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

Published October 9, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.

Lighten Up, Nurses

[Re Feedback: “Demeaning Cover Image,” September 25]: My nursing school was one of few that still had a capping ceremony. I had an issue with it, but not the one you might think. The cap is a symbol of the massive contribution that Florence Nightingale and modern nursing gave to the world. Feminists — possibly Katherine Plummer, RN included — decided that the caps symbolize subservience and a demeaning, custodial position. The fact that nurses originally wore the caps while they cleaned the wards is true. The fundamental vision of nursing was and still is that patients will heal better in clean, well-lit and well-ventilated facilities. If we don’t recognize the past, we can’t see the future. The cartoon on the September 18 cover [“Patients and Understanding”] is not demeaning nor is it a commentary on the present. It’s a cartoon that anyone would recognize as a look back. Lighten up!

The present state of nursing is not so wonderful, either. It is one of the most gender-biased professions today. Less than 10 percent of nurses are men. Fifteen percent of law-enforcement officers are women. Men leave nursing at a much greater rate than women. I would describe several of my previous workplaces as hostile. I would suggest that the Katherine Plummers of our state get more worried about how nursing treats men than about a silly cartoon.

Greg Burbo


Mural Will Be Missed

I had the pleasure of meeting Isaias Mata and watching him paint the mural on a cement wall on a walkway at the Living/Learning Center [WTF: “What happened to UVM’s mural?” September 25]. It is sad to see the demise of such a fine piece of mural art destroyed either by the ravages of Vermont weather or by administrative decisions. Archival potential in the visual arts is fleeting at best. Oil paintings stand up well, but collect dirt. Photographic prints have just arrived at the 100-years-plus mark in longevity with the advent of pigment inks. There are other outdoor murals in the Burlington area that have retained much of their original color, but they are located in better-protected locations than was Mr. Mata’s mural.

As you observed, the wall was poorly prepared for the work, and, although Meghan O’Rourke tried valiantly to slow its demise, John Sama’s decision to leave its replacement up to a student vote was a good one. I also agree with him that a large painting with an important social message may have been closer to the mission of the Living/Learning Center. But social issues may pass just as quickly as this mural. A painting of Vermont’s seasonal landscapes will no doubt be more pleasing to the parents of prospective UVM students, but is a sort of whitewash itself.

Chad Harter


Endless Supply of Opiates

Police can do daily drug sweeps, and it won’t do anything to alleviate the opiate epidemic in this state because there will always be replacement dealers and an endless supply of drugs [“South Burlington’s Methadone Clinic Attracts Patients — and Opposition,” September 25]. Even if every dealer were taken off of the streets and a fence were built around the state, drugs will still find a way in and there will still be addicts. The state of Vermont needs to stop focusing on arresting dealers and start helping addicts get clean. Even after the battle to get the clinic in South Burlington built, there is still a waiting list of 600 people. At this rate, the opiate epidemic here will never end.

Seth Leizman


Save Dog Mountain

When creating Dog Mountain, Stephen Huneck gifted dog lovers a place to go when suffering the loss of their beloved dogs [“Wanted: More Best Friends,” September 25]. The chapel is where one can cry, reflect and feel the embrace of others who have shared the terrible pain of losing one’s best friend.?The Room of Remembrance exhibits countless cards, love letters and photos from those wondering why dogs live such painfully short lives. Mine is among them. Messages often end, “Wait for me.”?

Dog Mountain and the divine chapel have given solace to many. We wonder and worry: What happens now? This gentle refuge must be saved, and become a permanent part of Vermont’s acknowledging the special bond between dog and person.?Perhaps the Department of Tourism would consider purchasing Dog Mountain. With proper marketing and sponsors, it could become a destination site for a nation of dog lovers. Clearly, this place is one of a kind; let’s protect it!

Scotti Devens


Devens is founder and executive director of Save the Greyhound Dogs!

There’s More to Snake Mountain

In that quick up-and-back to the summit of Snake Mountain, the author passed the junctions of half a dozen trails leading to other parts of the mountain, as well as to the mysterious quaking bog [“Mystery Trail,” September 25].

That’s understandable, because in the 15 years I’ve been exploring Snake Mountain, the trails and old wood roads have grown over so much as to be nearly unrecognizable, interrupted only temporarily by bikers and snowmobilers marking and clearing new and old trails.

Just for a start, here are two more trailheads for hikers:

One is 1.7 miles east of Addison Four Corners, at the junction of Routes 17 and 22A. It’s an inconspicuous parking lot between two driveways near the road, and you walk a quarter mile south along the fence line until you turn right on a wood road. This approach is only for people who read maps, have a compass and like to explore strange new woods. Or for anyone who likes to get lost.

Better is a parking lot on the east side of the mountain. It’s on the west side of Snake Mountain Road in Weybridge, 0.4 miles north of the intersection with Prunier Road. From there a clear and well-used trail ascends to the west, passing many small beaver ponds until it joins the trail from the parking lot on Mountain Road in Addison that the author used, at a large and extensively eroded intersection. Signs point to the summit.

The pond mentioned in the story is across a wood road from the quaking bog itself, which is identified on a USGS quad as “Cranberry Bog.” The last time I was there, it no longer quaked, but that would depend in part on recent precipitation.

Again, if you go bushwhacking, you should bring a compass and maintain awareness of the roads and the trails you have used — or at least bring a big bag of breadcrumbs.

Norman Carpenter

South Burlington