Home Commentary Opinion LETTERS: 3.2.17

LETTERS: 3.2.17


Wind Power Too Loud

To the Vermont Public Interest Research Group:

You asked for comments on the wind sound rules you would like to see in place. Since this is such a important issue to all Vermonters and your website wouldn’t receive comments, I had to seek other avenues to comment. These are statements you made that I couldn’t help but respond to.

“Wind power is now the cheapest form of renewable energy.” That is because the rate payer and tax payer pick up the tab. Doesn’t Hydro Quebec come in at about half the cost of wind power? It also doesn’t require blowing up our ridge lines and sadly destroying our National Forest.

“Vermont Public Interest Research Group hired an expert witness to participate in the Public Service Board proceedings on the issue of wind sound.” It’s hard to believe that an expert witness could remain unbiased when paid by an organization involved in the proceedings. Most Vermonters are at a monetary disadvantage.

“Sound of wind farms does not pose a public health threat.” Could you please divulge the dates, places and length of time spent visiting wind farm neighbors, to experience first hand what they are experiencing? If you want to compile fair evidence, it would seem this is a good place to start. To avoid visiting these sites would seem to be running from the truth.

“The Board both reduced the sound limit and made many key parts of the standard much more restrictive than Maine’s which could make projects impossible to build.” If a project destroys ones health and happiness in their home and on their property, it shouldn’t be built. The 40 dBA standard you advocate ignores Germany’s standard of 35 dBA night time standard and Denmark’s 37 to 42 standard range.

The old rule “One man’s rights end where another’s begins” applies here.

Please put Vermonters’ best interest back in your organization’s mission statement.

Kathy Hepburn Halford, Wallingford


Protect Health, Environment: Don’t Eat Meat


March 1 marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness before launching his ministry.

The call to refrain from eating animals is as old as the Bible. In Genesis 1:29, God commands humans to eat only plants; then Prophet Isaiah predicts that “none will hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain.”

A number of Christian leaders have followed the call, including Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth, Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White and prominent evangelical leader Franklin Graham.

A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being caged, crowded, mutilated, beaten and shocked.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion, but also to protect the health of our family and our planet Earth by adopting a meat-free diet.

Moses Belinie, Montpelier


Anne Watson Gets Things Done For District 2


Please join us in voting for Anne Watson for reelection as representative for District 2 on the Montpelier City Council. We greatly admire Anne’s intelligence, passion, and genuine commitment to serving the people of Montpelier. As a science teacher at Montpelier High School, Anne has the knowledge and dedication to make progress on environmental issues. During her work as a city council representative, she wrote the Request For Proposal that resulted in one megawatt of solar power at no cost to taxpayers. Anne also supported improved energy efficiency within city systems and the net zero energy goal.

Anne is friendly, caring, full of energy and able to bring people together to get things done. Anne supported the resolution for Montpelier to become a Sanctuary City. She championed the reduction of the winter parking ban from all-the-time to “as needed,” which helped many people — especially renters without easy access to off-street parking. Her five years of experience on the city council, as well as her commitment to working with city staff, give Anne the ability to make important progress for our city. If reelected, she will continue to work to protect Berlin Pond, implement a stormwater master plan, bring new families to Montpelier through housing funding and continue developing a plan to fully fund city infrastructure, roads and water.

Please cast your vote for Anne Watson on or before March 7!

Ryan and Kristina Kane, Montpelier


Soccodato Able To Tackle Issues


I would like to take the opportunity to endorse Alison Soccodato as a City Council member for District 2 on March 7. Alison’s skills as a financial analyst and project manager are important and will enable her to tackle some of the key issues facing Montpelier.

She is dedicated to making sure that Montpelier remains the city that we all are proud to call home, while ensuring that it continues to look towards the future. As a parent and a long-term resident, she will do her best to represent the various stakeholders in every issue that will come before the council.

She is also aware of the challenges faced by the city as the Planning Commission moves to approve the proposed higher density zoning regulations. She realizes that there are areas of the city where higher densities would make sense and other areas of the city where it would not. I feel that she would weigh these critical issues before the plan is finalized and approved. Please join me in voting for Alison to represent District 2.

Joe Castellano, Montpelier


Anne Watson for City Council, Dist. 2


We support the reelection of Anne Watson for City Council from District 2. She has been an outspoken supporter of cautious and responsible growth in the city, energy conservation and sustainability and regaining control of our drinking water source, Berlin Pond. She has worked to forward the One Taylor Street project, which will bring new housing and a transportation hub, as well as negotiating with the railroad to reduce pesticide use. In her five years on the Council, Anne has grown into a vocal and active member, participating on the Energy Advisory Committee, the Community Justice Citizen’s Advisory Board, the Local Development Corporation working group and other committees.

