Letters to the Editor (10/4/17) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Letters to the Editor (10/4/17) 

Cave Save

It is great that search and rescue groups are getting organized in Vermont ["After a Hiker's Death, Vermont Finds Ways to Improve Search and Rescue," September 27].

Cavers — those who explore, map and preserve caves — have been organizing rescue groups and providing training for many years. Steve Hazelton of Rutland has helped lead the effort in Vermont.

Cave rescues require different training and equipment, as well as people willing to go underground. Telephones and wires are needed for communication, since radio waves don't go through rock. Special rope techniques have been developed for cave rescue, which are different from rock rescue methods. During a recent rescue in Middlebury's Weybridge Cave, it took more than 12 hours to move the patient 200 feet to the entrance, which also included rigging a trolley in a tight section with the patient on his side. A rescue in the open would have taken a fraction of that time. 

In fact, the cave rescue group had practiced in Weybridge Cave to develop appropriate techniques for that setting. Even so, the cave walls had to be chiseled away to extricate the patient in a special stretcher. Cave rescue people came from as far as New York City and Boston to help. Planning and organization make more successful rescues.

Peter Grant  

Bristol

Waste Makers

[Re "Food Fight: Burlington-Area Grocers Spar for Customers," September 20]: The Kmart plaza owned by Hannaford, in turn owned by Delhaize of Belgium, has been largely unused and derelict for more than 40 years. Despite feedback received regarding using the plaza as a more "vital" addition to the community, they chose to cover yet more acreage with impervious surface by building the store that they now intend to shutter. Will that then become their newest derelict plaza?

On August 1, 2017, the Wall Street Journal's front page featured an article entitled: "Grocers Hit by Glut of Retail Space." It addresses the changing market choices consumers have for where to shop as well as their changing dietary options. Vermont may not be the center of the universe, but we do take food seriously, and some online food shopping is already a fact. Every year, more consumers turn to local produce through CSAs, farm stands and stores that carry local products. Times are changing.

Johanna White

Hinesburg

Further Flood Coverage

It was great to have the opportunity to speak with Mark Davis about Northfield's experience with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's buyout program. The article ["One Way to Avoid Storm Damage: Knock Down the Houses That Flood," September 13] gives a good look at how that program has been working in Vermont.

It would be even more exciting to see a follow-up article on the work that has been done during and after the buyouts, including the five-year, collaborative process of community visioning, scientific study, floodplain reconstruction and finally, just this week, the installation of landscaping to put the finishing touches on the project. 

The equal partnership of Friends of the Winooski River with the town has been absolutely crucial to taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded by riverside buyouts to create the kind of resilient systems that Vermont is going to need statewide in the long term. Officials cannot do this on our own; we need diverse community engagement to reshape the land. Northfield's project has also had support from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the Vermont Watershed Management Division, the Downtown Program, Norwich University and more.

Similar projects are under way around the state, and the partnerships are key. Explaining the government programs that provide opportunity is important, but extolling the initiative of community and watershed partners will be critical for building our momentum to adapt to our changing climate. We hope to see more articles that tell this bigger story.

Michele Braun

Montpelier

Braun is the hazard mitigation planner for the town of Northfield.

Wrongheaded Approach

As a former University of Vermont Medical Center employee within the resource department, I am compelled to express my increasing frustration and heartbreak regarding our severe lack of emergency mental health services in Vermont ["Emergency Response: Mental Health Crisis Reshapes the Hospital ER," August 9]. 

Even a healthy, stable person would have difficulty living in the ER, a cold, windowless room, with no medical treatment for days, weeks or months. "Voluntary" admittance to the ER can become "involuntary" very quickly, and they cannot leave.

We have had mental health patients attempt suicide or assault in the ER, and attempt and sometimes succeed in suicide, assault or murder when discharged from the ER. Remember the horrible tragedy involving Steven Bourgoin or losing beloved community member Cheryl Hanna. There are many more.

It is troubling that we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build a massive, 128-single-room extension to the hospital so that the same number of physically medical patients will have the luxury of not having a roommate.

Imagine if we used just half of these new rooms for mentally medical patients so they wouldn't have to go to jail or sit in an ER room like a prisoner or, worse, leave the ER and cause harm to themselves or others. They would be happy to share a room.

When are we going to treat mental health issues as the medical conditions they are, instead of an ignored, annoying stigma? When are we going to help our community brothers and sisters and not the pockets of a few greedy CEOs?

Liz Furkay

Burlington

Remember This

[Re Last 7: "Hate Hits Here," September 13; Off Message: "Vermont Teacher Fired for Demonstrating Nazi Salute to Third Graders," September 22]: These incidents of racism, anti-Semitism, bullying and hate, in Vermont and throughout the country, make sharing our family Holocaust experiences all the more timely. Again. 

More than dialogue is needed. Education is required. The Vermont Holocaust Memorial's mission is to honor those who perished under Nazi rule and share stories of caring, survival and loss as a means of teaching respect for all. There is much to learn from that terrible period in history. The memorial has speakers who visit schools, organizations and houses of worship, among others, to help bring those lessons to bear. The hope is that current and future generations of Vermonters will have the background and understanding to stand up to hate.  

Debora Steinerman

Jeffersonville

Steinerman is a cofounder of the Vermont Holocaust Memorial


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