Letters to the Editor

Pipeline needs investigation

I am happy to read that Vermont utility regulators are asking for an investigation into construction of the Vermont Gas pipeline.

On numerous occasions, I have called Vermont Gas to report a strong odor of mercaptan emanating from the pipe assembly on Lincoln Road in Williston. There is definitely something amiss, as I have seen the company’s trucks there several times a week.

During the construction, which is in a wet area, crews have added a great quantity of soil, sand and a drainage ditch in order to alleviate the pooling of water. A few weeks after they installed the pipe, they dug it up and attached some above ground valves, then did a reburial. It seems there was a lack of planning on their part, not to mention a site survey, otherwise they would have relocated the pipe to higher ground to avoid the water problem.

I have taken pictures and noticed a tarp loosely covering what appears to be a propane tank, and a 5 gallon plastic bucket protecting a pipe. I would think that something more durable should be provided, such as a shed, which is easy and inexpensive to construct.

I am concerned about the exposed pipes, which are subject to the extremes of heat and cold, ice and snow, as well as vandalism. There is a cyclone fence, but that can easily be breached with wire cutters or just by picking the lock.

As a resident of the area, I would be directly impacted in the case of a break in the pipeline. I hope the investigators are truly impartial and will look at every inch of the 41 miles.

Julie Bonanno


July Fourth book sale limited

The Friends of the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library are sorry to report that because of renovations at Williston Central School, there is no room in the school to hold our annual book sale.

We had considered canceling the book sale, but it’s an integral part of Williston’s Fourth of July celebration, so we have decided to go ahead with an abbreviated sale.

We will have the book sale in the library July 3 from 4-6 p.m. and July 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There is very limited space, so we need to be very selective about donated materials. We can only accept very good or excellent adult and children’s materials, including DVDs. We will also only be able to accept books for one week in June, from Monday, June 18 through Saturday, June 23. Please only donate books that were published in 2010 or later. And please don’t donate any foreign language books.

We realize that this is a drastic change from other years. When you bring materials to the library, please be understanding and patient if the library staff doesn’t accept them. We are working with a very limited sale space this year, so we can’t handle the amount of books that we usually have. The library staff will be able to give you names of places that will accept materials that we can’t use.

For the book sale itself, there will only be four categories: children’s, adult fiction, adult nonfiction and media. There will not be a “volunteer pre-sale shopping” opportunity before the book sale opens to the public July 3 at 4 p.m.

We hope that the community will understand that we are trying to make the best of a challenging situation. We hope that many of you are able to donate the types of materials that we need and that we see many of you at the book sale this year!

Ann Park

Friends of the Library

Daycare can’t replace parenthood

Stowe Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann recently suggested in a legislative report that we should take a cue from Laraway Youth and Family Services to provide young people, especially where there is anger or trouble, a sense of place and belonging at school, work and play.

I would like to add that I feel we need to look back in the lives of young people to see how they have been cared for.

It is heartbreaking to see toddlers and preschoolers being cared for in daycare. The state has added new requirements in recent years for daycare, but no one can take the place of a loving, caring, hugging and supportive parent who is there when their child needs them.

The day when children were cared for in homes by people who had raised children and/or were grandparents provided a better life for these toddlers and preschoolers.

How I wish society and businesses would make it possible for at least one parent to be home with their child until that child goes to school full time.

We should look around us and see what it is in our lives that we could do without until our children enter school full time, allowing one parent to stay home rather than paying the high cost of daycare, which to me seems hardly worth it.

Ginger Isham


Not guns but drugs

It was surprising to read in the April 5 edition of the Observer a letter from two legislators bragging about all the progress they had made on “gun safety.” (“Proud of gun safety progress,” by Rep. Terry Macaig and Rep. Jim McCullough).

The legislation that they have imposed on Vermonters will not make our kids any safer. It does not address the major cause of these horrible tragedies that have plagued us in recent years.

For those of you too young to recall, allow me to point out some history. At 86, I remember stuff that was not in your history books.

