Letters to the Editor (11/19/09)

Nov. 19, 2009


Hats off to CVU’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’

The CVU Drama has once again done a fabulous job with their fall musical that was worthy of the wonderful new auditorium at Champlain Valley Union High School.

This year’s production was Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance, BVI” a comedy filled with pirates, beautiful girls and high drama. Despite the fact that the show was written in 1890, Director Sebastian Ryder succeeded in making the show fresh, allowing the students to inject their own humor into the script (I’m assuming the Pepto-Bismol moment was not written into the original script), not to mention the incredible choreography.

Standouts in the cast were Amelia Munson as Mabel with her sweet and pure voice on incredibly high notes; Justin Small as the Major General singing faster than you could imagine possible, not sacrificing enunciation for speed, all while dancing Monty Python style; Sasha Torrens-Sperry as the nursemaid who had some of the finest acting in the show and an incredible singing voice to match; Jameson Hurd as the Pirate King who kept the audience in stitches with his antics; and Adriel Elijah-Rondell Miles as Frederick with his lovely voice that had all the girls in the audience swooning.

Not that the supporting cast wasn’t just as amazing. It was like being at a three-ring circus and knowing you couldn’t catch it all, because everyone you saw was hamming it up in his or her own way. The battle between the pirates and police was one of the highlights of the show. I watched the show three times and each time saw something new that kept me laughing.

The orchestra did a fine job keeping a lively tempo that kept the show moving along. What a difference the new pit made in the quality of the sound.

Bravo to CVU Drama for taking on a difficult show, but succeeding to make it funny and memorable.

Cathy O’Brien, Williston


Roles of the School Board

Recommendations from the Frameworks Committee included improved communication from the Williston School Board. As a result, we will regularly utilize this space to update the community regarding board work. This week, we explore the roles and responsibilities of the School Board.

Your Williston School Board is made up of five elected members. As elected members, we try to hear and represent the many voices in our community. As individuals, we hold no decision making power and can only take action at duly warned meetings. Community members who wish to discuss educational issues are welcome to contact us. However, keep in mind that we are not able to make any decisions until we are gathered as a board. All board meetings are open to the public and there is always time reserved for audience communications.

If you have attended a School Board meeting, you know that it is a board work session. Executive session is the only portion that is not open to the public. These sessions are confidential deliberations regarding issues such as contract or labor relations, real estate purchases, disciplinary or dismissal actions, or public safety.

Our biggest role as a board is to determine educational policies. The administration’s role is to develop, disseminate and implement procedures that describe how each policy will be implemented. While we oversee this process, we try not to impede the quality educational work that is carried out by our licensed administrators and staff, who are truly the “experts.” Along with policy adoption, we also work with the administration to develop a budget, monitor expenditures, serve as community liaisons and deal with personnel and disciplinary issues.

We invite you to attend our next meeting on Dec. 3 at Williston Central School. A budget meeting is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a regular meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Please join us!

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


For 50 bucks per year, you can pollute

Fifty bucks per year is what a family membership costs to join an organization willing to risk leaching lead into your Williston well head protection area and potentially harm you or your children’s health. I have been reading with great frustration the letters regarding potential toxic lead pollution produced by the North Country Sportsman’s Club.

As a physician, I am appalled that this problem is still not being addressed. As a resident of Williston and nearby neighbor to the gun club, I am outraged.

Lead is a severe health hazard and severely regulated in homes, fuels and industry. The town of Williston is to be applauded for holding a meeting last year to openly address community concerns. That meeting, however, was opened by a state hunting educator with a statement of support for shooting clubs and noting the importance of the hunting heritage and rural tradition. I don’t disagree, but his statement completely ignored the health issue at hand. Dumping lead into the groundwater is neither a second amendment right nor a hunting issue.

Lead has been removed from our paint, from our gas and from our fishing sinkers. It defies logic that an organization that entertains itself shooting box after box, pound after pound and ton after ton of lead into the same location refuses to take any real responsibility for the results of their fun and refuses to protect its neighbors. If an industry behaved this way the outcry would be deafening.

The North Country Sportsman’s club is no different than any other toxic waste polluter and should be treated as such.

Dr. Robert D. Nesbit, Williston


Check the numbers on health care

To elaborate on James Rude’s Nov. 12 guest column, “Government’s role in health care,” the oft-quoted statistic of 47 million is actually a gross overestimation of the problem, as recent research suggests the number of Americans who cannot currently afford health insurance is much lower.

A new study by Dr. June O’Neill, who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-1999, shows that nearly half of those uninsured Americans could likely afford to purchase health coverage. The average “voluntarily uninsured” household makes $65,000 per year.

We should not rush into the creation of a new, expensive health care system without a better understanding of the uninsured population. As long as we continue basing our arguments on inaccurate numbers, it’s hard to see how we can make effective policy decisions.


Kristen Lopez Eastlick, Senior Economic Analyst

Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.