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Letters to the Editor (8/19/20)

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Map Check

[Re Bite Club: "New Yorkers Bring New Indian Restaurant to Burlington," August 10]: This news is very welcome, as I live close by. A geographic correction: While Gujarat is south of Punjab, it is not southern India. Part of it borders Pakistan, and it is north of Mumbai.

Julia Curry

Burlington

No Stone Unturned

[Re "Legacy Edition," August 5]: I'm Gordon Stone's cousin and live in Montpelier. We were both born the same year and had known each other through our entire lives. I have no memories of his biological mother and can say he had, at best, a complicated relationship with his stepmom. I, like so many others, had always been in awe of his musical talent and achievements. And I also watched in horror, and then detachment, his descent into various substance addictions. In recent years we had limited contact, except for most Thanksgivings, when we would invite him and his wife, Jennifer, over. 

I wanted to commend Dan Bolles on his article. It was extremely well written. More importantly, it provided a spot-on portrait of Gordon. It had a core resonation of truth. What an awful, awful tragedy addiction is, as Gordon's life painfully shows us. It is really important to tell the whole story, and in this article Dan did an outstanding job. There were even a handful of things that I had forgotten about Gor!

Chris Stone

Montpelier

Great Article, Bad Headline

Dan Bolles' article about Gordon Stone is as fine and moving a work of music journalism as any I've read in years ["Legacy Edition," August 5]. The dry headline doesn't do justice to the contents.

Raph Worrick

Cornwall

Sociobiologically Speaking...

[Re WTF: "Insecure Mask-ulinity," August 5]: Rather than speculating about insecure masculinity and such, why not investigate mask resisting from the perspective of sociobiology? A common phenomenon observed across many species is that males take inordinate risks — risks that threaten their survival — as a sort of "fitness performance." Male peacocks, for example, have such long tails that they would be hard-pressed to escape a hungry fox. The fact that they have them shows that they are extra strong. Similarly, male antelopes fleeing a predator take an extra second to leap higher than necessary. This demonstration of fitness is more likely to land them a mate.

It would be interesting to see if human males who resist masks are more likely to be single, are more likely to be in the age range most likely to be seeking mates, or are more likely to resist masks at the times of year when humans are most likely to mate. If this hypothesis were to be borne out by the data, it would be much more useful in convincing men to change their behavior. Rather than hear, "You are an insecure-masculinity jerk," wouldn't you rather hear, "That's unconscious biology taking you over; you can be smarter than that"? 

Ann Stanton

Montpelier

On the Wrong Course

[Re Off Message: "UVM Details Plan to Resume In-Person Classes This Fall," June 15; "Weinberger Questions UVM's Plan to Prevent Fall Outbreaks," August 6; "Despite Mayor's Concerns, UVM Stands By Its Reopening Plan," August 11]: The generally chaotic and rapidly evolving plans and epidemiological context for reopening campuses create enormous uncertainty. Here, where we have been much more successful than many states in containing the pandemic, there's risk that success may be fleeting. More students seem to have summered in Vermont than typically do, and their enthusiasm for masks and social distance has not been evident.

Though colleges all have plans, none in Vermont has testing protocols as rigorous as recommended in an August 2 New York Times story headlined "Covid Tests and Quarantines: Colleges Brace for an Uncertain Fall." The article suggests that the variety and range of approaches including hybrid or face-to-face instruction will soon prove untenable.

Burlington has been lax about overcrowding in units rented to students, and the University of Vermont appears even less inclined now than previously to adhere to its published requirement that first- and second-year students live on campus. 

In the midst of a pandemic, these propensities are dangerous.

Michael Long

Burlington

Time for a Backup Plan

[Re Off Message: "Brookfield Looks to Abandon Stalled CityPlace Burlington Project," July 22]: Can we take this time to prepare a plan in case Brookfield goes forward with abandoning CityPlace? Yes!

One idea is to scale the project over five years with a plan developed by a "Local Rethink Task Force" of local architects, developers and citizens. The goal: attracting locals and tourists to downtown with a "Food First" strategy. 

Let's create a Burlington-scale, Vermont-style version of Boston's Faneuil Hall with two floors of food vendors, farmers, artists, buskers and more! Let's build a cutting-edge, world-class net-zero building with amazing ventilation systems and a greenhouse! Let's cover the seasons with indoor and outdoor spaces. (A third floor could be for fun activities, with pool, ping-pong, a dance hall, a bar and lake views.) How about a parking lot with solar panel-covered parking spots — and a sculpture park?

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy may help get funding in a new Congress. It could be named "Marcelle Hall."

Over the five-year plan, downtown housing and other options can be added. Isn't it time to make a doable backup plan? 

Steph Holdridge

Williston

Too Late to Matter

Seven Days is proud of its political coverage [Inside Seven Days: "Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of Politics in 25 Years," August 13], but that important work has been useless to me as an early voter. A revealing article ["Dose of Reality: How David Zuckerman Has Spun His Record on Vaccine Mandates," August 3] might have changed votes in the Democratic primary for governor, but it wasn't available in print until August 5, and Election Day was August 11. How many Vermonters saw the article before they voted? According to election data [Off Message: "Vermonters Smash Primary Turnout Record," August 12], early votes represented close to two-thirds of the votes cast in our primary. 

Because of the current postal problems, a congressman with postal service oversight advises that all November ballots get returned by mail no later than mid-October. So, when you get your ballot, don't delay in returning it. And Seven Days, complete your political articles now and don't delay in publishing them — preferably as early in September as possible.

Millicent Eidson

Burlington