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Letters to the Editor 

God-Free Assistance

I completely empathize with North Hero flood victim Roz Payne and her experience [“For One Flood Victim, Vermont’s 2-1-1 Help Line Calls Southern Baptists,” June 8].

My Montpelier house was flooded in 1992. During that flood, the taxpayer-funded fire department spent its time pumping out businesses while ignoring homeowners. The help for residents was so abysmal that we, too, had to get [then Rep.] Bernie Sanders involved. He was a tremendous help, and we were very grateful.

I am sad to see that in response to the 2011 Montpelier floods there is a fundraising effort for businesses, but homeowners are told to call 2-1-1. Huh? The 2-1-1 help line didn’t exist in 1992, but had the state of Vermont sent Southern Baptists — or anyone else — out to pray over my flooded house, I would have raised serious holy hell five ways from Sunday!

If our response to disasters in Vermont is to ask for free money for businesses but send people to pray for homeowners, then indeed it is a sad state of affairs in more ways than one.

I personally volunteer to travel to North Hero to assist Ms. Payne if she needs additional help. I absolutely guarantee that there will be no prayers involved.

Cindy Blakeslee

Bradford

Last Letter About Mac Parker Story — Promise!

[Re: “Mac’s Missing Millions: Plot Twists Abound in Fundraising Probe,” May 25]:

Mac Parker copyrighted what is now a long-outdated, 21-page script on January 8, 2003. He never copyrighted a film. He has never finished a film.

I finished the film as funded and screened by investors and applied for a copyright following an attorney’s careful assessment of my role in its creation. I have an 80-email record spanning a five-year period, which documents that role in Mac’s own words.

I have proof of the date that the Library of Congress received a hard copy of that film — which legally registers that copyright.

Therefore, I am the only copyright holder of the film.

On May 8, 2010, Mac refused to complete the film with me, though we were only a breath away from completing it. 

In June 2010, I created dedicated project files for Bill Kinzie and emailed him instructions on how to get the project up as I had left it.

On the evening of July 8, 2010, Bill revealed that Mac had changed the form of the film — to either a documentary or a docudrama — and disclosed that he would not work on the film until all BISHCA issues were cleared up.

With investors outraged, Mac changed it back. Christopher White sent out an email asserting that this change had never happened. An audio recording of Mr. Kinzie is inconsistent with that email.

This past January 2011, Mac began building a film again, from scratch, using different software, making it impossible to complete the film that investors had screened for three years. Mr. White claims they are completing the same film.

Mac recently changed the name of the film to Return to Innocence. It now has been changed back to Birth of Innocence.

After a year of Mac derailing his own efforts, I finished the film. I’ve secured a worldwide distribution deal with Sunset Pictures. They have their finger on the “go” button, right now. Investors could soon begin being paid.

There’s only one problem: Mac Parker is openly trying to thwart the effort.

Horace Williams Jr.

Starksboro

Cremation Nation?

Ken Picard’s article [“South Burlington Residents Fume Over a Proposed Crematory,” June 15] was a perfect example of how little the general public knows about funerals, embalming, cremation, etc. As the president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Vermont, an affiliate of the national FCA, I commend you for asking Josh Slocum about cremation. However, I seriously doubt whether you mentioned the so-called toxic elements that would be spewed from the crematory. The nonprofit crematory in St. Johnsbury, the first one in Vermont, requires that all pacemakers be removed prior to cremation. They sell an inexpensive heavy cardboard box to transport the body in, rather than a coffin, and with family participation the whole process costs only $300.

Embalming is certainly not done prior to cremation, and most Vermonters know that unless you are going to have a body viewing, it is certainly not recommended due to the toxic nature of the process. It is important to distinguish between how simple and less expensive a cremation is as compared to a traditional funeral, and how less toxic it is to our environment. FCA-VT has a statewide information hotline — 223-8140 — to help educate Vermonters about alternatives to traditional funerals.

Mary Alice Bisbee

Montpelier

Bisbee is president of the Montpelier-based nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance of Vermont.

Protesting Obama?

Having learned of Michelle Obama’s upcoming appearance in Burlington from Shay Totten’s “Rally the Troops” column [Fair Game, June 15], I was wondering what troops we are talking about. Given that the Peace and Justice Center and the Progressive Party make claim to being voices against militarism and imperialism, do either plan to organize protests against her on June 30? Or is murdering other peoples’ children in pursuit of corporate profits only displeasing to peace-centric Burlingtonians when done by Republicans? Just asking.

Albert Petrarca

Burlington

Believe Science, Not Quakery

I find it hard to believe that you would publish an unquestioningly positive piece about quackery [“Body Wisdom,” June 1]. The only quote you have regarding the validity of Nutrition Response Testing is “But just because it’s not scientifically proven doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.” Actually, that’s precisely what it means. As a scientist, it’s infuriating to see “reporting” on a contentious practice without thinking about the scientific method.

