Take a Bow, Jordan
It may not be possible to sufficiently praise Jordan Adams for his composition of [Soundbites: "The Seven Rules of Concert Etiquette," April 7]. It's a shame it took a pandemic to crystallize these fundamental precepts of good manners, empathy and common sense, but no matter: The piece deserves a permanent place on the Seven Days website, with a regular flagging — perhaps at the outset of the fall arts season? Maybe even a republication in the print edition at certain intervals would be in order, as well. After all, it's worth refreshing the memory on these guidelines virtually any time any of us venture out to one of our highly anticipated events.
[Re Off Message: "After Councilors Call for Bergstein to Resign, His Wife Says He Already Has," April 21]: Certainly what's happened at North End Studios is tragic, and hopefully the people who have been wronged and those who have done wrong will find justice. Not to diminish the importance of the issue of abuse and lack of transparency, but there is another issue linked to this scandal that must be mentioned: the potential loss of three important community spaces that were managed by NES — spaces where theater, dance and music, classes, benefits, meetings, and celebrations occurred. These spaces were also a haven for the New American community.
Two years ago, Hinsdale Properties, owner of 294 North Winooski Avenue, replaced Off Center for the Dramatic Arts with an ax-throwing emporium that served booze, an alarming precursor of for-profit entertainment venues replacing community-based, nonprofit-managed spaces that are so essential to social life in an integrated community. COVID-19 brought down many small spaces and forced others, like Swan Dojo, to fight like hell for their survival. Looks like they've made it, and — fingers crossed — Off Center may have found a new space, too.
Now that this scandal jeopardizes the spaces managed by NES, I call upon the nonprofit, the commercial sector and the city — Burlington City Council, Burlington City Arts, the Planning Commission, parks and rec — to work together to develop strategies to preserve small noncommercial, noninstitutional spaces that serve the community.
The Cost of Black Plastic
[Re WTF: "Why Do Vermont Hemp Growers Use So Much Disposable Black Plastic?" March 31]: Staring at everyone, but apparently unmentionable, is a solution to the environmental waste of disposable black plastic, a product that profits its manufacturers and vendors and cuts costs for growers who use it to suppress weeds. This practice, which profits a few and dumps the waste, knowingly adds to the environmental destruction of this planet and passes the consequence and cost to the next generation. Yet this manifests the prevailing political view: that recycling must have a market to support its costs — a view that is economically unsound and an environmental disaster.
The inability of the so-called experts cited in the article, including the National Organic Standards Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Vermont Extension and Northeast Organic Farming Association, to find an environmentally sustainable fix to this problem calls into question their wisdom or their integrity.
Basic economics gives the solution: When such a product portends to impose environmental degradation, mandate a surcharge on the selling price and devote the surcharge revenues to recycling the product. The surcharge places the environmental impact of the offending product where it rightfully belongs: on the farmers who find it economical to use it.
Thank you, Alison Novak, for your story highlighting the accelerating risks for youth sparked by the looming legal cannabis market ["A Troubling Trend," April 14]. The topic really deserves much more attention. Legalization and commercialization are different, though often conflated, topics. My experience tells me that youth now also tend to believe that driving after drinking is wrong but that driving after using cannabis is somehow more acceptable. I believe the survey you mentioned may address this issue.
[Re Off Message: "Scott Proposes Divvying Up $1 Billion in Aid to Housing, Broadband and More," April 6]: This last year, the pandemic has upended our families, our communities and our world. Parent-child centers across Vermont have offered a constant safety net of support for families through it all. Parent-child centers have provided essential basic needs, such as access to food, diapers, technology tools to ensure education and service, and concrete financial supports to ensure or attain housing security. Parent-child centers have served as a lifeline to parents with young children who are isolated and at risk, both through virtual parent support and connection, as well as in-person supports. They have often delivered many of the vital resources and goods families needed but could not safely obtain.
The single mom who makes connections with other parents at a parent-child center playgroup creates a social safety net that provides the peer support to make it through the rough patches. The new father who gets a visit from a parent-child center home visitor can access the tools he needs to be the best father he can be.
When we invest in families getting the support they need, they are able to give back to healthy and strong communities. Now is the time to strengthen parent-child centers and make a policy investment in our network of services for children and families. Can we afford not to spend more on children and families? This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Invest in families; invest in children; invest in Vermont.
Kendall is codirector of the Family Center of Washington County.
[Re Off Message: "Demand, Prices Drive Construction of Multifamily Homes in Chittenden County," April 19]: This article breaks my heart a little. The inability and unwillingness to build in the majority of Vermont due to all the reasons stated is very valid and clearly a glaring issue. It is obvious to anyone who lives here. I am floored that towns and the legislature have not done more to solve this problem.
I am a young person who loves this state and desperately wants to buy a decent home here. I don't want to leave Vermont, but sometimes it feels silly to try to stay. If I travel an hour east into New Hampshire, there are plenty of reasonably priced homes for sale. Why can't we make that happen here? Just about everyone I talk to my age feels the same. It shouldn't be this hard.