Letters to the Editor (7/5/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your support!

Give Now

Letters to the Editor (7/5/23) 

Published July 5, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated July 5, 2023 at 12:58 p.m.

License to Travel

Very much enjoyed the Québec Issue, especially since that QUEBEC license plate is mine [From the Publisher: "Oh, Canada!" June 21].

My wife is from just north of Québec City, and when she moved to Vermont, I got the plate in her honor. At the time, they didn't have vanity plates in Québec, so I scored so many points that I'm still drawing on them, even though that was 16 years ago.

Even with family in Trois-Rivières and Québec City, and until recently in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, we also ask ourselves why we don't go more often.

Thanks for all the fun stories.

Bram Kleppner


Seeds of Doubt

[Re "Open Sésame: Montréal Bagels Are Fired Up and Ready to Roll," June 21]: I enjoyed reading Steve Goldstein's Montréal bagel story, but I think he might have heard the process wrong when he said the seeds are added after the bake. I've been baking bagels in my bakery for 20 years, and I don't know how you can get seeds to stick to a bagel that's already been baked unless you use glue. The seeds need to be added after the boil and before going into the oven.

Charlie Emers

East Hardwick

Emers owns and operates Patchwork Farm & Bakery in East Hardwick.


First and foremost, thank you for the Québec Issue [June 21]. I loved it and keep referring back to it to get ideas. I immediately regretted not having taken more to pass around to people who will be visiting and would love to go north but aren't sure of where to go and what to do. I most certainly will keep this close at hand.

What prompted me to write, however, was reading some of the reactions to it [Feedback; From the Publisher: "Merci-less," June 28]. I can't believe that people felt they needed to nitpick on accents and spelling. This isn't a grammar book; it's to give people great ideas for fun and pleasure, which you did.

A native-born Québecer, I grew up in an interestingly bilingual place, some areas of which are more bilingual than others. Depending on where one is, a mixture of French and English is very common.

Some of your critics would cringe if they were stuck on an elevator in Montréal, listening to these many ways of communicating — another charming aspect of the Québec culture, in my opinion.

Sometimes people just like to show how informed and smart they are — but please leave it for a French class and don't miss the point of this great issue.

Heather Webster


'Citizen' Should Mean Something

[Re "Scott Vetoes Noncitizen Voting in Burlington, Allows Ranked-Choice Voting to Become Law," May 29, online]: It is inconceivable to me how any intelligent, mature adult would think allowing noncitizens to vote in any election is a good idea, much less a proper and legal action. Why become a citizen and forsake your birth country when you can get all the benefits of citizenship without it? Do all the "voters" in Burlington not understand what becoming a citizen means?

Well, clearly, they don't. But FYI, naturalized citizens must take an oath and forswear their allegiance and fidelity to their previous home and swear it to this country. There has to be some common sense here, folks. The verbal and written forswearing of their former country/sovereignty is at least some measure of adult responsibility. Why wouldn't you expect that?

The argument that they pay taxes is bunk. Approximately 58,500 homes in Vermont are owned by nonresidents; they are second-home owners and don't get to vote here. If you are going to use that argument, then you better start including second-home owners on the list of noncitizen voters. We are No. 2 in the country for second-home ownership. The town of Victory, back in 2017, had Connecticut people, second-home owners in Victory, vote and changed the election in their town, population 70.

Where did common sense go? Where did the foundational tenets of our country go? You are voting away our country. I protest. Being a citizen means something to me. It should to you, too.

Pam Baker

West Halifax

How to Handle Homelessness

[Re "Burlington Asks to Turn State Office Building Into a Homeless Shelter," June 5, online]: Once again, Burlington is struggling to cope with homelessness: unauthorized encampments, motels, pods, emergency shelters, etc. — and associated antisocial behavior.

According to one National Institutes of Health-compiled report, the rate of violent crimes was 40 times higher and the rate of nonviolent crimes was 27 times higher in the homeless population. Homeless defendants were also significantly more likely to be charged with victimizing strangers. On a personal basis, we have witnessed such behavior: Two people we know have had their parked cars stolen in Burlington; two others moved out of a downtown apartment after being harassed when walking their dog at night; another was accosted by a deranged woman who demanded her umbrella on a rainy day; another witnessed a disturbed man spraying obscenities on street signs.

