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Vermont Guardian

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Posted February 9, 2007

Firefighters seek help

The Addison County Firefighter’s Association (ACFA) will host the 118th annual Vermont State Firefighters Association’s (VSFA) conference in Middlebury, to be held July 27-29.

Currently, the ACFA includes 17 departments and more than 450 members while the VSFA includes roughly 4,600 members. The theme for this year’s event is “Your Community Fire Service: Yesterday, Today, Growing into the Future.”

Each year, the VSFA invites all fire departments associated with the VSFA, including some in Canada. The event is held at a different location each year.

The weekend involves many different activities including a bazaar, chicken barbeque, fireworks, and parade. The highlight is the muster games. These games put firefighters through their paces. Games include: midnight alarm, portable pump, bucket brigade, and others. In my opinion, the most entertaining game would have to be the water polo. Competitors try to get a ball past the other team, while only using fire hoses. Everyone gets soaked in the process and has a thoroughly good time.

The fire convention is not an inexpensive endeavor to put on. The estimated cost for this event is $30,000-$35,000. While fundraising efforts are ongoing, if you would like to help support this event, or if you would like more information, contact ACFA Pres. Dean Gilmore at 453-5006, or Barb Heading at the local chamber of commerce at 388-7951.

Alexandra Larrow
Vergennes

Cancel vaccine, please

I am thinking of the time when I used to purchase subscriptions to magazines and it was then my responsibility to call and cancel the subscription, otherwise the subscription continued forever. It was a welcome change when the burden shifted to the magazine company to get my approval before continuing my subscription.

Today, I’m asking that Vermonters ask our state to cancel our subscription to Thimerosal containing vaccines that are given to pregnant women, infants, and young children. (Thimerosal is a preservative containing 50 percent mercury — a deadly neurotoxin and is found in most flu shots). I am not against vaccines, only against those that contain Thimerosal.

Today, a Vermonter must inform their physician well in advance that they want thimerosal-free vaccines. This is not a choice you are given upon arrival, and I’m not even sure you are informed of the risks of injections containing Thimerosal.
Let’s order only Thimerosal-free vaccines for Vermonters. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Lynn George
Burlington

Help for returning vets

I’ve been asked if I would talk to a number of the returning vets.I’ve been an elder in my church for more than 20 years and I spent three years in the military during WWII.

My only reason to start a support group was because many are having terrible nightmares and are so anxious during the day that they can’t get their feet back on the ground. I have a couple of returning medics who are willing to work with these guys and I have a chaplain who had three trips to Vietnam who will be on this ministry team.

We haven’t advertised our willingness to have a safe place where they can come and talk about their hurt. White River Junction is the closest place for them to receive help and it’s too far and costly for them to travel that far for help.

This is for free and open to any vet by calling me at Church of The Rock at 524 9644, or at home at 524-6500.

Chuck Drinkwater
St. Albans

The war on Iran
It is clear to me that an attack by the Bush administration on Iran has been decided. I have warned against it for almost two years. Recent remarks by Nick Burns, the number three man at the State Department, at the Herzileah Conference in Israel mean war. An unnatural silence among the media and the evident, yet unstated, support of Congress as Bush escalated his rhetoric against Iran again in the State of the Union speech are further dead giveaways. It is coming.

The attack will not be small or surgical or designed to remove Iran’s nuclear facilities only, though that is how it will be sold. Currently in favor of hitting Iran are the Bush administration, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT. I expect U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT, and U.S. Sen. Pat Leahy, D-VT, will join them but I lack evidence as to the position of these two. I would be amazed if U.S. military leaders were opposed.

The attack will be broad based and deeply devastating. It will be launched against a nation of some 75 million souls that has done nothing to deserve it and has attacked no one, but does possess huge reserves of oil, as does Iraq, and uranium. There is zero evidence on record that Iran has done anything in their pursuit of nuclear energy that they don’t have a perfect right to do under the nonproliferation treaty signed by us.

The attack will be carried out by us alone or in league with Israel, whose interests it serves. The attack will come I think by late February. It will be done without a Congressional Declaration of War, as has become habitual, but most of our honorable Congressmen will support it.

I don’t support it.

Readers can reach me for further discussion by e-mail at dmorso@netzero.net; by phone, 645-9727; or by visiting my website at www.2LTMorrisseau.com.

Dennis Morrisseau
West Pawlet

A way to end the war: Bring troops home, we’ll go

Perhaps a fun, and maybe effective, way of opposing the escalation (60s term for surge) of the Iraq War would be to “volunteer” for the sucker.

Guys in their late 50s, like me, could form a dysfunctional U.S. volunteer group, and start tying-up the recruiting centers: “Hey, I wanna go fight! Bring the Guard home. Take me! I’m old and ready to die. Where do I sign?”

Young people could do this on college campuses also.

All ages, genders, political, and sexual persuasions ... and especially the wide range of physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled.

Not to mention all us petty criminals and borderline sociopaths. Consider it a “diversion” program. Solves a lot of problems.

