December 13, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Market gratitude

On behalf of the Williston Farmers’ Market, I wish to thank the volunteers, contributors of live music, vendors, patrons, neighbors and Williston Observer for your support this past summer. I look forward to the market’s 2019 season with great expectations!

Sharon Gutwin, Williston

Optimism on North American trade deal

I’m very pleased to see leaders in the U.S., Mexico and Canada come to an initial agreement that modernizes the free trade agreement governing these three countries while keeping our trilateral partnership intact.

In the Northeastern U.S., the relationship with our neighbors in Canada is a vital part of our economy and culture. Since 1993, Canada has been our fifth-largest source of foreign capital. We’ve seen a boom in travel and tourism with Canadians making 21 million trips to the U.S. and spending $24 billion every year. Additionally, we build things together. About half of all trade with Canada takes place between related companies, building complex, integrated supply chains in aerospace, information technology, construction materials, food systems and more.

These relationships and the trade between countries is essential to Vermont’s economy, which is why I’ve advocated for a continued, though modernized, agreement that includes Canada. So, I appreciate the work done to reach this new agreement.

While we work to learn more and fully understand the impact for Vermonters and Vermont businesses, I’m optimistic the updated agreement will have a positive impact in Vermont, particularly for our dairy industry. I look forward to working with my team to further analyze this latest agreement and the impacts for our state.

This agreement has a way to go before being implemented, but I believe this is an encouraging step forward. At the state level, I will continue to work to expand and strengthen Vermont’s relationship with our Canadian neighbors as we work together to advance our shared economic interests and common values.

Gov. Phil Scott

Lean left, act nationally

Like many Vermonters I know, I’ve been dismayed at the actions of the U.S. Congress since the election of President Trump. Just casting my vote in Vermont, although important and necessary, doesn’t seem like a sufficient way to express my disagreement with the status quo.

For the past 18 months, I have been collaborating with Lean Left Vermont, an all-volunteer group founded last year to organize ways for Vermonters to help elect Democrats and Progressives in other states. The group has provided key guidance, information and training to the dozens of us who are supporting candidates around the country.

Lean Left notifies us of opportunities for people here to take part in phonebanking, textbanking and postcard-writing on behalf of candidates elsewhere; offers tips on quick and fun ways to do some fundraising for candidates; and organizes canvassing trips to key battleground districts in New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Pennsylvania. We have already assisted candidates for the U.S. House and for state legislatures, helping with voter registration and messaging to get out the vote.

I’d urge others who want to see a change in Washington to get in touch with Lean Left Vermont at www.leanleftvt.org or leanleftcvt@gmail.com.

Ruth Wallman, Williston

Addressing addiction

The Richmond/Williston Rotary Club has made addiction its theme topic this year. We have had several speakers come to Rotary meetings to speak about addictions — specifically about the opioid crisis facing this state and country. Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50.

We have heard about what it takes for effective preventative actions. The country of Iceland during the 1990s had the worst adolescent addiction rates in all of Europe. Because of actions taken, the country has now reduced adolescent alcohol abuse rates from 42 percent to 7 percent, daily tobacco use from 23 percent to 3 percent and regular cannabis use from 17 percent to 5 percent. It has been proven that prevention efforts are 10 times less costly than intervention efforts, and the deaths and destruction of our youth is worth any cost. With the rising rates of opioid deaths in Vermont and America, it’s important that we take the appropriate actions.

A new problem we have in this country is juuling. This is a scary trend amongst the youth today. Juuling is worse than smoking cigarettes and increases the likelihood of addiction problems later in life. Juuling uses a small device that appears to be a USB stick most kids today have. A juul cartridge holds the nicotine equivalent of a pack of cigarettes and dispenses a hit of highly addictive nicotine in aerosol form. It’s being targeted to kids with grape soda, crème soda and bubble gum flavored hits.

As president of the local Rotary, I hope we can help make progress on saving our youth.

Mike Isham, Williston

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