Letters to the Editor

March 12, 2014

Off the Bus?

Mayor Weinberger says that he is not a participant in the CCTA negotiations and thus has no opinion ["Bus Fair? CCTA Drivers Get Ready to Strike," March 5]. But CCTA is our bus company; its board is assigned by the city council, of which the mayor is a part. Ultimately, what happens at CCTA is the responsibility of them and, behind them, of us all.

If you do not have company managers who offer collaboration and real training, and give your working people the chance to shine and be their best, then you need a working contract that provides protection against their abuse of your working time. You need a contract that will protect you from an operations staff that is constantly in your face, treating you like a child and continually threatening to punish you.

When General Manager Watterson claims that he did not know of drivers' complaints — and this bargaining has been going on since April 2013 — then you can wonder where management has been. Sleeping, or just plugging their ears and hoping the problem will go away? It is time to provide the drivers with a contract that gives them the protection they deserve. Then we need to move on and demand of our city that they clean house at CCTA management. It is time to fire the operations staff and bring in people who can make CCTA a model company we can all be proud of and which will not, for the third time time, threaten to strike over working conditions.

C.W. Norris-Brown

Burlington

Norris-Brown is a retired CCTA driver who remains active in union negotiations.

'The Fag Rag'

I'm writing in regard to your personals section. Recently, while at Rite Aid on Cherry Street, a woman mentioned Seven Days hadn't arrived at the store. I told her I hated the personals because of the "sex stuff": people looking for threesomes, gays looking for sex, etc. She stated I didn't have to read it. I said, "Yes, but younger children are open to it, and it shouldn't be printed." I've nicknamed the paper "the fag rag." The first thing I do before reading it is rip out the personals (which I use for my ferret's litter box), at which point I feel I've got an unmolested paper.

There are a lot of people in our society with sick sex problems. The personals only enable their activity, in my opinion.

Brian King

Burlington

Kingdom Come Weekly

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you ... for distributing Seven Days in the Northeast Kingdom. Up until your regular deliveries started last fall, the only real place to get a copy of Seven Days in our area was at the Four Corners Mini Mart, where Jim Starr would try to keep a weekly supply. I look forward to the articles; they are well written and cover a wide variety of subjects that we would not get locally. You did a cover story on Newport ["Promise Land," July 10] and on lots of local businesses in our area. It's nice, too, for us to know what's going on in the Burlington area. Thanks again.

Georgia Zaveson

Jay

What Happened to Movie Times?

I see that you have made the decision to no longer publish movie times in your print edition. This had been for me one of the most important features of your paper: I can't tell you how many times I have said, "We can check the time in Seven Days." As a mobile-device-less reader, I want you to know that this change is a significant inconvenience for me. The show times cannot take up very much space in your publication; could you maybe be persuaded to change your mind about this?

Sam Sanders

Bristol

Editor's note: This decision has been a long time coming — most weeklies stopped providing movie times years ago — and we did not make it lightly, precisely because of "device-free" readers such as yourself. Yet we stopped providing movie times not simply because of the near-ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, etc. (nor because of the space in the paper), but because of our difficulties getting timely and accurate information.

Some weeks, certain theaters don't get us their schedules by our press deadline; ditto the online service that collects and disseminates that info for many of them. And even on weeks when we do get all the schedules, it is not uncommon for one or more movie houses to tweak their screening times the very next day. Result: Patrons show up for a movie at the wrong time, and they blame Seven Days for the "error." (Theater employees have been overheard doing the same.)

We put a tremendous amount of time and effort into providing accurate information week after week, so for this to happen repeatedly really rankles and does not reflect our commitment to quality and reliability. Clearly, a weekly can do nothing to fix what's already been published — that is, in print. But on our web and mobile platforms, the movie times are updated daily.

We are truly sorry that you are inconvenienced — and grateful that you have relied on us in the past — but we were forced to weigh the options. That near-ubiquity of handy (and accurate) devices finally tipped the scale. We hope you understand, and that you find Seven Days useful in other ways.

Not That Dreary

I would like to say the story ["Gray Is the New Orange," January 22] was OK, but the visiting room at that facility is the best in the state. I thought it was awful she said that it was dreary and uninviting. It has a nice mural on the wall and accommodates the children who come to visit.

Want to see one that's dreary? Go to St. Johnsbury. You're piled in like sardines, and they make you feel like you've done something wrong. Newport is OK, but the guards are very rude and don't make you feel welcome. In Springfield, the guards are nice and don't make you feel like you shouldn't be there. Before you say it's dreary, visit other places.

Elizabeth Blakeney

Barre

Yet Another Moran Plant Proposal?

As a longtime Burlington homeowner, I have witnessed egregious spending an a few "wish list" projects that have priced themselves out of being realistic. For example, the 25-year Southern Connector spendathon seems to have finally been allowed to fade away — only to be replaced with the Moran Plant saga ["Moran With a Plan," February 12].

The idea of turning a dilapidated, rodent-infested toxic site into a community center, sadly, seems to be consistent with the "logic" of city hall: blowing enormous sums of money on both "studies" and proposals. In case the mayor and city council have forgotten, we already have the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. In fact, ECHO was built under the guise of being affordable for the entire city, which most residents and parents would agree it is not.

Now we're asked to get behind another expensive proposal for the Moran Plant. Since just leveling it seems to bother all those involved, why not do something worthwhile? For those too young to remember, it was originally an electric plant. Why not replace it with an affordable modern source of power like large-scale solar panels? They wouldn't tarnish the aesthetics of the waterfront, and quite likely would inspire similar projects. It's time for Burlington to stop wasting taxpayer funds and invest in something practical and worthwhile for a change.

Paul Cook

Burlington

Another View

[Re "Moran With a Plan," February 12]: With no disrespect to the idea proposed by two students from UVM, my alma mater, my question is this: What is wrong with open space? Why do we need to develop every piece of it? How many more high rises and restaurants do we need for private gain at taxpayer expense? What is more beautiful than Mother Nature's natural beauty? An unobstructed view across Lake Champlain toward the Adirondacks offers unexcelled, ever-changing beauty in winter, spring, summer and fall.

I do believe Burlington could benefit from a marina — located south of Perkins Pier — but not a privately run one. Let the city own and operate and reap the benefits: boat-docking fees, gas sale revenues, create some jobs.

Let's make the property on which Moran stands a true park, with grass, open space, some trees and flowers. A few basic amenities would be needed: some seating, public restrooms and trashcans. I can envision a place where one could find some tranquility, walk or relax alone or with friends or family. A place to breathe the fresh air, listen to the water, observe the waterfowl, enjoy the sunshine, admire the panoramic view and marvel at the open grandeur — all of this without commercial enterprise.

Michael Goldblatt

Burlington

Man Versus Machine

[Re Facing Facts: "In Case Canada Invades," February 26]: Vermont to be a death-machine-free state? Never! Why did the state police allegedly buy this military armored vehicle? I don't know where this thing is kept, but the next time Wall Street-Silicon Valley-K Street comes to take away most of what many of us thought we had (looking more and more likely, as "markets" reach record highs seemingly daily), I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it.

Michael Peden

Willsboro, N.Y.

Last Stand at Pine Ridge

There were lots of online comments on Ken Picard's March 5 story, "Campus Lifeless," about the vacant Williston property once occupied by the Pine Ridge School. We tracked down some of the people who commented on the story and, in some cases, they added to their earlier remarks.

It's sad to see such a wonderful place sit empty. I had so many wonderful memories there. Thank you for writing this article.

Brooke Barnhart

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Barnhart graduated from Pine Ridge in 2008.

How about a long-term care facility for young people trying to recover from drug addiction?

Mary Jane Grace

Waterbury

I was a student who graduated from "the Ridge" back in 1987. Had many fun times there, and it helped me a lot. So sad to see it like this now.

Tim O'Brien

North York, Ontario, Canada

I was going to drop out of high school after 10th grade, then I found Pine Ridge. Because of it, I went on to college and graduated. Pine Ridge helped me so much. If I had the money, I would reopen it.

David Hellfrich

Glens Falls, N.Y.

Hellfrich is a member of the class of 2005.

It was a great tragedy that Pine Ridge School closed. It was a wonderful, life-saving educational experience for many students and their families. Pine Ridge provided an enriching education and a normal high school experience for students who were otherwise bullied and socially excluded in their local schools because of their learning differences. I am so grateful for the Pine Ridge experience and to all the amazing teachers and faculty that worked there over the years. My daughter was privileged to attend Pine Ridge.

Ruth Richardson

Tunbridge

Reading this post and every word still reminds me of the place I called home for four years of my life up until graduation in 2003. I wouldn't be the person I am today without that school. I still remember as if it were today: walks down Church Street, off to ECHO on the lake, Muddy Waters, going to the Burton Factory, Ben & Jerry's on weekends and then the constant trips to thrift shops and Bolton Valley.

I'm so upset the school went under. I just wish it didn't die in the manner it did; it was a school that had a true need for a select group of people whom society shunned. I will forever love that place, school and setting. I think I need to see the school before it's bulldozed.

Trevor Smith

Pleasant Valley, N.Y.

CORRECTIONs

In a February 26 preview of her dance piece, Animal, we identified dancer-choreographer Hanna Satterlee as the artistic director of the Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio in Montpelier. She was hired as studio artistic director, but is now director of professional programming and artistic director of the Teen Jazz program.

In the real estate story "Residential Reality" last week, we misidentified Realtor Kathleen Holmes' agency. She now works for Keller Williams Vermont. Both errors have been corrected online.

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