Oct. 8, 2009
More on race
This is in response to last week’s inflammatory letter, “The race card.” That kind of misrepresentation of facts can lead to hate-mongering, which often leads to violence. Mr. Shelley Palmer’s letter proves that we do indeed need to have a continuing conversation about race in this country.
Here are some facts: Most of the money spent for the social services Mr. Palmer mentioned in last week’s letter go to white people. As per the Overview of Entitlement Programs, Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, “According to the statistics, whites form the largest racial group on welfare.” Is Mr. Palmer expecting “gratitude” from all poor people, or just poor black people?
Around the country, schools in poor neighborhoods don’t get funded as well as schools in wealthier neighborhoods, creating overcrowded classrooms, crumbling buildings, lack of services, below average teacher salaries and higher dropout rates (read “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathon Kozol to learn more about these disparities).
Does history play a role in today’s culture? Of course it does. There are still people alive today whose grandparents were born into slavery. The lingering effects of institutionalized racism cannot be denied.
In reference to the “silent majority” that “is tired,” Mr. Palmer should consider the fact that, as Reuters points out, non-Hispanic whites will become a minority in the United States by 2050. America was built on the backs of people from diverse ethnicities, races, religions and origins. We’re all American, and we’re all in this together — divided we fall.
Speak up, Williston. Last week’s letter was the only letter the Observer received. I know there are other voices out there, but they need to be louder.
Deborah Miuccio, Williston
A couple of comments on the “Time for peace” picture of the Williston elementary students and teachers in the formation of a large peace sign outdoors (Observer, Sept. 24, 2009):
First, it is misleading to teach children that some day there will be world peace. While we should strive to live in peace individually and as a nation, there will never be true and lasting peace in this world because of sin. Some people don’t like to hear this, but it is true. We can, however, have personal peace through Jesus Christ.
Also, there are many people in the peace movement who have a negative view of America. America is not perfect and never will be, but it us the greatest country in the world. It is great because it was founded upon a belief in God and the right to be free.
Our children need to be constantly reminded of our amazing history. We need to teach them to honor those who have sacrificed in our past to make our country what it is and those who sacrifice to keep it free today.
Christine Parker, Starksboro
Insurance for teachers
I am a teacher in Colchester, and I have lived in Williston since 1990. Colchester teachers pay a 20 percent co-pay for their health insurance. All teachers in Vermont are covered by the same group insurance: VEHI-Vermont Health Partnership BC/BS. A family plan costs the school district $16,722 for one teacher per year under this plan.
In Colchester, the employee’s annual cost with a 20 percent co-pay is $3,344.40 per year. Teachers are paid biweekly and can choose 22 or 26 pay periods. Spread out over 22 pay periods, the employee’s cost is $152 a pay period; for 26 pay periods the employee’s cost is $128.46 a pay period. In this day, with the high cost of health insurance, I personally do not object to a 20 percent co-pay for the insurance I have.
In Chittenden South Supervisory Union, a family plan also costs $16,722 for one teacher. Teachers have a 12 percent co-pay, with a cost per pay period of $77.18.
Williston teachers have started new contract negotiations. It is hard for me to support a budget for Williston teachers with a 12 percent co-pay. I hope these costs will be taken into consideration by both sides in these difficult financial times.
Louisa Costantino-Foley, Williston
Adams family confusion
A recent news release announcing that Adams Family Farm is closing at the end of the month has caused a lot of confusion for our customers. Yes, the Adams Family Farm that is located in Wilmington is unfortunately closing its doors for good. However, Adams Apple Orchard & Farm Market in Williston is NOT going out of business.
Adams Farm Market will continue to be open daily through Christmas and will reopen once again in the spring of 2010. The apple orchard will be open for about one more week of apple picking.
We look forward to many more years of serving our community with the highest quality products and services we can offer.
The “Williston” Adams family