I always enjoy reading your weekly newspaper. But did you really just publish a Money Issue [April 9] and not do a stand-alone story on the emerging, grassroots, statewide campaign calling for a public bank for Vermont? That 15 Vermont towns passed town-meeting resolutions calling on the state legislature to create such an entity? The UVM Gund Institute's 40-page research study explaining how a Vermont public bank could create 2,000-plus jobs and reinvigorate Vermont's entrepreneurial, infrastructural and economic landscape? Maybe next time.
Interested readers, meanwhile, may wish to google "Vermonters for a New Economy" or contact Montpelierite Gwendolyn Hallsmith, at firstname.lastname@example.org, to get involved.
Free Vermont, and long live the UNtied States!
[Re "Will the Keurig Green Mountain Cold-Cup Project Heat Up the Local Economy?" April 2]: The headline regarding KGM's cold-cup expansion could have read: "Will the Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Cold-Cup Project Heat Up the Global Environment?" Or how about: "Will the Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Cold-Cup Project Fill Up Global Landfills?"
Not a Shot
Correcting a correction [Feedback: "How Many Shots?" April 9]: In the U.S. and many other countries, a "shot," also known as a "standard drink," is defined as 1.5 ounces, but a "shot glass" can range from about one to a few ounces. Therefore, there are about 85 shots in a gallon (128 oz.), not 112.
Food writer Corin Hirsch responds: Shot amounts vary from culture to culture, bar to bar. Usually, it ranges from 1.5 to 2 ounces.
The Trouble with Tasers
[Re "Two Years After a Taser Death, a Reform Bill Comes Under Fire," March 19]: Tasers are weapons of intimidation — a "valuable tool," if your objective is to cause pain and fear in your "subject." We are allowing other human beings to use force to make us comply with a set of codified laws we may or may not agree with. Words such as "obey," "comply," "command," "defy" and "subdue" are not used in the language of equal beings. I reject any agency that dismisses murder. I specifically condemn Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell as most culpable.
We will never know the extent of Taser misuse because there is no independent organization to collect untainted data. So no, it is not OK to use a glorified cattle prod on me. It is not OK that you are armed against me. It is really not OK that you assume greater rights than I have and use terrorist tactics to enforce them.
I am a free being. I respect the rights of all other free beings and expect the same. Until each of us accepts this basic principle, we will continue to be victimized by some "authority."
Port Henry, N.Y.
In Response to NECI Nastygram
As a resident of Montpelier, I found Mr. Rapacz's letter criticizing NECI on Main in Montpelier pretty nasty and uncalled for. [Feedback: "Culinary Critic," March 26]. There are currently many excellent places to eat in the city, with NECI being one of them. They are all pretty much competitively priced, and are in the same price point of each other. Our college-operated restaurant tries to buy local products and support local farmers while keeping our prices affordable for people in Montpelier who choose to try NECI. We are proud of our "checkered-pants" students, who run all over town and bring their out-of-state dollars to Montpelier. I might suggest that Mr. Rapacz dine where his wallet and culinary taste belong, which is at one of the many drive-up-window establishments on the Barre-Montpelier Road.
Flies is executive vice president of NECI.
New Age's Other Artists
[Re "King of the Hill," April 2]: Windham Hill's and Will Ackerman's fortunes clearly soared on the New Age trend or, as I labeled it, "Pinkelmusik" or "60 Minutes on Three Chords." The whole space-out, navel-gazing trip was anathema to me, so I object very strongly to any mention of Windham Hill without what I consider to be, artistically, it's real root core. I understand Ackerman's objection to the New Age tag but find his preference for "New Acoustic" insulting to the huge global catalogue of instrumental music of many genres, practitioners of which would rightly object to being relegated to the dusty basement, historically speaking, by such a presumptuous label.
Windham Hill had many fine artists, but I can attest that sales-wise, they paled in comparison to George Winston. But if Windham Hill is to receive any respect at all from me, it definitely stems from those truly rooted folk, Celtic and jazz idioms and not the insipid tinkling on the ivories and cash register. To think that this whole article made no mention at all of the incredible duo Mike Marshall and Darol Anger, and Nightnoise (Billy Oskay, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill, Brian Dunning and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill) provokes anger of the spitting variety in this music lover. Any mention of these artists on any recording whatsoever, in even passing involvement, immediately catches my interest. They absolutely deserve Ackerman and Dan Bolles's utmost respect, too.
