Letters to the Editor (11/5/09)

Nov. 5, 2009

Lead in our water?

We live downstream of the North Country Sportsman’s Club. A branch of Sucker Brook begins at the gun club and runs through our property. Like many of our neighbors, we have conservation restrictions on our property. The town of Williston has supported conservation by purchasing property along Sucker Brook and working to stabilize its banks.

I am worried that the club is leaving future generations a toxic legacy. I am concerned about the tons of lead that are reportedly in the headwaters of the Muddy Brook on the club’s property.

Lead poison is the number one environmental killer of U.S. children under the age of 6. A child’s body absorbs up to 50 percent of the lead ingested. Lead poison in children can cause behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, stunted growth, neurological and renal damage, mental retardation and hearing loss. Lead does not dissolve in water, biodegrade, dissipate, decay or burn and must be removed professionally.

Lead has been outlawed in gas (1990), paint (1978), fishing sinkers (2003) and children’s toys, but is legal in bullets and some shotgun shells.

I appreciate the expense of getting the lead out now, but the longer the club waits the larger the expense will be in money, human health and destruction of the ecosystem. As good neighbors, the club needs to take responsibility now. This includes removing the lead from the soil before it leaches into the water supply and using lead free shot. The club could raise its rates to cover the cost of maintaining the range.

There needs to be more transparency. The club needs to test its soil and water regularly and make this information available to everyone. The club needs a financial plan that includes taking care of the harmful effects of using lead. Consciously using a toxic substance that has been outlawed for many uses requires a proactive plan to deal with the consequences.

Dan Boomhower, Williston


Buy the clock

After reading Tim Simard’s article in the Oct. 22 Observer, “Time ticking for purchase of antique clock,” I was inspired to see the clock myself.

Prior to my retirement, my work life was as a machine designer and mechanical engineer, which stemmed from my fascination with mechanics. This interest led to my current position as the custodian of the Williston town clock, tucked away in the steeple of the Federated Church. The town clock, installed in 1900, is a wonderful machine; by comparison, Mr. Munson’s clock is a masterpiece.

Think of it: A Williston farmer and self-educated inventor spent eight years of his life (1859-1867) designing and building a truly amazing tribute to the genius and creativity of the human mind. Munson also displayed his patriotism in his design, as the theme of his creation is the unification of the North and South after the Civil War.

I won’t describe the multitude of significant details of this clock, as this was done so well in Simard’s article. However, I would encourage every Williston resident to log on to the Observer Web site, www.willistonobserver.com, and read this wonderful story.

On the Williston Historical Society’s Web site, it states that the Society has been “promoting the historical and cultural heritage of Williston, Vermont since 1974.” What better way to continue this effort than to honor Munson and his significant creation.

The asking price for Munson’s clock is $18,000 and the estimated restoration cost is $7,000. Once restored, the value estimate is $75,000.

After reading Tim’s article, if you feel as strongly as I do that the purchase of Mr. Munson’s clock is an opportunity we should not miss, contact the Historical Society (WillistonHistoricalSociety@williston.lib.us) and add your support. To steal a phrase from Stephen Grellet, “We shall not pass this way again,” so let’s pass this treasure on to future Williston residents.

Bill White, Williston


Respect your fellow Vermonter

I am directing my plea at hunters. There are many people who enjoy the sport, challenge, tradition and camaraderie of hunting in this great state of ours. You live here because Vermont provides many wonderful things, such as trees, privacy and the feel of small town life with the benefits of city accessibility. But our neighborhoods are oftentimes close to those woods we love. Our children play in their backyards, our pets roam the edges of the trees.

If a living area takes the time and effort to post their property as prohibited for trespassing or hunting, we are expecting that our fellow Vermonters will respect our wishes. We’ve instead experienced having our signs torn down, and our backyards used to trek through the trees to areas beyond.

Even for the most careful of hunters, accidents can happen. A man was recently killed in his own home due to a stray bullet.

This is Vermont. There are acres and acres of forests to hunt. Please respect our postings and use common sense when choosing your hunting site. We are using legal and known means of letting you know that our properties are off limits. Please respect the law and our rights to safe places to live.

Lori Ledak, Williston