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Letters to the Editor (12/14/16)


Published December 14, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

A Proposal for Middlebury

Thank you for the very interesting article about Peter Katz and his work to transform an industrial metal box into a mobile bar unit ["Bars and Beyond: Shipping Containers Inspire a DIY Venture," November 23]. I made a post-earthquake trip to Christchurch, New Zealand, where the devastation was widespread. To "get up and running" as soon as possible, used and revamped shipping containers were installed as temporary shelters, boutiques, cafés, pop-up stores and hill revetments. This was a very successful solution to a terrible problem.

It occurs to me that reusing such containers could help Middlebury with one of its problems. The state has plans to improve the town's railroad tracks, but the local businesses cannot afford to shut down for the length of time this project will take. So what about relocating the shops to repurposed shipping containers, perhaps on Exchange Street land, while the railroad construction takes place? The project seems like a good idea, but not at the total expense of the local businesses. Maybe a temporary move like this can help the railroad, shop owners and local residents.

Maggie Eaton

New Haven

Dr. Penney Saved My Life

I don't think Molly Walsh set out to paint Dr. Robert Penney as a rogue doctor throwing buprenorphine out to addicts like candy in a parade ["Despite Challenges, More Private Docs Are Treating Opiate Addicts," November 30]. Yet some could reach that conclusion based on the limited space for the article.

In Penney, we have a seasoned doctor with such a fine-tuned sense of health that he caught something in me that only a specialist typically would have. Think about that for a moment: For a person to even get to the right specialist among hundreds is a complex path. Yet the specialist I saw expressed surprise that a primary-care physician caught my anomaly.

In any case, my situation is not meant to question another's. From my point of view, Penney is an outstanding doctor and still a human like the rest of us.

Tiki Archambeau


Defining 'Sanctuary'

"Sanctuary city" status is a great demonstration of our support [Off Message: "Weinberger: Burlington to Seek Status as 'Sanctuary City,'" November 17; "Burlington Officials Back Mayor's 'Sanctuary City' Proposal," November 18; "Winooski Plans Push for 'Sanctuary City' Designation," November 21; "Burlington City Council Votes — Twice — to Welcome Immigrants," November 28]. Resolutions and donations are always helpful, but if we want to be a sanctuary for refugees and immigrants, there's more to it than not inquiring about immigration status. We need to ask refugees and immigrants what they want and what makes them feel safe. For the majority, it's a home — a known place that they return to every day and know will keep their families safe. Other pieces will fall into place, but having a home, owned or rented, makes the biggest difference.

That means holding landlords accountable for poor living conditions. It means providing affordable homes, not two-bedroom grungy college apartments for a family of seven. It means making more investments in entrepreneurship and continuing education efforts. It means helping employees who are refugees or immigrants to become supervisors and managers. They have so much to offer our city and state that we don't recognize or tap into.

Not only does sanctuary status show that we are welcoming, but it gives us a chance to show that we are a place that strives to make a difference, build community, and increase diversity and opportunities for all children and families.

Jenna Lee

Essex Junction

He Was the Eggman

[Re Life Lines: Obituary: Leon Richard "Dick" Paquette, 1939-2016, November 7]: I remember Dick Paquette as a hardworking, cheerful, commonsense Vermonter. Without a touch of self-importance, he served endlessly on Colchester select- and school boards spanning at least four decades. He was always happy to see me and was never in a cross mood, that I can recall. I made him frown once, though. I was interviewing him after another local newspaper wrongfully accused his farm of selling eggs coated with salmonella. He discussed this unfair threat to his life's work and livelihood in the philosophical, good-natured way that was so typical of him. When it came time to take the cover photo, I thought to myself, This won't do. I've gotta make him look mad. So I intentionally said something outrageous. His eyebrows shot up, his smile turned upside down and I snapped that week's front-page photo. Sorry, Dick! But, as they say, today's newspaper is tomorrow's chicken-pen liner. Colchester will remember you as the good-humored, kind, conscientious neighbor and public servant you always were. 

Guy Page


Page was editor and publisher of the Colchester Chronicle from 1987 to 2002.

Artful Dodger

On behalf of the Art Therapy Association of Vermont, I would like to note that the term "art therapy" is misused in ["A New Book Offers a Curriculum for Treating Trauma Through Art," November 30]. The article implies that SafeArt programs and Tracy Penfield offer "art therapy." Penfield clearly states that she and the artists at SafeArt "are not psychotherapists." What is not clearly stated is that neither is Penfield an art therapist. Nor should the SafeArt curriculum be confused with "art therapy," since the artist-facilitators lack the education and clinical training to provide mental health treatment services.

Properly defined, art therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art and the creative process, as well as of human development and counseling theories and techniques. Art therapists complete rigorous training by obtaining a mental health master's degree, completing clinical internships, and engaging in postgraduate clinical supervision to qualify for certification and/or licensure. As professionals, we fulfill continuing education requirements and adhere to a professional code of ethics to mitigate the potential for harm.

As art therapists, we realize consumers are free to seek support with whomever they feel comfortable. However, Seven Days has a responsibility to its readership to accurately portray the options available to the public.

Kendra Schpok

New Haven