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Letters to the Editor 

Published February 8, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

Eating Crow

Just finished your article on the crows [“WTF,” February 2] and with the exception of one quote attributed to me that I didn’t make, it was a fairly decent one. I would like to point out that the “eruption” you refer to is actually an “irruption.” It is common among the finches we often see here in the winter when food sources such as pinecones and seeds are in short supply. It typically is a term applied to species that do not normally winter in a certain area, so its use in reference to American crows is probably not accurate.

Craig Newman


Newman is director of the Shelburne-based Outreach for Earth Stewardship.

Bad Budget

Bravo to Judith Levine [“Poli Psy,” February 2]. It is ironic that the same governor who had the courage and foresight to fight for a single-payer medical system has presented such a shortsighted and harmful budget, one that delivers great hardship to the very population that a single-payer system would help.

Politicians of both parties congratulate themselves for “making hard decisions” and “being grown-ups” when taking the ax to social-service programs, but, to me, real courage would consist of having at least some of the budget pain felt by their wealthy supporters. 

I long for the day when I hear on the news, “The burden of this year’s budget has fallen disproportionately on the state’s wealthiest, least vulnerable citizens.”

Rick Winston


Fare Trade

The Benway transportation guy who is threatening to leave the city with their cab service is so full of it [“Burlington Cabbies Up in Arms About Proposed Meters,” February 2]; he’s just bluffing or shooting off his mouth. Tell him: When President Reagan warned the air-traffic controllers in the U.S. not to strike and they didn’t listen, he fired them all and replaced them. That’s how my cousin got hired and eventually had a 25-year career landing planes in Burlington!

Barry Buswell


Cheap Shot

You aimed low [“Aiming Low,” January 26]. Realize that if Johnnie is going to kill himself, the method is irrelevant! Your “story” is a political, reactionary piece of tripe that avoids the truth and the laws that the kid broke to kill himself.

Try research next time.

Arthur Vento


BT Busted?

Shay Totten’s reporting on Burlington Telecom is telling. It seems the consensus that has emerged on the city council is to do everything possible to salvage a flawed business plan. OK, I think everyone can get behind that logic, but we still need to know whether costs are escalating or really under control. “Fair Game” [February 2] makes it clear we’re not getting the full picture yet, just the spin that’s no doubt essential if outside investors are to be brought in.

The question that no one seems to have answered is how BT’s business plan can be viable when the highest-density area, i.e., downtown, has been mostly omitted. We know a former head of BT went on record saying he wanted to expand to South Burlington. That should have signaled something. Why expand there before taking on downtown Burlington, where the biggest number of customers can be found with the shortest distance of fiber optic? As a downtown business owner without BT service, my suspicion is that this is where the whole business plan broke down. If the cost of laying fiber optic in the downtown core was always a budget breaker and a nonstarter, the question we need to ask is whether BT’s business plan was ever viable.

Bill Dodge


Location, Location

Oh, how I love the lack of information in this article [“Side Dishes,” January 19]. Great writeup on the new Night Life Café, but, of course, no location info, except for some vague reference to an old Asian market in Winooski.

As someone who is still a bit new to the area, details are important. Please, in the future, print an actual address.

Tim McMahon

Essex Junction

Editor’s note: We thought Malletts Bay Avenue in Winooski would suffice, since it’s only a few blocks long. But the actual street address is 88 Malletts Bay Avenue.

Pay More, Litter Less

Why don’t they raise the deposit amount [“Is Vermont’s Bottle Bill Ready for Recycling?” January 26]? It will make nonessential (less healthy) beverages more expensive initially and it will increase incentive to return the bottles. This will increase pocket money for people who collect bottles, increase charity money for the bottle-drive fundraisers and keep our state cleaner.

Romni Palmer


Don’t Beat Up on Bernie

Regarding Shay Totten’s “Bernie’s Backlash” [“Fair Game,” January 19], I, for one, was grateful to get the senator’s e-missive in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, as it provided context and pointed out that such a horrific event didn’t occur in a vacuum. Bernie’s never afraid to speak some dirty truths, in this case pointing out the culpability borne by certain extreme individuals from the Republican right, individuals who think the phrase “doing windows” means to shoot them out. Those from that faction who berate Bernie now should come clean themselves by admitting that, under our prior president, their party led us not only into a more violent society at home but also into wars abroad — not to mention the worst economic situation since the time of Hoover.

