Discussion of the proposed windmills on Glebe Mountain has so far focused on aesthetic and environmental issues. I should like to add some comment on the practical and financial aspects of this project. As a scientist I always find it disturbing that the public is often called upon to make important decisions in the absence of relevant data.
Due to the unpredictable nature of wind, the market value of electricity produced by windmills is quite low, at something less than 2.5 cents per KiloWatt-Hour. Given the high cost of construction and maintenance of windmills such as those proposed one can reasonably expect the actual cost of the power generated to greatly exceed its true market value, probably costing in the vicinity of 9-10 cents per KiloWatt-Hour. Clearly wind power is not a practical endeavor and cannot be expected to yield economic benefits to the public as a whole.
In engineering terms, wind power belongs to a class of energy sources referred to as "low-grade energy." In other words, wind power is not a concentrated form of energy, but rather is dispersed or "dilute," since the actual energy of wind "per square foot" is quite low. Utilization of low-grade energy is a classical engineering problem that is well understood, having long been realized to be impractical. Wind energy was made obsolete by the advent of the steam engine over a century ago.
Given the impractical nature of so-called wind turbines, one may reasonably ask, why would anyone want to build them? The answer has to do with the bizarre economics of regulated utilities. Unlike competitive enterprises that make money by reducing their expenses, regulated monopolies such as utilities increase their long-term profits by increasing their costs. By itself CVPS cannot afford to build the Glebe Mountain project. Instead, they no doubt expect a larger utility to buy their permits, so that the buyer can inflate its costs, raise its rates, and increase its profits-all in the name of renewable energy.
When told that the people of France were starving for lack of bread, Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake dough!" Wind power is the Marie Antoinette solution to the low cost of coal-an abundant resource. Readers who are interested in learning more details about the impracticality of wind power may wish to consult my essay at www.glebemountaingroup.org.
Fergus Smith, Londonderry
Variable energy source means fundamental flaw
Mr. Dewey's Op-Ed ('Say Yes to Wind Development, Manchester Journal 10/28) is hogwash.
Opponents of industrial wind energy on Vermont's ridgelines do so primarily because it is a fundamentally flawed energy source that doesn't offer a meaningful solution to either Vermont's future energy needs or our global environmental concerns while it does impose significant costs on Vermont's environment, economy and quality-of-life.
Industrial wind energy is fundamentally flawed because wind is variable. Because wind is variable it is unreliable. Because wind is unreliable it is not and will never be more than a supplemental source of energy. As a supplemental source of energy wind will neither replace conventional, reliable sources of energy nor contribute meaningfully to reducing global warming.
It makes no sense for us to sacrifice our ridgelines for a fundamentally flawed energy source. When one considers as well the adverse impact of industrial wind on Vermont's own environment, economy and quality-of-life, industrial wind energy in Vermont makes no sense at all.
Mr. Dewey, these are the principal reasons we oppose industrial wind in Vermont.
It's that simple.
No viable methods of storing wind energy
I read with interest Mr. Dewey's Opinion piece titled 'Say Yes to Wind Development' published in the Oct. 28 issue of the Manchester Journal. I would like to correct two elementary errors in Mr. Dewey's piece.
The first pertains to his statement that "Surplus electricity from renewable energy systems during peak seasons, such as spring runoff hydroelectric production, will be stored in various media for later electric generation when source intermittency does not match momentary demand."
Wishful thinking, perhaps, but for the record there are no viable methods of storing wind-generated electricity for later use. Intermittent means intermittent. No wind means no wind-generated electricity on the grid.
The second pertains to his statement that "Vermonters burn a huge amount of fossil fuel per capita, and in fact have come very close in recent years to matching dirty, "industrial," urban Massachusetts in our parts per million emissions releases."
According to The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, data from 1960 to 2001 show that Vermonters produced the lowest Carbon emissions per capita (Mg/person) than any state in the union.
There is enough misinformation coming from profiteering wind companies. Vermonters, and New Englanders in general, deserve to hear the facts from their fellow citizens.
Lisa Linowes, Lyman, N.H.
Weighing in the wind needs careful planning
Energy versus beauty is a subject requiring much thought and careful planning.
The National Geographic's Traveler magazine (March 2004) states in an article called Destination Scoreboard that under their Stewardship Index, Vermont, USA ranks 6 of a possible 37 in the world.
