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

Published May 29, 2013 at 4:12 a.m.

Sweater Savvy

[Re “What the Frack? Middlebury College at Odds Over Addison County Pipeline Project,” May 15; “For a North Country Paper Mill, Natural Gas Could be a Lifesaver,” March 20]: Reporting on the issues surrounding natural gas and pipelines misses the simplest and most cost-effective way of saving money that would otherwise go up as carbon dioxide: When it’s cold out, don’t simply burn more wood, coal or oil; first and foremost, put on a sweater. This simple advice, first voiced to Americans by then-President Jimmy Carter, is still smart and savvy.

Alan Gregory


Student ID

It was a great shock to me that in your article covering the now-former Burlington High School Spanish teacher having sex with a student, you included the student’s initials [Last 7, “Senior and Señora,” May 8]. It has been many years since victims of sexual abuse or misconduct have been identified by members of Vermont’s fourth estate. ?Victims of sexual abuse and or misconduct need community support. Harm can be mitigated through the respect and care of family, friends, acquaintances and the broader community. We are all part of the healing process. I trust Seven Days will be among those who step up and recommit to carrying out best practice when children, youth and adults experience sexual violence and or violations.

Linda Johnson


Johnson is executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont.

Friendly Catholics

It has been a few weeks since your “Are You There God? It’s Me, Vermont” article came out [March 27], but I had some thoughts on it that I just could not keep to myself. 

While I did enjoy reading about life at weekly services and devotions at worship sites of other denominations around Vermont, I feel, as a proud, practicing, Catholic, left out. It is true that the media has given plenty of attention to Roman Catholicism these days through their coverage of the ordination of Pope Francis I, but I would caution you to be wary of what the national media says about our faith, and go to a Catholic mass in the area yourselves to experience what we have to offer. I am not a priest or a deacon. I am not even a Brother, or lay minister of the Catholic Church. I am simply a humble, young adult parishioner who wishes to debunk the theory you put forth saying that somehow the Catholic Church is not “friendly.” I am referring to your description of the Dormition of the Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church. You described the building as “...an exceptionally casual, friendly Roman Catholic Church.” 

You have us wrong. The Roman Catholic Church is friendly. You will see this friendliness at masses at the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester. They give out poinsettias to the congregation at Christmas, carnations to mothers and grandmothers on Mother’s Day, loaves of bread on Holy Thursday, and they treat the congregation to liturgical dancing on Palm Sunday. The Evangelicals are not the only ones to wave their palms with joy.

Edward Burke


Growth Isn’t Always Good

Tom Bisson wrote a letter in response to the April 3 article, “Lawmakers Look to Crack Down on ‘Current Use’ Abuse” [In Feedback, April 24]. He states, “Wouldn’t it be a good thing for average Vermonters if the land were developed?” This kind of thinking is wrong. Development does not bring riches to everyone. It mostly brings wealth to the few. It also destroys more of the character of Vermont. The idea that growth is good is a religion in our culture. It is an idea that is killing the planet and making a greater divide between the few very rich and the rest of the population. The fact is that we are running out of oil that has promoted all of this growth. It would be better to work at getting an economic system that follows models detailed by writers such as Herman Daly, Richard Heinberg and John Michael Greer.

Lisa Sammet


Positive Change

[Re WTF: “Why don’t CCTA buses give change?” February 13]: I knew before reading this article that it was written by someone who doesn’t regularly utilize public transportation. I was disappointed in the author’s negative slant to not dispensing change, which every other “major transit agency” does. CCTA provides a critical service to our area and could use more champions. I rode the #6 every day in my last job, and I have a car, too. Maybe if Seven Days staff spent more time riding our local buses, they would realize that many riders don’t worry about receiving change because they qualify for free or reduced bus passes — a great service that your unreturned quarters support!

Kelsey Adams


Sustainable Syrup

I’d like to respond to some of the concerns voiced in the Seven Days article written by Kathryn Flagg [“The Vermont Syrup Rush Is On, But Is Big Maple a Boon or a Bubble?,” May 8]. The article quoted county forester Nancy Patch describing her concern that new maple producers may not be practicing responsible forest stewardship. She specifically cited producers who leave taps in trees until the following season, leaving trees susceptible to infection; and producers whose thinning practices result in “maple monocultures,” which leave the sugarbush less resilient when faced with disease or pest pressure. ??

