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Letters to the Editor 

WHO’S DRIVING THE GREEN AGENDA?

Thanks to Seven Days for several interesting and well-written articles on green construction and house building [The Green Issue, June 24]. However, I think it important to point out that where you live may have more energy impacts than the house you live in. In Vermont, about one-third of the total energy consumed is in moving people and goods in motorized vehicles. More than 40 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions generated in Vermont is transportation-related. Neither of the stories mentioned the house location, but the farther you live from a town or employment center in general, the more you drive. The more vehicles you own, the more you drive. And driving alone is what most of us do most of the time because of where we live. Reducing energy use requires thinking about electricity, heating and transportation.

Richard Watts

HINESBURG

Watts is the director of the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center.

IN THE BLUEBIRD BUSINESS?

I know it’s exciting when a new restaurant opens, but you have covered Bluebird Tavern so much that it makes me wonder whether Seven Days is getting a cut of the business [“The Bluebird Is Flying,” July 7; “Side Dishes: Tavern Time,” July 1; “Pub Grub Roundup”, May 27; “Side Dishes: Entrees and Updates,” March 4]. Mentioning the “resto” this many times only calls into question Seven Days’ impartiality as a trusted restaurant reviewer.

Jim Romanoff

S. BURLINGTON

TASTELESS TAMPON JOKE

I just wanted to thank Sara Garside for sharing her reaction to the tasteless Harry Bliss cartoon [“Letters,” July 8]. I know Harry and I love his work, but this one did step just over the line from humorous to offensive, and I’m not easily offended! So, be cool and conscious!

Nancy Abbott-Hourigan

ESSEX JUNCTION

DUTCH TREAT

Since I have Dutch-American heritage, spent my kid-teen years in New Hampshire, and have an abiding love for the history and culture of the two countries, Kevin Kelley’s article was indeed a fascinating read [“Long Before Mexican Farm Workers, the Dutch Saved Addison County Dairying,” July 1]. He could have been describing many Dutch immigrants currently living in this country who came here at the same time as the families of the Addison County farmers. However, my Dutch father (he would have been 95 years old this year), married to an American in 1947 and naturalized in 1950, was atypical. He was left-leaning politically. He joined the Dutch merchant marine to escape the stifling atmosphere of the Netherlands and was glad to leave it there.

Unsurprisingly, the (Republican) farmers in the article frown on today’s Dutch society. But surely, the problems dealing with immigration, religion, culture and the effects of a global economy in the Netherlands are the same as we have in this country. My family recognized that neither country was perfect and was fascinated by the changes on return visits to friends and family in the “Old Country.” With typical Dutch stubbornness and unwavering arrogance, the immigrants described in your article cling to retrogressive traditions brought with them from Holland that are no longer sustainable, neither in 21st-century America nor in a vibrant, modern, innovative and multicultural Holland.

Jay Vos

BURLINGTON

THE CURE IS COMPASSION

I was deeply affected by Mr. Michael Conley’s letter regarding his poor treatment after the sudden death of his beloved partner, Dr. Glen Elder, in May [“Letters: Poor Treatment,” June 24] … I scoured the following issue for letters of follow-up, expressing condolences, empathy, outrage — anything — and was shocked to find nothing. Not one letter of acknowledgment of his gut-wrenching experience with Fletcher Allen and subsequent health care experiences related to his partner’s death.

And so, I am writing now, albeit a bit late. To you, Mr. Connelly: I am so sorry for your experience. As a registered nurse myself, and also a social-work student at UVM, let me be the first to say you deserved much more from the professional community. Their callousness and disconnected, disrespectful way of handling this traumatic and devastating situation was abhorrent. What you needed and deserved was consideration, compassion, patience, education … some acknowledgment of your grief and circumstance.

The physician should have explained heart disease more thoroughly and how this type of thing can, in fact, “just happen,” which is true, sadly. The social worker should have made certain the body he was presenting was that of your partner — there is no excuse whatsoever that warrants the wrong body being presented to you. The staff at the physician’s office did a great disservice to you as well: If your name was on anything as “significant other” in his chart, or “next of kin,” etc., releasing medical records to you should not have been an issue. See www.vtmed.org for more information on Vermont health care law.

Lastly, the seemingly third-party call from a “representative” of the CEO of Fletcher Allen is yet another jab of indecency. Her world is one of corporate engagement and tidy micro-level “quick fixes.” Sadly, there seems to be little room for real personal contact and sincerity to one individual. I am glad you wrote the letter to her and spoke out about your experience. Hopefully, her insensitivity to one does not accurately reflect her commitment to the greater whole of Fletcher Allen.

There should be a patient liaison in the hospital for complaints and concerns regarding care. Many places have a department specifically for that, where there is a filed complaint and then investigative research is done, acknowledgment of the error and some kind of preventative intervention are enacted. However, in this case, what you needed and deserved was plain and simple human kindness, consideration and compassion. I am so sorry for your loss, Mr. Conley. I hope you have found peace and comfort in loved ones around you. I only wish the medical community would have been a more effective part of that support system.

Sherry Williamson, RN

BURLINGTON

DISCRIMINATION IN DEATH?

We at the RU12? Community Center were disturbed to read about Michael Conley’s appalling experience at Fletcher Allen immediately after the sudden death of his 42-year-old partner of 15 years [“Letters: Poor Treatment,” June 24]. At RU12? we run an antiviolence/discrimination program for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and we wish that Michael’s experience was unique. Unfortunately, we hear of entirely too many negative and often discriminatory experiences in many of our institutions and throughout the state, including Fletcher Allen. In spite of the recent advancement of equal rights for LGBT people in Vermont, health care is one of the areas where there is still work to be done so that every patient is treated with the respect and quality care they deserve. If you are a LGBT person who has experienced discrimination and want to report your experience or are in need of support or advocacy, please contact SafeSpace at 863-0003, or at safespace@ru12.org.

Kara DeLeonardis

BURLINGTON

DeLeonardis is executive director of RU12? Community Center.

COMPOSTABLE CONTAINERS — OR NOT?

Thank you, Seven Days, for shedding some green light on the not-always-so-green subject of takeout containers [“Getting It to Go — Green,” June 24]. What people need to remember is that, while compostable plastics may look like recyclable plastic, they are not recyclable in your blue bin. In fact, if too many are mixed in with regular, petroleum-based plastics, they can contaminate an entire batch, rendering the entire lot unusable. It’s key for food purveyors to let consumers know that the item is compostable. It’s equally key for them to communicate to consumers where to bring them to be properly composted.

A few things to keep in mind:

Approved compostable containers may be brought to Intervale Compost Products on Intervale Road, Burlington, and to any CSWD Drop-Off Center. A list of approved containers is available at cswd.net, as is a downloadable sign that can be posted at the counter to help customers dispose of them properly. Both are available as well by calling our hotline at 872-8111.

Compostable containers generally break down too slowly in smaller, household composting systems.

Petroleum-based “biodegradable” plastics are neither compostable nor recyclable. They break down into a fine plastic powder, which can end up infiltrating waterways and the critters who live there. Their use is an unfortunate example of greenwashing, as they seem green but their effects are worse than the materials that they are replacing.

Kudos to the food purveyors who make the effort to choose true green options — and to the legions of customers who support them.

Clare Innes

WILLISTON

Innes is marketing coordinator of the Chittenden Solid Waste District.

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