Letters to the Editor (8/2/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (8/2/23) 

Published August 2, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated August 2, 2023 at 10:04 a.m.

Water Woes

[Re "Water Flows Again in Marshfield, and a State Official Apologizes," July 20, online]: My thanks to Seven Days and Anne Wallace Allen in particular for your excellent reporting on the flood, especially in connection with the towns I represent in the legislature — Plainfield, Marshfield and Calais. The people of these three towns, along with so many others in Vermont, have suffered grievous damage to their homes, roads and often their basic utilities. And they have been heroes, working literally day and night to dig out, repair and help each other.

The state's administration and emergency team have worked hard, putting in long hours. Unfortunate miscommunication, however, has meant that during the first 10 days after the flood, in many respects our towns were effectively on their own. Calais asked for help with road repair trucks multiple times, but none came. The state emergency folks didn't even know that Marshfield was without water for 10 days, even after repeated efforts to contact them.

Going forward, I know that our towns and the state emergency efforts will improve. We need to establish clearer and more thoughtful communication protocols so that when those in charge at the local level — selectboard chairs and road commissioners — contact the state, their voices get through. And, of course, our major work after the immediate recovery effort will need to address how our towns can survive future storms of ever-increasing frequency and power.

Marc Mihaly


A Case for Division

I was catching up on an old Calcoku, and I had a question about the one from the July 12 issue. The box three from the top and three and four from the left was for two numbers and had a 2 in the upper left. Normally there's an operation sign (+, -, x, ÷), unless it's a single box and it's telling you the number. This box didn't have the operation sign.

The answer printed on the next page was 3 and 6, so it should have been a division sign: ÷. Was that deliberately left off to make the puzzle more challenging, where you have to work out the operation, too? Or just a typo that the ÷ symbol was dropped? It wasn't clear how hard it was supposed to be.

Unfortunately, I don't think dropping a ÷ will make us any less divided...

Luke Donforth


Editor's note: That was a typo, indeed. Apologies.

Antiquated Terms

I am a regular weekly reader of Seven Days online. I appreciate your coverage. Today I read Alison Novak's article on the less-than-appropriately named "Alliance Defending Freedom" and its newly filed lawsuit filed on behalf of the handful of the equally questionably named "crisis pregnancy centers" in Vermont ["Crisis Pregnancy Centers Sue Vermont Over Law Targeting Deceptive Advertising," July 27, online].

The article is informative and fairly objective for a subject that rarely finds objectivity in this country. However, what stood out to me was Novak's use of the long-antiquated term "pro-life." That term was debunked years back and clearly mislabels those it is applied to — so much so that media organizations such as the Associated Press and NPR have specifically advised against its use. There are a number of more accurate terms, if the writer takes a moment to confirm and utilize them, much as there is for the equally antiquated former use of the term "pro-choice."

Hopefully Seven Days reporters and editors will be more sensitive to the terms they use going forward with respect to this ongoing, very divisive matter.

Eric Sleeper


Editor's note: In future stories about reproductive rights Seven Days will use the AP-recommended terms "anti-abortion" and "abortion-rights."

Bonjour-Hi, Neighbor

I'm still enjoying the Québec Issue of Seven Days [June 21] with the map of the province and all the great places to visit, as I haven't been there in many years. I'm retired without a car so don't get to travel much.

I especially liked the ecological advice from Jen Rose Smith: "There's plenty left to discover a bit closer to home." Let's get to know our neighbors to the north of Vermont. Many of us probably don't even know our neighbors next door!

How often do we even hear news of Québec on TV?

With all the climate change weather events, we may be living closer together in the future. So let's get to know our neighbors, as many people may be moving north and east to Vermont and Québec to get away from the heat and smoke. It's a good thing we're building more homes here. Hotels are needed, too.

If the U.S. doesn't get universal single-payer health care soon, Canada will be caring for more of us and — as Bernie did — providing the medications many need. Let's be thankful we live close to Québec and learn how to parler français!

Jean Hopkins


Let Barge Canal 'Be'

[Re "Taming the Wild," July 19]: Isn't it time to stop thinking that we have a right of public access to every bit of open green space that we have not yet destroyed? The Pine Street Barge Canal is a productive natural resource; why can't we understand and appreciate that and let it be?