How did this happen in our lifetimes?

From 1955 onward, states and counties have closed 93 percent of their psychiatric institutions; resident populations have fallen from more than half a million to about 37,000.

For various reasons, removing people from inpatient settings has become the standard of care. One key reason for deinstitutionalization's failures was a lack of sufficient funding to provide compassionate custodial care and competent services.

It is time to recognize that we are not going to solve the homelessness and severe mental health crises on a fragmented basis.

We need to reopen a statewide campus where people struggling with emotional, mental and addictive impairments can be housed, counseled, detoxified and treated with dignity by professional experts.

Jack T. Scully


ONE Celebration

["Volunteers Keep Up a Community Meal Tradition in Burlington's Old North End," June 14] was a wonderful story about the hidden gem here in the Old North End.

I have attended these dinners and meetings for over 15 years. Coming together each month to not only dine but share ideas has brought me many wonderful new friends.

The volunteers who put this on deserve all the recognition. I have discovered ethnic foods I would have never tried. Now some of them are my favorites. Losing Janet Carscadden, one of the cocaptains of our ship, has reminded us just what a family we have all become.

We are always looking for more people to attend. It is also a time you can talk to your elected representatives about any concerns. Please mark your calendars for the second Thursday of each month. Families are encouraged to bring their children. I have watched as, over the years, they have grown up there.

The Old North End gets a bad rap, but it is perhaps the best place to live in Burlington. Here we are surrounded by diversity, artists and all-around awesomeness. Come to Ramble on July 29 and discover what fun it is to live in the ONE. Bring your quirkiness, bubbles and dance shoes as together we toast to another year of memories.

Carol Ann "Sunshine" Wooster


'Relapse' Reaction

I am a former opioid user. I worked as the supervisor of Turning Point's recovery coaching program in the University of Vermont Medical Center emergency department. I've lost many friends to drugs, I've worked with hundreds of patients and doctors, I've crunched all of Vermont's addiction numbers ad nauseam, and I've spent untold hours researching issues related to addiction. Here are a few thoughts on ["Vermont's Relapse," June 14].

The article makes it sound like everything was going swimmingly until those pesky drug dealers dreamed up some new evil tricks with fentanyl and meth. This is flagrantly misleading. On any given day in the UVM ED, there are roughly 30 to 40 people there for mental health-related issues. Of those, maybe one or two will get transferred to a treatment facility (of which there are very few in Vermont) or transferred to the psych floor. The remaining 38ish people are typically sent on their merry way with a pat on the back and, if they're lucky, some numbers to call. Zero exaggeration here. Yes, deadlier drugs make it worse, but don't convince yourself that's the only problem — or even the main problem.

The article doesn't mention that the jump in Vermont overdose deaths between 2019 and 2020 was the largest per-capita jump in the entire country, and yet caregivers, doctors and people of influence in the recovery community just kind of shrug at this. Vermont needs an increase in recovery and mental health care funding that matches the gravity of the problem.

Al Teodosio


Support South End Housing

Russ Scully has it right ["Upper Limits? Concerns About Building Height Reemerge With Proposal to Allow Housing in Burlington's South End," June 7]. It's a no-brainer to convert a huge parking lot soaking up sunlight and cars in the South End near his Hula campus into 600 desperately needed housing units in a walkable/bikeable community where you don't need to own a car to get about your daily life. It's called New Urbanism, the idea of concentrating development in an urban environment untethered to automobiles.

Burlington currently has a very unhealthy vacancy rate. For years, the city has made it too hard to build more housing. Mayor Miro Weinberger recognizes the problem, and he's taken it head-on with his 10-point plan to build at least 1,250 new housing units in the city by 2026.

Scully's parking lot in the South End could be the next project to add another 600 new housing units — but only if he is allowed to build high enough and dense enough to add significantly to the city's housing stock.

Decker Towers is the tallest building in Vermont at 11 stories. It fits into its neighborhood just fine. Taller structures near the old GE factory would not be out of place. They should be welcomed by area residents.

Every housing unit built in Burlington means one less in Milton or Richmond or Waterbury. Think of the savings in carbon pollution as a result of living in a walkable/bikeable community next to the bike path downtown, instead of driving all those cars that it takes to live in outlying communities.

