Home Commentary Letters to the Editor, 4.13.22

Letters to the Editor, 4.13.22

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Reject the Proposed Credit Union Merger

To the Editor:

I was one of the many members confused about the Vermont State Employees Credit Union board’s proposal and procedure in trying for a merger with New England Federal Credit Union, a proposal which I oppose. During the virtual annual meeting I was glad to hear that the board plans to disseminate more information and to engage the VSECU members transparently in the proposal, then put it to a vote of the entire membership. 

I am convinced by the facts and arguments put forth by former VSECU CEO Steven Post and former board members M. Jerome Diamond and Kimberly B. Cheney, both former Vermont state attorneys general, that this merger is not in the best interests of the membership. My lingering concern is that a large enough percentage of the membership may not participate and that, like what so often happens in Montpelier City elections, the proposal may pass simply because not enough participate in the vote. 

That is one reason why, during the annual meeting, I harped on how and what establishes a quorum for votes. If a small quorum is required to call a meeting on an important issue like merger, how do we ensure that the majority needed to vote the issue in at such a meeting is truly a representative percentage of our entire VSECU membership? Let us hold VSECU management accountable for keeping us fully informed and ensuring that a majority of the membership participates in the final vote. As Post, Diamond, and Cheney have stated, “VSECU was built for Vermont not for NEFCU. Let’s keep our credit union and find new leadership. Reject the merger. Renew the vision.”

Dot Helling, Adamant (VSECU member since the 1970s)

GMT Cuts Hurt Monptelier

To the Editor:

On March 7, Green Mountain Transit:

  • discontinued the 7:52 a.m. northbound LINK Express
  • discontinued the 5:35 p.m. southbound LINK Express
  • switched the only northbound LINK express service, the 7:22 a.m., to a stopping service
  • cut numerous other services in Chittenden and Franklin counties.
Green Mountain Transit says these cuts have been necessary because the services were not financially sustainable for reasons including low ridership numbers and rising gas prices. Green Mountain Transit also attributes the cuts to staffing shortages. The selection of the 7:52 a.m. northbound LINK Express for discontinuation was based on a lack of staffing in Burlington.

No doubt GMT’s budget is complicated and it is challenging to provide financially sustainable services for all community needs. I don’t know what a good solution might be.

What I can say for sure is that these cuts hurt Montpelier.

In my situation, they force me to drive my car from Montpelier to Burlington and back each working day. Others will be in the same situation. This is a huge household cost. The rising costs of cars and gas mean communities need cost-effective transportation now more than ever.

Putting more gas-powered vehicles on the road harms the environment. The U.S. Department of Transportation calculates that 10 gas-powered vehicles have 15 times the particle emissions of a bus carrying 10 passengers.

The cuts hurt access and mobility for those who cannot simply switch to a different bus service or to a private vehicle.

Montpelier needs mass transit.

If you are impacted by these cuts, or if you feel strongly about them, you can raise your voice in several ways:

Graham Sherriff, Montpelier

Thanks for Grooming the Trails

To the Editor: 

I thank the Montpelier Parks Department and the Onion River Nordic Club for all their hard work on the Montpelier’s nordic trails this winter. This winter was neither easy nor prolific for cross country. Being in the ski business, I know how difficult this was with the bizarre weather variations in our era of climate change.

For me, I mostly skied at night, diagonal striding around the Country Club or North Branch under the headlamp after work. It was a brutal year for us in the ski business with the dearth of snow, the shortage of help, the hordes coming at us like a never-ending invasion, and with COVID always around us. The COVID missed me this time. We workers were all vaxxed or else we couldn’t work there, but not all guests were and some of us got it, several seriously. 

It was nice to decompress from the madness by striding along a velvet carpet (when we had snow) with set tracks left by the groomers. Sometimes, I got in the tracks and hardly moved the skis, but stood in the quiet, headlamp off, gazing at the night. Once, at the country club, the full moon rose from behind a rise of woods as if wanting to reassure me in its ageless way that I would make it. Sometimes, I veered off the groomers to romp in the powder or the icy crust during this winter’s constant thaws and refreezes, my waxless skis disappearing under the snow or their metal edges gripping the top of it, feeling like I was kid playing in the snow. 

I have not yet tallied my cross-country mileage, but a rough guesstimate is about forty or fifty miles of solace thanks to their work.   

Walter Carpenter, Montpelier 

Alleged Assault at the Guertin Structure

To the Editor:

Saturday (April 9), on my way to the Montpelier Shaw’s, I visited with those gathered at the Guertin Parklet structure … [I] tried to converse with one of the three persons there who greeted me in their usual friendly manner, though because one of the others had been loudly arguing and was being highly verbally abusive … I continued on my way. 

However, I looked back and witnessed an abrupt escalation by the verbally abusive party, including a physical assault, male upon female. The assaulted party had not done anything, save for just being a convenient target for one person’s frustration and then rage expressed upon someone else who was present.

Each of the three were quite intoxicated or otherwise under the influence; however, something more was obviously behind this frustration and rage of the abusive party or other person present. Police arrived to de-escalate the situation. 

The person who had been verbally and physically assaulted apparently refused to press charges. With the assistance of a distant bystander, they left the scene … and eventually [went] to the transit center and then to the Christ Church overflow shelter until they could get safely inside. Staff members at both places were informed of the earlier incident. 

There is growing concern for the safety of the person who was assaulted … they and the person who assaulted them are both frequent visitors to the Guertin Parklet structure and have nowhere else to go during the day. At the very least, there is an obvious need for one or more persons to provide a presence at the structure throughout the day on a revolving and continuing basis, whether done by volunteers or paid professionals, including peers. 

… That said, either dismantling or relocating the Guertin Parklet structure is not the answer either, because such incidents will continue to happen only more out of sight, where something much more dangerous could potentially occur. 

Let us not wait until it is too late for preventive measures to be taken on behalf of those vulnerable to such senseless violence … Last, though not least, besides the usual excuses concerning costs and related matters involved in actually doing something meaningful (which are routinely employed by the powers that be in an effort to explain away indifference and lack of action), the costs in both financial and human terms associated with doing nothing should be seriously considered and thoughtfully weighed as well.

Morgan W. Brown, Montpelier

Eat Your Veggies

To the Editor:

Can you believe the meat price increases predicted by USDA Economic Research Service? 15% for red meat and 11% for fish and eggs! Way over the predicted 8% inflation rate, already the highest in four decades.

The obvious solution recommended by nutritionists: fresh vegetables. They contain all the nutrients required for healthy living and no saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics loaded in animal products. They do contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They offer vastly reduced risk of contracting heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and obesity.

Fresh vegetables are going up only 4.3% — way below the 8% inflation rate.

But there is more…

A University of Michigan research report found that replacing 50% of animal products with plant-based foods would prevent more than 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse gasses by 2030 — President Biden’s target date for a 50% reduction in emissions.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we need to replace meat and other animal products with vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.

This outrageous meat price increase may be our blessing in disguise.

Moses Belinie, Montpelier

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