Missing Mental Health
Thank you for the interesting articles on Medicaid expenses ["Mushrooming Medicaid Costs Create a State Budget Crisis," January 13; [Off Message: "No Easy Remedy for Rate Cut for Group Therapy," January 15]. However, the articles did not mention that in the effort to reduce the impact of the increasing Medicaid costs, cuts have already been made that will reduce health care and mental health services to low-income Medicaid recipients. Medicaid began to reduce the reimbursement rates to providers last year, effectively causing some providers to stop providing those services. The Medicaid reimbursement rate to counselors providing group therapy was reduced 65 percent on January 1, 2016. The changes were made without understanding the long-term impact these cuts will have on the many people who access and benefit from these services. Focusing only on drug-related expenses could minimize the importance of other forms of treatment that are equally valuable to maintaining good health.
Cremains of the Day
[Re "Dead but Not Gone: Some Bodies Linger at Medical Examiner's Office," January 27]: Writer Molly Walsh might not know of these alternative disposals for unclaimed corpses or their cremains:
• Send2Heaven, a startup, claims it can digitize a corpse and store it in the Cloud.
• Rejuven (liveagain4awhile.com) vivifies corpses for "The Walking Dead."
• A project of the Warhol Foundation films corpses in real time as they decay, eventually to be available as podcasts.
• NewLife2Lit will mix ashes in printer toner "to give a little life to your novel as it travels the publishing route."
• NIMBY will sow ashes by drone in your neighbors' backyard.
• LivelyBounce, available at most hardware stores, combines ashes with cement for patching sidewalk cracks, also available in patio tiles and in bulk for asphalt driveways.
Myself, I used to keep a tag wired to a big toe, marked "Authorized to Cremate," in case I die unclaimed, but it was uncomfortable, so I went with a tattoo.
Fred G. Hill
Burlingtonians might not be so impressed with the cost-savings efforts of Gene Richards if they actually knew the ramifications of some of his actions ["Up in the Air," January 27]. For better or worse, the City of Burlington is solely responsible for all fiscal and operational requirements of the civil aviation operations at BTV.
Unfortunately, because it is located outside of the city boundaries, the airport provides no property or local option taxes to Burlington. We get rent from industrial buildings at the airport. More importantly, when city departments provide services for the airport — i.e., Burlington Department of Public Works, police, city treasurer, human resources — the reimbursements they receive from the airport help supplement the tax dollars and fees that support these departments.
Director of aviation Gene Richards' crusade to deprive DPW and the police of airport revenues may save the airport some money, but he is hurting the citizens of Burlington who have to either make up the lost revenue or settle for reduced services or maybe both. He clearly doesn't care if his efforts to keep BTV "up in the air" leave Burlingtonians at the gate. So much for the benefits of owning an airport.
Goodkind was director of the Burlington Department of Public Works from 1998 to 2013 and ran for mayor in 2015.
I am stunned that you would publish a piece that seemed more PR than some kind of news ["Up in the Air," January 27]. What about interviewing South Burlington residents to get their take on what goes on at BTV? The story read like an expanded résumé for Gene Richards and the work he has done to improve airport operations and run a financially leaner airport.
I do applaud Richards for a keen business sense. What the article didn't address was his refusal to work with South Burlington residents on the issue of noise. When the community got a look at a new noise map on November 9, 2015, it became a forum for residents to express their frustrations as Vermont Air National Guard has introduced ever-noisier aircraft. For his part, Richards appeared to be offended by a meeting gone awry. This was not a personal attack but an opportunity for residents to be heard. Rather than improving relations with neighbors of the airport, Richards wants to organize his own resident-free noise commission with members of business entities such as the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and the South Burlington Business Association.
For him to call the South Burlington's Chamberlin Neighborhood-Airport Planning Committee "dysfunctional" shows his true agenda. We are working to improve and preserve our neighborhood as the airport expands and develops. What can be so frightening to Richards that he won't participate and accept invitations to attend city council meetings? What the airport neighborhood wants is a livable community where we can all work together to ensure that this happens. It cannot occur without Richards and the airport staff coming to the table to share in our ideas and dreams for the future of our neighborhood.
Sargent is chair of South Burlington's Chamberlin Neighborhood-Airport Planning Committee.
Sold on Sellers
Thanks for your article on the Prickly Mountain exhibit at the Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design in Waitsfield ["Design Museum Heralds 50 Years of Prickly Mountain Architecture," January 27]. It revived and illuminated one of my earliest childhood memories: of visiting the Warren home of David Sellers and being shown the inflatable shower in his master bathroom. A preppy, cape-dwelling family from Connecticut, we were skiing at Sugarbush with friends who introduced us. Aside from the inflatable shower — didn't it get terrible mildew? — I remember being tickled that Sellers' (ex?) wife's name was Candace Barr. Candy Barr Sellers! Get it?! I wouldn't swear to the accuracy of my recollection, but I'll always remember it thusly, and for that I am grateful and perpetually amused.