June 19, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Banish cruelty to animals — pass S.329

As I sat down to write this letter, a quick Internet search of the phrase “gestation crate” proved to be quite saddening. The only way to describe what I saw and read about this topic would be hundreds of images of fattened pigs stuffed into crates too small to move, their tails hanging out behind them and their snouts poking out in front of their sad eyes.

As delicious as I remember Christmas ham and Sunday morning bacon tasting, if you think about it – is it really as wonderful when you realize that the pig that was slaughtered for your food was raised in a crate so small she could not turn around, could not walk, could not bury herself in mud, and then when she was no longer able to reproduce, sent to slaughter? The meat from the pig you are eating was factory farmed for profit, and not allowed a natural pig life outside of being on your plate.

One of the reasons I choose to live in Vermont is the progressive nature and belief of civil rights to everyone. It is time for the Green Mountain State to move even further ahead and banish cruelty to its animals. And a great step in this animal rights movement in Vermont would be for our representatives to pass S.239 – An Act Relating to Ensuring the Humane Treatment and Slaughter of Animals. I encourage all our representatives to move past the “hot topics” at the State House and stand up for our animals. Please pass S.239.

— Leah Korce, Jericho


Booster seat or seat belt?

For my eighth grade challenge, I am informing/educating our community about car seat safety. Here are some important items to address:

Vermont Law states: All children ages 8 to 18 shall ride in a properly used child restraint or safety belt system;

All children up to the age of 8 shall ride in a properly used child restraint. Fines for violating this law: $25 for first violation; $50 for second violation; $100 for third and subsequent violation.

BUCKLE UP for every ride! Make safety a habit! Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 – 14.

Safety seat stages:

  • Stage 4 -— Seat Belt

Ride in the back seat until they are at least 13. When children outgrow their booster seats, they are at least eight years old and the belt fits them properly. Does the child sit all the way back against the vehicle’s seat? Is the lap belt below the stomach, touching the thighs? Is the shoulder belt centered on the shoulder and chest? Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle’s seat? Can the child stay seated like this for the whole ride? If the answer is no to any of these, continue to use booster seat.

  • Stage 3 -— Booster Seat

Children stay harnessed until they are at least four years old and 40 pounds. Children who do not meet both of these conditions may need a high-weight harness seat. Place the lap belt low over the hips. Place the shoulder belt across the center of the chest. Belt should not ride up on neck or down on arm. Booster must be used with both a lap and shoulder belt. Using only a lap belt can cause serious injury or death. No-back boosters may be used if the vehicle’s seat has a high back or a headrest and the belt fits correctly on the shoulder. If the vehicle does not have a headrest, use a high backed booster.

  • Stage 2 — Front facing properly installed car seat
  • Stage 1— Rear facing properly installed car seat

All infants under one-year-old and less than 20 pounds shall ride rear-facing in a proper child restraint that is not installed in front of an active air bag.

Please be seat-SMART in the car — it’s the law.

— Laura Durkee, Williston


Keep it simple at intersection

I agree with previous letters in the Observer regarding the intersection of North Williston Road and Mountain View Road in that we keep it simple and inexpensive. When driving down Mountain View Road recently, I felt the guardrail on the left could be removed to make the view of the intersection more clear. The posts on the opposite side protect walkers on the sidewalk. Thinking about cars coming to stop here when the road is iced and pedestrians are on the sidewalk makes this a safety barrier. If the power/light pole must be removed from the corner near the Owens house, it could be replaced by a boulder.

I also wondered if a crosswalk painted on the road would help bikers and walkers crossing from the sidewalk on the west to Governor Chittenden Road and a walking people sign installed on the south side, coming from the village. There must be many bikers who cross this area to get to Catamount during the year.

Most of the traffic is most likely an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon at this intersection, and that is only five days a week. It doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars where the busy time amounts to 10 hours a week.

Whenever I arrive at the intersection in the village, I find drivers are 99 percent courteous and take turns in a mannerly fashion. To have another 4-way stop at this intersection would not be difficult as drivers would learn to stop here as they do in the village. I do not think we need blinking lights to warn drivers — just warning signs before cars come to the intersection. After all, drivers should adapt to changes in the traffic patterns without too much trouble.

— Ginger Isham, Williston


Vermont Electric Cooperative Board vote

There are eight candidates on Vermont Electric Cooperative ballots that were mailed on April 17 to represent West District II. The West District includes 40 towns in Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Chittenden counties, and a small part of Starksboro.

VEC was founded in 1938 as a non-profit Rural Electric Adminstration utility to bring power to rural Vermont, starting with about 45 customers in Lowell and now serving approximately 34,000 members.

VEC is under member control through the Board. This, in turn, assumes members participate in the election of directors and remain current with their performance. In the past, member participation has been disappointing. When I ran two years ago, less than 10 percent of eligible members cast ballots. Another indication of member involvement is that I have been the only VEC member, with a few exceptions, present at Board meetings. Eight candidates this time suggests a change in interest and, if so, hurray!

The Board’s role is critical in assuring the Co-op provides safe, reliable and business-based power at the lowest attainable rates. To meet these ends, I believe there should be, periodically, new board members through term limits; and the Board should, from time to time, hold meetings in various locations within its service areas to make it easier for members to observe the Board in action and give the Board opportunities to hear from its members.

VEC belongs to its members. So, all members look over the ballots and VOTE!

— Schuyler Jackson, Hinesburg

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