Letters to the Editor (7/12/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (7/12/23) 

Published July 12, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated July 12, 2023 at 12:02 p.m.

I'm Not Alone

Thanks for the write-up ["Bar None: Qbar Aims to Unite the Upper Valley's LGBTQ Community, One Guerilla-Style Pop-Up at a Time," June 28]. I just wanted to clarify that QBar Upper Valley was a joint venture — not just mine. Heath Lisle, Michelle Wang and I gathered this ragtag group of queers! Much love to all!

Aaron Almanza

Claremont, N.H.

No Bus Service?

The article in your Québec Issue on various forms of transportation to cross the border did not mention buses ["Bienvenue au Québec," June 21]. Was this an oversight, or is there really no bus service to Montréal? If there is, I would be interested in knowing about it.

Janet Rutkowski


Editor's note: An oversight! Greyhound runs twice-daily service to Montréal, with stops in White River Junction, Montpelier and Burlington. The online version of this story has been updated to include that information.

Listen Up

I want to chime in with vigorous assent on Megan Epler Wood's recent letter [Feedback: "Sour Notes," June 28] regarding Burlington Discover Jazz Festival shows at Flynn Space. While the larger and mostly free live music presentations this past fest were no doubt a draw, wouldn't it make sense on a number of fronts to book at least two or three acts at the intimate room downstairs from the Main Stage?

Granted, these events might require paid ticketing, but, as anyone who has seen such shows may well attest, the drama that fills the room as musicians perform up close and personal is priceless indeed. And if the festival curators concentrated on bands and artists deserving recognition — Vancouver's Gordon Grdina and the Boston-based Tim Carman Trio, for example — such billings would broaden the musical scope of BDJF.

We're well in advance of June 2024. Can we seriously consider this?

Doug Collette

South Burlington

Je me souviens!

My wife and I are headed north to attempt viewing the belugas — by kayak — near the junction of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers, a known and respected place to see them in the context of the whole circumpolar north. The Seven Days Québec Issue [June 21] arrived in time for us to study and think about other possible activities. Such a plaisir to have this natural, urban-rural Gallic destination so close to the Vermont border.

Your reveries and recommendations about the northern border transport us, by association, to New Mexico, where we raised our Vermont-born children in Albuquerque, just north of the equally magical foreign land of Mexico.

Thanks, Seven Days!

Ned Farquhar


Beyond the Border

Thanks for publishing your Québec Issue [June 21]! Hope you received more compliments than criticism [From the Publisher: "Merci-less," June 28]. Il ne faut pas chercher la petite bête.

I'm baffled by the number of locals who rarely or never travel the few miles across the border to experience the wealth of offerings you touch on. Your features should help demystify the adventure. Please keep them coming!

Alain McMurtrie


Time for a New Tradition

Great piece on the fireworks debate ["Celebratory Silence," June 28]. I completely agree that we should find ways of celebrating other than fireworks. Some of my fondest memories as a child were eating my grandmother's homemade fried chicken at a picnic and watching the fireworks. But times have changed. So have people's values.

Traditions can be changed, too. Some can be old, and some can be new. It would be sad to see the fireworks go, but they do cause so much trauma to veterans and wildlife, as well as domestic pets.

The true heroes are the people who got us where we are today to have those freedoms. Why not raise a flag and salute your local heroes in ways that don't re-traumatize them? Traditions to celebrate veterans and our country should not inflict pain on them and force them to isolate.

Comparing the trauma caused by fireworks to a truck backfiring is nonsense. I have seen a dog go through a window because of them and countless other wild and domestic animals sent into crazy frenzies. You may be able to prep your own pets, but not wildlife. Look at the poor baby moose in Burlington.

Having a parade and a community barbecue and honoring your veterans respectfully so they can actually be there is a true tribute.

Bev Soychak


'I Was Amanda Bean'

["Vermont's Relapse," June 14] is hope-defeating. I offered you guys my story of strength and inspiration a few weeks ago because not only do I know Amanda Bean, but I was Amanda Bean. Nobody thought I would ever change. Nobody thought I would live until the end of each year that passed.

I grew up in Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility. I celebrated seven years sober in March. I have two beautiful late-in-life children, 3 and 6. I own a $350,000 home. I am a certified addiction recovery and life coach; Reiki, crystal and sound healing practitioner; and just finished my addiction counseling education program at Westfield State University. I am also founder of the addiction recovery blog Progressing Not Perfecting. You guys didn't even have the decency to respond.

Why does the media perpetuate the pain and suffering of substance-use disorder without ever sharing the successes? Because that's what really shocks people, right?

I've been in Seven Days before and had tremendous respect for this paper. I watched all of my friends whom I grew up with in that jail drop off one by one over the past 20 years. I'm the last guy standing for a reason.

Try being part of the solution instead of only highlighting human pain and suffering. People love a success story, and there are so few.

Samantha Bushikaq


A Home With History

Thank you so much for [Nest: "Midcentury Makeover: Devoted New Owners of a Norwich Home Honor Architectural History in Its Rehab," June 28]. The house featured was my grandparents', and I have many fond memories of the place! Very grateful to the current owners for restoring it to its glory.

Just wanted to say that I appreciated this, as did my dad, one of the teenage sons mentioned in the article. Thank you!

Kristin Stockmayer Laverty

Plymouth, MA

Let People Camp

In "Burlington Council Calls for Deeper Dive Into Homeless Camping Policy" [May 16], the Burlington City Council debates the different options for helping and finding homes — even temporarily — for the homeless population of Burlington.

