I want to issue a thank you to everyone involved in Town Meeting day and the elections, not just in Shaftsbury, but in the entirety of Bennington County. That goes beyond the poll workers, the various select boards and school boards, and all of the related committees. I extend that thanks to everyone who came out and used their vote as their voice. Voting in these local elections is the best opportunity for citizens to help guide their town over the next year.
I want to particularly thank Karen Mellinger for her hard work on the Select Board these past years; Margy Becker and Judy Stratton for having the patience to answer my questions regardless of how novice the questions may have been; and all of the townspeople I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to talk with over the past few months. I’ve received nothing but goodwill from everyone I’ve spoken to and I encourage anyone who is thinking about getting involved in the town in some capacity to do so. It’s been an incredible experience, and I look forward to many more conversations like them in the future.
The more people that get involved in the town, whether it’s attending meetings, emailing board members, asking questions, or running for positions, the stronger a community we will have. Regardless of the outcome of the election, I believe Shaftsbury has a very bright future, and I’m glad I chose to raise my children here.
JARED DELLA ROCCA
Thanks to the boards in Shaftsbury
I want to thank all the boards in Shaftsbury for the work they do. Mostly volunteer members do work that can at times, be quite boring. Preparing budgets and contracts, scheduling upkeep of equipment, studying maps and bylaws, members give their time at least twice a month to serve this community and make Shaftsbury the best it can be. All the meetings I’ve attended, including the Select Board, the School Board, the Developmental Review Board and the Planning Commission have been, for lack of a better word, "OPEN." All board members are our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members and I’m sure if you ask them they will admit that what they would ask in return for their efforts, if anything, is more community participation. Don’t be suspicious. Don’t be afraid. This is not Washington, D.C. We should be thankful for, and take advantage of, the right to be involved in a government that impacts our daily lives so directly.
Frequent reviews needed for older drivers
I am loathe to write this letter, but I cannot stay quiet on this matter. Last year a friend of mine, a funny, sweet older man, died in my arms because he was struck crossing the street in front of his house. His decision to cross was, admittedly, ill-conceived and poorly timed, but he counted, as so many of us do, on the driver slowing down. She did not do that.
Not so long ago an elderly person got confused and pressed the gas pedal when she meant to press the brake and this resulted in a three-car accident. This week, as I was walking east on Weeks Street, approaching the intersection of Washington and Weeks, I watched an elderly driver traveling west at speed, blow through that stop sign without the slightest pause. Had I been crossing the street that driver would have run me down.
We all have or know family and friends who live alone and need to go to their various appointments, errands, etc., but do they have to kill or endanger the lives of the rest of us? How many befuddled, slow-reacting drivers, who insist on their "independence," will agonize over the heartbreak they have caused when they inflict enormous physical and emotional pain on their neighbors?
Our aging population grows every day and turning a blind eye to this problem is wrong and extremely short-sighted. There are numerous free or low cost methods of getting around in our state and, while I sympathize with our elders need to go to the store when they feel like it, do they have to kill the rest of us to get there?
We must have frequent reviews of the abilities required to operate a motor vehicle starting at 65 years old. These reviews must happen every few years and include written as well as driving tests. Insurance for seniors must include coverage that will pay for damages inflicted on life and property. This solution is not the "pre-emptive" strike so popular with legislators nowadays, but a realistic answer to a very real problem that, left unchecked, will continue to result in unnecessary pain and heartache for so many.