I'm sorry, but I had to laugh out loud at the letter you published from Cecelia Moon, who referred derisively to the Mr. Cheeseface cover as a "triggering image" ["Who Shot Mr. Cheeseface?" November 28; Feedback: "Who Approved That Cover Image?" December 5]!
As for us, we've cut the cover out and stuck it to the fridge. Now "Who shot Mr. Cheeseface?" has entered our family's lexicon, mostly used just to make each other laugh! Also, thank you for giving us the historical context, especially since such an iconic cultural image has a connection to our beloved Northeast Kingdom.
'Our Towns' — for a Change
[Re "Our Towns" issue, December 5]: I'd like to thank Seven Days for leaving its normal comfort zone to closely examine life's challenges in rural Vermont.
Sen. Joe Benning
Seven Days' "Our Towns" series is heroic [December 5]. I hope you'll produce it as a pamphlet or small book and make it available to every legislator in Montpelier and to policy makers throughout "this brave little state."
Carroll is a member of the State Board of Education and a former state senator from Windsor County.
Misrepresentation of Chelsea
[Re "As Goes Chelsea," December 5]: It's difficult to know which is more disappointing: that Seven Days reporter Mark Davis led me to believe he was writing about small towns moving forward despite changes and challenges, or the knowledge that it wasn't just my conversation which was manipulated to portray this lovely place as so downtrodden that there isn't a glimmer of hope we can move forward as a community. There are more layers of misinformation in this piece than I have the space to discuss.
We have celebrated numerous wonderful events, and the optimism and support here is palpable. Our first-ever Arts on the Green Market & Festival brought hundreds of people to our North Common, which was filled with enough art and music to generate enthusiasm for and contribution to next year's festival. Our community Barn Quilt Project, sponsored by local businesses and individuals, has 85 completed works of art adorning barns and homes throughout the valley. New and existing businesses are thriving, and every event hosted at North Common Arts has been filled, wall-to-wall, with folks who are thrilled to have another venue for the arts.
Chelsea does not have tumbleweeds blowing down the street and stray dogs howling at cars passing by. It is a proud and caring community, built by many generations that value its offerings and celebrate what is to come. Shame on you, Mark Davis, for letting us believe that you would represent the truth of our words, instead of manipulating them. And, I wonder, to what end?
Caouette-DeLallo is the founder of the Chelsea Arts Collective.
A Piece of LaRock
I was happy to read "Weld Done Art" [November 28]. Last month, I took my Honda to Norm LaRock for serious rust reparation. Not only did he work on the rust problem, he included various other services all for the same reasonable price. How nice it is to find someone who truly cares about the work he turns out, be it car restoration or creating an artistic masterpiece.
More to Expose
[Re Off Message: "Scott Defends Vermont National Guard, Says No Investigation Needed," December 6]: Neither Gov. Phil Scott nor Maj. Gen. Steven Cray denied the facts disclosed by VTDigger.org: a "toxic culture," commanders who "failed to address alleged sexual misconduct" and then "retaliated" against the member who successfully did his job to investigate such sexual abuse, and commanders who did "a very deliberate cooking of the books."
Nevertheless, the governor said he saw "no reason to go through an independent review." He even said, "My faith and confidence in the women and men of the Vermont National Guard is unwavering" and that the incidents were the actions of "an occasional bad apple."
The governor is right to have faith and confidence in the women of the guard, especially those women abused by the bad apples at the top of the tree: the commanders.
The same commanders have a record of toxic abuse off base:
• The Air Force says children in the Chamberlin School neighborhood are hit with "learning impairment" from thousands of extreme F-16 afterburner noise blasts each year.
• The Air Force says "adverse health effects," including "hearing damage," are "credible" for 240 families living in the noisiest part of the F-16 afterburner noise zone.
• The Air Force says more children and families will be abused more severely and in more ways by the F-35.
Needed now are impartial and independent investigations by the legislature and the state's attorney of the political and military leaders responsible for the toxic culture and the abuse of children and families.
James Marc Leas
Downtown Needs Events
[Re "Marketplace Futures: How Burlington Aims to Reorganize 'Downtown,'" November 21]: I think we need to keep in mind that downtown Burlington is the sum of its parts and should be viewed as an organic whole — from hill to lake, North End to South End — encompassing all that has contributed to the success of the Church Street Marketplace. The buzz that we've cultivated with localism of dining, shopping and cultural experiences without question spills to all parts.
While not every event translates into defined sales for retailers, it is important to continue the festivals that attract myriad folks who will remember them as positive experiences. As we plan for the future of downtown, we need to remain creative and inventive to sustain what we have established as a thriving and vibrant community.