To name some, Vermont keeps "unspoiled destination" ranking in the good company of Norwegian fjords, South island, New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, Scottish Highlands, UK, and Quebec City historic center, Canada. There are only 10 possible top scores.
Clearly when weighing wind versus wise stewardship the global aspect must be considered. We humans have a very small globe to protect and defend.
I would suggest that:
1. Machines have never enhanced nature, modern windmills while utterly streamlined are utilitarian, and they are very, very tall and noticeable.
2. Manchester and Dorset together create a tourist destination, which helps keep Vermont "green." There is no sense in deliberately choosing to ruin a stunning economic advantage for the State of Vermont
3.Good Stewardship is an item for the state of Vermont to manage. The state needs to adopt tough land-use and building codes as has, for instance, Tuscany, Italy (March 2004 National Geographic Traveler)
4.In other locations where windmills have been implanted, they have fallen into disuse, broken, become very ugly, and no one then cares to remove them. They remain a blight.
5. Vermont is smarter than to allow this willy-nilly building of windmills by companies not one bit interested in global beauty or Vermont economics, but interested solely in their corporate bottom line.
6. This energy problem requires a fierce commitment by Vermont, to study and solve on a state-wide basis, not expecting each small town to figure out the same policy over and over again.
7. Vermont can be a leader.
Clarissa Lennox, Manchester
What are the facts about wind power?
It appears that the "powers that be" have decided that we are to embark on a massive wind machine construction project. This will undoubtedly make many feel good. But what are the facts?
Fact ONE: Approximately three percent of petroleum we use generates electricity. Fact TWO: If we stopped using this three percent it would still be used by other countries, such as India and China.
Fact THREE: Windmills that effect migrating patterns kill thousands of birds.
Fact FOUR: To generate all of our current electric needs by wind machines we would need to construct twenty-five thousand (25,000) of them.
Fact FIVE: General Electric, the polluter of the Hudson River, would stand to reap great financial benefits from a large wind generating project. Fact SIX: The great majority of visitors to Vermont come to enjoy our scenery and undeveloped ridge lines.
Graham Whitney, Londonderry
Vermonters know and love libraries
I read with interest, and some dismay, the letter of Sylvia Jolivette to your good paper concerning the need for a public library in the Manchester community. She has opened herself up to a great deal of criticism from all of us who are passionate about books, reading and libraries.
I have just spent seven years on the State Board of Libraries whose mission is, in part, to "support and strengthen local libraries ... and to increase public awareness of libraries and their services and to advocate on their behalf."
Some may not know that Vermont is the state with the most libraries per capita in the United States. As Vermonters we know and love our libraries. Take them away from us? Close them? I don't think so.
The library is a fundamental resource in our communities. It is not a luxury. We get more "bang from the buck" from libraries than almost any other community effort.
A government survey of the Impact of Libraries on Communities states that in Florida, every $1 from sources invested in libraries returns $6.54. In South Carolina every dollar of state and local government investment in libraries returns $4.48. There is no reason to think that Vermont is any different from other states.
One has only to look at libraries after school to see that all computers are in full swing and that students are doing homework and, yes, choosing a book to read for pleasure later. TV does not occupy a lot of the time in many households because our parents and teachers want to encourage learning.
And what is a library but a treasure house of knowledge and learning.
Ms. Jolivette is indeed correct when she says that people are feeling the pinch financially. However, having worked in the community for a number of years, I know that Manchester people are book readers, book buyers, book lovers and library users and that the last thing they would want to do would be to give up their library.
Joan Rahe, Trustee, State of Vermont Board of Libraries
We should redistribute our wealth and bounty
The massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the past five years- with more in the works if Congress and the President have their way-have just meant increased property and other local and state tax burdens for the majority of working Americans, including us here in Vermont.
And that means we pay more for essential needs like medical care, housing, job training, and education that our federal tax dollars are no longer helping to cover like they used to. So what do we do about it?
I think former Vermont Catholic Bishop Kenneth Angell was thinking about tax fairness when he said: "From those to whom much is given, much is asked. We must find ways to redistribute our wealth and bounty." He was speaking on the first anniversary of 9/11, about how we must address the poverty around the world that is a major cause of terrorism. But he meant we must also deal with the poverty in our own country.
