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

Published February 1, 2012 at 5:03 a.m.

Hot News?

[Re “Totally Uncool,” January 25]: Wow! Warmer Vermont winters? No more frozen Lake Champlain? No longer relying on minimum-wage ski industry jobs as the economic “mainstay” of Vermont? Not a moment too soon!

Dave Parker


Ridgelines Are Not Renewable

Rose Paul makes an important point regarding the threat of climate change to Vermont’s water resources [“Totally Uncool,” January 25]. Bottom line is that we need to protect the state’s existing ecological functions since they can have a direct ameliorative effect on local expressions of climate change. Destroying hydrologically intact ridgelines in order to construct industrial-scale wind turbines will only bring on the negative effects sooner and at a heightened level. Ridgelines are not renewable!

Steve Wright


Doctor Yes

In response to Kathryn Flagg’s recent article [“The Doctor Is In,” January 18]: When a doctor gets to know his or her patients on a personal level, the result is lower health care costs, fewer hospital appointments and much more preventative health care. I couldn’t read this article without writing in about my doctor, Roger Giroux, of Brookside Family Health Center in Hinesburg. Roger is always there for his patients, even gives out his home number. He knows what medication I am on without even consulting my chart, and rarely have I had to wait longer than a day for an appointment. Unfortunately, treating patients like people and not dollar signs is not a highly profitable approach for doctors to take. He’s the “five and dime” to Fletcher Allen’s Walmart.

Ryan Geary


Another Toronto

What a great trip [“Hi Ho, Ontario!” January 11]! Megan James and Corin Hirsch’s enviable, company-paid jaunt to Toronto was a highly enjoyable, vicarious return visit to my old hometown of T-O.

My experiences there, based on a skin-of-the-teeth existence, definitely left the Windsor Arms and chic bistros off limits. Mine were of raucous Dixieland at Grossman’s; standing on the tables at the Brunswick; hippie Yorkville living; Cabbagetown; crashing the Riverboat courtesy of Sonny Terry; Big Mama Thornton, Willie Dixon at the Colonial, Sam the Record Man; falafels at the Tel Aviv and sambas at Annapurna; the Beaches; Russian rye breads from Kensington Market; drooling over Harvey’s Hamburgers after smoking a joint; Greek food on the Danforth; busting down Bloor on my 10-speed and beating my buddy home through 10 subway stops; 25c tokens on the TTC; watching the CN Tower rise; open-air theater in High Park, an endless parade of unforgettable memories interwoven with a considerable amount of struggle, too.

Sadly, dreams of a Porter Airlines 75-minute flight from BTV to Mariposa’s Toronto Island Airport were dashed upon realizing that the $350+ return fare eliminated any hope of rediscovering a truly great city that way. But I am checking out Greyhound and rail!

James Dylan Rivis


Leave Miro Alone

I haven’t done much research on the mayoral candidates yet, but “The Houses That Miro Built: A Read on the ‘Developer’ Candidate’s Real Estate Record,” [January 18] has me sold on Miro Weinberger. The article compared him to Donald Trump and tried to vilify him as being out of touch with working-class Burlington residents because of his Ivy League background. This sounds like what Tea Partiers were doing to Obama. Why do we attack smart folks who had the opportunity to get a good education? I have a trade-school education, but I think his “environmentally sensitive, closely clustered, mixed-income residential development” project makes sense for this city. He wants to turn a blighted building into housing. The article implies that $100K isn’t affordable, but that’s pretty cheap compared with housing prices downtown, and it’s in line with the condo prices in South Burlington.

Michelle Geoffrion


Building Blocks

How would you like to have a developer build a structure so tall that it blocks the sunlight from your yard and the yards of several of your neighbors [“The Houses That Miro Built: A Read on the ‘Developer’ Candidate’s Real Estate Record,” January 18]? How would you like to have no room for guests to park on your street? This is what Miro and his partners plan for Sunset Court and Lakeview Terrace. Yes, they passed all zoning requirements, but that does not mean that their project isn’t disproportionate and inconsiderate. If this is what the New Urbanism is, it needs to learn some manners. There are a number of projects in the works in Burlington that could, and already do, have a significant negative affect on the quality of life for the people who live near them. Do you really believe that the end justifies the means? What if you were one of them? How would you feel? P.S. Remember to bring earplugs to the Penguin Plunge. If they have it as loud as they usually do down there, the volume of that P.A. system could cause permanent hearing loss after 15 minutes.

Ivan Goldstein


Fix the Beltline

I was delighted to see the article about the Burlington Beltline [WTF: “Why does the Burlington Beltline close so often?” January 18] and, I will admit, more than a bit outraged at the “official” response by Burlington Public Works director Steve Goodkind. Like many of your readers, I know someone who has been involved in an accident on the Beltline. And like any Chittenden County resident with a fair amount of common sense, I can see the flaws in the design of the stretch of road in question. I would suggest, contrary to Mr. Goodkind’s analysis, that what is truly “problematic” is his reasoning.

