The_Valley_Reporter - Letters http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:29:19 -0400 en-gb ‘Committed to students’ http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10802-committed-to-students http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10802-committed-to-students

To The Editor:

At this challenging time we want the families of Warren School and Warren community members to know that our singular focus is on the education of the children of Warren. We hold ourselves to a high standard and are committed to fully supporting the academic, social and emotional needs of our students.

With this new year on the horizon we are all working hard to find new and innovative ways to help all of our students, from our youngest 3-year-olds to our sixth-graders, to grow as learners, collaborators and young citizens.

We are eager for this new year to begin! Our bulletin boards are being created. Our units of study are being planned. And we can't wait to greet our smiling kids on the first morning of this new and exciting school year.

We thank the Warren community for your ongoing support and are honored to be part of shaping the lives of our community's children.

The teachers and staff of Warren School

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Letters Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:06:04 -0400
Public participation? http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10801-public-participation http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10801-public-participation

To The Editor:

In Waitsfield we have 100-year projects which take vision, patience and willingness to listen.

David Sellers, an award-winning international architect (IMHO the definition of vision), founder and director of the Madsonian Museum and owner of about 25 percent of the property on Bridge Street, tried to explain to the select board his idea on how to improve our most important street while we have a very expensive rebuild and repair taking place.

What amazed me is that rather than praise him for his input and participation, the select board at the end of the meeting after David left, actually discussed why they bothered to give him any time to explain his proposal. It was actually expressed that our meetings are too long and this has already been decided.  That sure is the truth. David felt that missing an opportunity to make a big change demands his last-minute stand.

The town has discussed these important subjects for a long time – town office, Bridge Street rebuild and Joslin Hill Road. Some interested folks think these topics are so important and have last-minute ideas or see last-minute opportunities to make the projects much better and get a bigger bang over their 100-year lives.

I had an idea and was given less than two minutes to talk about it before I was hammered down. Other folks also were not given much time to talk and others stopped coming to the meetings.

I have heard it expressed by the board that they want more public participation, but when I attend or watch these meetings on TV it seems in most cases to be exactly the opposite.

Michael Sharkey
Waitsfield

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Letters Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:05:00 -0400
Litter and speed http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10800-litter-and-speed http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10800-litter-and-speed

To The Editor:

To the Bud Light Litter Bandit and the others who feel free to toss their trash on Rolston Road:

Please clean up after yourselves. What a mess. Here is an even better suggestion: Don't toss your trash there in the first place. The transfer station is just around the corner. Also, a reminder about the speed limit – 25 mph on the lower part and 35 mph on the upper. Pick up your trash and stop speeding.
Thank you in advance for observing.

Kerry Keown
Waitsfield

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Letters Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:04:08 -0400
In defense of Donald Trump http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10799-in-defense-of-donald-trump http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10799-in-defense-of-donald-trump

To The Editor:

Donald Trump is known to mince no words. He tells it as it is. There are times, however, when his thoughts are misconstrued. His recent comment with regard to McCain sounded crass and judgmental. I don't care as much for prisoners of war. I prefer soldiers who stand and fight." His poor choice of words probably hurt Trump's chances of election, among those who have not tasted the brutal choices of a combat veteran.

Who is the hero? The man who throws his arms up and surrenders or the man who stands and fights with a bayonet when he has wasted his last bullet? Hard question to answer but one that confronts every soldier. Surely, if the word "hero" was to be earned by just one or the other, the man who stands and fights should win the award. Periodically, we Korean veterans who slept in the mud, shivered through the 40-day monsoon season of constant rain and used dead bodies for blankets when winter arrived were tempted to surrender. Some, encouraged by the propaganda photos of recently captured GIs hugging and smiling in Chinese concentration camps, were tempted to give up.

These staged photographs were on pamphlets, dropped over our position nightly by Bed Check Charlie, North Korean bi-planes that traveled so slowly, our jets couldn't touch them. Few of those soldiers who did surrender were ever seen again. My captain, a war-scarred admirer of Patton, ordered all sergeants to shoot in the back those deserters who threw down their arms and surrendered. I could never obey that order, but this is what Trump was thinking, I am sure, when he delivered his seemingly uncivil comment about heroes and soldiers who surrendered. Don't be too quick to condemn the man. Trump is a patriot and is secure enough, financially, to combat the George Soros sponsored, anti-American political machine. We made a serious mistake in not electing an American patriot, just because of his Mormon faith. Let's not make another error by electing a Democrat who does not believe in American sovereignty.

Frank Covino, Fayston

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Letters Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:03:23 -0400
‘Where is the apology?’ http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10782-where-is-the-apology http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10782-where-is-the-apology

To The Editor:

Last night I attended another school board meeting in Warren. Over 100 people were gathered again asking the same questions and still getting no answers.

We were told again and again about all the problems facing our school – problems about compliance with state rules and regulations. Who is to blame for those problems? Is it our absent principal, Jill Ballou? Is it their own fault and that of the superintendent for firing Laurie Jones without a contingency plan for running our school? Doesn't that buck ultimately stop with the school board and the superintendent?

