Letters to the Editor (10/19/22) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (10/19/22) 

Published October 19, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Right Up There

I just wanted to reach out and say how much I enjoyed Chris Farnsworth's article ["UFOMG: From Flying Saucers to Starlink, Vermont Has a Long History of Strange Things in the Sky," October 5]. I thought it was really interesting and well written. I think it's important to provide positive feedback when it is due!

Ashten Stringer


A Skeptic's View

[Re "UFOMG," October 5]: For the past 20 years, most people have been carrying smartphones capable of shooting incredibly crisp, clear and detailed still photographs and video. YouTube publishes millions of recorded videos of unusual events, people, animals, crimes, etc. Why no genuine pics or videos of any of these so-called UFOs, abductions or other instances of "unexplainable" events?

The absurdity is evident in the 1907 report of the Burlington men exiting a restaurant after dinner to "see" a 6-foot-long-by-8-inch-wide object hovering in the sky 300 feet away, with spots and tongues of fire along the sides. Think about it: an object the length of a person, but the thickness of a person's neck a full football field away, and they saw fiery spots on the side?

Makes you wonder what they had for dinner.

Frank Lamson

South Royalton

Predictable Put-Down

Kevin McCallum's "Right Flank" [October 12], on GOP Senate candidate Gerald Malloy, was a direct hit on Malloy's right groin!

It must have made Democrats smile to read the slant: repeat mentions of the dreaded "Trump" word, no positive comments about Malloy (in liberal Stowe, what a surprise!), misconstruing Malloy's abortion stand.

As a former Democrat, I cannot vote for U.S. Rep. Peter Welch.

Vermont set the bar high with former U.S. senators George Aiken and Ralph Flanders. The former spoke out against the Vietnam War, and the latter against McCarthyism.

Welch speaks of civility, but he does nothing to condemn those in his own party who hate any opposition to their narrative or party line.

Welch will not support securing our border as illegals and fentanyl pour across.

Welch said nothing when President Joe Biden looked at his wristwatch as dead American soldiers returned home at Dover Air Force Base. Biden betrayed Americans and loyal allies when we abruptly pulled out of Afghanistan.

Welch condemns U.S. energy independence, yet his family profits from inside trading on energy stocks?

Welch will simply follow the party line! He is not being elected; it's more of a coronation.

Democrats have failed us over these past two years, so who votes for continued failure — unless high inflation and weaponizing the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice are marks of success instead of intimidation?

Robert "Bob" Devost


Define 'Affordable'

[Re "CityPlace Developers Move Toward Building Affordable Housing on Vacant Site," September 16, online]: If the project were built consisting of all 88 apartments, for $26.3 million, the project would be deemed "affordable." "Affordable" seems to mean just under $299,000 each.

Maybe. Are they one-bedroom, two-bedroom or four-bedroom apartments? Will they have one bathroom or one per bedroom? Along with the sink, stove and fridge, will there be AC, Wi-Fi and a charging station? Clearly, there is not enough information to know if "affordable" is adequate, designed to shelter a family securely and warmly, or designed to meet today's expectations. Is "adequate" sustainable? Please define your term of "affordable."

Joshua Durst


High School Help

[Re "The $165,000,000 Question," September 21]: High schools across Vermont were built with a combination of local and state funds — mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. Many were renovated or expanded in the 1990s and 2000s with state support. 

Burlington High School is one of the first Vermont schools to age out and need replacement — sooner than later — due to PCB exposures.

It troubles me that the state is sitting by to watch Burlington go it alone. As Burlington goes, so might the rest of us, as our own school buildings age and need renovation or replacement. It is in all of our interests to have decent school buildings across Vermont.

We can't ignore Burlington and then expect state support for our own school projects. It should be supported in its quest for state support for the new Burlington High School.

Chuck Lacy


Lacy is a member of the Mount Mansfield Union School Board.

Calling Out 'Social Equity'

[Re "Vermonters Celebrate the First Day of Legal Cannabis Sales," October 1, online]: Your article celebrating the "first day of legal cannabis sales" whitewashes our state's attempt to co-opt the "legacy" cannabis market. While the Cannabis Control Board displaces your personal pot dealer with its own, its feigned empathy for communities historically and disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition needs to be called out.

Is pot legal in Vermont? No, but it's legally sanctioned under certain conditions. Read the law. Growing just 13 unlawful cannabis plants carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and/or up to a $500,000 fine. Three ounces of unlawful pot can land you up to six months in prison. Our laws are still draconian, albeit much more consumer-friendly.

Recent correspondence with David Scherr, general counsel for the CCB, confirms there have been zero social equity requests granted to non-Black or -Hispanic folks who have not been previously incarcerated for pot. I am one of those people.

My social equity application was one of those denied with no explanation. Black, Hispanic and any other people incarcerated for cannabis — those are well-defined communities. I think it is past time the CCB defined the other communities to whom it gives lip service. Are we potheads, Deadheads, hippies, freaks, cannabis activists or none of the above?

Having been stigmatized, profiled, held at gunpoint, searched by police, jailed and made to clean city streets — having lost personal treasure and experienced family estrangement for being all of these over my lifetime — I feel that's the least it can do.

