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Letters to the Editor

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All-Weather Symphony

I would like to make a clarification to last week’s “State of the Arts” article entitled “Burlington Ensemble to Bring Summer Serenades to Shelburne Farms and Other Venues.” The Vermont Symphony Orchestra was not “rained out” for the past two years, as stated, but rather “rained in.” We performed for 1500 people at the indoor site associated with the Shelburne Farms venue. This year, the audience was treated to a wonderfully rich program and a special selection of vocal pieces from the Great American Songbook with guest artist Sara Jean Ford. We have been presenting the Summer Festival Tour statewide for well over 50 years, and we perform rain or shine. Our audience is glad we do.

Thank you for giving journalistic space to the classical music scene in Burlington. We appreciate every inch dedicated to this genre.

Amy Caldwell

Fairfield

Caldwell is marketing director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

In ’Toon

Thanks for the Cartoon Issue [July 3]! Great timing, too, right in the middle of the intensive cartooning workshop I teach at the University of Vermont. It gave the class lots to read and talk about. I appreciated the variety of styles and range of subject matter. I hope you’ll publish another one next year — or even sooner — maybe even consider having more regular comics reviews and features?  

I’d also love to see a more encompassing call for submissions — in your own paper, perhaps? I’ll bet that members of the newly formed Burlington Comics Club would be happy to contribute to the action, as well as other unaffiliated cartoonists who may be lurking across the state.

You know you’re getting quality when your cartoonists are from the Center for Cartoon Studies — and there is a wider world, even in Vermont!

Glynnis Fawkes

Burlington

Stand By Your Cops

The indictment of Winooski Police Corporal Jason Nokes is being portrayed as a political gamble for both T.J. Donovan and Bill Sorrell [“Why Prosecutors Asked a Grand Jury Whether to Charge a Winooski Cop,” July 17]. The sad irony is that it is true. This case is not about truth and justice; this case is about two public and political figures trying to jockey themselves into position for the next election. They have no concern for how this course of action affects Cpl. Nokes or any other law enforcement member. They are not concerned with how this game affects his professional career or even his personal life. They are only concerned with how this case can elevate their hopes for election. I can assure you that they are not gaining any votes from anyone who sees the true meaning of this game. It is truly unfortunate that we can’t rely on our leadership, especially those we elect, to set the correct example. Shame on them for their failed leadership. We need to stand behind the men and women in uniform who protect and serve our communities. Stand tall, be proud, and thank your local law enforcement.

Jeffrey Wimette

South Burlington

Wimette is the business manager for the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

No Grand Jury for Mason?

[Re “Why Prosecutors Asked a Grand Jury Whether to Charge a Winooski Cop,” July 17]: If the attorney general and state’s attorney were willing to call a grand jury to decide whether to bring charges against the Winooski cop who shot and wounded Isaac Sage, why can’t they call a grand jury to investigate the death by Taser of Macadam Mason?

Barry Kade

Montgomery

Gangs in Vermont

Hats off to Seven Days, Andy Bromage, Mary Alice McKenzie and Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling for speaking out about a very real and growing “serious problem” [“Mary Alice McKenzie Wants to Talk about Gangs. Is Burlington Ready to Listen?” July 17]. The issue is not isolated to Burlington, St. Albans or Rutland. It is a problem that has begun to plague many communities across the state. St. Albans has struggled with this issue for several years now. Chief Schirling, myself and several other police chiefs, sheriffs, corrections officials and drug team leaders participated in a meeting a couple of months ago in Rutland to discuss this phenomenon and try to determine how widespread the problem is. We shared ideas about best law enforcement practices when interacting with these individuals, and we shared ideas about gang prevention and educating our respective communities about this problem.

I think we all came away from that meeting with a clear understanding that Vermont is, in fact, experiencing a growing gang issue that is deeply intertwined with illicit drug activity. Some of the individuals that have come to our communities from out of state quickly connect with locals and existing fringe networks to ply their trade. Whether these “gangs” are homegrown, wannabe or the real deal, they engage in gang-like behavior, gang-like activities, gang-like branding/flagging and criminal conduct. They use their gang affiliation to recruit and intimidate others. I think Joe Mollner was correct when he said it doesn’t take large numbers of gang members to cause real problems. I too think we must be careful not to fuel stereotypes, or incite racial profiling, but we cannot ignore the reality of the problem. Just a final point of fact: Many of our “gang bangers” are white and homegrown.

Gary Taylor

St. Albans

Taylor is the police chief in St. Albans.

Strippers in Charge

[Re “Unhappy Endings,” June 5; Feedback, “Burlington or Topeka?” June 26]: Unlike your massage-parlor reporter — too cowardly (or p-whipped) to admit to a shred of titillation — I thoroughly enjoy seeing scantily clad women. I haven’t been to a massage parlor because I don’t like the format, not because I have anything against them. However, Vermont authorities should promptly find out if any kind of coercion was involved at the massage parlors, then promptly send traffickers to the genital guillotine. If no coercion, no punishment.

I have spent more than my fair share of time in strip clubs and know the drill well. Generally speaking, the dancers rule. The idea that they are submissive, somehow being exploited, is pure do-gooder porn. They tease cash out of customer’s pockets in prodigious quantities — and not just the beautiful ones, either. Personality is at least as important as looks in this regard. Men are willing suckers in these clubs. They’re the sheep; the women, the wolves. Make no mistake about it.

Eric Johnson

Burlington

CORRECTION

We misidentified the drummer in last week’s review of Lucid’s Home Is Where We Wanna Grow [CD Reviews]. The correct name is Kyle

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