Don’t Be Proud, Montpelier, Be EmbarrassedTo the Editor: Only 2,271 out of 7,083 registered voters actually voted on Town Meeting Day. Apathy rules in Vermont’s capital city. Discouraging and disappointing to say the least. A total of 4,812 did NOT use our privilege to vote, what democracy is based on and people in other countries are willing to die to have the chance to do. So taxes go up and up and for things that are not real necessities like developing bike paths and parks and the cost of their upkeep. We lived for centuries without them. No excuse not voting, with the voting options now allowed. I, personally, have voted ever since members of my age group, at 18, were first allowed to vote and (am) now a senior citizen. City council and the city manager should not be proud of this. Looks like only 2,271 voters even bother to listen to you and the work you did or even care. So the city continues to hurt and dip into the pockets of medium, low income, and senior citizens. So many on “fixed” incomes. Don’t be proud, Montpelier, be embarrassed.
Capital Area Neighborhood Forums Support Civic EngagementTo the Editor: The Feb. 23 article in The Bridge covering the District 3 City Council Candidate Forum gave voters a clear sense of the position of the four candidates on key questions posed during the forum, including the ‘hot and spicy’ issue of the bond for purchasing the Elks Club property. As the organizers for Capital Area Neighborhoods (CAN) Forum we would like to give thanks to all the residents who submitted questions for the forum, to Tom McKone for moderating, and to all who watched the recording by Orca Media, in the lead-up to Town Meeting Day. The idea for this forum was conceived of by volunteer coordinator Peter Kelman of the CAN Mountain View neighborhood. He requested that the support team at Sustainable Montpelier Coalition organize a candidates’ forum so that voters could ‘get to know’ the four candidates vying for the two open seats. Capital Area Neighborhoods supports civic engagement. There are important topics that would benefit from community discussion. Sustainable Montpelier has committed to organizing four CAN forums in the coming year. A forum can be requested by a CAN neighborhood or by a city department. Forums are an important way that our Montpelier community can come together to engage with city councilors, determine options, and identify steps toward transparent solutions. To request a CAN forum, please share your idea with your CAN neighborhood and coordinator. For further information, email CAN@sustainablemontpelier.org or call (802) 272-1195. Hanif Nazerali, CAN Liaison, and Laura Brooke, CAN Program Support, Sustainable Montpelier Coalition
Support Homeless VeteransTo the Editor: Did you know that tonight, when the sun goes down, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 American veterans will have no place to go home to? On Friday, March 18, I, along with what I hope will be many others, am planning to sleep out in a tent in support of these brave men and women. Our goal is to raise awareness of homelessness among veterans, along with funds to support The Veterans’ Place in Northfield. Those who put on the uniforms of our nation’s Armed Services sacrifice so much to defend the freedoms we all take for granted. Far too many, however, come home unable to defend themselves from the ravages of combat. For me, spending one night outdoors on the cold, wet ground is a choice I am making, in solidarity with tens of thousands of veterans who have no such choice. I invite you to join me on March 18 in the fight to reduce veteran homelessness. Your participation, in whatever capacity, will bring us one step closer to making sure no one who fought for this country has to fight for a job, a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home. To learn more about this event, including how to register as a participant or make an in-kind or monetary donation, please visit The Veterans’ Place website at vermontveteransplace.org/events. On behalf of our residents, staff, and volunteers, thank you. Diana Weggler, President of the Board, The Veteran’s Place, Inc., Northfield
Vermont’s Old Growth Trees Must StandTo the Editor: Vermont’s old-growth trees need our help now, while they’re still here. In contrast to forests managed for wood products, old and wild forests are more resistant to climate change and support the highest level of biodiversity. They store more carbon than immature trees and help reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in water bodies. Just as important, they protect communities from the impacts of extreme precipitation events. Are wood products important? Of course. But with nearly 90% of New England forests available for timber harvest, very few will ever be given the chance to grow old unless we permanently manage more forests as wildlands. It’s time for Vermont’s congressional delegation, along with leadership at Green Mountain National Forest, to do the right thing. Vermont’s old growth trees must stand. Neville Berle, Montpelier;
with gratitude to standingtrees.org
We are STILL Importing PFAS from Other StatesTo the Editor: In 2021 with the passage of Act 34, Vermont took a step toward reducing the toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that are allowed to be sold, manufactured, and imported into our state. Act 34 bans stain-resistant rugs, food packaging, and ski wax and will eventually prohibit the manufacture, sale, and distribution of Class B firefighting foam containing PFAS. However, a ban on these products represents a tiny portion of the PFAS imported, distributed, and disposed of in Vermont. Many materials used in construction and manufacturing utilize substances containing PFAS; plumbing supplies, roofing, paint, flooring, sealants/adhesives, glass, fabrics, wires/cables, tape, car wash waxes, electroplating, and printing. The waste from these industries is received by the landfill in Coventry, concentrating PFAS in landfill leachate (a.k.a. “garbage juice”). Montpelier is the only wastewater treatment facility in Vermont processing leachate, and the toxic PFAS compounds pass through the treatment process and are discharged into the river. Additionally, the landfill imports thousands of tons of PFAS-laden construction/demolition waste and PFAS-laden sewage sludge from other states! As a member of the environmental organization DUMP, LLC, I am horrified. In 2020, the Coventry landfill accepted over 24,000 tons of imported sludge and over 15,000 tons of imported construction/demolition waste. These out-of-state volumes far exceed the same waste types generated in Vermont. We are importing poison that profits a corporation! Thank you Vermont legislators, for introducing bills to combat this!
- H.710, sponsored by representatives Sims, Campbell, Higley, Lefebvre, Page, Smith, Troiano, and Williams.
- H.650, sponsored by representatives McCullough, Stebbins, and Rachelson.