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Letters to the Editor (8/19/15)

Published August 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated August 24, 2015 at 11:08 a.m.

Dog Park Is Working

In ["Fetching and Kvetching: A Dog Park Annoys Some of Its Neighbors," July 29] a neighbor is quoted saying, "People go over there, and they hang 'round in the middle of the park and chitchat while their dogs run rampant" — as if that isn't the entire point of a dog park! Dogs need to socialize, and so do their humans. The Starr Farm Dog Park has a great community of humans who keep a close eye on their dogs and separate them when things get too loud or aggressive. Making the park smaller would make it harder for owners to defuse incidents and thereby cause more noise, not less. And why would we charge for a volunteer-maintained dog park when we don't charge fees for much costlier basketball courts, tennis courts, trails, soccer or baseball fields, skate parks, or bike paths?

Alex Chaffee


Bad Connection

[Facing Facts, "Hello?" August 5] reports that FairPoint Communications recently acquired the contract to handle 911 calls in Vermont. What a joke! As a customer (for internet only, since they are incapable of providing telephone service with any reliability), I can predict the likelihood that someone in Vermont will die because of FairPoint's well-known inability to provide decent service. Who got paid what to allow this fiasco? Follow the money. A company that treats its employees like dirt and historically has provided substandard service should never have been granted a contract for services when lives depend on their capabilities.

Rick Levy


Bernie's Got Vision

Regardless of what Peter Diamondstone says, Bernie should get your vote ["A Former Ally Says Bernie Sanders Has Changed," July 29]. Diamondstone is clearly a thoughtful and caring guy, one who has stuck to his guns for a long time, and thus he deserves our respect. However, it just doesn't make sense to impugn his former colleague's integrity nor to ignore his many notable achievements.

And while we're on the topic of Bernie naysayers (are you listening, Barney Frank?), I would vote for anyone — female, male, black, white or green — with the level of integrity, effectiveness and compassion that Bernie has demonstrated over the course of his long political career. He's got the vision, the transformative ideas and the experience to get the job done in the right way, especially for the underdogs in our society.

So although I am sorry that Bernie's candidacy might harm Hillary Clinton's chances of finally grabbing the brass ring, his ability to saddle our former secretary of state with the prospect of having to continually trot toward the left is invaluable. Knowing Bernie, he'll continue to stir up the field by mounting a credible challenge to any and all Democratic contenders. So keep on campaigning yourself hoarse, Bernie, by giving voice to important issues that otherwise would not crop up. And know that many of us are betting on you to finish at the head of the pack. 

Russ Weis


Swimmer's Lament

[Re "Who Decides? New Buoys in Lake Champlain Roil Colchester Board," July 22]: If this were a perfect world where everyone was courteous, was aware of the safety of others and obeyed rules, we would not need traffic lights, stop signs or safety buoys. Unfortunately, people can be ignorant of laws, indifferent to the safety of others and just plain careless.

Last summer, as I was swimming in Lake Iroquois, I was hit by a careless boat driver. I was pulling a bright pink buoy, which doesn't help if the driver isn't looking. I had severe injuries from which I continue to recover. The driver was speeding in a no-wake zone near the shore.

Vermont law states that, "Within 200 feet of shore, dock, swim area, person in water and other vessels or anchorage, speed must be less than 5 miles per hour and must not create a wake." From a boat or land it is difficult to judge how far from shore this is. Putting safety buoys at 200 feet does not impede boat navigation in the least. It is a reminder to slow down and be aware of other users of the lake. Boats can proceed slowly within the 200 feet limit, as they must when no buoys are present. If we had better enforcement of boat laws, maybe kayakers and swimmers would not feel so vulnerable.

Colchester selectboard member Marc Landry states that the buoys create "a sense of exclusivity in that neighborhood that they're not entitled to." That is nonsense. What is created is a safety zone where users of the water might not have to fear the "literally hundreds of boats" that "park in that area on hot summer days."

Jane Marinsky


All About Entrepreneurs

Alicia Freese did a terrific job explaining some of the dynamics that affect the Burlington entrepreneurial ecosystem in her article "Ello, Goodbye? Some Startups Leave Vermont for More Populated Pastures," [July 29]. An entrepreneurial ecosystem is challenging to understand and has very different dynamics than the economy overall. The writer's willingness to interview and quote a variety of different sources was refreshing and added some depth to the story.

One of the great things about the maturing of the Burlington entrepreneurial ecosystem during the past five years is the plethora of events, gatherings and organizations that have sprung up to help focus attention on entrepreneurial activities and to help mentor and support entrepreneurs. FreshTracks Capital is pleased to have played a role in starting and growing a few of these organizations and pleased that the article mentioned our latest creation: Road Pitch. We wish to note that the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development's Department of Economic Development is a lead sponsor of the Road Pitch initiative and often supports various entrepreneurial events around the state.

Cairn Cross


Cross is a cofounder of FreshTracks Capital and a managing director of the fund.

Murphy's Law

I read the story about Murphy ["Dog Gone? Along Route 100, Finding Murphy Has Become a Community Quest," July 29] and have a dog that actually looks just like him. When Zorah was a puppy, I had her in the car and there was a jogger on the opposite side of the road, running. She got so excited barking that she fell out of the window. All the cars behind and coming toward me came to a stop. Then I noticed my dog was running down the middle of the road in the opposite direction, toward a house on the side of the road. I immediately pulled to the side of the road, jumped out and ran down the road after her. She wouldn't stop until one of the drivers grabbed her in the yard and calmed her down. At that point I was there, comforting her. She was shaking, poor baby, and I felt so guilty that I had the window down too low. To this day she barks continuously at anyone on the side of a road, whether walking or jogging. There is no stopping her! I'm just wondering if a more gentle approach should be taken with Murphy. No trapping or netting. Try luring him with food, a treat, or a puppy or cat. Try faking that you are hurt or something. Don't call his name. Just call him using "Pup" or "Baby," etc. Just a suggestion.

Genny Podolski

Tolland, CT

Time for an American Superintendent

It seems to me that with the rate our education dollars go up every year, we should not be spending money on getting a visa for the new superintendent [Off Message: "Burlington's Next School Chief Is Still Stuck in Canada," July 30]. In fact, we are hiring someone from out of the country. Can there really be no American citizen qualified to run the Burlington School District? I am quite dismayed over the decision by the school board to hire someone from another country, who has no legal status, to come and work in the U.S. I wrote to my representative and to the board chair with my comments. I am still waiting for a reply from either one.

Karen Kelley