Letters to the Editor

This must stop

I didn’t watch the evening news last Wednesday. I couldn’t. The news alerts during the day had already informed me that another mass shooting at another school had occurred earlier in the day in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen are dead, numerous others are wounded.

I didn’t need to see this tragedy unfold one more time, in one more place, as one more instance of the “latest” of mass shootings. I’ve seen it before.

There is so much to grieve: grief for the victims and their families, grief for the students and staff who were terrorized and traumatized, grief for the awful burdens of the first responders, grief for another town, another place, that will never be the same.

But to this litany of tears, I also add a particular grief over the phrase the “latest of mass shootings.” We have passed the point where these horrific acts of domestic terror are unexpected. The shootings in Parkland are just one more incident, the “latest” of what is no longer outside of the normal, but is the new normal. The mayor of Parkland echoed this in her own words when she said in response to the shooting, “something like this can happen anywhere.”

But it shouldn’t.

Yet it will happen again until we, each of us, has the will to say: “This must stop. It is not normal. It is a cancer on our society that needs to be excised.”

We Catholics are a people of peace, a people of good news, a people of hope. But we are also a people of action. I ask each of my Catholic brothers and sisters to not only pray for the victims of the Parkland shooting and their families, but to pray for our country and to call or write or email our government leaders, as I am, and say: “This must stop. What are you going to do about it?”

Bishop Christopher Coyne
Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington

Regional dispatch a wise choice for community

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce fully supports the concept of creating a regional dispatch service for eight participating Chittenden County communities. We urge the voters of those communities to vote in support of the ballot item at their town meetings.

The diligent and transparent work that the ad-hoc committee has done in outlining the efficiencies and increased public safety that will accompany a regional model is unquestionable.

Public safety, be it police, fire, rescue or other first responders, is of critical importance to the business community. It not only protects our business properties, but, more importantly, it enhances the safety and security of our employees and their families and helps to create the type of community that we aspire toward in our region.

Tom Torti


Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

Offering a voter’s guide to regional dispatch issue

Williston is one of seven towns asking voters to consider a regional dispatch agreement on its March ballot.

Article 9, at the very bottom of the ballot, proposes the formation of a special taxing district, also know as a union municipal district, called the Chittenden County Public Safety Authority (CCPSA), which would pool our emergency dispatch resources in a single location.

For what it’s worth, the majority of dispatchers countywide aren’t in favor of this proposal for a variety of reasons. They also were not involved in its top-down creation.

Having attended 10 meetings of the committee that drafted the CCPSA agreement — and being the only person in the room each month with no direct ties to public safety — I was able to view the proceedings at arm’s length.

I’ve sought to add value to the larger conversation by creating an accessible website to explain to fellow voters the basic issue, pros and cons, etc. This website was designed to provide an unbiased overview of the issue.

Would you please take a few minutes to check out before March 6? Thank you.

Irene Wrenner


Consider sharing your home with an exchange student

Make this year your most exciting and enriching year ever by choosing to welcome a high school exchange student into your home next school year.

Students from our World Heritage program are 15-18 years old and come from many different countries. They arrive in August before the 2018/2019 school year begins.

Students are fully insured, bring their own personal spending money and expect to fulfill their share of household responsibilities. Interested families can contact me at (802) 524-5461 or by email at

Shirley Jacobs

St. Albans