Could Bernie have been more tactful in his timing and approach? Perhaps. However, that’s no reason for our intrepid senator to be so thoroughly hosed — that just plain sucks.

Russ Weis


Barre All

I love this story [“Raising the Barre,” January 19] and the idea that the door isn’t really closed to live some all-but-forgotten dream. The story is not just about being able to dance. It’s about not being afraid of exploring what we really want in life, allowing ourselves to make mistakes and self-acceptance. It allows us to redefine ourselves and our perceived limitations. It gives an inspiring message to live and experience life for ourselves and not to be afraid of how we look doing it.

Amy McDevitt

Bronx, N.Y.

Adjectivally Challenged

When I read Corin Hirsch’s “Side Dishes” column, “More Bite Than Bark” [January 26], I was baffled by Corin referring — not once but twice — to Bistro Sauce restaurant as “defunct” before the recent change in ownership. I was also left wondering if Corin had just moved to the area a week ago or was perhaps on hallucinogenic drugs.

As Shelburnites, my wife and I had been regular patrons of Bistro Sauce since they opened, and big fans of the food and previous ownership. From what we saw, Bistro Sauce was in full stride when it sold last fall. Judging from the quantity and loyalty of its customers, Sauce seemed to be doing as well as any other restaurant in the area. Either way, it’s an egregious lapse in journalistic accuracy to refer to Sauce as defunct at the time. My wife and I are still mourning the loss of one of our favorite haunts and have yet to try Barkeaters Restaurant. I can only hope the food is better than the name.

Sean Folley


Editor’s note: True, Sauce was operational — as opposed to “defunct,” as we described it — when Barkeaters owners Jack and Carolyn Kovac and Jennifer Sinclair purchased it last fall. But Sauce is now defunct, meaning “no longer in use.” The word was not meant to convey any judgment of the place; we loved it, too.

Hooked on Food?

Thank you, Alice Levitt and Seven Days, for focusing on the complexities of weight and food, which haunt and puzzle so many [“Live Free or Diet,” January 19]. Two corrections: One, the corporate food industry engineers food to be so stimulating to the brain’s reward centers and such an explosive party in the mouth, that these signals overwhelm the whisper, You’ll regret this. I don’t know if the process is as addicting as nicotine; I do know this engineering is aimed at getting us to consume more, and I myself have been really hooked. And as a counselor, I see so many people who blame and shame themselves for their inability to stop once they’ve started with a certain food. Two, while it’s true that many third parties resist covering adequate treatment for eating disorders, it’s not because such issues are stigmatized. It’s because eating disorders are complex, biopsychosocial issues, and adequate, successful treatment is expensive and often long-term. The National Eating Disorders Association website — nationaleatingdisorders.org — has more on this.

Anya Raven Hunter, LICSW


Soda Source

When I was a young man and needed to approach my father for some money, I was always prepared for the question I knew he would ask: “What did you do with the money I gave you last time?” Taxpayers would be wise to ask this same question before agreeing to the soda tax being trumpeted by Attorney General William Sorrell. In his recent Seven Days letter to the editor, [“Feedback,” January 12], in response to a thoughtful piece by Judith Levine [“Poli Psy,” November 22], he accuses Levine of focusing on the tax and “glossing over the underlying problem of obesity.” To her credit, Levine is simply asking the question my father always asked, by pointing out that taxpayers are already funding the cause: subsidies for agribusiness to produce corn syrup — an arrangement they are profiting handsomely from.

In an article titled “Sour on Sugar” posted on Vermont Tiger on December 9, 2010, I pointed out that the research of John Block at Harvard Medical School suggests that raising the price of soda does have an affect on consumers, but removing the farm subsidies, which Levine suggests, accomplishes this goal without further taxing the public. While the programs Sorrell outlines to fight the obesity problem are noble and worthwhile, taxpayers would do well to have the tax dollars they are already forking over for farm subsidies redirected for these purposes.

So the problem is acknowledged, and we do need to step up and address it “aggressively.” But by my count, 29 states already have some form of tax on soft drinks. Mr. Sorrell fails to point to any of these states and demonstrate that the tax is working at curbing the problem of obesity. It seems that if he could he would have, and since he does not, he fails to prove his case for a soda tax in the court of public opinion.

Theodore A. Hoppe



Last week’s “WTF” incorrectly identified the town of Auburn, N.Y., as “Mount Auburn.”

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