Letters to the Editor (9/17/09)

Sept. 17, 2009

Never forget

It has been eight years since the horrific attacks scarred our country on Sept. 11, 2001. The terror that gripped our nation that day would certainly never be forgotten.

As we prepared to start our day on this Sept. 11, our two youngest children took a few moments to lower our flag to half-mast as a remembrance and tribute to all those who were lost. We then went our separate ways and my morning travels brought me past numerous businesses. While driving, I could not help but notice how many flags were flying at full mast. In some cases, I stopped my vehicle and took it upon myself to lower the flag. I also placed several phone calls and stopped at many locations, asking whoever was present to take a moment and lower their flag. These locations included a large telecommunications company, a small insurance company, a local car dealership and a fitness gym. Additionally, a local high school and the City of Burlington Department of Public Works were both flying Old Glory at full mast. I called the mayor of Burlington and the high school office and was thanked for alerting them to this oversight.

This was an eye-opening experience and I plan to make this personal public service an annual tradition. Hopefully the need for stops and phone calls will be less each year.

Additionally, I would like to commend the Williston Fire Department for holding a ceremony at the fire station as well as an assembly at Taft Corners later in the day. Their actions made me proud to be a member of this community.

Tony O’Rourke, Williston

Facts about health care reform

Millions of our fellow Americans, including our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members, are physically suffering and going bankrupt without health insurance or because of the coverage they have. Despite this, there are still people out there that want to hold on to the status quo. We are the only democracy, the only industrialized nation, that does not provide a safety net to its people when it comes to health care.

People are being swayed by the myths, distortions and lies promoted by the insurance industry, which has spent millions of dollars buying out the politicians who are fighting against reform. Right-wing extremists who want to take down the Obama presidency have resorted to using whatever tactics necessary to kill health care reform, trying to convince people of the concept of a “Death Panel” or that health care reform is a “government takeover,” or that illegal immigrants would get coverage.

Unfortunately, many citizens who are being bombarded by misinformation are starting to believe in these lies. It’s propaganda that is being funded by the millions of dollars in special interest advertising and a 24-hour news cycle.

Here are three basic facts about the proposed health care reform:

1. The government would NOT start making decisions about when to stop providing care to the elderly.

2. The public option is just an option that would give Americans more choice and keep private insurance companies honest. Think of University of Vermont’s tuition as an option to Middlebury College’s tuition.

3. The non-partisan accountability group FactCheck.org says President Barack Obama’s plan will cover only those who are legally in the United States.

The health care system we currently have is broken and unsustainable. Let’s stick to the facts and start taking care of each other.

Deborah Miuccio, Williston

Circ Highway is long overdue

I have not heard a word as to the status of this project that has been in the works for over two decades. I think that the interstate highway from Williston to Montpelier would not have taken this long to build.

It is a tragedy that some $44 million has been expended over this period of time for the acquisition of land and engineering cost, as well as study after study have taken place. Who in their right mind would have invested this kind of money for some 28 years without putting anything to work?

The importance of this project is clear, as detailed in the many meetings, i.e. traffic control, the conservation of energy, the ravage taking place on the county residential streets, an emergency route for ambulance and fire trucks and the need for an escape route in the event of major disasters.

I have contacted our local, state and national leaders, with only standard political replies from our senators. I have been advised that it is being held up by the Army Corps of Engineers and again awaiting a reply on the latest environmental study. It is high time that our representation “got this shook loose” and stimulated the “stimulus.” What’s your opinion?

George Baron, Williston