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Vermont Guardian

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posted December 22, 2006

Legalize it
Whenever a pharmaceutical company comes out with a new drug, optimistic articles are written that give hope to those suffering from a myriad of illnesses.

Coverage of the medical opportunities provided by the active compounds in marijuana rarely make it to the media, but are published in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature. It is important to provide this information to the public so that the next time they have an opportunity to vote on the “safer” alternative, they will be better equipped to make an intelligent choice.

We now know that THC is a “superior inhibitor” of the biochemical pathway that is believed to lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, it has recently been demonstrated that cannabinoids can reverse arteriosclerosis in mice. Multiple sclerosis sufferers appear to be defective in responding to brain damage by producing protective endocannabinoids, as has also recently been demonstrated for those suffering from migraines. Considering that cannabinoids also protect the heart, relieve pain, promote appetite and sleep, lower body temperature, kill cancer cells, and act in the same manner as current treatments for diabetes, it is not surprising that legislators in both parties keep this easy to grow plant illegal. It would cost the pharmaceutical companies billions. They might not donate as much to our political prostitutes.

Dr. Robert Melamede
Colorado Springs, CO

Help with hydro
Vermont once ran on hydroelectric power. Our waterways powered sawmills, gristmills, and woolen mills. The force of water helped Vermonters produce doors, sash, fishing poles, bobbins, and much more.

Our waterways can generate power once again. We can do it with existing dams; we need not build more. So with energy independence as a goal, I’m collecting information for a new statewide assessment of hydropower potential in Vermont.

Most of our towns have remnants of their hydroelectric histories. Much of it is housed in the wisdom of local historical societies. I’d welcome their information as well.
With hydroelectricity, we can make Vermont energy independent again. After all, there’s power in every drop.

If you know of a spot with a dam, penstock, intake gate, powerhouse, turbine, or generator not currently in use, please contact me at or call 454-8458.

Lori Barg

Lori Barg is president of Community Hydro. For more information, visit

How to have a safe holiday season
There’s no place like home for the holidays. However, the number of fires, fire injuries, fire deaths, and property losses increase significantly during the holidays.

The heightened excitement and extra distractions of visiting relatives, children staying home on school holidays, shopping, decorating, cooking, and parties can place a heavy demand on everyone’s time and attention causing many people to overlook basic safety measures. The additional hazards of winter, such as home heating and increased electrical usage, also increase the risk of fire.

On average, 300 home structure fires begin with Christmas trees each year. Every year, firefighters respond to tragic incidents where people suffer injuries, burns, and even death due to carelessness with holiday decorations. Trees, lights, ornaments, and fireplaces produce extra hazards in your home at a time when hectic activity distracts your attention from fire safety.

Here are a handful holiday safety reminders from the State of Vermont Division of Fire Safety and your local fire department to ensure that we will not make an unplanned visit to your home this holiday season:

• Never leave a burning candle unattended. Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire. Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Put candles in proper holders so that they cannot fall or be knocked over. And keep matches and lighters locked out of reach.

• Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Check for fresh, green needles. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant. Keep natural trees watered at all times. Do not put the tree near a fireplace, space heater, radiator, or heat vent.

• Never leave a lit Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use. Also never run an electrical cord under a rug.

• Carefully inspect every electrical decoration before plugging it in. Cracked sockets, frayed, loose, or bare wires, and loose connections may cause serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new decorations.

• Don’t hang lights with staples or nails that can damage the cord’s wire insulation.

• Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood, or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.

• Choose safe toys. Even innocent-looking toys — such as marbles and balloons — can present dangers to children. Many toy-related injuries occur when parents overestimate a child’s ability to handle a toy designed for an older age group.

• Never leave cooking unattended, even for a moment; grease fires begin in seconds.

• Ensure that all your overnight guests are familiar with the escape route and know the meeting place outside the home.

• Give a gift to save a life. What better way to show you care than to give a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, or a fire extinguisher to someone you love.

During the holiday season many fires are caused by people attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Check that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and the stove is off before going to bed. Make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order and that everyone in your home knows how to escape if a fire occurs. No one needs to die in a home fire, especially not you or your children.

Micheal D. Greenia

Michael D. Greenia is the assistant state fire marshal and fire safety education coordinator for the Vermont Division of Fire Safety.

