All across our nation, the descendants of European settlers have taken pride in this pioneering spirit. But, since the Europeans did not travel lightly on the land as the Native Americans had before them, the balance shifted. Wilderness is no longer a given, something to be conquered or even taken for granted. It will not be there forever unless we preserve and protect what we have left of it.

We believe the best way to honor Peter Becker is to prevent deaths like his in the future. Responsible town leaders, including the highway superintendent, must be transparent about what went wrong and must correct the violations as soon as possible. This is essential for restoring public trust. It is also a matter of life and death.

Most of us have people in our lives we care about and who care about us. The kind thing to do is to talk with them now, while you are able, about how you want to die.

We urge our legislators to set aside politics and work to see that substantive problems raised by the attorney general are dealt with. Nursing-home owners should not be able to profit from government money meant to help their elderly residents, and staffing levels should be adequate to maintain good care.

Certainly, we commend local colleges for their strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but the bottom line, based on the science, is: Remote-only classes should be held until enough staff and students have been vaccinated for herd immunity.

Words can move people.

On January 6, President Donald Trump’s words moved people to violence. 

“We’re gathered together in the heart of our nation’s Capitol for one very, very basic and simple reason, to save our democracy,” Trump said.

The most essential thing to teach our children is how to differentiate facts from falsehoods, truth from propaganda.

It would be a shame if our democracy — our governance on a local level — were to just wither away through neglect.

It is important to both increase the number of voters — personal responsibility is essential but access can ease the way — and to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot box by making it impermeable to fraud.