Bridging the Gap
The conflict addressed in ["Rowing Pains," June 29] is not a difficult issue to resolve. It's all about managing the only competing resource at stake here, which is time on the lake.
When this issue began to formally circulate among property owners by email two years ago, several people, myself included, suggested developing a workable calendar for all parties. If the calendar that was worked out at that time had been adhered to, this article would not have been necessary. Despite the overtones from neighbors quoted in the story, the non-Craftsbury Outdoor Center property owners do realize the viability and importance of the COC, within reasonable limits.
It's time to cut out the noise, sit down over lunch for an hour and work out a schedule of alternating usage that is agreeable to all (the COC has made a significant step forward by not having group sessions on July 4 and Labor Day weekends), then actively communicate these times during the summer months. That way, this prized resource everyone enjoys will be properly utilized, and further conflict can be avoided.
Pay to Play
As a property owner and longtime user of Great Hosmer Pond ["Rowing Pains," June 29], I can attest firsthand to the disruption these boats cause to fishermen and boaters. I have been boating and fishing on Hosmer for some 25 years. Over the Fourth of July, when no sculls were to be out, I was fishing on the northern end and had a scull come within 12 to 18 inches of hitting my $55,000 fishing boat.
I know we all need to get along here, but what ultimately is at play is the commercial use of a state-owned and -maintained body of water. It would be no different than if I decided to open a bass fishing camp to teach people how to bass fish with large bass fishing boats plugging the lake. There is little legal precedent in such commercial-use cases, and the state is going to have to make a decision on this, as the conflict is not going to end on its own.
Rocking the Boat
[Re "Rowing Pains," June 29]: I have been a Craftsbury resident for 30-plus years. My family and I have lived here all those years because my husband is employed at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and cross-country skiing is our passion. The outdoor center has meant full- and part-time jobs for my husband, teenage children and many others who live in the Craftsbury area, something that must be factored in by those who want to restrict the center's operations. These are real jobs in a part of the state where employment options are limited.
My husband and I do not row but have paddled flat-water racing canoes on Hosmer since we first arrived in 1982. Never ever have sculls interfered with our canoeing, and the same can be said for kayaking. Motorboats, depending on their speed and proximity, require that we shift course and take on wake in a direction to help avoid capsizing. This is true on all bodies of water but is especially acute on Hosmer, given its narrowness.
The article fails to mention that speeds above five miles per hour within 200 feet of shore are forbidden for safety reasons on all Vermont waters, regardless of grandfathered rules. Activities involving speeds above 5 miles per hour, such as waterskiing and tubing, can only occur in a very small portion of Hosmer — unless they are undertaken illegally.
F-35s as Political Toys?
[Re Off Message: "Vermont's F-35 Opponents Get Their Day in Court," July 5]: It would be a welcome change if Vermont led the way for other states to let go of military jobs that exist solely for the purpose of electing congressmen. The happy fact is, we don't need these planes, the military doesn't want or need these planes, and every branch of the military is forced to accept and store megatons of useless equipment that keeps being built because it creates jobs in politically expedient districts.
Everyone talks about poor people taking government assistance, but that amount pales in comparison to the taxpayer money being wasted to build unnecessary military equipment. Because the military has no use for it, there are thousands of acres of fenced-in areas throughout the West where this equipment sits until it becomes obsolete. This is a much bigger issue than basing these particularly pointless and useless F-35s. Vermont doesn't need these military jobs, and we, along with other states, can learn to substitute other types of jobs that actually have a positive purpose.
I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but that will not deter me from working toward and hoping someday for a more enlightened society.
Know Your Candidates
In Paul Heintz's June 29 Fair Game column ["Truant Story"], he reports that the Vermont Right to Life Committee endorsed gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott and Randy Brock, a candidate for lieutenant governor.
I'm interning with Planned Parenthood, and it's important to me that we know how candidates stand on women's health issues, both on the national and local level. Even states like progressive Vermont are at risk of unnecessary abortion regulation. Will Scott and Brock take away access to abortion care for women in Vermont? Will they support Trump's proposals to strip access to abortion care?
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. The court struck down House Bill 2, a Texas law that restricted women's access to safe and legal abortions. It recognized that these laws don't protect patients; actually, these restrictions make it harder to access safe and legal abortions. Restrictions often have a disproportionate impact on poorer communities and people of color.
That decision was a tremendous victory, but women still face obstacles. Reproductive health centers are threatened with restrictive laws in states as close as New Hampshire, which just voted to restore funding of Planned Parenthood on June 29. There is a real risk of this happening in Vermont.
I encourage all of my fellow Vermonters to find out where candidates stand on women's health issues. This election is critical, and access to women's health has to be a priority.