The enemy within
Does the government have the power to order people how to enjoy their lives, liberty, and property?

Enjoyment of our lives, liberty, and property are natural, inherent, and unalienable declared rights of every person. The Bill of Rights orders Congress and states to protect these rights.

Drug laws or any other public order law assume authority and dictate how a person shall run their lives, enjoy their liberty to do anything they wish, and how they will use their property.

The states and the nation are constituted with enumerated powers. The following are Supreme Court decisions spelling out that fact.

In Kansas v. Colorado, the court stated, “by reason of the fact that there is no general grant of legislative power, it has become an accepted constitutional rule that this is a government of enumerated powers.”

In McCullock v. Maryland, Chief Justice Marshall said, “no independent and unremunerated power passes to the National Government, or can rightfully be exercised by the Congress … should Congress, under the pretext of executing its powers, pass laws for the accomplishment of objects not entrusted to the Government, it would become the painful duty of this tribunal, should a case requiring such a decision come before it, to say, that such an act was not the law of the land.”

In O’Donoghue v. United States the court said it is well settled that this provision implicitly forbids the delegation of legislative powers by the Congress to the executive or administrative bodies.

Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution limits Congress’ power to make laws according to the powers and authorities vested in the government of the United States by the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights 9th amendment: the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. The 10th amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The only power in the constitution(s) is to protect our rights. In fact, the Vermont Constitution Article 9 says tax money can only be used to protect our enjoyment of life, liberty, and property. (Chapter I Article 9)

Those in government do not control or dictate to the people what we eat, drink, or think, where we travel, or how we live or how we die. The U.S. people are vested by the constitutions with control of their own destiny by the rule of law that all in government must also obey.

The only way you can be deprived of your rights is by due process, not by laws that Congress or legislatures make. When you violate the rights of another by interrupting their enjoyment of life (murder), liberty (kidnap), or property (burn down the house of another); the fourth and fifth amendment kick in with due process. You will be punished by the court.

Public order laws assuming authority and dictatorial power over all citizens, and forcing us to obey those in government is a reversal of everything this nation was created to protect.

Read the Declaration of Independence. Read and understand the constitutions. The people of this nation must learn how to protect themselves from the Republicans and Demorats who control all of government. Republicans and Democrats are running this nation as a special interest, subverting the Constitution and running this nation with their own egocentric arrogance.

The enemy is from within.

William Brueckner
Waterbury Center

Just say no to Vermont Yankee
The Vermont Legislature has taken back the power to say no to the re-licensing of Entergy Corporation’s creaky old nuclear reactor, Vermont Yankee, for 20 more years beyond the planned date for its shutting down in 2012.

Since Entergy was granted dry cask storage and a 20 percent increase in its power output, we have all been exposed to a greater likelihood of a Chernobyl-type accident or a terrorist attack, to more nuclear waste for which there is no solution; more daily radiation; more cancer; more plans for evacuation that can’t work; more carbon dioxide, and more “depleted” uranium, both of which are produced in huge amounts during the uranium enrichment process, and more plutonium to add to our collection of 10,000 nuclear warheads from the spent fuel. Think of extending all this for 20 more years.

The vote in the Legislature will probably take place before 2012, perhaps in 2008. We must demand that our legislators vote against the re-licensing. We must also stay alert and watch for the notices posted by the Public Service Board telling us when and where it will be holding its public hearings on the matter. These notices will surely be deliberately small and obscure.

Please tell your legislators to just say no.

Jane Newton
South Londonderry

Tell Bloomberg to stop the drug dealers
In response to your story (Dec. 8), Mayor Michael Bloomberg has enough money that he can stop every vehicle going in and out of New York and search them for drugs and guns and arrest all violators. That way, he can clean up his little world first.

Elbert L. Harkey
Crystal River, FL

Keep animal ID system off the farm
I can only hope that Mr. Allbee’s history with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Farm Bureau ( Dec. 14) does not impede him from thinking correctly about the impact of National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and its economic impact here in Vermont. Vermont is not just dairy farms.

There are more small/private farms, homesteaders, and hobbyists than there are dairy farms. Let’s make sure we don’t lose them to the draconian NAIS scheme.

Sharon Zecchinelli