Wednesday March 20, 2013

Time to re-examine Brattleboro’s police/fire project

Editor of the Reformer:

With Representative Town Meeting coming up, I’ve been hearing from several Reps that they’re having misgivings about the impact of a million-dollar-a-year payment for 20 years. They say we just can’t afford it. Some voted for it last year, but they feel it was a mistake. So, what’s changed? Nothing, really, but the effects of the sour economy are now more visible.

Montpelier is struggling with the state budget, suggesting that there will be less relief from the state than we had been counting on. (It’s interesting that New Hampshire is facing many similar issues).

As for the Feds, there is no good news at all -- zero. They’re throwing out words such as "sequester" and "austerity" as if there’s no tomorrow. (Maybe there isn’t). One thing for sure: Wealth may not trickle down, but austerity certainly does.

So where does that leave us? We have a high tax rate now. Paying off the bonds will increase it significantly. I think it’s time we revisit the issue.

I know we authorized the bond issue last year. But the key word is "authorized," we didn’t mandate it. We don’t have to spend it all. The projects can and should be streamlined. Do we really need a gym for the police? One of the Reps pointed out that we’d save considerable money if we simply paid for memberships in the gyms of their choice.


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There’s a lot of stuff like that that ought to be looked at.

Another Rep referenced the new Hinsdale Police Station. He mentioned that they will be getting a brand new one for about half the per-capita cost of our renovations. How?

With these issues in mind, I urge our Reps to reconsider all this spending at a time when we can least afford it. Disapprove the bond issue for now. Re-examine the scope and design of the projects and come up with a more affordable plan that better suits the people of Brattleboro.

For more info, go to brattleborocommonsense.org.

Tom Finnell,

Brattleboro, March 19

Remembering Fukushima

Editor of the Reformer:

On Saturday, March 9, 25 residents of the Putney area came together to recognize the struggles of those who have lived with fear, displacement from their homes and social ostracism as nuclear refugees. On March 11, 2011, the worst accident in the sordid history of the nuclear industry began. It is still ongoing. 130,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and move to far away communities, separating family members and friends from one another, maybe forever.

In Putney, we learned about the village of Iitate. Iitate is 24 miles northwest of the Fukushima Daichi reactor complex, like Putney, outside of the evacuation zone around Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. People thought they were safe at the start of the meltdowns and releases of radiation. They largely remained in place, only to learn one month later that they needed to evacuate, and that they had been exposed to a large amount of radiation when the main plume passed directly over their village.

About 6,500 people lived in Iitate, one of Japan’s most beautiful villages. There are now 120, mainly elderly, residents. People have had to give up farms, jobs, schools, businesses, homes, pets. Our hearts go out to these refugees.

And we say never again. Vermont Yankee needs to close safely and promptly. Our communities and our lives are on the line should Yankee suffer an accident in the manner of its twin in Fukushima.

Nancy Braus,

Putney, March 12

United Way’s
final push

Editor of the Reformer:

We have raised 83 percent of our 2013 Community Campaign goal. Your neighbors, colleagues and friends have contributed and it is impressive. Now we need your help to reach the final goal.

At United Way of Windham County, it isn’t just about raising the money -- it’s what that money will do. Meeting our goal means continuing to provide support and leadership when it is needed most. It means funding programs that are addressing key issues in education, income and health. And it means continuing to create lasting and positive changes.

Please make a donation.

When you give to United Way of Windham County, you support local programs and initiatives that are on the way to achieving lasting results that no one entity could achieve alone, including: All children are nurtured by caregivers who promote early learning and development; all people have access to an adequate supply of nutritious food; and all people receive preventative and ongoing dental health care.

These goals, and more, are achieved through partnerships that directly and effectively impact our county your neighbors, friends and colleagues.

United Way also leads key initiatives including: The Free Adult Dental Care Day that has treated over 300 people since 2011; the Windham County Hunger Council, which increased the number of free summer food sites from 17 to 23 in 2012 for children and youth; and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that provided free tax preparation to over 300 households in 2012.

Please commit to "Live United" with a gift to United Way of Windham County. Together, united, we inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. Help us to continue to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Be a are part of the solution. Give today.

Donate on line at unitedwaywindham.org or send your gift to United Way of Windham County, 28 Vernon St., Ste. 312, Brattleboro, VT 05301. You may always reach us at 802-257-4011.

Carmen Derby,

Executive Director, United Way of Windham County,

Brattleboro, March 7

VCIL lauds
new bill

Editor of the Reformer:

The Vermont Center for Independent Living was excited when it learned the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act has passed Congress. VCIL commends Vermont’s own Senator Leahy for co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, people with disabilities among ages 12-15 experience violent victimization (including rape/sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault) at least twice that of persons without disabilities. In addition, persons with disabilities are more likely to be attacked by persons well known to them or who were casual acquaintances of the victim than persons without disabilities.

In addition to the updates in the reauthorization around inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and Native Americans, money will be now be provided for accessible shelters and technical assistance to first responders, law enforcement and shelter staff for working with people with disabilities.

VCIL applauds the efforts of allies from the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services for their work advocating for VAWA’s expanded capability to protect people with disabilities from violence.

Sarah Launderville,

Executive Director,

March 7

Sloppy!

Editor of the Reformer:

In your March 13 issue you printed an advertisement from Avada Hearing Care Centers on Page 6, in a column under the "World in Brief" heading amid various Associated Press news items, taking no care to distinguish the ad from the surrounding news. Though by itself this is not a huge thing, it is emblematic of the sloppy unprofessional manner in which the Reformer is currently edited and published.

Rebecca Bartlett,

Brattleboro, March 13

Editor’s note: We apologize for the oversight.