More on Martello
Mike Martello was a high-demand studio musician, too ["One for the Ages," December 14]! As a teenager I listened as he recorded back tracks for radio commercials, etc., here in Vermont. In the early '70s, he continuously reminded the burgeoning Eric Clapton- and Jimi Hendrix-driven guitarists in Burlington, such as myself, that style, precision and professionalism are most important!
["Gatekeeper of Words" December 21], about Green Mountains Review managing editor Jessica Hendry Nelson, is a lovely history of the respected publication. There is, however, one significant error: Neil Shepard and Tony Whedon created the current incarnation of the GMR in 1987; however, the original publication was founded in 1974 by the late Roger Rath, who taught writing at Johnson State College until his death in 1980. At that time, Rath, along with colleagues Ann Fry, Addison Merrick and John Duffy, conceived of the publication as an outlet for JSC students. As one of its former contributors and student editors, I remember it well. I have read references to the publication since its transformation from the modest publication it was into the nationally respected publication it has become. Admirable as it now is, I would hate to see its humble history scrubbed out. GMR then and now was and remains valid and gave many of us a place to begin our life's work. Without Fry, Merrick, Duffy and Rath, Green Mountains Review would have never existed.
Mary L. Collins
When I was a reporter at the Burlington Free Press, my most rewarding recurring assignment came at the end of each year when I wrote a "Lives Well Lived" feature. It profiled some not-so-famous Vermonters who had passed away during the year. These people had led interesting, instructive, warm and beautiful lives.
"Lives Well Lived" unfortunately stopped once I was laid off from the Freeps in 2013. So I was delighted to see "Life Stories" [December 28] in which you featured some wonderful Vermonters whom we lost in 2016.
I imagine some people worry that writing — or reading — these stories is too sad to bear. After all, those featured are our friends and family who are now gone, and we're still grieving.
However, these stories are uplifting and provide excellent road maps on how the rest of us can live our lives for the better.
In this era of hate and nasty people, "Life Stories" is a great reminder that many valuable role models remain among us, even if we lost a few in 2016.
Please make it an annual feature.
Editor's note: In fact, "Life Stories" has been an annual feature in our year-end double issue since 2014. Find each year's collection of profiles at sevendaysvt.com.
Not Fighting Words
[Re Off Message: "Walters: Newly Elected Senate President Ashe Comes Out Swinging," January 4] Seriously, John? Tim the pugilist? That's what you got out of Sen. Tim Ashe's speech? I was in the room at the same time, listening with a Republican ear. I came away with a completely different feeling. Ashe described himself as a "sponge," giving credence to virtually every senator's view of him as someone who takes the time to listen. He identified issues he cares about, but they were really no different than the issues that all Vermonters care about. He didn't demand that we do things his way or march to the beat of one drum. How is it you interpreted this as Round 1 of a prize fight?
Contrary to your impression, I thought this was one of the better speeches I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot of them during 30-plus years as a trial lawyer. Ashe set the stage for all of us senators to feel like a team. He did his homework, interweaving bits and pieces of biographical histories about each individual senator, leaving at least me with the feeling that I was part of a diverse family with common interests and noble goals. At one point I remember thinking to myself: Wow, wouldn't it be nice if there were no such thing as political parties?
It is unfortunate that you have characterized his speech as confrontational. I thought it was brilliant. It left me feeling like we were off to a very good start.
Benning is a Republican state senator from Caledonia and Orange counties.
Two for the List
Missing in this humble writer's opinion from ["The Backstory: What Seven Days Reporters Didn't Tell You the First Time...," December 28]: 1. The battle royal over the Don Sinex mall development in Burlington. This story, which you covered extensively, had and has so many repercussions that will play out in 2017: the lawsuit against the city to invalidate the election and stop the development; the emergence of the Coalition for a Livable City as a real player in Burlington politics; the widening rift in the city council and the Progressive Party between the "preservationists" and the "developers"; and the imminent face-off as the battle continues in the coming years over the Southern Connector, City Hall Park, Memorial Auditorium, the Moran Plant and Sinex. 2. Your great coverage of Jane O'Meara Sanders' role in the demise of Burlington College and the part she played in the loss of Burlington's most beautiful piece of lakeside property to a private developer. This was hard for me to talk about with out-of-state friends; I didn't want to hurt Bernie's standing during the primary, but it was a very important story about the arrogance of power. Jane sails away on a golden parachute to the campaign while Burlington loses so much because of her hubris.
The graphic depicting the dwindling Vermont moose population in ["The Backstory: Best Road Trip With a Game Warden," December 28] brought me to the original article ["Sharp Decline in Moose Herd Raises Questions About Hunting," July 20]. While the Department of Fish & Wildlife suggests it is "managing" the declining population, the graph makes clear that its management is more accurately labeled as mismanagement.
It is also clear that the DFW has one primary customer — hunters — and members of the public who want only to see a moose someday be damned. Why do special interests trump public interests when wildlife is here for every Vermonter to enjoy? Shouldn't DFW adhere to its mission, or does it get a pass?