Hypotheses begin with an assumption of a null model, i.e., that the differences between groups are no greater than can be attributed to randomness. So when a study uses statistical methods to detect an effect of a medical treatment and doesn’t falsify the null hypothesis, it means the method doesn’t work. Does that mean that people will never see results personally? No, only that the probability of seeing a result is no more likely compared to receiving a placebo. A search of the scientific literature finds many papers showing no support for NRT.

Furthermore, the writer seems surprised that the testing revealed she eats too much sugar and drinks tap water. It’s like a medium in a crowded room saying: “I’m hearing something from the beyond from a John.” It works because there is a high probability that someone present has a relative named John; it is a common name. This kind of soft reporting is dangerous: At best it sends people to fraudulent treatments who will lose money; at worst, it sends people with real problems to someone who isn’t a real doctor.

Edmund Hart

Burlington

Hart earned his doctorate in biology at the University of Vermont.

Ask a Doctor, Not a Marketeer

I am writing in response to “Body Wisdom,” [June 1]. Since author Corin Hirsch and others had trouble identifying how Nutrition Response Testing works, I thought I might offer one possible explanation: Suzy Harris used a sudden slight upward movement of Corin’s arm in order to get a “set” muscle to relax. When the muscle is relaxed in this way, the arm can be immediately pulled downward. If this is done quickly, the person being tested is unlikely to detect the upward motion. Then, based on when Suzy chose to relax the muscle, an arbitrary diagnosis of “poisoned” was given. I can’t figure how this is not a “medical” diagnosis. It is important to note that this diagnosis had nothing to do with any of the particular molecules or compounds in Corin’s body and everything to do with the treatments and vitamin supplements sold by Cedar Wood Chiropractic, a for-profit corporation.

The set-muscle hypothesis seems a lot easier to believe than the idea that Suzy’s testing and your muscle’s perceptions are sophisticated enough to tune out the many, many chemical compounds present in the glass vial, the cap on the glass vial, the heart-monitoring device, Corin’s clothing, Suzy’s body and clothing, etc., in favor of the supposed nutrients and poisons. Corin was given basic health advice available at any number of sources that don’t charge for NRT — such as too much booze and sweets can make you feel crappy. NRT is much like the sort of malware that pretends to analyze your computer, tells you you have 383 viruses you didn’t know you had, and then charges you to remove them. It works every time — cha-ching!

Also, when Seven Days next runs a story in which the marketer of a product claims that their competitors products cause cancer and are the same as taking poison, as in “Getting the Glow” [March 16] and “Coming Clean” [June 1], some Seven Days readers would appreciate hearing from a toxicologist, oncologist or an MD instead of just those who sell the products.

Ben Maddox

Enosburg Falls

Choose Burlington Schools — All of Them

Andy Bromage got it wrong [“Burlington’s Choice: Will a School Board Vote Make Socioeconomic Integration Official?” June 1]: Space constraints last year at Champlain Elementary School meant 17 families got to choose where to send their children; they didn’t “have to send their kindergarteners to the Integrated Arts Academy in the Old North End.” Many families did choose the IAA; other families chose Edmunds Elementary School. Bromage’s assertion that they were all forced to IAA only perpetuates the reactionary hysteria illustrated by Haik Bedrosian’s comment: “If we make this change, expectant parents cannot have any assurance of what school their baby will eventually attend.”

What? There have never been absolute assurances. The tension between space and numbers preclude them. The vast majority of Burlington parents get their first-choice school; the rest, their second choice.

And the housing-values argument continues to stun me. Burlingtonians who invest in socially responsible mutual funds are willing to fight to keep the value of their house dependent on its association to a “good school,” which, by definition, requires a “bad” school that is undesirable to potential upper-middle-class buyers. I would love to see citywide recognition that the value of Burlington as a city is dependent on six award-winning elementary schools, two visionary middle schools and a progressive high school that intentionally rejects the nationwide trend of shortsighted, test-driven, curiosity-squelching institutions that call themselves schools.

Megan Munson-Warnken

Burlington

Corrections

The deadline for the Legislative Apportionment Board was incorrect in last week’s Fair Game column. The group is required to file its plan with the Clerk of the House by August 15 — not August 1, as stated.

Last week’s story “Onion City in Bloom” erroneously stated that Ted Olson designed the poster for the Winooski Pop-Up Galleries. That poster was actually designed by Kasini House, the presenters of the gallery. The story also overstated the Winooski Community Partnership’s involvement in the gallery. The WCP is one of several partners of the initiative, not its creator. 

Clarification

In the June 8 story “Will Head-Mounted Video Recorders Help Burlington Police See City Crime?” Deputy Chief Walt Decker suggested that new video cameras affixed to individual officers could eventually replace those on the dashboards of police cruisers. The Burlington PD hasn’t used dashboard cams for about a decade.

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