Letters to the Editor

Nov. 10, 2010

Analyzing NECAP scores

I have seen so many letters discussing the latest NECAP scores, I had to do a little research. I picked one other town for comparison (Shelburne) and looked at eighth grade NECAP science scores from the last three years compared to the state average, and listed percentages of proficient and above.

Here’s the result (as Williston/Shelburne/Vermont):

• 2008: 46/43/26

• 2009: 36/26/25

• 2010: 26/42/29

The first thing that jumps out is that the whole state needs improvement in either test taking or science curriculum, or both. The second thing is Shelburne also experienced a dip; in 2009 they were at state level. The third thing is the downward trend over three years for Williston, dropping to below state level. A singular dip could indicate trouble within one group, but a trend would seem to indicate trouble at the school.

I think back over the past three years, and what stands out most to me is the continuous drain on school and community energy by the restructuring planning. This stress came to a head last year with the final upheaval plans being unveiled. I don’t know how the teachers can work with the floor shifting under their feet every year. I moved my business two years ago, and although the move took only two weeks, it took three to four months away from my focus. I am not surprised that something dropped off in our schools. I think it’s time to leave our teachers to do their work and stop carping. It’s clear that it is taking a toll on our kids’ education.

Stewart Cohen, Williston

Benevento says thanks for support

As you know, Tuesday was Election Day. I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my campaign. Almost 1,600 Williston residents voted for me — many of whom I have never met.

Although I was not elected, it was still an exciting and uplifting time of my life. I appreciate all the nice comments received while campaigning door-to-door as well as the many supportive letters on my behalf.

Finally, of course, I very much appreciate the assistance of my family and friends. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. Without their support, I would never have accomplished what I did.

Mike Benevento, Candidate for state representative, Williston

Representatives appreciate support

To all who voted for us, thank you! Please remember we hope to effectively represent all of you, whether you voted for us or not. This is a partnership of government … you participate by keeping us informed of your positions and needs. We promise to listen and consider carefully.

Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough, State representatives, Williston

Michaud says, ‘Thank you’

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the folks who voted for me and supported my campaign. Congratulations to Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough on their victory and the professional campaign they ran. You have my support and the support of the town to assist the new administration to solve some of the issues facing Vermonters. My thanks also go to my running mate, Mike Benevento. It was a pleasure to carpool to the many events we attended and to plot strategy for our campaigns.

I want to thank all the folks who opened their doors, greeted me with a smile, shook my hand, voiced their opinions and displayed the passion for issues they believed in. That truly was the reason why I ran for the office of state representative. Every day I knocked on a door I became more convinced that entering the political arena was a good thing. The people I met and the stories that were shared will always be remembered as part of my campaign. I look forward to meeting you all again, whether it be at a school function, sporting event, town meeting or the July 4th festivities.

One more thank you goes to all the folks who came up to me on Election Day, shook my hand, shared a personal story and expressed condolences over the recent passing of my Dad during the campaign. It was truly heartfelt, and it showed the character of our town. All politics aside, fellow townspeople really cared.

Thank you so much for this experience.

Jay P. Michaud, Candidate for state representative, Williston

School fund-raiser scores big

Whitcomb’s Land of Pumpkins would like to thank everyone who participated in and supported our Annual Giant Pumpkin Display/Weighoff and Williston School Fund-raiser. We displayed and weighed some very nice and big pumpkins (17 in all). The winner brought in a bright orange, 517-pound pumpkin. The pumpkin plant sale in the spring, along with the pumpkin and maze donations, totaled $1,326.

Special thanks to our local businesses for their generous prize donations. Also, a thank you to Williston FAP for their help at the weighoff.

The Whitcomb Family, Williston

Going solar

The Williston Observer recently published a front-page article on the Sept. 23 launch of Solar Williston (“Williston to become ‘solar community,’” Sept. 23). I’m lucky to be the first customer of this great community program and endorse it strongly.

They have made it very easy and affordable to “go solar.” The folks at VPIRG are organizing homeowners and businesses here in Williston who want to install solar photovoltaic panels and have negotiated a great discount based on that volume. The discount is bundled with government and utility incentives to get the cost down to very affordable levels. They walked me through the process and showed how solar could work for me. I calculated that I could replace my electric bill with equivalent loan payments instead for about eight years, after which my electricity will be free for the rest of the 25-year life of the panels. Solar Williston filed all the paperwork for me. The permit will be issued soon and my panels will be installed next month.

This opportunity is available in Williston only through the end of the year, when they’ll move on to other communities. So, I urge residents to take advantage of it now. For more information you can go to

Myra Boenke, Williston

Letter writer was ‘courageous’

After reading the “Irked” response (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 4) to Marie Chamberlain’s letter written the week before, I would like to say that she was courageous to speak out. Chamberlain’s letter was not inflammatory; it was heartfelt and to the point.

It doesn’t matter what percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget is spent on abortion. The fact is that abortions kill unborn babies. That was her point and she is right.

Christine Parker, Starksboro

Thanks from Fox

I would like to thank the citizens of Williston for their support for me as one of your senators representing Chittenden County. This was a good race, with a slate of excellent choices, and I feel honored to be elected.

I pledge to be accessible and responsive to your concerns, and I hope that you will feel free to contact me with any concerns or issues you have with state government.

Sally Fox, Chittenden County senator-elect, South Burlington

Renaud thanks supporters

Thank you for your support, your votes, your thoughts, your fears, your strength of character, your loves and your intelligence. The direction of Vermont is a concern for all of us. We are its people. We are its solution. I am encouraged by the votes I received as a first run candidate. We have a lot of work to do, my fellow Vermonters. We are one and we have spoken. I have enjoyed meeting you, listening to you and talking with you. I am looking forward to seeing you in the near future!

Please visit my site ( I will be posting things periodically to let you know of my whereabouts and my thoughts.

Annette Renaud, Candidate for Chittenden County senator, Essex Junction

Thanks from Salmon

A very sincere thank you to the many Vermonters that provided support to my family and me during the race for state auditor. It is an honor to serve Vermont in this capacity. I will continue to rise early each day with a focus on improving the lives of others.

Thomas M. Salmon, CPA, State auditor, St. Johnsbury

Britton reflects on race

My wife Kathy and I thank all the Vermonters who supported my campaign for the U.S. Senate.

As a first time candidate for high office, traveling to every corner of the state and meeting thousands of Vermonters has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Seeing the resilience and independence of citizens in our great state on a daily basis made me prouder than ever to call myself a Vermonter.

We endeavored to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign and we thank Sen. Leahy for doing the same. We wish him Godspeed in tackling the serious issues facing the nation.

I look forward to adding my voice to the public discussion on issues facing our state and nation in the months ahead.

Len Britton, Candidate for U.S. Senate, South Pomfret