Letters to the Editor (8/17/22) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (8/17/22)


Published August 17, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Satisfied 'Citizen'

Just wanted to say what a great program you've put together in the Good Citizen Challenge. My daughter has been completing tasks all summer, and it has been a lot of fun for the whole family. We've learned tons about our town's history and landmarks and place names; we watched the congressional Democratic primary debate as a family and talked about the issues together. (Honestly, I doubt my husband and I would have made the time to watch it without this little push.)

My husband and daughter made our town clerk's day by showing up at the town hall to do a deed search and talk to her about her job, and our family took a day trip to Montpelier to check out the Vermont History Museum and the Statehouse, which was such a fun day.

This challenge has really given us something to structure our summer around that doesn't cost any money, doesn't require much travel and is fun to do together. So, thank you!

I am a public librarian here in Morrisville, and I am already plotting and scheming a Good Citizen Challenge club as part of next year's summer programming, to get kids together to work on challenges.

Maggie Cleary


Deconstructing the Daysies

Congratulations to all the Daysies winners [All the Best, August 3]! I'm interested to know how one gets on the ballot! I am the owner of Main Wellness Works, a local company that provides services in workplace health promotion, health coaching, fitness and yoga in a private South Burlington studio. Main Wellness Works is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is surviving the pandemic.

Heather Main

South Burlington

Editor's note: The Seven Daysies are our readers' choice awards. Seven Days creates the categories, but readers write in to nominate their favorite people and places. To determine our Daysies finalists, and then winners, we simply tally our readers' votes.

'Public' Outcry

[Re Last 7: "Emoji That," June 29]: What is Vermont Public? Here in Key West, Fla., there is a great grocery store, Publix. Could it be a new grocery chain coming to Vermont? Or maybe it's a new public utility, or perhaps another public service board.

How many Vermonters does it take to change a light bulb? Four: one to change the bulb and three to talk about how great the old bulb was. Yes, Vermont Public Radio has a nice ring to it; Vermont Public means nothing to me.

James Dwinell

Key West, FL

'Bravo, Miro'

[Re "State Auditor: Vermont's Soaring Spending on Homelessness Lacks Vision," July 28]: It's worth noting the time and resources Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger spent on a new City Hall Park while simultaneously turning a blind eye to Battery Park — in the Old North End, of course. He allows folks to pitch tents whenever and wherever they want. Some are even migrating into the park extension going down Battery Street. A special few are getting free laundry and bathroom services, as they are utilizing the public fountain for those purposes.

Bravo, Miro, on your utter lack of involvement in this matter!

Jennie Elsman


Country Mind, City Mind

Strange, isn't it, how much pleasure

you feel,

watching the spirals

of the sprinkler, sparkling

their circles.

Listening to their ticking

stream and spray.

Imagining the grass


to morning's unqualified


Votes are in, counted.

Someone's waiting to be


Two years from now. Another

round of this.

In our country, the pleasure

of not knowing.

You like thinking of

the mind

as lawn and pavement.

A government

of squealing children

running through

a sprinkler.


Even there.

Gary Margolis


Where to Eat

I would like to suggest that the wonderful restaurant articles you write include a physical address. I am 76, and it would be easier for me to try a new restaurant if I knew where it was located.

Jean Parker


Editor's note: With rare exceptions, such as the illustrated "Field Guide to Fancy-Pants Ice Cream, Gelato and Creemees in Burlington" (July 26), Seven Days does provide restaurant street addresses in print. They may be in the text of the article or in an info box at the bottom.

New Newspapers?

Seven Days eulogizing the Burlington Free Press is premature ["Stayin' Alive," July 6]. Like Kodak, which invented and could have debuted digital photography but bankrupted itself sticking with film, legacy newspapers chose denial.

Meanwhile, innovation is replacing or reviving them: Seven Days is a weekly example in Vermont, as VTDigger.org is a daily example. Family-owned since 1799, New Hampshire's Keene Sentinel is another daily example.

Exemplarily innovative, the University of Vermont's Center for Community News is expanding nationwide, "training citizens at every stage of life on the ethics, mechanics, and skills of responsible local journalism." Carrying their smartphones, these trained citizens can cover and file their stories from anywhere.

Time was when local newspapers hereabouts had a stringer in every village — and avid readers.

Time is when they can return with their local knowledge, holding one's notebook, recorder, camera and typewriter in one hand.

Meanwhile, professional journalists can cover broader and deeper stories and edit every story.

What a newspaper this would be!

Howard Fairman


'Good Old Days' of Local Journalism

["Stayin' Alive," July 6] shows what is happening to the print news industry all across the country. I still subscribe to our local Barre-Montpelier Times Argus in central Vermont but am finding more and more that there is actually no local coverage. I just like the feeling of holding a paper copy instead of having to look at a screen.

