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November is here already, and along with it, Election Day! I was glad to join a recent voter registration drive at the Burlington High School to encourage our community’s youth to register to vote. Early voting is available at City Hall until 5pm on November 5, and on Election Day, the polls will be open from 7am to 7pm. I’ll be visiting polling places around the city and look forward to seeing many members of our community there.
Working to address the opioid epidemic
Many in our community, and the country, have been moved by the obituary of Madelyn Linsenmeir, known as Maddie, who died in October after a long battle with an addiction to opiates. In the obituary, Maddie’s family was able to illuminate the person Maddie was and the toll that her addiction took on her, and in so doing, powerfully show the emotional and personal costs of the opioid epidemic.
My resolve is strong to continue to the work that Burlington is doing to fight this epidemic. I’m heartened that in October, the Howard Center’s Safe Recovery syringe exchange program added an innovative service that many of us have been working toward in recent months, thanks in part to a $525,000 federal grant secured with Sen. Patrick Leahy’s leadership: Same-day, medically assisted treatment. We are very hopeful that creating this new doorway to life-saving addiction medicines will save lives.
We know that medically assisted treatment works, and this initiative means that now, people who are ready to start treatment can do so the same day that they ask for it. Meanwhile, the University of Vermont Medical Center has also begun making medically assisted treatment available to patients who come into the emergency room. Data and experience tell us that this work will help us close critical gaps in our treatment system, and save hundreds of lives.
Celebrating a new addition to our parks
I’m proud to announce the opening of the Oakledge for All playground at Oakledge Park. As the first universally accessible playground in the region, Oakledge for All features accessible play structures, surfaces, and pathways that allow people with a range of mobility, visual, sensory, and other needs to be able to play. Burlington’s world-class recreational resources are one of the things that define our city, and now, this playground extends those resources to more members of our community. The playground is the product of a grassroots initiative, and was led by a group of hardworking volunteers and our Parks department, with funding from a grant from Disney and Burlington’s Penny for Parks program.
At the ribbon cutting for the playground, I was moved to hear parents, teachers, and other community members speak eloquently about how this playground is important for youth and adults who have accessibility needs, but also for their siblings, families, friends, and neighbors, who will now be able to play together and learn more about each other. It highlighted for me one of the ways that we all benefit from inclusion and diversity.
Welcoming Darren Springer as the new General Manager of Burlington Electric
Finally, I want to welcome Darren Springer as the new General Manager of the Burlington Electric Department (BED). Darren has an extensive background in the energy field and energy policy, and following a comprehensive search and interview process, I’m confident that he’s the right person to ensure that BED continues its strong record of customer affordability, positive labor relations, and innovation, while also setting and making progress toward some of the most ambitious climate goals in the entire American power industry. Welcome Darren!
As always, I encourage you to join me at the Bagel Café on Wednesday mornings from 8-9am to share any thoughts or questions. You can also visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MiroBTV/, or follow me on Twitter at @BTVMayor for information on the work of the Mayor’s Office and our City Departments. I look forward to seeing you soon.
- Big Ideas for Small Cities
Saturday, November 10, 2018 9:00 am Convention Center, Room 502B