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Letters to the Editor

September 3, 2008

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ASHE FRAY

In light of the Tim Ashe story [Local Matters, August 27], below is a letter of thanks and endorsements for the September 9 primary.

As I retire from the Senate, I want to thank Chittenden County voters for their past support. It has been an honor and privilege to serve you. Looking to the future, I am confident that Chittenden County can continue to have a strong voice in Montpelier.

Rep. Denise Barnard, Sen. Ed Flanagan, Sen. Ginny Lyons, Sen. Hinda Miller, Sen. Doug Racine and Tim Palmer will work together to keep it that way. If Chittenden County elects these like-minded, hard-working Democrats to the Vermont Senate in November, they will work tirelessly towards an affordable and sustainable Vermont.

A small business owner, Barnard has represented Richmond during her four years in the House. Denise has provided strong dedication and leadership on women's health issues, quality/affordable education and strengthening Vermont's economy.

While on the Government Operations committee Flanagan insisted on open, accountable government and election/campaign finance reform. On Health & Welfare, he took on the big drug companies in an effort to keep drug prices in check.

As chair of the Natural Resources & Energy committee, Lyons protected our environment, held state government accountable and worked to create jobs in renewable energy.

As vice chair of the Economic Development committee, Miller has been a tireless advocate for business and affordable housing for working Vermonters.

Tim Palmer is former executive director of Vermont CARES, with over 35 years experience in health, housing, aging, economic/community development and human rights.

A former lieutenant governor and chair of the Health & Welfare Committee, Racine has worked for years towards affordable health care and for taking care of Vermont's most vulnerable.

Please join me in voting for these six Democrats in the primary.

Sen. Jim Condos

SOUTH BURLINGTON

A MONK'S LIFE

I enjoyed the article on communes in Vermont ["Hippie Havens," August 20]. The times they have a-changed quite a bit since then. There is a saying to the effect that "he who weds a zeitgeist ('time spirit') is soon a widower." I am not exactly sure what it means, but it seems fitting.

One commune, the Weston Priory in Weston, Vermont, founded in 1953, is still thriving. I visited there in July and was happy to find some of the original brothers are still producing music and crafts. The difference is the dedication to hard work and the common commitment to peace and justice shared by the 13 remaining monks.

Also, the fact that they are monks helps to cut down on the tensions some communes experienced. It is definitely worth a visit. Call ahead to make sure the monks are not in retreat.

Michael McKnight

UNDERHILL CENTER

ENTERTAINING ANGELS

I enjoyed your article on "Hippie Havens" ["Hippie Havens," August 20]. I was surprised, though, that Susan Green did not mention Quarry Hill Creative Center in Rochester, the oldest (and once the largest) of Vermont's alternative communities.

Founded in 1946 by my parents, Irving and Barbara Hall Fiske, a writer and an artist, Quarry Hill entertained angels, awares and unawares, long before the communes of the hippie era, yet it blossomed fully to the Flower Children.

Many came to Quarry Hill after hearing my father speak on religion and philosophy. People came because they wanted to understand how a synthesis of all religion and no-religion could help one to "swim in the sea of one's own deliciousness," in my father's words. (He was a Pisces).

Others came after meeting my mother, a 1940s cartoonist who is still living at QH today, and my brother, William, who attained two Masters' degrees from UVM despite, or because of, our being two of the first "unschooled" children in America at a time when it was illegal. They came to be together, to create and to pursue the ethos of our origin: No one may be violent, neglectful, or verbally abusive to children, nor harm animals.

Also, "Everything for the sake of the newcomer," as Irving, who would have been 100 this year, liked to say. We will soon celebrate both his life and that of my brother, who died on July 18 at the age of 54.

Isabella (Ladybelle) Fiske McFarlin

ROCHESTER

SODEXO SUX

I attended a weeklong conference at Franklin Pearce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, the last week in July. I noticed the Sodexo poster and expected good food ["Big Plan on Campus," August 20].

We had three meals a day, and the food was atrocious - overcooked, bland, synthetic-looking and tasting. I was shocked and disgusted, as were we all (almost 200 of us).

Being that it was high season for fresh local produce, it was scandalous to be presented with frozen, if not lowest quality supermarket meats, fruits and vegetables.

Obviously your advertising hype is just that: hype. You should be ashamed. We will spread the word.

Linda Plotkin

NEW YORK, N.Y.

RIDE, ALICE, RIDE

Having attended the Champlain Valley Fair this year, I was surprised that Alice Levitt did not mention some of the bigger rides, like my favorites, the "Tango," the "Freak Out," the "Orbiter" and the "Starship 3000" ["Panic on the Midway," August 27].

I realize that Alice had never been on an amusement park ride in her life, which surprised me, but she could have gone on some more challenging ones to feel the real panic of the rides. If she ever goes on the "Ring of Fire" again, I recommend that she open her eyes next time because it is a lot more fun.

Asia Stier

BURLINGTON

RICK'S WRONG

I'm constantly amazed that Rick Kisonak is your movie reviewer. Besides regularly disagreeing with the majority of moviegoers and critics on the merits of most mainstream movies, he also consistently gets things wrong and/or simply makes things up to support his opinion.

The latest example is when he says that it has been "widely reported" that Tropic Thunder is not very funny [Movie Reviews, August 20]. Yet a quick look at the well respected website Rotten Tomatoes shows a 84 percent positive rating for the film, based on 159 reviews from media from around the country. This is an excellent rating. By "widely reported," did Rick mean among him and his friends?

Rick also says that Tom Cruise's role will do little to resurrect his career, yet many reviewers who criticize Cruise's past antics and/or acting reluctantly note that it is somewhat of a career comeback and perhaps a new direction that Cruise should seriously consider pursuing. Many bloggers also commented positively on Cruise's daring choice to play that character, regardless of what they may think of his couch-jumping or questionable beliefs.

I realize that reviewing movies is very subjective. But critics should at least make logical arguments based on facts when reviewing a film. I can only hope that Rick at least tries to support his wild claims from time to time, rather than acting like a politician, hoping that no one pays attention to facts and reality.

Jim Gallagher

MONTPELIER

CORRECTION:

In our story about local clothing and interior designer Claudia Venon [Handmade Tales, August 27], we wrote that she had taken photographs for Jager Di Paola Kemp Design. In fact, Venon did photo styling for the company. Sorry for the error.

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