Letters to the Editor (4/27/22) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (4/27/22)



I don't know whether to ride

my mower or push my snow-blower.

Given what April brings to us.

A drift, a daffodil. A decision

better left to not deciding. 

Letting the sun do what it will

by the end of the afternoon.

Letting the grass stick through.

Letting the blades decide to mow 

or throw the snow away 

from my driveway onto the road. 

Back into the field.

Where it's sure to disappear,

as sure as May will arrive.

Whether or not the mercury inches

above freezing

And the engines in my garage

can't think of not turning over.

Coughing up smoke. 

Clearing their throats of oil.

Making a fresh start to

whatever season this is.

In Vermont, the one

weather we can count on.

Making mud of our lives.

If we've taken off our winter

tires. Before it's time

to take off our winter tires.

Time, gentlemen and women,

to start our engines.

Don't be surprised when I say

from here in Daytona.

By the track. By the beach.

Where I can plow the sand

with my feet. 

Cut some grass, if I feel like it.

Gary Margolis


'one-of-a-Kind Voice'

What a wonderful surprise to see my neighbor and friend of almost 30 years grace the cover of Seven Days ["Morning Star," April 13]. I first met Ginny McGehee when she and her late husband, Jim Condon, moved into my building at Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester. But my first memory of Ginny was when I was a teenager listening to her one-of-a-kind voice on what was then WQCR. Over the years, I have shared many other memories with Ginny: her marriage to Jim; the birth of her son, Tom; watching storms on the porch together; talking politics; and consoling each other over the passing of a loved one — especially the loss of her husband, Jim.

I have since moved from the Fort, but I do miss hearing the bang of the back door of our building on those early mornings as she headed out to the station to chat again with her beloved listeners. She is the real deal, folks, and while I can't call her my neighbor anymore, I can still and always will call her my friend.

Laura McHugh


Retired, but Not Forgotten

Your recent memories about sunsets and early retirements sent me on a memory trip, since I have known many community leaders in Vermont who have retired during our pandemic times and in the past ["Sunset Boulevard," March 30].

I have known Andrea Rogers for many years. She and I are now honorary board members of University of Vermont Home Health & Hospice. She was a great leader at the Flynn theater. We both have had orthopedic problems.

As we grow older, it is amazing that 20 years of age difference can disappear if we share the same memories and interests. I am now 86 and have many younger friends.

Like many, my memory of people and their roles was what kept my professional life going strong. Good that we miss folks who have decided to retire early, having served our community for many years.

I look forward to reading Seven Days every week.

Kay Ryder


Like Housing, Like Solar

I appreciate the Seven Days cover story "Obstruction Zone" [April 6], exposing how Vermont's outdated and often ineffective permitting process drives up the cost of constructing affordable housing. Affordable housing is a crisis that affects all of us in one way or another.

Unfortunately, this same story plays out all too often when Vermonters try to go solar. Vermont's regulatory process for installing solar, much like the permitting process for housing, can add tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, construction delays and duplicative permitting requirements. The process means that sensible projects are abandoned before they can be built, and Vermonters pay higher prices for renewable energy. Just like with affordable housing, a well-heeled neighbor who simply decides they don't want to look at solar panels can often block a project that could have provided affordable, reliable and clean solar power to dozens of homes. Too often, the result is that a review process intended to protect our environment is co-opted to block clean energy, and we lurch ever closer to climate disaster, relying on electricity from oil and natural gas.

Much as Vermont needs to rethink our permitting to make it easier to build housing that prevents sprawl and is truly affordable, our best chance for eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels is by radically streamlining the regulatory process to bring new renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, online as quickly as possible.

Jonathan Dowds


Dowds is the deputy director of Renewable Energy Vermont.

Act 250 Prevents 'New Jerseyfication'

Your April 6 cover story ["Obstruction Zone"] is sad, portraying Act 250 as useless and obstructive red tape. You seem to welcome the New Jerseyfication of Vermont, with its overbuilding, subdividing of tracts of beautiful woodland, clogged roads and such that are inimical to human enjoyment of the environment.

You accept, it would seem, tremendous overcrowding. I am from New Jersey, where I was a contractor, and I now find all of it disgusting. Plastic. We need fewer people and more undeveloped land for them to enjoy and preserve.

Overcrowding destroys everything that makes life worthwhile.

Ron Ruloff


Bees = Life

"Land of Milk v. Honey" [April 13] is an oversimplification. According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, between 60 to 80 percent of wild plants in our state are dependent on animals, mostly bees, for the "ecosystem service" of pollination. Whole communities of flowering trees, shrubs and herbs benefit from their activities — including blueberries, blackberries and apples.

This topic is not just about milk and honey, as important as those two products, industries and livelihoods are; they are the tip of the iceberg as to what we will lose if we go past the tipping point, in terms of how many pollinators we lose either as an entire species or in volume.

The legislature can fund more research and development of sustainable farming methods for productivity and support abundant biodiversity.

Farmers can plant flowers and wild areas for pollinators and beneficial insects that eat pests.

Individual homeowners: Grow a diversity of flowering plants that are native to Vermont. In the vegetable garden, use companion planting to attract natural enemies of crop pests. Keep plants free of pesticides, including fungicides and insecticides. Provide homes for pollinators: Keep leaves on the ground, allow for some bare patches of sandy ground; leave some stumps, logs, dead grass and sticks. Buy organic and local foods. Use alternatives to pet flea treatments that contain neonicotinoids.

These fascinating and diverse species of wild bees are not on the side of one industry or another; they are critical to all of us.

Let's connect the community with nature. Our lives depend on it.

Bernie Paquette


Simple Choice

The standoff in ["Land of Milk v. Honey," April 13] between dairy farmers, who claim neonicotinoid-treated seeds are essential to their business, and beekeepers, who claim neonicotinoids are ruinous to theirs, can be resolved by the Global Warming Solutions Act, the legislative purpose of which is to sharply reduce greenhouse gases.

Burning fossil fuels generates GHG, which sends huge quantities of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, where they trap heat and cause the Earth's temperature to rise. We have done little or nothing over the past 40 years to effectively curtail their use, so the atmospheric temperature has risen to a near-calamitous level and is still rising.

The GWSA requires Vermont to reduce fossil fuel use in transportation, heat generation and "agriculture." The law mandates reductions, and the pace is both scheduled and swift. Beekeeping is a vitally important component of food production, and it contributes virtually nothing to lake and atmospheric pollution. Dairy products, by contrast, are not in any way essential to human survival, and dairy farming is the leading contributor to lake pollution and the third-largest contributor to GHG emissions.

Neonicotinoids have their roots in a mid-20th-century mindset that permitted the application of poison to agricultural land without regard to downstream effects. Conventional dairy farming maintains the same mindset. So the choice isn't whether or not to permit the use of neonicotinoids: It is between permitting conventional dairy or meeting the GHG emission targets mandated by the GWSA. The choice is simple, really.

James H. Maroney Jr.