Ken Picard's piece on Vermont's freight railroads ["Working on the Railroad," November 16] was just what one wants from local reporting: a fascinating (and often charming) account of something important one didn't know about. I won't look at the train tracks the same way again — thank you for always making room for real reporting!
Remembering Rutland Rail
Great article ["Working on the Railroad," November 16]! I had the privilege of knowing Jay Wulfson, Harold Filskov and John Pennington as they put the pieces of the extinct Rutland Railroad back together in the 1960s and early '70s.
It was obvious to anyone who noticed: These guys were having fun at their jobs. The results speak for themselves.
Fleming Island, FL
More to Say
I appreciated that you gave a longer description of the "No Ocean Between Us" art exhibit now showing at the Middlebury College Museum of Art [Art Spotlight, November 2]. However, you gave no mention of the history lessons that are part of the show and the essays in the catalog. Those alone are worth getting to this exhibit. They describe a transpacific migration that was complex and that there are now several million descendants of Asian migrants living in Latin America and the Caribbean. The artists grapple with being strangers in a strange land, isolation, trying to keep their culture and crafts alive, and discrimination and hardships lived either personally or by ancestors. The show is up through December 11.
What Jews Want
[Re "UVM President Denies Allegations of Antisemitism on Campus," September 16, online]: Hillel is leading the coalition to help improve the campus climate for Jewish students. Jewish life, learning and connections to Israel are thriving at the University of Vermont, even though antisemitism exists here and across the country.
Hundreds of students celebrated Rosh Hashanah, proudly and publicly, in the Davis Center. Students prepared Shabbat meal kits of kale and potatoes grown on our Hillel farm. Our students studied Jewish agrarian traditions and modern innovations alongside UVM faculty and Hillel educators over the summer. We have a full Birthright Israel trip this winter.
Jewish students, friends, faculty, staff and allies recently shared important ideas about how to counter antisemitism at UVM listening sessions. Here are some of their recommendations:
• When Jewish students report bias as antisemitism, universities and colleges must promptly and publicly condemn every hateful speech and act, or else they will continue unabated.
• There should be ongoing education for the campus community to better understand the intertwined complexity of Jewish identity, antisemitism and Israel.
• Judaism is not just a faith-based religion. Students should be allowed to freely express identities based on religion, ethnicity, culture, or a connection to Zionism or Israel.
• Discrimination impacts everyone with a historically marginalized identity — and Jewish students should not be treated differently when they experience bias and harassment.
We must listen to these voices and learn from them. We invite the partnership of our campus community in ensuring that UVM remains a place where Jewish students and all students feel welcome to live and learn safely.
Vogel is the executive director of Hillel at the University of Vermont.
More Cannabis Info, Less Advertising
[Re "Cannabis Censors: Will Vermont's Restrictions on Weed Advertising Stunt the New Industry?" November 16]: One way around the restrictions on advertising retail cannabis shops would be for newspapers and other media sources to periodically publish comparative, objective information on all the shops. For example, a simple chart listing price and THC ranges for a set weight of flower offered at each shop, with similar info for cartridges, edibles, etc. That would be reporting by the media rather than advertising by the shops. It would be very helpful intel for cannabis-curious readers. It might also spur some price competition in the Vermont market, where initial prices are significantly higher than in other states.
Congratulations to all the students highlighted in the recent article "From the Deputy Publisher: Representing the Future," [November 16]. It is encouraging to see such activity and civic engagement.
I was particularly encouraged to read about the student who spread the word via Front Porch Forum. Using the FPF platform to engage with one's community is central to FPF's mission. After all, FPF describes itself as "essential civic infrastructure."
FPF recently terminated my household from its platform. A for-profit company that annually asks for and receives hundreds of thousands of donated dollars from Vermonters, FPF unjustly decided that I shouldn't be a part of my community and that my wife, by association, shouldn't be a part of hers — as if she were not her own person, separate from her husband.
If this can happen to us, it can happen to you. You can read the full story of what happened at frontporchflimflam.com.
In the meantime, congrats again to the next wave of civic activists. Go get 'em!