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Letters to the Editor 

Oh, Snap

[Re “Photo Finish: AP’s Toby Talbot is Retiring After 30 Years Shooting Vermont,” November 27]: When comparing image “transmission” in the 1980s to an iPhone, don’t forget to add in the time it took to process the film and make a print!

Martin Feldman


Feldman owns Light-Works, Inc., in Winooski.

Sweet Deal for Davis

Business and politics in Vermont make very strange bedfellows. Paul Heintz’s Fair Game column on December 4 dissecting Governor Shumlin’s campaign fundraising efforts reminded me of the years I reported for the Burlington Free Press detailing the links between Vermont’s business leaders seeking favors from politicians and the latter seeking money and support from business leaders of both parties — and often granting those favors.

The column read to me like business as usual. But I was floored when I came to the part where Heintz wrote about a deal the governor brokered that would allow developer Jeff Davis to build a Walmart he’s proposed for Derby Line providing he agreed not to propose another Walmart somewhere in the state until 2020. The Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Preservation Trust of Vermont secured that promise from Davis.

Say what?

Unless I’ve missed something, it seems those two groups sold their souls and Vermont down the river.

Davis went through years of delays to build a Walmart in St. Albans (the first was in Williston), and if I am not mistaken he is already dreaming (while awake) of a third Walmart, and 2020 is only seven years away. It’s something like this: I have agreed to your proposal not to burn my house down if I allow you to build a garage on my land, providing you wait seven years.

Some deal, eh?

Ted Tedford

Underhill Center

Keep Feeding Us

[Re “An Embarrassment of Pitches,” December 4]: Keep up the good work! Some folks will be amazed to learn that your job isn’t all sunshine — but whose job is really without its dark corners? Seven Days writers Corin Hirsch and Alice Levitt do a wonderful job of keeping us informed of the foodie scene. Thank you!

Pennie Beach


Beach is co-owner of the Basin Harbor Club.

Bust F-35 Boosters

Katherine Kirby aptly describes the lack of democratic debate at recent Burlington City Council meetings concerning the F-35 [Feedback: “Not Democracy At All,” November 20]. The only thing worse than the reluctance of the city council to even pass a nonbinding resolution opposed to the F-35 coming to Burlington was the pedantic deportment of Council President Joan Shannon in conducting the meetings.

The acquiescence and complicity of elected Vermont officials in bringing the F-35 to Vermont is troubling and disturbing. From the venerable Senator Pat Leahy to the bright, new mayor of Burlington, Miro Weinberger, their support of the F-35 demonstrates a capitulation to the military-industrial complex that robs numerous resources that help humanity as opposed to those that would destroy it.

On a profound philosophical level, it is our moral and ethical obligation to seek avenues of peace and reconciliation in a nonviolent manner. Wasting billions on instruments of death perpetuates the cycle of death and destruction that nations have followed for far too long. Let us the citizens of Vermont help to stop that cycle. The best way is to not vote for the politicians who have supported the F-35 coming to Vermont. Be it Bernie Sanders, Gov. Shumlin or Congressman Peter Welch — stop returning to office the enablers of the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Kevin Barry


All About Eva

I never miss watching Eva Sollberger’s Stuck in Vermont online or on WCAX-TV’s “The :30.” The recent one on the only male Zumba instructor was such fun [“Zumba With Angel,” December 4]. It was especially great to see Eva right in there dancing with the group. Thanks, Eva!

K.K. Wilder


Singer’s Story

I just wanted to congratulate Dan Bolles on a brilliant condensation of Rik Palieri’s career and contacts [“Sticking to the Union,” December 4]. Rik permitted us to transcribe and publish his original interview with Pete Seeger — from “Songwriter’s Notebook” — on the Digital Folk Life page, but this beats that hands down.

John McLaughlin

Silver Spring, Md.

Stay Away From the Paté

[Re “Bliss,” November 27]: In a brilliant cartoon by Harry Bliss, one of three customers dining at Leunig’s has asked the waiter: “What’s foie gras?” Judging by the mortified looks on their faces, they have received an answer and it is not pretty. Yes, it is the liver of a duck or goose and, more specifically, a diseased and grossly enlarged liver of a bird that’s been forcefully fed to death. Many die from injuries caused by a feeding tube to the esophagus; others choke on their vomit. All live in pain and misery and in extreme confinement. Come on, we can do better than that! Leunig’s will serve foie gras as long as there is demand for it, they say — so it’s up to the customer to stop this cruelty. Several countries have already prohibited foie gras production; it’s also banned in California. Please stop the madness and ask the restaurant to do the right thing and remove the item from the menu.

Julia Behrens

South Burlington

Maybe Crime Does Pay?

[Re “Vermont’s Chief Justice Is Speaking Out Against the Drug War: Is Anyone Listening?” December 4]: Why are addicts not being given longer, more complex inpatient detox programs that require them to go stone-cold sober? Seems to me, methadone clinics just keep feeding their addictions because it gives them just enough to stimulate the cravings. It also seems twisted that crime does pay. Drug dealers, thieves and criminals seem to make a lot more money from crime than they can at a minimum-wage job, so this makes it more appealing to an addictive mind.

Bonnie Barrows


All for Philomena

[Re Movie Review, “Philomena,” December 4]: Long ago I gave up on relying on Rick Kisonak’s movie reviews for a fair recommendation. His inexplicable prejudice against the films of Woody Allen, for example, muddies any claim to objectivity.

