Letters to the Editor (7/16/09)

July 16, 2009

What were you thinking?

I always enjoy reading the Observer following the Fourth, for it does a wonderful job at capturing the Spirit of America through the Spirit of Williston. However, I was appalled and offended at your July 9 editorial cartoon, “Soul Mates.”

I consider myself open-minded, and at first glance the cartoon looks patriotic with its stars and stripes. My second glance made me do a double take on the shapely female figure for the “I” in politics. I thought the Observer would be more sensitive to its readers. This does not belong in our local community paper. I’m sure there was more appropriate material you could have put in its place. If not, how about a nice thank you to our men and women who have and are currently serving this country so we can continue celebrating Independence Day?

Thank you for listening.

Julie Watson, Williston

Gouged by gas prices

I found myself in Plainfield on July 10 when I noticed that the posted gasoline prices at three pumps there were $2.349 and $2.359 per gallon regular, which compared to $2.649 at the pumps in Williston. Just to make sure I was right, I got five gallons at Tim’s Convenience Center at 6:54 p.m. in Plainfield at the price of $2.349 per gallon. Then at 7:46 p.m. of the same day, another two gallons at the Shell pump opposite Shaw’s for the price of $2.649 per gallon.

Since these 30 cent per gallon regular cannot be explained either by a difference in gasoline tax or in transport distance, can somebody tell me why the guys in Plainfield are so lucky and we in Williston are so unlucky?

Luz Muller, Williston

Accumulating lead

Two pounds a minute sounds great for those wishing to lose weight, but what about if I’m talking about a gain? Then not so good, right!

Well, 2 pounds a minute is the approximate rate the North Country Sportsmen’s Club is adding lead to its already over 1 million pound pile. As it has been working hard to get more people to shoot at the club, it has also almost doubled the lead that is being deposited into the ground in our town.

How much longer do we wait before taking action? When the total amount of lead hits 2 million pounds? When Williston shows up on maps as a toxic waste area? When the value of our homes and property is zero?

Mona Boutin, Williston

Update on Frameworks

The Williston School Board wishes to thank the members of the Conceptual Frameworks Committee for their service during the past year. Their commitment of time and dedication to the work on communication and configuration is greatly appreciated and will serve the community into the future. The outcomes will become the new frameworks document for our future use by the school, board and community.

At the recent School Board meeting, we decided to have the administration, rather than the committee, work on addressing the issue of equity. We realize that this is a very important part of the configuration changes which will come about in 2010. A solid foundation has been set by Frameworks Committee and the administrative team has a good perspective on the school-wide issues. Therefore, for the following reasons, the administrative team will lead the work on equity next fall:

• Fiscal responsibility of having the administrative team address equity

• Administrative team has worked with TriFocal Consulting to outline the process for addressing equity, similar to the communication and configuration process followed by the Frameworks Committee

• Administrative team has a better handle on the internal issues – as educational leaders, they know what changes are possible and feasible considering budget and school structure

• Collaborative process will be used with opportunity for input from staff, parents and student council to provide data around what’s not working – parents and staff will be generating actions to accomplish goals

• Administrative work on configuration can be addressed simultaneously with equity as there is much overlap between these two issues

• Administrative team can look at the issues across houses, resulting in a whole school perspective

• Administrative team will use the equity work generated by the Frameworks Committee as a foundation to build upon

We hope that the community will continue to support this work and the positive changes that will come about in our school system due to recommendations by the Frameworks Committee.

Darlene Worth, Keith Roy, Holly Rouelle, Deb Baker-Moody, Laura Gigliotti, Williston School Board

Listen, talk and keep talking

I’m a volunteer commissioner at the Vermont Commission on Women, a non-partisan state agency dedicated to legislative, economic, social and political fairness. Our agency works on a variety of issues to improve the lives of women and girls in Vermont. We not only address ongoing concerns like childcare, pay equity, educational attainment and job training opportunities, we also discuss emerging issues such as the effect of the recession on women’s lives and the impact of the economic stimulus on job creation for women.

This spring at the Commission, the public furor over some recently released snowboards was discussed and debated at length. We universally found the boards’ sexual and violent language and imagery, and accompanying marketing messages offensive.

As a result of the Commission’s discussions, we created “Listen, Talk and Keep Talking.” It is a simple and short guide for parents on how to talk to your child when you are confronted with objectionable material or language. It also offers resources for additional information. “Listen, Talk and Keep Talking” is available on our Web site: www.women.state.vt.us.

Our goal is to help parents neutralize media images that objectify and dehumanize women by engaging in positive and caring conversations with their children … hopefully creating positive change within your family and for the next generation of Vermonters.

Marcia S. Merrill, commissioner, Vermont Commission on Women, Jericho