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Letters to the Editor (12/28/16)


Published December 28, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

242: The Plattsburgh Version

I want to thank Amelia Devoid for [Live Culture: "Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club," December 2]. It touched on a topic that I think about and observe often with regard to loud music and popular culture but hadn't in the context of 242 Main. 

The piece was well-balanced, with praise of positive influences and other females in attendance and critique of the systemic gender bias of bands presented, as well as the pervasive violence that is a by-product of live loud music and environments with high concentrations of testosterone. The few times I attended 242 were mostly in the company of female punk and metal fans who hadn't discussed these notions. 

I would like to point out a similar all-ages venue that is also closing its doors this week — ROTA Gallery & Studios in Plattsburgh, N.Y. It was started by male and female artists and managed mostly by females in the last few years, while hosting myriad differently gendered musicians and artists for the five years of its existence. 

It was not without its problems but did make an effort toward gender equality, from my perspective as a 34-year-old white male. I would like to hear more accounts from females who attended during its five-year run.

William Tavish Costello

Hague, N.Y.

Stealing Ideas

The community should support Police Chief Brandon del Pozo and business owners' concerns regarding "Serial Shoplifters Target Burlington Stores" [December 7]. Ron Redmond, executive director of the Church Street Marketplace Department, correctly observed, "What we're doing now doesn't seem to be working."

One problem is that offenders get "cattle-herded" through a system of standardized protocols. Overlooked in plea negotiations are conditions such as earning a GED or diploma. This issue ought to be discussed in every case where an offender does not have a GED or diploma.

Another solution involves pursuing untapped resources. For instance, those involved with juvenile delinquency cases ought to consider "Giving Back: Introducing Community Service Learning: Improving Mandated Community Service for Juvenile Offenders," a free, downloadable manual. We successfully introduced this in Caledonia and Orleans counties.

Service learning should also be considered for adult offenders. In one case we engaged a high-risk drug offender in service learning, which involved journal writing, yoga and writing an essay to at-risk teen girls. Three years later, she has not reoffended.

Observing a correlation between wellness and recidivism, we brought wellness to the plea bargain table. Many offenders have chronic health issues the system fails to address, which is why plea negotiations should include the Healthier Living Workshop, a free wellness course with a curriculum developed by Stanford University. Intertwined in all of this is the need for a tougher response to chronic offenders, such as work crew, home confinement and jail — all with a dose of service learning.

Ben Luna


Luna is a former deputy state's attorney.

Helping Addicts

I was very disappointed by your recent article entitled "Despite Challenges, More Private Docs Are Treating Opiate Addicts" [November 30]. As a nurse specializing in medication-assisted treatment, I found this article to be discouraging and overly negative with regard to physicians prescribing MAT. The fact that your article focused on the specific sanctions against a few prescribers was a disservice to MAT teams and prescribers everywhere. In the middle of an opiate crisis, we need all the physicians we can to offer MAT as part of their regular care.

Opiate-addicted patients are seven times more likely to die of an overdose when not on MAT. The surgeon general's report on addiction showed that MAT is well supported in evidence but underutilized due to lack of prescribing providers and negative stigma. Vermont has been the only state in New England to see a decrease in overdose deaths since 2013 due to the hub-and-spoke model. We have seen an increase in available treatment options and more openings in the hubs with more providers prescribing MAT as part of a general practice. This model offers comprehensive addiction treatment with a collaborative team approach and wraparound mental health, addiction and medical services, including primary care, smoking cessation, birth control, vaccinations and STD testing.

We need more public support of MAT and less stigma so that we can better help any Vermonter seeking recovery.

Katie Whitaker


The High Road

[Re "Green State Gardener Plants Stake in Cannabis Market," December 7]: Recently, the online comments on a Seven Days story about Green State Gardener took an ugly turn. An anonymous troll took it upon him or herself to disparage the business and its owners. One of those owners, understandably offended, responded to the troll, who for some reason falsely identified as me. I learned a few days later and responded, defending myself. Rightfully embarrassed, the business owners asked Seven Days to remove their slanderous comments, which it did. We all wasted a bunch of time and energy.

How to handle the comment section is a consideration for Seven Days — it can't trace trolls, but it can censor ill-advised comments made by their advertisers. Fair enough; it's a media business, not a media charity — and a damn good one that serves our Vermont-ocracy admirably.

I'm a public advocate for the cannabis cause and cofounded a media outlet, Heady Vermont, that dives further into cannabis questions. I live with those consequences (more traffic tickets than free weed thus far), but for all past, present and future sensei stakeholders, the call is for unity in the cannabis community. 

I'll take the hit and, via this letter, pass the peace pipe to the gardening goliaths, because in order for all Vermonters to enjoy greater liberty as patients, consumers or professional participants in the nation's fastest-growing industry, this cause must stay higher than our own interests, personal or professional.

Let's stick together as buds and make this happen in 2017.

Eli Harrington

East Burke

Editor's note: A team of editorial and digital staff reviews every comment posted on our site, but we still occasionally miss one that violates our policy. We did end up removing the anonymous comment because it crossed the line, and we also removed the response at the request of the person who wrote it — a courtesy that we extend to all of our commenters, not just our advertisers.

Doyle's Dudes

[Re "Doyle's Departing the Statehouse, but His Disciples Are Stepping Up," December 14]: I am amazed that in a newspaper owned, published and largely edited by women, in an article by a savvy female columnist, no one thought to take notice of the fact that all but one of Sen. Bill Doyle's "disciples" mentioned — and for whom he "hound[ed] his colleagues" to provide internships — are white males. And the one exception, Susan Sweetser, merits a mere half sentence of acknowledgement.

It should be no surprise, I suppose, that Doyle spent his 48 years as a very active recruiter for the Old Boys' Club. It is, however, disappointing that neither Terri Hallenbeck nor any editor made the observation.

However much you might wish it so, Seven Days, we don't yet live in the post-patriarchy.

Euan Bear