Sen. Flanagan is a hardworking and dedicated legislator [“Continuing Ed,” May 20]. I worked closely with him since his earliest days in elected office, and had daily interaction with him in both Senate Government Operation and Health and Human Services committees. Sen. Flanagan was always respectful to those testifying and had good insight into the issues. He has always worked to help and protect Vermont’s children and elderly; voted to ensure equality for all citizens; and staunchly supported fair treatment and decent wages for Vermont workers. Sen. Flanagan’s voting record demonstrates his commitment to effective government. He has compassion and integrity. He continues to be an effective legislator and advocate for his constituents, and all Vermonters benefit from his service as a legislator.
Noonan was director of the Vermont State Employees Association from 1995 to 2008.
I just read your recent article on Ed Flanagan [“Continuing Ed,” May 20] and am wondering what his constituents think about his performance — beyond reelecting him. Last year I wanted to express my concerns about health insurance to an elected official, and I decided to contact Mr. Flanagan, both because I admired him as a politician and because I thought his own medical history would make his a sympathetic ear.
I called him and left a message. I believe I called a second time. Then I emailed him, referring to my earlier phone calls. Never did I get a response in any form. To me, responsiveness to constituents is a pretty basic job requirement for an elected official.
I did not vote for Mr. Flanagan in the last election.
MUSIC CENTER’S CENTRAL
Great piece about our town [“The Other B-Town,” May 27]. But how could you neglect to mention the Brattleboro Music Center — over 50 years old, a hub for classical training and performance, with ties to Marlboro Music Festival and the Vermont Symphony? Kids who go on to careers in pop, alternative and new music often get their early starts at the BMC.
Thanks for your good work.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
I am writing in response to the recent article on “molecular gastronomy” [“Food Science,” June 10]. Being a chef, I have fallen to the temptation of these intriguing new techniques, but the more research I have done, the more concerned I have become that people are not fully informed about what they are eating. One of the leading manufacturers of industrial food chemicals is Dow Chemical. You can give chemicals funny names, like Ferran Adrià, or you can say that they are seaweed extracts, or you can call them by their chemical names like calcium chloride, sodium alginate, Methocel E15, etc. That is what these ingredients are — highly refined industrial chemicals that large food manufacturing corporations have been using for decades — and they have gone largely untested as to what the effects are on people when given higher than normal amounts.
Another chef mentioned in the article is Grant Achatz. He is a very talented chef whose abilities go far beyond using these chemicals. It was not mentioned in the article that he is a cancer survivor. He contracted tongue cancer a few years ago from what some speculate was the exposure to high levels of chemicals. He has fully recovered after experimental surgery and was very lucky not to lose his tongue or sense of taste. Which, after all, is the most important thing when eating.
CORRECTION: In last week’s story about Clarence Davis and his fashion sense [“Dress Code,” June 10] the writer mixed up the military branch in which Davis served: He was in the navy, not the army.