Brian Garen writes with righteous indignation about the 15 percent increase in the cost of his health insurance under Obamacare [Feedback: "$ame Old Health Care" June 18]. He attributes this directly to the greedy insurance companies lining their pockets with green.
He chooses to ignore the fact that free or subsidized insurance is now provided for those who previously were either unable or chose not to buy their own health insurance. Where does he think that money comes from?
"Share the wealth" sounds great until it hits you in your own pocket.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
I enjoyed reading the article on Mark Powell and will try to connect with him and "talk turtle" when I next come to Vermont ["Shell Game," June 25]. I was concerned, though, that you printed how much one might sell these turtles for and how he trained his dog to find them. I think this might make it all too easy for unethical people, or someone desperate for money, to find them and try to sell them on the internet.
I think it could have been a good article without some of these details. All of us who work with our native turtles worry about these thefts and everyone you talk with has some story about losing turtles "to the trade." You might have gone on to say that turtles collected from the wild do not make good pets, can harbor diseases and most often die.
Hopefully your readers will want to learn more about these wonderful creatures, how to preserve their habitats, and how to support the individuals and groups trying to keep them part of our natural heritage for years to come.
Vermont is a state with a great history of personal freedoms ["Monkton Woman Arrested at Vermont Gas 'Knit-In' Protest," July 2]. Surely, when these women protested in such a peaceful manner, they should at least have gotten the hearing they requested. The action of calling the police was both rude and sexist. This company has shown that it has no regard for its customers, nor for our freedom of speech.
Nothing "Natural" About It
The article about the Monkton women knitting at Vermont Gas is great ["Monkton Woman Arrested at Vermont Gas 'Knit-In' Protest," July 2]. However, I would suggest you stop calling the fracked gas "natural," which is understood as "good" and "healthy." The fracked gas is mostly methane, which is natural but neither good nor healthy. Remember, arsenic is natural, too!
[Re Feedback: "Take the Bike Path," June 18]: As a New North End resident who often rides a bike to get where I need to go, I regularly use the Burlington Bike Path. The issue is that the path doesn't always get you where you're going. Headed to North Street? Sure, take the Bike Path and then climb Depot Street. Headed to Church Street? Sure, take the Bike Path and then climb College Street.
For many destinations, North Avenue is the easiest and most direct route, despite the fractured and sometimes nonexistent bike infrastructure along the corridor. Telling people on bikes to "use the bike path" is like telling people in cars to take Route 127 instead of North Ave. Sometimes it is a great option, but it doesn't always work if the suggested route doesn't really get you where you're going. Getting more people to choose bikes as a mode of transportation is as much about convenience as it is safety. Real bike lanes on North Avenue would provide both.
Sears No Savior
It is inconceivable to me that you would hold Sen. Dick Sears up as some kind of savior of children ["From State Ward to the Statehouse," June 18]. First, you should have looked at the businesses he's been involved in. Next, you should've looked at his history as chair of the judiciary committee.
My understanding is that these DCF gatherings weren't even legal hearings; Shumlin just wanted to make voters think they gave a damn about children. These were listening sessions because apparently no one listened when folks reported child abuse — many times on their own families. Secretary Doug Racine couldn't even bother to attend.
Sears was a member of pre-Act 60 senate hearings when at least three towns literally begged the committee not to pass the bill. He was chair of the judiciary when Vermonters instructed him to fire Judge Dooley and the 30-days-for-child-rape judge. Sears has never cared what Vermonters instructed. In fact, he has taken campaign contributions from the industrial prison system and passed regulations that fill out-of-state prisons.
Help children. Elect folks who know how to hire knowledgeable staffs rather than friends. Open the secret family courts. Let's elect judges, making them accountable to us — not the government. Enforce immigration laws so children are less likely to be trafficked for sex. Open all the truck inspection stations and fully staff them.
How many dead children will it take for you to make a change?
As a Montpelier city councilor, I take to heart the responsibility of holding and advancing the interests and ethic of our city and its residents [Off Message: "Boy Scouts Bow Out of Montpelier Parade Over National Policy on Gay Leaders," July 1]. Around the decision to allow the Boy Scouts to sell water at our Independence Day parade, I could not vote to allow a group that openly discriminates to use city property for its financial benefit. As a public official I cannot ignore the imperative to uphold equal rights for all. Still, the Boy Scouts provide fantastic educational and recreational opportunities to area youth, and my hope was that a council discussion might have discovered a workable solution. I encourage the Scouts to take Mayor Hollar's interest in continued conversation at face value and similarly invite that conversation.
Jessica Edgerly Walsh
The illustrator for last week's Work column, "Cooperative Counsel" [July 2], was misidentified. The artist is Phil Wassell.