If they are not disturbing anyone or posing a risk to other people's safety, they should be allowed to camp. Having a form of shelter is better than having nothing, especially for children without housing who don't have a choice in the situation. A camp in the woods is better than an underpass or the sidewalk. Homeless encampments can also provide a sense of community, which can give a feeling of place and comfort for some. Moreover, people with homes and "without" are members of society and should have a place to sleep and call home.

Camping in Burlington is presently prohibited on city-owned property and in public parks. However, some people want it to be legal and only have the camps be "removed" if they pose health or safety risks. Although there are some homeless shelters in Burlington, the closure of the motel shelter program from the COVID-19 pandemic has moved more people back onto the streets, and shelters are starting to fill up.

Unless every homeless person in Burlington gets a home or a spot in a shelter, there will be people camping in Burlington.

Madelin Crowley


Adieu, Québec

["Tongue-Tied: Québec Just Took Aggressive Steps to Protect French. Some Say They Go Too Far," June 21] struck a nerve. I left Québec over 30 years ago for Vermont so I would no longer have to deal with anglophone, francophone or allophone issues. Xenophobia was rampant then and evidently still is now. I have always believed that if there should be any protected language or culture, it should be for Indigenous cultures, not for the first European invaders.

As a Jewish Anglophone, by law I attended Protestant, English schools. French schools were exclusively Catholic. I received French instruction from grade three through high school. I attended Concordia University (in English) and upon graduation had a limited grasp of the French language. 

My last job in Québec was for the Québec Ministère des Affaires Sociales, working as a project designer/implementer for adults with significant life-limiting disabilities. When I was advised that, as an Anglophone, I should not expect to rise in the management ranks, I decided to leave my home of almost 40 years for a new life in Vermont.

Xenophobia, as well as antisemitism, Islamophobia and overt racism, is still common throughout Québec. While we are certainly not immune to these scourges here in Vermont, they simply do not rise to the same levels. 

Since my mother died, I have no family in Québec. Most of my friends left, as well — exactly what the supporters of the Parti Québécois, aka Péquistes, desired.

The only thing I now miss from Québec are bagels.

Kenneth Saxe


Vermont First

[Re "Homing In: Some Short-Term Rental Hosts Are Flouting Burlington's New Regulations. The City Intends to Crack Down," June 28]: Many of my new neighbors are from out of state. Some work from home; others don't work. If we really want to end homelessness in Vermont and fill our job vacancies, we need to change the laws and customs regarding the allocation of new and extant housing.

A) New and existing houses should be offered to Vermonters before being offered to the general public.

B) Those with available rental apartments could list them with schools, hospitals, local businesses and anyone else offering jobs in Vermont. When someone takes a job, they could be given access to the list of available accommodations. If an apartment is still vacant after a reasonable length of time, it could be listed publicly.

C) Subsidized housing should be available for Vermont residents who have lived in Vermont for six months. It should only be available to out-of-state residents after all Vermont residents are housed.

Dvora Jonas


Better Days and 'Ways'

Self-described "superannuated dreamer" Andy Leader muses about "The Old Way" in his letter, recalling that in his youth there was no "homelessness problem" in our state [Feedback, June 14]. Why? Because we had "poor farms" and "poorhouses" — run by each town's elected "overseer of the poor," who, in Leader's memory, "[knew] everyone in town and would thus provide for the truly destitute."

This system, Leader states, put the problem of poor folks "directly into the hands of local taxpayers." He applauds those "canny Republican farmers who ran the state back then" — that is, prior to the late 1960s, which is when, Leader asserts, things took a downward turn.

Well, I am about the same age as he, but my memory differs, largely because my grandfather was one of the legislators who helped write the old system out of existence. He did so, as he told me then, because the old system was inherently unfair. Those overseers did know everybody — and that led to abuse: An overseer could decide who was "truly destitute." He might decide that a person or family was undeserving. Perhaps they were Indigenous, or French, or lazy, or Catholic, or drunkards, or poor for too many generations. Maybe the overseer hoped to drive them away to trouble some other town.

Grandpa told me that sometimes the old ways were not the best ways. Sometimes we need to change the way we take care of our communities — and those ways continue to evolve. Let's not go backward! (Oh, and Grandpa was a Republican — old school.)

Gina Logan


Logan's grandfather was Francis Klein Hans, who served in the Vermont legislature until 1962.

Free Ride

I really enjoyed Seven Days' treatment of our "geometric" bike prototypes ["Love Triangles," July 5]. And being included in the Cartoon Issue was a bonus that put the smooth, simple, reciprocating-pedal riding experience in a succinct visual context.

However, we're not looking to assemble capital and get these bikes into production internally; without patent protection and at age 77, I'm happy to inexpensively license this design and the associated technology and know-how to any of the 2,000 custom bike-builders in the U.S. and to corporate manufacturers, as well. (Our prototypes are by two local metalwork artisans, Matt Penney and John Marius.)

If you want to build some or have yours built to ride, we'll get you licensed and hooked up with a builder or three. Email me at [email protected].

Steve Norman


Room to Grow in Colchester

I would like this group of people to stop weaponizing Act 250 ["Not in My Forest: Ecologists, Neighbors Protest Colchester Rec Center Construction," July 5]. They are loosely relating adjacent projects in order to delay, deny and disrupt this project even more than it has already been delayed. Their actions will result in wasting our local option tax funds in litigation, similar to what was done with the Interstate 189 and Route 289 connector projects.

For the past 20-plus years, Colchester has been trying to provide a place for this community to be more healthy, active and grow. While I do want to prevent the useless destruction of forest, I think this project has found a good middle ground between removing only what is necessary and keeping Vermont beautiful. I look forward to taking my family to what is designed to be a beautiful rec center.

David Neely


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