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Letters to the Editor (1/24/24) 

Published January 24, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

'Carpetbagger' Candidate

[Re "Former Middlebury Selectboard Member Announces Bid for Governor," January 5, online]: A 33-year-old from Connecticut running for governor of Vermont? Are you serious?

Fred Tuttle, star of the Vermont mockumentary Man With a Plan, would have referred to such a candidate as a "carpetbagger." Rightly so.

How you give such ludicrous aspirations — for a serious professional position — free airtime is beyond my understanding.

But that is the world we live in. For now.

Rob Mann


Blame State, Not Farmers

I was one of the players responsible for setting this legal action in motion about five years ago ["Vorsteveld Farm Held in Contempt Over Runoff," January 10]. As bad as the practices of these guys are, I am not in favor of making them the scapegoats of an entire industry that is not correctable. Dairy farming on this scale, even by the state's "best practices," unavoidably leads to the degradation of water quality.

The state is completely guilty of degrading watershed ecology by allowing dairy to run functionally unchecked.

In this case, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets knew — or should've known — where every drain tile went and every tree fell to make way for expanding corn production, which obviously results in animal ag runoff on many, many farms. Vermont consumers as well as taxpayers are quite literally choosing foods, such as ice cream and bulk cheese, over 38 percent cleaner water.

Vermont really should put its back into pasture-raised and -finished livestock instead of dairy. Or rename itself the Green Water State.

Eben Markowski

Santa Fe, N.M.

'Ace' Reporting

I wanted to let you how much I appreciate the reporting and writing of Anne Wallace Allen. The story on Ace McArleton about straw bale houses was well written and gave a good representation of what Ace is up to [Nest: Last Quarter: "Back to Nature," January 17].

Ace is an international leader in this type of construction and in carbon management. Thank you for presenting him as the business leader and innovator that he is.

David Lanfear

Lake Luzerne, N.Y.

'What We Can Afford'

[Re "Vermont Lawmakers Are Focused on Disaster Response, but Covering the Costs May Be Tough," January 10]: I read this article with interest and came away somewhat incredulous at all the proposals from legislators who know well that Vermont is a poor state. It seems as though everyone has forgotten what income revenues there are: What We Can Afford versus What I Want.

I have always thought of myself as a liberal until now. After the huge childcare bill and resultant proposed property tax increase, there is just not anything left for all these programs.

When I look at what Vermont pays for education versus the return on investment, I am astonished. Students aren't performing at a level to justify the spending — Vermont has the fourth-highest per-capita education cost and ranks 15th overall on performance.

Legislators want to spend money we do not have; they need to concentrate on finding new revenue sources before developing new programs the taxpayers cannot afford. They will price themselves right out of residents if they continue to place a high burden on taxpayers, with, again, little return. We look at our tax bill and then wonder what we get for it. Education is huge, but any other infrastructure is poor.

What we get for our taxes is plowed dirt roads and a place to vote. Oh, the town did buy a huge brush cutter and then mowed down the shrubs and flowers we planted by the mailbox.

Virginia Small

Clarendon Springs

Wearing Wool Again

It was a pleasure reading ["Glad in Plaid," December 13], which inspired me to renew my 55-year relationship with Johnson Woolen Mills under its new management. I am now the proud and happy owner of a brand-new red-and-black plaid JWM lined wool jacket with a detachable hood — a family gift for my recent 75th birthday. Not cheap, but it has already been my daily wear for weeks, and I expect it will long outlive me and that one of my grandchildren will lay claim to it when the time comes!

Nils Daulaire

South Royalton

For Forests

[Re Feedback: "Out of Energy?" December 27]: Seven Days readers were treated to a low point in logic by the lead-off letter in the turn-of-the-year double issue. Liz Curry tried to persuade a gullible public that burning trees in the McNeil Generating Station industrial woodstove is somehow a green alternative to fossil fuels. Some antienvironmental propaganda is subtle but so transparent as to be utterly ridiculous.

Expanding the McNeil system to heat the University of Vermont Medical Center will perpetuate McNeil's carbon footprint and its climate-warming emission of CO2 and health-impairing particulate matter into the air over Burlington. The city's political and medical leaders, electric utility, and residents need to take an in-depth look at the truly sustainable alternative of leaving Vermont's forests intact to absorb and sequester carbon and using solar or ground-sourced heat pumps to meet energy needs.

Jonathan Gibson


Props for Kampus Kitchen

Hey, it looks like you left Kampus Kitchen out of your corner store roundup ["Market Value: Burlington's Remaining Corner Stores Double Down and Evolve," January 10]. Hardest-working store owner around. Behind the counter seven days a week. Seems like he should get some props.

Ben Lawrence


Editor's note: "Market Value" did not claim to be comprehensive; our writers visited seven of roughly 15 markets left in Burlington, as stated in the story's introduction. That said, we did consider including Kampus Kitchen in the piece, but the owner, who bought the store less than a year ago, declined the opportunity.

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