So thrilled to read yet another interesting article by Seven Days reporter Kymelya Sari [Live Culture: "Abenaki Women Share Heritage with Champlain College Community," November 17]. It is great to see the paper expanding its regular coverage of the many peoples and cultures of Vermont. Sari is a talented reporter with a fresh voice. Her hiring could not have come at a more important moment. We all will benefit from her insights as she expands Seven Days' coverage of New American, Native American and groups that are not "other" but of us.
[Re "View From the Cockpit," October 19]: Isn't the Vermont Air National Guard pilot/instructor in this article the same Lt. Col. John Rahill who crashed a civilian plane on Savage Island just a few weeks ago, then apparently failed to report the accident to local authorities ["National Guard Pilot Crashed Plane, Left Local Police in the Dark," September 22]? His irresponsible actions resulted in a costly and very dangerous emergency response. Yet VTANG allowed him to return to work, continuing to pilot the F-16s over our skies and instructing others, even while the investigation is ongoing? This is frightening for Vermonters living in the military flight path.
Also, wasn't it the same Lt. Col. Chris Caputo (VTANG's F-35 integrator) who deliberately withheld F-16 noise metrics from the consulting firm tasked with developing noise contour maps of the airport, saying he did not think it would be in VTANG's "best interest" and would "only add to the confusion of the ignorant SOBs that are fighting the F-35 beddown"? This is indeed frightening for Vermonters who believe in transparency, accountability and obeying the laws.
To clarify, those "SOBs" are everyday Vermonters trying to save their health, safety, property values and quality of life from the projected damaging impacts of the flawed F-35 stealth bombers.
The F-35 basing will irrevocably change Vermont's landscape and bring economic hardship to our region due to loss of property values. Combined with the health impact, including on the brain development of young people, there are no bells or whistles that the F-35 boondoggle could deliver that will ever make this basing a good idea for Vermont.
Editor's note: Last week the National Transportation Safety Board released its first "factual report" on the Savage Island crash. Seven Days wrote about it in a November 16 web story entitled "Emergency Landing Practice Led to Lake Champlain Island Crash."
Keep It Clinical
I have a different view than the reader who objected to the story about Darshana Bolt's suicide. [Feedback: "Insensitive Suicide Story," November 9; "Too Soon," October 26]. I prefer clear, concise, emotionally detached description when it comes to human suffering, I think, because each reader can interpret and make conclusions of their own volition. Also, coroner-speak, if you will, somehow makes me able to hear or read without turning away. I didn't enjoy reading about the Holocaust, but it was important to do so. I nearly passed up the story on our community's loss of Bolt and was glad I did not.
Here's another example of coroner- or medical-speak being helpful. Some years ago, a superstar athlete of color was accused of assaulting a woman in his hotel room. Knowing most victims' accounts or accusations aren't borne of malice but that we also like to see our superstars torn down, I was stuck until reading the phrase in a court transcript that injuries and bruising to her inner thighs were consistent with resisting assault. He had said they had "consensual sex." My decision making was complete.
That I would have nothing to do with supporting that athlete or team means little, if anything. What is meaningful, I think, is that when his name comes up, I tell people why I object to his glorification or even noteworthiness. If they insist on defending him, that quote is often the silencer.
Jim Peabody Jr.
Larger Type, Please
Sometimes I think Seven Days is trying to discourage those older than 50 from reading the paper. Have you staff members in this age category? The font size of the print paper is so small that it makes it very difficult to pick up the paper and read it. Yes, even with glasses! I realize that a larger font will mean more paper or perhaps fewer articles, but please consider adjusting your font type.
I searched the archives and see this has been mentioned before, so perhaps it is already being addressed. I sure hope so! I love Seven Days, and I'm in my late fifties. Don't lose me and others like me! I love reading an "old-fashioned" newspaper.
Editor's note: We'd like to make the font size larger than its current 9.5, but that would mean less content in Seven Days or shorter stories. We'll consider the latter. And yes, we do have people in their fifties and up working on the paper — including both founding editor-publishers, in fact.
Support Small Businesses
[Re "About Time? New Overtime Rule Worries Vermont Employers," November 9]: Finally the U.S. government has recognized the need for an increase in the salary threshold for overtime eligibility. For too long, organizations have profited off the backs of overworked and underpaid staff. However, for many small businesses and nonprofit organizations, the increase in threshold poses an age-old dilemma: How can one balance an ever-shrinking budget with an ever-increasing demand for services? When asked to provide additional compensation for currently uncompensated overtime, many small businesses and nonprofits will need to triage which services can be provided. This is why it is vital that the government of Vermont continues to support these agencies and hardworking Vermonters.
As Vermont transitions under new leadership, I point to two of the priorities outlined in governor-elect Phil Scott's election platform. In order to keep working families in Vermont — and build the state's economy through innovators and entrepreneurs — it must be more affordable. We must hold Scott and the legislature accountable to these priorities and ask that he support small businesses and nonprofits as they rise to meet the overtime eligibility thresholds.