Home Commentary Opinion LETTERS: 5.7.15

LETTERS: 5.7.15


Please Help Nepal


Nepal has suffered an unprecedented disaster. And like many of you, after the initial shock, we began to think about how we could help. But we wanted not just to help, but to help effectively.  First, we wanted to provide immediate help. Second, we wanted to identify and address the most pressing needs. Third, we wanted to focus on rural areas which will be the last to receive government assistance if any is received at all.

As it turns out, a member of our board, Rajeev Goyal, was in a village east of Kathmandu in Kavre district when the earthquake struck. Virtually all of the homes in the villages of the district collapsed. The stone and loose mortar that are used in the construction of many rural homes made them far more vulnerable to the enormous earthquake than the concrete houses of the cities. Rajeev spent three nights sleeping in the open areas with the rest of the villagers.

Rajeev quickly realized that the most pressing need in these villagers was shelter, especially with the torrential rains of the monsoon soon to arrive. The answer for temporary shelter was tarps and tents. Rajeev was able to secure 100 tarps and 13 tents on credit and distribute them. He has found sources of canvas which can be made into large tents using locally abundant bamboo for tent poles. Operating only with his cell phone, Rajeev has been working to solicit pledges of the funds needed to order these tents and get them in place before the monsoon. We are trying to help him.

Since Phulmaya Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so we are able to accept tax deductible donations in the U.S. and then wire the funds to Rajeev in Nepal. And since we are entirely a volunteer organization, all of the money raised goes to the relief effort.  Rajeev is an American lawyer and former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal with a proven record as an innovative administrator and we have no doubts whatsoever that the funds we entrust to him will be used in the most effective manner.

Many of you may have already contributed to other relief organizations and indeed there are some good ones working in Nepal. But we believe that the program that Rajeev has initiated is a highly effective way to bring relief to rural people without any other sources of aid. Every dollar donated toward shelter can make a measurable difference at this critical time for Nepali villagers. The Nepalese are a resilient people and rural villagers are largely self sufficient, without much in the way of government services. But in a disaster of this magnitude, they do need our help. So please give generously. Thank you.

Phulmaya Foundation

Pat Biggam, Founder and past president

Scott Skinner, President


Support Carbon Pollution Tax Bills


Saving our climate saves the lives of ourselves and our children. That’s why we should support Vermont House bills H.412 and H.395, which would establish a carbon pollution tax for fossil fuel use.

This tax would be levied on the fossil fuel companies (distributors/wholesalers), based on the amount of potential carbon pollution created by the fossil fuels they sell. Ninety percent of the revenue would be returned in the form of rebates and other tax relief; 10 percent of the revenue would be invested in helping Vermonters cut their energy bills and fossil fuel use through energy efficiency and clean energy use — with special attention given to low-income residents.

We can’t ignore the growing reality of destructive weather patterns causing storms like Tropical Storm Irene, or the warming temperatures which will ultimately decrease our apple harvests, hurt maple yields and shorten the winter sporting season. Ignoring these warnings will leave our kids growing up today with a very different state in their lifetimes.

This tax will also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which drains dollars out of our communities, and keep more of these dollars here, in Vermont, working to grow our economy. By passing a tax on polluters, we make a winning investment in our communities and our future.

Anne Jameson, Marshfield


It’s Tick Time!


We are welcoming this warm weather and so are the ticks! Time to tuck your pants in your socks or wear rubber boots when you are raking, gardening, walking out in fields and woods. Wearing long sleeves with tight cuffs too if you are working with your hands. Tie up long hair and bathe after your exposure to wash off loose ticks and find any that may be embedded. Keep your tick repellent by the door and use it, or treat your clothing with permethrin (NOT your body). Learn how to remove a tick, and the symptoms of lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Check yourself, your kids, your pets, too! Every crack and cranny. For more details www.lymediseaseassociation.org and join us May 1 on the State House lawn for Lyme Disease Awareness Day — like us on FB at “Bit By A Tick?”

Bern Rose, Barre