[Re "Changing Stations," May 29]: In 2000, my husband, Michael, and I had not been married very long when we decided to take on a new venture, the Town and Country Motel on Shelburne Road in Burlington. Later, we redeveloped the land into Clock Tower Square. This entire time, we have been business neighbors with Ray Kaigle and Kaigle's Citgo. We have often said how lucky we have been to be next door to him all these years.
If you want to learn how to run a business, you watch Ray. If you want to see a great work ethic, watch Ray. If you want to know how to treat customers and retain them for years, watch Ray. If you want to know how to have a business in 2019 that thrives without the need of a website, watch Ray. He is there early, stays late, calls you if he sees something suspicious. If you are in a real jam, he will try hard to help. If he can't, he will find someone whom he personally knows can.
Thank you, Ray Kaigle; you will be missed. We look forward to hearing about your next chapter. Because if we learned anything from you, we know you will not be stopping anytime soon.
Better Bus Service
The article about the changes in bus service focused on the first-day confusion of riders facing schedule changes and the unreliability of Green Mountain Transit's computer tracking system ["Correct Change? Green Mountain Transit Rolls Out New Routes, Apps," June 19]. Most riders use the paper map and guide, and it is vastly improved — real maps for each route, not the sometimes-wandering squiggly red lines.
Of course on the first day there was confusion ... but most local buses now run every 20, not 30, minutes. Once people get used to the new schedules, this is a big improvement.
But the biggest change is on Sunday. Used to be that Sunday service was minimal — just 19 buses on three lines. Now Burlington buses run full Sunday schedules — 64 buses on all the local lines. You can visit Shelburne Museum on Sunday. Students can go from the University of Vermont to the airport with one bus, not two. There are year-round airport buses on weekends, not just Memorial Day to Columbus Day. And GMT has added a new bus to Barre.
Seven Days should have published an article before the changes went into effect, not after. It could have been informative and helpful and not written by someone who never rode the bus.
Thank you for [Nest: "Earth Angels," June 8] — a good primer into the art of helping to heal the Earth by tending to our yards with a goal of healthy soil. It is encouraging to hear the science in how we as individuals can help make a difference in climate warming.
Science offers us guidance following a better understanding of what constitutes healthy soils. Now our eyes view a perspective of the beauty of diversity (of living plants and insects). Now we know we can earn credit toward our "Earth angel" wings, while enjoying more insects, butterflies, dragonflies and birds — and many more startling and beautiful creatures alive in a healthy ecosystem.
In our yard, we are allowing nature to birth whatever she chooses, and she is surprising us with her diversity of color, height and ever-changing rebirth of flowering throughout the season. Our small, quiet electric mower diminishes nature's bounty only on curving pathways. As a friend said, "We now think of our lawn as an area rug, not wall-to-wall carpet."
Let's read more about the importance and value of growing native plants with wildlife value and landscaping attributes, planting for pollinators, the importance and value of insects, how to avoid and manage existing invasive plants, the de-lawning movement, permaculture, hellstrip plantings, and citizen science programs, so that we can earn our "Earth angel" wings.
Watch This Film
Sadly, the sci-fi movie High Life lasted only a week in a Burlington movie theater. Now, happily, it is available on Amazon. People interested in seeing this should refer to Margot Harrison's May 8 review of the film.
High Life is disturbing, dark, claustrophobic and deeply poetic. Claire Denis, as in her film Beau Travail about the modern French Foreign Legion, paints a haunting portrait of lives heading toward dead ends in horrible places. (Futurists out there with glorious hopes of generational spaceships might want to check out this film.)
Space is not a friendly place. It is a place that tests the very nature of humanity, and High Life details this with terrifying clarity. Robert Pattinson gives another terrific performance with this — once again — edgy choice of roles. High Life is not a Star Wars sort of film — nothing like it. It is moody, meditative and grim.
It is also a unique cinematic experience! Check out Margot's review for much more on this!