There are a number of obvious and inexpensive retrofits that would undoubtedly decrease the quantity and severity of accidents on the Beltline. A Jersey barrier would prevent accidents from involving traffic in the opposite direction, thus completely preventing head-on collisions. Better lighting (and leaving the lights on throughout the night) might be wise. Even something as simple as a couple of LED traffic signs at either entrance warning drivers of unsafe conditions could be beneficial.

In short, I feel that the wise course of action, on the part of Burlington officials, would be to really analyze the situation, with the understanding that there are multiple problematic factors at play, and search for solutions to ensure motorist safety. And while we’re on the subject, has anyone tried making a left turn onto Pine Street from Locust Street during business hours lately? Perhaps the real solution to Burlington’s road woes is a new director of public works.

Mia Richards


Bring Back Beltline Lights

After reading [WTF: “Why does the Burlington Beltline close so often?” January 18], I am wondering why the town took the extra security of lights at night away if they knew it was a highly rated, accident-prone stretch of highway? It just doesn’t make sense. I figure it was to save money, but that road is dangerous at night. I can’t tell you how many times in the past six years that I have had to dodge wildlife on that road, especially deer. Bring back the lights!

Jenny Rooke


Editor’s note: Burlington Electric Department is in charge of lighting the city’s roads, not Burlington Public Works.

Film Quiz Junkie

I respectfully ask you to surrender the film quiz now. When I first started reading Seven Days, I did not appreciate the sublime brilliance that is the film quiz. I thought Who cares? That is some obscure stuff, and blew by.

One day, lured by the prospect of winning a pizza from Junior’s and movie tickets from the Roxy, I took a chance and flailed. I am just not that good at movie trivia. With practice, I got better, and I learned how to solve the quiz by hook or by crook. It took luck, perseverance, a mastery of Google and social networks to dominate.

The best prize was looking forward to Wednesday’s puzzle, the struggle for a solution and the Monday submission. The quiz had a special beauty of being difficult but obtainable.

Life can be seen as a series of problems, many unsolvable. Please bring back Rick Kisonak’s puzzle and let the Seven Days flow once again.

Wayne Warnken


Turbines Are Bad for Health

The article on Mark Pendergrast’s studies on renewable energy [“As Goes Japan…” January 11] quoted him saying, “We have people here arguing that wind turbines are terrible for your health.There just aren’t the studies to indicate that.” This statement is not true. There are now more than 10 published scientific studies looking at health problems created by wind turbine noise; all have shown some level of adverse health effects. I know of no published studies showing a lack of harm.

These studies examined the problems wind-turbine noise creates for thousands of people in many countries and consistently show annoyance, sleep deprivation, decreased quality of life, and stress in many living near wind turbines. Additionally, there are hundreds — if not thousands — of case reports showing people suffering from sleep disruption, fatigue, stress, depression, headaches, dizziness and palpitations, among other complaints. In many instances, the problems have been serious enough that they have sought medical attention, abandoned their homes or had the wind companies buy their property. Further, the Vermont Department of Health has acknowledged that wind-turbine noise has the potential to create health problems.  

The questions now are: Do we care that our current noise standards do not protect Vermonters living near wind turbines? And if we do, when are we going to correct our noise standards and how are we going to help those already placed in harm’s way?

Teddi Lovko, MD


CDC Conflicted?

[Re “Flu Shot or Not? Health Officials Warn Against ‘Alarmist’ Reaction to Young Girl’s Death,” January 11]: Dr. Chen states that it is important for parents to weigh the risk and benefit of getting a flu shot — or any other vaccination. What the health officials do not tell us is how to weigh the risk and benefit of the vaccination. The risk-benefit analysis of receiving any vaccine can be difficult to ascertain.

Complicating this risk-benefit analysis is the difficulty in obtaining reliable information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for recommending vaccinations, but the CDC also has a history of “conflict of interest” with the multibillion-dollar-a-year vaccination industry. When it comes to vaccinations, the mainstream media and the CDC share the same agenda: Protect the program. You are not going to find critical analysis from the press on this issue. And you are not going to see public health officials telling the truth about vaccine safety studies. Doing so could be a career killer.

This conflict of interest between the vaccination industries and health officials is not unique to the U.S. The European Parliament recently investigated corruption between the World Health Organization, the pharma industry and academic scientists that led to inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposing millions of healthy people to the risk of an unknown amount of side effects of insufficiently tested vaccines that has permanently damaged the lives of millions and even caused deaths.

Producers of the vaccines you receive are not liable, and official health information is not reliable. It is up to you to learn the truth.

Richard Levey

North Fayston