It's too bad Mike Ives wasn't reporting his story on groundwater back in the good old days of journalism - say five years ago - before state agencies felt the need to hire a fleet of former journalists to do their talking ["The Journalist and the 'Mouthpiece,'" February 27].
Way back then, if you needed to talk to a state expert or technician, you looked him or her up in the state phone book and called directly - no non-expert running interference. By and large, those state workers seemed pleased that someone was interested in their expertise and the issues they worked in day after day.
In a state that is still only the size of a moderate-size city, the idea that the public's contact with the people they employ requires going through a "communications director" is ridiculous. And when the public or a journalist working on its behalf is dismissed with a one-sentence blow-off by that well-paid communications director - being as unhelpful as possible - it's more insulting. And when the person blowing you off was once a champion of open government, even testifying before Congress on behalf of Vermont journalists, it's incomprehensible.
The Vermont Legislature tried to defund these communications positions last year. When these "liaisons" try to control the people employed by the public - as the Agency of Natural Resources communications person did concerning press inquiries about bottled water - it is perhaps time to revisit that effort.
HALF-PLEASED WITH TIM
Tim Newcomb's editorial cartoon in Seven Days is the first feature I turn to every Wednesday. This week though, I was frankly only half-pleased with Newcomb's offering [Newcomb, January 13].
The cartoon depicts the starting gate of the gubernatorial horse race with an equine Douglas and horsey Pollina awaiting the opening bell with three vacant stalls marked "Democrat" gathering cobwebs alongside them. O.K., Tim, I chuckled at that - but why isn't anyone pointing out the fact that neither the Progressives nor the George Bush Party have found a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Peter Welch for the U.S. House seat?
The congressional race is Vermont's only national contest this year and is at least as important a political race as the one for governor. Perhaps the absence of any viable challenger to Congressman Welch is a tacit admission that he's doing a darn finer job than the competition could hope to perform.
Ready is vice chairman of the Democratic Party of Chittenden County.
SHARING A RIDE
Kudos to Annie Bourdon and partners and supporters of Green Mountain Car Share ["'Car Share' Nonprofit Revs Up," February 13]. It's an idea that has been percolating in the Burlington area for several years now (at least since 2003, according to my recollection). Congratulations for getting something moving forward.
Vermonters are faced with bigger financial and transportation challenges as fuel prices and property costs skyrocket, development sprawls and jobs migrate. So many of us are eager for transportation alternatives, but often don't know where to look.
Transportation options, especially in a rural but growing state like ours, can never be one size fits all. We need more and better-funded public transportation. We need better jobs closer to where we live. And each of us needs to reduce the amount of fossil fuel we use and the size of our carbon footprint.
For some Vermonters, car sharing is a great idea whose time has come in Vermont. I encourage everyone to give it a test drive.
I have found Jernigan Pontiac's submissions to be good and bad, but never until today offensive [Hackie, February 20]. So, Jernigan, rich daddy slips you three hundred bucks and you clean up puke with a smile on your face? And O.J. pays $2 mil to get off a murder charge while the average Vermonter couldn't afford to pay a lawyer to defend against a jaywalking ticket. Would you have written a different story had daddy been working-class and only could have covered his fare? It is unfortunate that our so-called democracy is truly a plutocracy, and it is sad that our journalists are just as taken in by the aura of wealth as are the masses.
I must say that I enjoyed the uber-positive tone of Matt Scanlon's piece on working in the film business here in Vermont with regard to "not having to leave" ["Final Cut," February 20].
As someone who has returned to the area after several years of working freelance everywhere in the film industry, it is refreshing to recognize that there is work here, if you seek it out.
It is especially good to know now that I am involved at Burlington College, where we have several talented and eager filmmakers emerging from the program. We have a career day coming up and I would like to invite any and all interested to attend, as I do believe that we all need to learn from each other where the opportunities lie . . . and the career day is the place to field this discussion.
Nicholls is the director of film production at Burlington College.
HEAR YOUR CHAKRA
In response to the letters about sound healing [Letters, February 20 & February 27]: I have had a session with Eileen, and I am a physicist. She definitely helped me. I used to be very skeptical of her healing technique, but I have become aware of the body as more energy than material in the last several months.
1. Why does the root chakra resonate to middle C? Honestly, having Eileen put the frequencies over your chakras is worth more than a thousand words and if you are open to it at all, it will just make sense, you feel it and you hear your own chakras resonating out of alignment. Once you trust the process, you open yourself to the healing.
2. Eileen does not perform hysterectomies with tuning forks. She makes the patient aware of emotional blockages and unhealthy attachments we have in our energy fields. My personal belief is that aging and disease are caused by these emotional denials.
Chip is in denial that everything is a vibration and the new age Quartz crystal in his watch resonates precisely to the second! Whereas, oddly enough, James Randi denies that he is the greedy con man which he fears. James has never given prize money away, but he would have a lot to gain personally, through one of Eileen's tune-ups!
I am in full agreement with Dr. Kabay when it comes to asking the tough questions, especially when it comes to health practitioners. However, I didn't feel it was the intent or responsibility of Sarah Tuff or Seven Days to take such a critical approach. I found the article informative and well written, giving the readers an opportunity to be introduced to Eileen and her work.
As for asking the critical questions, I feel it is the responsibility of anyone who is interested in Eileen's work to inquire further on their own accord. When I first heard of Eileen and her sound therapy, I was interested but retained a healthy dose of skepticism. Tuning forks indeed!
I admit that I originally wondered if this would end up being a new-age "gypsy in a wagon" con job, but my initial session with Eileen was truly amazing. I discovered her methodology to be highly effective in bringing me back into a state of balance and wellbeing.
Ironically, I found Eileen to be very practical and pragmatic in an insightful, honest way. Afterwards I felt refreshed and at ease. I continue to see Eileen for an occasional "tune up" and I am grateful to have her practice available to me.
After all, in the crazy world we live in, who couldn't use a little more peace and harmony in their lives?