Tuesday January 22, 2013

A chance to say thank you Editor of the Reformer:

My favorite postal employee, Pete Sederstrom, who alone staffs, and is the face of the North Brattleboro Post Office, is retiring. I will miss being greeted by name, his friendly and helpful manner, his competence and wealth of information, and endless patience. Pete is one of those persons who makes a difference in lives of others by always being so positive and concerned about each person he deals with. He will be leaving behind the rigors of the workplace and will no longer need to deal with postal stamp price increases.

His last day at work is Friday, Jan. 25, just days before the next increase. Good timing, Pete! Please join me and others on Friday, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. as we stop in to say goodbye and thank Pete for a job well done. If you can’t make it then, I’m sure he’d appreciate your farewell wishes throughout the week.

Gail Sorenson,

Dummerston, Jan. 21

Yankee is America

Editor of the Reformer:

America is the greatest nation on the planet. Period. When we’re out shopping and see those three words "Made in America," there is a small bit of pride that we get out of knowing we are supporting jobs right here at home. Small mom and pop store or multibillion dollar corporation, an American business is still an American business. The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is run by one of those American businesses, and supports more than 620 jobs right here in our local community.

Many workers who run the facility are veterans who have proudly served our nation in uniform. Some started off in the Coast Guard defending our shores, and saving those who fall into harm’s way. Some started off serving in our nation’s Navy, keeping waters across the world safe from hostile enemies. Some started off protecting the skies in our nation’s Air Force. Still more served in our Army and Marine Corps, defending our freedom both in times of national crisis and war. We must salute these men and women who selflessly defended our nation and are now working in our community.

As the legal battle over Vermont Yankee’s future has played out, there has been a near complete disregard by the state of Vermont to realize the fact that Yankee supports well-paying American jobs, and there is no rational economic reason for shutting down the facility. Gov. Peter Shumlin, a long-time critic of the facility, once said "We’re doing all we can so that Vermont can move on from this old plant and move towards an energy future that sends Entergy Louisiana back to Louisiana."

Gov. Shumlin, in case you didn’t realize, we are all Americans. We all salute the same flag. We all are part of the same nation. Frankly, I am disgusted by your inability to realize that by shutting down the facility, you will gain nothing but force 620 Americans out of a job.

Vermont Yankee should be a symbol of pride for the community and region. Here, 620 skilled Americans produce clean, cheap, and reliable electricity, while supporting dozens of non-profit organizations with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations each year. The facility produces power right here in Vermont. Not in Massachusetts. Not in New York. Not in Canada. Vermont. Wouldn’t you rather have your hard-earned money stay local and support local American jobs?

When we buy products with those words "Made in America," we know we are supporting jobs right here at home in these rough economic times. So why is it that we can’t as a community, as a state, and as Americans, support the Americans who work at Vermont Yankee and are such an integral part of our community?

Evan Twarog,

Keene, N.H., Jan. 17

OK with the NRA until ...

Editor of the Reformer:

I was OK with the NRA until the 1980s when they fought a ban on armor-piercing bullets. There is only one reason for those types of bullets and it is to kill people that wear bullet-proof vests; police officers.

Then they come up with the outright lie that the Obama administration wants to ban deer ammunition.

And due to their influence in Washington, D.C., no federal money can be used in researching gun violence and the FBI must destroy information on gun buyers within 24 hours of approval on their background check. The ATF can’t release information used to trace guns used in crimes to researchers or the public.

And there is also a Washington Post story: "Fallis found that an overwhelming number of guns confiscated by police are sold by a very small number of stores. He reports on one Maryland store that sold 2,500 ‘crime guns,’ including 86 linked to homicides, over the past 18 years."

A handgun in the home is 43 more times likely to be used on a household member than an intruder. One of the many researched facts that the NRA doesn’t want people to know.

Ultimately, it’s not about defense -- it’s about money. $11 billion in sales and over $130 million in taxes.

But, hey, we could get every child in America a Kevlar vest. Oh, wait -- the bullets that can penetrate the vests are still available.

Mark Mitchell,

Hinsdale, N.H., Jan. 18

Take the pledge

Editor of the Reformer:

Another and better approach to "Solving Washington’s Problems" (Jan. 16) is found in the voluntary verbal pledge for Congressman Peter Welch to agree with: "As a member of congress starting within six months from when a majority of members of Congress agree with this pledge neither I nor my staff will have a conflict of interest or a semblance of a conflict of interest with any for profit corporation or their representatives."

That would also end the sale of votes Byran Stookey mentioned in his letter in the same edition of the Reformer.

I am a supporter of Congressman Welch, but if his next opponent should accept this pledge and he does not I will be forced to vote for his opponent.

George Whitney,

Brattleboro, Jan. 17

Protect the future of the River Garden

Editor of the Reformer:

A few points to add "BABB has 1 more shot at budget" in the Jan. 19-20 issue of the Reformer.

The budget that Building a Better Brattleboro submitted to the Selectboard on Tuesday "assumes" that BaBB will "divest" itself of the Robert Gibson River Garden by the summer of 2013. While it is reportedly stipulated that the budget fairly passed a membership vote, the decision to "divest" the River Garden was made by a much smaller number of Board members.

This point is important because the $36,000 left "floating in the budget" will now be "reallocated" into lines that were presumably funded at appropriate levels the first time around.

Since we are talking about taxpayer money, that $36,000, at least, should be set aside to ensure a healthy future for the River Garden, an iconic building located at the main intersection of the Downtown Improvement District and one which was purchased and renovated with taxpayer money.

BaBB owns the River Garden, or to put it more appropriately, BaBB holds it in the public trust. One ought not to "divest" a public trust.

The Selectboard will next consider the BaBB budget at a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 a.m.

Robert A. Oeser ,

Brattleboro, Jan. 21