[Re "Page 32," October 3]: Rachel Elizabeth Jones opens her review of Madeleine Kunin's new book, Coming of Age, with the statement, "Vermont's first — and still only — female governor, Madeleine Kunin, was appointed in 1984." Not so...
Kunin was elected in 1984, not "appointed," winning just over 50 percent of the vote. She defeated the favored Republican John Easton and a few fringe candidates in a year that Ronald Reagan swept Vermont by a near landslide. No small accomplishment for Kunin, and one that should be long remembered.
This is my hopefully modest reply to the character assassination masquerading as an October 3 news article written by a Seven Days reporter ["From Burlington With Love: Vermonter Writes for Russian News Website With Shady Ties"]. The piece did not include one word of my writings so that readers could make up their minds for themselves. I write about Vermont as I see the people and the state, coming to the writing table, paper and pen, or computer with my own insights and biases and analysis, which is natural for all writers of any worth. I leave it to the reader to make a judgment of my observations. With its veiled smears and innuendo, your article purporting to be about me defamed my character and threatens my reputation and good name. Men and women of goodwill have been destroyed by less.
I am a simple man, a soccer coach and a scholar with a university degree in history (military and diplomacy). Your article portrays me as an enemy of the state. That is abhorrent. There is no "From Burlington With Love" from me; there is only the need to continue with my craft as a writer, to be devoted to football and to referee soccer matches as the occasion arises.
Luis Lázaro Tijerina
Just a note to say that my 6-year-old granddaughter learned how to read this summer in two days helped by your Seven Daysies booklet ["All the Best," July 2018]! Great animal graphics to excite! Humorous fonts and ads for word recognition. Cannot think of a better aid to reading on a summer porch in 95-degree weather in Vermont. Thanks for producing a fun product, and kudos to all staff involved. My granddaughter now reads chapter books — but it all began with tracing and circling letters and objects in the Seven Daysies brochure. Thanks again.
P.S.: Of course, I am saving the brochure! In spite of its "very worn" condition!
Uh-oh! Your reporter appears to have been spin-doctored by Fish & Wildlife Department officials to promote hunting under false pretenses ["Deer Up to Here," September 26]. The article made no mention of progressive herd management strategies being used in other states, such as sterilization, habitat design and selective culling. That these options are not being discussed in Vermont is a sterling example of why the department and the Fish and Wildlife Board should be required to employ more nonhunters to fulfill their mission of "the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont."
The article presented deer population growth as the result of the decline of hunting and as a prime justification for sport hunting. But, in fact, deer population is far more closely linked to climate variations and habitat encroachment. Indeed, some studies have concluded that buck hunting actually spurs greater birth rates, increasing the deer population. Regardless of the reason for population growth, buck hunting is ineffective and harmful when presented as the solution to "overpopulation" — akin perhaps to addressing "too much pavement" by licensing citizens with jackhammers to go out and randomly destroy the biggest, showiest specimens they can find.
Hunting is without question a justifiable necessity for some; for others, it's a tradition or a game with debatable ethics. But in no cases is it a public service, and it's thoroughly disingenuous to promote it as though it were.
Karen Taylor Mitchell
[Re "Full Circle," September 19]: While Doug and Marty French's decision to retire and the subsequent closing of Burlington's utterly original Fire & Metal Goldsmiths mean the Queen City's arts-and-crafts landscape will not and cannot ever be the same, let's take some advice to heart from Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
For more than 45 years, the Frenches have exemplified for me the quality of people that are so essential to — and desperately needed in — the sort of community that I want to live in and who, tragically, seem an increasingly rare breed. They are kind, generous, hugely talented, successful in business, straight-shooting, politically astute, socially aware, and committed to their neighbors, their neighborhood, their city, and its culture and institutions. Doug and Marty are that thing we pay so much lip service to but infrequently encounter in action: They make Burlington a better place to live by living here. I'm certain that many people owe them a debt of gratitude and for many reasons won't or can't publicly come forward to say so.
May they fully enjoy their well-deserved retirement. People like Marty and Doug breathe new life into the old chestnut: "pillars of the community."
Thank you for Ken Picard's story on the two hibakusha who visited Vermont schools from September 18 to 20 ["Japanese A-Bomb Survivors Bring Their Harrowing Stories to Vermont," September 12]. Education about the dangers of nuclear weapons is sorely missing in our school curriculum. This unique opportunity to hear testimony from atomic bomb survivors and to understand the full implications of the use of nuclear weapons is so important in this day and age of nuclear proliferation and threatening rhetoric.
Of equal importance to this educational project is the ongoing work of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and of Physicians for Social Responsibility to get local city councils to pass resolutions in support of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calling on the U.S. to "pull back from the brink" and prevent nuclear war.
Recently, California joined Los Angeles, Baltimore and other U.S. cities that have endorsed the Back From the Brink campaign to prevent nuclear war. I'm pleased to report that my hometown, Winooski, passed its resolution at the city council meeting on September 4, 2018.
Those of us in WILPF and PSR are hopeful that other Vermont cities will also pass this resolution. Given the harrowing tales of the hibakusha who are visiting us, we must work toward a future where nuclear weapons will never be used again — a world that is safe for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
[Re Off Message: "Burlington School Officials Seek to Quell Censorship Controversy," September 15; "Despite Controversy, Burlington Principal Plans to Vet Student Newspaper Stories," September 14; "Burlington Principal Reverses Course, Allows Students to Publish Story," September 13]: I'm reminded of my own brief stint in journalism, writing for my own high school newspaper in suburban Milwaukee, ironically named the Critic.
In 1970, the staff devoted an entire issue to protesting the Kent State University killings, president Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War in general — and supporting the college protests at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and Milwaukee.
To say the least, the school administration was less than amused. They tried to confiscate all printed issues (I still have mine), fired the staff and admonished the faculty adviser for allowing the stories to be published, because they were counter to "popular" views.
The fired staff proceeded to publish a clandestine underground paper with a mimeograph machine. Printed in the teachers' lounge, it was distributed to the entire student body — no mean feat when you have more than a thousand students. There then was a student massive walkout supporting the newspaper staff.
Eventually, the school board stepped in and ruled that there could be no censorship. A small victory. The Critic continued to publish the rest of the school year reporting on local and national issues.