I think the proposed use of 453 Pine is a trivial, stupid, destructive idea — a wasted opportunity. Unnecessary. Shortsighted. I've known the land's owner, Rick Davis, for decades. He doesn't need the money. He could simply donate the two parcels along Pine Street (and how about adding the Maltex Building as a future natural resource center?) to the City of Burlington, and all this flimflam would be unnecessary. He could take the tax breaks, and, instead of being forgotten as a speculative developer, he could be remembered as a philanthropist and a conservationist and a good friend of the city where he earned so much of his money.

Homelessness is off the charts; housing affordability is a mirage; crime, violence and drug use are growing exponentially; and all the resources of government are mobilized to help a developer build a Nordic spa. Perhaps it will cater to homeless vegetarians?

Louis Mannie Lionni


Surf Side

[Re Feedback: "Wake Up," July 26]: My family has lived on Lake Iroquois since 2015, and we own a surf boat. This is what I see on our lake: The supporters of this proposed rule-in-process highlight a few topics:1) Surf boats are the fastest-growing category of powerboats.2) The 500-foot rule is not enough. 3) Surf boats stir up sediment that increases phosphorus levels.

No. 1: In 2015 there were three "surf" boats on Lake Iroquois. In 2023 the number hasn't changed. By limiting or restricting the use of these boats, there will be very little impact.

No. 2: By comparison, a neighbor of mine has a 22-foot Sea Ray Bowrider-style boat that weighs within 500 pounds of mine. When you add six to eight people on board and take a sunset cruise, a very similar size wake will occur. I feel this 500-foot rule goes too far for what happens from a wake boat versus other users. The 200-foot rule is more than most states require.

No. 3: The State of Vermont's Lake Score Card for Lake Iroquois says the phosphorus levels have been declining. Again, the standard 200-foot rule keeps surf boats away from shore and the shallow areas.

Boaters are required to take a course and learn the rules of the water. Through education, communicating with our neighbors and learning to share the lake, this will truly be a place that everyone can enjoy during our short summer season.

Rodney Putnam


Same Lake, Different Time

[Re Feedback: "Wake Up," July 26]: I was fortunate to be on a work trip in Austria and experience a fully electric wakeboard boat. Gorgeous, quiet and expensive. Its overall weight and churn were very similar to gorgeous dawn-patrol moments on my home lake in Connecticut. Can't say the fishermen or paddleboarders appreciate the massive wake, yet the captain controls the outcome and, in my experience, experienced drivers can avoid issues. It's not grandma and grandpa's lake any longer. But it's still as gorgeous, safe and fun as ever.

Marc Murphy


After the Flood

[Re "'Major Disaster' Declaration Unlocks Millions in Federal Flood Aid for Vermont," July 14, online]: We are once again starting to prioritize repairs to infrastructure damaged by severe flooding; pumping water out of basements; and searching state, town and personal budgets for the repair funds. Time to ask if we are ready to finally treat the climate crisis as the existential emergency it really is?

While it was raining relentlessly here, other countries were also experiencing unprecedented rains and flooding. Simultaneously, southern parts of this country were experiencing an unrelenting, life-threatening heat wave. As I write this, Phoenix, Ariz., temperatures are predicted to be over 100. Most above 110. The 92-degree low for today will be exceeded for the next nine days.

The heat-trapping blanket of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is continuing to grow. We are polluting our atmosphere and paying the price, literally and figuratively. The federal government continues to issue permits for fossil fuel projects. The Vermont State Employees' Retirement System pension fund continues to invest your dollars in the fossil fuel industry.

We all need to get engaged to reverse the trajectory of this threat to our civilization. But how? Please join one or more of the many organizations fighting for real change. Please vote for representatives at every level of government who will work for our future.

Third Act Vermont is part of thirdact.org, a national group founded by Vermonter Bill McKibben for the over-60 crowd working toward climate solutions. Third Act Vermont can be found through our website at thirdactvt.org. Other options are 350.org, sierraclub.org and sunrisemovement.org.

John Woodland


'Use Fewer Bottles'

[Re "Scott Vetoes the Expansion of Vermont's Bottle Redemption Program," June 29, online]. The mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" was a nice start, but now I suggest shortening it to "just reduce."

Don't expand the bottle bill. Use fewer bottles. Can you reduce what's in your garbage can and recycling bin at the end of each week? Let's try.

Mark Aiken


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