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Letters to the Editor (8/4/15) 

Oh Buoy

There are two reasons why jurisdiction over navigable waters is not local ["Who Decides? New Buoys in Lake Champlain Roil Colchester Board," July 22]. First, it doesn't belong to you. Second, boaters who defend their rights should not be forced to repeat their struggle 100,000 times with 100,000 local jurisdictions.

Conflicts between boaters and homeowners break out hundreds of times per year nationwide. But boaters are often not local residents or local taxpayers and are thus politically disadvantaged. Most offensive to boaters are mooring fields that encroach on the best anchorage spots.

Dick Mills

S. Burlington

Land Ho

[Re "Who Decides? New Buoys in Lake Champlain Roil Colchester Board," July 22]: Shame on the church for selling its lakefront land in Colchester to this person. It should have stayed some kind of kids' camp, rec area, learning place. And shame on the town for not buying it. At worst they could have turned around and sold it to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta or another in-need group. This guy who buys it names a road after his daughter — hey, how about keeping it a kids' camp and name that after your daughter? Why is it the wealthy just get greedier and never do the right thing? You also failed to mention how this property was destroyed; he clear-cut and reshaped a bank that was covered with mature trees.

C.K. Boise


Call Off the Dogs

We live near the Starr Farm Dog Park and have never seen or heard any problems ["Fetching and Kvetching: A Dog Park Annoys Some of Its Neighbors," July 29]. Its surroundings are a community garden, seasonal cottages, playing fields and a parking lot bordering Starr Farm Road. Reducing the size of the park without establishing more dog parks makes no sense. If night parking is a problem, chaining off the park and lot at night does.

Moderately priced permits might increase dog licensing and discourage non-Burlington residents. Dogs need to be able to run. The dog park reduces the temptation for owners to allow their dogs to run in neighborhoods and unfenced public parks. Let's not overreact to a few complaints after 15 successful years. Reducing the size of the dog park or limiting its hours would be counterproductive, resulting in more crowding and most likely more noise.

Margy Zabriskie


'Crazy Lives Matter'

In her column [Poli Psy, "Against Policing," May 20] about police killing people with mental issues and Attorney General Bill Sorrell rubber-stamping those killings, writer Judith Levine illustrates that in Vermont, crazy people are the throwaways whose lives are viewed as having no value.

The attorney general's office takes psychiatric survivors in state custody to court when a psychiatrist wants a patient force-drugged, against their will and supposedly for their own good. Gov. Peter Shumlin concurs with this re-traumatizing procedure: When challenged on a WDEV call-in show that his support for forced drugging contradicted his claim to be a champion of equal civil rights for all Vermonters, he praised forced drugging as "modern medicine." Since 98 percent of mental health patients were abused as children — usually by family members — without any protection from the state, the message "You don't matter" is loud and clear.

Although I'm not online, I would love to see slogans such as "Crazy Lives Matter" or "Lunatic Lives Matter" catch on in Vermont. Or do Vermonters mostly agree with Sorrell and Shumlin that any of us with mental health issues can be killed with impunity, as well as legally held down and forcibly injected with risky, mind-numbing drugs?

As a survivor of both rape and forced drugging, I did not find much difference in the emotional trauma or in the ways both proclaim "Crazy people don't matter."

Xenia Williams

Barre Town

'Kitschy' for Kelley

I'm writing in response to Kevin Kelley's recent article on Jean Luc Dushime's exhibition [Art Review, "Home Again," July 15]. Near the end of recounting his experience in the gallery, Kevin writes: "'A Global Connection' would have been even stronger, however, if the curator had omitted the two images of jubilant native dancers performing in what has to be a kitschy tourist venue."

The two photographs Kevin is referring to are of Rwandan traditional dancers. Jean Luc took the images at the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare. They showcase the national ballet team practicing for an event. For Jean Luc, the National Museum and dancers highlight the history of Rwanda, a history that influenced directly and indirectly the way Rwandans see themselves in terms of their ethnic identity through preestablished narratives.

Because of Kevin's role as a journalist, the phrase "kitschy tourist venue" can be read as if he is asserting a fact. But this is actually a value judgment on his part. It would be more accurate to critique the lack of information provided about the content of the images. 

DJ Hellerman


Hellerman is curator and director of exhibitions at Burlington City Arts.

Spoken Like a Startup

[Re "Ello, Goodbye? Some Startups Leave Vermont for More Populated Pastures," July 29]: I read this article with great interest, having navigated the waters of financing and support in our state for our tech startup — divvi. We have found the resources and people of Vermont to be open and supportive of startups. But what strikes us as missing is better collaboration between private, state and local organizations, and their resources, to maximize the dollars and support available to Vermont startups. By focusing our available mechanisms as packages of support, current startups might not only feel better supported by our environment, we'd attract more, and all would have a legitimate chance to succeed.

Secondly, perhaps one of the criteria of any state and local funding or competitions should be that the startup remains in Vermont for a designated period of time that allows for significant impact on our economy, and if they choose to leave for greener pastures, the monies are repaid. Vermont has a bright future, but the window is closing on the unique opportunity we have to leverage the success and national attention brought to us by, Green Mountain Power's partnership with Tesla, Green Mountain College, Designbook, Notabli, Mamava, Yonder and Ello. Let's not miss it.

Richard Morin

North Ferrisburgh

Morin is founder and CEO of divvi.

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