Letters to the Editor

Dec. 8, 2011


Stormwater impacts Lake Iroquois

When it rains here at Lake Iroquois, most people do not think about where the raindrops ultimately go. The raindrops either land on vegetation, such as lawns, or impervious surfaces — such as asphalt or roofs. The cumulative raindrops that run off driveways or down gutters from roofs are called stormwater, and it makes its way to the lake via culverts, pipes, and streams — picking up sediment, nutrients (e.g. phosphorus), heavy metals, and other pollutants.

Polluted stormwater threatens the health of the lake we love, but the good news is there are two ways residents can manage stormwater from their properties: install rain barrels and/or rain gardens.

A rain barrel is a 50-80-gallon recycled food-grade plastic barrel that is placed under the outlet of a downspout to capture water from a roof. Rain barrels conserve water and reduce water costs. The water collected can be used to water plants, wash cars, and much more. According to the University of Rhode Island, one rain barrel can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months.

A rain garden is a bowl-shaped garden that captures stormwater diverted to it and then absorbs that water to help recharge groundwater sources. Rain gardens not only look good but, according to the University of Vermont, recharge groundwater at a rate 30 percent greater than a typical lawn.

Please help improve the health of our beautiful Lake Iroquois by implementing one of the aforementioned stormwater management techniques on your property.

Jim Ross

Lake Iroquois Association Board member


Attend the Circ Highway meeting

I would like to encourage Williston residents to attend the public meeting about alternatives to the Circ Highway, which will be on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Albany College of Pharmacy (261 Mountain View Drive, Colchester). This meeting will provide information and answer questions about the package of five short-term implementation projects that the CIRC Alternatives Task Force voted to recommend to the state legislature. These projects are meant to provide transportation improvements to the Williston, Colchester, Essex, and Essex Junction areas to mitigate traffic in lieu of building the Circ Highway.

The projects that will most impact Williston residents are:

1. Putting in a traffic light at the intersection of James Brown Drive and Vermont 2A.

2. Building a Crescent Connector road to link Vermont 2A directly with Vermont 117, thereby diverting traffic from the Five Corners in Essex Junction.

3. Initiating a management and systems program that will encourage greater use of alternate transportation such as building sheltered, solar-lighted bus stops with bike racks, conducting a CarShare assessment and encouraging carpooling and employee assistance for bike commuting.

The CIRC Alternatives Task Force is made up of regional and state transportation experts and representatives from all four affected towns (Williston’s are Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig, Regional Planning Commission member and Selectboard member Chris Roy, Town Manager Rick McGuire, Town Planner Ken Belliveau and Public Works Director Bruce Hoar).

We are working hard to come up with ideas that will help folks in each municipality and the region as a whole. The above projects are just a start, and more long-term solutions to Williston’s particular problems will be devised in the future. In the meantime, please come to hear more about these projects!

Debbie Ingram

Williston Selectboard member

CIRC Alternatives Task Force alternate


Support the Toys for Kids campaign

Believe it or not, the holiday season is here. Amidst all the things that need to be done— holiday shopping, cooking, and decorating — it’s important to take time to help others so they can enjoy the holiday season as well.

Beginning Dec. 1, the Junior Class Council at Champlain Valley Union High School started a toy drive for the Toys for Kids campaign, sponsored by Marine Corps League of Vermont.

Last year, with the help of CVU students and faculty, the class council donated hundreds of toys to Vermont children who otherwise might not have experienced the joy of opening a present. This year, the Junior Class Council has decided to collect even more toys to help our local families in need.

It is our hope that members from the community, not just CVU students and families, will donate new and unwrapped toys to the drop-off barrel located in CVU’s main office.

Donated toys can be dropped off through Dec. 21 during school hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

A huge thank you in advance goes to everyone who donates a toy — you are helping to make this Christmas a joyous memory that a child will never forget.

Mike Fournier and Megan Kloeckner, CVUHS Junior Class Council members

Attend healthcare presentation

State Reps. Terry Macaig and myself invite you to participate in a planning session intended to help inform the design of future health care reform financing plans. These sessions are produced by the Agency of Administration and will include presentations on the challenges facing Vermont’s health care system, possible principles for a health care financing system and an overview of potential funding sources.

Participants will use these informational presentations and their own experiences to offer input on the potential principles and funding sources for health care reform financing.

This planning session is on Dec. 14, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington.

This is an opportunity for you to have a say in how healthcare reform will be paid. Terry and I hope you can attend.

State Rep. Jim McCullough



Thankful for friendship

On Nov. 13, Williston lost a true Willistonian. Connie Chapman Dumas died in Arizona at the age of 66. Although she hadn’t lived in Williston for many years, Connie grew up on her family’s sixth-generation farm in North Williston on what is now Chapman Lane.

Connie had a plethora of recollections about not only her family, but also the town of Williston. Whenever I wanted an answer, I was sure that I could depend on Connie for that answer.

Despite being physically laden with rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and by cancer in the past seven, she was always a symbol of perseverance and hope for her family and many friends. I count myself as one of the latter. Over more than 60 years, we kept our friendship intact — sharing our laughter and tears, joys and sorrows, and periods of sickness and health.

So, particularly during this season of hope and giving thanks, if you are blessed by such a wonderful friendship, I urge you to give extra hugs — perhaps make a phone call — and certainly tell them what they mean to you.

Karen Peterson Shastany



Stop using lead without bounds

Our understanding of the connections between toxic substances and our health has come a long way, just in the last few decades alone. It was not that long ago when students played with balls of mercury in high school science classes. Today, many schools have gotten rid of mercury thermometers all together and replaced them with safer alternatives.

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulation on the safe handling of toxic substances in the workplace is 37 pages long. You can imagine the precautions that the workers making the mercury thermometers take nowadays to protect their health.

Still, toxics policy has a long way to go, and the current issue of lead contamination in Sucker Brook only underscores the continued problem of toxics in our environment. We know that lead is dangerous. Lead is no longer used in paint or gasoline. Waterfowl hunters can no longer use lead shot. And many states now require that alternatives be used for fishing sinkers and tire weights.

Still, shooting ranges across the country — including the North Country Sportsman’s Club in Williston — spray lead shot across the land without any restrictions or clean up plans. The lead contamination found in nearby soil and water along Old Creamery Road emphasizes the need for a closer look at the impact of completely unregulated lead use.

While it would be nice to hit the rewind button 40 years and avoid the lead accumulation on the shooting range land, “Back to the Future” technology is not yet available. Today, the shooting range has a responsibility to clean up the years of lead and switch to steel or tungsten shot to avoid the continued threat of toxic exposure.

Jessica Edgerly

Vermont State Director

Toxics Action Center