Governor, you are out of touch

Editor of the Reformer:

I admire your commitment, in your words, "Š for Vermont to have a strong broadband and cell infrastructure" ("Shumlin backs Putney cell plan," Jan. 3, 2014 Reformer) and I agree with this, in theory. In practice, however, the adoption of Section 248a to facilitate this commitment has undermined our right to participate in the development of our communities. Specifically, to have a say in the placement of significant physical structures and supporting compounds that change the quality of life we cherish in Vermont.

You also say, "We have to all be willing to put up with some inconvenience to make sure we deliver connectivity to all Vermonters. So I’m following the discussion on this tower and hope it gets resolved. I want to see this expansion be successful. We have plans and projects, but inevitably barriers like town opposition has slowed things down."

Really? As an abutter to the Shag Bark Hill AT&T tower proposal, I can personally say that losing my quality of life after 20 years, exposing my son to possible health risks and seeing the equity in my home (my only real asset), I so diligently worked for, be reduced, should hardly be classified as an "inconvenience." And this coming from a man with resources and protections I can only dream about.

And to refer to "town opposition" as "barriers" is painfully insulting to a thoughtful town like Putney.

What we have established here at our public meetings:

-- AT&T needs the towers for their right to compete. We have several other companies that provide adequate cell service here in town and on I-91.

-- The Shag Bark project will not provide cell service to the Putney Mountain area, which is where it is most needed.

-- The parcel in question is too small for the disruption that will be caused by a project of this size; its proximity to neighboring houses is unconscionable.

-- Under the current system of which AT&T will profit, AT&T compensates the landlord only with no compensation for the people who will bear the brunt of the disruption. The tower and supporting compound have been placed as far away from the landlord’s house as possible and right on the door step of uncompensated abutters.

-- AT&T is planning for three possible rentals on this tower so the land disturbance, noise and disruption will only grow.

-- There are other sites in Putney that would work and are much less disruptive to the environment and people, sites that would not require building a 1,000-foot access road with utility poles that the Shag Bark facility will need.

Yes AT&T is following the rules and the PSB will find in their favor, but the rules are not protecting the people that will certainly pay for this facility and will bear the greatest sacrifice.

Governor, you need to come here and see what is going on. Your endorsement of this process for connecting Vermont and, more specifically, your endorsement of the Shag Bark Hill proposal has only added to our struggle. And I voted for you. Twice.

Angela Battisto,

Putney, Feb. 7

‘Trustees you can trust’ gain support

Editor of the Reformer:

I plan to support the slate of four candidates who are running for the openings on the Rockingham Library Board of Trustees. I would encourage anyone who cares about the library and wants to see positive changes on the board, to vote for Doreen Aldrich, Carol Blackwood, David Gould and Ray Massucco. It’s time for a change.

The RFPL is one of the best libraries in the state. The divisiveness with some members of the current board has created an atmosphere of hostility and distrust. Amid all the controversy, the staff has been running the library with the utmost degree of professionalism and positive attitude.

So, let’s support the library and staff and elect the slate of four "Trustees You Can Trust."

Kathleen Michel,

retired public and school librarian,

Friend of the Library,

Saxtons River, Feb. 7