We're facing another big budget deficit next year, caused by the cuts in Medicaid funding by the federal government. Are we going to balance our books by raising the premiums and deductibles of the people on Medicaid, or cutting the already low reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals treating Medicaid beneficiaries? Isn't that just another form of raising taxes, but on those of us who can least afford it?
And are we going to have to consider other budget cuts as well, for affordable housing, police protection, community mental health care, fuel assistance, environmental cleanup, child care subsidies, and other important services?
But it gets worse- this deficit isn't only for one year. We're looking at a $50 or $60 million hole for the next five years!
I think it's time that we ask the best-off among us, the ones who have received the lion's share of the Bush tax cuts, to give back to Vermont for the good of all. The Governor keeps saying no new taxes, that they would be 'draconian,' which sounds only a little less painful than torture.
John Berkowitz, Putney
Open letter to the Board of Listers
We received our tax bill this summer and paid the first payment in August. Then we received a change in appraisal of real estate notice, this notice said we had till the 27th of Oct. to appeal. Then the next day, after receiving the change in appraisal notice, we received a green finance office notice showing we had a balance due (late notice) that we owed $501 on our first payment.
Does this seem just a little absurd to any of you? We did not appeal any of our tax notices and yet our taxes are changed and to top it off we are dunned for being late on a payment we just found out about. Is this our town government at work?
Perhaps the town of Manchester should do so some other places, and do an appraisal when you buy your property then that appraisal does not change until you sell it, at which time the new owner assumes the new appraisal, thus allowing the working person to live and work in the town without being taxed out. Unique idea? Probably too logical. Cheryl A. Harriman, Manchester Village
Fond family memories of the Jelly Mill
I just read the article that the Jelly Mill is closing. After spending time in Manchester for many years, my wife, children and I have always enjoyed a long visit to the Jelly Mill, starting from the ground floor, all they way up - especially enjoying the Kitchen Works.
It's sad to see this happen, because we have also seen so many other retailers go out of business or move from their original, quaint location to one with less warmth and charm.
With the building empty, are there any plans to fill the space with other businesses or groups? Is the building for sale?
Paul Laurenzi, Towaco, N.J.
Thanks to neighboring towns for support
As Chief of the Manchester Fire Department, I would like to thank the following Fire Departments for their help at the Reluctant Panther Inn fire on Oct. 29. Thank you to East Dorset, Dorset, Arlington, Peru, Danby, Winhall, Londonderry, Shushan, and Shaftsbury Fire Departments.
Also thanks to Wallingford, Pawlet, and Rupert Fire Departments for covering the surrounding towns. I would like to thank the Manchester and Arlington Rescue Squads for standing by and watching over us. Thanks to the Manchester Police Department and the Manchester Dispatch.
Thanks to the Mark Skinner Library for opening their doors and giving us a place to rest. I would like to thank the Dorset and Manchester Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, Shaws, Mulligans, The Equinox Hotel and Mrs. Murphy's Donuts for all the food and drink that kept us going all day long. And thank you to everyone who was inconvenienced due to the day long re-routing of traffic around the Village. The cooperation and understanding of all was completely appreciated. Overall I wish to thank a community that is so caring.
Chief Norm Bowen,
Adieu and thanks from the Drunsics
After nearly two years in business, Robin and I will be leaving the Spiral Press Cafe. Our family has grown with the recent birth of our second son and the time has come for us to make a change that will allow us to spend more quality time together as a family.
We wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the loyal customers who have supported us over the past two years. We are very proud to have built such a loyal following. The cafe has become what we intended: a community gathering place where customers from near and far can gather for good food, a good book, good entertainment, and more! We have enjoyed getting to know so many members of this wonderful community as well as regular visitors who frequent the cafe. We hope you all will continue to patronize the Spiral Press Cafe and the Northshire Bookstore. The synergy that is the Spiral Press Cafe and the Northshire Bookstore is a rare jewel, especially in a small community like ours.
We also want to thank all of our loyal staff who have worked so hard to make the Spiral Press Cafe what it is. In particular, we want to thank Maureen O'Neil who has been with us from the beginning. Maureen's experience, support, and guidance have been invaluable. Much of the credit for the success of the cafe can be attributed to her. She has also kept us well fed with her incredible treats. We will miss working with you all, and we will always appreciate all that you have done for us.
