Making a Move
Milton has come a long way ["Milton's Metamorphosis: A Plan in Place for a Real Downtown," August 10]. I remember when it was junkyards and trailers. Where Sears is, there used to be a big junkyard.
I would love to live in Milton, but I do agree that the lack of a downtown hurts it slightly. This can be said for many communities like Milton. South Burlington has been trying for decades to establish a downtown core, and that is still in the planning stages.
In Katie Jickling's recent article ["In the Weeds," August 3], which profiles Mike Bald's efforts to combat invasive plants in Vermont, Jickling gives voice to a statement that was not substantiated or fact-checked. Bald claims that the Nature Conservancy had no notes on a five-year project to remove Japanese knotweed. Not only is this incorrect, no one at the Nature Conservancy was contacted to answer to this claim. The Nature Conservancy staff collected data four times a year for a span of five years on our Japanese knotweed management efforts. The information has informed our continued efforts on Japanese knotweed management at several preserves. We have shared our approaches in dozens of public training workshops.
Invasive plants are indeed a critical challenge in our region. Thank you for coverage of the issue.
Paul is director of critical lands and conservation science at the Nature Conservancy in Vermont.
Pooh-Pooh the Po-Po Platter
I have just seen the new Po-Po Platter feature in the latest Seven Days ["Last Seven," August 17]. The column will apparently feature "dumb criminals" and their silly antics.
Most people who commit crimes do so out of a total sense of desperation and lack of alternatives or an unwanted addiction that is controlling their lives. I don't want to be an "old man yelling at clouds," but featuring these down-on-their luck Vermonters, and subjecting them to more community ridicule, hardly appears to be the empathy I expect in Seven Days. Even the column title adds to their humiliation.
What does Seven Days perceive as the purpose of the Po-Po Platter? I hope a cooler head reconsiders this addition.
Editor's note: Po-Po Platter is a new, local version of News Quirks, a popular syndicated feature we used to run. We won't feature certain types of violent crime, and we aim to report offbeat police news with a little more context than police reports give. Finally, "po-po" is a slang term for the police, not poor people.
[Re Off Message: "Opinion: Judge Rainville's Soft Racism," August 15]: This is a really strange column from Judith Levine. She ignores the fact that the initiating call was a false report intended as revenge. No erratic driving occurred, as defendant Kareem Louard was likely aware.
Yes, he was driving under a suspended license — a fact that would not have been discovered, incidentally, without a false report. Nor would Louard have been caught driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content that 10 minutes later would have been under the legal limit and likely did not impair his driving even at 0.09.
It's not outrageous for Judge Gregory Rainville to compliment Louard for reacting well after being stopped under effectively false pretenses. Many others, white or black or Christmas-red-and-green, might not have.
Common in the Courthouse
It's interesting that, apparently, Ms. Levine hasn't spent a lot of time in courtrooms [Off Message: "Opinion: Judge Rainville's Soft Racism," August 15]. That type of exchange between the judge and public defender is routine among defendants of all races, as other commenters have noted.
What I find interesting, though, is that Levine doesn't seem to realize that criminal law is typically far more focused on deeds and facts than intentions and motives. It's ironic, then, that she sees fit to judge [public defender Lucas] Collins' and the judge's motivations.
What was her intent and what subjective measure did she use? I won't guess.
In His Orbit
Thank you for this reminder that "Spaceman" Bill Lee is running for governor of Vermont during this election cycle ["The Spaceman Who Would Be King," August 17]. I had forgotten about this fact and had been wondering about whom to vote for, given that neither Phil Scott nor Sue Minter will gain my vote in the general election.
At least now, in all seriousness, I have someone to vote for, and that will be Bill Lee, as well as the Liberty Union Party. Who knows? With Bill Lee's help, the party might break the threshold it needs to gain major-party status within the state.
Morgan W. Brown
Noise Is Coming
[Re Off Message: "Air Show Noise Sets Off Some Burlington Residents," August 12]: The recent Wings Over Vermont Air Show in Burlington that featured the U.S. Air Force F-16 Thunderbirds exhibition team should be a profound wake-up call to all the Chittenden County residents who were impacted by the intense noise levels and low-level passes over their homes and neighborhoods.
Up until now, many of you may have been shielded from the worst of the effects of military jets roaring over your community. But when the F-35s arrive in Vermont in 2019, they will be four times louder than the current F-16s, and you will not be able to hide from the assault on your and your family's senses, health and tranquility, or protect them from potentially catastrophic crash consequences.
If you are not willing to accept the scenario of paying some of the highest real estate prices and property taxes in Vermont to live in Chittenden County, while having to suffer from the kinds of noise impact that you heard during the air show (and worse!), please go today to the Stop the F-35 website. If you are not familiar with the issues of the F-35s in Vermont, the site offers a wealth of information about the projected negative effects of the future F-35 basing.
Bernie's New Digs
[Re Off Message: "Bernie Sanders Buys Summer Home in North Hero," August 8]: I'm going to make my reservations at Chez Bernard for next summer's vacation. After all, it would only be fair for Bernie to share his good fortune with the peasants of Vermont.
The Bernie haters here need some education. That man has done more for the difficult maturation of this country than anyone I've known in my lifetime.
Good for him! It is a great area. To the haters: Get a grip.