Savor the Snow
I know that your Feedback column is filled with important news and opinions, but I just wanted to say — since you've basically become Vermont's paper of record — that we should never forget how beautiful the month of March 2018 was. Here along the spine of the Greens, we had one perfect day after another: endless bright sun, brisk cold, deep snow. I imagine the skiing was as good elsewhere as it was at Breadloaf, but it couldn't have been any better. Given the progress of climate change and the parlous state of global politics, who knows how many more stretches like this we'll get — all the more reason not to take a single day for granted.
[Re "Treading Water: Vermont's Pols Are Going Nowhere Fast on Clean Lakes," February 7]: Some of Vermont's lakes and rivers have been showing up at the emergency room without health insurance. It's bad. We all pay a high price when it gets to emergency status. Vermont needs to start now in paying a realistic annual premium for health insurance for our water ecosystem.
It's more costly to buy insurance when there are preexisting conditions, but we're lucky because we know that the overall tab in need of new revenue is about $1.3 billion over the next 20 years, as described in the Clean Water Report issued in January 2017 by the Office of the State Treasurer. The report also identifies many potential long-term revenue sources to pay for the prevention and treatment required to clean up our waters throughout the state.
If we don't make a treatment plan now and ante up the annual premiums to pay the $1.3 billion, we could well find ourselves paying catastrophic costs. And the toll would be more than financial. Water is essential to life. Clean drinking water is at risk in some communities if we don't start taking preventive action and paying for treatment now.
Skip the Booze
[Re "'The Last Minute to Play,'" February 14]: Am I the only one seeing the irony of a cover picture that shows a person "fighting" cancer just to the right of a fully stocked liquor cabinet? Forgive me, but there are real reasons every bottle has warnings for "health problems" attached to it, and we now know that as few as one drink daily ups the cancer ante exponentially. Wouldn't this be akin to "struggling" with lung cancer while sporting a pack of Marlboros in a front pocket?
To read the latest oncologists' report on alcohol's dangers, just go to ascopubs.org for information regarding increased taxes, lower outlet density, limited advertisements and sales hours, increased warnings and education, etc. We also know that alcohol is more dangerous to the unborn than heroin. An addicted newborn can be detoxed, while one born with fetal alcohol disorders will suffer for a lifetime. Yet booze is promoted everywhere and all the time. Why? Oh — revenue and our "culture," I guess.
We're All Flatlanders
I was curious about the letter "Flatlanders' Fault" [Feedback: March 7] which said: "It is very sad to see my state ruined by flatlanders who are only guests here..." As someone from the Boston area who has found a physical and spiritual home in Vermont, I feel that I am not a guest but a permanent resident. I am also continuing a long tradition of flatlanders migrating into Vermont that reaches back to at least the 18th century.
Except for those of Native American heritage, every Vermonter has come from the flatlands at one time or another. While the states or provinces they came from may not be physically flat, this is true no matter whether they have been in the state 10 generations or one.
I was touched by how the author felt "sorry for flatlanders." I dispute, however, the lack of common sense that he states we have, as solar panels are definitely "much more of an attraction" than billboards. I speak from experience, having lived or been in many states that are overrun with billboards, shopping malls and all the other pestiferous ravages of our unrestrained consumerism. I appreciate Vermont for its solar panels that show a commonsense approach to largely (though not always) preventing these things to preserve its past in the present for the future.
Former flatlanders like me know what happens when you destroy it.
Tree for All
[Re Off Message: "Opponents of Burlington City Hall Park Redesign Speak for the Trees," March 7]: We visit Burlington frequently and love to go to the park for the farmers market, take-out picnics, respite, to sit on a bench, etc., especially in the summer. The summer days are frequently hot, and you cannot find a cool place to sit, since all of the spaces under the trees are taken by those seeking shelter from the sun. For this reason, the park needs more trees, not fewer. Even if you don't care about the environmental benefits of trees, consider the comfort of the humans and dogs that use the park.
Clean Up the Park
[Re Off Message: "Opponents of Burlington City Hall Park Redesign Speak for the Trees," March 7]: The worst enemy of the trees and grass in the park next to Burlington City Hall is not climate change — it's the lazy, homeless-by-choice thugs and addicts who spread their tarps and tents on the ground.
That kills the grass and erodes the soil around the trees, exposing the roots and killing everything around.
The tree huggers ought to switch their focus and go after the real problem: the bums in the park who flock to Burlington, the socialist capital of the Northeast, to collect welfare.
If the so-called park activists really are trying to protect the trees, they need to start removing the things killing them: the dregs.