Galen Dively


No 'Overdosing' on Cannabis

[Re "When Legal Cannabis Goes on Sale in Vermont, It Must Be in Recyclable, Nonplastic Containers," September 28]: I feel it is incredibly important to understand how powerful our language can be. We should never use the word "overdose" when it comes to cannabis, as that has quite the negative connotation and can add to stigma and bias.

"Overconsume," absolutely. But "overdose" should not be used in this context.

We have many cannabinoid receptors in our brain, but not in our brain stem, hence why overdosing on cannabis is not possible. Many definitions and public understanding include death from overdose, so the word has to be used very carefully.

I am unsure if they were Kyle Harris' words or the newspaper's, but I wanted to clarify and would love to see an update to change this.

"Eating a small amount of raw cannabis doesn't pose an overdose risk. That's because THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot, is only created when cannabis is heated through a process called decarboxylation. This can be achieved through smoking, vaping or — in the case of edibles — baking the cannabis. Without it, pot is essentially inert, Harris said."

Jessilyn Dolan


Lake Stake

["Water Wars," August 24], regarding the proposed rule to manage wake boats and wake sports in Vermont's inland lakes, was a fair, accurate and informative piece of reporting. Good job. It is my hope that the debate on this subject would be based primarily on the scientific evidence, principles of environmental conservation and preservation, and reasonable rules to manage our public use of waters in Vermont.

The reality is that dealing with the proposal made by our group, Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes, is a political and social process. Because of the lack of lines, lanes and signs on public waters, boat operators and other users sometimes act like there are no rules and anything goes. Simple respect and cordiality by boaters are important but not enough. Lapses in attentiveness or attitude can result in boat crashes or swimmers being run over. Further, the unique nature and intent of wake boats — to produce outsize, enhanced wakes — pose special issues for preservation of the quality of inland lakes and the coordinated use of the water by kayakers, paddlers, sailors, swimmers, anglers, water skiers, tubers and others.

The petition process is a long road. Our proposal will wend its way through the appropriate steps. I hope we can have good discussions of the issues.

Daniel Sharpe


Dollar Foolish

[Re "Royalton's Two Cents," September 28]: I wish good luck to the good folks in Royalton fighting to keep out yet another Dollar General, especially with one just 15 miles away. This is about market saturation and wringing every penny from the locals by selling crappy, processed junk — nothing fresh.

Here in North Troy, we warned zoning that a Dollar General would kill the local market, and, in less than a year, it did. Now one must travel 16 miles round trip for real produce and meat at Troy General Store, a gathering place where people know each other and converse, with added snark from owner Tony, who took over the business from his dad.

Recently, while forced to buy motor oil at Dollar General, I saw a couple of youngsters buying frozen "sliders" and processed garbage, thinking that if they could get to Troy General, for the same price they could have bought a pound of burger, a whole loaf of bread and condiments!

Royalton needs to stop these corporate leeches. Sure, the "prices" may be low at Dollar General, but the costs to the community are high, especially considering its junk "food" and slave wages, etc. It drives business away from local stores with its weaselly ways.

Steve Merrill

North Troy

The Right Call for Richmond

[Re "Richmond Learns a Town Official Lowered the Fluoride Level in Its Water for Years," September 28, online; "Richmond Vows to Return to 'Full Fluoride' Levels," October 3, online; "Richmond Seeks to Restore Public Confidence After Employee Slashed Fluoride Levels," October 5]: I'm concerned that Kendall Chamberlin is getting a bad rap. Reducing fluoride exposure was the right thing to do for Richmond kids.

Earlier in my career, I spent two years studying fluoride toxicity for the Maine Department of Health, where I worked as a toxicologist. I have two young kids, and we use fluoride toothpaste. 

But fluoride is not benign. Among other things, fluoride is a neurotoxin, and dozens of studies have consistently found reduced IQ in association with naturally or artificially fluoridated water. These include studies in Canada, where fluoride levels are similar to ours.

Fluoride can help reduce cavities, but it's important to consider how it works. The effect is topical, on the surface of teeth, after they erupt from the gums. There is no benefit from swallowed fluoride and no benefit to infants from drinking fluoridated water. Toothpaste is a good way to administer fluoride. Drinking water is probably not.

Recent studies show that the difference between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities is on the order of 0.3 fewer cavities in permanent teeth per child. Is that modest benefit worth the risk of neurological damage? 

Abel Russ

St. George

Some Review

[On Screen: "Currently Playing," October 5] In all fairness to the film The Good House, I would like to suggest that this review missed the mark. I watched this movie. Yes, Sigourney Weaver plays a real estate agent. And, yes, she reunites with an old flame played by Kevin Kline. The movie is a realistic portrayal of someone whose life bottoms out before she can accept help for her alcoholism. I don't know how this review missed the central theme of this movie. It makes me wonder what other reviews miss.

Johanna Nichols


Editor's note: The writer is referring to the one-sentence capsule summary Margot Harrison wrote for the film section — it's not an actual movie review.

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