Concerned About Blanchard Park
Have you been to ‘Danger Park’ in Montpelier? A place where dealers who sell drugs, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages lurk. A playground located on top of the woods, where no one can observe or hear what is going on. The unattended children are perfect prey for pedophiles. Children frequently use it as a shortcut unattended. Even with an adult, small children’s hands investigating nature’s ground cover discover used syringes and condoms. Consider the body fluids left on the bench and stumps. The location so close to downtown and easy access in and out make it the park of choice for anything but innocent play. An example, two middle school age girls dressed provocatively walking up into the park, followed by a man in a black trench coat and a bulging backpack. Later the two girls exit followed closely by the man who now exposes a camera with a long lens suspended on his shoulder. What do you suppose they were doing? Again, this playground is out-of-sight. When schools are in session, at dismissal time, it is where kids of all ages hang out and so do the bad people.
Dusk attracts unsavory types like a magnet. Summer is a very active time as well. Don’t be naïve, avoid this park. Schools and day cares bring their children there.
Instruct them not to. There is no protection for the good people when they confront the bad ones there or what they leave behind. The people responsible for parks certainly did not think this project out. The city stripped the top of the natural habitat that existed for years so that the only wildlife there are the humans! Warn your family, friends and neighbors. Danger Park is Blanchard Park.
George McMahon, Montpelier
Letter from The Bridge Managing Editor to Chief Facos
Dear Chief Facos,
I just got a letter to the editor that warns the general public about Blanchard Park. I would like to know, from a factual incident standpoint, if this letter is accurate.
I am not one to censor letters, but this one seems like I should check the facts pertaining to 1. Drug dealing activity observed and syringes found. 2. Pedophiles charged. 3. Condoms found and/or illegal sexual activity reported. 4. Alcohol and cigarette pervasiveness 5. Incidents of adults harassing and or threatening children after they are dismissed from school. Thank you in advance.
Sincerely, Carla Occaso
Response from Chief Anthony Facos dated June 26:
Interesting letter. I checked with some of our staff as well as our records system and I am not able to substantiate the bulk of these concerns. While on patrol this morning, I walked through Blanchard Park and I observed ONLY one beer can and one iced tea can. I did not see any heroin bags, needles and/or caps, or any condoms. I had received a general complaint about suspicious activity in the past from one of the nearby residents, but it was quite broad in nature. Additionally, there was a safety concern regarding a rope swing a while back and that has since been removed by Parks staff.
From a common sense standpoint, it is secluded and close to downtown so I would recommend that juveniles be accompanied by adults when in the park.
Chief Tony Facos
Minter for Governor
As a Washington County State Senator and former statewide candidate who has proudly carried the Progressive Party banner, I’m looking for a leader with progressive values I can count on. That’s why I am supporting Sue Minter for Governor. I know we need more than lofty words to solve the real problems facing working Vermonters. And, I know Sue and I share many of the same priorities.
We want to make college more affordable, raise the minimum-wage and build upon local investment strategies to put more money into our local economy and the pockets of local families. We both want to move from property more towards income to fund our schools, support affordable, universal health care and investments in infrastructure to rebuild the economy from the bottom up.
Sue has also spoken clearly about the need to tackle our water quality problems and develop Vermont’s outdoor recreation industry which will strengthen our rural economy.
I know that other candidates are talking about many of the same issues. But, I believe Sue Minter is best able to bring people together to achieve the goals everyone is talking about. She is an experienced legislator, has managed one of our largest state agencies and her leadership has been tested and proven.
In this election season we’ve all heard a lot of talk about building a progressive agenda and carrying through with the ideas put forward by Bernie Sanders. I support a progressive policy agenda. But, I also believe creating real, long-term policy change takes more than rhetoric. It is about being honest and setting out achievable goals that move us forward and improve people’s lives now, as we work on long term challenges.
I have no doubt that as governor, Sue Minter will do that. She did it as a state representative, rallying her colleagues from all three parties to unanimously support investing in our crumbling roads and bridges and co-sponsoring Vermont’s landmark marriage equality law. She did it helping lead Vermont’s recovery from Tropical Storm Irene, and becoming a national leader on climate change, serving on President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Change and Resilience and helping Colorado with its flood disaster in 2013.
It’s clear in Sue’s plan to provide two years of tuition-free community or technical college for high school graduates. Because it’s about jobs and workforce development and because she will have it up and running in her first term and pay for it by taxing big banks, not the middle class.
It’s also evident in her strong support for the 10 percent for Vermont plan that I proposed, in which the state now invests 10 percent of its average daily balance into programs such as affordable housing and energy efficiency.
Diversity in leadership also matters. Vermont has had only one woman governor. We should embrace this chance to smash the glass ceiling by electing a qualified, progressive, talented leader like Sue Minter. I’m glad the candidates are talking about big ideas. But I’m looking for someone who has proven she can do the real work of rebuilding the middle class. Sue is not a grandstander. She’s a doer, committed to making Vermont an even better place to live, work and raise our families.
That’s why I will be voting for Sue Minter, and I hope you will too.
Sen. Anthony Pollina, D/P — Washington County, Middlesex
Support Sue Minter
I’m supporting Sue Minter for governor because of her unique collaborative and optimistic approach, which builds on our strengths and finds the opportunities in our challenges.