Parkway Is Outdated
The back-and-forth between city officials and an increasing number of opponents of the current Champlain Parkway design is familiar enough [Off Message: "Burlington Citizen Group Sues to Stop Champlain Parkway," June 11]. It masks a larger concern that is not being directly addressed: When faced with an imminent climate catastrophe, why do we keep doing things the same old way? Building a big new road — even with 95 percent federal funding — makes no sense at all at a moment in our city, country and planet when the whole transportation system needs to be rethought. We will look back (if we are still around) on the era of the automobile-centered society with amazement at our shortsightedness and self-indulgence.
The Parkway project reminds me strongly of the book Anasazi America, in which David Stuart describes the collapse of the Chaco Canyon civilization. Despite a radically changed climate and imminent disaster, one group of Anasazis insisted on continuing to build the ceremonial roads that ate up much of the dwindling resource base. It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now.
[Re "Priced for Scale: $8.5 Million Listing Could Limit Options for Burlington Cathedral," June 26]: Let's get real. There is nothing sacred about this building or the planted trees. Take it from one who knew the original church building: This was a poor substitute, uncomfortable and, in my opinion, not an inspiring design — rivaled by the new Shelburne library monstrosity. And the fact that Bishop Christopher Coyne is asking almost double the assessed value is obscene in itself.
Hopefully it will become a housing project, but I'm not sure who can afford it as an investment — unless it's high-priced condos, like much of the rest of the new construction in Burlington. Set your sights on real historic gems in town: the Sisters of Mercy motherhouse, Memorial Auditorium and, yes, the Moran Plant.
Sean Moran is the grandson of former Burlington mayor John Edward Moran, for whom the Moran Plant was named.
What Would Trotsky Do?
Paul Heintz's thorough exploration of Bernie Sanders and gun issues over the years misses an obvious explanation of Bernie's early hostility to gun control ["Stickin' to His Guns," June 26].
Bernie, being a Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party supporter, resonated with Leon Trotsky's bitter complaint against the Stalin regime that "The army not only has not been replaced by an armed people, but has given birth to a privileged officers' caste, crowned with marshals, while the people, 'the armed bearers of the dictatorship,' are now forbidden in the Soviet Union to carry even non-explosive weapons."
Trotskyites believe that the working class cannot rise up and seize power without possessing arms. When the State — whether czarist, capitalist or Soviet — suppresses or prohibits gun ownership among the working class, the State will crush the socialist revolution.
In recent years, Bernie has backpedaled from the Trotskyite fervor of his younger days to seek favor among left liberals (Democrats). How disgusted Trotsky would have been to watch this.
Hold Your Fire
Your recent coverage of Bernie Sanders is very telling. It tells us about the huge chip on your shoulder, which I presume is due to his refusal to do interviews with Seven Days reporters in the last few years. In this latest article, "Stickin' to His Guns" [June 26], you spend more space than any article I've seen in the paper, and it seems your main goal is to discredit him. I think the fact that he has evolved his stance on gun control is appropriate for the growing horror of gun violence we have in this country.
Rather than continue to run pieces that are obviously motivated by sour grapes, it would be so valuable to readers if Seven Days would research and run stories that serve to educate us about all of the presidential candidates. We have so few reliable news sources these days, and there are so many candidates.
No one should be surprised that Bernie Sanders basically called Seven Days liars on national TV [Off Message: "Sanders Disputes Seven Days Story During Democratic Debate," June 27]. Bernie's ambition has no shame.
For years his "Guns are a local issue" line has allowed him to avoid an honest and realistic federal approach to the horrendous slaughter of innocent Americans, especially children, because Bernie was terrified of angry gun owners rallying against him.
Facts are facts; Bernie's statements and quotes are not "mischaracterizations." He made statements he may now wish he hadn't, but that doesn't make reporters who quote him liars.
Authentic Bernie, the reformer who milks campaign funds for personal gain, is wearing a little thin.
Mahoney is a former Burlington city councilor.