In my role as certification administrator for Vermont Organic Farmers, I am often asked the same question: Isn’t all syrup organic? I wanted to point out that the guidelines for organic maple production address many of Nancy’s concerns. For example, organic producers are required to maintain and improve forest diversity as well as promote uneven age stands, which are important practices for regeneration of the sugarbush. VOF conducts inspections to evaluate forest health as well as to verify that taps are pulled within 30 days of the end of sap flow, and that extra tubing has been removed. Whole-tree harvest techniques are prohibited, but instead producers must leave all material under three inches on the forest floor for nutrient cycling. And finally, there are restrictions established for tree size and the number of taps per tree. These restrictions are in place to protect tree health.?For more information regarding organic maple standards, please visit our website at nofavt.org/organic.?

Nicole Dehne


Gatsby Girl

I found The Great Gatsby heartbreaking [Movie Review, May 15]. It’s about a man who spends half a decade constructing an elaborate monument to the woman of his dreams, to say, “Look what I’ve done for you. Look how much I love you.” And never once does he consider the possibility that she never asked him to do it.

Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely wonderful as Gatsby. I hope he finally gets the recognition he deserves. (Too bad about the Tom Buchanan character: In Jack Clayton’s 1974 Gatsby, Bruce Dern’s interpretation was so much more interesting and moving. You could really understand why Daisy stayed with this guy.)

It’s wild and wacky, but it’s Baz; I expect it. Fantastic art direction and costume design. It’s an Aussie vision of 1920s America — very surreal images of working people and “negroes,” who were certainly not at the center of the universe as the film would have it.

One thing I missed in this version of Gatsby is the utter recklessness of the Buchanans and the way they destroy people so thoughtlessly. This was foregrounded in the 1974 version with Daisy’s drunken murder of Myrtle (superbly played by Karen Black).

Baz’s version threw this subplot away, although he had more than enough on his plate. But he absolutely captured the wistfulness and yearning of Gatsby. Gatsby is an incredibly lonely, unfulfilled dreamer; this seemed to me to be the heart of the film, and very well executed. The sadness of his story is played in counterpoint with the empty (but beautiful) glitz and glamour.

Carole Zucker


Pipeline Problem

Your recent article on the proposed fracked-gas pipeline through Addison County highlighted some key elements of the arguments, both for and against, but failed to place emphasis on some of the most disturbing realities of the project [“What the Frack? Middlebury College at Odds Over Addison County Pipeline Project,” May 15].

Despite continued negative feedback from those directly affected throughout Addison County, Vermont Gas Systems continues to evade questions. Turnout at recent VGS open houses has consisted almost entirely of vocal opponents to the project, causing them to suspend such town-meeting-style forums. VGS representatives repeatedly fail to address the issues most important to route residents. Last year, Vermont passed a statewide ban on fracking. We must not allow this blatant contradiction to snake through our state, beneath the lake, and lock us in to decades of continued fossil-fuel consumption.

To accuse pipeline opponents of NIMBYism is false and evasive. No one’s backyard, front yard, farm or forest should be subject to clear-cutting and contamination. The strong and vocal opposition to this project is cognizant of the inherent solidarity with other communities impacted by extraction. In your continued coverage of this issue, please include more voices from impacted communities, both from Addison County and from the frack fields of Alberta, Canada, where VGS gas will be sourced; continue to stress the fact that natural gas is not clean-burning, and is a false solution to climate change; continue to highlight the growing and organized opposition to the fracked-gas pipeline.

Martha Waterman


Senseless Strategy

[Re “What the Frack? Middlebury College at Odds Over Addison County Pipeline Project,” May 15]: This article implies that the bulk of the opposition to this pipeline is coming from landowners whose properties lie in the path of the proposed route. As one of those “residents of resistance,” I can attest that, to me, this is more like someone who has been touched by a disease, so they launch a campaign to fight it with everything they’ve got.

It was a call to action when we discovered this pipeline was sited across our tiny farm — kind of like getting a really dismal diagnosis from the doctor. The thing is, we are not just fighting to keep this pipeline out of our backyard; we are fighting against the destruction that comes with “natural” gas drilling, transportation and distribution everywhere on the planet.

No, we are not saying oil is better. We are saying it makes no sense at all to build more fossil-fuel infrastructure. And as someone who does not have unlimited funds and could really could use a drastic cut in my heating bills, I really resent the comment that “natural” gas could be a “game changer” for a corporation as humongous as International Paper. ?

Jane Palmer



Last week’s Seven Days promised a guide “inside” for the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. And delivered — but to just 29,000 of the 35,000 papers distributed last week. If you missed it, you can find the guides at the Flynn Box Office or at the Discover Jazz office at 156 College Street #202. The same info is online at discoverjazz.com.