Keep Wharf Lane Affordable
I read [“Will Burlington’s Affordable Housing Sell to the Highest Bidder?” May 12] with a growing sense of alarm. Affordable housing is extremely rare in Burlington, and losing the apartments at Wharf Lane to Champlain College would indeed be a tragedy. I am fortunate to be a tenant of the Burlington Housing Authority and to have my rent subsidized by Section 8. Without this help, I would be unable to live anywhere near Burlington. And the current wait for a Section 8 housing voucher is approximately four years. Burlington needs more affordable housing, not less. I hope Wharf Lane will be managed in a socially responsible manner, not simply sold to the highest bidder.
Clover It Over
Thanks for publishing “Lawn Gone” [May 12], the story about replacing lawn with gardens. Lawn replacement has many benefits, such as vastly reduced CO2 emissions (from lawn mowers), local food production (even more CO2 reduction), time savings, and greatly reduced herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer use. However, the article implies that the only replacement for lawn is vegetable gardens, and talks about how difficult it is to garden. Hopefully you haven’t scared away those who want to replace lawns but don’t want the effort of vegetable gardening, because there is another option: Replace lawns with low-growing groundcover that needs no mowing. Not only do these groundcovers grow wild in Vermont; we can also plant low-growing clover from seed, which can be purchased at Agway or other farm stores. Giving up your lawn does not have to translate into more work; it can translate into no work — and have great environmental benefits to boot!
Shay Totten is invaluable for unearthing news and analysis that other journalists miss. But his heralding Vermont Yankee as a “winner” in the just-ended legislative session is stupefying [“Fair Game,” May 19]. The bipartisan 26-4 vote to retire the plant as scheduled was historic, sending shock waves across America’s nuclear industry and stunning the “new nukes” movement. True, Entergy Lousiana is not going quietly into the night, even though it was bested by an energized and well-organized statewide grassroots campaign. Yet the progressive forces that won this victory are spending the summer and fall to protect the win. Vermont Yankee — too old and dangerous, run by an irresponsible out-of-state corporation — is done. Shay should have named the sustainable energy economy as a session “winner.” With this crumbling nuclear reactor out of the way, Vermonters can now get about building it.
Railing on Stanak
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail project has languished due to Ed Stanak’s failure to act expeditiously, in good faith, or honestly [“Trail Hit a Bump: Act 250,” April 28]. The project waited six months to get his ruling exempting it from Act 250. He reversed his ruling in one day without reasonable justification; he falsely claimed as fact that other rec trail projects required Act 250 oversight.
We’re trying to rejuvenate an abandoned property of the state’s — one that is an environmental disaster and a drain on taxpayers. We’re cleaning up trash dumps, fixing clogged culverts and repairing decayed bridges — problems the state has ignored for years. His failure of duty has delayed the project another year, cost it tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and raised not a single valid objection. Northern Vermont businesses, cyclists, walkers, runners, equestrians, mushers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers stand to benefit tremendously from this great project that reaches across northern Vermont. Our vision is for a vibrant landscape supporting healthful lifestyles. His vision looks like the old Soviet Union: rust, decay, petty political balkanization and goverment inertia.
We taxpayers, small-business owners and potential users of this recreation trail request that instead of undermining the great ideas that bring economic and social benefit to our state, he support the principle that no-brainer projects like this are about much-needed repair and enrichment of the infrastructure of northern Vermont. This is about promoting recreation and economic benefit, not strangling our beautiful state in bureaucratic red tape.
Disclosure: I represent nonmotorized trail users on the board of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Committee. I’m writing this as a personal letter, and my views do not necessarily reflect the views of the committee.
Happy to Provide … the Web Address
Thanks, Seven Days, for getting the word out about our groundbreaking Gross National Happiness movement and conference [“Happiness Is…,” April 28]. One piece of info was left out, though: our web address, www.gnhusa.org. The conference is open to the public, so the web info is crucial.
People who want to know more about the urgency and viability of the concept, as well as about the June 1-3 conference at Champlain College, can find a ton of information at this site.
CORRECTION: Dan Bolles’ open letter to Senator Leahy in last week’s issue [“Low Power to the People,” May 19] incorrectly stated that Sen. Leahy is no longer a cosponsor of the Local Community Radio Act. Leahy was a cosponsor of the original bill in 2005 and has remained so through subsequent versions, including the current version awaiting passage by the Senate. Seven Days regrets the mistake.