By Jim Donovan, Sarah Carpenter, Rebecca Foster, Joyce Cameron and Nina Regan
Thanks for all the help with library landscape plan
To the Editor:
Thanks so much for noting the Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ award my firm received. I would like to expand on the award credits and what actually received the award. The overall educational, public process used to create and begin implementation of the Charlotte Library Landscape Master Plan received the award. I shared the award with Karen Tuininga, Linda Hamilton, Marty Illick and Charlie Tagetz. The Charlotte Library, including the staff and board of directors, was the client.
The award recognized the overall very public, instructional process the Charlotte Library used to create and begin implementation of a Landscape Master Plan after it completed the expansion project. I was privileged to work with Karen and Linda, the codirectors of the Charlotte Seed Library, on organizing the educational program. Marty helped frame the educational sessions to include stormwater management considerations around the library for the Ahead of the Storm process. Charlie developed the initial plans for the rain garden that helped get the library its site plan approvals and served as the basis for the rain garden’s final design. Karen and Linda took the lead on beginning the implementation of the landscape near the new library entrance. I took on leading a group of volunteers to reshape and plant over 1,500 plants in the rain garden after the site contractors did the primary earthwork and rain barrel installations.
Many volunteers helped to create and start implementing the library Landscape Master Plan. Hopefully, it can be completed in the next few years. My thanks to the library staff and board of directors, Karen, Linda, Charlie and our dear departed Marty for making the Library Landscape Master Plan process such a success.
Balint has experience no other candidate has
To the Editor:
We are reminded every day that our democracy needs us to step up and take action. For me, there is one clear choice for Vermont’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives — Becca Balint. Balint is the current leader of the Vermont Senate — a post she was elected to unanimously by Democrats, Republicans and Progressives. Over the years I have seen firsthand how her leadership skills brought together folks from all parties. You can read her bio here.
As the former executive director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, looking at housing statewide, I worked a lot with Balint on affordable housing and support issues. She is a fierce advocate for all Vermonters’ needs and has proven that in the legislature. As an elected Democratic City Councilor from Burlington, I see her interest in helping our Vermont cities and towns thrive. Now, more than ever, we need her advocacy in Congress; we need Becca to represent us in Washington.
Balint has the trusted experience that no other candidate has. Please support her in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.
Mike Yantachka for state representative
To the Editor:
Mike Yantachka is the kind of person you’d think, “Gee, I bet he volunteered for politicians he believed in as a young man in college, and I bet he quietly served on the school board, and things like that.” And you’d be right. He has, in his own modest words, “helped out where I could.”
In Charlotte that means over 30 years of continuous service not only to the school board but also as justice of the peace and chair of both the Charlotte and Chittenden County Democratic Committees, as well as volunteering with various local groups.
For the 12 years I’ve lived here I’ve seen Mike show up to meetings — many, many, many meetings — not to critique them but to listen to what Charlotters are up to and see where he might be able to help out. On the hectic last day of this year’s legislative session, he popped out during a short break to join a town garage meeting because he wanted to let us know about a funding opportunity that had just been passed by the Legislature.
Mike’s real, walk-the-talk engagement in the community has given him a diversity of perspectives that he’s put to use for Vermonters. Did you know that during this last session he introduced the agritourism bill that eases the liability of farms that want to expand their business? He got 49 co-sponsors for that bill, and it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. To pull off that feat takes perseverance, yes, as well as nuance and experience.
Mike isn’t showy. His years of service is authentic; through action his commitment to doing good for the community is plain to see. As has been exhaustively hashed out, he also has the rare humility and care to listen, then recognize and apologize when he makes a mistake. Remember, in 2019 he voted to support comprehensive abortion rights legislation, which is the actual law of the land now. Fortunately, his erroneous 2022 vote was irrelevant and Vermont voters have the chance this fall to be the first state in the country to secure reproductive rights in its constitution.
I respect the modesty, civility, hard work, constructive engagement and longstanding dedication of Mike Yantachka.
Yantachka’s voting candor is breath of fresh air
To the Editor:
I know Mike Yantachka to be an honest, loyal and engaged public servant who has served Charlotte well for decades. Mike and I served on the Charlotte Central School board during a time of unprecedented transition in education funding (Brigham v. State).
We could depend on Mike to be consistently measured, thoughtful and considerate of the best interest of the students and his broader constituency. He has spent countless hours as a lawmaker on myriad issues whose outcomes were critical to our community. I don’t believe that those who know Mike would ever regard him as a “bait-and-switch” kind of guy, as he was recently characterized in one of our town forums.
Not everyone is as clear as I am on reproductive rights. Mike was transparent in publicly stating that he struggled with aspects of the law. Maybe his faith made decisions murkier for him; perhaps he had an epiphany about a woman’s inalienable right to choose and realized he cannot have it both ways; or maybe, if one is especially cynical, he simply succumbed to the lure of political expediency which led him to ultimately voice his support for Prop 5. Regardless of how he got there, when Mike says he supports a constitutional amendment prohibiting government infringement of reproductive autonomy, I take him at his word. These days, a man in politics who explains his voting record, revisits and analyzes the issue at hand, and has the courage to change his mind, is not only an anomaly, he is a breath of fresh air.
Charlotte voters may well decide on a change in leadership for their state representative. Mike may not be the youngest (a fact recently cited) or the prettiest candidate, but he shouldn’t be disqualified for either, nor should he be for taking a circuitous route that ultimately led him to the right destination.
Prop 2 helps end Vermont’s slavery legacy
To the Editor:
This November, Vermont voters have a rare chance to weigh in on not one, but two proposed amendments to the state constitution.
Prop 2 states that “slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.” Although Vermonters have been told that the state was the first to abolish slavery, this is not accurate. In the current constitution, there are exceptions to the abolition of slavery on three grounds, including for “those bound for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs or the like.”
These exceptions in the Vermont Constitution have led to similar exceptions in the constitutions of 25 other states and in the U.S. Constitution, with its exception for punishment of a crime in the Thirteenth Amendment.
Vermonters, let’s take action during this election cycle to end the morally reprehensible practice of slavery and the legacy of hatred and systemic racism it has given our country. To find out more information or to join the campaign as a volunteer, go to abolishslaveryvt.org/.
(Nina Regan is the wife of Bill Regan, a member of The Charlotte News board of directors.)