Home Uncategorized Letters to The Bridge 9.11.14 – 9.25.14

Letters to The Bridge 9.11.14 – 9.25.14

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The Bridge welcomes your letters. Address them to editorial@montpelierbridge.com. Please keep them under 300 words and include your town or city of residence. We reserve the right to edit letters prior to publication.

Is FairPoint  Fair?

To the editor:
Over the last few months you may have heard about our labor issues between FairPoint Communications and its unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America.  This is another in a long list of losses being forced on the middle class.  I am not going to ramble on over “unions vs. the company.”  This is about what is right, and what should be protected.  I am a union leader who is responsible for protecting the wages and benefits for hundreds of Vermonters who work for FairPoint.  This fight is about honesty and integrity in corporate America.
Twenty-seven years ago, I was discharged from the U.S. Navy and searched, like most Americans, for a career.  I followed in my father’s footsteps, after his constant encouragement to find a “career” that would provide security and benefits for my future–like the phone company had for him.  I applied, passed the tests and was offered a job.  The starting pay was not great, there was little vacation time, and weekend work was required.  But I invested 27 years of my life in the phone company.  I’ve worked outside in all kinds of Vermont weather, endured slips and falls, a broken ankle, poison ivy, bug and dog bites.  Phone company workers are called out to repair service outages at all times of the day, resulting in interruptions in family events and holidays.  We do this because we love the work, and the salary and benefits it provides us and our families.
Fast forward to today. FairPoint was allowed by the state to take over from Verizon. FairPoint promised the state, the public and employees that our contracts and benefits would remain unchanged.  Now, after years of working to restore our customers’ faith in us after FairPoint’s disastrous takeover in 2008, after years of hard physical, mental and emotional effort, our company wants to freeze our pension and deny retiree health care. I and the rest of my co-workers get far less than FairPoint promised.  If we were still Verizon employees, this would not be my future.  Across the lake in the state of New York, the promised future still exists, but not for Vermonters, thanks to the Public Service Board and FairPoint. How can this company have the word “fair” in its name?
We all will feel the pain of this mess–promised jobs that never materialize, tax dollars lost, improvements to our communications network left undone. I could go on, but you get the idea.  Dollars that could have been spent here in Vermont are going to Wall Street investors. Yes, my loss is your loss as well. Please contact C.E.O. Paul Sunu at psunu@fairpoint.com and tell him to respect the Vermont workers and restore the promises made.  Mr. Sunu resides and works in North Carolina and does not even have an office here in Vermont.
Mike Spillane, Colchester
Business Manager, IBEW Local 2326
 

A Few Scattered Responses

To the editor:
Having just read the latest issue of The Bridge, I have a few scattered responses:  kudos to Jessie Lynn for protecting and restoring our valuable library; best wishes to Caroline Grodinsky on her exciting new venture; thanks to Nat Frothingham for his reporting on the Berlin Pond rally;  serious questions about the wisdom of “trusting the science” (as well as public agencies) suggested by Steven Targett’s letter, given the history of many current health crises; exasperation with the city manager’s referring to himself as “the city.”
(“City management” would be much more accurate.)
And, while I certainly wasn’t sure I wanted to read a long article about anybody’s colonoscopy, appreciation to C.B. Hall for his expose of the current health system.
Margaret Blanchard, Montpelier
 

Berlin Pond: Let It Be

To the editor:
Let it be.  Those are simple words of wisdom that the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources doesn’t seem to grasp.
Boats, canoes, kayaks, boat trailers, oars, bait buckets, waders and other recreational equipment are the most common way we spread zebra mussels.  Zebra mussels cause blue-green algae blooms by reducing competing algae.  Blue-green algae blooms are harmful to people and other living creatures.  Zebra mussel larvae are about the size of a human hair and can’t be seen without a microscope. They are spread through recreational equipment moving from one body of water to another. Of course, we can try to control zebra mussels with something called alkylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride and hydrogen peroxide.
Eurasian milfoil is spread in similar fashion, and it too can cause poor water quality and algae blooms.  Eurasian milfoil can be controlled with something called dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.
The Agency of Natural Resources assures us that allowing recreational use of Berlin Pond won’t be a problem for Montpelier’s drinking supply.
I like to fish as much as anybody.  But I don’t need to play Russian roulette with people’s drinking water in order to go fishing.
Dave Kelley, Greensboro
 

How You Can Survive Your Colonoscopy

To the editor:
The encouraging articles about colonoscopies in the last two editions of The Bridge no doubt have readers rushing to schedule these life-saving cancer-screening exams!
Okay, maybe the prep drink and the resulting trips to the bathroom are not much fun.  But the procedure itself is quick and usually comfortable.  I remember awakening to consciousness from my colonoscopy, wishing I could stay in that cozy post-procedure state all day.
As the patient navigator in the cancer program at Central Vermont Medical Center, I want to see an increase in the number of women and men who get screened for colon and rectal cancers.  While there are a few options for colorectal exams, what’s great about the colonoscopy is that it finds polyps that may be precancerous, making it a procedure with the potential to both detect and prevent cancer!
The general colonoscopy recommendation is to have one every 10 years beginning at age 50.  Your primary care provider can let you know if you should be screened earlier or more frequently, or if another form of screening would be better for you.
I promise that most of you will endure your colonoscopies with greater comfort and dignity, and fewer complications, than C.B. Hall and John O’Brien experienced—and without breaking the bank.  Vermont law requires insurers to cover 100 percent of your colonoscopy charges, even when polyps are removed by the doctor and examined by a pathologist.
So buck up, gents and ladies. There’s a lot in your life worse than having a colonoscopy—like filling out tax forms, contending with inconsiderate drivers, suffering with the Red Sox … and having colorectal cancer.  Contact me at the Cancer Center if you have any problem getting your cancer screenings!
Theresa Lever, Montpelier
 

Is That Guy Committing Suicide?

To the editor:
The August 28-September 10 issue of The Bridge included an article entitled “Taylor Street Plans Inching Forward.” Accompanying the article was “a rendering made this spring of the Taylor Street transit center.  Courtesy city of Montpelier.”
The “rendering” was apparently made by someone who knows little more than how to push a mouse around a CAD screen.  It includes several curious details:
* There appears to be a walkway along the eastern edge of the bridge.  It has no railings.
* In the distance, a male figure is about to walk off the edge of the bridge into the Winooski River.  Suicide?
* In the foreground, a female figure, eyes and thumbs possibly glued to her iThing, is trying to cross the bridge from east to west into the path of an oncoming car which is driving the wrong way.
* The transit center itself is shown imaginatively as a windowless four-story box, rather like a stack of MallWarts.
However, to give the clueless renderer credit where due, she or he realized the sun shines from south to north, and got the shadows correct. Let’s hope the final plans for what was originally intended to be a long-overdue bus station will be carefully scrutinized before construction begins.
Michael Loris, Williamstown
 
 

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