Half a century ago, in the mid 1960s, the Army decided that the M1 carbine was obsolete. I think we used it in Air Force for a bit longer, but by 1968 at least, it was made available to the public through the old Director of Civilian Marksmanship program. It is semi-automatic, and both 15- and 30-round magazines were available for it. We did not have mass shootings. Something has changed.

I was 14 when my father and about 12 million other GIs got back from World War II. They had seen some horrific events, yet we did not have the high rate of suicides among those veterans that we see today. Something has changed.

It is not hard to find out what has changed. Go on Google or YouTube. Type in “mass shootings and drugs.” Then try “veteran suicides and drugs.”

The same widely prescribed anti-depressants are strongly linked to both of these tragic trends.

Guns are not the problem. These powerful, psychoactive drugs are. As long as we have politicians who want to have an excuse to infringe on Constitutional rights and who put corporate profits above the lives of our kids and veterans, we will continue to have these awful events.

This legislation that they brag about will not make Vermont school children any safer.

Jerry Mullen


Grateful for new gun laws

With the passage of S.55, S.221, and HB.422, our Vermont legislature has acknowledged that our state can and must play a leading role in gun violence prevention.

Vermont is not immune from the nationwide epidemic of gun violence, and with this legislation, we are putting into place laws that will help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. As Gov. Phil Scott has noted, gun law reform is a crucial piece in a complex issue, and we are extremely grateful to the Senate and House leadership for embracing the task before them with passion and persistence.

We also extend our gratitude to the governor, whose willingness to re-examine his position as a result of escalating gun violence serves as a model of grace and humility.

Clai Lasher-Sommers

Executive director

GunSense Vermont

Gun legislation a good first step

Gov. Phil Scott is poised to sign groundbreaking and important legislation that will begin to address the school safety and gun violence crisis.

Vermont has always led our nation, and it is crucial that we maintain that trend. S.55 is an important step to regulate guns, but it doesn’t ban weapons of war with the sole purpose of killing. S.422 is a building block to protect victims of horrendous crimes, but the restrictions don’t go far enough in long-term ramifications for domestic abusers. S.221 is vitally important to a judicial process for people who are threats to themselves or others, however, it isn’t ideal for cutting red tape and bureaucracy.

I applaud the governor for taking meaningful action, but much stronger and more decisive action is needed to address our gun problem.

Ethan Sonneborn


(Editor’s note: Sonneborn, 13, is running for Vermont governor in 2018)

Seek a role in child abuse prevention

Gov. Phil Scott signed a proclamation for Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 3. I appreciate the ceremony at the Statehouse and the attention that it draws to the need that every child has to be loved and safely nurtured.

Every child requires at least one adult who provides that love and is committed to their healthy development and well-being every day. All of our children will reach their potential and contribute to their community’s economic viability and stability if they have safe, stable and nurturing homes.

There is a role each of us can play. We can be a good family member or a good neighbor to a single parent or parents of young children who would benefit from some time to themselves. Babysitting, or simply taking time to listen to a parent, can make a great difference in the lives of both a parent and their child.

Mentoring an elementary age or middle school child can make a world of difference in that child’s present and future. Knowing that someone finds value in spending time with them can help a young person imagine being a successful student and adult. We learn to take chances in life, in good ways, based on how others see us. Children need our time and interest much more than they need material things.

There are many opportunities in Vermont to volunteer to help children and families. Our local Parent Child Centers and Prevent Child Abuse Vermont are some of the many organizations in need of caring volunteers.

Speak up if you fear a child may be at risk of being abused. Call Prevent Child Abuse Vermont’s Help Line at 1-800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373) to discuss concerns about a child, and call the Vermont Department for Children and Families to report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Their central number is 1-800-649-5285 and is available 24 hours a day.

Think about how you can make a true difference in the life of a child with your time, your talents and your treasure. Vermont will only continue to be as beautiful as it is to the extent that our children are nurtured and protected. Child Abuse Prevention Month is a reminder of this important commitment that we share. Learn more by visiting

Linda Johnson

Executive director

Prevent Child Abuse Vermont