Letters: Candidates, People’s Budget, bank’s plans

Saturday March 2, 2013

Vote for Gloria Alexander for CDC

Vote Gloria Alexander for Regional Governing Board of the Career Development Center.

For 6 years Gloria Alexander has served on the CDC Board. Currently she is chair of the Strategic Planning Committee which looks to the vision and mission for the future works of the CDC.

I have known Gloria for many years and have worked with her on several of her grants. One that exemplifies her forward thinking is The Gender Equality Grant. It was instrumental in the education of girls in technology skills and training as well as exploring careers within the CDC Programs.

Gloria is a woman with a mission to develop CDC programs that have far-reaching effects for current students and the ones to come. As an educator and colleague I urge you to vote for Gloria Alexander to continue her important work planning forward looking designs of the Career Development Center to The Regional Governing Board.



Why I’m running for the BSD School Board

On Feb. 16 the Bennington Banner announced that I was running for one of the two BSD board seats. I am one of the "newcomers" seeking election. My background in education extends from teaching in the classroom to working for the Superintendent of Schools, Okinawa, Japan district as the district technologist for 13 schools as well as teaching for several universities. I spent over 33 years working for the military students and families of the Department of Defense Dependent Schools overseas. When I retired I looked all over the states for a place that I could call my home town. My sister lives in Wilmington and she suggested that I choose Bennington. I have thanked her continually for this suggestion. It has been a great source of pride when I tell my friends that I live in Bennington.

I may not know all the processes involved in being on the BSD board but I have worked on other boards (Vermont Reading Partners and the American Association for University Women) and know how boards work. I am the person you will be able contact and reprepresent your problems and concerns with the BSD board. I am also a taxpayer who wants the best education for students in Bennington because I believe that educating our children is our best insurance for the future.


Bennington Vote for Chuck Putney

On March 5, Bennington voters will have the opportunity to elect for a select board candidate who can make a real difference to the future of our town. My vote will go to Chuck Putney.

As a volunteer Chuck has been a tireless worker for many years on issues that improve the quality of life for Bennington residents. Most recently as chair of the Oldcastle Theater board he was instrumental in relocating the theater downtown, bringing potential customers to area businesses. The majority of theatergoers are from out of town, so this change exposes them to other opportunities located close by from the Bennington Museum to locally owned shops, cafes and restaurants. He also was able to engage others in providing the resources needed to completely renovate an existing structure into a state of the art theater.

Chuck understands how to bring people together to work on a common goal. He is a problem- solver who listens carefully to various viewpoints finding the common ground. His career working with problem-solvers throughout the country and his curiosity to understand of what lies behind a problem before tackling it will bring a thoughtful and constructive perspective to the Select Board. Join me in casting your vote for Chuck Putney.


North Bennington

Running for Pownal School Board

I am running for the vacant three-year term on the Pownal School Board. I have lived in Pownal for the last 35 years. Both my sons attended Pownal Elementary School and Mt. Anthony Union High School. I served on the Pownal Rescue Squad as an EMT-I for 12 years. At the present time I am on the Fire District No. 2 Board (Pownal Water Board).

I am asking for your vote on March 5 because I believe the children of Pownal should have the best education we the voters of Pownal can get for them. Like the rest of you I ask myself are the tax dollars being spent on what the children need to do well in high school, college and finding a job later in life. If I am elected I will make the best choices I can to make sure our tax dollars are wisely spent. Once I am on the school board my 40 years working as a field engineer in computer repair should give me insights into the skills a person needs in both school and the workplace.



Not happy with bank’s plans

Today, I received a letter from Merchants Bank based in Burlington, Vermont, stating that they are planning to close the North Bennington branch and the branch in Putnam Square on Main Street, Bennington and consolidate the operations to open a new branch on Northside Drive.

To me, this is not a prudent business decision, and shows little regard for servicing the needs of local businesses and residents alike. Local banking is integral part of small town commerce and supports the vitality of residential growth and prosperity.

I proudly served on the Board of the North Bennington Bank when it was known as the First National Bank of North Bennington and later as the Catamount Bank and eventually the Merchant’s Bank. I retired as a board member at the mandatory age of 75. I firmly believe a banking institution in North Bennington as well as downtown Bennington is needed for supporting our communities today, and in the future.

If the consolidation proceeds as planned, as I expect it will regardless of my plea, as a small protest, I will sell my shares in the bank and move my account to another banking institution that proves to have a better vision for the value of servicing the needs of their customers in the Bennington area.


North Bennington

Support the People’s Budget Bill

In 1989, while commercial fishing, a two-ton block of ice came crashing down on me. Since then I have been disabled. My wife and I scraped by on her salary until the day our Jeep died. With no reliable public transportation, my wife lost her job. The state provides little help for struggling couples without small children. We were evicted from the home we’d lived in for many years and left homeless.

Working-class people are always one bad break away from losing everything. Wages are so low that a third of those working full-time live below the poverty line. They have little or no savings or insurance. As a homeless veteran, I’m eligible for healthcare and housing assistance. Many are not so lucky. If they become disabled or are unable to find work, they’re forced to turn to the state for help. And the state gives them barely what they need to survive ... if anything. They lose all dignity.

It’s wonderful that Vermont is leading the nation in developing universal healthcare. But it must not be at the expense of other necessities. Let’s develop a budget based on the needs of the entire community. Let’s think in terms of PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST! Let’s get behind the People’s Budget Bill.



Re: Upcoming votes

Taxpayers are being asked to foot a bill for up to $5,000,000 to build three to six new classrooms to accommodate the upcoming "explosion" of new students. This a few years after our school board members did not want to spend far less than this to upgrade an existing school, from which I understand the town realized a "windfall" of $200,000.

I read a report recently that claimed the school population in our state over the last 10 years has fallen from 104,000 pupils to 86,000.

Our school boards recently stated they may be "looking into" utilizing the several vacant classrooms at the middle school, which is running at about half capacity. I hope they are serious about this and not merely trying to pacify taxpayers, while taking no actual action.

Again I have read more than one study that shows that the kids that attend preschool are indeed better prepared for future grades. This seems to be true up to the third grade, but after that the competency curve seems to flatten out. Are we taxpayers basically subsidizing a baby-sitting program?

I think that Mr. Rowley will do an excellent job of representing the taxpayers. He has my vote.

The town lost a money-conscious select-board member when Jason Morrissey decided not to run again. Maybe Gene Rowley can help fill the void.




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