[Re "Scott's Victory Lap," November 4]: Thanks to readers of this newspaper for electing me as one of your state senators. If I did not earn your support in this election, I hope to do so in the years to come.
We are facing many new challenges in the coming legislative session. My plan is to work hard on priorities that attract opportunity, growth, investment and people to Vermont while increasing housing affordability, upgrading broadband access, and improving the health of our environment and social justice issues.
My aim is to represent you in a maximally transparent and accessible manner. Please call, email, text or tweet at me.
And please write letters to the editor of this newspaper. Our community newspapers like Seven Days provide high-quality local journalism critical to a functioning democracy, an informed electorate and vigorous public discourse. Facebook and Google are not writing articles about our local schools — this paper is. And in so doing, it is strengthening our communities and keeping Vermont neighborly.
I wish everyone the very best during these challenging times, and you have my pledge to work hard for you in Montpelier.
Thomas I. Chittenden
Way to Stay
[Re "Fort Vermont," November 4]: I am writing in response to a concern attributed to Tim Piper, president of Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association, that "inns that try to more actively enforce the travel restrictions may succeed only in pushing guests to services such as Airbnb or to lodges just across the border." As an Airbnb and Vrbo host, I was offended by the implication that these services do not take the Vermont travel rules seriously or follow them.
When people book reservations with either of our rentals, I immediately send our rental agreement, which states that current Vermont travel guidelines must be strictly followed or it is grounds for immediate termination. I also include information about what constitutes a quarantine in this state, as well as the certificate of compliance. I ask questions such as how guests will get groceries or what activities they do outside the home under quarantine to assist in determining if they actually meet guidelines. I tell them what cleaning measures I am taking to keep them safe. I try not to sound as though I am driving folks away by also letting them know that I want to personalize the bedding or activity recommendations for them and that I love to share our state.
Some conversations do lead to cancellations. It's not foolproof, but I do educate everyone, making the point that the guidelines are being taken seriously to help keep Vermont and its visitors safe. I am sure that I am not alone.
In the Dark About Neanderthals
In her article on Richard Bailey's experiences with the paranormal ["Spooky Roommates," October 28], Chelsea Edgar quotes him as saying that "the Neanderthals didn't understand the dark." I would contend that Bailey was in the dark about the Neanderthals.
These much-maligned ancestors of ours, who lived 200,000 to 40,000 years ago across western Eurasia, would have been far more comfortable in the dark, or in the naturally lit night (without the light pollution of today), than most of us would be. They lived through longer, colder and darker winters than even Vermont can offer, with fire but without the kind of cozy comfort we take for granted. And they routinely explored the true dark found in the caves of limestone in Europe. They even built structures of stalagmites deep within one of these caves, the Grotte de Bruniquel in southern France. They may not have understood everything in the night, but they certainly were not in the dark about it.
I'm writing to thank you for "De-Stress Signals" [October 14] — in particular, the section entitled "Power Lunch."
It was so helpful to hear professor Lizzy Pope's refreshing perspective on food and eating. The Health at Every Size perspective and Intuitive Eating approach are desperately needed in a world obsessed with body size and diet culture. Once we acknowledge that the research shows 92 to 98 percent of intentional weight-loss efforts fail and folks regain the weight within five years, both HAES and IE are truly the only way to go to achieve peace with both food and body health.
Thanks again for highlighting these important models that show the positive way forward for all of us!
[Re Off Message: "Three Chittenden County Schools Among Five in Vermont With Recent COVID Cases," October 13]: Seven Days would do a great public service by explaining what "cases" are. My conversations with friends reveal that we do not know!
What does "cases" really mean, or imply? What about "testing positive"? In Vermont this autumn, how dangerous is it? If we followed up on the last 100 cases, what do they actually look like? How many people died? How many hospitalizations? How many people were sick with symptoms? How many people didn't know anything except for getting a positive test result?
How worried should I be?
What does Vermont's pandemic really look like right now? What is the fabric behind the "cases" that are being reported — especially for schoolchildren? What does a "case" represent for schoolchildren in terms of danger? Do healthy children experience dangerous symptoms? What's been seen so far?
[Re "Resident Racist," October 21]: Six or so years ago, my mother, who was wheelchair bound, was using Home Instead caregivers — all colors. My stepfather told Home Instead to replace the Black woman caring for mom and not to send any more Black people. The owner of the company told the Roman Catholic racist: "No dice." If the woman were to leave, Home Instead would no longer care for my mom. At the time, she needed between two and four people a day.
My stepfather reluctantly accepted reality. Mom eventually went back to Starr Farm, and I met so many wonderful Black and white traveling nurses — angels they are. Please stop the hate and racism. It's 2020, and we can do better. Nurses rock.
I read "10 Reasons to Love Burlington's City Hall Park" in the October 28 issue, and it was very interesting — nice attention to detail. It's interesting to hear the new fountain described as "the polar opposite" of the old fountain, though the piece has many well-crafted points and must have taken quite a while to assemble.
Though the city wants us to feel that "this is everyone's park," I'm one of the people who thought improving the lighting, keeping more trees and fixing the grass would keep the old design serviceable for years to come. Since I'm older, I empathized with the trees. (Who is to deny us our last 10 years?) But that's fine — if most people are happy with the park, may they truly "activate" it.
The piece, covering two full pages, looked like an article. In the lower corner it reads: "This article was commissioned and paid for by Pomerleau Real Estate."
David Foster Wallace told of a testimonial pamphlet tucked within a cruise liner brochure. In it, a famous author told of his own ecstatic experiences — but he was actually hired by the company to write the essay.
An essay is written for an audience, whereas an ad tries to sell something to us. This one is written by people who designed and backed the new design.
If it was written by anyone other than the Seven Days staff, it is an ad.
I will surely appreciate the new park in my own way.
Editor's note: The piece was an advertisement paid for by Pomerleau Real Estate, as indicated by the disclaimer Messing cites. Seven Days staff writers are not involved in the production of paid content. All paid content is clearly labeled as such in the paper, on our website, in email newsletters and on Seven Days' social media channels.
[Re "Pipe Down," October 7]: I have been a lifelong skater. Skating has led me to the most beautiful liminal space in the Champlain Valley. Skating showed me the truth about what it means to live on the fringes of society.
It also led me to the sport of luge, in which I became a national champion, a top-five World Cup competitor and an Olympian. I was one of four skaters on the team at that time — which also included Duncan Kennedy, who was vilified by mainstream media in 1988 for being a skater and celebrated as a hero at the same time in Thrasher magazine.
Skaters know the geography of space and place at its most fundamental level. We interact with it physically, shaping it as it shapes us. This understanding inevitably leads to a pluralistic worldview that is equal parts self-reliance and democratic idealism. It is expressed in the professions we seek, the art we create, the spaces we build. While our experience may lead us into the mainstream, we retain our fringe ethos for life.
The idea that the fringe can find another place, whether they are skaters, the impoverished, or minorities in the Maple and King streets area, points to the classism and elitist attitudes that have poisoned our governments at the national as well as local level. Burlington ought to save its fringe before this place becomes another cookie-cutter condo community run by corporate developers instead of the true people that make the culture of space and place.
[Re Feedback: "'Toon Deaf," July 22]: Forget "Where's Waldo?" Where's Brunelle? I thought "Buy Vermont" was the big deal across the lake.
Luke T. Bush