Letters to the Editor (1/25/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (1/25/23) 

Published January 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Holy Hypocrisy

[Re "Burlington Allows Parish to Demolish Historic Cathedral," January 11, online; Feedback, January 18]: So the Catholic church, which condoned and covered up the rape and sexual abuse of children within the walls of working churches worldwide, is now concerned that future use of its abandoned church might besmirch the sacredness of the edifice?

If there is a hell, does it have a special corner for church hypocrites?

Dan DeWalt


'Sacred' Properties?

[Re 05401 Magazine ad, page 55, January 18]: Now the Catholic church is concerned about sordid events taking place on its sacred properties???

Gwen Shervington


Housing Problem Is a 'Symptom'

[Re "Housing Bills Take Aim at Local Control in Vermont Towns," January 16, online]: How does building more houses make them more affordable?

The Vermont legislature seems to think that loosening local development rules to allow more housing development will somehow produce more housing that is affordable.

Housing will always sell to the highest bidder, as in any market. The most likely outcome of the legislature's approach is a larger volume of housing still unaffordable and a loss of local zoning control in the process. Real estate is a regional market. Building more housing will make more houses available to higher bidders from out of state, continuing to price people out of the market.

Unaffordable housing is a symptom, not the disease. Wages are too low, and unless someone brings money to the table as wages, housing subsidies or other incentives, the problem will persist.

I anxiously await explanation from one of the legislators quoted in the article of how building more housing makes it more affordable.

Johnathan Drew


Y Not Fix It?

[Re From the Publisher: "'Wellness' Check: Burlington," January 18]: Bravo, Paula Routly, for recognizing the symbolism in the old Y — as she poignantly states, it reflects everything the city of Burlington has become in the past five years. Our city needs more than a new buyer to fix the many ills — and, unlike with a building, the many problems plaguing Burlington can't simply be bulldozed and replaced with something new. Many are fleeing and avoiding downtown Burlington, like the former Y members who have found gyms in the burbs.

Mayor Miro Weinberger and those with realistic goals and strategies had better waste no more time in turning this crumbling city around.

Nancy Berger


'Crime City'

Recently, I watched a young man in a retail store stuff a pair of gloves into his sling bag. Luckily, he was stopped by a sales manager, who relieved him of his ill-gotten gain. The manager later told me that shoplifting, to say nothing of breaking and entering, is "totally out of control."

Car and bike theft is also on the rise. In one recent case, a thief disarmed the security system of a late-model vehicle, hot-wired its ignition and took off. The locked car had been parked on a downtown side street on a Saturday evening.

Add to this a spike in homicides, at least 50 cases of gunfire in 2022 alone, rampant graffiti, blatant drug use and aggressive panhandling. It's no wonder the Queen City now looks like Crime City.

There are, of course, many reasons for all this illegal and antisocial behavior. In my opinion, however, much can be traced to encouragement by Burlington's naïve city council in defunding police in 2020 and, to this very day, refusing to support our police department, as well as the coddling of crooks by Chittenden County's gullible state's attorney — all of which have given a giant green light to bad guys.

Yes, let's help people who are committing these crimes reform their lives. But let's not forget that sociopaths and psychopaths are oftentimes beyond short-term help. They need to be separated from society until they have proven that they will never again act like wolves preying upon innocent lambs.

Jack Scully


Hyperbaric Delivered Results

[Re "Applying Pressure: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Breathes New Life Into Treating Long COVID and Other Ailments," January 18]: Last winter I received hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on the advice of my urologist at Central Vermont Medical Center because of serious bladder damage caused from radiation treatment 14 years ago. Called radiation cystitis, this Food & Drug Administration-approved medical condition's HBOT treatment was totally picked up by Medicare. I was passing blood in which clots formed, requiring regular ER visits, continuous use of a catheter and hospital stays. After 55 HBOT treatments, which ended last April, I am now completely free of all of those symptoms.