As a physics teacher at Montpelier High School, Anne has close ties with the community through the students, which gives her important insights. She is also the coach of the popular Ultimate Frisbee team, and that energy carries into her work on the Council. Anne has also spent the last year working to bring new foreign tuition-paying students to Montpelier High School as well, benefiting both our students through the cultural exposure, and the taxpayers through increased income to the school. While these last activities are not directly Council-related, they are indicative of Anne’s commitment to, and relationship with, the community. That relationship shows up in her caring attitude toward the city and its residents in her Council activities.

Page and Jed Guertin, Montpelier


Anne Watson: Strongest Choice For District 2


This Town Meeting Day, we encourage voters to consider Anne Watson for City Council. Having gotten to know Anne over the last six years, it is clear to us that she is the strongest choice to represent District 2.

Throughout her tenure on City Council, Anne has been a leader on issues of energy, housing, the environment and city infrastructure. Anne wrote the request for proposal that landed the city with a 1 megawatt solar array at no cost to taxpayers. She led the effort to lift the universal winter parking ban that disproportionately affected renters. And she has worked towards increasing housing opportunities for our city.

Furthermore, Anne cares about and invests in our most important resources, Montpelier’s youth. She teaches at Montpelier High School, coaches the school’s Ultimate Frisbee team and encourages student involvement in city processes.  She is developing leaders by example, and we couldn’t be more proud to support her work to make Montpelier a better place to live, work, play and raise a family. 

We hope you will join us on March 7 to re-elect Anne Watson as District 2 City Council Representative.

Philip Parrish and Judy Stermer, Montpelier


Come To Montpelier-Roxbury Merger Meetings!


Should the Montpelier and Roxbury school districts merge under Act 46? A seven-member study committee, comprised of Montpelier and Roxbury school board members and residents, has been examining this question for the past few months in an effort to bring a consolidation vote to the communities in late May. Now we want to share what we have learned with our communities.

We invite you to public forums on Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Roxbury Village School, and on Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. in the Montpelier High School cafeteria. Both meetings are open to residents of both communities. The committee, along with consultant Steve Dale, will explain the basics of Act 46, the thinking behind the proposed merger and the committee’s work to date. Most importantly the committee wishes to gather input from you, the citizens of our communities, about this idea. For more information visit https://goo.gl/hKZe0n.

Paul Carnahan, on behalf of the Montpelier-Roxbury Act 46 Study Committee, Montpelier


Support the School Budget


We urge Montpelier voters to support the Montpelier Public Schools budget on Town Meeting Day. While many towns in Vermont grapple with shrinking student populations and pressure to close schools, Montpelier’s schools are vibrant and growing. Our enrollment has been increasing and is projected to continue to grow. A bustling real estate market and strong property values in Montpelier confirm that quality public schools draw families to Montpelier. This year’s budget will provide needed resources for our schools, while keeping the projected tax increase well below the rate of inflation for a second year.

First, the numbers – the accurate numbers. Given current projections, we expect the educational tax rate to increase 1.08% next year, to 1.643. That is well below 2016’s inflation rate of 2.1%. (Our estimate is based on the best numbers available; it may change when the legislature sets the yield in May.) Per-pupil spending will rise 3.8% over last year. Voters who have already looked at the ballot warning for Town Meeting Day will notice a difference. Act 46 required the Board of School Commissioners to include in the ballot language an estimated increase in per-pupil spending. But when we approved the budget and the ballot language, we did not have an official equalized pupil number from the Agency of Education. We used a conservative estimate of equalized pupils, which resulted in a 5.5% increase in per-pupil spending. This Thursday, the district received its official, and significantly higher, equalized pupil number. With 1075.31 equalized pupils, the increase in per-pupil spending will be just 3.8 percent.  

And what do we get for this modest increase in spending? A coordinated effort to promote equity and provide more opportunities for personalized, student-directed learning. A district that receives state and national recognition for our innovative programs and curricula. Award-winning, committed faculty. Schools that bring families into Montpelier and send educated and engaged graduates into our community. That is a lot of value for a 1 percent increase in taxes: less than $40/year for the average homeowner.

Governor Scott has encouraged voters to decline budgets that are “excessive”; we assure you that Montpelier’s budget is not excessive. It is student-centered and responsible to taxpayers. Use your voice to vote for public education. Please support the Montpelier Public Schools budget on Town Meeting Day.

Michele Braun, Chair, Montpelier Board of School Commissioners

Bridget Asay, Vice-chair


What Do You Think?

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Deadline for the next issue is March 10.