I just wanted to thank Seven Days and writer Chelsea Edgar for the story about life on a dairy farm ["Milking It," March 13]. I don't always get a chance to read all the articles in the paper (I often keep back issues around until I get a chance to look at them, much to my husband's chagrin) but I had to go back to read this article after seeing the comments it generated [Feedback: How Now, Cow? March 27].
I was surprised that some readers seemed to view it as some sort of exposé of inhumane practices; I didn't feel that way at all. The three brothers strike me as exactly the kind of quirky, authentic people I love reading about in your paper. I love that one of them showed up at a Migrant Justice event and danced, and accompanied one of the workers to court when he ran into trouble. I loved that Chelsea noticed that one of the workers was teaching himself Korean by writing words on the stalls he looks at every day.
The insights she gives her readers into what the very hard work on a dairy farm requires inspired my respect for Victor Diaz and the other migrant workers she got a chance to meet. I'm glad to know that Vermont isn't a place of all boutique farming and still has the real deal, and both the farmers and the workers out there have my utmost respect. Thanks Seven Days and Chelsea for a great article — keep up the good work!
Tim Newcomb's deer cartoon in the April 3 Seven Days was fantastic! We rarely do this, but we cut it out of the paper and it's now hanging on our fridge. Thanks for the smile.
Galdenzi is president of Protect Our Wildlife.
I was pleased to see Seven Days cover the synthwave genre in Justin Boland's article on Night Protocol [Album Review, April 3], but I must contest something. The writer referred to synthwave as "a subgenre that pays tribute to '80s electro-trash pop classics," which is a bit off. Synthwave certainly is an '80s-minded contemporary genre, but its feet are firmly planted in a realm occupied by influences such as John Carpenter, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, George Michael, Prince and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. (Consider the music of films like Drive and The Guest and shows like "Stranger Things" and "Vice Principals.") If Boland meant to say "electroclash," that would still be off. I could be seen as splitting hairs, but underground genres deserve the best possible representation of what they are when covered in the mainstream.
Seven Days recently reported on radon testing in the Vermont Statehouse [Fair Game, March 27]. So far, four samples tested "well above the EPA's recommended action level." Testing will continue until April, when mitigation options will be considered.
Ironically, this article was published shortly after the House Committee on Education took testimony on the bill of Rep. Maida Townsend (D-South Burlington) to require all K-12 schools to test for radon and three years of similar bills failing to pass. It always comes down to how to pay for mitigation if a building tests high — which is equivalent to avoiding the doctor for fear of a diagnosis. Our children and school staff deserve to be protected from radon, just as our state legislators and their staff in the Statehouse deserve protection. At the very least, we all deserve transparency on whether we are exposed to this gas.
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and the first among nonsmokers. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible naturally occurring gas, undetectable to the human senses. When radon is trapped indoors, it can build up, posing a health risk. As it decays, it emits radioactive particles that can be inhaled into the lungs and attack the body's cells with cancer-causing radiation. Long-term exposure to radon is simply dangerous to anyone's health.
The bottom line is that testing is easy, mitigation is inexpensive, and transparency is necessary for Vermonters to protect themselves and their children from radon.
Ryan is division director of health promotions for the American Lung Association.
McKibben Is Misguided
Re [Book Review: "End Times?" March 27]: Imagine another climate doomsday book from a beneficiary of the bureaucratic and educational complex. As author Bill McKibben and his ilk look down on us peons from their self-indulgent navel gazing, we plug along, watching the landscape turn into solar-paneled utopia, carbon credits and government grants banked by the insiders driving their coal-powered cars. He has such a long-term view of the world — 30 years of inaction, 20 hot years since records kept. Self-important snobs think history started at their birth, when actually dinosaurs roamed this earth much longer than humans have — or probably will. He should set his sights on stopping volcanoes or continental drift if he wants to have some lasting legacy.
Why Tax Social Security?
Thanks for your special issue on money and retirement ["Cash Cow," April 3]. Despite the large percentage of seniors here, many subsisting mainly on Social Security, Vermont does surprisingly little to help moderate- and lower-income seniors struggling with spiraling property taxes. These taxes are a major obstacle for many seniors who wish to retire and stay in their homes here. This is mainly so because the income-sensitive adjustment counts all Social Security earnings as "household income." This then reduces any tax adjustment, and could easily be remedied by exempting some amount of Social Security payment from "household income."
Why does our legislature, which is otherwise accomplishing a great deal, fail completely to do anything about this problem?