The Bark Stops Here

This is the first I have heard of this as I am not on the Facebook site it was discussed on earlier.

My family has lived on Old Colchester Road for the better part of 35 years.  I’ve always said we have the best of both worlds. You can walk to the north and enjoy the Tree

Farm or walk to the south and walk through the Village.  On the overall we have wonderful neighbors and for the most part they have also lived here many years.  When we first moved here the Tree Farm was actually a functioning farm and it was well maintained.  Several years ago the Tree Farm was transitioned into soccer fields and a bike path was created there.  More recently the Thasha Lane apartments were demolished and the Autumn Pond Way apartments were established.  Both of these events had a significant impact on our once quiet community.  My husband and I embraced both of these changes and acknowledged that progress was inevitable.

The impact on the soccer fields has been one of increased traffic and for the folks who live directly across from the fields an increase in noise and dust from the parking lots.  From our perspective the fields are, for the most part, well maintained.  There has been some minor vandalism over the years and we both, as we walk through the farm, have an awareness of any problems and report such as needed.  We view this as being good neighbors.  An observation that we have made over the years that has been a source of frustration for us is the amount of litter that is in the fields and in the hedges that is left behind after tournaments.  This is not something that we have complained about as we understand that it can be the few that ruin it for the many and the people who maintain the fields do eventually clean up.  The other observation we have made it that adults are dropping their children off in the road instead of going into the parking lot.  We presume this is because they are busy and in a hurry to get somewhere.  This is an obvious problem and a huge safety issue.  Yes, I thought of this when I read the article The Bark Stops Here where I saw Mr. Lampron’s statement that “When it comes to kids safety, its not a debatable issue”.  Of course, we all agree with that statement.  I am just amazed that this new rule is how he wants to promote childrens safety.

The building of the apartment complex in Autumn Pond Way brought many, many new residents to the immediate area and I know that the amount of traffic has increased greatly.  Once again, I believe that we have all, on the Road, welcomed them to the neighborhood.  Many of these folks and others drive specifically to the Tree Farm let their dogs run. I or my husband have been to the Tree Farm on a daily basis for the better part of the last four years.  Yes, we have noticed that some do not pick up the poop and some do leave sticks on the fields.  But, trust me, they are the minority.  Most of the people have their dogs on leash and those who let them run have good control over them.  That has been our observation.

I am saddened by this most recent “rule”.  Why does Mr. Lampron feel the need to say “it has to be an all or nothing rule”?  This strikes me as narrow in thought.  If, in fact, there has been a dog attack or dog bite why hasn’t the Essex Police been notified to assist with that issue specifically?   If the concern is for the ultimate safety of the children playing soccer why not insist on leashed pets only when games are in progress?  Why not consider leashed dogs only during the soccer season and only on the bike path and dirt road?  Why not allow dogs to run free in the colder months when the fields are not in use for organized sports?  These are just some thoughts that come to mind.

Noreen Wolfstich



Why I coach

I have been coaching both Track and Cross Country at the Albert D. Lawton School on again and off again for 39 years.  From time to time people stop and ask me why- why do you continue to coach all these years?  The answer is rather obvious- I do it for the children.

When Principal Stanley Knapp hired me in 1980 he asked if I could start a Cross Country team at ADL.  I said sure- but I will never cut any athlete who tries out.  So for 39 years any student athlete who wishes to run Cross Country or track has known that they are on the team.  Period.

By now I have coached over 3,000 of Essex Junction’s runners, jumpers and throwers over the years.  The athletes know that all I ever ask from them is to beat their personal best or PBs.  Just this past week ADL hosted 11 area middle school teams in a “grade 6 only meet” at Essex High School.  What I saw was inspiring efforts from 11 & 12 year olds who were there because of the love of running and competing.  Hundreds of proud parents from all over Chittenden County watched their children and stood and cheered every runner until they reached the finish line.  What a wonderful day for our children.

Today (Saturday) I was in my car running morning errands when I saw a young couple with two children perhaps ages 5 & 7 jogging on West Street as a family.  I love this village.  So many of the adults run for fun and health and their own example carries over to their children.

Keep up the great work Essex Junction- and keep sending your runners to ADL.  I will see them in the fall for Cross Country and run them silly in the spring for track.

Keep running.

Peter Gustafson



Look to Colorado for legalization lessons

I have gone to the state house to hear testimony on various committees regarding S.54 the Marijuana commercialization and regulation bill.  My comments for our residents are as follows in my letter that I would like published in the Essex Reporter.

The legislature is promising safeguards regarding the passage of S.54 which would legalize the commercialization and regulation of retail marijuana.  But statistics from Colorado contradict what our town reps are pitching to us.  U.S. district attorney Troyer from Colorado gave testimony to our Vermont legislature on the unintended consequences of commercially available THC products. Vermont health commissioner and law enforcement presented the reality that many resources will be overwhelmed.

Colorado now deals with international cartels who sponsor local growers in their communities.  It’s a windfall for them and saves them from illegally transporting product over our borders. Internet sales via Facebook and Craigslist from non-licensed sellers are commonplace in Colorado.  Do a search in Denver to see for yourself. Odorless THC from vape pens and edibles are a scourge in our high schools now according to testimony from a CVU counselor.  Why will this end when marijuana becomes legal?  It will still be illegal to consume in public.  To that end the legislature is considering a licensing fee to allow consumption at weddings or other community events where minors are present.  Rarely can minors drink straight 90 proof spirits, but high concentrate edibles have a pleasing taste that children will seek.  The Vermont legislature refused to limit the potency in marijuana products.  Concentrates from high potency pot are genetically altered to eliminate the good “CBD” and become a high-risk product for a segment of the public who are slow metabolizers of THC based on their own genetics.  Slow metabolizers will retain a higher level of psychoactive THC for a longer period of time for a given dosage.

The Vermont legislature couldn’t designate or fund an in-state agency to ensure the purity and safety of THC products to the standardized level equivalent to the federal FDA.   To this date there is no scientific test that can assess whether a driver suspected to be under the influence of THC is actually impaired.  Car insurance companies are raising premiums as well as workman’s comp insurance to cover their liability exposure.  Property values have plummeted where cultivation areas and retail stores have proliferated the community in Colorado.

Medical marijuana and CBD oils are manageable and acceptable.  Retail commercialization is something the state is ill equipped to regulate and manage.  We already have two retail shops on Pearl street with another potentially on the way.  The legislature has taken away the right for a town to decide whether a shop can operate within their boundaries.  An unelected commission will decide and the residents have no recourse.  Call the Sargent of arms at the state house to deliver your message to Mary Beth Redmond and Linda Meyers of Essex.  Lori Houghton and Dylan Giambatista in the Junction and Robert Bancroft in the Westford area.  The phone number is 802-828-2228.

Ron Coppola