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

Published February 12, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.


Idle Vice

The City of Burlington has a sound policy on paper against vehicles left idling, which squanders fuel for no purpose and is an important contributor to our climate going sour [WTF: "Whatever happened to Burlington's ban on excessive car idling?" January 29]. It is easy to pass an ordinance and then ignore it, as Chief Mike Schirling does by calling for education, not enforcement. It would be smart to include an idling component in driver's education, but, in the meantime, the easiest thing the city could do is lead by example. There is a rule against idling by city vehicles, which seems to be honored in the breach. Municipal trucks and cars from many departments are often left idling — public works, fire pumpers and especially police cars. The best education the city could do is get serious about turning off the ignition. The commissions that oversee the departments should drill down hard to get to the bottom of their idling problem and save the taxpayers the cost of all that wasted fuel. 

Samuel Press


Stop the 'Hissy Fit'

What a great article on this situation ["Disharmony on Prospect Street: A Dispute Between Neighbors Strikes a Sour Note," February 5]. It provoked my emotions so much because of my personal past experiences with disgruntled neighbors. 

This fellow Buchwald is bringing culture and diversity to the neighborhood through his craft. Now he's being hassled by some cranky lady. The evidence is clear that his shop doesn't make noise, is within his permitted use, and doesn't cause any harm or disturbance to the peace of the neighborhood.  

Headrick sounds like she has nothing better to do than pester her neighbor into her "reality" of what neighborhood living should be. My suggestion for her: Find a hobby, do something good for the community and stop dragging out such a ridiculous hissy fit over nothing. 

Great job and thanks for the read! Let's hope this all ends well in Buchwald's favor. 

John Coon

South Burlington

Dumb Details

[Re "Raw Deal? Farmers Push Back Against Unpasteurized Milk Regulations," January 29]: I was astounded to read in this article that goat farmer Lisa Kaiman attended her hearing "dressed in a Carhartt jacket and bulky knit sweater, her graying hair piled in a messy bun atop her head." Huh? Are you kidding me? Why did Kathryn Flagg think it appropriate to describe Kaiman's attire and hairdo but not do the same for anyone else?

We did not learn, for example, that a staffer from the Agency of Agriculture was "wearing Dockers and a button-down plaid shirt with his blond hair parted on the side" (and would have thought it to be a joke if we had!).

And the "messy bun" comment was really over the top — granted, these days a "messy bun" is an actual, intentionally casual coif and not necessarily an indication of unkemptness (something I'm sure a good percentage of your readers don't realize), but still! Clearly, the detailed description of Kaiman's appearance was intended to portray her in a negative light, and it was very offensive.

Nina Dahlstedt Buss


Onions Make Her Cry

Although I can sympathize with the challenges that restaurants face with the increase in food allergies, food sensitivities and food fads, I took issue with Michael Werneke's snarky comment about allium allergies and his questioning of people's real motivations when they are ordering based on dietary restrictions ["Sensitivity Seige," January 15]. My mother has a very severe allium sensitivity and because it is not an allergy (not an immune response), she has faced many lax employees in restaurants who think that just a little garlic or just a little onion are fine since it is "not an allergy." Her "real motivation" is staying out of the emergency department. Certain fads will fade, but I hope the people we trust to cook for us when socializing and celebrating will never lose sight of how very, very sick certain foods make certain people. And though some restaurateurs might hope those people would stay home, try going through your entire personal and professional life without darkening the doors of a restaurant.

Kelly Adams

Essex Junction

Keep Inmates In-State

Mark Davis' Off Message blog post about paying privately run prisons should be reviewed in Montpelier ["Vermont Judge Rejects Prison Company's Bid to Keep Records Secret," January 21]. Paying $11.6 million a year to house inmates out of state seems excessively high. Does that include transportation cost?

This is a debatable issue, but it seems to me that using that money to build facilities, hiring personnel and saving on transportation costs would be a better approach. Legal expenses for our judge and the plaintiff from a pending case with the private company to defend itself from the freedom of information criteria wouldn't be incurred, and any inmate relatives suing over conditions or placement would be nonexistent, resulting in using state funds more efficiently.

