The aesthetics of bridge design
Editor of the Reformer:
There seems to be some fondness for the existing I-91 bridge over the West River, so presumably its design can be a guide for an "aesthetics committee" (which I guess will have the awesome power to determine what’s aesthetic) when it weighs in on the design for the new bridge. Looking closely at the existing bridge from Route 30, I observe that it is relatively unobtrusive. The steel structure under the bridge is painted green and is very open and transparent (like Dummerston’s green iron bridge), so it blends in with and allows visibility of the hills across the river. The bridge’s decks and side walls are just a thin line across those hills.
I attended the last Department of Transportation meeting on the replacement bridge and did not find the concrete tube design proposed by the engineers (the thinner of the two options) non-aesthetic. In fact, if the concrete mix was a dark gray, I think the bridge would be fairly unobtrusive and not at all non-aesthetic, perhaps fairly sleek. The engineers explained that while design is an important factor, cost must also be a significant consideration, both initially and for ongoing repair. The steel structure design options which have been created for this project are appreciably more expensive to build and maintain than the concrete design options, and have shorter expected life spans. The engineers
People at the last DOT meeting expressed concern that the favored bridge design was dull and unworthy of its symbolic value as the gateway to southern Vermont. My concern is that a bridge of grand concept would be calling attention to a bridge, not to the beautiful hills of Vermont. I recently drove through Bucksport, Maine, and was looking forward to seeing the Route 1 bridge across the Penobscot River, which I remember fondly from years ago as fitting nicely into the landscape. Instead the bridge of my memory sat sadly rusting next to a mammoth new structure designed imposingly like the I-93 bridge across Boston Harbor, inappropriate in my mind to the setting and an assault on my personal aesthetics.
There seemed to be a public bias against concrete at the DOT meeting, and a plea for grandeur. I hope we can keep the new bridge simple, but innovative and strong, and respectful of our cherished Vermont landscape.
Dummerston, Aug. 13
Editor’s note: The next meeting to discuss this issue is scheduled for Thursday night, Aug. 16, at 7 in the Windham Regional Career Center, 80 Atwood St., Brattleboro.
Edwards supports Toleno for seat
Editor of the Reformer:
Our community faces real challenges and the choice of who represents us in Montpelier matters. The voters of Brattleboro District 3 have a great opportunity to elect an outstanding, dedicated and talented citizen to represent us in Montpelier in the upcoming primary on Tuesday, Aug. 28. I believe that Tristan Toleno is the best person for the job.
Tristan has the right temperament. It is not just his energy, enthusiasm and smarts. While Tristan has all this, he also has the roots, connections and commitment to our community. He is well acquainted with the local, state and global sustainability issues of our times, and he has what it takes to tackle the toughest issues facing our community and our state. He is a straightforward and honest man with tremendous integrity who will quickly bond with the work in Montpelier. He already has a strong network and the crucial connections to help our community and the state as a whole.
Tristan made his commitment to Brattleboro and Vermont long ago. He grew up and attended both high school and college here. His children attend local schools and his wife, Susie, is the minister of a local church. His interest in our community and our state predates his involvement at a political level, and he has long since proven that he is a dedicated public servant.
Tristan has worked steadfastly for a healthier, safer and more vibrant Brattleboro by serving as a Town Meeting Representative and on many boards and committees such as the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Fresh Network (as president), Civilian Police Communication Committee, the Healthy Communities Coalition, the Sunrise Rotary, and many more. Tristan also has years of experience in economic and business development and job creation, and he knows how to work with diverse groups of people, a real plus in the Legislature.
While I will miss the work and reward of being the Representative for District 3, I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone go to the polls and cast a vote for Tristan Toleno. With his experience and creativity and his knowledge of statewide policy issues, Toleno is more than well suited to represent us in Montpelier. He is a natural for the job.
from Brattleboro, District-3, Aug. 14
O’Connor addresses ‘Tarrant issue’
Editor of the Reformer:
In my 25 years of political and public service, I have worked for Democratic Vermont governors Madeleine Kunin, Howard Dean and Peter Shumlin. A recent letter to the editor, however, questioned my stint as a Democratic consultant to 2006 U.S. Senate candidate Richard Tarrant.
Here are the facts:
Six years ago, the Republican called me and -- knowing I was not only the daughter of the Vermont House’s first-ever Democratic speaker but also had just traveled the country with Dean’s presidential campaign -- said, "I want to know what issues are important to Democrats."
I told him. Democrats have wanted Republicans to listen to them for more than a century. When one phones you and says he’s all ears, why would you pass up an opportunity to educate him?
Today I’m a Democratic candidate for Brattleboro’s District 3 House seat aiming to meet every voter through door-to-door visits. Not one resident in my travels has asked me about Tarrant. Instead, they want me to explain my support for social equity and women’s health rights, for redeveloping downtown and working to ensure a strong local economic and employment picture upon the eventual closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
I invite any District 3 voter with concerns about my Democratic allegiance to contact me, Dean or Shumlin directly.
Howard and Peter also have offered to campaign in my hometown with me. I’ve said no. The fourth generation of O’Connors to live in District 3, I have faith my friends and neighbors will vote for a state representative based on that candidate’s positive character and unparalleled resume rather than any unfounded negative conjecture.
Brattleboro, Aug. 13
VY will help move Vermont forward
Editor of the Reformer:
I appreciated the opinion piece by Howard Shaffer ("Vermont Yankee: What’s in it for us?" July 27). Shaffer points out a very important fact that many choose to ignore: Vermont Yankee’s continued operation will benefit Vermont ratepayers.
He does an excellent job reminding us of all of the many ways we benefit from Yankee. For example, over the next 10 years, Vermont utilities could receive millions of the dollars of revenue generated by the plant, thanks to a "revenue sharing" agreement signed 10 years ago. Neither our governor nor the press says much about this agreement, but nevertheless it translates into real, big dollars for John Q. Ratepayer.
Additionally, the plant will keep down the fluctuating cost of regional power and make the grid flow more smoothly, which again translates into more dollar savings. And let’s not overlook the many economic benefits we gain from having a large-scale employer like Yankee operating within our borders -- more than 600 well-paying jobs for local residents, $100 million in annual economic benefits and $6.3 million in annual state and local tax payment.
Make no mistake: an operational Vermont Yankee will help move Vermont forward toward a better energy future.
Vernon, Aug. 8