Last of Leith
[Re “Seven Lengths of Vermont,” November 7]: Wonderful.
Midd Kids on to Something
Congratulations to the Middlebury students and their support community. You put an important issue in the headlines [“Why Middlebury College Put Five Students on Trial Over a Dalai Lama Prank,” November 7]. This is what it looks like and this is how administrations respond. Your creativity was successful. Keep up the good work, and don’t let the big white folks scare you. Their acute response mirrors the potency of your action. Thank you!
What a wonderful article on Ben Chater [“A Man of Conviction,” November 7]! I am reminded of another disabled legal advocate, the late Gregory C. Packan, who spent most of his career representing juveniles and doing Legal Aid cases. He had the respect of everyone in the courtroom. Thanks, Ken Picard, for sharing Ben’s story with us.
Margo M. Howland
White River Junction
Best of Ben
I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as Ben’s assistant during law school exams while I was in graduate school at UT-Austin [“A Man of Conviction,” November 7]. From that experience, a friendship developed over lunches at the law school every day, and eventually led to me becoming Ben’s roommate during his third year. It was a wonderful, life-changing experience. Ben is one of the smartest, hardest-working, kindest, funniest and most genuine people you will ever meet, and I consider it one of the highest privileges in my life to be able to call him my friend. He is a true inspiration, and while I am so incredibly proud of what he has achieved, I am even more excited to see what lies in his future! Vermont is lucky to have him!
Nadine Bradley Griffith
History tells us that the Men of Maple corner calendar was totally acceptable [“Highfields Pulls ‘Hot Compost’ Nude Calendar After Unexpected Heat,” November 7]. Nude older ladies can also be a big hit. However, for Highfields’ “Hot Compost” calendar, it seems nude young ladies are not acceptable at all. I know that somehow it’s not that simple. However, given that Hardwick’s famous agricultural revolution is being driven by youngsters, I think Tom Gilbert’s choice of local youngsters was right on. Would it have been all right if the calendar had included both nude young men and women? Confusing, isn’t it? What exactly are the rules?
Nude If I Want To
I find Sheila Poettgen’s assessment of the “Hot Compost” calendar as “very objectified photos of women” and her attendant disgust to be nothing more than paternalism in a feminist guise [“Highfields Pulls ‘Hot Compost’ Nude Calendar After Unexpected Heat,” November 7]. Tom Gilbert clearly states that “the models were all willing volunteers, and none felt objectified.” There is nothing antifeminist about making the informed choice to display one’s body and/or sexuality, and to state otherwise is to deny women’s agency. As a professional model who has been photographed in various stages of undress, I can state with confidence that my nudity is my choice; any insistence otherwise, even in the name of “saving” me, denies me that choice. My brand of feminism holds female agency and autonomy paramount. Disagreeing with a woman’s personal choice is no reason to deny her the right to make it.
Fair and Well Written
Just wanted to say Kathryn Flagg’s story was beautifully written, emotive and absolutely fair to the people and places involved [“My Side of the Mountain,” November 7]. Well done! Some of the finest writing I’ve encountered in Seven Days. More from Kathryn, please.
Caution to the Wind
“My Side of the Mountain” [November 7] was an impressive, well-written and balanced piece by Kathryn Flagg on the debate and controversy about wind power on our now devalued ridgelines! The central question is: When the federal subsidies dry up during the current wind-boom construction, are these wind turbines that are on the top of Vermont’s heart and soul what we really want to leave as our legacy for future generations?
Another critical question: What is the long-term plan?
When the cost to maintain these turbines starts cutting more and more into the profit line, will we see these wind turbines as aging rust buckets running at half speed or idle?
Caution to the wind, if you will, of Gov. Shumlin’s new “advisory and oversight review committee” to the PSB, with one member being former House Speaker Gaye Symington. It’s no secret that Symington is a strong pro-wind advocate.
Seven Days and “My Side of the Mountain” gave great perspectives on the responsible need for limited wind power and exposed how we have fallen short.
Yes, in My Backyard
In response to “My Side of the Mountain” [November 7], you say that truth and justice look quite different depending on what side of the mountain you’re standing on. The truth is, we need a diverse mix of energy sources in order to ensure a secure energy future. I’m glad that our governor has also recognized the need for these energy sources to be from renewable generation, and that the majority of Vermonters agree with this.
But the NIMBY response to this is astonishing. The truth is, we are going to need anything and everything that can be generated to keep electrical rates stable. It’s only just that we should take responsibility for this energy, to support our own economy, and keep our money in state. There are sacrifices to be made with any energy generation, and altering an ecosystem on top of a mountain is a sacrifice much more bearable than mountaintop removal, like in West Virginia. Industrial-size wind is one of the most efficient ways that we can power our state, and it needs to be a part of the solution.
While solar is great, it would take 30,560 panels to generate the same amount of power that just one tower at Lowell produces. We need to support the development of all clean energy, especially wind, in order to take responsibility of our energy future. We need to say, “Yes, in my backyard.”