Letter: What does it take?

Editor of the Reformer:

A neighbor of mine on Winter Street in Brattleboro called the state Vermont Department of Transportation about a tree between his house and Interstate 91. He was worried about it falling on his house, so the state of Vermont came in to take it down. Well, it has now turned into a project of clearing almost all of the trees between my neighborhood and the highway.

I took it upon myself to call the Department to discuss the matter to see if I could make a difference and get them to cut down less trees. I called the local office and spoke with the project manager, Mark Pickering. He explained his reasoning and finished the call with "You can call me anytime and have your neighbors call if they have concerns." I took his words to heart and let my neighbors know that they could call him and discuss their concerns. Mind you, a lot of us have the same concerns: noise level of the highway (which has increased despite Mark saying that "there have been studies that prove trees don't muffle sound" at all ...) and decreased property value due to the new "view" we have.

Many of my neighbors did call and reported back that he was rude, unfriendly and condescending. Oh, and said "call me anytime." I think that was a script given to him. That just frustrated people because they are calling and not being heard. And ultimately, it made no difference. It doesn't matter that the majority of the people along this street do not want all of the trees removed. I thought that in a small town/state that the people actually do have some say, but it appears that we just pay their salaries and they do and act as they wish. Where's the accountability? Where's the oversight? And when the majority speak up, how come that's not listened to?

Ariel Nelson,

Brattleboro, Oct. 25


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