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

Published November 3, 2010 at 4:14 a.m.

Mortgage Is Gamble

Wow, this article is one sided [“Obama Program Meant to Help Homeowners Actually Sends Many Into Foreclosure,” October 20]! You honestly couldn’t find two families that this program has helped? Your two examples were not very good ones for the argument. The woman in the first example seems to have gone into a mortgage she couldn’t afford and would have seen foreclosure with or without the program. The family in the second didn’t seem to have a problem paying their mortgage; they only applied to try to save themselves some money. They chose to do that rather than continue to make the payment they agreed to when they bought the home.

Going in debt for anything is always a gamble. You never know if you will have a job tomorrow. I myself have been in a position to seek help from the government in the past. I am grateful that the help is there, but I’ve never felt like something is owed to me. I’m sure, while this program may not work for everyone, it has helped some people keep their homes and those people are probably very happy it is there. Your opinion and the content of this article only fuel the “government-owes-me” attitude in this country.

Judi Evans


Perry Particulars

Your article [about Champlain College’s Perry Hall] requires some technical corrections [“First-Rate Impression,” October 13]. The building is fitted with a backup boiler in the event the geothermal system cannot meet the building’s heating capacity. The building is not fitted with backup electric heat.

Wayne Nelson


Nelson is the founder of L.N. Consulting, which designed Perry Hall’s building systems, including the geothermal one.

Sex Ed 101

My amusement at reading Sarah Tuff’s article “Sex and the Queen City” [October 6] was only slightly overshadowed by the wider implications of the “research” done by the authors of the Men’s Health article. I feel uniquely qualified to contribute to this discussion, as I actually teach a human sexuality class for 13- and 14-year-olds in the very building Ms. Tuff uses so comically to illustrate the supposed sagging sexuality of Burlington. I teach the Our Whole Lives, or OWL, class at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington … In our class of mostly eighth graders we teach values of respect (toward self and others), tolerance of diversity in sexuality, proper anatomy and physiology, the importance of communication, particularly in romantic relationships, contraception and STI prevention, and other important topics of sexuality. In short, we give our students the tools they need to become sexually happy, healthy and safe adults.

I’m afraid the standards used to judge cities as sexually happy in the Men’s Health article were very skewed. I appreciate Israel Helfand, PhD, for dissecting the analysis and pointing out the absurdities of judging sexual happiness in terms of STIs (more is better?) and pregnancy (what percentage of 18-24-year-olds are having sex in order to produce a baby?).

As for those cucumbers and zucchini, I guess that goes back to the issue of diversity. If I am successful in helping the young teens that I meet with every Sunday morning, Burlington will continue to rank low in the Men’s Health survey. We will hopefully be much higher in the much more important scale of real sexual happiness that is enabled by thoughtful, knowledgeable people making responsible sexual decisions as they explore and experience sex in an age-appropriate manner with freedom, dignity and glee.

Dan House

Essex Junction

ID Emily’s List

[Re: “Young Guns Take Aim in the Governor’s Race,” October 6]: Failure to identify Emily’s List as an organization that donates to pro-choice/pro-abortion female candidates indicates Seven Days’ and the reporter’s intentional obfuscation of the facts about Emily’s List’s true mission. Obfuscation and misdirection discredit and delegitimize the opinions expressed within Seven Days’ pages.

Jim Howrigan


Story Behind the Story

Great article [“Story Core,” October 6]! And photo. Personal storytelling is indeed alive and thriving in Vermont. But, reading the article, I was bewildered why Recille Hamrell only got a half-line mention. In our neck of the woods, she is the doyenne of personal storytelling. In 1997, as a speech pathologist for Chittenden South Supervisory Union, she taught storytelling classes at Hinesburg Elementary School, culminating with a storytelling showcase and festival featuring her students’ budding talents. Over the next seven years, the festival grew to 65 students and adults telling their story on four different stages to hundreds of people.

When she retired in 2004, Recille began a weekly personal-story class/group, first at the Charlotte Senior Center, then at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston. In 2005, Recille began leading personal-story classes/groups at assisted- and independent-living facilities. In 2006, she started sharing the power of telling personal stories with professionals and business groups … In 2009, inspired by her vision of bringing personal storytelling to a greater audience, she created “Shared Moments,” an open-mic night that has evolved into a bimonthly gathering of inspired storytellers.

Also in 2009 Recille began “The Story Crafters Speaker Series” held yearly at the Dorothy Alling Library, which attracted Madeleine Kunin, filmmaker Jay Craven, comedienne Josie Leavitt, Fran Stoddard, Tim Brookes and Bill Schubart, to name just a few. A committed champion to her cause, Recille continues to create new venues to share her passion. Coming up: facilitating storytelling circles at the Laraway School alumni brunch in Johnson.

Surely this inspired, groundbreaking doyenne deserves so much more than a half-line mention in an article dedicated to storytelling events in our area. Recille Hamrell has touched and inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of us to experience the power, profundity and sheer fun of sharing our life’s experiences with each other.

Michael Jordan Evans


Wrong Target

It’s getting late to comment on “The Preservation Police” [September 22], but a story so out of line that it rankles for weeks insists on it. Seven Days is in breach of its journalistic duty to “afflict the comfortable.” Alternative newsweeklies are especially bound to uphold a high standard in this regard.

Mary O’Neil is as friendly, professional, competent and fair minded as anyone in any public or private sector setting could be. For Seven Days to cast her as a villain and do the bidding of a couple whining rich guys at her expense is not even fair and balanced by the Fox standard. Have you sold out to Rupert?

Michael Long


Bring ’Em On

I was born and raised in Burlington and have been a Colchester resident for 25 years, and my house is on the flight path of the military jets. I have lived through the F-4s and the F-16s, and I will hopefully be around when the F-35s come to Burlington [“Vermont’s Stop the F-35 Coalition Recruits a Veteran Spokesperson,” October 13]. Mr. Bourassa’s credentials are very impressive. I understand his views on the war, and I respect them. I, too, oppose the war, but, whether we like it or not, there is one going on, which probably won’t be the last. We need to support our military and the decisions they make when it comes to defending our country. Diplomacy? What is that? Maybe we should ask the terrorists, in a diplomatic way, to stop killing our people! I’m sure they will listen.

I’d like to know how many of the opponents of the F-35s are true Vermonters and how many are transplants. If they are transplants, then they can move back to where they came from or move to another area of Vermont. The military base and the jets were here a long time before they were. When the World Trade Center was attacked, it took our F-16s, once deployed, 12 minutes to arrive. How long would it take for the F-35s to arrive if they were stationed in Utah? Just knowing that these jets are here in my backyard gives me a sense of security knowing that we have the best military equipment in Vermont.

People are concerned about the impact these jets would have on the environment and civilian ears. Well, they can shake my soil and bust my eardrums any time, because each time they take off and land, it makes me more aware of the great sacrifices our military personnel and their families are making for us every day of their lives to keep us safe while we sit in our cushy chairs, eating our Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, watching the latest episode of “Lost.”

Cathy Chamberlain


S.P.A.C.E. Exploration

Thanks for publishing such a glowing review of the S.P.A.C.E Gallery [“Arts Incubator,” October 20]. I agree that it is an amazing place, which is why I chose to have my shop here. However, the idea that the gallery is “refreshingly noncommercial” is misleading. The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery is unique in that the artists work and sell on site. Although the gallery itself may be supported by studio rents, the artists are not. We are the ones who pay the rent, and we do very much depend on sales. I urge everyone to come on over to S.P.A.C.E Gallery, enjoy the environment and buy something fabulous.

Liza Cowan


Cowan is owner of Small Equals at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery.