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Letters to the Editor (6/28/17)


Published June 28, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 30, 2017 at 9:26 a.m.


Rooftop Garden Is Fine

Regarding Katie Jickling's ["Not-So-Green Roof: BTV Airport's Garage-Top Garden Has Deteriorated," June 21], I recently viewed the garden, and I was impressed! Sure, the plants are low, but that rooftop is a harsh environment: windblown and with unceasing sun. Yet it was colorful, and, with time to undergo natural succession, it will become lusher.  

I just returned from New York City and saw a big Barclays conference center there with a planted garden roof that looked identical to the Burlington International Airport's garden. So I support the laissez-faire handling of that space. Just let the winds bring in new life and watch how the garden changes.

And what is with this terrible aversion to weeds? Weeds are wild plants that are first to populate disturbed land. Their flowers support pollinators. We humans equate nurture of gardens with cutting, pulling and generally harassing plant life. And don't tell me lawns are green space. They are polluting, water-sucking biodiversity deserts. 

Also: Jickling states that plant transpiration is the release of oxygen. That is incorrect. Transpiration is the release of water.

So thank you, BTV airport, for your roof. I look forward to watching it change.

Brenda Waters


Dorothy's Due

[Re "Surrender Dorothy," June 21]: Your article on the controversy surrounding Dorothy Canfield Fisher appeared just as I was reading Blanche Wiesen Cook's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. Fisher was a good friend of Mrs. Roosevelt's and worked tirelessly on relief and rescue work during World War II. Eleanor's husband, the revered Franklin D. Roosevelt, sat idly by while thousands of European Jews were denied visas by the president's blatantly anti-Semitic State Department; Fisher organized the Children's Crusade for Children, sending aid to those trapped in Europe. 

A decade later, Fisher spoke eloquently against the Red Scare hysteria that threatened to engulf Vermont. "We try very hard in Vermont to keep clear in our minds the difference between suspicion and proof," she wrote in "Vermont Traditions."

I must agree with Philip Baruth and Katherine Paterson: Writers are products of their time, and there are no perfect heroes. There was much in Fisher's life that is worth honoring and remembering.

Rick Winston


Not All Hockey

As I was looking through the food section of the June 7 issue, I found that you referred to Leddy Park's arena as a "hockey arena" [Eat This Week: "Life's a Beach!"]

I and other figure skaters in Vermont take offense to this common nomenclature, as hockey already overshadows figure skating and other ice sports. Constantly referring to ice rinks as hockey rinks degrades figure skating as a sport, as it wrongly implies that the rink's purpose is for hockey. Leddy is a multipurpose rink and is home to Champlain Valley Skating Club and hosts many figure skating events each year. We already fight for ice time and respect, so please do not further discredit figure skating by calling Leddy a hockey arena.

Emily Adler


Missing Mickey


Thank you for the two articles honoring Mickey of the Pine Street trailer world ["A Tribute to Michael 'Mick' Deloreto," June 14; "King of Street Life," June 14]. He was an important and unique part of the South End Arts District. We're still adjusting to not seeing him and miss him very much.

Emily Anderson


Hold Trappers Accountable

[Re 802 Much: "Wild Things," June 14]: It's hypocritical that if someone comes across an orphaned raccoon, it is deemed dangerous and irresponsible to try to help the animal. Yet a trapper handling a trapped raccoon or a fox elicits not even mild concern about the threat of rabies. This article neglects to mention the critical role wildlife rehabilitators play. In Vermont, rehabbers are volunteers. Their training and licensing is mandatory. They are legally required to submit detailed monthly reports to the Fish & Wildlife Department about the particulars of every orphaned and injured animal they treat. Why aren't trappers required to submit any information whatsoever about the animals they kill and injure, including collateral damage to domestic pets?

The Fish & Wildlife Department's disparate treatment of the public who wants to protect wildlife and the "conservationists" who kill wildlife is grossly unfair. Unchecked, widespread nuisance killing in Vermont lacks legal definition and has zero reporting requirements or bag limits. For example, right now during hound training season, even if baby animals or their mothers are killed, no numbers are being reported to the Fish & Wildlife Department. I think it's time to do more than simply wonder if that baby raccoon you're tempted to help is a result of its mother being killed at the hands of trappers or houndsmen. I think it's time to shift the wildlife paradigm in Vermont. 

Elise Eaton


Naming Rights

Thank you for the local and personal article about the USS Fitzgerald and Betty Ann Fitzgerald of Montpelier [Off Message: "Montpelier Widow Remembers USS Fitzgerald's Namesake — Her Husband," June 20]. My relatives, the Underhill family, have a similar story.

We come from Jericho, N.Y., and are related to the Underhills that Vermont's Underhill is named after and who were also many of the early grantees of the town. In Jericho, our Malcolm-Jackson farm was next door to an Underhill farm and my father's best boyhood friend, Samuel Jackson Underhill. During early World War II, Sam was killed in the Battle of the Coral Sea as a pilot off the carrier Yorktown days after helping to blow up several ships and carriers of the Japanese fleet. To honor him, the U.S. Navy named a destroyer escort, the USS Underhill DE-682, after him.

Although a Quaker family, the Underhills allowed an instrument of war to be named after Sam, and Sam's stepmother, Bertha, christened the ship at its launch in Boston. Sadly, a kamikaze-manned torpedo blew up the USS Underhill near the end of the war, and many sailors were killed. My brother and I worked for Sam's brother Willets on their farm, and Willets found and had restored a plane similar to the one Sam had piloted, an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber, and it is on display on the newer Yorktown carrier in the Charleston, S.C., harbor with Sam's name inscribed beside the cockpit.

Death in battle spans the decades. Peace to the Fitzgerald family and to everyone.

John Malcolm


Applause for Carbon Pricing

Little wonder that the small crowd gathered for the announcement of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition applauded loudest for Seventh Generation's Ashley Orgain [Off Messsage: "Weinberger, Scott Announce Coalition to Fight Climate Change," June 20]. She announced a specific, actionable step that her business and others take to combat climate change: company-wide carbon pricing. In contrast, Gov. Phil Scott hosted yet another clinic on speaking equivocally in a cynical bid for political capital. Talk is getting cheaper by the day, and so, apparently, is the price of polluting in Vermont.

Any resilient climate-change solution will be multifaceted, but pricing carbon is an essential piece of the puzzle. Former Reagan cabinet members George Shultz and James Baker advocated as much in "A Conservative Answer to Climate Change," published in the Wall Street Journal in February. When pressed by a reporter, Scott concluded his thoughts by saying, "I am not committing to anything." That, at least, I can believe.

Either take concrete, measurable steps to reduce fossil fuel dependence or admit that you couldn't care less — but, for goodness' sake, pick a side.

Peter Mandych


Explaining 'Anti'

[Re "Meet the 79-Year-Old Man Who Will Oversee Vermont's Energy Future," June 14]: Terry Hallenbeck's otherwise excellent report irresponsibly contains years-long verbal falsehoods perpetuated by Paul Burns of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group aimed at any who defy his truth-bending concept called "anti-wind." Most recently, Burns has targeted the incoming Public Service Board chair Tony Roisman. Is Roisman anti-ridgeline industrial turbines? Emphatically yes. Does Roisman's opposition to ridgeline industrial turbines equate to being "anti-wind"? Emphatically no.

Burns' mantra — "anti-wind'' — is an epithetic shiny object. It's clever like a punch line and a great example of what we know today as fake news.

For those of us who are informed, our commitment remains. We are anti-industrial-scale turbines on our mountain ridges. 

Peggy Sapphire


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