James Dylan Rivis
We're still getting feedback about Kathryn Flagg's March 19 cover story, "Two Against a Town," about a lesbian couple in Addison — Barbara Supeno and Barbara Ernst, known as "the Barbaras" — who are suing the town for sexual discrimination.
I'm not sure that the issue is as simple as "the Barbaras are gay, and people in Addison don't like them for that reason." It sounds like the issue is broader than that, more of an old-Vermont-versus-new-Vermont conflict. (Yes, a higher percentage of new than old Vermonters are probably gay and out, but there are other differences as well.) The Barbaras sound like they are probably relatively well-to-do from their property values, they are committed environmentalists (and perhaps politically highly progressive in other ways) and they are "from away." Addison is a relatively traditional town, with a lot of people who have been living in the same way for a long time. Vermont has changed radically in the past 50 years, and it has gone more smoothly than in many other parts of the country, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been any conflict. Yet reducing it to only a matter of sexual orientation seems to do a disservice to both sides.
I have lesbian friends and relatives whom I love. I do not like "the Barbaras." Here's why: I was hired by Barbara Ernst to design, supply and install an energy recovery ventilation system in their new house. After completion of the work, Ernst ignored my invoices, statements, letters and phone calls to try and collect the money owed to me. After months of this, I successfully sued her in small-claims court, only to be answered some months later by a letter from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court stating that Ernst declared bankruptcy and was discharged from having to pay the money she owes. I suspect I am not the only contractor to work on this house who helped pay for their "$200-a-night" income property. From the article, I see a pattern of using the legal system to get what they want. In John Lennon's words, "How do you sleep at night?" Karma? I hope so.
To all the unfortunate persons in Addison who feel they are experiencing discrimination: discrimination is really indiscriminate. We should be thankful for those moments of clarity when we can look at another person and see some goodness because, unfortunately, human nature inclines us toward the negative. At the slightest provocation we can easily focus on our differences to great detriment of all that we have in common.
I apologize in advance to all who have a legitimate claim to discrimination but do not find themselves included among these individuals or groups occasionally subjected to discrimination. In no particular order: flatlanders, rednecks, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, atheists, Jesus peddlers, the unemployed, workaholics, alcoholics, social climbers, Democrats, Republicans, independents, telemarketers, blacks, whites, Native Americans, Italians, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, cross-dressers, Germans, tall women, short men, fatties, Mexicans, New Yorkers, incumbent politicians, pacifists, anarchists, clerks, suits, unwed mothers, single fathers, the destitute, the sort-of poor, the filthy rich, the uneducated, beer drinkers, wine drinkers, tea drinkers, cat lovers, cat haters, dog owners, truck drivers, Saab drivers, old fogies, youth, town managers, selectmen, IRS agents, lawyers, cops, tax collectors, dwarfs, punk rockers, rappers, trailer trash, blondes, brunettes, redheads, vegetarians, carnivores, lap dancers (wives hate them), authors, couch potatoes, advocates for the missionary position, bad kissers, bad lovers, the FDA, CIA, NSA, PTA, priests, nuns, hippies, prostitutes, pimps, druggies, hitchhikers, governors, the president, his wife, Congress and ... well, you get the idea.
First the Barbaras take their neighbors to court, get control of their land and use the original permits they were battling to build a house that they rent for $200 per night? If they aren't guilty of anything else, they are guilty of hypocrisy in the first degree. My family has eight generations in Addison County, and I'm sad to see that this salt-of-the-earth community is being abused by people who have no concept of "live and let live." I also think it's beneath contempt for the Barbaras to use their sexual preference as a weapon in a community that supported gay marriage being passed into law in the first state to do so. Real Vermonters don't go around hiring lawyers. If they have something to say, they say it straight up and in your face. So, Barbaras: I say I love fags. Go ahead and sue me.