May 26, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Town appreciation

Have you ever noticed that the amount of corrugated plastic signs placed on the side of the road in our town is less than others? That’s because our town staff, led by Ken Belliveau, is watchful and regularly scoops up those without permits. He also takes the time to inform offenders that these off-premise signs are not allowed under Williston’s developmental regulations and are also illegal under Vermont state law.

A “tip of that hat” to Ken and our town maintenance on their efforts to keep our roads free of clutter and our town looking beautiful.

Andy Freeman


Maple Leaf Farm…
a good fit? 

The proposed sale of Pine Ridge School to Maple Leaf Farm has been a frustrating subject for many Williston residents, myself included. Upon first hearing the idea, I commented that common sense would keep a rehab center from being placed near two elementary schools and neighborhoods of young families. Common sense appears to be an uncommon virtue particularly when the political connections and silver tongue of Bill Young are involved.

At the previous town meeting (note: next meeting set for Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., Williston Town Hall), two vociferous critics were a doctor and a nurse. Many of us in the medical profession deal with drug seeking/narcotic addiction literally on a daily basis.  We see addiction make liars and criminals out of otherwise good people. I asked Mr. Young about the crimes typically associated with addiction when informed that MLF had no security. He conceded that crime is associated with addiction but stated that it is as often prostitution as it is burglary. That is far from reassuring. I have asked three different law enforcement officials, including a DEA agent, what they would do if they lived in Williston. Each stated he would vehemently oppose a rehab center in their neighborhood and particularly so near their children’s schools.

We were asked to open our hearts to these patients, but I question MLF’s commitment to their needs. Why place patients facing difficult personal and physical choices so close to potential easy access to temptation? I-89 and the Williston rest station are a quick walk on Route 2. City bus service and thus downtown Burlington is close by. Addicts are troubled people who benefit from MLF’s current “serene setting in the foothills of Mount Mansfield.” In that setting, they are less risk to themselves and to others—especially the children and citizens of Williston.

Robert D. Nesbit, M.D.,



Dissections not right for CVU

I am shocked to learn that CVU’s dissection program includes cats (“Changes sought in CVU’s animal dissection policy,” Oct. 25). I remember the sick feeling and dread I felt during the weeks my science class spent dissecting fetal pigs (needless to say, I happily took the backseat and allowed my science partner to perform the entire dissection while I stood a few feet away and pretended to take an interest—and notes). I could not imagine performing this kind of class work on what most consider a household pet. Perhaps it is commonplace to today’s students, but I had no idea dissecting cats had become the norm.

MacNair and Jensen both made excellent points about kids feeling social pressure to fit in and the practice of dissection being outdated, burdensome, and, basically, unnecessary because of the level of computer programs now available. There are many good arguments for seeking out alternatives, especially at a high-school level (if these kids want to be doctors, they’ll be swamped in hands-on instruction—on human cadavers—in college), but isn’t it enough that there are more humane options easily available?

Especially today, we must teach kids the importance of thinking about why we make the choices we do as a society and doing the right thing, and I don’t see how making the humane choice can ever be wrong. If there is a humane option, how can we justify doing otherwise? I applaud the school board for giving the issue serious and fair consideration instead of dismissing it immediately ( because, to quote Jensen, “it’s just how we’ve always done it.” I strongly encourage them, the teachers, and the staff at CVU to consider what their decisions and actions teach these kids outside the subject of science.

Lisa Vear


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