Home Commentary Opinion LETTERS: 6.18.15      

LETTERS: 6.18.15      


Council Member Olson to Constituents: Feel Free to Call

I am honored and excited to be appointed to the Montpelier City Council to represent District Two. I just attended my first council meeting and I look forward to working collaboratively with the other council members and Mayor Hollar on the pressing issues facing Montpelier. These issues include the budget, taxes and addressing the city’s infrastructure. In addition, housing, economic development and maintaining a vibrant downtown are my top priorities.
I feel it is critically important for the residents of Montpelier to have a full and transparent understanding of the work of the city council in order to fully participate in our democratic process. We have the momentum of a great deal of positive, constructive energy in our community and I am optimistic that we will achieve many of our goals with the ongoing, active input of the citizens of Montpelier. This is truly an exciting time for our city. I strongly encourage you to contact me any time you would like to discuss any of the issues that come before the city council. Your participation is vital to the future success of Montpelier and I look forward to hearing from you. You can write me at: jolson@montpelier-vt.org or give me a call at 223-5191.
I feel that Montpelier is on the right path for the future and working together we can ensure that we continue to make our city a great place to live.
Jean Olson

We Need a Bus Shelter

For several years now people waiting for the Greyhound bus in Montpelier have been forced to gather outside year-round with no shelter. To be sure, there are many days of pleasant weather here in America’s smallest capital city but — as you’ve probably noticed — our weather is often inclement. Bus patrons of all ages, many with luggage, wait in all kinds of weather enduring temperatures that can range from 30 below zero to almost 100 degrees above zero. They stand unprotected in rain, sleet, baking sun, driving snow and ice as the rest of us drive by in the comfort of our cars.
This is not just a question of providing well-deserved creature comfort, it is a public safety issue and we are failing. These fellow citizens are not only being treated disrespectfully, they are being put in physical danger.
We talk endlessly about supporting mass transportation, but provide no encouragement to — and actually penalize — the people who use it.
The moldy old trailer on Taylor Street that acted as a bus depot for years was a luxury compared to today’s curbside bus stop. The long-planned Taylor Street transportation center now appears to still be a couple of years off.
I imagine that grand plans for a transportation hub were of little consolation to the woman in a wheelchair and her two kids I saw last winter waiting for a bus in 20 degree weather as they were pelted by sleet.
Many Montpelierites like to say that we are the only state capital without a McDonald’s. Well, I would guess that we are also the only state capital without a bus depot of any kind. Not something to brag about. This is simply wrong and we should be embarrassed.
I had hoped the city council would address this issue, but recent news reports have not been encouraging. Let’s ask the council, city planners and boosters to make this a priority. Please contact the council members and urge them to fund a temporary shelter before winter arrives.
Students at Vermont Technical College have designed and built a public parklet downtown, maybe they can be enlisted to do the same for a temporary bus stand. If not, we can find a solution. Let’s stop treating people who take the bus as second-class citizens and quit throwing them to the curb.
Mason Singer


Ban Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture

Last Tuesday, President Obama directed federal agencies to serve antibiotic-free meat and poultry in government cafeterias. The Food and Drug Administration will require animal producers to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use drugs to treat a specific disease, rather than just to promote rapid growth, as is current practice. As much as 80 percent of all U.S. antibiotics are used in animal agriculture.
The moves come amid growing concern about the link between routine antibiotic use in animal agriculture and human infections by bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics because of their excessive use. The Center for Disease Control estimates that antibiotic resistance causes 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. and 23,000 deaths. It also adds $20 billion per year in health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity. And we thought that animal products were just linked to heart disease, cancer and stroke.
While government agencies reduce antibiotics in animal products, the rest of us can do better immediately with wholesome vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and a rich variety of plant-based meats, cheeses, milks, and ice creams available in every supermarket. These foods contain all the nutrients we require, without the deadly pathogens, antibiotics, carcinogens, cholesterol and saturated fats.
Maxwell Branset