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Letters to the Editor (8/13/14) 

Hanna Is Not Alone

I have to respond to the brave announcement from Paul Henninge that the death of his wife, Cheryl Hanna, was indeed a suicide and that he shared her journey through depression ["Cheryl Hanna's Suicide Confirms Mental Health Problems in Vermont," August 6]. Depression and other psychiatric illnesses still live in the shadows and carry a stigma not attached to any other mental illness. In order to understand her actions, you would have to live in the deep blackness of depression. The utter hopelessness, the feeling that you are a burden to your loved ones and your desire to stop the hurt. I know; I've been there. I have been in that blackness and have attempted suicide more than once. May Paul sharing his pain about losing Cheryl help someone to change their thinking on mental illness. Maybe it will change more than one mind. Maybe it will help show that the mental-health care system is so very broken.

Karen Kelley


Incomprehensible Death

I met Cheryl Hanna in 1997, when she was 31 years young. I was blessed to have her as my professor for two foundational courses at Vermont Law School. Cheryl had only been teaching for three years, yet it was as if she was born to be at the front of a classroom. Eloquent, warm, compassionate, endlessly patient and an intellectual powerhouse, she knew how to put a class full of nervous law students at ease. Always giving of herself, Cheryl welcomed me into her office on numerous occasions when I had missed class and was having difficulty catching up with the material. I aspired to be like her, proudly watching over the years as she blossomed into a well-known and well-respected legal commentator.

Today, I can see Cheryl's huge, intelligent brown eyes, hear her crystal-clear voice and feel her passionate spirit, as if 17 years had never passed. Her death is incomprehensible to me, as I grapple to understand how such a bright, shining light, loved and admired by so many, could fall prey to such all-encompassing darkness. It may be too late to bring Cheryl back, but, as her husband Paul Henninge has so poignantly stated, it is not too late to bring "forward the awareness of the disease of depression." Cheryl Hanna touched our lives in so many ways; it is our turn to honor her endlessly compassionate spirit by bringing light to the darkness that finally claimed her life.

Lori Lustberg

South Burlington

Correcting the Correction

The August 6 edition of Seven Days makes a "correction" regarding Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher: "He represents Lincoln, not Bristol, in the Vermont House." Rep. Fisher lives in Lincoln, but he represents Lincoln, Bristol, Starksboro and Monkton. I'm sure the folks in all the four towns Rep. Fisher represents want to know that their representatives have all their interests at heart.

Dan Sharpe 

Hinesburg & Buffalo, N.Y.

Missing Cabbies

[Re "Fare Treatment" and "Around the World... in Seven Cabs," August 6]: It would have been nice to read about some full-time drivers who have spent more than half their lives serving Burlington — Hackie, 30 years; Mark Noyes, 30 years; Dave Mahan, 25 years; and Gino, 25 years — on the impact of losing the biggest company in town and what these nonlicensed Uber drivers will be stealing from them. After 36 years, I'm the longest-running full-time driver in this city.

Dan Campbell


Bonnie as Guide

[Re Stuck in Vermont, "Co-op Gardening with Bonnie," July 23]:

My exit after so many years
should be a pirouette with style
into something satisfying,
and useful not merely entertaining.
Like the artist who plants gardens –
more than Johnny Appleseed
more than sprinkling seeds.
She readies the plots to friable soil
around the auditorium, the library,
the city market, the movie theater.
She raises seedlings in winter.
In spring, she plants an array of

colors, shapes, heights, a blooming rhapsody, a harmony to behold. Patches that light up the town and stop you on your way. Gardens to surprise you. Deliberate, thought out. Leaf and flower, a stunning mix. Her plantings nourish each other and our town with color and botany

She tends them, waters them
weeds them, trims them.
There she is in her bare muscled arms
in gardening gear,  
Bonnie, known around town for
exploring what school lunch should be,
for reconfiguring it into good stuff
that kids plant, grow, eat and thrive on.

Then she goes home and paints —
lyrical watercolors that capture
Vermont in seasons, on the lake
in the mountains
cityscapes and landscapes
elegant and bold at once

And her quick ready smiles
embrace the kids at school lunch,
the shoppers beside her flowerbeds.
The whole city encounters Bonnie
honored recently with a day named for her.
Now there's a legacy to behold!

Buff Lindau


Daysied and Confused

The party's over, but some readers still have questions about our annual "Daysie" harvest. Please keep in mind that the Daysies represent a readers' survey; Seven Days staff does not choose the winners. Thus it is not appropriate for us to change the name of a winner, nor to handpick "honorable" Daysies (with the exception this year of late Burlington DJ A-Dog). We try to describe categories in the clearest way possible, but misunderstandings do occasionally occur. Also, voters don't necessarily know the last names of individuals and note their business name instead. Finally, we create an "Outside Chittenden County" distinction only when a sufficient swell of votes in a particular category justifies it. Each year, we do take your feedback into account, so thanks for the comments.

Misleading Category

My question is: Why did a spa win over an individual person in the Seven Daysies Best Massage/Body Worker category ["All the Best," July 30]? It seems to me Cynthea's Spa should have been under "best spa" only.

Errol Steele


Steele of Commonhealth Massage was a finalist in the category.

Revolutionary Idea

I loved the Daysies edition ["All the Best," July 30]. However, having been a vegetarian for 40 years and eating out in Burlington about three times a week, I need to point out that the city finally has a world-class vegetarian restaurant: Revolution Kitchen. Even Ryan Adams recently gave them a shout out from the Flynn stage, which shows this travesty needs to be righted and they should be awarded an honorable Daysie!

Graham Parker


Hear This!

I really hate to throw cold water on the annual Seven Daysies readers' poll ["All the Best," July 30], but your new category of Best College Radio Station is patently unfair to those stations that are located outside Chittenden County.

Unlike most commercial radio stations and Vermont Public Radio, which can be heard through much of northern and central Vermont, most college radio stations have limited signal reach. Daysies winner WRUV-FM at the University of Vermont in Burlington, with its 460-watt signal, can be heard as far north as Milton, as far south as Vergennes, and as far east as Richmond and Jericho.

On the flip side, two of the other four finalists — WGDR-FM at Goddard College in Plainfield and WJSC-FM at Johnson State College — cannot be heard anywhere in Chittenden County. The third, WRMC-FM at Middlebury College, can be heard in Chittenden County only in its southernmost regions. The fourth finalist, WWPV at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, has a weak 100-watt signal that can barely be heard even in South Burlington.

It's therefore no wonder, given that the majority of Seven Days readers live in Chittenden County, that WRUV-FM's win was, by the editors' own admission, no contest. For next year's Daysies, I strongly suggest that the Best College Radio Station category be split between inside and outside Chittenden County. Otherwise, the other stations don't have a ghost of a chance of winning.

Skeeter Sanders


Sanders is a smooth-jazz and R&B DJ at WGDR-FM.

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