We want to thank the Morrow family for giving us the opportunity to open the cafe. They are truly models to look up to in the business community and we have enjoyed working with and learning from them. We also want to thank our partners, Geoff and Amy Chamberlain, whose experience, vision and guidance have been invaluable and Bill Drunsic, whose business experience and generosity have helped us through the hard times.
The Spiral Press Cafe will go on under the management of Gordon Parker. Gordon has moved to the area from Exeter, NH and brings years of experience and a proven track record in the hospitality industry to the cafe. We are confident that Gordon will take the Spiral Press Cafe to new heights. Please welcome him to the community and keep an eye out for exciting changes at the cafe.
Robin and I are staying in the area and are looking forward to seeing you all around town. We feel very fortunate to have grown up in this wonderful community and now we are happily raising our own family here. It is the strong sense of community in the Northshire that has made our experience at the cafe so rewarding, and we are both looking forward to staying involved in the community in other arenas.
Michael and Robin Drunsic
Arlington Area Childcare Board thanks supporters
On one of the rare, non-rainy October Saturdays, community members, the Arlington Area Childcare, Inc. Board, teachers, parents and the director, Carol Barbieri participated in a Strategic Planning Workshop for the Happy Days Playschool.
These dedicated folks gave the morning and part of the afternoon to formulate and prioritize goals for AACI's future. The board wishes to thank those enthusiastic participants for their valuable time and support for and interest in our community's early childhood programs and facility.The four hours of intense caucusing produced constructive and practical ways of accomplishing proposed objectives. As we implement many of the suggestions, we will keep the community and particularly those who participated informed of our progress. Thanks again to all for your efforts.
AACI Board President
Big as the Battle of Bennington
The Bennington Moosefest Gala and Auction ... what an event! I'd say that this was perhaps one of Bennington's biggest events since the Battle of Bennington. Over 500 people turned out Oct. 29th at the Bennington Center for the Natural & Cultural Arts.
Tim Milks, the auctioneer from Tennessee, was a delight as he played with the crowd, raising laughter and higher bids. The atmosphere was euphoric. The food, catered by Sodexho, of the Southern Vermont College, and the Vermont Cheese Counsel was abundant and delicious.
The decorations were festive and beautiful. The live music from Dasa Brudajo followed by recordings offered by dj Jim Woodward kept the dance floor in constant motion. The place was hopping! This event showed what is possible when community and talent come together to make something wonderful happen. My praise to all who helped make it such a success and such a delightful memory. Many charities and all of the community will benefit from their efforts and generosity.
Sue Westin, Dorset
Wind issue in Londonderry
There have been 101 false and misleading statements perpetrated by opponents of the wind project in Londonderry. Here are two more. The Londonderry Planning Commission Chair stated that the Town Plan cannot be reconsidered.
Town Plans are not written in stone if only by the mere fact that they are revised every 5 years AND according to the Londonderry Select Board, voters WILL have a chance to revise their Town Plan if negotiations with Catamount Energy Corporation are agreed upon. If this comes to pass, it is important for supporters of the wind project to get out and vote YES for this fantastic opportunity for Londonderry.
It was erroneously stated and published in many local papers that Deb Markowitz, Secretary of State, said that according to Title 10, Section 493, lawn signs could stay up indefinitely. Section 493 refers to signs "advertising the sale and lease of the property or activities being conducted on the property." Secretary Markowitz actually said in a phone conversation that towns have jurisdiction over signs.
According to Londonderry Zoning By-laws, temporary signs (those that do not require sign permits) are to be removed after four weeks. Save our ridgeline signs should read "Save our Earth - Learn the Facts," or perhaps, the "Answer is Blowing in the Wind."
Regardless, any sign without a permit should be removed after four weeks. Ridge line signs have been a visual pollutant since August. Perhaps the Constables in Londonderry could remove the signs to comply with Londonderry's zoning by-law. Whose ridge line is it anyway?
Mary Butera, South Londonderry
Wind Energy in Vermont: we should be responsible
Some of you out there make it sound dirty to put wind generators on the mountain. Some say the windmills will ruin the view as many of you see these distant objects through the mangle of power lines and poles and transformers.