Many concerned citizens want to see the wrong that has been done to Laurie Jones corrected. Beth Binns Schoellkopf presented the superintendent with a viable new job proposal for Laurie Jones within the school. The most newly appointed member of the school board, Alycia Biondo, alone, promised those present that she would strongly encourage the superintendent to consider the idea of rehiring Laurie.

We teach children to apologize, to undo the pain they cause using their words. There was no evidence that this board feels they have done anything wrong to Laurie Jones, despite the public outcry. Where is the apology for Laurie Jones? Will it ever come?

Ashley Woods
Warren

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Letters Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:11:38 -0400
Without explanation http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10781-without-explanation http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10781-without-explanation

To The Editor:

It was obviously clear that the Warren citizens speaking at the school board meeting last night feel that administrative assistant Laurie Jones was thrown under the bus by mistake. The civilized response is to apologize. If there was an apology the air would clear.

So what went wrong? The school district superintendent said that there are new state and federal regulations that Warren has failed to deal with and they are very serious. After 27 years at Warren School, Laurie Jones never had to deal with these new regulations. It seems that she was given these tasks and, when the board found they were being handled insufficiently, was fired.

When the scope of work changes and new regulations and forms and data collecting and filing and payments are added to a workload, the supervisor and the school board would seemingly evaluate the load, redirect the new workload and/or train the person to whom they are assigning the work and monitor the progress to assure the tasks are done.

In the case in Warren, the board fired the most respected person on the staff without explanation.

I suggest rescinding all the agreements to fire, terminate and redirect that workload and continue with Ms. Jones as usual. And, render a public apology.

Dave Sellers
Warren

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Letters Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:10:20 -0400
‘The problem’ http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10780-the-problem http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10780-the-problem

To The Editor:

Open letter to the Warren School Board

Here's the problem: No one in the audience at Tuesday night's well-attended meeting has any idea why you fired Laurie Jones. From the testimony at the last two meetings and from your own experience as Warren School parents, you know that Laurie was the woman who always knew what was going on, the voice of Warren School customer service and part of the reason why families come to Warren – so why would you have fired her, especially when you have an inexperienced, struggling principal and the school needs all the support it can get?

The superintendent listed a number of problems the school is facing, most of which were on the principal's job description, not Laurie's, and none of them were reasons for firing Laurie. You say you had tried to reach out to prevent this, but we know that Laurie was surprised by your action on June 19. She has never had a written evaluation from her supervisors. The principal, in April, told her she was doing a good job.

You never gave Laurie an opportunity to talk with you or respond to any concerns about her job performance.

So to those of us in the audience, it looks like you have badly mistreated an essential employee. You have done serious damage to the school. But you rejected my proposal to hire a mediator/arbitrator to investigate and report on the issues. Mike Ketchel asked whether we would be more likely to trust an independent, objective arbitrator. The answer is yes, we would, for all of the reasons suggested above. We want to know that your decision to fire Laurie was, despite all appearances, reasonable and appropriate.

Andreas Lehner
Waitsfield

Lehner was the principal at Warren School for 24 years. He retired in 2012.

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Letters Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:09:12 -0400
A special thank you from Casey Eurich http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10768-a-special-thank-you-from-casey-eurich http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10768-a-special-thank-you-from-casey-eurich

To The Editor:

These are Casey's last written words: "Mad River Glen, my place to call my second home. I started skiing in the late 1980s at Mad River with a true spirited skier named Gordie Eurich. It was then that I knew I had that second home. Years would come and go and eventually bring a daughter to us who expresses the true individualism and spirit that is Mad River Glen. Mad River Glen, no other place is like this. You are all wonderful people."

This is a letter Casey had begun as a thank you to everyone who put together and attended the beautiful benefit on her behalf. She was hiding it under our couch and would not let anyone read it until she felt it was completed. Funny, I think she captured it all.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all in the Mad River community for what you mean to us and have done for our family. What a truly unique and special place to be a part of.

Gordie and Ellen Eurich

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Letters Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:46:19 -0400
Consolidation? http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10767-consolidation http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10767-consolidation

To The Editor:

In the manifesto that Adam Greshin read at the education board meeting it states: In no small measure our success has been due to a superb administrative team, fully engaged educators and broad community support. One of the superb administrative team retired and they fired the other part of that team and in doing so lost the broad community support. So will their next step be to get rid of the fully engaged educators? Consolidation, here we come?

Robin Lehman
Warren

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Letters Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:45:17 -0400
Recommend a visit http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10766-recommend-a-visit http://www.valleyreporter.com/index.php/en/news/letters/10766-recommend-a-visit

To The Editor:

I was very surprised that your distinguished reviewer, Zina Davis, of the watercolor exhibition failed to mention the outstanding picture titled Transformation by the well-known artist Amanda Amend. Miss Amend is a world-renowned artist and a former Spanish teacher at a liberal arts college in Vermont. The picture is absolutely beautiful and very thought provoking. I recommend a visit to this excellent exhibition if only to see this one picture.

Keith Taylor
Waitsfield

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Letters Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:44:32 -0400