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Letters to the Editor 

February 6, 2008

MISSING TED

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ted Riehle [from the online archives: "The Life of Ted Riehle," August 13, 1997] early in summer for the Milton Independent. I found him to be an impressive individual. He had an independent spirit and a love for life. He will be missed.

Rob Ticho

BURLINGTON

CAREER JAM KUDOS

What a Jam! When I set up my exhibitor's table [January 26] at the Vermont 3.0 Creative Tech Career Jam, I wondered how many people would stop by that day. When the doors opened at 10 a.m., the floodgates opened. My staff and I talked non-stop to people all day, including many with the talents for one of the open positions at my company. I received as many qualified resumés during those six hours than during the prior six weeks of recruiting.

There is a popular misconception that "there are no jobs in Vermont." The 50 employers who exhibited (and the 20 on the waiting list) certainly dispelled that myth. There are many companies in the creative and technology fields here that are growing. In fact, the challenge I share with fellow business managers is finding talent to fill open positions.

This event was a success because of the excellent planning and volunteer efforts of the organizing committee, and the organizations they represent. This kind of collaboration is exactly what has been needed. The energy and excitement was palpable that day for everyone who attended. A special thanks is in order for Seven Days, whose people did a fantastic job with everything from planning to publicity to logistics. The Career Jam is one more step forward in demonstrating that creative/tech is a vibrant and growing sector in the Vermont economy. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Greg Brand

UNDERHILL

Brand is president of the Bluehouse Group and co-chair of the Vermont Software Developers' Alliance.

'HEROIC' ARTICLE

I would just like to congratulate you [Dan Bolles] on a very well-written article about our "Guitar Hero"/Music Education integration ["From Clicks to Licks," January 23]. I've been in this business for many years and very few articles will get the point across to the public as well as your article did. Fantastic job!

Thanks very much for the interest and the article - we appreciate it.

Dave Contois

ESSEX JUNCTION

Contois is the owner 
of Contois Music.

DEFENDING CHLORAMINE

I want to correct factual errors and misperceptions reported in the Seven Days article, "Activists, Lawmakers Criticize CDC's Chloramine Report" [News, January 23].

The Vermont Department of Health has painstakingly, methodically and steadily investigated the use of monochloramine to disinfect drinking water since the switchover to monochloramine by the Champlain Water District in April 2006. Let's set the record straight about our actions:

Our toxicology and medical epidemiology experts have searched for and reviewed all available research on the subject to date, even to the point of having two studies translated from German. We have continued to press EPA and CDC for emerging scientific studies to help in understanding the concerns of some residents and anti-chloramine groups. We have met multiple times with stakeholders, physicians and individuals, surveyed area health-care providers, and last fall organized the CDC/EPA meeting and home visits, and worked with the Agency of Natural Resources to host a meeting on disinfection byproducts.

To date, we have found no credible evidence to show that the use of monochloramines to disinfect public drinking water is a threat to public health. To the contrary, use of chloramines is considered a safer alternative to chlorine to reduce known harmful disinfection byproducts.

Of the approximately 68,000 Champlain Water District customers, fewer than 80 people - rather than the 250 people reported in Seven Days - have contacted the Health Department about personal health or medical concerns related to monochloramine.

The Health Department will now step up its public information efforts with expanded resources on our website at healthvermont.gov - and by partnering with Vermont 2-1-1 to provide an information line for people to call with their questions.

Also by calling 2-1-1, anyone who has a personal health or medical concern related to chloramines can be connected to one of our epidemiology public health nurse experts at the Health Department and referred to a medical specialist, if needed.

I continue to be very concerned about the partial and inaccurate information that anti-chloramine groups are presenting, and ask consumers to beware.

Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN

BURLINGTON

Moffatt is the Vermont 
Commissioner of Health.

CHLORAMINE ALTERNATIVES

I commend Ken Picard for last week's news story, "Activists/Lawmakers Criticize CDC's Chloramine Report" [News, January 23]. The story was thorough and clear about the political nuances. I would like to offer just one clarification. The story explained that the U.S. EPA "now recommends [chloramine] for use in all public water systems in the United States." The EPA now requires water districts to lower the levels of two disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) created by chlorine, to 60 ppm and 40 ppm. This ruling has caused many water systems to improve on their pre-filtration or to add an alternate disinfectant or UV. The EPA has approved chloramine as one possible option, although there are others. Chloramine is the cheapest.

Not all water systems are affected by this ruling. An important point to note is that the Champlain Water District, which supplies water to nine Chittenden County cities/towns, has said that their water was in compliance with the EPA ruling at the time they changed to chloramine. The CWD explains their move to chloramine as an example of their being pro-active and trying to stay ahead.

Also, water districts that are able to lower their levels of those two DBPs even further than the mandate requires do, in turn, get a significant cost-saving break in water-monitoring requirements from the EPA. So, there are alternatives to chloramine that the CWD could use. Chloramine is not the only way.