The oxygen level was at 2.4 atmospheres, which did require the use of special gowns; no glasses, in my case; and no electronic devices. The treatments lasted two hours each, and all you could do was watch a television (that was outside the chamber) or sleep during the treatments. But I'll take that any day for the results I received!

Leighton Wass


Hateful Portrayal

[Re "Backstories, Sidebars and Follow-Ups 2022: Sketchiest Source," December 28]: This type of reporting is the reason I've gone from weekly anticipation of your new issue to picking it up only to use it for lighting the kindling in my firepit. Hate has no home here. Vermont has always been a live-and-let-live state.

Ellen Stone


In Defense of 'Martin'

Open letter to Seven Days music editor Chris Farnsworth: I am wondering why you wrote your recent article "Backstory: Sketchiest Source," which focused on ridiculing a man you hardly knew who reached out based on a special edition about UFOs. Many readers might have been curious to know what he had to share. Instead, the article highlighted a lack of respect for Vermonters and a lack of overall curiosity, since it was an article about not following up.

Vermont has a unique culture of respect for our human brothers and sisters, no matter how different they seem from us. This is what makes Vermont Vermont. I might not eat meat or want to kill animals, and my neighbor might be an avid hunter. But I know that he is essentially a decent human being doing his best in the world. I want to connect with him, and I want him to feel welcome to connect with me. Of course, just like anywhere, there are people who make bad choices that might harm others, but we like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Your viewpoint seemed designed to fuel divisiveness, but we're not interested in that. We're more interested in how we can support one another in our daily lives.

I hope you will choose to follow up with Martin and see what he has to say, and perhaps even apologize. If you decide to check out his story, I'll go with you if you need a friend.

Susie Guran

New Haven

'Breath Is Life'

[Re Feedback: "COVID Conspiracy?" December 21; "Chronic Condition: COVID Long-Haulers Struggle With Debilitating Symptoms, Few Treatment Options," November 30]: Several readers wrote in recently to question what might be causing long COVID. I am curious about that, as well.

Respirators used by health care workers during long shifts are known to cause precisely the same symptoms as long COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: tiredness/fatigue, difficulty thinking/concentrating, headache, dizziness, fast-beating/pounding heart, symptoms that get worse with exertion, chest or stomach pain, difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, pins and needles/tingling feeling, and rash.  

Perhaps some cases of long COVID are caused by wearing masks? At the very least, wouldn't masks be likely to make matters worse? There has been a lot of attention focused on long COVID, but why are we not assessing and addressing the same serious and debilitating symptoms when they are caused by wearing PPE?

Since 2020, I've been conducting the Vermont Mask Survey, gathering evidence of the harms people are experiencing as a result of wearing masks. I've also been asking public officials at every level — school boards and selectboards, the Agency of Education, the Department of Health, the legislature — to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the use of masks in response to COVID-19. For some reason, officials at every level have chosen to skip this crucial step in public health. 

The subject of masks has been made confusing. However, the truth is simple: Breath is life.

Amy Hornblas


'Hi, Mr. Leahy. My Name Is Chris'

The late Seven Days political columnist Peter Freyne used to refer to Patrick Leahy as "St. Patrick," but this is not an ode to Freyne; I have a true St. Patrick story to share. I wish I could say it was a decision to vote for him over then-congressman Richard Mallary because of Marcelle Leahy's perfect Québécois French during the 1974 campaign. I grew up in a Republican household in St. Albans, so it was hard to vote for a Democrat.

Twenty-three years ago, I took my sons Christopher, Michael and Gregory to spend a week exploring Washington, D.C. We boarded the flight in Burlington, and Chris, obviously the son of his news-junkie dad, immediately noticed senator Leahy finding his seat, in coach.

I had taught my sons to always introduce themselves with a handshake and an introduction. Chris, my amazing Down syndrome son, always took it to heart. He approached the senator, with hand outstretched, and said, "Hi, Mr. Leahy. My name is Chris." They shared a few minutes of conversation, and then Chris took his seat.

Senator Leahy was gracious, but not for me, just for Chris. I thank our dear senator for the incredible memory.

Jeffrey Waite


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