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Letters to the Editor 

January 30, 2008


I would like to publicly thank everyone who made Vermont 3.0 Creative Technology Career Jam such a resounding success last weekend! The list of those who deserve recognition is extensive. Staff members of the Vermont Software Developers' Alliance, Champlain College, LK Peal Consulting and, especially, Seven Days, went well beyond the call of duty for the benefit of the participating businesses and attendees. It was great to see Governor Douglas and Senator Sanders visiting booths and talking to job seekers. The sponsors of Vermont 3.0, including the State of Vermont and the City of Burlington, were instrumental in making the event happen as well.

We were inundated by a number of excellent candidates for the positions we have available, and we hope to hire several people as a direct result of Vermont 3.0. The number of people that attended the event was a testament to the dynamism of the Burlington business community and the marketing power of Seven Days, VPR and other local media sponsors. Simply put, Vermont 3.0 was one of the most productive business networking events I have attended in Vermont. Thank you!

Ted Adler


Adler is founder & president of Union Street Media.


I just wanted to say I was glad to have found this article [Art: "All Is Calm, All Is Bright," December 26, 2007] all the way from Maryland. I had a sudden inspiration to see if my old college friend Tracy Vartenigian Burhans was still working her art, and here I found this article on the Internet. It made me happy to see that she is still sharing her wonderful talents.

Molly Schmitz



The criticism leveled at Jay Craven for his FairPoint advertisement is wrong [News: "Moviemaker Craven 'Regrets' FairPoint Ad," December 26, 2007]. Verizon has manifested little interest and less ability in bringing high-speed service to rural parts of the state. Despite this, we find ourselves in the ironic position of having people on the political left interested in maintaining the status quo for a large corporation that shows little regard for what the people in more remote areas want and need.

Verizon continues to tell me that I can't get high-speed DSL at my home, yet the local ISP (Powershift) is able to provide it running on Verizon copper through Verizon's local central office.

Am I missing something here?

Richard Story



Re: Big Fatty's BBQ comment on running out of BBQ [Food: "Where's the Pork?" January 16]. It happens sometimes! We don't serve leftovers and everything is fresh, so it happens. In the South, you won't find an independent BBQ joint publishing closing hours for this reason: "When you run out, you run out."

There's no faking BBQ, so there's no way to whip up a batch on the fly. All we can do is make a reasonable SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) as to what the demand will be the next day. Those days we closed early, we were operating at summertime levels . . . go figure.

Here's how it works:

Ribs: 24 hours in rub prior to cooking. Anything less and the rub doesn't have a chance to permeate the meat. Cooking takes 4-6 hours depending on the rib. Pulled Pork: We put it into the smoker at 8 p.m. and pull it 10 a.m. the next day. That 12-14 hours in smoke is what creates our pulled pork. Chicken: Soaks in our "brine" for 24 hours prior to cooking in the smoker. Then 4-5 hours slow cooking.

We're going to change our published hours to add the statement, "Or when we run out."

Clay "Big Fatty" Vagnini


Vagnini is the owner of Big Fatty's.


I'd like to make a few comments about the recent article "Milking the Issue" [January 16]. Surely everyone must realize we can get sick from any food, if it is contaminated. Listeria can and does sicken people, but it doesn't just come from raw or fresh milk, as not clarified by UVM microbiologist Catherine Donnelly. Listeria can come from pasteurized products also.

In a recent article in central Massachusetts by Stephen Smith (Globe Staff, dated 12/28/07), [it] states two people died and two were very ill from Listeria after consuming milk from a particular dairy. It is a dairy with a very good reputation for cleanliness and good treatment of their herd. It was found after testing the dairy's equipment that it was free of Listeria and it was decided that the contamination happened during bottling or adding flavoring.

How much more "Russian roulette with your health" is consuming fresh milk, as people do and have for centuries all over the world, as enjoying an over-easy egg, a rare hamburger or Caesar salad. All of these foods can make one sick. All can harbor pathogens. Fresh vegetables have been known to cause sicknesses that kill the elderly, young or those with compromised immune systems.

My belief is that if someone wants to purchase a farm-fresh product, any product, for his or her own use and consumption, that they should visit the farm it is produced on . . . If you are happy with what you see and decide to continue with the purchase, you have done so with "eyes wide open." If you choose to buy or consume a farm-fresh product without visiting the farm, sight-unseen, that is also a choice . . .

For those interested in knowing more about fresh milk from a source other than the FDA, I suggest The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Foods, by Ron Schmid, ND.

Kelly Quenneville



Seven Days: Thank you for your excellent paper and for the article by Amy Lilly in your January 16-23 issue ("Choice, Before and After"), which highlighted Judy Tyson's and my involvement in the history of abortion in Vermont in the 1970s. Our involvement was not individual but rather as two of a large group of people who believed that safely performed abortions should be available to all women, regardless of residence, age and income, as a public health action to preserve their health and life.

I would appreciate being allowed to explain further a statement attributed to me. The article states, "Currently, less than half of Americans think abortion should be available on demand." What I actually had intended to say is that this statistic is from a recent poll with young women aged 18-29.

In fact, most nationwide polls do not ask this question by referring to "abortion on demand," a very loaded phrase open to individual interpretation.

What polls usually ask respondents is a variation of the following four opinions: Are you in favor of (1) having abortion remain legal in all cases; (2) remain legal in most cases, or do you believe; (3) abortion should be illegal in most cases or; (4) illegal in all cases.

I have reviewed a number of such nationwide polls conducted with adults, women and men in 2007, and there is remarkable agreement in the results:

Between 55 and 60 percent of respondents believe abortion should remain legal in all or most cases.

Emma Ottolenghi



I share Dr. Emma Ottolenghi's experience that the vast majority of women who have abortions are "relieved" and at peace with their actions ["Choice, Before and After," January 16]. But why don't we know who all these relatively contented women are? They are certainly in roles at every level of society.

In fact, it seems to be much harder to come out and be out about having had an abortion than about being gay, yet there are a number of parallels between the two. Both cases involve people who often have to struggle to assert ownership of their bodies. Both groups have been the targets of hateful, menacing protests and have faced tremendous societal disapproval. The actions of both groups are also often characterized as "mere" choice.

While each action we perform is technically a choice, pro-choice folks might look to gay rights as an example and consider moving on from such language. This is because both gay people and women who have had abortions are responding to deep self-awareness that guides them to follow their own consciences, even in the face of rejection and intimidation.

Of course, expressing one's sexuality is a part of day-to-day living, while a person's medical history involving minor surgery usually isn't. I have found, however, that personal interactions with others who are different have the most powerful effect on our beliefs. Behind the homophobic leadership of Catholics and Evangelicals are many, many religious people whose personal experiences with gay people have dislodged stonyhearted fear and bigotry. Some sort of heightened visibility around abortion might help create the kind of personal knowledge that leads others, especially men, to understand the true importance of reproductive freedom.

Matthew Web


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