Rules Committee ordered that the Statehouse would close at 5 p.m. on March 13, to return as to be determined. My committee, Appropriations, which writes the fiscal yea…

Each day brings new information and new decisions on COVID-19. As I’m writing this article on Sunday for publication on Thursday, I hesitate to provide what is happening today. Instead I will remind readers to go to www.healthvermont.gov for up to date information, wash your hands, don’t tou…

Vermont's Bernie Sanders had his rally at the Fairgrounds but I still have a lot of questions. Do progressives believe in liberty? What is liberty and why is it important? Why is America a republic, not a democracy? In a democracy when you ask two wolves and a chicken what’s for dinner the v…

On March 3rd, the message from voters to their Selectboard was loud and clear: District Representation is the way forward for the Town of Essex, whether merger happens or not.

Not since 2009 has the Legislature overridden a Governor’s veto. It’s a rare occurrence and an important check on the Executive branch that’s part of our democratic system. I was proud to vote for an override last week to raise the minimum wage for working Vermonters. The vote of 100-49 achi…

I fully support the Fair Representation—the name says it all—Charter Change (3 + 3) being proffered by two of our concerned citizens.

I’ve lived in Essex for 38 years. I am outside the village, but my property line is the town-village border. The whole separate town-village thing has always seemed silly to me and it would make sense to merge. But not at the cost of higher taxes.

At a recent Town Selectboard Meeting, a taxpayer in the audience noted that 9 of the past 10 fiscal years have ended with a surplus, which gets rolled into the Fund Balance. The FYE 2019 surplus was $1 million dollars.

One of the amazing things about Essex is the diversity of our town. Essex agricultural operations include working farms, orchards, forests, and syrup producers.

On February 18, 2020 the Town Selectboard voted against supporting the proposal to create an even-numbered board (Article 5 on the Town Meeting ballot). The vote was one member in favor (Andy Watts) and four not in favor. We voted this way because the majority of board members does not belie…

I have attended both meetings for the charter change proposal. I can understand why people who have not lived in Essex for long, or people who have not been to many meetings of the Selectboard, might be confused or not understand why the charter change is so important to many of us who live …

While at first glance the 3-3 Representation model proposed in the Charter Change may appear like a fair solution, there are some effects that it would have that are neither fair nor a solution to representation.

How we discuss and decide merger issues will determine whether our community will come together or be perpetually divided by Town/Village disagreements. In some ways, residents like me who live only in the Town have accommodated the Village’s desire for “tax equity” despite the increased tax…

The Town of Essex Select Board consists of 5 members elected at-large, throughout the town. Currently 3 of the members live in the village-part-of-the-town and two from outside this area. Weather true or not this can seem as a geographical imbalance of representation. To be clear, in the pas…

You wake up in the morning and realize your spouse seems confused, can’t seem to get out of bed, and is having difficulty speaking. You’re in a meeting at work when you notice your coworker’s face seems to be drooping on one side, and they don’t seem to understand what you’re saying to them.…

Ken Signorello and Irene Wrenner submitted a press release to VTDigger after turning in a petition that calls for a change to Selectboard representation rules. In that press release they refer to a 2005 study called the “The Missing Half: Ensuring Fair Representation in Post-merger Essex, VT…

Vermont’s 2020 legislative session is nearing its midpoint, when lawmakers break for Town Meeting. The origin of our winter timeline comes from Vermont’s agrarian tradition. Prior to the 21st century, many citizen lawmakers farmed the land during warmer seasons. The cold weeks of the winter …

I was reading a Washington Post article by Abigail Jones about a family living with (and without) a child diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was all too familiar. My social network now consists of hundreds of similar families and literally all are forced to endure the same fate as Alissa Dumsc…

We have a unique situation here in the Town of Essex and Village of Essex Junction, in that we literally have almost two distinct independently smooth running local governments, with two of almost everything. We are unlike Waterbury that dissolved their Village to become one, or unlike Winoo…

VOTE! The March 3rd election is important for the United States and the Town of Essex. For our country, Vermont is participating in the selection the next President of our country as part of the “Super Tuesday” primary. For the Town of Essex, we have the election of the moderator and two Sel…

Before us in March is a proposal that asks us to create divisions in our town and village. It solves no problems and in fact will very likely create issues. We see in our country deep divides. In fact, wherever a line is drawn, a division is created. And even in our state where we hear pleas…

Allow me to make this very simple. TOV residents will pay in, but they have NO say in the merger negotiations between the Selectboard and the Trustees of the Village.

It’s no secret that like many northeastern states Vermont faces difficult demographic challenges. In a state with an aging population, we’ll need more younger workers in the coming years to have a healthy tax base and to provide the services many older Vermonters rely upon.

[The Village of Essex Junction is an incorporated municipality within the Town of Essex. The governments of the two municipalities, the Town and the Village, have been consolidating services and departments since 2013, and are now exploring the concept of a complete merger.]

I am writing in support of the governance recommendations recently generated by a subcommittee comprised of representatives from the Village and the Town.

Regarding the petition to increase the selectboard to 6 members, 3 from the Village and 3 from the Town.

Many thanks to the EHS seniors for the wonderful Valentine’s Day Dinner. The food was delicious and the students did a great job serving,visiting and making people feel welcome.

Vermonters value our strong communities. We celebrate the good times with cheers and hugs, and we lend a helping hand when times are tough. Taking care of our neighbors – that’s what we do. During a power outage, we check in on our neighbors. After a heavy snow, we help shovel stoops and pus…

On Tuesday, 3/3, you can vote to guarantee representation for whichever part of town you live in.

Attached are personal comments and are not associated with any of my multiple public service activities.

As you read this, the Vermont Legislature is in the seventh week of the 18-week legislative session. For most legislators this means we are well into testimony and discussions of the various bills that have been assigned to our committees, and there are a lot of bills to potentially discuss.…

I just cast my early vote yes for the petitioned even numbered selectboard district rep charter change and am very excited by the very real possibility of achieving district representation.

I wasn’t going to say anything but I can’t sit by and just ignore the behavior of the high school children (and I use that word because that is how most of them behaved) that were on the bus on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. I can’t comment on anything that happened before I got there but I was on…

When I was a girl there was a jingle on TV: “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”. It was a funny way to say something was really delicious, and there are some things in life that are just so good that everyone can agree.

I have been lobbying for Fair Representation for 15 years. (www.fairness1st.org/history)

When a Selectboard receives a rare, voter-initiated, 1000+ signature petition to alter the Town Charter, one would expect members to be curious about the issue they might have missed or ignored.

Last week the Governance Subcommittee of the Town Selectboard and Village Trustees presented more details about the draft merger plan. We’ll summarize them in this column. On Saturday, Feb. 15 from 1-3 p.m. there will be an outreach event at Essex Middle School. Members of the Selectboard an…