Rick Sharp


Much to Do About Dairy

I read your piece on the plight of dairies — well done ["'Get Big or Get Out,'" May 31]! I was once married to a dairy owner. Our farm failed, and so did the marriage. Once again, I am reminded that nothing is permanent, and it is sometimes futile to hold on to a fading past.

I would like to propose interventions that would require some funding from climate change legislation as a means of aiding or buying or leasing from the farming family. I believe there is already a federal source for those funds. Bear in mind that use of available funds would be tax money to "pay it forward" for the future climate of our state and communities, and a benefit for everyone. It's not too soon to begin.

Those farms can be converted to solar farms, wind farms or, perhaps best of all, tree farms. There are even new cemeteries in which a tree is the marker rather than a headstone. To me, conversions from the past to the future are a win-win and a way to support the present farming family.

Hope Lindsay


Vermont for All

[Re "Anti-Trans Activist to Speak at Vergennes Union High School," June 15, online]: I have always felt that here in Vermont we stood for all. Having an adult nonbinary adult child, I am appalled that this opportunity is given to this man to speak at one of our high schools. This will give those who don't understand and those who hate further fodder for the anti-trans rhetoric we are seeing in Vermont. 

Trans children and teens are already bullied, put down and told they are wrong. Trans youth have a high rate of suicide and suicidal ideation. Having this man speaking at a public school, funded by Vermont residents, shows our young people how little society cares for them and their peers. 

Vermont has always had a healthy respect for the differences between us all. We don't stand for hate toward any group of people. We encourage support and acceptance. At least, that was the Vermont I thought I lived in. I am quite sad to find this is not the case.

If a private organization wishes to host this speaker, that is their business, as much as I don't like it. But to hold this at a public school, using my tax dollars and those dollars of the people I love and support, is unacceptable and should be canceled.

Karen Kelley

St. George

Who Hates Whom?

[Re "Hundreds Gather in Vergennes to Protest Anti-Trans Speaker," June 20, online]: In the first sentence of this article, the author describes Walt Heyer as anti-trans without any explanation as to how it is qualified.

Calling someone anti-trans is a serious accusation, which in this case couldn't be further from the truth. Such poor journalism sparks outrage in the community, fueling uninformed protests, such as we saw in Vergennes. The article fails to discuss Walt's message and how it is anti-trans.

Walt is not anti-trans. He doesn't hate anyone. In fact, he has spent the past 20 years assisting people with gender dysphoria who didn't find success in transition. Is that bad? He was sexually abused as a child, which he says caused him lifelong trauma. He transitioned to a woman but still didn't find comfort. He transitioned back to a man and discovered himself. Why is this lived experience considered hate-filled? Why is this man being propped up as anti-trans?

The article quotes Kestin Puechl-Sproul: "The people in the building right now listening to ignorant talking points..." Describing Walt's message as ignorant is a reflection of Kestin's own ignorance. A brief look into Walt's message will show you that he has compassion for people who are experiencing gender dysphoria. Unfortunately, the protesters were misguided by uninformed news coverage about the man. The protesters were chanting "No hate in our state." The irony is that they were the ones expressing hate directed at Walt.

We don't have to agree with him, just listen. Then discuss with accurate information.

Nick Rosato


Man in the Middle

[Re "Hundreds Gather in Vergennes to Protest Anti-Trans Speaker," June 20, online]: Alison Novak's piece wasn't news; it was opinion, including the title. Having transitioned twice already, it's unlikely that Walt Heyer is anti-trans. My fellow progressives are cynically creating a binary world in which you either unquestioningly cheer every effort to drastically modify children's bodies or you are an anti-trans bigot.

No one is allowed to occupy a "nonbinary" middle, urging caution while recognizing that some individuals have benefited from medical intervention. Tribal progressives are basically saying: "Because dour old Republicans and religious weirdos have doubts about childhood transition, therefore we must have absolutely no doubts about childhood transition!" This from a political tribe that for decades has maintained it is an enormous evil to modify a tomato.

Imagine a different political tribe was the impetus behind transition and self-diagnosis and routinely made the following proposals:

"Same-sex attraction is wrong. Luckily we have modern technology to transition people to the correct gender."