Rebecca Reno

SOUTH BURLINGTON

YANKEE CLEAN-UP COSTLY

Nothing exposes the colossal failure of nuclear power better than decommissioning ["Fission Accomplished," December 12, 2007]. For all the assurances by Entergy and NRC that Vermont Yankee will have enough monies in its decommissioning fund, don't be fooled. Every reactor before closure claimed that there were enough monies in the decommissioning fund to cover clean-up.

Reality proved these claims false. What's experienced are soaring decommissioning costs; with public utilities, ratepayers are charged for decommissioning costs on closed reactors. So should we believe Entergy's assurances? Not on your life. Recent examples should lead Vermonters to question just how expensive clean-up of this "clean" technology can be.

Yankee Rowe, a 185-megawatt reactor, cost $39 million to build; it has now reached over $725 million to clean up. This does not include the costs of maintaining the high-level nuclear waste on site for decades, if not centuries. Connecticut Yankee reactor in Haddam, CT, smaller than Vermont Yankee, in 2003 was estimated to cost over $800 million; it is now estimated to cost over $1 billion.

SAFSTOR will not save the state. If Entergy wins relicensing, not only will its decommissioning fund increase, so will its waste and clean-up costs. Closing Vermont Yankee in 2012 and employing the skilled workforce in a thorough clean-up of this highly contaminated site is a conservative solution to an insane problem. The idea that permitting Vermont Yankee to continue to operate and generate more waste to increase decommissioning funds to clean up an increasingly contaminated site is ludicrous.

Deb Katz

Rowe, MA

Katz is the executive director of Citizens Action Network.

POPULAR VOTE?

How about a yes or no (agree/disagree) electronic response available for we the public to chime in on music, food and art reviews online? This way we can see both what the people think and how close it is to what your reviewers think. People would have to actually read the reviews in order to respond intelligently. Just a thought. Thanks.

Bennett Shapiro

MIDDLESEX

THAT OTHER HORSE RACE

Tim Newcomb's editorial cartoon in Seven Days is the first feature I turn to every Wednesday. This week though, I was frankly only half-pleased with Newcomb's offering ["Late for the Races," January 23].

The cartoon depicts the starting gate of the gubernatorial horse race with an equine Douglas and horsey Pollina awaiting the opening bell, with three vacant stalls marked "Democrat" gathering cobwebs alongside them.

O.K., Tim, I chuckled at that - but why isn't anyone pointing out the fact that neither the Progressives nor the George Bush Party have found a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Peter Welch for the U.S. House seat?

The congressional race is Vermont's only national contest this year and is at least as important a political race as the one for governor. Perhaps the absence of any viable challenger to Congressman Welch is a tacit admission that he's doing a darn finer job than the competition could hope to perform.

Robert Ready

COLCHESTER

Ready is Vice Chair 
of the Democratic Party of Chittenden County.

GO NUCLEAR!

Why are hippies so happy that Yankee is closing? Nuclear power provides near carbon-free power (the fuel has to be shipped), and the waste can be reprocessed and recycled in a breeder reactor. We should be building more nuclear plants!

James Sergent

BURLINGTON

STAND BEHIND POLLINA

Anthony Pollina has done his part by declaring his candidacy early and unambiguously. Now it's up to the Democratic Party to stand aside and let the Progressives and Democrats unite around Pollina as our best candidate for governor.

To do otherwise is to invite Jim Douglas back for another two years of stalling on initiatives for energy use, health care, and education tax policy. We must unite behind Pollina instead of trotting out a Democrat to carry the flag. Pollina has the vision and courage we need right now.

Alex Brown

EAST MONTPELIER

WRONG READ ON PSYCHIC

I was deeply disappointed by the mischaracterizations in Matthew Scanlon's review of my St. Albans event ["Scene@ Intuitive Counselor and Medium Nan O'Brien's Anniversary Tour," January 30]. Instead of listing all of the reasons why, I thought it would be more objective to share the sentiments of several attendees.

The following comments are excerpts from a few of the unsolicited entries posted on my website's guest book (www.nanobrien.com):

D.: What a pleasure to have met you . . . in St. Albans. Everything you said was so true . . .

Corey: Nan . . . I came to see you in St. Albans . . . thank you for sharing of yourself, with such purity and love. You are a beautiful example of what it means to be living one's truth . . . and you inspired so many of us that night.

Dee: I attended your St. Albans show . . . and I was so deeply touched by your intuitiveness and grace . . .

Betty: My daughter and I attended your St. Albans show, I got to ask the first question of the night. WOW!

Another Star event attendee wrote:

Jasmine: I attended your event . . . and was filled with a feeling of gratitude. Listening to you help heal others was amazing. It wasn't amazing in a "wow, that's cool" way, it was more like in a "miracle" way . . . When you spoke about contracts and spirits, I felt like I was finally coming home to a faith I believe in with all my heart.

My integrity is paramount to my life's work. Thank you for the opportunity to call to your attention the wide disparity between Mr. Scanlon's impressions and the impressions of others who attended.

Nan O'Brien

ESSEX JUNCTION

CORRECTION:

In our January 16 article, "Homeland Security Pitches Pre-Written Articles to Media," we mistakenly omitted the first name of Kim Lehman, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania-based Neiman Group. Our apologies for the goof.

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