I've been a news junkie since I was a small child living on a dairy farm in Waitsfield in the 1940s. Our one source of real news was the Burlington Free Press. We received it a day late with our mail, but it was always many pages long, full of all sorts of advertisements, photos, and local and national news: what was happening during World War II and in Washington, D.C., as well as local columns about happenings in Waitsfield, Moretown, Warren, etc., sent in by local writers.

They kept us up-to-date on weddings, birthday parties, deaths, visits of neighbors, relatives coming home from who knows where, etc. Nostalgia for the good old days!

Mary Alice Bisbee


Securing Society

["Crime Seen: Long-Term Data From Burlington Police Show Overall Decline," June 25] cites that after-the-fact tough prosecutions are not working out and suggests that coming up with resources to work toward prevention for a better community is a better approach.

But do we have a community to begin with? The fact that psychology and not sociology prevails here tells you something. In Europe, it's just the opposite. Take homelessness, for example. Shelter is a right there, and every citizen is entitled to a roof — not a cardboard box. That, along with national health care, daycare, paid sick leave, etc., costs taxpayer money. This is not a shortsighted investment, since it results in a more secure society worthy of its name. No, they're not utopias, and you do have random shootings, but not on a wholesale level.

So, what's it to be?

Tom MacDonald


'Anti-Woman From Every Angle'

[Re "Leaked SCOTUS Abortion Ruling Is Likely to Buoy Prop 5 Support in Vermont," May 3, online; "Supreme Court's Roe Decision Prompts Protests, Condemnation in Vermont," June 24, online; "Democratic AG Candidates Want Abortion 'Safe Harbor' Laws," June 27, online; From the Publisher: "Woe Is Roe," June 29]: The underlying message with overturning Roe v. Wade is that this will end abortions. Amid all the shouting on both sides, the fact that abortions will continue to occur, as they have for millennia, is being lost. In this brave new (old) world, each state can now create its own unique barriers to safe and sterile abortions. This is anti-woman from every angle. Imagine how different things would be if men could grow babies and not just plant the seed.

Monique Hayden


Abortion Kills

Just a few comments on [From the Publisher: "Woe Is Roe," June 29]: You say the right to end a pregnancy was an established constitutional guarantee. This statement is inaccurate, because if the right to end a pregnancy were written in the Constitution, it could not have been changed or erased without changing the Constitution. The right to privacy was given by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, and what the court giveth, it can taketh away.

The debate is sprinkled with code words like "abortion" and "fetus." "Abortion" is the termination of a pregnancy, and "fetus" is a developing human. These words sound very sterile and medical, but what really happens is that a preborn boy or girl is killed so that the mother can continue her career or education or feel ready for a child. She wants the pleasure of sex without the natural result of sex.

This problem could be avoided if you do not have sex until you are ready for a child — or, if you do have sex, you accept the natural result.

This is not a problem for Vermont women, who will continue to have the right to terminate a pregnancy, but they should think before they act, because abortion is the killing of a preborn girl or boy.

Thomas Prindiville

East Barre

Calling All Men

[Re "Supreme Court's Roe Decision Prompts Protests, Condemnation in Vermont," June 24]: Simply, men bear equal responsibility for unwanted pregnancies. Since 1973, those pregnancies have been covered by abortion services throughout the nation. The recent Supreme Court decision ushers in a new era for the fight for full reproductive services throughout the U.S.

With Roe overturned, I feel strongly that men need to speak up and provide those who have lost access to legal abortion with significant support in terms of money for transportation, housing, medical care and mental health support.

Alongside women who choose abortion, men have their own stories and need to share these stories with friends and in the media. Our stories highlight the other part of the pregnancy equation: Without men, pregnancy cannot happen.

It is common to feel comfortable in Vermont about abortion access because our leaders are not governed by religious ideology and voters support reproductive services. Because this access will be denied in many places in the U.S., I propose that we set up a fund in Vermont: Vermont Men for Abortion. VMA would initially collect a minimum of $100 per quarter from at least 100 Vermont men who know the value of abortion services. These funds would go to carefully vetted organizations focused on providing access to abortion services in states where access is now illegal.

My conversations with other men to date have revealed a growing interest in this endeavor. This is a time for all men to stand up and be counted. Are you with us? Please contact me at mark.furnari@gmail.com.

