A very low level of science literacy is reflected in the strong legislative support for GMO labeling reported by Paul Heintz [Fair Game: "Label to Table," April 16]. In fact, every living thing, including you and me, is a genetically modified organism (GMO). Evolution has taken place because the genetic code shared by all life on Earth is constantly being rearranged in all of us. These insertions, deletions and transpositions in the code result from natural mutagens in the environment as well as from the inevitable errors in transcription and translation in our complex cellular machinery that processes millions of three-unit DNA "bytes" of code per second. Many of these mutations are corrected by the cells' proofreading apparatus, but some are not, and a small percentage of these modifications are incorporated into the organism's own structure or its offspring. Unfortunately, nature's random genetic modifications, while sometimes improving a species' survival probability, more often produce cancer or one of hundreds of genetic diseases. Our mailboxes are full of requests for donations to fight some of the more widespread of these diseases. Thankfully, scientists have recently learned how to improve and correct some of nature's random products through genetic engineering. GMO technology has already saved millions of people from starvation, blindness and disease. Its promise for the future is immensely greater. I oppose GMO labeling because it will frighten poorly informed people — that's most of us — away from perfectly safe foods and, more importantly, it could have a dampening effect on further development of this revolutionary, life-giving technology.
I really appreciate the comprehensive nature of your article about current and future development in Burlington ["Building Momentum," April 16]. As an architect, I'm biased, but it would be nice if your paper identified the design firms for projects when possible. I think some firms are doing better work than others; unit counts and gross square footage aren't the only ways to measure these projects against one another.
In the recent Seven Days roundup of new local chocolates ["Spring Melt," April 9], your staff missed one of the best: Soul Food and Confections of Jeffersonville at facebook.com/soulfoodandconfec tions. My wife and I are devoted fans. Amid the crowded chocolate field in Vermont, former Burlington resident Hailey Cohn's chocolates definitely stand out, both for their intoxicating flavor and their quality, all-organic ingredients. This Easter, her take on the Cadbury cream egg, with its "no weird stuff" white chocolate filling, and her vegan dark chocolate bunny filled with ganache both blew us away. Though Cohn's chocolates are a well-kept secret, we wouldn't want others to miss out. You can sample some of her stuff at Dobrá Tea.
[Re "Bernie's Big Dilemma: A Dem or an Indie Run?" April 16]: It's hard to imagine Bernie having much of an effect on the outcome of the presidential race beyond bitching and banking some bucks. Kevin Kelley says "analysts argue that Democrat Al Gore would have defeated Republican George W. Bush if Nader had not insisted on running as an alternative to two candidates whom he depicted as essentially interchangeable in their politics." It doesn't take much analysis to note that Gore was such a poor candidate he couldn't even win his home state. Had he done so, he would have been president. That would have prevented the 2000 election from being stolen, a fact that's sadly been forgotten by analysts, the press and apparently Bernie.
Why, oh why, is there never any mention of the environmental question behind Keurig technology ["Will the Keurig Green Mountain Cold-Cup Project Heat Up the Local Economy?" April 2]? As we forge ahead with cold-beverage Keurig cups, does anyone else cringe at the thought of propelling KGM and this technology into the international beverage market? I actually welcomed the recent name change from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to Keurig Green Mountain. But that doesn't go far enough. There is nothing "green" about the millions of plastic Keurig cups now filling the landfills, with many millions more headed in that direction with the new cold-cup project. Given KGM's new pairing with the brand leadership and global footprint of Coca-Cola, I'd prefer that the company no longer misrepresent the idyllic imagery of our beautiful Vermont Green Mountains while simultaneously contributing to the degradation of the environment. How about Keurig Coca-Cola instead? Please reject this continuing assault on the environment by not participating: Don't buy Keurig cups, and contact the company to tell them how you feel!
[Re "Building Momentum," April 16]: Miro Weinberger's claim that allowing developers to build more buildings downtown without providing for adequate parking will make Burlington a "more walkable city" is ridiculous. One need only look at his Packard Lofts development and the traffic and parking problems created by the city's generous waiver of its parking requirements. The lack of adequate parking does not cause fewer people to own vehicles or cars to magically disappear when they arrive at a development. Instead, when people drive to a location that does not have adequate parking, they park in improper, illegal and dangerous places: across driveways and handicap ramps, in front of fire hydrants, obstructing views at intersections, and, yes, even double parking in the middle of the road. Burlington police have issued more parking tickets around Packard Lofts in the last 10 months since it was built than in all the 20 years before. People in Vermont drive cars because it is one of the most rural states in the country, and without one you can't get there from here. Unless and until Vermonters change their car-centric culture, allowing development without adequate parking is nothing more than a financial bonus for the mayor's developer buddies from the pockets of residents, visitors and local businesses.
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