ELECTION LETTERS POLICY
Town Meeting and elections will be held on Tuesday, March 2. Please note that on Feb. 25, in the issue just prior to Town Meeting Day, the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the vote.
All Letters to the Editor written in regards to Town Meeting and the March 2 election MUST be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, and will appear in the next issue of the Observer when it publishes on Feb. 18.
Please be aware that normal guidelines will apply, including a 300-word limit for all letters.
E-mail letters to email@example.com.
Where’s the bus?
I live on Butternut Road, a dirt road. I have four children. Two are in high school and two are in Williston Central School. The high school bus is here every day in sun, rain and snow. For some strange reason, if it snows the Central School bus driver refuses to go on our road.
I have always thought a requirement to be a bus driver was that you have to be able to drive in the sun, rain and snow. I thought because I am a resident of Williston and pay for school taxes that pays for the driver that refuses to pick up the children. Does that mean I can refuse to pay my taxes, too?
When it snows, what gives? Every time it snows I have to leave work so my children can go to school and I lose work time. Sometimes I can’t leave, and then my children have to stay home because of some driver that refused to go on the dirt road. The high school bus has no problem. So don’t use that as an excuse the road is too dangerous. The town plows the road. They go through by 5:30.
We had just a dusting today, Jan. 19. The bus refused again. Said road is not safe as usual. The high school bus has no problem. There are other families with children on the road, too. Some of the mothers are lucky enough to stay home and transport their children to school. I do not have that luxury to stay home. I am at work by 6:30 every morning.
Susan Luhrs, Williston
School Board update
The severe economic times have the Williston School Board and administration working to level fund the budget as much as possible — funds within the current budget will need to be redistributed for the needs approved by the board. There will be a .95 percent increase in next year’s budget. Please watch for our budget information flyer and the RETN session.
The board-appointed Reconfiguration Committee (made up of parents, teachers, administrators, students, board members and community members) worked with an outside facilitator for nearly a year to study current practices of grade configuration, communication and equity within the schools. They completed their work in May 2009. As a result of this work, changes in the configuration of teams will be implemented in September 2010. All of the pre-K through grade two students will be housed at the Allen Brook School and all of the third through eighth grade students will be housed at Williston Central School. Two- and four-year small learning community options will be available for students in grades three through eight.
The School Board publicly wants to extend appreciation to the members of the Reconfiguration Committee who volunteered many hours for this important work that will serve the district for years to come. Improvements in communication and equity across teams has been realized to date and will continue each year.
1. Student achievement data with the goal to reduce the achievement gap between subgroups and to see improved academic achievement of all students in science, mathematics and literacy.
2. 21st century learning and technology integration kindergarten through eighth grade. How do we measure our progress?
3. Student/parental options for two- and four-year learning communities at grades three through eight through reconfiguration, improved communications and equity kindergarten through eighth grade.
Deb Baker-Moody, Clerk Laura Gigliotti, Vice Chairwoman Holly Rouelle, Keith Roy, Chairwoman Darlene Worth, Williston School Board
Many problems with intersection
I got rather excited when I saw your front page article, “Improvements planned at deadly intersection” (Jan. 28).
For a few years now I have been writing and calling Joshua Schultz, the traffic design project manager for the state of Vermont, concerning the danger, the insanity, of the intersection of Industrial Avenue and U.S. 2.
I was disappointed that your article did not even mention many of the problems with this intersection. It is strange that, at one point, Industrial Avenue and U.S. 2 both have red lights at the same time but that poses no danger. The drivers going east on U.S. 2 just go through the red light. Most do not even slow down. Some people turn their right blinker on, but if they tried to turn right and go to Tim’s Snack Shack, they would run into the curb. Personally, I stop for the red light and let the people behind me toot their horns and curse at me.
The big problem, however, is that when the lights change then both streets have a green light at the same time and vehicles are encouraged to ram into each other. There is a sign on Industrial Avenue asking drivers to yield to oncoming traffic, but Industrial Avenue ends at U.S. 2. There is no oncoming traffic. How would anyone not familiar with the area know that traffic going east on U.S. 2 had a green light at the same time that traffic turning left from Industrial Avenue had a green light?
Mr. Schultz told me in April 2008 that he was well aware of how the intersection was “unconventional in its geometry.” He assured me that it would be fixed in the next four or five years.
Wayne Martens, Williston
Bring the trials to Vermont
The White House has just asked the Justice Department to move the 9/11 terror trial out of Lower Manhattan. I hope Sens. Patrick Leahy or Bernie Sanders can use their considerable pull in Washington to bring those America haters for their day in court right here in good ol’ Vermont.
Just think of it. $200 million per year of stimulus money for a never-ending jury trial that might need to be tried several times due to glaring irregularities. It would help increase train and airplane ridership, bring in plenty of rooms and meals taxes, provide many hundreds of good paying court and media jobs while at the same time guaranteeing constitutional protections so cherished by our senators to foreign nationals that have admitted to butchering thousands of helpless American civilians.
It makes me proud to be an American just to think about it.
Shelley Palmer, Williston
Support the ambulance service
After reading the Letters to the Editor in last week’s issue of the Observer, I feel strongly that some Williston residents have not fully understood the medical and financial gains involved in adding two ambulances to the Williston Fire Department.
St. Michael’s Rescue and the other ambulances have done a good job in providing care for Williston residents in the past, but patients would be transported more quickly if we had our own ambulance. Whenever a medical call comes in, Williston’s First Responders are on the site within minutes. Their in-town response time is short and they are able to provide immediate medical help while they wait several more minutes for an out-of-town ambulance to arrive. They then transfer information to the EMS workers in the ambulance. This whole process takes minutes when seconds count.
Not only does this proposal make sense for the welfare of Williston residents by reducing medical response time, the operating budget for next year also improves since revenue will increase by more than the cost of the ambulance service.
Every time a call goes out, Williston’s EMS staff shows up quickly to give necessary immediate care. The ambulance arrives on scene minutes later and Williston residents are billed only for the cost of the ambulance services.
In the new plan, the town of Williston would receive the profits made by the ambulance service. The average number of dispatches for the past five years is 772; for the past three years, 783. Revenue from over 750 ambulance calls more than pays for the cost of providing the service.
The current proposal is an entirely new plan that makes sense from both a medical and financial standpoint. My hope is that Williston residents will support the Selectboard in their decision.
Laurie Yager, Wife of a Williston firefighter, Williston