Letters to the editor: Week of December 7

Forums on race a good starting point

Last week’s community forum on race was attended by over 20 Milton residents. Most were town and school leaders. We also had several parents. At our next meeting, in the Milton Middle school library, I hope we have more parents and community members, on December 6.

The moderated discussion brought up a wide variety of topics, including the presentation by the Peace and Justice Center to the Milton teachers and school staff a few months ago. Since this has come up in the last school board meeting, I’d like to explain why we should not have them back.

The district employees won’t have any trouble remembering the two and one-half hours that they spent listening to the program. It was stifling hot and crowded. The presenters spent most of that time telling us that we are racist because we are white and that we must accept “white guilt” before we can discuss race. At one of their other forums, I was told that only whites can be racist because we have power. Racism is prejudice, antagonism or discrimination directed against people solely because of their race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. People of all races can be racist. Everyone has racist ideas or “implicit racism” that we must overcome.

Whether or to what degree we are racist is not at issue. The goal is to teach and achieve inclusion. Inclusion is the ability to find the qualities, interests or attributes of a person that can draw them into relationships. It doesn’t consist of haranguing them about their hang-ups, shortcomings and “white guilt.” This negative approach only creates animosity and divisiveness. Outrage and dissatisfaction was the response that the school board received from the teachers and staff that we heard from. The Peace and Justice Center tried to put a much more positive face on it, but we heard enough to know that the presentation was divisive.

The community forum brought out many ideas. The most important is that we have the diversity and maturity in this community to learn and teach inclusion. The group I was in included people from a wide range of experience and backgrounds. I am quite sure that we, as a community, can find ways to teach our children to deal with racism. 

Greg Burbo
Milton School Board


Why was sand pit approved?

Why? Why on earth did the Milton Development Review board approve a sand pit operation on McMullen Road this year when so many residents opposed the project in 2015? Is it for the tax revenue? Not that I see. In fact, we, the taxpayers, bear the bulk of the responsibility of the wear and tear these trucks will have on our roads for the next 10 years. Is it to improve our town image? Hmm, loaded commercial trucks driving through a residential setting along the only approved route (McMullen, Hobbs, Bombardier, Centre Drive, Route 7) doesn’t conjure up what I would consider to be an appealing town image. Is it because the project will create jobs or other opportunities for community growth? Nope.

So, what on earth was going through the minds of the four Milton DRB members when they voted yes and granted a previously denied conditional use permit? Clearly, the impact this project would have on the neighborhood that runs directly parallel to the site wasn’t taken into consideration, nor were concerns and grievances that were aired at the 2015 DRB meeting of importance.

Adjacent property owners, members of a homeowner association and homeowners along the truck route voiced valid concerns of air quality, noise, safety and impact on wildlife. These concerns were dismissed, and now that the DRB has given the project its blessing, it is “out of the hands” of Milton officials.

Why should our community bear the health, safety and environmental costs of such an operation that produces no tangible benefit to the community?

If you share my concerns, I urge you to please take action now. The project has not yet received approvals on its Act 250 permit or wetlands permit. Public comments for the Act 250 permit will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 10. Public comments related to the wetlands permit will be accepted through Jan. 3, 2018. For directions on how to submit public comments, please contact me at k4carstensen@gmail.com. For convenience, you may also contact town manager Don Turner at 893-6655 or dturner@town.milton.vt.us, who has been provided all relevant information to disseminate to concerned residents.

Karyn Carstensen
for the Winterlane Homeowner Association

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