LETTERS: 7.20.17

Central Vermont Council on Aging Grateful to “Age Out Loud” Community Partners


On Friday, June 9, the Central Vermont Council on Aging held its first major fundraiser at the Barre Opera House.  “Age Out Loud” was an evening of personal comedic storytelling and music created around humorous themes involving aging and families.  This event also included a silent auction and the seventh annual “Art of Creative Aging” exhibit in the theater lobby.  The purpose of “Age Out Loud” is to raise funds and awareness for Central Vermont Council on Aging’s mission to support central Vermonters to age with dignity and choice.

This very funny show featured award winning Moth storytellers, Susanne Schmidt and Kevin Gallagher, the blues and folk band, ‘The Brevity Thing’ (all from Say It Forward Productions), as well as East Montpelier storytellers, Willem Lange and Nona Estrin. It was a really fun evening for a great cause!

We could not have made this event a success without the support of our many sponsors and auction donors from the central Vermont community, especially the artists who donated their paintings and photos for our art exhibit and auction. Special thanks goes to our major sponsors, Thom and Karen Lauzon, Tender Loving Homecare & Nursing, Burlington Free Press, Eternity Web Design, Hannaford Supermarkets, Jack F. Corse, Inc., National Life Group, The Gary Residence, Times Argus, Washington Electric Co-op, and Westview Meadows.  We also thank Say It Forward Productions and the staff at the Barre Opera House for all their help and support.

We are so fortunate to be part of a giving and involved community that cares about supporting the growing numbers of aging persons and caregivers in our communities!  Thank you!

If you, a family member or a neighbor need assistance, you may call the Central Vermont Council on Aging at (800)642-5119 for information, options and available services to assist aging persons.

Mary Hayden, Director, Development and Communications, Central Vermont Council on Aging


The Importance of Bees


It was National Pollinator Week (June 19 to 23) a week dedicated to celebrating bees and other pollinators that make our foods, farms and flowers possible. And we need to do more to protect these pollinators.   

Environment America launched the Bee Friendly Food Alliance to unite chefs and restaurant owners in Vermont and across the country to save the bees. After all, who knows better than chefs and restaurateurs: no bees means no food.

Bees pollinate many of the foods we enjoy, everything from strawberries to almonds to avocados. In fact, the state fruit of Vermont, the apple, relies on honey bees and wild bees for pollination. Unfortunately, bees are dying off at alarming rates with significant consequences for our environment and our food supply.

From pie shops and breweries, to fine dining establishments, chefs and restaurants are hard at work this Pollinator Week raising awareness and educating customers about the vital role that bees play for our food supply and the need to save them.

Nicole Larson, Environment America Campaign Coordinator, Washington D.C.


Drivers Too Distracted To Obey Law


Vermont’s hands-free driving statute, signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin and made effective October 1, 2014, reads in part, “a person shall not use a portable electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle in a place open temporarily or permanently to public or general circulation of vehicles.” That sounds clear enough to me.

Apparently not clear enough, however, for the disturbing number of drivers I see daily thumbing or talking on their smartphones, as nonchalant as those who routinely fail to stop at the four-way in my neighborhood where children walk to school.

Last fall the New York Times ran the headline, “Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps.” A three-month nationwide study conducted by Zendrive of three million anonymous drivers ranked Vermont highest for distracted driving — despite the fact Vermont’s hands-free law was already in effect during the study. Clearly, many drivers in the Green Mountain State view the law the way some view speed limit signs: as a suggestion.

Distracted driving — and distraction in general — is emerging as a permanent condition of modern life. Mobile devices, used responsibly, are tools — something put away, like a hammer or hairbrush, when the task is finished. But for some people, it seems, smartphones function more like IV lines — a 24/7 digital drip from which users cannot separate themselves for more than a few minutes. (Just this evening on the bike path, I had to clap my hands to get the attention of an oncoming cyclist whose face was buried in his phone.) This inability to detach — let’s just call it an addiction — gets behind the wheel with them. We have seen already in the news the tragic outcomes that can result.

I hope the policing of Vermont’s hands-free law begins to catch up with drivers’ casual dismissal of it. It should not require more lives sacrificed to distracted driving to finally drill into our heads the truth of our fragility. Unless you have an emergency, please put away the phone when you are on the road. Whatever you might think is important, it can wait.

Jeff Euber, Montpelier

Tramps Put Prize Money Toward Butt Receptacles


On July 11, nine volunteer Trash Tramps set a new record by collecting 3,200 cigarette butts (along with 10 bags of litter) in downtown Montpelier in one hour! These and all the butts that the Tramps collect during their weekly outings go to Terra-Cycle in New Jersey for recycling.

As a result of winning $1,000 in the “green” category in Montpelier’s recent parade competition, the Tramps are able to purchase nine additional Sidewalk Buttlers to join the six currently mounted in downtown Montpelier. Many thanks to all those who voted for the Tramps on July 3 and to all those who have joined the Tramps since our founding in September 2015.

All adults are invited to come on Tuesdays for fellowship and a stroll while sprucing up the Capital City. Materials are supplied. We gather shortly before 2 p.m. at 58 Barre St (the combined home of the Recreation Department and the senior center). Trash Tramps founder Anne Ferguson (aka Eileen Dover) is happy to answer any questions. Please send questions to her via: StoryWalkVT@yahoo.com

Nancy Schulz (aka Sister Sludge), Montpelier


Gov. Scott: Wear Your Helmet


The problem with Governor Scott’s approach regarding on this matter prior to the parade as well as his response to concerns raised afterwards as reported by the Times Argus/Rutland Herald last Thursday, and also this reply of yours, is it appears he has been mostly — if not solely — focused on what is technically legal and otherwise permissible in certain special circumstances. There does not seem to have been any consideration given to the example being set, not only for members of the general public who ride motorcycles, but more importantly, for children of all ages, including teenagers and so on. If the governor can ride a motorcycle without wearing a proper helmet, then there could be those who might figure that they do not need to wear one either, whether when riding a bicycle or engaging in any number of different risky activities or sports, no matter what their parents instruct or others advise. They might not fully appreciate or completely understand the difference between the governor only doing so during a parade while going slowly and what they might be doing elsewhere. Although it might not have been obvious or clear enough when I raised my concerns regarding this matter earlier, this is the point that I was attempting to make in my initial, brief, communication on the subject. Consider how extremely tragic it would be if the rather poor example set by the governor during the parade last week begins to help fill hospital emergency rooms with more head trauma cases and the morgues with more fatalities as a result. Let us hope not. However, the fact remains that such injuries and deaths can *possibly* be preventable if proper head gear is worn instead. It is ironic that, although wearing helmets are not required by law when riding bicycles on public ways, the governor chose to wear one when participating in a cycling event. This, of course, was a wiser and safer choice. While it might not technically be required by law for one to wear proper headgear during a parade, as I have tried to point out within this lengthy missive, it would be both better as well as wiser to do so. If not for oneself, then at the very least, there should be serious consideration given towards the example one will be setting for others, most especially our youth who can be easily influenced by someone in high political office, like the governor. Thank you in advance for any consideration given to the concerns being stated within this reply of mine.

Morgan W. Brown, Montpelier


What Do You Think?

Read something that you would like to respond to? We welcome your letters and opinion pieces. Letters must be fewer than 300 words. Opinion pieces should not exceed 600 words. The Bridge reserves the right to edit and cut pieces. Send your piece to: editorial@montpelierbridge.com.

Deadline for the next issue is July 28

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