It might be interesting to see how the government would handle such patriotic fervor. Can you be put in prison for trying to enlist? My god, you’d think they’d want the body power, and appreciate an initiative to put the National Guard back where it belongs — right here in the United States, protecting our recruitment centers from hordes of deranged people.

As Arlo Guthrie once put it: “I wanna kill, kill, kill!’

What the hell is more patriotic than that?

So think about it. Even if it’s just confined to guys our age (58-plus), we could jerk some chains. Hell, did you see the story, guys, on that Air Force sergeant suspended from duty for posing nude in this February’s Playboy? We could take the “moral” high ground with the U.S. military by saying it wouldn’t have to worry about any of us doing that kind of tasteless and “immoral” stuff. No magazine in the world would even ask us to do it.

And, if they actually take us — bring the Guard home — and send us over, I will personally volunteer to lead our first action (and I expect a medal for this). We find an Iraqi resistance cadre, and I go up to them under a flag of truce and say: “In the spirit of that great individual, Robert E. Lee, we surrender! Where do I sign?”

I think we could get really good surrender terms if we hand over Pres. George W. Bush, Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Monsanto, etc. I’d even throw in Florida. And that new pitcher the Red Sox just bought for $100 million. In return, all we ask for is some really good keef.

Peter Buknatski
Montpelier

Where is the outrage?

The House Oversight Reform Committee and Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT, have learned that scientists have lied about, misinformed data, altered, and misconstrued scientific information related to the environment. Some of this per the instructions of higher-level government employees. Welch now advocates for legislation to protect scientists and whistleblowers.

Welch, you are an attorney — where are your charges against any and all that used our taxes to lie and misrepresent scientific data? I don’t think voters sent you to Washington to say, “Next time we’ll make lawbreakers accountable.” We’ve had too much of that in the past and we voted many out of Washington. Do your job.

Laura Brueckner
Waterbury Center

Citizens: Take action!

As we have seen in the coverage of the Statehouse, environmental issues have stirred a deep interest, but talk is not action.

I would like to encourage other citizens to join me and many others on a day of action in Montpelier on Thursday (Vermont Guardian, Feb. 2). Our elected officials need to hear from each one of us on our concerns of environmental issues. Whether your hopes are seeing constraints on global warming, encouragement of alternative energy, preservation of our working farms, or ceasing the development of big box stores that are threatening our vibrant downtown communities, your voice is needed.

Citizen Action Day, hosted by Rural Vermont, Vermont Alliance of Conservation Voters, Vermonters for a Clean Environment, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Statehouse. For more information and to register, go to www.vtactionday.org. Your voice can help propel Vermont’s leadership into supporting vibrant, environmentally friendly communities.

Robert Kidd
Montpelier

Questions about the sale of Verizon’s wires to Fairpoint

Two weeks ago, Verizon Vermont officially announced its plans to sell their land-based telephone services in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. After months of speculation, the state’s largest telecommunications carrier has made formal its intention to move out of the state, raising the question, “Is this good for Vermont?”

As the state’s advocate in utility matters, the Department of Public Service is responsible for reviewing this proposed transaction. Many factors will be considered in this analysis, and our department will make a recommendation to the deciding body — the Public Service Board.

We take this responsibility very seriously. It is no exaggeration that the foreseeable future of telecommunications in our state will be impacted by this decision, so we want to make sure we get it right. To provide a meaningful analysis will require more than a simple review. Our regulatory team will examine how a sale could impact services for Vermonters. We will study the financial and economic effects of a transaction, and we will investigate the technological and human capacity of the company. We will enlist the aid of experts, consultants, and consumers to better understand what a potential sale of Vermont’s dominant telecommunications carrier will mean for our future. In the end, our department will make a thoughtful recommendation as to whether the sale should occur.

The prospect of change can be unsettling; we have become reliant on our telephone service because it is commonplace in our everyday lives. From our family to commerce, for health and education, telephone service is a modern staple. And while people will have concerns about this potential change, we should understand that there are many legal and regulatory safeguards that will help us decide whether the sale of Verizon to FairPoint is good for Vermont.

Steve Wark
Montpelier

Steve Wark is the spokesman for the Department of Public Service.

Physician-assisted suicide: Who benefits?

Not Vermont’s long-term, disabled people. Many need expensive health care and social services just to survive. Many disabled people view assisted suicide as a $10 solution to the “problem” that is their continued partaking of health care resources.

Not Vermont doctors and nurses. This law would drag them into deciding whether to kill a patient. Doctors can either prescribe death or risk losing influence with patient and family. No wonder they say “no” to assisted suicide legislation.

Not Vermont teens at risk for suicide. Essex Junction pediatrician Steven Hale last year told legislators that teens may misunderstand when they hear “it’s OK to end it all.” Is passing this law worth risking even one teen suicide?

So, who benefits?

Big, national HMOs. Oregon’s assisted suicide law was co-written by a major HMO executive. Two years ago, she testified in favor of the Vermont bill. What’s the connection? Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphrey said health care cost concerns will drive assisted suicide into the realm of acceptability. HMOs care nothing for Vermonters, only about “optimizing morbidity/mortality experience.” To the HMO, dying Vermonters are just a huge expense.

We, however, should choose people over profit.

Guy Page
Cambridge