Letters to the Editor | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published August 12, 2009 at 6:07 a.m.


The tragedy of traumatic brain injury is perhaps a story being missed in the journalistic focus on Ed Flanagan’s odd and allegedly inappropriate behavior and its political implications [“Fair Game,” July 29; “Emails Suggest the YMCA Knew About Sen. Ed Flanagan’s Inappropriate Behavior,” August 5]. Unless there are examples of similar behavior that preceded his accident and brain injury, there is every reason to believe that this is a direct result of his injury. Socially inappropriate behavior, regardless of intelligence or social position, is a frequent problem for individuals having sustained a brain injury. This may include decreased inhibition and sexual inappropriateness. And to make matters worse, these individuals often demonstrate lack of insight, denial that problems exist and poor judgment — all symptoms of brain injury that create significant challenges.

I recommend that Seven Days consider contact with the Brain Injury Association of Vermont, www.biavt.org, and other brain injury experts to develop a greater understanding and to share that with your readership. Given the staggering statistics about the prevalence of brain injury, there’s a story needing to be told here.

Greg LeRoy


LeRoy is a certified rehabilitation counselor and vocational expert in private practice.


Vermont is home to the world’s most creative and resourceful NIMBYs. Neighbor suing neighbor over supposed hazards of wood smoke is a new one [“Outdoor Wood Boilers: Appropriate Technology or Deadly Device?” July 22].

From a carbon standpoint, the benefits of heating with a locally harvested, renewable biomass fuel are huge. Outdoor wood boilers used to be an affordable option for cash-strapped Vermonters until recently adopted restrictions regarding chimney height and setback distance made them more expensive and less practical. Vermont even requires they be registered. Meanwhile, at a state park they will rent you a campsite and sell you firewood so you can burn it and stand around in the smoke.

This is the current state of energy options in Vermont: We point the long, bony finger of indignation at users of fossil fuels for heating and transportation for wrecking the atmosphere. Vermont Yankee is the devil incarnate. Wind power, whether domestic or industrial-sized, is attacked mostly for aesthetic reasons. One project was rejected based on the testimony by the director of a private school claiming that the sight of distant rotating turbines would exacerbate emotional problems in her students. What could be more benign and renewable than local hydropower, yet several operating dams are proposed for removal to benefit fish. There was even a recent neighbor dispute over reflected glare from a photovoltaic panel.

What’s it going to be, folks? There are getting to be few options left, particularly for low-income people, besides shivering in the dark.

Rich Lachapelle



In our write-up of Daysie winners last week, we made a couple of mistakes: The Lamp Shop is in Burlington, not Shelburne. They came in second for Best Lighting Shop. And we said the respective owners of Best Salon winner Indigo and runner-up Stephen & Burns used to be married to each other. Oopsy Daysie! Shari Powers was once married to Stephen Rainville of S&B, but she is the manager of Indigo. Actual owner Stephen Bevilacqua has never been married to Rainville. Our apologies for any confusion or consternation. And congratulations again to both fine salons.

In her August 5 article, “Steve Conant ‘Chairs’ a Fundraiser for the Art Hop and Recycle North,” Pamela Polston should have divulged that she is a board member of the South End Area Business Association. SEABA organizes the annual Art Hop.