A Little History...
The little building pictured in your article [WTF: "What's With All the Tiny Houses in Burlington?" May 6] was actually Sharon's Market. I was brought up across the fence in the back on Front Street. The Sharons lived in the house right next door back in the '50s, maybe into the '60s. We used to jump the fence and run over to the store to buy penny candy. I am not sure when it actually closed. It is kind of amazing when you look at the size of the building.
Don't Mention It
[Re "'Super' Man? Following the Next Leader of Burlington's Schools," May 13]: Your reporter writes in her story about incoming Burlington schools superintendent Yaw Obeng that his wife is white. From the accompanying photo, Obeng is obviously not white. It has no value to note that Obeng's wife is white, other than to create an issue.
Daniel G. Cohen
Editor's note: The race of Obeng's wife — precisely because it is different from his — is relevant information in a story about a school superintendent who was hired in part because he has worked with people of different ethnicities and cultures. The article suggests that being in an interracial marriage, and having mixed-race children, add to Obeng's qualifications to lead the most diverse school district in Vermont.
Pourquoi Pas, Obeng?
Superintendent Yaw Obeng has a sweet opportunity to uplift Burlington's students and our region's economy by implementing a universal bilingual school curriculum ["'Super' Man? Following the Next Leader of Burlington's Schools," May 13]. He's been well prepared via his career thus far in the bilingual school systems of New Brunswick and Ontario.
Ours is the only U.S. city of its size that has more native French-speaking than English-speaking residents within a two-hour radius. Our parks, marinas, restaurants and retailers need many more bilingual staff to welcome all our potential visitors. In 2011, the Burlington City Council unanimously called upon the school department to ensure that all our youth acquire basic familiarity with French, as well as French-derived history and culture. Superintendent Obeng knows how to do this, as well as the impact bilingualism can have on our kids' intellectual achievement.
There is wide approval of our magnet school project and the results it has achieved for our elementary system. We can build upon it by starting a magnet bilingual immersion curriculum in another one of our elementary schools. Perhaps the Flynn School is a good candidate, where there is already a significant neighborhood cohort of African immigrants from French-speaking families. When a kindergarten classroom starts out with a good split between the two native language groups, it can implement a 50-50 French/English school day with just one bilingual teacher. Such classrooms are presently gaining popularity in New York, Texas, Maine and elsewhere. Welcome, Mr. Obeng!
Your piece on border watching ["Lonely Vigil," May 6] was first written by George Orwell in 1949. He called his version 1984.
[Re "Sitting Senator Faces Sordid Sex Charges, May 13]: The worst part of the story about Sen. Norm McAllister being an alleged serial rapist and gentleman farmer pimp is probably what won't come to light. Namely, how could McAllister have been doing what he's been doing for years and his male colleagues in the legislature: No. 1 didn't know; No. 2 knew, but didn't care; No. 3 suspected, but didn't care; or No. 4 have some "secrets" of their own.
McAllister's roommates in Montpelier, Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) and Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington), sound like Sergeant Schultz: "I know nothing; I see nothing." Just how much sexual exploitation of young women and young "interns" has been going on, boys?
I think another special counsel is needed for this one. I believe, years ago, Rachel Weston tried to get the appropriate people to look at McAllister, but she was sandbagged. No wonder these guys hold "secret meetings" — despicable if this situation is not thoroughly investigated.
[Re Off Message: "Border Patrol Under Fire for Using Stun Gun on Woman, May 12"] I drove to Burlington from Québec City in late 2012 because a friend was dying of cancer in the Vermont Respite House in Williston. I started to feel unwell on the way with what turned out to be a 24-hour stomach bug. I was one hour from puking and feeling a bit dizzy when I crossed the border in Swanton, and the custom agent declared I looked like a "Nervous Nellie."
She asked me: Why did I have such a large suitcase if I was only staying in Vermont for three days? What was my dying friend's name? His place of birth? How long had I known him?
The way I was "greeted" at the border of my homeland, trying to do something good for a terminally ill friend of 31 years, was saddening and demoralizing on several levels. If I weren't feeling so bad, I'd have pulled over and written everything down. If it happens again, I will.
Québec City, Canada
Evans is a U.S. citizen who lived in Burlington for 22 years.
[Re Fair Game: "Neighbor in Need," April 29]: So Windsor County State's Attorney Michael Kainen never posted the $30,545 "job," never interviewed anyone else but Vermont Senate Pro Tem John Campbell (the same J.C. who "warned" or scared folks about out-of-state "drug dealers" with automatic weapons), "whined a fair amount," drove by his house, all to give Campbell the "make-work" position Campbell created? And Vermont Sen. Diane Snelling only "felt" distressed and used?
This should immediately disqualify Campbell from office holding, so let's get the Vermont attorney general on it right away. Oh, snap! He's under investigation, too? No problem, I'm betting Sorrell will be soon "cleared" with no penalties or sanctions, so he can "clear" Campbell. Something stinks bad in this state, and it's not just the liquid crap covering the fields.
I thought for sure I was going to be reading about Scout's Honor in Waitsfield ["Way Beyond Vanilla," May 13]. You may want to add a note if they aren't related in any way. And I'm pretty sure they use grass-fed local dairy as well. Kudos on trying something out of the box, Scout & Co.! I have to try the oak-dill combo!