October 30, 2014

Letters to the Editor

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Nov. 18, 2010

Local or organic?

I have been a certified organic vegetable grower since 1997 and have not been growing this way for so many years because I think I can charge more for my products. The biggest reason I follow strict standards for growing safe and healthy food is selfish: I am the one that is closest to the soil and pests and if I use chemical means for treatment I have the biggest exposure to the risks. My customers and the earth get the side benefits of my choice.

I believe it is important to know where our food comes from and be connected to the people that grow or produce the food we eat. My personal choice is local organic but I do choose local, conventionally grown vegetables over out-of-state organic food if I know that the grower is practicing Integrated Pest Management or is using low spray methods.

In today’s economy, a family needs to choose what is best for them. In mine, I choose to purchase organic food for the health and safety of my family. Although I do not and cannot buy everything organically, the things we eat the most and the crops that are the most dangerous (GMO and foods most likely to be contaminated by pesticides, herbicides and hormones) are definitely organic.

I am reminded of a visit to my pediatrician when my children were young and the doctor being shocked that there were two wellness checks on the same page in the file; many other families have at least six sick visits between these annual checkups. My choice to feed my family organic has led to very healthy children.

Lisa Dillon Beliveau, St. George

Voter appreciation

On behalf of the families of the Soldiers of National Guard unit HHC Williston, I’d like to thank the Williston voters for their support of the bake sale held at the Armory on voting day. Thanks to your overwhelming generosity, the families of the soldiers will be able to donate $1,000 to the HHC Williston FRG for a Homecoming Celebration.

Peter Moreman, co-leader, Williston Headquarters Company of the Family Readiness Group

Shumlin deserves a chance

In response to Kayla Purvis’ comments concerning the gubernatorial outcome, I would like to make a few remarks.

Peter Shumlin won — whether by a narrow or wide margin is immaterial. He will be our next governor, and to verbally attack him before he even takes the oath of office is unreal.

To state that Dubie would have been a better governor because he is “good natured” is ridiculous. I am certain Dubie is a good father and a good pilot, but I would have been disappointed had he won. Whatever Shumlin’s family situation, it has no bearing on his ability to be governor.

Shumlin cares about Vermont. He voted against re-commissioning Vermont Yankee because the facility has major problems and is leaking tritium, strontium, cesium and who knows what else into the soil and air, he cares about women and wants them to have reproductive freedom of choice, he cares about all Vermonters, whether they be straight or gay, and wants everyone to have the same rights and privileges.

So it’s fine that Ms. Purvis and her assorted relatives know Dubie and his family, and that she has heard secondhand stories about Shumlin from a Republican representative, but what does that have to do with anything?

Give Shumlin a chance. The people have spoken. Let’s move on.

Julie Bonanno, Williston

Williston and Vermont politics

The back and forth liberal – conservative columns of the Observer are enjoyable.

However, right now it is not a particularly balanced set of columns. “Liberally Speaking” is created by a software engineer and “Right to the Point” is written by a high school student. No matter how accomplished the latter, it is not a fair fight.

I do appreciate that Steve Mount takes a soft tone to his liberalism and is not pigeonholed in his views. His columns are very well written. But I was a bit surprised by his comment that he “still (has) a lot of work to do … trying to convince the majority of (his) neighbors that the best choice for Vermont is left-leaning.”

The town of Williston is unlikely to be anything but moderate. Its demographics are such that the majority of residents are employed and pay substantial taxes.

The fact that Peter Shumlin won by a razor thin margin in a heretofore solidly blue state and lost essentially all suburbs like Williston demonstrates the anxiety people feel about the consequences of an all-left Legislature and governor. As such, our newly-elected governor does not have a mandate for his one-size-fits-all health care system, nor does he have a mandate to shut down Vermont Yankee.

Of course, everyone sees these issues through their own tinted glasses. I was speaking with a longstanding liberal legislator who noted that all of the businesses he saw had Shumlin signs in front of them. Funny, but I didn’t see it that way.

