[Re "Mitzvot Accomplished," October 14]: Your article on Rabbi Chasan and his leadership of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue mentioned the 2013 open letter to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, in which Chasan and 15 other area clergy and religious leaders expressed concern over the proposed basing of the F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet in Vermont.
These spiritual leaders beseeched our political representatives to advocate on behalf of the thousands of Vermonters who will be negatively affected by the planned F-35 basing, especially middle- and low-income, minority, and refugee populations. They urged the politicians to use their influence to withdraw Burlington from this first selection process and wait until the next round of basing, by which time the F-35s would have developed a track record on their impact on safety, health and property values.
Sadly, the politicians did not listen and they refused to meet with the clergy or any of those who would be impacted by the basing!
Then in February 2015, Rabbi Chasan and 45 other religious leaders again contacted these representatives to ask for a delay in the basing. "Common sense would direct the placement of these planes to airports with far fewer people in the vicinity; far fewer children whose young ears would be blasted, their learning disrupted," Chasan said.
And again they were ignored. Shame on our elected officials for refusing to even discuss the clergy's concerns about the morality and the social justice impacts of the F-35 on the poor and marginalized.
My sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Chasan for repeatedly speaking out about this planned injustice to our residential communities.
[Re Off Message: "Protesting Exxon, Bill McKibben Arrested at Burlington Gas Station," October 15; Last 7: "McKibben: Exxon Knew," October 21]: Bill McKibben's one-man stand in downtown Burlington, protesting Exxon's decades-old, miles-deep and Biblical-scale lies about understanding the dynamics of climate change, was beautiful in its simplicity and symbolic in its insistence on an investigation. If we can spend tens of millions, and focus endless talk, on Benghazi and on Hillary Clinton's emails, when will we spend millions and countless hours on showing Exxon as the venomous corporation that it was, is and will continue to be unless unveiled and taken to the collective slammer of public opinion and indignation?
Exxon's crime is a robbery of our planet's future. Let's investigate.
We appreciate Kevin J. Kelley's mention of our efforts to keep Burlington Telecom locally owned and operated [WTF: "What's Happening With Burlington Telecom?" October 21]. However, we would like to clarify some points in the article.
In fact, we have not just "200 members who have paid a minimum of $10 to have a say in its construction" but close to 500 members, all of whom have pledged at least $250 each. We haven't asked for that money because we don't need it until we have a deal with the City of Burlington. Until then, all we have asked of our members is the minimum we need in order to put together an offer to present to the city.
Will the pledge money of 500 members buy Burlington Telecom? Of course not. No more than the pledge money of Onion River Co-op members bought them a new store in downtown Burlington. There will be other financing involved. In the end, we believe that we can demonstrate to the city that co-op ownership of BT will best serve the interests of subscribers, taxpayers and our community.
Wagener is a member of the Keep BT Local board of directors.
Eric Farrell blew it [Off Message: "Redstone Pitches Large Apartment Building in Old North End," October 29]. He could have donated the orphanage land to the city, created another wonderful public park, preserved it as a teaching resource for Burlington College and given his extended family permanent recognition in the Burlington community. He didn't.
Redstone has a chance to make up for Farrell's failure of nerve, generosity and long-sightedness. Fifty "units" of mostly unaffordable housing. Nobody needs it, but there's a sucker born every minute, and Redstone is positioned to sell him or her the moon — and the view.
For Redstone, the real opportunity is to create the beautiful public mini park that this site wants to be. Redstone should give it to the Old North End community in recognition of all the profits that the community has already generated for them, and out of a sense of pride in what Redstone has done — and plans to do — for the larger Burlington community, permanent and transient.
The park, at the end — or beginning — of an increasingly diverse and vibrant North Street would also be a valuable amenity to the new residents of the expanded Committee on Temporary Shelter and to the neighbors on Lakeview Terrace. Wouldn't it be nice if for once a developer did something nice for the neighbors?
Unrealistic? All those generous souls who gave their money and their land to create the parks we already have and enjoy didn't think so.
I was deeply disappointed to see the Vermont Fish & Wildlife commissioner quoted saying something clearly untrue in order to defend the cruel practice of trapping ["Activists Want Measures to Keep Pets Safe From Traps," October 21]. According to the story, he said, trapping is not "indiscriminate." Not only was my sweet dog Foxy caught in a leg-hold trap intended to catch a coyote, the department's own information documents nontarget animals, including endangered species, caught in these traps.
The very conservative American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the type of leg-hold trap used in Vermont because of its indiscriminate nature. Not to put too fine a point on it, but even the president of the Vermont Trappers Association, who was featured in the story, acknowledged: "I've caught lots of dogs in traps."
A day or two after Foxy was caught, I went back to see if the trap was still there. It was, and in it was a two-and-a-half pound raven — not even in the same genus, family, order or class as a coyote, and one-tenth the size. Unfortunately, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator determined its leg was broken, and the animal had to be euthanized.
Enough already. It's time for an honest dialogue about how to mitigate the negative impacts of trapping in Vermont.