'Racism in These Hills'
[Re "Reward Offered After NEK Farm Tagged With Racist, Nazi Graffiti," September 11; Last 7: "Hate Hits Here," September 13]: I was appalled by the racist graffiti created in Glover last week but not surprised. A friend of mine who is a person of color receives a Black Lives Matters sign riddled with bullet holes delivered to his porch several times a year. A neighbor can't have a conversation without regressing to talk of niggers and how they are ruining the world. There is racism in these beautiful hills. There is so little ethnic and cultural diversity in northern Vermont that I sometimes wonder if these sentiments come more from complete ignorance than actual hate.
Like many Vermonters, I live a privileged life free of prejudice. But imagine living here as a minority. Being a minority in northern Vermont gives a whole new meaning to the term "minority"; there just aren't very many. The vast majority of us who believe we are not racist but who don't have to actively engage in these issues could do a lot more to make our place more welcoming to minorities. Befriend a migrant farmworker — they are engaged in the same struggle to make a better life for their family that your ancestors likely went through in the not-very-distant past. Engage with people of color and recent immigrants and find a way to help them feel welcome. Sometimes a smile and a friendly greeting go a long way.
Showing love and compassion to the brave folks who are willing to come and live in one of the whitest parts of our country is the best way to combat the ignorant thugs.
Johnson owns Pete's Greens.
Hate on Both Sides
You are accurate to point out the local white nationalist who participated at Charlottesville, Va. [Off Message: "Hood's Off: Burlington White Nationalist Attended Charlottesville Rally," August 15; Last 7: "Hood's Off: A Vermonter in Virginia," August 16].
However, was it deliberate that you left out the fact that it was a nonwhite South Burlington High School teenager who made the bomb-threat phone calls during the Rebels mascot controversy in South Burlington, as other media outlets reported?
No question that any and all forms of racism and hatred are totally unacceptable! But "Hate Hits Here" [Last 7, September 13] gives the impression that Seven Days is trying to leave out an example of hate so one would believe that hate and racism are limited to white Americans.
Editor's note: Seven Days identified Josiah Leach as African American in at least five stories about the Rebels controversy.
Stuck on Eva
Whoa! WTF was with that letter from Norm Vandal in Roxbury about Eva Sollberger's Stuck in Vermont videos [Feedback: "Can't Please Everybody," August 30]?! He clearly has his you-know-what stuck somewhere else. Obviously he's someone in favor of pompous docu-speak videos versus Eva's fun, frivolous, personality-filled pieces. Guess which type is better received and liked, Norm? Go dig a hole and get stuck in there.
Forgot Front Porch Forum
Seven Days' recent article about Vermont government use of Twitter and Facebook made several good points ["Need to Reach the Vermont Government? Try a Tweet," August 30]. Missing from the piece, however, was any mention of Vermont's homegrown social media, Front Porch Forum. More than 140,000 Vermonters participate in their local FPFs, including 2,200 local and state officials. Further, in a recent independent survey, a majority reported that FPF stimulates more dialogue between government officials and residents. Click local!
Espey is communications manager of Front Porch Forum.
When an individual's memory unravels, he or she is in deep trouble. But when the state's memory goes belly-up, as it appears to have done with regard to child poverty, the scale of the problem is frightening ["State of Need" August 30]. Our biz-centric, short-term focus on quarterly reports and tweets has captured high political office, in Vermont and virtually everywhere else, and dwindling respect for memory is one of the dire consequences. This well-done article is a sad affirmation of the same. The state legislature ought to hire an institutional memory guru. A repeat of the Vermont Child Poverty Council fiasco then might be avoided.
Dan Bolles' piece also stirred my memory ["Upper Valley Music Center Finds a New Home in Lebanon," August 30]. The Wood family owned the house when I was growing up in Leb, and Roger Wood gave me and my wife a tour of the delightful digs facing Colburn Park. The new owners might consider putting up a plaque for the Woods. Not only did they occupy the brick manse, they owned and ran the so-called Key Shop. Officially known as Kendrick & Davis, the factory towered alongside the Mascoma River and was famous for making keys for windup clocks and watches. At 16, I worked there for a summer. Watch keys were not big sellers by then, but the shop still made beautiful small repair kits for mechanical watches, which were popular, along with small motors. Quechee Bagley, a Massachusetts Institute for Technology grad, kept the shop humming, with its river-powered gears and shafts that snaked throughout the structure. He oiled the gears with oilcans, one with a spout about seven-feet long. I can see him doing it now; he smelled like oil.
I read "Paw Patrol" [802much, September 6] with interest, about a crew of volunteers from All Breed Rescue and Oh my DOG traveling to Houston with food and supplies to help out displaced dogs. While that's a wonderful gesture, I was concerned about their plans to bring back 25 homeless puppies for adoption. According to several news reports, the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has reported several cases of a contagious dog flu in the Texas area, identified as H3N2. Dog flu began spreading in Florida in 2004 (a different strain, H3N8), where it sickened and killed a number of greyhounds. There may be few advance indications that a dog is sick. Rather than possibly expose Vermont's canines to this flu from ill dogs from Texas, it might be wiser to send financial donations but not bring Texas dogs to Vermont.
White River Junction