Let's say that we local residents be responsible for our energy, would we agree with that? I think we should be responsible and not expect other people to take our wastes etc. I think we should build vaults in Manchester, Londonderry, and each town in Vermont and be responsible for our nuclear waste and make each town look after it, make sure it doesn't leak, pay for it from town taxes for the next 10,000 years.
Maybe some one in town will donate a piece of property that we can build a vault on. Maybe someone from Londonderry has a piece of property we can put one on. Should we really expect Vernon folks to bear the brunt or people in Nevada or anywhere else to take our messy waste? Don't think so.
The point being if we had to take care of our waste ourselves and it was not being taken care of through the energy department, with ill spent tax payer's money, you might look at wind power in a different light. Regardless governor Douglass said that the many Vermonters do not want wind power. This issue should be voted on by everybody in the state after good open debates and let the vote of the people tell it like it is.
Ted Taylor, E. Dorset
Pessimists, the glass is more than half full
In response to Harold DeBona asking for all to "rally together for the common good," it is so sad to realize that he and so many other supposed intelligent and caring people can only see the negatives and even then use half truths, distortions and even lies to rationalzie their views.
There's no question that this administration (and congress, the CIA, the FBI, locals, etc.) made some mistakes and had they had the benefit of hind sight might have approached the war and other issues differently. But by and large, can't we admit that Sadam Hussein was a cunning, dangerous and unpredictable man.
He started a war with Iran, invaded Kuwait, poison gassed the Kurds and killed thousands of his own citizens. He also tried to assassinate then President George H. Bush. He cheated or skirted around numerous UN Sanctions and didn't come clean with the UN inspectors. Irag, did by the way, in the 80's have nuclear weapons capabilities which were taken out by the Israelis. Every significant world wide intelligence agency (including France, Germany and Russia) believed Iraq either had or could quickly put together weapons of mass destruction. It's interesting to note that many like Mr. DeBona, don't like to mention the fact that ex president Clinton, John Kerry and other prominent Democrats strongly urged or suggested that there should be regime change in Iraq.
On the domestic front, again why only negatives. Is it not true that our economy is robust? GDP is growing faster than it has for many years. We have created more new jobs in the last 2 years than in decades, and our unemployment rate, now at 5 percent is lower than any other industrial nation and way lower than the 10 percent rates in most of Europe. Much of this good is due to tax cuts, which help middle Americans and small businesses as well as the rich. Please keep in mind, the rich do their share (the top 5 percent in income pay more than 50 percent of all federal taxes). No less and an expert and bipartisan than Alan Greenspan, agreed that the tax cuts were needed to spur the economy and forestall a recession. Also keep in mind that in both past tax cuts (one by J. Kennedy and the other by R. Regan) even with lower rates, tax revenues increased as the economy increased.
Yes, federal spending is out of hand, and I blame Congress, including the Republicans, as much or more than the administration. Take this transportation bill with its approx. 6,000 pork barrel projects (including the Alaska bridge to no where). The President is urging Congress to cut back and the House at least is responding by looking to reallocate some of the money from the trans. bill to hurricane relief.
So all you pessimists, try to look at the whole picture - the glass is more than half full. And let's remember the majority of Amercians elected President Bush, so let's support him and his team as they deal with very difficult problems and situations.
Val R. Loureiro, Manchester
Must be sensitive to what people can afford
This is in response to the recent articles in the Journal on the Mark Skinner Library
I agree we must continually stimulate the imagination and intellect of people. However, we have to be sensitive as to what people can afford, especially when it comes to public spending.
My article of Oct. 28th was written to bring attention to what is now under discussion about the library so people get the information timely in the event they are asked to give an option or make a decision.
Please re-read my article of Oct. 28th. The out of towners that took exception made erroneous deductions. Again re-read the article. I respect privacy. I made no mention of individual names being given. I suggested name of town user was from etc. I never indicated I represented anyone other than myself. Personalizing issues is usually offensive in any form. Discussion and accurate information fosters understanding and intelligent decisions.
My idea of a public library is that it tries to serve all aspects of the intellect, it is a center of information. Current Mark Skinner hours are Tuesday, 10-5, Wednesday 10-7; Thursday 10-5; Friday 10-4 and Saturday 10-4. Remember the next public forum is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, 5:30 p.m. at the Manchester Town Hall