Our incarcerated population would undoubtedly, I suspect, be treated more hospitably in state than out of state because of the simple fact that outsiders in any scenario are at a disadvantage. Judge Robert Bent ordered further hearings, resulting in a protracted situation because of these out-of-state venues. It just makes more sense to me that any and all state maintenance be performed locally, resulting in our own controlled supervision for the most efficient results.

Bob Prall


Love Story

I appreciated your coverage of Andy Williams ["His Beat Goes On," January 8]. Over the last year, Andy's struggle with leukemia and related complications were unbelievably difficult. The outpouring of love and support for him and Josie Furchgott Sourdiffe, his partner of five years, was amazing. Knowing Josie and Andy, I learned of the highs and lows they shared as they faced Andy's diagnosis and treatment. I'd like to honor Josie's role in bringing comfort and dignity to Andy's life during this last year.

Josie remained strong and determined while advocating for Andy and facing the inevitable unpredictability of leukemia. Her devotion to Andy held fast throughout doctor's visits and hospital stays, bone-marrow-donor drives, daily uncertainty, and life-threatening changes in Andy's health. Many of us wondered if we could face a similar situation with such courage, tenacity and compassion, and, when the time came, to let Andy go with such tenderness, grace and love. Throughout it all, they chose hope over despair.

The nurses and doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston were in awe of Josie's selfless devotion to Andy. They seldom experienced such commitment between two people. How wonderful it was that our community could see to it that Josie was able to be with Andy every step of the way, and that Josie embraced the journey so fully. Her capacity to love and care for Andy seemed limitless.

Josie's compassion, intelligence and dogged determination to research and pursue every option that could improve Andy's health was absolutely extraordinary. Rarely do we get to witness such enduring acts of love. I know I am changed because of it.

Robin Shalline



[Movie Review: "Blue Jasmine," August 28] is spot on and the only one I've read that expresses my own bewilderment at the near universal praise given to this fatuous horror show. There isn't a truthful moment in it, or a believable or interesting character. Director Woody Allen has spent so many years in a narcissistic haze that I don't believe he knows or cares about anyone but himself; his self-absorption has reached the point of boring no return. He hasn't an interesting thing to say.

As for Cate Blanchett, the movie isn't in her artistic league and, for me, that fact made her performance jarringly out of place, incoherent (given the dialogue assigned to her) and as unbelievable as everything else. She's singing opera in a diner — seriously. It's not her fault, but that doesn't explain the many prize nominations she's gotten.

Estie Stoll

Los Angeles, Calif.

Armchair Officers

In reading of the unfortunate shooting of Wayne Brunette by Burlington police officers, I can see that that there is a great deal of expert opinion available ["They Didn't Know His Name: New Details Emerge on Fatal Burlington Police Shooting," January 22].

Should such a situation involving an armed and mentally unstable person arise again, a mental-health advocate or someone from the American Civil Liberties Union should be dispatched to handle the situation. Those experts have all the right answers, and we can be sure the situation, left in their hands, will be handled properly.

Lee Bowen

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

So ... Sorrell?

If there is a heroin problem in Vermont, as our governor has finally stated ["Diagnosing the Drug Deal: Did Shumlin Overstate the Case for Vermont's Opiate 'Crisis'?" January 15], I think much of it involves Vermont's location on the Underground Drug Railway from Montréal down the East Coast to Florida, and back again. It would make sense for human traffickers to use the same railway. So what is our crusading attorney general's investigation into the links between the two? And why is it that it was Shumlin, and not Sorrell, who made the speech about heroin?

In 2010, as I recall, a task force was created in the AG's office to look into human trafficking in Vermont. What have they come up with? And why all the silence from liberal Dems about Vermont's dirty little secrets? I would include abuse of migrant workers and the elderly and disabled as additional crimes that Mr. Sorrell remains speechless about. His most famous campaign was against sugary-sweet sodas. It seems to me that Vermont is wide open for the trafficking of anything and anyone that crime cartels can make money on. It seems it took a very long time (duh!) for our "leaders" to acknowledge the heroin trade. What about the sex trade? Or is that too touchy an issue for Dems this election year? I think this would be a good year for a good and dynamic Prog to make a run for AG.

Peter Buknatski