Letters to the Editor
Beer article alarming
I read the lead story in your Saturday edition ("Beer becomes topic of college study") with interest and alarm. What the article didn't mention is that many students who dropped out of UVM have now applied to have life experience recognized for academic credit under the new program. Others have petitioned to have a failing grade in chemistry, for example, converted into a passing grade in beer studies, which many have previously been forced to pursue on their own, often late into the night. Expect your layabout unmarried male friends, now socially marginalized, to become bachelors of Brewery Science after twelve on-line lessons and a continuous three-day residency at participating brew-pubs in Burlington. An extension component is in the works, so it seems that it will soon be possible to carry out one's studies in local bars. I understand the appeal of majoring in ales and lagers, and courses in sustainable drinking, but is this really what we want for Vermont?
Select Board should resign
A recent news article in the Bennington Banner highlighted some of the Shaftsbury Select Board's problems with payroll and employee overtime hours. The article is actually laughable.
If the Select Board can't manage a simple task such as scheduling employees and meeting payroll obligations then I would suggest that they should all resign. We could then appoint a new board that wouldn't have to "re-invent" the wheel for just about every decision that they make. Before resigning, Select Board Chairman Tim Scoggins should probably call Stuart Hurd, Bennington town manager, and see how he schedules and pays his employees.
Fund tasers for police
My thoughts on funding tasers for our police officers. I think the money for this equipment should be funded. As chief Doucette pointed out, suspects "Are more inclined to physically resist police these days than they have been in the past".
This should come as no surprise as the officers are basically partially "handcuffed" as to how they can subdue a suspect without being accused of "Police Brutality"!
I also see no reason why any police officer should need to be the subject of a taser any more than he or she should be subjected to feeling what a gun shot wound feels like.
I urge the select board to include these funds in our budget and the voters to approve same.
Let's give our law enforcement people the tools to do the job that our citizens expect of them.
Sure You Want A Pipeline?
In 2011, the proposed VT Gas (VGS) project was to go down Route 7, serve many more customers, feature a safer distribution line, and cost about $70 million. Today the price is $154 million - without local distribution costs!, VGS claimed the useful life of the pipeline then as 50+ years, but Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan makes even 35 years look optimistic. Gas use will have to contract and large rate hikes may occur anyway, especially if VGS continues south.
Project approval included VGS assurances about meeting national safety requirements. Yet for over a year VGS built pipeline without an approved quality plan OR a signed builder contract. The Department of Public Service (DPS) admitted this October it knew VGS had quality problems, sub-standard welds, contract disputes, and inadequate inspections. DPS struggled to get VGS to comply But neither one mentioned problems in technical hearings last June.
Now lawsuits raise enforcement questions: Who pays for damage VGS admits it did to private properties, and who's responsible if there's a serious incident because of substandard construction?
Some 800+ feet of pipe have been pulled and scrapped over safety concerns and, "ecofriendly" horizontal drilling (HDD) has already failed in places. Rocky soils, large solid quartz deposits, and unmarked landfills don't respond well to HDD, resulting in invasive trenching in these areas. When you add in sloppy contracting and inept project management, the company's claimed cost cap may mean more corner cutting and even greater damage to properties, farms, and wildlife.
Vermont can't afford these risks. Lost property or life is too steep a price. Join the many Vermonters asking DPS for a new review before going forward. You may read about it and sign a letter to the Governor and Public Service Board here,
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