"Boys playing with girl stuff is wrong. If your son does anything stereotypically feminine, stop referring to the child as 'he.' Henceforth you have no son."

"If your girl does boyish stuff, you have no daughter."

"If your 100-pound teen insists she is heavy, accept her self-diagnosis and send her to WeightWatchers. If you argue about it, she will kill herself."

"Throughout history, countless gay people — perhaps even most gay people — had children. That's wrong, so we should sterilize gay people."

Those are disturbing proposals. Change a few words, and they would be progressive.

Peter DuBrul


Coyne Drop

I was interested to learn that Bishop Christopher Coyne is leaving Vermont for a higher position in the Catholic church in Connecticut ["Burlington Bishop Coyne to Leave Vermont Diocese," June 26].

It's great that Seven Days mentioned the Burlington orphanage memorial in its article on Coyne's upcoming departure. Readers might be interested in knowing that when I called the diocese to ask for a donation that I could give to the memorial, Coyne's top lieutenant, Monsignor John McDermott, said no. In my opinion, it's ironic that the diocese wouldn't help, since the diocese caused the problem.

As a survivor of St. Joseph's Orphanage, I told Coyne my story. I had my hopes up when he listened, but my hopes were dashed, because he did absolutely nothing. I feel that people had to sue the diocese under Coyne because that's the only way they would receive assistance from the church. I think that lawyers run the Vermont diocese, and I don't believe that will change in Connecticut.

Maura Labelle


Not Laughing

I know it won't make any difference, but for my own therapy, I need to share. When a larger company buys out a superior competitor just to make them go away, it's just sad ["Lake Champlain Chocolates to Buy Laughing Moon Chocolates," June 23, online].

I do feel glad for owner Leigh Williams. This is the financial reward for many years of hard work and risk. I remember when she started at the old indoor tennis court. Laughing Moon was almost as good as the original Green Mountain Chocolates, although that one died due to family stuff.

Thank you for listening. I will miss Laughing Moon.

George Pierce


Good Coverage

[Re "New Proposed Wake Boat Rules Edge Toward a Compromise," June 20, online]: A quick but heartfelt thank-you to Anne Wallace Allen and you folks for printing an article about an issue so deeply important to countless Vermonters who live on or near the pristine lakes, primarily in the Northeast Kingdom! Anne's article was fair and balanced and, from the perspective of someone who's gotten involved with the wake boat rule over the past year, thoroughly researched.

Not all news outlets recognize that there's any place in Vermont other than Chittenden County, so thank you for running a piece on a topic that is so important to many of us, particularly as we fight to preserve our natural resources.

Candy Moot


Slow Burn

[Re "Burlington Considers Kicking Fossil Fuels to the Curb," March 1]: Unfortunately, the curb — that is, roadways and the need to drive — is the problem and will be for a long time.

At the annual growth rate between February 28, 2022, and February 28, 2023, electricity generated by solar and wind will take 127.31 years to replace fossil fuel energy (115.22 years), nuclear energy (11.87 years) and other energy (0.22 years). Annual renewable energy generation, including small-scale solar photovoltaic, will grow in those 127.31 years from 970,640 thousand megawatt hours to 10,647,248 TMWh, which is 2.5 times the total electricity currently generated.

Solutions will require all of us rethinking our transportation and how we live.

Bill Wade


Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

  • Letters to the Editor (11/29/23)
  • Letters to the Editor (11/29/23)

    • Nov 29, 2023
  • Letters to the Editor (11/22/23)
  • Letters to the Editor (11/22/23)

    • Nov 22, 2023
  • The 'Nice' List: Reader Recommendations for Shopping Local in 2023
  • The 'Nice' List: Reader Recommendations for Shopping Local in 2023

    Lift the spirits of Vermont's small businesses — and add a little sparkle to your own holiday season — when you share the love and spend your dollars close to home. It'll make an outsize difference to your local economy, and we guarantee you'll find gifts galore that will make the season merry and bright. As part of our annual Gift Local Giveaway, we asked readers to share their favorite places to shop. See their top recommendations on the Nice List — our community-curated shopping directory. (7D Promo)
    • Nov 21, 2023
  • More »


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Category

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2023 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation