It is astounding to me - a massive oversight on the part of the Public Service Board - that the decommissioning trust fund, which Entergy received as a part of the sale of the Vermont Yankee reactor, did not have attached a contingency that Entergy must continue to pay into the fund ["Fission Accomplished?" December 12, 2007]. It was comprised of 0.1 percent of every electric bill for 20 years from 1982 until the sale in 2002.
The reactor was bought by a limited liability corporation backed by parent corporation Entergy of New Orleans. How could the state forget to require Entergy to pay into the fund as we had done? It could still have been funded from the Vermont sales of Entergy power, but the PSB apparently dropped the ball. It is insulting to the millions of dollars all rate-paying Vermonters invested.
These days, with the PSB headed by a man who used to be with the Public Service Department, Jim Volz, I hold less hope the Board may rule against Entergy. (The department has historically supported Entergy.) Do remember, the state only has the ability to oversee issues of reliability and economic well-being, not safety.
OFF TO A GOOD START
Seven Days, how pertinent and enjoyable your New Year's issue was [December 26, 2007]. Especially appreciated were: 1. Updates on news stories that we've been wondering about, such as the Intervale Compost Project and the Chinese restaurant workers; 2. Great info about First Night; 3. A host of articles helping us to take stock and think about entering a New Year, such as "An Hour of One's Own"; . . . 4. [Suzanne] Podhaizer's look into the future for Burlington's eating. Thanks, Seven Days! Now I'm more prepared for the New Year!
MOSTLY GOOD FILM WRAP
Thanks, Rick [Kisonak] and Margot [Harrison], for a great year of insightful film criticism. Both of you seem to always hit a good tone in your reviews: eloquent, rigorous but never nasty. I love your tandem end-of-the-year review [December 26, 2007].
For my two cents, I have but two mild disagreements with Rickie the K. I kind of enjoyed Lucky You. (Then again, I'm a huge Drew Barrymore fan - she's just so darn feminine and likeable in everything she does.) And I was charmed by John Travolta, fat suit and all, in Hairspray. The Baltimore accent alone sent me into hysterics.
BABIES NOT BOUGHT
Most of the money spent to adopt internationally is spent in the U.S. This includes agency, immigration, legal, home study and travel costs. A relatively nominal donation goes to the orphanage for ongoing care. We do not buy children ["Foreign Baby Delay Impacts Vermonters," December 19, 2007].
Adoptive families commonly endure questions that serve as stabbing reminders to our children that they aren't ours biologically. The most common is "Did she cost a lot?" This doesn't just question her place in our family; it dehumanizes her. It instills a fear that she can be bought and sold, absolutely not a reassuring thought for a child who already has intense fears about belonging.
[Mike] Ives wrote: "China and other kid-sending countries are encouraging domestic adoptions, thus cutting back on infant exports. . . . Vermonters will soon be sourcing little 'uns from nations such as Russia and Kazakhstan ($30,000 per child). At $10,000 per kid, Ethiopia, Liberia and Rwanda are offering more affordable options."
This is offensive. It teaches your readers that it is acceptable to imply that these children are purchased like a turtle in a pet shop and they can be exported like toys. It teaches them that adoptive parents not only buy children, but apparently we are looking for a good bargain.
Our children suffer the bruises of these stereotypes on the playgrounds, buses and ball fields of our towns. I can't wait until my kindergartener comes home with, "Mommy, Joey says his mommy said I cost a lot of money. She read it in Seven Days. Are you going to sell me?"
As one of the organizers of the cat show at the Sheraton, I just wanted to thank Meghan Dewald for the thoughtfully well-done article ["Scene@ Vermont Fancy Felines Cat Show," January 9]. Very nice job!