Wow. I didn't realize I'd been walking into a dungeon-like Y for the past 25-plus years. Good thing I read Molly Walsh's article ["The Y and What For: A Tale of Two Rehab Projects," December 2]. Walsh states that many elderly cannot use the Y because of the handicap access difficulty and the parking, which was halved in order to make room for City Market/Onion River Co-op. An octogenarian cannot always walk a few blocks from car to building, but the handicap access to the therapy pool is manageable for most.
Walsh points out that purchase of the replacement building used money that was raised for renovating the present building. One might wonder how those who gave contributions for the preservation and improvement of this Y might feel about their funds being redirected?
One might also wonder if the elderly and disabled, the autistic, the expectant mothers, the mothers of newborns, and scores of others who use that other pool will be eliminated from membership because there will only be a pool, if indeed a program pool is not in the planning of the new building.
The lap and program pools currently in use are beautifully appointed with tile work that even the most luxurious modern facilities could not afford. The women's wellness center has features unmatched anywhere else. The beautiful aspects of this old structure could have been given their due. It is an aging building, and those in the construction industry will always argue about which is worse — renovating or starting new.
I realize the building places demands upon staff that are difficult, that the move east is a done deal. But let history know the wonder of the Y as it now stands.
Manger à Montréal
Jean-Talon Market in Montréal is a great experience, but it involves getting around in a big city with parking-ticket-writing police ["Flavors Without Borders," December 2]. Maybe a stop halfway between the border and the big city can provide something close to that experience. Try the small city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on Route 35.
Drive south from the intersection of Boulevard du Seminaire, past the McDonald's and left at Boulevard St-Joseph. Much less of a parking problem, and the Halles St-Jean is full of interesting stores that show how the Québec people love to make eating an interesting experience. Make sure food you bring back is sealed and says "Product of the U.S. or Canada" — unless you want to eat the rest of an opened package as you try to get past U.S. Customs or just throw it in the trash.
If you really like the big-city experience, drive on Route 134 to the big parking lot in Longueuil and take the UQAM train under the river into the city. That line runs north to the Jean-Talon Market area. Don't stop there, as the city is full of great restaurants with food from more countries than you can count.
I am not sure if artist Michael Tonn intended his prisoner illustration to be insulting — perhaps he thinks it's cubism — but, to me, the rendering of the prisoner in your "Vermont Inmates Pine for Their Old Kentucky Prison" article [December 2] portrays a foolish, ugly and despicable loser. The plight of these inmates is not funny; yes, most have done terrible things and are paying the price, but the fact that they are asking for meaningful ways to spend their time shows that they are attempting to move forward. Crude caricatures such as this only add to the challenges felons face, both when in jail and upon release.
Walken the Talk
In response to Kay Schlueter's letter from Northfield Falls [Feedback, "Wish It Was Walken," November 18]: Good news! Christopher Walken has done the evil Bond villain thing already. The movie is A View to a Kill, in which Walken plays Max Zorin — with Grace Jones as his sidekick! It was the final Bond film for Roger Moore, too ... and, of course, had that wonderful theme song by Duran Duran.
Homes for Homeless, Not Refugees
It seems that providing a refugee a place to live and a job here in the United States and Vermont shouldn't be more important than taking care of our homeless individuals in the United States and also in Vermont ["Aftershocks From Paris Attacks Reach Refugee-Friendly Vermont," November 25]. Many of these individuals are veterans who risked their lives to protect our freedom. No matter which state you visit in the United States, you can find our homeless Americans living under bridges, in the woods, etc. Even our politicians turn the other way and will not address this. While they debate whether to allow more refugees, they should be looking at taking care of our own before taking care of foreigners. This should start with our politicians, including the president of the United States. Let's start taking care of our own citizens before we spend money on providing for the refugees.
Refugees Need Help
There has to be more we can do for these people ["Aftershocks From Paris Attacks Reach Refugee-Friendly Vermont," November 25]. Finding out about all of this has really made me look at my life differently and be thankful for everything that I have. I want to help. There should be groups of people that handle different tasks with them. And there should be information and people to contact to volunteer to help. I want to help them shop, cook, speak and socialize. I want to help in every way I can.