I met Sue in 1999 when we worked together in Vermont state government, and since then my admiration for her talents and warm leadership have continued to grow. Sue is a daughter, sister, wife, mom, athlete, coach, volunteer and public servant. My favorite thing about Sue is that she’s coached loads of kids in soccer and figure skating — teaching them to believe in themselves, never give up, always have fun and be gracious in victory or defeat. In 2002, Sue was appointed to the Waterbury Planning Commission and a few years later she founded the Waterbury Conservation Commission. She was elected to the Vermont Legislature in 2004 and was re-elected four times before being appointed to serve as the deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation in 2011.
In December of 2011 she became the recovery officer for Tropical Storm Irene. With Sue’s leadership, Vermont became a national model of nimble and efficient response in the face of catastrophic widespread damage from a federally declared disaster. Sue Minter works hard, completes the job and leads Vermont forward. Let’s turn the page and elect a new Governor that listens, cares, collaborates and leads. I urge you to vote Sue Minter for Governor on August 9. Thank you.
Kathleen Kanz, Montpelier
Vote for Bruce Lisman
“Over the past eight years, Vermont has rapidly become a precarious state in which to own a small business. Per the Department of Labor statistics, 60.5 percent of Vermont Businesses employ 4 or less; in Bennington County, 62.5 percent and in Rutland County 60 percent. These are our mom and pop operations. We are the small business owners who function as CEO, bookkeeper, janitor, insurance expert and with the rapid assault in anti-business legislation and rule changes, full-time sensitized watchdog and low clout lobbyist all in an unstable, declining economy as we have once again made another list: 49th in the nation for economic outlook.
Yet the rhetoric of our current administration and legislative majority would have us know that everything is just lovely because we have low unemployment, a poor indicator of our work force and GDP. Comprehensive non-emotional statistics, fact checking, trend watching with the DOL, Tax Department (May revenues still way down) and other researchers is just for dummies. Their spiel has been, and still is, all about emotional rhetoric and divisiveness.
If we Vermonters want to be first at something, let’s be the first to elect a non-incumbent political outsider with economic know-how. In the spirit of Vermont independence, and for small business success and a successful future for all Vermonters, we need stability and thoughtful planning. Bruce Lisman is offering it.
Lisman is a leader with experience managing large numbers of employees. He has clearly demonstrated skill at fact finding (Campaign for Vermont) and negotiation which is beneficial to advocating for working Vermonters, whether working with the legislature or state employees. Lisman understands small business is the backbone of Vermont; how small business interacts in our communities to create employment and income security for both families and other small employers. Bruce understands jobs and income translate to a healthier less self-abusive population and increased revenues for our needy social programs. We need a leader like Bruce who understands legislation directed to punish big business kills our mom and pops who are an integral, personal and contributing part of our rural community everyday life, and only makes big business bigger.
Lisman will be that thoughtful leader who will make positive changes over a period of time to create stability and predictability for small business, state budgets and revenues for the good of all Vermonters by working with job creators to fix onerous regulations bogging down small business with administrative tasks imposed on us because of our untrustworthy nature — that our every move must be lorded over. We need a leader who believes in Vermonters and that given the freedom to make our own decisions, that we are capable. In the spirit of independence, vote August 9 for Bruce Lisman. We are.
Douglas and Estella Leach. Doug Leach Excavation, Inc., Pawlet
I Endorse Bruce Lisman
Vermont has been ranked second to last in the United States of America for “best economic outlook.” Our taxes are out of control and we have burdened businesses with taxes and regulations to the point where they are fleeing. These businesses could have provided key jobs for Vermonters who can’t afford our property taxes and rental rates. They are heading to other, more affordable, states.
A recent Burlington Free Press article reported that “A Vermonter must work full-time and earn more than $21 per hour to be able to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment.” Without a well-paying job; no person can afford that rate. Colleges like Champlain and Vermont Technical College that teach job skills and give graduates a background in business and life skills help Vermont’s retention rate, but is not enough.
The unbalanced legislature has made Vermont’s economic outlook grim. Vermont deserves to hear both sides of any proposed legislation and then hopefully our representatives will vote on what is the right policy … not what will get them reelected and not just what the party leadership wants. We were a state of independent, crotchety thinkers … what has happened to us? I am not a strong party person, but Vermont needs an Independent or Republican Governor to be a balance to the lopsided legislature. There must be veto power.
It’s time for a new direction. Bruce Lisman has 40 years of experience in business and does not come with any government connections. He will be able to think about efficiency and policy from the outside like a citizen and business person … like most of us. He is not afraid of change. He is not part of the system. This background will make him the perfect candidate to take Vermont into a prosperous future; a future that doesn’t ignore the needs of its businesses and its young people. Vermont needs Bruce to help pull our state out of the economic hole that “lets implement without worrying about how to pay for it” politics has dug us into.
Bruce’s plan to encourage responsible development of new housing will drive down renters’ rates. This along with his plan to streamline and make accountable our economic development programs, and his understanding of business leaders will help create the proper jobs necessary to keep people in Vermont. The answer may also be just leave them alone except for issues that assure the health and safety of workers and the environment.
Bruce’s experience and fresh outsider approach to Vermont’s economic crisis is exactly why he has my endorsement for Governor of the Green Mountain State.
Mary Evslin, Stowe
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