As an aside, trying to convince people to change their political views is like herding cats. The best thing we could all do right now would be to stop trying to convince each other that we are right and focus on one goal and only one goal — creating and maintaining a solid workforce. It is perhaps the one thing we can all agree on.

Glenn Goldman, Williston

Budget forum ideas

The School Board held budget forums for faculty/staff and community members. The forums were held to generate ideas to guide our work on the 2011-2012 school budget. Williston has been asked by the state to reduce our spending by $265,760 under the Challenges for Change. The board is looking for ways to preserve the quality educational programs for all students while funding sources continue to decline.

Forum participants suggested consolidation of services in the areas of special education, curriculum coordinators and central office services as ways to reduce spending. Transportation and food service were other areas that could be more efficient. County-wide merger and more efficient data collection were also suggested as ways to reduce costs.

The areas that participants felt should not be changed included technology, team collaboration and keeping student/teacher ratios low. Community members felt that it is important to keep programs such as Enrichment.

Indicators that we would not be providing a quality education for our students included high caseloads for special educators and guidance, increased class size and reduced planning time for teachers. Project-based learning was considered an important component of a quality educational program.

There were many ideas around how we can rethink the way we currently provide education and preserve the quality. Online learning and year-round school were some of the suggestions for improving efficiency in Williston. Pursuing alternative funding sources and increasing facility rental fees could help reduce educational spending.

The next budget meeting will be held on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in the Williston Central School dining room. We hope you can join us.

Holly Rouelle, Deb Baker-Moody, Laura Gigliotti, Kevin Mara and Darlene Worth, Williston School Board

Lost dog saved

Kondros is a big red brindle Great Dane mix who escaped, dragging a leash from All Breed Rescue volunteers on Oct. 30. A gentle giant, Kondros was so scared he wouldn’t let anyone near him, and so many wonderful people tried to catch him.

He spent the cold first week of November on River Cove Road, where the Williston Fire Department and the Williston Police called in sightings and tried to catch him on several occasions. So many people called us to let us know they had seen him but he wouldn’t get in their car or take food from their hands. The Chittenden County Humane Society lent us their large have a heart trap and we set it for him, but he was too smart for that.

On Nov. 5 he moved to the Williston Woods neighborhood and was seen crossing the interstate and at the Williston rest area twice on Nov. 6. Finally, on Nov. 7, he collapsed in the backyard of a wonderful family on Lamplite Lane who called the Williston Police and we went to pick him up. He was not dehydrated but was emaciated and had an upper respiratory infection. He was seen by Dr. Angelos that afternoon and got a shot and some antibiotics and EN food.

Kondros went home that night with his new family to rest and recover from his cold and wet and hungry ordeal. He will be his wonderful wise self after his course of antibiotics, warm rest and healthy food. Without all of the help Kondros got from this caring community of animal lovers, he might not be snoozing on his memory foam bed in a committed home tonight. We are so grateful it is beyond description. Thank you to all, from Kondros and All Breed Rescue.

Lynne Robertson, vice president, All Breed Rescue, South Burlington

Catamount adding solar

Want solar, but do not have a spot? Catamount Outdoor Family Center is installing two solar panels as part of VPIRG Energy’s Solar Communities promotion. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group has negotiated low financing rates and a huge savings on purchase and installation.

We hope you will join us in helping Vermonters take charge of our own electricity needs. If you do not have a site that is “solar suitable,” we will host your solar panel for a modest lease, benefitting Catamount. We have set aside 12 spots for panels; nine spots are remaining. You must be in the Green Mountain Power service area to participate.

Visit the VPIRG site, www.vpirgenergy.org, for all the details.

Jim McCullough, owner Catamount Outdoor Family Center, Williston

‘Voices’ a success

The Howley Foundation extends its heartfelt thanks to all of its contributors, supporters, volunteers and gifted performers who made Voices For The Children of India successful on Nov. 7. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it has taken all of them to make this event a success, for which we are very grateful.

Brenda Howley, founder The Howley Foundation, South Burlington
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