Forum, Aug. 29: Regulations That Made Life Better

Monday, August 28, 2017
Regulations That Made Life Better

The photo of a young mother playing with her son in the Sugar River in Saturday’s Valley News probably reminded many readers of why we like living in the Upper Valley, with all the opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy our natural environment.

It should also have reminded us that this opportunity to enjoy, particularly our lakes and streams, is a fairly recent phenomenon. As she noted, she was never allowed to play in the river because of the pollution. We were also not allowed to swim in Lake Mascoma or the Connecticut River as they too were polluted by industrial waste and sewage.

And I could name hundreds of places around the country where you no longer have to hold your nose when passing through the city, or stay home from work because the smog made it too dangerous to drive, or where you gagged just driving down the highway.

Why the change for the better? Governmental regulations — those very laws the Republican party and the Trump administration have vilified and are intent on getting rid of.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to go back to the 1950s.

Beth Dingman


The Intolerant Left-Wing

I am glad that folks read my letters; I am also more than happy to read their uninformed responses. I truly wonder what news they watch, though, and just how much they truly understand about our constitution regarding the freedom of speech. Have they studied this left-wing group that is protesting all over our nation?

No, I do not support any groups like the KKK, Black Lives Matter or any other racist group. I think antifa is a terrorist group funded by the Democratic Party. Maybe they are out to stifle any views that they do not agree with, and they, like the Black Lives Matter folks, resort to violence as a way to intimidate people.

As far as the monuments go, antifa and ISIS are very closely aligned in my mind; as you may recall, ISIS destroyed historic monuments and they stifled free speech.

Remember one thing: Donald Trump is our president; you do not have to like him, but if he fails, we all fail. Like Clinton, Obama, Bush, Reagan and the rest of them, they all had good and bad points. We all survived. We will this time as well.

Douglas Tuthill

 West Hartford

Highway Neglect in N.H.

When I-89 through New Hampshire was built, the tree line was up to 50 to 100 feet from the highway. With New Hampshire not cutting and mowing the grass and cutting small trees, now they almost reach the road.

It’s funny the state of New Hampshire can come up with millions of dollars to build state liquor stores, but cannot find money to correct the tree and grass problem.

Build, baby, build! Now I sound like Sarah Palin — heaven forbid!

Robert Pollard


Get Rid of Confederate Statues

We had a discussion about Confederate statues, and my daughter had the best reason for removing them: All of the Confederates had committed treason. It has nothing to do with what they did before the war.

Treason is punishable by death. Since it’s too late to do that, at least we can tear down statues of people who are traitors to their country.

This reasoning excludes Washington and Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence helped create our country and Washington won our freedom from England.

So I agree: Get rid of Confederate statues, but keep in mind we wouldn’t be us without our founders.

Janet C. Connolly


Composting Takes Time

The Aug. 15 headline (“Few in Vt. Using Food Scrap Bins”) seriously misrepresented the level of composting in Vermont. More importantly, it wasted an opportunity to tell a bigger story.

In 2012, the Vermont Legislature pointed the state in the right direction with Act 148 (Vermont’s Universal Recycling and Composting Law) by requiring broader access to local recycling and composting facilities. Broader access gives residents greater choice.

Of course, the existence of convenient facilities does not mean that people will immediately begin using them. The Chittenden Solid Waste District’s drop-off centers (small-scale waste transfer stations) started offering food scrap collection to Chittenden County residents in 2001. That year, we collected only 42 tons — equivalent to the food waste produced annually at a single local pub.

But as we continued to let people know that food scrap drop-off was an option, the tons continued to grow. In 2016, local households and small businesses dropped off a healthy 743 tons (a 1,600 percent increase).

We know that what works in Chittenden County will not necessarily work for the rest of our state; each community has its own unique landscape. Giving residents a choice means that some will elect to use another option; some may choose to compost at home or donate their scraps to a nearby farm. The law was designed to broaden local options for Vermonters to manage their resources.

Creating infrastructure to keep local resources out of the landfill is an important first step, but it’s far from the end of the road. Many transfer stations across the state began accepting food scraps less than two months ago. As residents become aware of their options, they may decide that using those facilities is more convenient than other alternatives. They may not. But at least they have the choice.

The Vermont General Assembly unanimously passed Act 148 in 2012 because lawmakers believed in a vision for our state — one in which we reuse valuable resources instead of trapping them in an airless tomb. Their vision reflects values that Vermonters share: efficient use of our resources, stewardship of our land and local community choice.

Jonny FinityMarketing and communications manager Chittenden Solid Waste District

Williston, Vt.

Country Club Memorial

A small side issue to the proposed closing of the Hanover Country Club: What will happen to the memorial bench given by Bill Cross’ classmates from the Class of 1950. He also donated a fair amount to the renovation, and his name, and mine, are on the stone at the first tee.

Judy Cross