When you purchase items on Amazon that you could have purchased from your downtown community merchant in Montpelier, Barre or Church Street in Burlington, you are voting for a vacant downtown. You are voting for the elimination of local jobs. You are voting for substantial decreases to your community's tax base that helps build roads, safe bridges, good schools, and strong fire and police departments. You are voting for a decrease in property values, as property values are tied to strong downtowns. You are voting for the depletion of financial support to kids' sports teams, community gatherings and local support services — the kinds of things that Amazon and other online or big-box retailers aren't supporting. You are voting for the shutdown of local bars and restaurants that rely on strong retail downtowns. And, last but not least, you are voting for a world where we are further disconnected, and all that is left is Amazon.
With the closure of Montpelier's Onion River Sports and Shoe Horn, we are reminded of our great responsibility to exercise our consumer power to maintain strong communities. Please vote for you, for your neighbors and for your town, and purchase items from downtown merchants. The annual Seven Daysies awards ["All the Best," August 2] and gift guide ["Yule Haul," November 22] make it easy to find the best store for what you need.
'Wheels' Turning the Wrong Way
[Re "Last Supper? The Man Behind the 'Meals,'" November 22]: Since director John Michael Hall took over at what was Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, then expensively rebranded Age Well, people who do the work with love and care are systematically being demoted, fired or otherwise removed. Hall's only goal is efficiency and cost cutting.
In a field — social services — where care for clients, volunteers and coworkers should be paramount, and nobody is getting rich doing the actual work, his approach is totally counterproductive. Layers of management are taking the place of people on the ground. Money is being spent to have managers fly to conferences across the country. In Middlebury, where I used to be a Meals on Wheels driver, many of us volunteers have quit as a result of Hall's actions. Now I see that he's gutting a long-standing, and by all accounts beloved, program in Burlington. Hall is simply the wrong man for the job.
In [Soundbites, "Thinking Thankfulness," November 22], Jordan Adams wrote, "The arrival of the holidays usually means an overall lull in exciting music happenings." I could not disagree more. There is a myth that our local music scene has barely anything to offer at times — yet it always does.
How cool was it when two bands from Montréal, which are friends, found out they had shows at Radio Bean and Light Club Lamp Shop on the night before Thanksgiving? Ivamae and the Mountain Carol were great that night, too. How cool was that version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that Barbacoa dropped on us at Foam Brewers the night after Thanksgiving? Granted, there may be lesser-publicized shows at this time of year, but there is always something great happening for you to experience, if you take a chance on going out. Heck, you might even be able to sit at home and hear live performances by Eastern Mountain Time, Black Rabbit and Zeus Springsteen on your smartphone in the coming weeks.
Conversely, when Adams wrote, "I'm constantly thankful for the vastness of Vermont's music scene. The fact that a person can go out and see live music every night of the week is special, and we're lucky to live in a place where that's possible," I could not agree more. We are lucky. Anytime you need a place to go where you can hear quality music at an affordable price, you can always find something.
It took a little longer than expected, but they finally did it ["Last Gasp? How a Vermont High School Ended Up With Just Two Students," November 22; Off Message: "After Vote, Rochester Will Close Its Middle-High School," November 29]. Federal, state and local government finally did a small school in. Ridiculous regulations, poor leadership and a gullible public sank a 100-year-old-plus institution from a lean-run operation with above-average results to a bloated bureaucracy with high costs and poor outcomes. The majority of townspeople in Rochester who went along with this charade should be really proud of themselves.
No 'Justice' Here
May I suggest that Margot Harrison's 2.5-star review of Justice League [Movie Reviews, November 22] was a bit harsh? Granted, this film was no Wonder Woman, but the Seven Days critic did paint with broad strokes, to the detriment of her observations and analysis.
Better to completely ignore the tiresome (and tired) Marvel versus DC Comics competition theme and instead focus on the nuances within the fairly well-paced two hours — including but not limited to designating the source of your character quote (Gal Gadot has imbued her splendid portrayal of Princess Diana with a melodramatic streak), the friction within the supergroup, the irony of Superman's revival via much the same process as the creation of the Kryptonian monster in Batman v Superman, and, last but not least, Ben Affleck/Bruce Wayne's subtle stab at parody of President Donald Trump in the final scene.
Delving into this genre does require engaging in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's willing suspension of disbelief, but that doesn't preclude an attention to detail, the likes of which can make (or break) the appreciation of a movie — or any other creative work, for that matter.
I've sometimes read the music columns by Dan Bolles and Jordan Adams. The similarity of their columns is their classless attempts at honesty mixed with attempts at humor.
This time, it was the attempt in poor taste, by Adams, to tell us why he hates Christmas festivities and all that goes with the season ["Bah, Humbug," November 29]. It's bizarre that Adams wastes about 18 inches of print to tell us, in detail and poor humor, why he hates the holiday. Then, like we really need a disgusting conclusion to make sure we understand his point, Adams tells us that the yuletide season makes him vomit.
His diatribe makes me vomit.
Daniel G. Cohen