Vantage Point: By Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews

Well, the ODDservations pile is now higher than the grass that has been too wet to mow for a month, so let’s lay it out in no particular order.

• As I understand it, this weekend marks the end of Stowe schools forever.

Monday morning we are, among other things, a 1,000-plus-student sports power, ready to kick butt all over the state, especially in towns where any of these dreadful social engineers reside.

I’m waiting for September when our Stoweville Regional football team, aka Peoples Pride, takes the field.

Nicknames; that’s about the only thing the state left for us to choose.

• In any case, don’t underestimate the role of interscholastic athletics in these locally stunning, awkward and changing times. That great lacrosse state championship was Stowe and Peoples Academy as a combined team. In this and many other school activities, the kids are way ahead on the social scene. There’s no wall between the towns. Most have known each other at some level for 15 years or so, and are likely dealing with this better than the grownups.

• Speaking of stunning, it’s quite a shock to realize you now have children in their 40s who departed Stowe High School before Act 60 even existed. And this month, we’re reading well-earned retirement tributes to the likes of Norm Williams, Jane Bouffard and Don McDowell, who were there as well. Yet, their teaching tenures extended out to serve two more generations of Stowe’s most precious commodity. That’s a priceless contribution to the community.

• Meanwhile, yet another talented crop of high school achievers are set to make their marks in the world, according to their interesting and impressive graduation farewells in last week’s paper. However, I’m betting a few of them will return to home-sweet-home sometime in their journey through adulthood and give back something special to us all.

• It had to be done, but one shudders to think that 351 affirmative voters from three communities each committed all of us to 351 checks of $88,319.09 to cover the $31 million local tab for the brave new state-mandated everything-equal education machine.

And one shudders to think what happens when 10 times that number show up at the next vote, having realized they’re now in hock for capital investment costs as well, something our state hasn’t funded for 12 years. “We’ll tell where you’re going to go, but you’re going to pay for it.”

• With those unknown commitments still looming, I suppose it’s wise that our town fathers and mothers eased the rest of us into the sidewalk and utility upgrades right now. It undoubtedly brightens up the pathway into the Stowe Vibrancy area. May the investment manifest significant growth in our piece of the 1 percent local option tax on rooms and meals.

• Time Magazine had a recent issue that included a two-page banner headline piece on the emotional battle over this vaccine stuff that has become very real, with measles outbreaks in many places.

I looked back at a column written 30 months ago after seeing the controversial film “Vaxxed.” With naiveté as well as being relatively clueless on such a deep issue, it wound up a balanced column for people who on either side didn’t want to see balance. That was evidenced by more cyberspace (yelling at each other — not the author) comments than all the combined previous 250-plus columns in this space.

In retrospect, the writer’s goal failed. Only wanted an answer to one question and never got it: “If there’s such an issue gap between the multi-target preventive injection and the old measles-only shot, does it not seem reasonable for Big Pharma to resume the latter as an option for parents?”

• Naiveté is nothing new in my case. In a previous life, I spent some time on a pair of national committees addressing the scourge of illegal gambling in college football and basketball. One quickly learned that condescending supportive remarks of those in decision-making positions were trumped by the wink of the eye to their colleagues in the room.

Now, four decades later, it’s on a path to become a legal staple in America.

• This past Sunday saw the opening of the Encore Boston Harbor Casino, a $2.6 billion, 3.1-million-square-foot behemoth of greed that will run 24/365 with no lock on the door. No sport betting yet, but the wink has been displayed.

This has me naively pondering the possibilities. Vermont 21st-century tourism demands action outside the box. The gambling issue is settled beyond our borders. We may as well toss in our anti-gambling towel.

Stowe would be a great location with appropriate demographics to attract the Encore crowd. Let’s tear down the inevitable to-be-doomed high school and plunk the new school up the road near the airport, as some insiders have suggested.

In its place, sell off that chunk of Barrows Road and rake in some Green Mountain casino cash to pay for all the services the growing senior population expects. Just don’t keep it open 24/365.


Dave Matthews lives in Stowe. His column appears monthly. Email letters to news@stowereporter.com.

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