The blaring of car horns was Ryan Lott's wake up call at a South Burlington hotel Friday.
"I was woken up rather unpleasantly this morning," said the Los Angeles-based musician. He says the noise from at the intersection of Dorset Street and San Remo Drive sounded a lot more like traffic at home than a Friday morning in Vermont. "I just dropped my daughter off at school, down the street. I heard a lot of noise over here and came over to see what was going on," said David Wallace.
There were no traffic tie ups or bad accidents -- the honking drivers were actually protesters.
"I think it's a good representation of what increased traffic would look like to an already congested area," said Shani Mekler, the South Burlington resident who organized the protest to show what she says will happen when a new methadone clinic opens in a medical space -- and up to a thousand patients a day go there.
The HowardCenter's Bob Bick says that number is much higher than reality and says traffic isn't a concern. He points out that the Development Review Board didn't consider it a factor for their permit either. "The DRB determined traffic wasn't relevant to the placement of the program. It's a medical office -- going into a medical office complex," Bick said. Bick says if the protesters are just concerned about traffic they should be circling the area down Dorset Street where a proposed Trader Joe's will be built.
Shani Mekler insists it's just about that. "We have our three main things -- parking, pedestrians and traffic -- and that's what we are here for," she said.
While it was billed as a traffic protest, most of the neighbors and parents honking said the fact that the clinic is being built near two schools is at the heart of the issue.
"I don't want a methadone clinic 400 feet from our schools. I have three boys in that school system right now," said Mike McMackin. "You've got people trying to get better in the methadone clinic -- which is good -- but you've also got drug dealers that are trying to capitalize on those guys at the clinic, who could also capitalize on the kids."
"They have bulletproof glass and they have guards inside, but who's going to be protecting the kids on the street?" said a woman watching the protest.
Those are concerns the HowardCenter has been hearing for months. But Bick says based on their clinic already in operation, none of those fears have been realized.
The South Burlington School Board has tried numerous times to get the clinic stopped. Residents are now making noise, but with construction set to wrap up in July, that may be all they are able to do.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:58:11 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
A Montgomery farmer and a sheriff's deputy joined forces for a daring rescue to help a woman who got trapped in her truck by rising floodwaters.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>