Jan. 19, 2012
Solar energy needs further study
I am writing in reference to last week’s article (Observer, “Solar spotlight,” Jan. 12, 2012). Although solar and/or windpower may be the best solution to both Vermont and Williston’s energy needs, I think that the proposal needs to be examined more carefully.
I was, however, appalled by the solution that the voters be bypassed yet again. The suggested course of action reminds me of the ambulance issue, which as you might recall, reversed a decision by the taxpayers by slipping that item into the town budget. Let us not reinforce a questionable precedent in the affairs of our town by once again taking a path that would circumvent the voters (our taxpayers), even if the cause is laudable.
Attend the school budget public hearing
There’s foliage season, the holiday season, mud season and if you are a School Board member, budget season!
Your Williston School Board members, administrators, and community budget buddies have been working since October to create a school budget that provides the best education for our children with the least amount of tax dollars — no easy task given the current economic challenges in our town, state and nation. Continuing the same budget as last year would have resulted in more than a 3-percent monetary increase, which would have increased the tax rate beyond what the Board felt was reasonable to ask of the community. As we prepare for the community budget hearing on Jan. 26, we are putting forth a budget that continues excellent programs — such as the school wide enrichment program and Connecting Youth mentoring program. In addition, this year’s budget includes a summer skills program, a summer camp for our increasing English Language Learners population and an extended day program to serve those students who need additional academic time.
Our administrative team was able to make cost-saving decisions that only slightly increase our school budget (less than 2 percent), resulting in less than a 3 percent increase in school taxes.
The School Board would like to thank Darlene Worth, Keith Roy, Marsha Drake and Thomas Hark for serving as budget buddies. Their feedback and insights were instrumental in helping create a budget that is reflective of our students’ and community’s needs. We invite you to join us, along with some of the Champlain Valley Union High School Board representatives from Williston, on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Williston Central School dining room for our annual budget hearing to hear more details regarding next year’s Williston and CVU school budgets.
Holly Rouelle, chair; Deb Baker Moody, vice chair, Giovanna
Boggero, Joshua Diamond
and Kevin Mara.
Williston School Board
Retail competition is good, traffic is not
This is the Wal-Mart fight all over again. Everyone is/was anti Wal-Mart, but yet everyone shops at department stores (vs. mom and pop or small shops) because of the prices. Target will merely offer competition and a choice other than Wal-Mart. If Kmart would actually invest in their local store(s), they could also compete — but they choose not to. For Target to compete, it needs adequate (i.e. equal) space like Wal-Mart.
I, and many others, agree on the traffic concern. But the traffic issue is not Target’s problem; it is a local (town, county, and state) planning issue. Collectively, these planning boards, entities and protesters have screwed this up. All these “alternatives” are not going to fix this traffic mess. Most of the opposing comments cite the existing traffic problems, and don’t want to make it worse. Lets fix this Circumferential Highway once and for all so Sen. Robert Stafford can rest in peace.
Ritchie’s charitable work stretches beyond article
Your article saluting Brigitte Ritchie (“Salient survivor,” Observer, Jan. 12, 2012) mentioned many reasons to respect her and her charitable work on behalf of Citizens Bank. I’d like to add one more. For six years, Brigitte has connected Citizens Bank to the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. The festival, with the generous support of Citizens Bank, has donated over $550,000 to local cancer-related causes including Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, The Cancer Patient Support Fund, and most recently, Survivorship NOW — whose goal is to offer wellness programs to bridge the gap in support for cancer survivors between treatment and recovery.
Each summer, Brigitte’s spirit and determination permeates the festival. A tribute to Brigitte is incomplete without mention of her work with Dragonheart Vermont and the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival.
Sign petition to reverse U.S. Supreme Court decision
The year 2010 was a watershed year in American history, as it was the year that the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court’s 5-4 split decision effectively affords the same First Amendment rights granted to every American citizen to corporations.
The practical effect of this decision permits corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to sway the results of elections without disclosing the source of funding. Citizens of the United States, wishing to know the agenda of a virtually unlimited barrage of advertising, will have no way of knowing who is behind the ads and what their agenda is.
To reverse this decision, the only recourse of the people is to work toward an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that explicitly denies corporations the rights of personhood. We are working locally to get a resolution on the warning for Williston’s Town Meeting that will allow us to express the fact that corporations are not persons. We still need signatures from Williston voters, ideally by Jan. 20, to get this resolution on the ballot. I would highly encourage Williston voters to join your neighbors, who have already signed, to get your names on the petition. Please email WillistonResolution@gmail.com.