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Letters to the Editor (10/28/15)

Published October 28, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated October 29, 2015 at 9:58 a.m.

Chasing Chasan

Great story of a man who transcended his congregation to impact not only the Jewish community but the entire spiritual community of Vermont ["Mitzvot Accomplished," October 14]. One issue left untouched is his replacement. Who will take over from Rabbi Chasan?

R. Guttman

Montréal, Québec

Editor's note: Chasan's replacement is Rabbi Amy Small of Morristown. She starts on January 1, 2016.

Poop Matters

Allandra Farm's construction of a satellite manure pit has started a dialogue and provided an opportunity for us to listen and learn from each other ["Manure Storage Wars: In Ferrisburgh, Flower Power Fights Big Dairy," September 23]. Large, small, organic, conventional, livestock-based or growing only crops — all farmers apply manure, compost or other nutrients to our fields. 

Manure is a valuable resource to farmers. It builds organic matter, fertilizes crops and recycles nutrients. However, the land application of manure should be done with care. As the State of Vermont carefully re-crafts water-quality regulations, family farms strive to be proactive under increasing pressures on our current infrastructure to capture and properly manage manure and farm runoff. Satellite storage pits not associated with the farmstead enable us to store manure, barnyard runoff, silage leachate and milk house waste for longer periods, allowing us to spread it when it is the most appropriate and will have the least likelihood of running off our fields. It also enables us to apply manure with innovative technology; injecting manure below the soil surface prevents nutrient loss, reduces compaction on fields, and reduces manure tanker and spreader traffic on town roads.

Instead of being divisive and contentious, the shared goal of clean water should bring us together to learn more about sustainable, responsible farming practices and how they will maintain a working landscape that supports a healthy lake and healthy communities. Our goal is to continue to work with farmers, our neighbors and our communities to make Vermont a thriving agricultural landscape that provides environmental, aesthetic and community benefit. 

Brian Kemp


Kemp is president of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition.

Son of a Springfield Machinist

[In "Once a Tech Town," October 21] Kirk Kardashian wrote: "Known as Precision Valley, Springfield was a white-collar community, populated by engineers and executives, with the highest per-capita income in Vermont." Springfield was a blue-collar community, too. Without machinists' superb precision-manufacturing skills, there would have been no engineering, executive and sales jobs supporting families up Cherry Hill and out Summer Street.

In 1934, when my machinist father began his 30-year career at Fellows Gear Shaper, high precision was hundredth-inch tolerances, which became millionth-inch tolerances. Three millionths of an inch is one-thousandth the diameter of a typical hair on our heads.

The world still needs the machine tools that were sold worldwide to finance Springfield's century of prosperity, from 1888 to 1988.

When the founding families of Bryant Chucking Grinder, Fellows Gear Shaper and Jones & Lamson sold them to successive industrial conglomerates, they milked them for declining profit — a caution to Burlington.

Vermont's actual first tech hub, now the American Precision Museum in Windsor, is where technologies perfected in Springfield were invented during the mid-19th century.

Howard Fairman


Leash on Life

[Re "Activists Want Measures to Keep Pets Safe From Traps," October 21]: Instead of asking the state to pass measures to keep their pets safe from traps — i.e., make trapping illegal — activists such as Jenny Carter should take her own advice to heart: "I learned my lesson to keep her on a leash," she said of walking her dog during trapping season. Responsible pet owners do the same during hunting season. It is one of the rhythms of living in this beautiful state.

Schuyler Gould


Teachable Moment?

I am both saddened and sickened that South Burlington High School chose to keep the nickname "rebels" [Off Message: "South Burlington High to Keep 'Rebels' Moniker," October 22]. It desecrates the memories of and is a direct affront to the families of the 5,200 Vermonters who died in the Civil War. They died fighting to end slavery in this nation and to keep the union whole. It is simply indefensible to say that a 50-year-old nickname should be held in higher regard than the sacrifice of thousands of Vermont families. My hope would be that South Burlington High School actually engage in a history project that makes real for the students the horror of that war and the values that were at stake. It would also be beneficial for the students to understand how the use of certain words like "rebels" and symbols like the Confederate battle flag demean families whose histories include being slaves. This is not a question of "political correctness" — it is about understanding and respecting history and living responsibly in an increasingly diverse culture.

Tim Palmer


Sensitive Treatment

I would like to acknowledge Sarah Yahm for her well-written story on the St. Joseph's Orphanage final reunion ["Requiem for an Orphanage: Final Tour Stirs Haunting Memories," October 7]. It is difficult to write about a time when nuns and priests were creating such haunting memories for innocent homeless children through their acts of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. The stories were so unbelievable that it was not until hundreds of children came forward years later with the horrific truths of their violent acts that they were believed. After priests were imprisoned, millions were paid to victims and apologies were made by the Catholic diocese, including the Pope, these adults can finally put it in the past and move on.

During the nine years I lived at Joseph's as a child, I witnessed their truths and am happy to see that many have taken their experiences and turned them into helping others in need. I can say that my experiences at St. Joseph's have heightened my sensitivity toward vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and the sick, and my last 40 years as a social worker and nurse have allowed me to make their lives easier. I am happy to see this historical building become a place where many young students will build new careers and happy memories.

Sheila Billow Cardwell

Salt Lake City, Ut