Letters to the Editor (7/02/14)

July 02, 2014
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Geography Lesson

I enjoyed reading the article about Peter Schumann, founder and artistic director of Bread and Puppet Theater ["Living Art," June 18]. The writer made an error when referring to Silesia as a town. Silesia is a region of Poland.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Williston

Informative Piece

Very nice article ["Living Art," June 18]. I have read a lot about Bread and Puppet over the years but actually learned something new reading your piece. Good portrayal of Schumann, too.

Warren Schultz

New York, N.Y.

PURRFECT PAPER

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I had just come in the door of my house, put down the recent Animal Issue of Seven Days, and here is what happened. As you can see, Jasper the Cat approves.

Robyn Madison

DANBY

Not New Hampshire!

[Re "Tim Newcomb," June 11]: Your graphically talented but substantively challenged cartoonist Tim Newcomb offered up a cartoon of anguished Republican elephants, purporting to explain that their biggest base of support was located in ... New Hampshire!

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Having lived within sight of New Hampshire for 50 years, please allow me to explain to your Left Coast readership that New Hampshire Republicans are a strong base of support — not for Vermont's Republicans but for Vermont's Democrats. That's because Democratic policies in Vermont have done wonders for New Hampshire's economy over the years. New Hampshire Republicans understand that their prosperity blossoms when pro-business Republicans are in office in Concord, and progressive high-tax, high-regulation, high-mandate majorities rule in Montpelier.

John McClaughry

Kirby

24/7 Lake Threat

[Re "Oil and Water: Trains Hauling More Crude Along Lake Champlain," June 18]: Sure, there is a debacle-in-waiting every time crude oil is railroaded near Lake Champlain. But of far greater danger — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — is the ongoing destruction of the natural landscape of the lake's watershed. Every time a woodlot — much less a whole forest — is leveled for development and more impervious surface is created, the lake suffers more pollution. No wonder algae blooms are a near-constant threat to water quality and fish and wildlife. 

Alan C. Gregory

Williston

'Bomb Train' Solution

The wicked truth is the natural gas liquids — the explosive part — can be removed from Bakken crude before it gets shipped ["Oil and Water: Trains Hauling More Crude Along Lake Champlain," June 18]. This is standard practice at Texas' Eagle Ford shale formation, due to pipeline pressure limitations. You need a stabilizer — roughly a billion dollars, or about the cost of rebuilding Lac Mégantic in Québec, where a so-called "bomb train" exploded a year ago.

Liston Tatum

Orleans

Bike Path Limitations

I am writing in response to the individual who feels that the bike path is a suitable alternative to providing consistent bike lanes in Burlington, specifically in the New North End [Feedback, "Take the Bike Path," June 18]. As a former year-round bike commuter, it is my opinion that the bike path should be for recreation only and is not appropriate for commuters or road bikers. First, it is very rarely a direct route to where you are going, therefore increasing your commute. Second, it is unsafe to ride your bicycle at high speeds on the bike path. Forcing all bikers onto the bike path is dangerous for the recreational bikers, joggers and walkers who also use it. For these reasons, we need consistent bike lanes throughout the Burlington area, as well as cyclists who are following the rules of the road.

Stephanie Becker

Winooski

Sidewalk Works

In Feedback ["Bike-Unfriendly Burlington," June 18], Richard Watts concludes, "great cities deserve great bike infrastructures." His comments and concerns are valid, but I differ in opinion on that one comment. We have an infrastructure in most all of Burlington: It's called a sidewalk.

They are 99 percent free almost all the time. Hordes of bicyclists mowing down geriatric pedestrians? Not a valid argument. Expect people to act in a responsible and civil manner and, strangely enough, most do! If they don't, then take appropriate action.

I see both groups already sharing the sidewalk every day on North Avenue. I grew up in a much larger city where it worked because people — not laws — made it work. Most people can do this. It's just that simple. Let's fix real problems.

Tony Gallucci

Burlington

Insulting to Islam

Let me start out by explaining that I'm agnostic and don't follow any religion. I am, however, a religion major at the University of Vermont. Your paper posted a highly offensive comic regarding GMOs ["Tim Newcomb," June 18]. The tagline being "G(MO)HAD," as in Jihad. It portrayed those against GMO labeling as Islamic extremists.

I'd like all Seven Days readers to understand that a jihad is not related to terrorism in any way. Someone's jihad is that one's struggle to fulfill one's religious purpose. There have been Twitter campaigns in an effort to take back the term #myjihad.

It is completely unacceptable to me for anyone to use a religious group to portray something considered negative in the public view in the way that those against GMO labeling are in Vermont. I am appalled that anyone would think that this OK. It's profiling and ignorant.

Lily Fedorko

Burlington

CORRECTION

A June 18 story, "Switchback to the Future," incorrectly stated that an extra pale ale was made with Vermont hops. In fact, a pilot batch of the brew used local hops, but the full release does not.

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Comments (2)

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I agree with Ms. Becker's comments that a bike path designed as a public recreational space is unsuitable for many individuals seeking to commute via bicycle or ride/train on road bikes at high speed. If you don't mind a longer ride or proceeding at a leisurely pace that allows you to dodge dogs, young kids, inattentive joy-riders, and oncoming bike path traffic, then perhaps the bike path is your thoroughfare of choice. For anyone going on a serious ride or trying to reach a destination on-time, don't ride the bike path. That's not why it's there and you're more likely to put others in danger and just end up more frustrated.

I strongly disagree with Mr. Gallucci's comments that sidewalks are where cyclists belong. I think sidewalks certainly have their place for cyclists some of the time, depending on the user, their bike, and the goals of the ride. As I wrote previously it's not always sensible to throw pedestrians and high-speed cyclists together on the same narrow piece of real estate. They ticket people for riding bikes along the Rt. 127 beltline between Colchester and Burlington, where the shoulders are quite wide but vehicle speeds exceed 50mph. At least the bike path is pretty smooth and somewhat wider than your typical city sidewalk. Mr. Gallucci states that when people are expected to behave in a responsible and civil manner, they most often do. This is meant to lend weight to his argument that pedestrians and cyclists sharing the sidewalk should be easy to accomplish. But can this not also apply to motorists and cyclists sharing the roads? Why would you not expect motorists and cyclist, by and large, to act responsibly and with civility if you expect it of pedestrians and cyclists? I am not an advocate for dedicated bike lanes and carving out a dedicated cyclist infrastructure through the heart of cities and towns. I do support the notion that all users of a common infrastructure should be responsible for supporting it in accordance with their impact and that all those obliged to follow the same rules (of the road) have equal enforcement of those obligations placed on them. More than anything though, I support motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians not behaving like douchebags to each other. That will go the furthest toward proper sharing of common thoroughfares.

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Posted by Lee Stirling on 07/09/2014 at 12:28 PM

@Tony G of "Sidewalk Works": An interesting concept but I interpret it as an attempt to not deal with the issue by shifting the challenge away from car-loving roads.

First, we'll have to rename sideWALKS to something else.

Side(walks) will need a LOT of work; do you want to drive your car down roads equivalent to the quality to many of the side(walks) in the area? Many are incredibly lumpy/bumpy, sometimes with poor transitions at intersections and given the narrowness for existing two-way pedestrian traffic we'll see a culture war there with foot traffic complaining about cyclists whizzing by.

Also, would you want to drive your car down a road where drivers will be pulling their car noses out without looking until they are well into your lane of traffic flow? That is what any cyclist riding along a side(walk) will have to be constantly concerned over.

I'll take bike lanes that don't randomly end, please.

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Posted by Divus Augustus on 07/06/2014 at 8:43 AM
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