Letters to the editor

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Cidery story

Over the past two years, as the volunteer chairman of the Essex Economic Development Commission (EDC), I have watched the meteoric rise of Citizen Cider. Along with the Essex Town planning and administrative staff, I spent considerable time working with the three dynamic and committed entrepreneurs who founded the company to make the production facility and associated tasting room in Fort Ethan Allen successful.

In the 2013 Essex Town Annual Report, the EDC lauded the positive role played by Essex Town staff as they worked to assist Citizen Cider: “The EDC wants to thank Essex Town’s planning staff for their concerted efforts to assist Citizen Cider through the town’s permit process, which would have established basic health and safety conditions on the site.”

On multiple occasions, Citizen Cider’s founders have thanked me for the town’s efforts to help them understand and pursue relevant town processes. Clearly they had to think long and hard about where the company wanted to invest considerable funds in a facility upgrade. I wish they had selected the Essex site, but instead they decided to invest their limited resources in a Pine Street location in Burlington.

I want to thank The Essex Reporter for reporting on the EDC’s efforts to reevaluate the situation in the Fort through collaboration with Essex residents who live there, property owners, and other stakeholders, including the Town of Colchester.  And, to be clear, revised zoning in the Fort is but one option we might propose at the end of our review.

Greg Morgan
Essex Junction
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A doggone mess

Thank you for printing the article about dog waste clean-up (“Volunteers de-poop state parks” April 10). Reading it reminded me that I have been meaning to make a plea to certain dog owners to be considerate and more responsible when making use of the public trails, open spaces and parks in the community.

Not only is it gross to come upon a dog pile while out enjoying nature — especially when my shoe finds it first — but having these piles stay there is unsanitary and unsafe for the local watershed, as the article stated.

Even when dog waste bags are provided free of charge at the entrance to trails, and even when receptacles are provided for the disposal of the waste, some dog owners still don’t pick up after their pets, while some pick up, but then leave the bag at the edge of the trail.

This is totally unacceptable and infuriates me. I am so tired of seeing and/or stepping in piles of dog doo when I’m out in nature or even in my own yard.

Some dog owners also do not obey signage directed at them at Indian Brook Reservoir. Dogs are not permitted to swim in the boat launch area. Yet almost every time I use the boat launch, someone is letting their dog swim there. Dogs are supposed to be leashed until they get to the trails. Yet I am frequently “visited” by unleashed dogs whose owners half-heartedly and ineffectively try to reign them in. I have seen children terrified by loose dogs who charge them.

Not everyone loves dogs. Not everyone likes it when a loose dog gets overly friendly. The trails and parks are for everyone’s enjoyment. But not everyone necessarily enjoys them when the dog policies, not to mention common courtesy, are ignored.

Elizabeth Glaspie
Essex Junction

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Post-strike changes at CCTA

The recent CCTA bus driver strike demonstrated that important work needs to be done within our organization to improve employee relations. To improve communication and show respect for our drivers, CCTA is creating an Employee Committee to focus on workplace enhancements, which will include multiple driver representatives. CCTA and the drivers union have also agreed to participate in the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service’s most intensive interactive training program, known as “Relationship by Objective,” in which labor and management will work collaboratively towards an improved work environment.

The board has also taken action to respond to the concerns expressed by drivers in a thorough and respectful manner. At its meeting on March 31, the board passed a resolution establishing a new Operations Committee. The Operations Committee will focus on operational and human resources policies and procedures and will evaluate where adjustments and updates are warranted.

But we won’t stop there. The CCTA board understands its obligation to passengers and the communities we serve. As chair of the board, I intend to work collaboratively with my fellow commissioners, the drivers, and CCTA administrative staff to move CCTA forward so we can continue to expand and improve public transportation in the region.

Tom Buckley
CCTA Board of Commissioners