Reflections of a Flatlander
Moving to Vermont can certainly present challenges around acceptance. I know. I grew up in White Plains, N.Y., and moved here in 1974. I was actually one of those "back-to-the-land" people mentioned in ["The New Vermonters," September 9]. To my neighbors then, the "locals," we were and always would be "flatlanders." One day we talked to Thelma, our adopted grandmother and babysitter, about it. I proposed that while my wife and I accepted the fact that we were flatlanders, our kids, who were born here, should be considered Vermonters.
She responded: "So you're saying that if your cat has her kittens in the oven, you could call them muffins?"
It's way better now. Welcome to Vermont!
Good Idea, Eh?
I loved [Feedback: "Dear Canada," September 2] about petitioning Canada to annex Vermont. If I remember right, Ethan Allen himself contemplated such a move. I, for one, regret that he did not go that route. If such a petition starts up, my name will go on it.
I once saw a bumper sticker in a Montpelier store that read "USA out of Vermont." I heartily agree with that sentiment. There's no point in being in the USA anymore. It ain't worth it.
It is not only the brutal partisanship, deliberately choreographed by individuals who care more for dollars and white supremacy than our lives, that has about destroyed what little democracy we had in the first place. It is our inane political system, designed to protect the rich minority while ruthlessly gouging the middle class and poorer. It is our vampire-like capitalism that relentlessly preys on us, sucking us dry to feed Wall Street and our coin-operated political system.
Tourists flock to Vermont partially because it does not seem to be like the rest of America. It is like a half step between America and Canada, and they come here to escape. Let's get that petition moving so we can hopefully convince Canada to annex Vermont.
Your "Purple Terrain" story [September 2] highlighted the Stowe House race between incumbent Heidi Scheuermann and Jo Sabel Courtney as a marker of a gradual political shift from red to blue in that district.
During the 2019 session, I attended a House Committee on Energy and Technology hearing and happened to stand behind Rep. Scheuermann, who is clerk of the committee, as Vermonters, including high school students who were at the Statehouse for the first time, testified on a bill. I was shocked to see her looking at Facebook and answering messages while Vermonters testified. With her head down the entire time, she apparently had no interest in the topic, as she ignored the testimony being given. This disrespectful behavior has no place in our legislature.
Scheuermann's voting record against increasing the minimum wage and against paid family leave and single-payer health care may be one reason Stowe voters are ready for a change to a representative who will pay attention and listen to all their constituents. After that day in her committee, I'm grateful Scheuermann isn't my rep.
Perhaps the Department of Corrections shouldn't have trusted CoreCivic in the first place [Off Message: "A COVID Outbreak Prompts Scrutiny of Vermont's Private Prison Contract," August 12]. Corrections is a draining job. What exacerbates the stress is inconsistent and indecisive leadership that cares more about political correctness than proactive, research-based care. From my experience, decisions are more often than not made by the lowest bid (costing more money in the long run) and fear of lawsuits (without regard for problem solving). Abusive and reactionary management practices, rather than progressive and preventive ones, are the norm.
When exactly does interim Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker expect to be in a position to know where things are at?
Much can be improved immediately, and there's plenty of opportunity for it, from day-to-day details and paperwork to considerations of long-term individualized care remaining trapped in politicized power dynamics. Safe, humane and progressive easily go together in practice, even as healthy respect is maintained for the worst-case scenario, history and unpredictable outcomes.
What's also ironic is DOC leadership that waits for inmates to tell them what to do and "raise alarms" about care before considering the quality of it. Maybe Baker should say what the DOC actually can do, rather than just confirming what they can't.
Yonan-Renold is a former correctional officer.
Bring Back Brunelle
Please add my voice to the chorus of readers expressing disappointment at your decision to jettison "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" [Feedback: "'Toon Deaf," July 22].
While I applaud the return of "The K Chronicles," I do not consider that exchange acceptable since, as others have mentioned, you've kept some real clunkers, including "Futon Life" and "Deep Dark Fears."
"Mr. Brunelle" is a quality comic, always relevant and, perhaps most importantly, presents a local perspective on current issues, something I believe a local paper should value.
Please return "Mr. Brunelle" to our paper.
Brian J. Walsh
Make Room for Brunelle
I'm one of many who is mourning the loss of "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" [Feedback: "'Toon Deaf," July 22]. Can't you shrink the size of "Futon Life," which seems way oversize for no good reason, and have plenty of room for Mr. Brunelle? Isn't there something you could do to get our Mr. Brunelle back?
I was impressed with Sasha Goldstein's article about Katie Spotz, who ran nearly 74 miles from Bradford to Burlington in about 13 hours to benefit charity [802Nice: "Water Warrior," August 19].
On August 19, 1982, my 61-year-old father, Dr. Edward A. Keenan Jr., walked the same route and raised almost $15,000 for the Fanny Allen Hospital Outreach Program. He left Bradford shortly after midnight and arrived at the Burlington waterfront at about 7:30 p.m., with my mother, Ione, acting as his support.
And on November 7, 1999, one month shy of his 79th birthday, he reached his goal of having walked every road in the state of Vermont, Class 4 and better (except interstates), approximately 25,000 miles. We believe he was the first and only person to have accomplished this feat.