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Letters to the Editor (8/31/16) 

Hot Seat

I know what you're trying to do with your smutty alt-press front cover art ["Back in the Saddle," August 24]. You want to scare off all the oldsters and youthify your demographic.

Well, it won't work with me. I spent a good couple of days sitting at outdoor cafés, proudly brandishing my copy of Seven Days and cackling loudly. Because I know nothing makes young people more uncomfortable than a sex-positive geezer.

John Walters

East Montpelier

Charlie's Staying Put

I would like to thank Alicia Freese for her article on the painters' efforts to help out Charlie's Boathouse ["Artists Rally to Keep Charlie's Boathouse Afloat," August 17]. It was a much longer article than I expected, and I was pleased for the most part with its content. 

The money raised will help the boathouse, but Charlie Auer Jr. and Christine Auer Hebert are not going anywhere. At the end of this season, when all the boats, kayaks and canoes are stored, they'll get a much-deserved rest from the service they provide there and will reopen next year.

Please enjoy them as you bike in the coming weeks.

Jim Gorman   


GMO Whoa

I am writing to denounce the $2 million spent on a GMO labeling bill lasting a mere three weeks ["Last Seven," August 17]. I am in favor of the "right to know" argument, but the long-standing science indicates that genetic modification poses no significant threats to human health. Personally, I am far more concerned with the right to know the chemicals used to produce my food! Gene transfer among unrelated organisms is a completely natural and ubiquitous process (search "horizontal gene transfer" and peruse the evidence). 

I also write to encourage Vermonters to think outside the box on solving the multifaceted food-system problems. I am not writing in favor of agribusinesses that are solely interested in profit. Yet can we begin a conversation about how to unite organic agriculture, genetically modified crops, polycultures and perennial crop systems to develop the complex solutions necessary to feed our burgeoning human population?

There is an abundance of pressing ecological, economic and social issues in Vermont. How do we plan to seriously confront the persistent swimming bans in Lake Champlain, caused by nitrogen and phosphorous farm runoff and raw sewage, compromising human health, aquatic health and tourist dollars? It is beyond frustrating to be unable to bring my family to swim a mile from my home because the lake is full of potential E. coli and neuro- and liver toxins released by cyanobacteria. 

Directing $2 million to GMO food labels was foolhardy and an irresponsible use of taxpayer money. Let us not make the same mistake again. 

Laura Hill


Hill is a senior lecturer in the plant biology department at the University of Vermont.

Stein Way

Thank you for your recent coverage of the Green Party's Dr. Jill Stein [Off Message: "'Jill Over Hill'? Stein Makes a Play for Bernie-or-Bust Protesters," July 27]. Though belated after Stein's hugely popular speaking event at Burlington's McClure Multigenerational Center, the article was informative about the Green Party candidate for president, and the media is obligated to inform us of our choices in the voting booth. 

On August 17, CNN hosted a town hall featuring Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, which is now available for viewing on YouTube. Watching it is an opportunity to hear the Green Party candidates answer questions from the public and describe their plan for taking back our government from the wealthy elites, who have hijacked our democracy. 

As a former Bernie supporter who is now 100 percent behind Stein and helping to build the international Green Party's presence in Vermont, I believe it is possible that Stein will win, if all the students who stand to benefit from her promise to cancel student debt vote for her. Add to that college graduates of all ages still saddled with student debt, and all progressive-leaning voters in America; if they also join the students in voting for Stein in November, we are almost guaranteed to take back our democracy and put a real progressive in the White House.

Alice Eckles and Ross Conrad


New Rx for Health Care

[Re Off Message: "Scott, Minter Showcase Stark Differences in First Debate," August 23]: I would like to know why Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter thinks changing from our Vermont health exchange to the federal exchange, or some other state's exchange, would "leave hundreds of Vermonters with less coverage." As I understand it, the exchange is basically a storefront for the various health insurance plans available in this state. Any other storefront should offer the same product. By proposing to make Vermont Health Connect "fully functional," she is proposing to send more tax money down that expensive VHC rathole.

Jim Peabody Sr.


Better Boat Access

[Re Off Message: "Burlington Harbor Marina Gets Council Approval," June 28]: There are now plans developing for two marinas at Burlington's waterfront. In addition to the private marina near the Moran Plant, the city plans a Perkins Pier marina expansion to provide an additional 185-boat marina and a wave-attenuation structure.

Why do most waterfront developments cater to large boat owners? What about the citizens of Burlington with small fishing boats? Currently there are ramps at Perkins Pier and the Coast Guard station serving trailerable boats, but access is not free at either.Most towns along Lake Champlain have free public launch sites. The closest launch ramp to Burlington is Delta Park in Colchester, which provides limited access to the main lake for small boats, as can be seen from the low water currently in the river delta. The Malletts Bay launch does not serve as a practical launch site for small boat owners wanting to access the main lake.

