Seven Days political columnist Peter Freyne passed away last week, just hours after our Tuesday night deadline. His popular “Inside Track” column ran in the paper for 13 years. A number of readers wrote letters to the editor in response to his death, which we've compiled here. Click here for more remembrances of the “Mike Royko of Vermont”, which were featured on the paper’s center spread.
JUST “I DO” IT
I must take exception to Cathy Resmer’s view [“A More Perfect Union?” January 7] that now is not the time to have full marriage equality in Vermont. The main reason she gives for sticking with CUs is that full marriage might upset bigoted straight people. Sorry, that’s a lousy reason to live with second-class citizenship. For the past several years, Vermont Freedom to Marry and others have been working tirelessly toward marriage. The Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection met with people around the state and found that CUs are unequal. It is no longer the divisive issue it once was. The work has been done. It is the right thing to do. Vermont has an opportunity to lead again instead of follow, and now, particularly in light of California’s discriminatory Prop. 8, is the perfect time to lead. Poor economic times should never be an excuse for inequality. We need to put a marriage bill before Governor Douglas this session. Marriage equality isn’t divisive; discrimination is.
TWO THUMBS UP
Loved the article “At the Movies” [December 24]. Magical stuff! For other films that played the Burlington circuit in 2008, how about “Best Script and Score” for In Bruges? That film was the definitive take on what Catholic Guilt is all about. How about “The Most Emotionally Moving Short Film in an Omnibus Film” to the last segment of Paris, Je T’Aime, about the American postal worker visiting Paris alone? If you’ve ever traveled alone to foreign places, this beautiful piece of cinema will capture your heart in one big “Aha!” moment. For “Otherworldly Cinematography,” how about Mongol? Caramel showed us what a cool place Beirut was, is, and, hopefully, will always be! And, finally, for “Guilty Pleasure,” Quarantine was a pretty good and creepy American version of the Spanish thriller REC. Sadly, most American films this year lacked taste, subtlety and a sense of wonder. Hopefully Terrence Malick has something for us in 2009!
A ‘SCRUMPTIOUS’ LEGACY
I am so excited to see Nunyuns is open [“Taste Test,” January 7]. I have spent many years on North Street. Lived there as a kid, attended and taught at Burlington College, worked at Scrumptious on and off for three years, owned Studio STK at 64 and 12 North Street, was cofounder of one arts and business network. Even though I am not currently on North Street, I am so happy to see Scrumptious owner Barbara Cook’s dream not die: to have a great neighborhood café in a part of Burlington that truly does reflect a city. I can’t wait to try the French toast. Please support the Old North End.
A PLUS FOR PETER
At least Peter Freyne lived to see the Repugnicans repudiated, and but good.
Peter had guts, balls, edge, crackle and was a real sweetie and all of those at once. I thought of him as a friend and always enjoyed our occasional sit-downs in Montpelier or Burlington. As another kid out of the working class, I loved Peter’s take on the news and newsmakers. You don’t get what Peter had in school. I read “Inside Track” every week. So long, Peter.
‘PETER WAS PETER’
Having been a casual acquaintance of Peter Freyne for years, I was very saddened to read about his death. Meeting Peter around town was always good for a smile and, if he had time, a few minutes of lively conversation. His column was always the first one I read, and I have missed it. I must say that I enjoy Shay’s column, but Peter was Peter in his inimitable way.
I know that nothing lasts forever and that eventually we all die, but Burlington and Vermont now have something and someone important missing.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, colleagues and family. Rest well, Peter.
FOLLOWING UP ON FREYNE
From all of the staff at the Conservation Law Foundation, thanks to everyone that took an interest in following up on Peter Freyne’s whereabouts and condition [“Friends of Freyne,” December 24]. We have all been wondering where this ubiquitous man has been. Peter has been eloquently speaking truth to power in Vermont for too long to simply disappear unnoticed.
Kilian is director of the Vermont Advocacy Center at the Conservation Law Foundation.
FREYNE’S NOT ALONE. . .
A million thanks for the good people at Seven Days newspaper and Speeder & Earl’s [“Friends of Freyne,” December 24]! Here, in this season of joy and good will, we have a perfect story of kindness and selfless compassion. The man who lives alone discovers that he really doesn’t. His home is a community that notices and cares . . . and acts. The curmudgeonly Irishman, whose heart we always knew was worn on his writer’s sleeve, couldn’t help but endear himself to us who paid attention . . . Our community overflows with the generosity of people who work and volunteer for organizations that enrich and support our quality of life. In their private lives, many people provide uncelebrated care for family and friends. This goodness binds us together, strengthens us in community, and invites us to identify with and embrace this culture of charity.
This New Year, I’m celebrating Paula Sperry and Marie Claire from Speeder & Earl’s. I’ll raise a glass to Cathy Resmer, Paula Routly and Pamela Polston from Seven Days. And through 2009, I’ll pay closer attention to the evidence of our neighbors in need and to the quiet kindness of good people who respond. Perhaps that will include just about all of us, at some point in the year. Cheers!
Over the past decades, Peter Freyne’s weekly news column “Inside Track” was must reading for me, and when he called it quits last [summer], I told him I would miss my “Freyne fix” on Vermont politics. His was truly an independent voice in the Vermont political arena characterized by few factual errors and an abundance of exclusives.
What’s more, Freyne was a triple-threat man in the news business, a rare combination. He mastered the weekly column, the spot news report on WDEV radio, and local and statewide television. All these media Freyne handled with excellent syntax and puckish Irish wit.
Vermont won’t see his successor for a long time. My condolences to his friends and family.
Daniel A. Neary Jr.
CORRECTION: There was a misplaced decimal point in last week’s story about the Vermont Community Foundation. In-state investments are up 2.6 percent over 2007 — not 26 percent, as reported.