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Letter to the Editor (11/7/18)

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Flying Blind?

In the October 17 story "Taking Off," Beta Technologies founder Kyle Clark asserts that electric planes will be cheaper to operate. The article continues: "As of last week, jet fuel was selling for $5.64 per gallon at BTV. 'That 429 out there,' Clark said, referring to a Bell helicopter in the hangar, 'will cost $3,600 an hour to operate. The aircraft we're developing ... will cost somewhere around $100 an hour.'"

Somebody is off by an order of magnitude.

The Bell 429 burns 217 gallons of fuel in four and a half hours. That works out to be approximately 50 gallons per hour, or roughly $300 dollars per hour.

Casey Davis

Williamstown

Airport Needs Oversight

[Re Off Message: "After Buying Airport-Area Homes to Raze, Burlington Wants to Save Some," October 16]: Your article fails to mention that the City of Burlington's decision not to demolish the Lily Lane properties, purchased through a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant, may be in violation of the grant assurances that the airport gave to the FAA.

Whether or not you agree with the acquisition and demolition initiative, the violation of grant assurances can result in fines and the airport's inability to get future FAA grants for critical airport improvements, putting the airport's future ability to serve the traveling public at risk.

The decision to allow airport employees to live rent-free in these properties — which we, the U.S. taxpayers, have paid for — should cause great concern. Like the Burlington Telecom debacle, this provides further evidence that it is time to consider a new governance model for the airport. 

There is currently no space available at BTV for additional aircraft owned by local businesses. These aircraft enable businesses to serve customers beyond our local area, which ultimately results in job growth to our region. The airport recently took over a general aviation hangar for use by airport maintenance vehicles, and there are no plans from BTV or the City of Burlington to support this critical need.

It is time to move the airport to a regional airport authority that will consider the economic impact of the airport on Chittenden County and northern Vermont as a whole.

Chris Weinberg

Jericho

What's Wrong With White?

While reading the Emoji That column [Last Seven: "Return to Sender," October 31], I saw the item regarding the signs reading "It's OK to be white" and how officials at both the University of Vermont and Champlain College denounced the message. Now, I don't know what organization put those signs up, and I may or may not support that organization, but would those officials have denounced the signs if they said "Being Gay Is OK" or "Being Black Is OK"? Why is being white not OK? There are people of all races, genders, etc. who are bad, yet there are people of all races, genders, etc. who are good. I am center-right in my views, yet I have no problem with the Black Lives Matter movement. But why, when I say "All lives matter" am I wrong? Is it because I am white? Being white is OK, just as being gay is OK, being black is OK, etc.

What's wrong is being ignorant of others and their beliefs.

Paul T. Tullgren

Colchester

Missing Magnolia

[Re Bite Club: "Burlington's Magnolia Bistro Shuts Down," September 6; Off Message: "Magnolia Bistro Owner's Facebook Post Sparks Calls for Boycott," June 18]: It's very sad that Magnolia's owner has such anger and judgment issues. They have not only hurt many people whom he verbally attacked, but also hurt so many of us who have truly enjoyed Magnolia's meals. We traveled from Ripton to eat there. It's very sad that he can negatively impact so many people.

Lynn Coeby

Ripton

Save, Don't Pave, the Park

The planned boondoggle City Hall Park redesign does not just interfere with the farmers market ["Uprooted: Burlington Farmers Market Seeks a New Home," October 31].

The approved plan lacks common sense. It rips out several of the existing walkways and replaces them with walkways located just a few feet to the side of where the walkways are now — aiming at where mature and healthy trees lining that side now stand. Moving the existing walkways to the side thus requires a dozen beautiful mature and healthy trees to be cut down. All this moving of walkways and cutting of trees is a $4 million cost to the city! Why? When most of what is needed is ordinary walkway maintenance and to aerate the soil with a machine the city already owns. Simply aerating the soil will allow grass to grow, tree health to improve and rainwater to be better retained.

And what is the purpose of paving over more of our sole city center green space? This is a plan that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

The planned park redesign degrades a gem of a City Hall Park that has character and charm. Surely the real purpose of the redesign is to pass $4 million of city money to developers.

Let's keep the existing walkway locations, retain the mature trees and their shade, and pave no more. And save millions of dollars.

James Marc Leas

South Burlington

Wolves Versus Rebels

"So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal." I could not get those lyrics — from the great folk songwriter Phil Ochs — out of my mind when I saw Seven Days commenting on the Vermont Supreme Court decision denying South Burlington residents the right to a referendum on the decision to change the school's mascot name [Emoji That: "Lost Cause," October 31]. The name change was initiated in response to a survey in which about 5 percent of South Burlington High School students conveyed that they were offended by the term "Rebels" because of its association with slavery and the Confederate States of America. 

The new mascot name is the Wolves — predators that hunt in packs. Ever see one at work? They are quite efficient, but being its target would not be a pleasant experience. After an exhausting pursuit, a big animal is brought down and the pack rips into it with powerful canine teeth. Wolves do maintain ecological balance, but the kill is gruesome. 

The word "rebel" often describes someone who fights against tyranny and injustice. So the South Burlington School Board, school superintendent, the Vermont Supreme Court and now Vermont's iconic liberal weekly newspaper have all either acquiesced or voiced their support for a mascot name change that replaces a name that conveys someone who fights against injustice with one that conveys predation. 

So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal.

Gerry Silverstein

South Burlington

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