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Letters to the Editor (6/8/16) 

Advantage Vermont

Sarah Tuff Dunn's story ["Safety Net," June 1] — about Vermont kids playing tennis in Cuba — needs a correction. The Cuban American Friendship Society, a nonprofit Burlington-based organization founded in 1994, applied for and was awarded a specific license from the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconstruct the tennis courts at the National Tennis Federation in Cuba. In addition, the Cuban American Friendship Society negotiated with and received permission from the Cuban government to rebuild the tennis courts at the federation. CAFS has sole legal and governmental authority from both governments across the Florida Straits to implement this historic project.

Sandy Baird


Baird is a founding member of the Cuban American Friendship Society.

Play it Again, Seven Days

Yesterday, I took advantage of a free moment to glance at the June 1 edition of Seven Days. In the 20/20 Hindsight section, I found a brief reprise of an article written several years back about my dear friend and bandmate for 25 years, Big Joe Burrell. Unfortunately, the quote attributed to me got mangled somewhat, during the trip from my tongue to the printed page. Out of consideration for Joe's memory, jazz history and to quell thoughts of what mind-altering chemicals I might have been on during the interview, I'd like to straighten out the quote, which should have read: "When I first met him, musically what was clear to me was that Joe had the older vocabulary of jazz players like Coleman Hawkins, as well as the blues vocabulary as played by blues players. As soon as he started singing, it was clear he was much more than a jazz player — he had the feel of a '50s R&B singer. You don't typically hear that in the sax players of his generation. He occupies both of those worlds. It's like hearing someone who plays like Jimi Hendrix and Wes Montgomery at the same time."

I regret any inconvenience, confusion or hysterical laughter that the original quote may have caused!

Paul Asbell


Fair Treatment

I am surprised that you have received so few Feedback responses to your courageous article covering the story of a sexual offender adjusting to release ["A Second Chance," April 27]. Perhaps the topic is too alarming for most people to discuss publicly at all.

I sent the story to my cousin, who is the manager of a sexual offending treatment unit in London. This was his response: "Thanks for the fascinating newspaper article. I will try to send it to my team at work, as it shows a very different way of dealing with sexual offenders than in UK. I was impressed with your paper's approach in trying to be objective and factual — unlike most UK papers."

Thank you for taking journalism into new territory by daring to air challenging public issues with rare candor and balance.

Cynthia Norman


Bassett in Brooklyn

Next time on Interstate 89, I'll keep an eye out for the cemetery [WTF: "What's the Story With the Hidden Cemetery in Waterbury?" May 25]. Zachariah Bassett's life story and participation in the American Revolution were fascinating. I do hope his tombstone is recovered.

Of revolution and Brooklyn, however, I wish to footnote WTF's reference to the Battle of Long Island. It's actually the Battle of Brooklyn these days, as per John Gallagher's 2002 book The Battle of Brooklyn 1776. When Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a stump speech in front of his Brooklyn boyhood home in April, it was on Kings Highway, originally an American Indian footpath, now a less-than-modern highway through neighborhoods punctuated with traffic lights. The British used Kings Highway after coming ashore at Gravesend Bay for the battle. One memory of mine was seeing Lyndon B. Johnson's motorcade pass along Kings Highway in the run-up to the 1964 elections.

Zachariah Bassett lived a long life after surviving the prison in Plymouth, England. Had he been taken prisoner in Brooklyn, he would have been one of the 11,000 colonialists who died in the British military prison ships at Wallabout Bay, the eventual location of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Yes, the battle was a defeat for the Americans. But consider that General Howe converged with 9,000 troops, and brother Admiral Howe with 13,000 soldiers, to fight 5,500 citizen soldiers. When the Americans slipped away to Manhattan, it was "after the fox," General George Washington.

And the rest is more history.

Roger Donegan


Center of the Universe?

[Re WTF: "Why Does Google Think Vermont Is in Morristown?" May 11]: We are not cartographers or map enthusiasts in any way, but we are in AP Calculus, and since we've already taken our exam with nearly a month left before graduation, we have to keep busy somehow. What better thing to do than determine our own center of Vermont with some basic measuring skills?

We did some simple calculations and came to the conclusion that Vermont's true center is in fact in Bethel, slightly southwest of the town's center, snuggled between Route 107 and Route 12. We began with an outline of the state, traced straight lines from the top right corner to the bottom right corner, then from the bottom right to the bottom left, etc. This created somewhat of a trapezoidal shape around Vermont. Then we measured all the sides and found the midpoint of each line segment. In order to pinpoint the center, we connected the north point to the south point and then the west point to the east point to see where they would cross.

After that, we proceeded to double-check this point by tracing a circle from the center to the edge (with a radius based on the midpoint to the edge of the north-south line). This circle enclosed almost all of Vermont, only leaving out a portion in the northeast corner and some of the top of the Lake Champlain islands. Now that we had gotten decent results on the Vermont outline, we replicated that process on a screenshot of Vermont from Google Maps. This led us to find a general area for the center so that we could go back to Google Maps and zoom in on that point. It ended up falling just southwest of Bethel, between Routes 107 and 12. Thus, yet another "center of Vermont" was born!

Abigail Snow and Joshua Poirier


Snow and Poirier are in Tim Lynch's AP Calculus class at Milton High School. Both are graduating this month. 

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