Over the past year, Seven Days has produced several excellent articles surrounding the subject of historic preservation efforts in Burlington, drawing needed attention to efforts of tireless individuals and organizations working to maintain and improve the city's character ["A Farmhouse Reborn," May 11; "Will South End Revival Alter Burlington's Lakeside Neighborhood?" April 27; "New Pressure on Old Buildings in the Queen City," March 2; "Episcopal Diocese Makes Plans to Preserve Burlington's Rock Point," February 17].
Unfortunately, little attention has been given to those same issues in neighboring Winooski, which has become a target for real estate development. Recently, one of Winooski's most iconic and best preserved mid-19th-century homes was removed from a central corridor on East Allen Street to make way for a 27-unit apartment complex. Despite the new owners' noble endeavor to save the structure, the circumstances that forced the home to be moved from its historic context set a terrible precedent for development in the city. One has to ask: If this house was so important that considerable time and money was spent to save its elements, shouldn't the city have retained it? As a resident, I am disappointed that city leaders have chosen to continue a destructive pattern set forth by 1960s urban renewal practices, eradicating artistically and historically important architecture that gives the city its unique sense of place, in favor of short-term private gains.
The irony is that while crossing over the Winooski Bridge, this forlorn house passed a spectacular restoration project of a brick structure proximate to the Chase Mill. Burlington has taken initiative to defend its historic resources, and it is time Winooski leaders do so as well.
Editor's note: Seven Days also wrote about the "spectacular restoration project" referenced above. On February 3, Ken Picard's WTF column asked: "Why Is That House by the Winooski Bridge Jacked Up?"
I really feel for Penny Thibault losing two sons to overdoses ["Brothers' Keeper," August 31]. Would the local daily "paper of record" publishing the "Day In Court" bust at the son's apartment have alerted her to a problem in December 2014? Maybe, but since the paper doesn't run it anymore, we have no idea what happens in court for the past two years since discontinuance. Will "punishing" a dealer make her feel better? I doubt it. After losing my only brother in Vietnam (at the hand of a fellow soldier), I often thought about exacting "revenge" on my own since he got 10 years at Leavenworth. Then, with Sen. Bernie Sanders' help, I got the trial transcripts from the U.S. Army and forgave the murderer, which did make me feel better and find closure. But for any and all considering heroin use, it's heroin. As my dad used to say: "You dance with the Devil, you're gonna get burned."
The "uneasy ties" between Vermont Progressives and Democrats reflect an ongoing dialectical process ["Vermont's Democrats and Progressives Have Uneasy Ties," August 24]. Many or most Progressives think, like Terry Bouricius, that the national Democratic Party is corporate-owned, corrupt, unreformable and needs to be replaced by a new working-class party. There are some in the Vermont Progressive Party who still think the Democratic Party can be forced to reform itself, as with the Bernie Sanders campaign. But the VPP is not a sect, clinging to ideological "purity."
So the open primary system is used tactically. Progressives run for the Democratic nomination so that they can demonstrate to progressive-minded Democrats what real champions of the people say and do. Democrats who seek the Progressive nomination are not crossing over, but, like Sen. Phil Baruth, value productive collaboration and believe the Democratic Party can change.
How the dialectic will play out lies in the future. Many Progressives think that the D/Ps will eventually leave the Democrats after retaliation by party bosses and total frustration. If enough Democrats go through this process, the party will cease to be the majority party in Vermont.
But why is this necessary? After all, Vermont Democrats are a pretty decent bunch. As I am fond of saying, that is because they are Vermonters, not because they're Democrats. Nationally, the Democrats are more typified by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel than by state Sen. Dick McCormack. Vermont's population and economy are negligible on the national scale. Our only power lies in the example we set.
By leading on issues such as marriage equality, GMO labeling, single-payer health care, etc., the Vermont Progressive Party works to show the nation that a working-class party can win office and produce real change.
Speaking of French...
I agree that to live so near the border and to Montréal and to have so little access to French instruction is a sad state of affairs ["Ou Est le Français?" August 24]. Little importance is given to second-language learning at all levels of administration of education in the U.S. This is a problem that goes deep into our isolationist culture, I think.
I teach weekly French classes for adults in Vershire and Corinth, where the need is great, like everywhere, to brush up on and improve our French. Many Vermonters have French ancestry, the French culture has contributed much to U.S. culture and history, and a two-hour drive north leads to full immersion in the province of Québec.
To know another language opens doors previously unimagined. It provides a wider view of the world and a more flexible appreciation of the colorful differences between human beings!
[Re Off Message: "Scott, Minter Showcase Stark Differences in First Debate," August 23]: What has happened to my stalwart Vermonters, independent and able to take care of themselves? Sue Minter would raise taxes, while my nephew who only earns about $45,000 a year is expected to pay $380 a month for insurance with a $10,000 deductible? As for transgendered people using the same bathrooms as men and women, it's asking for sexual abuse. Give them a private bathroom to keep that from happening.
Harriet E. Cady