Saturday April 13, 2013

Eradicating polio

Editor of the Reformer:

"Safe, effective, and potent."

With these words on April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., director of the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, announced to the world that the Salk polio vaccine was up to 90-percent effective in preventing paralytic polio.

In 1985, Rotary International launched PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial pledge of $120 million. Three years later, Rotarians raised $247 million for PolioPlus, more than double their fundraising goal. Inspired in part by Rotary's initiative, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eradicate polio, setting up the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. More than 125 countries were polio-endemic; polio infected about 350,000 children per year.

In September, 1991, the last indigenous case of polio in the Americas occurred. Twenty-one years later, on Jan. 13, 2012, India marked its second year without polio. Worldwide, 222 polio cases were reported in 2012, a little more than one-third of the 650 cases reported in 2011. Overall, the annual incidence of polio has decreased more than 99 percent since the GPEI was launched 25 years ago.

Through the work of the GPEI, more than seven million people, mainly in the developing world, who would otherwise have been paralyzed, are walking because they have been immunized against polio, and more than 500,000 cases of polio are prevented each year due to the efforts of governments and the GPEI partnership.

In 2009, Rotary's overall contribution to the eradication effort totaled nearly $800 million. Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a combined $555 million, all of it in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Although the wild poliovirus is now endemic only in three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria, it could spread from there back to other countries. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Rotary International, we are close to eradicating this disease. To find out what you can do, visit endpolio.org.

Martin Cohn,

president, Brattleboro Rotary Club, April 11

Peyton's party

Editor of the Reformer:

I intend to once again be a small presence in the 2014 Gubernatorial race. I want to be clear I have no illusions about winning (the privatized election process prevents my contact with you). I don't seek authority over you. Instead, I offer policies that reduce rogue corporatism and political authoritarianism, a result of a lifetime of work.

My part to bring industrial hemp and marijuana forward as a resource is rewarding.

Other than the U.S. dollar, a new mechanism of exchange debt/interest-free is absolutely critical to our near future. It could be coupons, and worktrades, yet no legislative movement is happening for it. S.55, the bill that calls for a study of a public bank is stalled without your support. It's very important for Vermont to divest from TD Bank. TD Bank with its millions of shares, is the major investor in the XL pipeline,Tar Sands and environmental suicide. Pete Shumlin, so far, favors staying with TD Bank.

This year I have a party name; the "Come Together" party. It will have no hierarchy. I will open-source the platform I have developed for public activist use. I have no love for political authoritarianism, injustice, stupidity, unfairness, cruelty, greed or limelight. Obviously each day of life we owe to Earth so my own allegiance is not to a flag or a republic. This is my pledge: I pledge allegiance to the Earth, upon whom all life depends, and to the beings with whom we share her. Our Earth, of the Universe, beauteous beyond comprehension.

Emily Peyton,

Putney, April 9

Tax concerns

Editor of the Reformer:

There's been speculation around Governor Shumlin's proposed tax on break open tickets sold in Vermont's veterans, fraternal and service organizations and how much revenue it might produce. Potentially it could raise no new revenue and could put much of the charitable work done through these organizations in serious jeopardy.

As Vermont ELKS Association's president, I will identify just a few of the programs and causes which are at risk. The VEA, consisting of 13 member lodges, uses this funding to sponsor children's sports teams, camps and drug awareness programs; numerous Veterans programs; and cash donations to Meals on Wheels, Parent Child Centers, free medical clinics, and emergency food and fuel programs. The National ELKS organization gives more in scholarships to our young Americans than any other group except the Federal Government. This source of revenue contributes to this cause for our Vermont students.

The funds are also used to support our Silver Towers Camp for People with Disabilities in Ripton, which was the first residential camp of its kind in our country. Campers, 7 to 70, join us from across New England and don't need to be affiliated with the ELKS. Without this resource, our camp, and all of the causes named in the previous paragraph, would be in danger.

It was estimated that the surcharge would raise revenue for the state - while in truth it could mean no new revenue and would cause a great loss to Vermont's local communities. Since this surcharge could cause a loss in revenue to these charitable organizations, something they cannot afford, many have said they would cease to sell tickets. If this were to happen, much of the charitable good currently supported by these funds would be lost and no new state revenue would be gained.

Lori F. Pinsonneault,

president, Vermont Elks Association, April 9