Fish & Wildlife Department funds will be used for the Perkins Pier marina expansion, which will create no new publicly accessible structures. Shouldn't the funds be used to provide free access for trailerable boats? Why does the City of Burlington not have free public access for trailerable boats to launch, as do most Vermont towns along Lake Champlain?

Mel Buss


Party Poopers

Terri Hallenbeck's piece last week was provocative ["Vermont's Progressives and Democrats Have Uneasy Ties," August 24]. I will not vote for a Prog, no matter the issue, simply because I am not one; I am a Democrat. I regard the matter of Progs or independents running in the Democratic primary as a matter of simple honesty. If a candidate is not a member of a particular party, he/she should not enter that primary, because it is dishonest to state that you are and run anyway. But it is far worse than simple dishonesty to deceive the voters of any primary, because voters in a primary expect the winner to run as a member of their party in the November general election.

The worst offense is to deceive primary voters and then refuse to run in that party's general election. Why? Because the most important function of a political party is to nominate its best candidate, and failure to nominate is an abdication of this basic responsibility. A party should have the legal right in this case to replace the deceptive candidate.

Progs and independents running in the Democratic primary is simply recognition they cannot win on their own and want the cover of the Democratic Party, its organization, voter lists and financial support. My compliments to Sen. Ginny Lyons and the other Democratic candidates who refused the GOP write-in nomination. That's honesty!

Sam Miller


No Po-Po

I was disturbed by the addition of the Po-Po Platter when I saw it two weeks ago in Seven Days. I had hoped that maybe it was a one-time addition, but my fears to the contrary were confirmed this week when I saw the column yet again. Columns like this and publications such as Green Mountain Mugshots seem to suggest that people who get arrested are bad and different from the rest of us, and that making light of their situation is OK and funny. If that's the case, why don't we just bring back the stockades so their humiliation is complete? We should be better than this. If an arrest is newsworthy, write a complete and informative article about it. Don't try to amuse people with "a sampler of citizen shenanigans."

Kalinen Barrows


Pourquoi Pas?

[Re "Où Est le Français?" August 24]: French language classes would be a wonderful and practical offering, considering our proximity to Québec, yet at most high schools French is not even offered. Even more disturbing is that Spanish is mandatory in many high schools. Who is behind the push for mandatory Spanish in Vermont schools, and why?

Catherine Marino


More Science

Thank you, Paul Heintz, for many on-the-spot commentaries that have helped to grow a useful newspaper. With [Fair Game, August 24], you have put yourself back into the realm of "shoot-from-the-lip" news commentators who clearly haven't done sufficient homework. Your derision of Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott's attempts to place himself correctly on the issue of climate change is misguided.

This is a complex issue, and Scott is closer to being correct than anyone else in the Vermont public. No, "it doesn't matter" if climate change is man-made or not, because the man-made contributions are so insignificant that it doesn't matter. More importantly, as Art Woolf explained recently in the Burlington Free Press, the Vermont Energy Plan is "unrealistic." We need to stop what we are doing and hunker down and really understand the science and economics from a Vermont perspective before continuing.

Also, you should understand that the "97 percent of the world's scientists" line has long ago been thoroughly discredited. People that refer to it only display their ignorance. Here is some help.

Read 1. The Neglected Sun by Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt; 2. The Great Global Warming Blunder by Dr. Roy Spencer; and 3. The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science by Dr. Tim Ball. All of these are highly respected scientists.

In addition, the well-documented alternative energy experiences in Germany and Denmark should be a warning to us and for us to learn from.

Leslie Allen


Save Our Libraries

The trend to cut funding from school libraries is deeply troubling, especially when considering the positive influence school libraries have on student success [Re Off Message, "Despite Mediation, No Deal on Contract for Burlington Teachers," August 17].

At least 60 studies show that student achievement is higher in schools with full-time certified school librarians. Research, technology and literacy are dependent on access to school libraries and trained professional librarians. Limiting access means limiting these opportunities for all students, but especially disadvantaged students who do not have access to technology at home or the ability to visit a public library.

When we cut library hours, we hurt the students who need these services most. This also tears at the fabric of democracy, since these students are less likely to know how to access information, judge the quality of information or utilize libraries in their adult lives. Access to information is the key to educational success in our society, which in turn is the key to successful careers and successful citizens.

As a children's book author, I've had the opportunity to visit school libraries all over Vermont, and it is clear that libraries are the heart of the school. After touring colleges with our son last spring, it was clear this is also the case at colleges and universities. By providing resources to our young students, we prepare them for college, as well as life beyond. I hope that the school district will reconsider its decision.

Jo Knowles


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