A fairer review of the marvelous Philomena might go something like this: The movie is based on a nonfiction, human-interest book by Martin Sixsmith called The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. Mr. Sixsmith is one of the main protagonists, along with Philomena, an old Irish woman who needs closure in an aspect of her life that she has stuffed inside for 50 years. Steve Coogan and Judith Dench portray the two characters skillfully.

The unlikely pair are on respective missions. Hers is deeply personal; his is both practical and, as it develops, also personal and existential. The developments that each faces are conveyed with profound subtlety as they search for Philomena’s long-lost son. Core themes include aging, loss, culture, class, manners, child-marketing, media cynicism, divinity, friendship, acceptance, justification of questionable positions, institutional intransigence, emotional toughness and forgiveness. This is not some simple road film, buddy flick or pandering tearjerker.

Dame Judi’s performance deserves special recognition. Has she ever failed to bring superior mastery to her craft? While all of the portrayals in this film are memorable, hers is stunning. The central woman is simple, respectfully harnessing her gut-wrenching emotion and showing human nature at its most honorable. Dench can convey a world of hurt or a heart full of compassion so subtlety with her wrinkled, grandmotherly countenance filling the frame, or even offscreen with her good-natured, rambling reminiscences. It is a consummate performance.

Kisonak’s one-star rating in Seven Days is a disservice to moviegoers and hopefully will not prevent folks from seeing what is probably one of the year’s best.

Jim McGurn


F-35 Fix Was In

[Re “Afterburned? Residents in the F-35 Flight Path Share Their Views on the Plane” and “Plane and Not So Simple: Who Spent How Much Arguing For and Against the F-35,” December 11]: Grassroots? Hogwash! The harsh reality is that the decision to base the F-35 in Vermont was made way back in 2010, when Cheryl Parker, who headed up the Environmental Impact Statement for the Pentagon, was in town. Speaking before the South Burlington City Council, she pretty much said, “We are coming here, period.”

What has been noticeably absent over the last 3.5 years has been any discussion of the law! The law is NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, which sets the guidelines for all EISes and bed-downs. A paragraph within NEPA states, “This law shall be used to protect the health and welfare of communities and citizens who may be adversely affected by an action, i.e., a F-35 bed-down. Guess it was overlooked.

Also in 2010, the city of Valpairiso, Fla., which sits just off the edge of Eglin AFB, similar to Winooski’s location near BIA, sued the Air Force and won. It was determined that the all-important EIS grossly underestimated the noise and adverse health effects on the city! The number of F-35s to be based there was sharply reduced and sorties were moved north to Duke Field, away from the city. When the law is followed, justice prevails.

Mark Dickinson

South Burlington

Specious Arguments

It’s hard to imagine how the F-35 will protect us from attacks like 9/11, as Tyler Hart suggests [“Afterburned? Residents in the F-35 Flight Path Share Their Views on the Plane,” December 11]. We are safer today because cockpit doors on commercial airliners have finally been secured — a recommendation made long before 9/11. Strategically, the best place for the F-35 would probably be the remote base at Thule, in Northern Greenland, the cornerstone of U.S. intercontinental defense for 50 years. We could build a resort up there to accommodate those who can’t bear to live without the “noise of freedom.”

Most of the other arguments of the proponents are just as specious. The money spent on VTANG is a tiny percent of Vermont’s GDP, the multiplier effect is minimal ($1.30, according to Fred Magdoff of UVM) and every billion dollars spent on the military results in a net loss of 2000 to 3000 jobs.

To provide jobs and grow Vermont’s economy, a much better plan would be to tax internet sales at their source and apply the money infrastructure in the fields of energy, education and health care. As for all the other technical and financial objections to the project, I’ll leave that to Winslow Wheeler of the Project on Government Oversight and many folks within the Pentagon itself.

John Shaplin


Guard Against Whom?

September 11 should have demonstrated once and for all the irrelevance of the Air National Guard [“Afterburned? Residents in the F-35 Flight Path Share Their Views on the Plane,” December 11]. But supporters of the F-35 who assert that the Vermont Guard was the first to establish an air patrol over New York City seem oblivious to the fact that the entire military juggernaut of this country was incapable of stopping a small group of virtually unarmed men in several commercial airliners from destroying the Twin Towers and killing thousands of civilians.

It’s high time we not only get rid of the National Guard but dump the entire military-industrial complex, which is eating us alive, wasting trillions of dollars of our tax money, and sacrificing the well-being and the futures of our children. I have heard the expressions of fear by many F-35 proponents: “We need the F-35s to protect us from them.”

“Them” are the military, the industries and the politicians who feed on fear; the F-35 is on their side, not ours. The F-35s are not to protect us from them; they’re to protect them from us!

Louis Lionni


Now We Know

I was curious to know who wrote that propaganda piece that Burlington City Council President Joan Shannon passed off as her analysis of the F-35 issues [“Plane and Not So Simple: Who Spent How Much Arguing For and Against the F-35,” December 11]. Now we know. It is highly inappropriate for a council chair to use the position that way. Yet not one council member objected. What sheep.

Lea Terhune



Last week’s story on medical marijuana tester Mark Tucci incorrectly identified the marijuana strain, Cheesehead, as a sativa. Although there are sativa blends of Cheesehead, the strain Tucci smoked was an indica. Seven Days regrets the faux pot. 

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