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Letters to the Editor


Maroney Is the Man

This guy James Maroney “gets it” [“Dairy Don’t: A Dogged Ag Activist Takes Aim at Vermont’s ‘Sacred Cow,’” January 25]. I am in full agreement with what he has to say and I’ve felt this way for years. How wonderful to hear a Vermont farmer with such love and respect of dairy farming and the land. We need to rally behind this man and what he has to say. He can actually lead Vermont — and the rest of the country — in saving dairy farming, the land and our water resources. This man is brilliant!

Nancy Borg


“Am-Crack” Unfair

[Re “Leaving RutVegas,” February 1]: Rutland’s Amtrak train is indeed a great asset and conduit to the outside world, bringing New Yorkers of all stripes and their money (the average overnight visitor spends $177). Because it’s a nice and hassle-free way to travel, it’s no surprise that a few drug dealers took the train, as well.

But most drugs arrive by auto, and nobody singles out cars for their role in the spread of drugs (at least not since G-men and mobsters became legendary for their Northeast Kingdom car chases in the Prohibition era). Your words mentioning the train only in the context of drugs are unfair. A lot of skiers use drugs, too (because a lot of people use drugs), but would that be the only thing you say in passing about ski resorts? Of course not; skiing is fun. So is taking the train.

Christopher Parker


Parker is executive director of the Vermont Rail Action Network.

Remembering Rutland

I appreciate the depth of this article [“Leaving RutVegas,” February 1]. I agree that too many articles paint a superficial image of Rutland. My experience reflects the ups and downs you document. In the mid-’70s, when my wife and I first started dating, we would travel from Middlebury to Rutland to go to diners, movies and restaurants such as Back Behind Café and Royal’s Hearthside. I bought my first suit at a clothing store in Rutland.

In the ’80s, Rutland was a key supporter of the Taste of Vermont culinary competition that I was involved in as a chef in a Warren restaurant. We also established our credit buying a stroller at the Montgomery Ward store. In 2003, we insisted our daughter take a train to Syracuse from the Rutland train station rather than drive, and all her tires were slashed, wipers and mirrors were broken. At the same time, I worked with great graduates from the Stafford Culinary Program. Two years ago, I attended an inspiring farm-to-plate conference in Rutland. We’re all impressed by the Rutland blood drive. I wish Rutland the best: It has a great heritage and great supporters.  

Lyndon Virkler


Burning Question

A slightly geeky footnote [Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “Why does a perpetual gas flame burn near I-89 in Moretown?” February 1]: From a global warming standpoint, using a common denominator called carbon dioxide equivalent, it is a very good thing to flare the methane rather than to release it. Making a few reasonable assumptions such as 100 percent combustion of the methane (CH4), there is an 89 percent reduction in the net carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. That is big! The whole project is better still, and we do not want to be riled by the small amounts flared. But if the overrun exists, flaring is a huge improvement over direct release of the methane.

There are a couple of ways to derive this 89 percent calculation; but I challenge your readers to puzzle it out and I will confirm any correct answers — ones deriving an 89 percent reduction. Hint, the appropriate GWP factor for methane is 25 and for carbon dioxide it is one. I am an environmental accountant where we must make these calculations routinely.

Jeffrey C Frost


Reading Levine

What a pleasure to read Judith Levine’s work. Like a delicious meal, I’m sad when it is over. Loved her take on the Joyce Bellavance embezzlement story [Poli Psy, “Public Money, Private Crime,” February 1]. Thank you!

Bethany Knight


Not Even Close

In his review of Albert Nobbs [Movie Review, February 1], Rick Kisonak writes about Glenn Close’s performance, and says it “screams, ‘Look at me,’” and is filled with quirks and mannerisms. Once again, I have to take issue with Rick. This is exactly what the performance does not do, though Close could have easily done, considering her power as an actor. I was very impressed by the quietness of the performance and, even though it is the starring role of the film, it is performed with precision and in the most subtle way I can imagine this role to be played.

As an acting teacher and film scholar, I must say that the review is so far off base that it’s laughable. Too bad, because now even fewer people in the area who might have seen this film — which is not a great film, but an interesting one about sexual politics and oppression — may not go because of these off-base remarks. Go, Glenn, go! (Not to mention that Close has devoted herself to this project since the early ’80s, looking for funding ever since she performed it on stage. No notice is taken of this fact, either.)

Carole Zucker


Leahy’s Legacy?

Whether people remember in 2016 how Leahy aided and abetted the emerging American police state in 2012 and before really kind of depends on what he does between now and then [“With Leahy Under Fire, an Online Piracy Bill Is Indefinitely Detained,” January 25]. How likely is it that he will cease being in thrall to imaginary threats to “national security”? Will he continue to offend rather than defend the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights? Will he be cast in another Batman movie?

William Boardman


Copyright or Wrong

Kevin Kelley represents Sen. Leahy fairly, I think [“With Leahy Under Fire, an Online Piracy Bill Is Indefinitely Detained,” January 25], but misses an important fact: Copyright protection has been a pet concern of the senator throughout his tenure. Trying to attribute his sponsorship of PIPA (the Protect Intellectual Property Act) to the influence of corporate donors is pointless.

His concern, however, has consistently been for the publishers who sell intellectual property, not with the individuals who create it. He certainly appreciates art, but — and I hope I don’t do him an injustice — I’ve never seen a good word from him for the rights of artists or a bad one for abuses of them by corporate entities.

The duration of copyright has been significantly extended twice during his tenure, both times for the benefit of, for instance, the Walt Disney Company. Long after Walt’s death, we see giant Disney balloons but will never see “Mickey Mouse vs. Godzilla.”

Some 25 years ago, I wrote to the senator in support of artists’ rights. I received no reply. We are both photographers, after all, although he an amateur with sufficient outside income. Writing again later, I received a curt reply to the effect that I should butt out (I paraphrase).

The senator indeed deserves acclaim for championing human rights in general — just not for this particular one. He is a fine senator; I vote for him. But when in 1992 he complimented me on a photograph in which he had established himself prominently, I wasn’t honored.

Fred G. Hill

South Burlington

CDC Conflicted?

[Re “Flu Shot or Not? Health Officials Warn Against ‘Alarmist’ Reaction to Young Girl’s Death,” January 11]: Harry Chen states that it is important for parents to weigh the risks and benefits 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 an academic science 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

Pledge to Live Sustainably

Many thanks to Seven Days for calling attention to the profound impacts that climate change is going to have on Vermont [“Totally Uncool,” January 25]. Vermont is fortunate to have an administration that is devoted to reducing carbon emissions, and that we have 350Vermont, which wants to establish an even bolder campaign to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2025 and meet 90 percent of the state’s energy needs from clean and renewable sources. Bringing carbon dioxide levels from their current 392 parts per million back to 350 is essential in order to return to a normal climate.

As community organizer David Stember said last week while announcing the Fossil Fuel Freedom’s campaign: “The fact is that when it comes to preventing runaway climate change, because we’re reaching numerous critical tipping points, the next 10 years may shape the quality of life on Earth for untold generations to come. Therefore the goals we set today in Vermont may be the most important goals we have ever set.”

Government action on this issue is critical, but equally, if not more important, is the personal and moral commitment of each Vermonter. One way to demonstrate our commitment is to take the strongest living-more-sustainably pledge found on Google, and I urge all Vermonters to go to vspop.org to see who has already taken the 10-point pledge, and to do so yourself.

George Plumb


Plumb is the executive director of Vermonters for a Sustainable Population.