Mark Furnari

South Burlington

Better Abortion Law

In the June 29 issue of Seven Days, Paula Routly gave a powerful condemnation of the abortion bans that are being passed in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision [From the Publisher: "Woe Is Roe"]. But as we continue to fight back against these laws, it's important to remember that political extremism can cut both ways — and, right now, Vermont has one of the most polarized abortion laws in the country.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 87 percent of Americans are opposed to elective third-trimester abortions, but Vermont law permits abortion "for any reason or no reason" at all stages of pregnancy. It's possible to be pro-choice while acknowledging that aborting a fetus in its third trimester — when it is so highly developed that it could theoretically survive outside of the womb — carries a huge amount of ethical baggage.

Vermont doesn't need to be this way. The state could become a leader in passing the kind of abortion legislation most Americans support: protecting the procedure in the first trimester; prohibiting it in the third, with exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies; and thoughtfully navigating the gray area in between.

Instead, state leaders are introducing Proposal 5 on our November ballots, which would essentially write Vermont's current laws into the state constitution. The solution to the abortion debate isn't going to be found at either extreme of the political spectrum, and I hope that our leaders can be more thoughtful in legislating the most divisive political issue of our time.

Elias Leventhal


Life Is God-Given

[Re "Considering Abortion? Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers in Vermont Provide Misleading Information, Critics Charge," July 27]: A retired registered nurse with 40 years of experience, I volunteer at Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central Vermont as an intake person. I have never seen or heard clients judged on their lifestyles. Empowering them to be good parents and giving adequate support during and after pregnancy is the mission.

The choice they make after getting a positive pregnancy test is an informed one. We pray for the individual and with them, if that is their choice. CNP is a faith-based ministry that works with local resources to support the clients.

I make no apology for the fact that, on a biblical basis, I believe abortion is ending life — not just scooping DNA cells from a woman's womb.

Professionally and personally, I have seen some of the aftereffects of abortion. It is my opinion that CNP does not disseminate lies about any of that.

When you enter a faith-based facility with the mindset of They must be wrong or telling lies, I can see how one is predisposed to that opinion.

I respect Planned Parenthood for the reproductive health care it provides women in our community — just not abortion. I only ask the same respect be given to CNP for what it does to help women have quality (physically and mentally) healthy lives.

Read the Bible, and you'll find life is God-given! Thank you for listening.

Cecile Gendron


Father Knows Best?

I congratulate Alison Novak for summarizing the startling discovery that Vermont in fact has Christians engaged in the culture wars ["Considering Abortion? Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers in Vermont Provide Misleading Information, Critics Charge," July 27].

I do not like the phrase "war over reproductive rights," but if we are using that terminology, then, as a Catholic, I side with religiously sympathetic ethics in the battle against the constant advances of utilitarianism. To those who think abortion is an absolute good for women, and thus for the world, I can say little here in helpful dialogue with the Christian philosophy of existence. I can only hope and pray they encounter good Christians.

But, for other matters, I offer the following clarifications. I welcome debate about the Turnaway Study, finished not in 2020 but in 2016. The conclusions are still praised popularly, though deeply lacking. The full video of A Life Symposium, held in Vermont on October 2, 2021, contains Dr. Helen Alvare's stunning scholarly summary. Lack of participant retention, of cohort consistently and of thorough study controls makes the findings hardly conclusive for abortion's claims for women's betterment.

An even greater analysis is published by Priscilla K. Coleman online, in full, through Frontiers in Psychology. My prior knowledge about this one area of contention, thrown into the article in a misleading way, makes me desirous of researching the other claims, trying to tackle the tendency to oversimplification in both directions. I hope others have some time to do the same.

Father Timothy Naples

South Burlington

Seven Days' Revenge?

[Re "Considering Abortion? Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers in Vermont Provide Misleading Information, Critics Charge," July 27]: Seven Days recently made a contribution that could be perceived as a justification for the recent domestic terrorism called Jane's Revenge. Instead of reporting about the 60 pregnancy resource centers that have been firebombed, vandalized and graffitied across the country, like most other media outlets, it only adds fuel to the flame. This doesn't seem like a sincere pursuit of equity or truth. Instead, it gives off revenge vibes.

Since you only have testimonies from two biased visitors to Aspire Now, let me give a perspective that's a bit more informed. My wife worked at Aspire Now for some years, and I have been a supporter even longer. I have seen some of its work firsthand. Most of its long-term clients are low-income Burlingtonians who want resources for raising their children. Some are parents who have had their children taken away by the Department for Children and Families (many, arguably, for wrong reasons) and want help getting their kids back. Some are University of Vermont students checking if they are pregnant or have an STD. Aspire Now is worthy of everyone's support, even pro-abortionists. Instead of killing our most innocent community members — like Planned Parenthood does — it actually bolsters our community.

Also, if you attack pro-lifers for not caring about babies outside of the womb, you should think twice before attacking the very centers they've established to support them. While you wage your bloodthirsty war for so-called "reproductive rights," we'll continue to fight for the lives of innocent human babies.

Aaron Clark