I'm responding to the heartless letter written by Mark Szymanski [Feedback: "No Sympathy for Heroin Addicts," March 29]. I join him in commending the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies that shut down the Colchester dealer. However, in his letter he goes on to suggest that "addicts sign a do-not-resuscitate form and donate their organs to people who want to be participants in this world." Clearly, he doesn't understand what addiction does to people.
I suggest that Mr. Szymanski himself sign up as a recipient to an organ donation program and get a heart!
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the article about Emily Anderson's bluebird fairies ["Fairy Godmother," March 1]. We have a set of the cards and absolutely love them. And Matt Thorsen's photo is just gorgeous! Emily and I have been friends since 1998, and it's always great to see a mention of her work. We were both going through some tough times in 2003, and it's interesting to see how she has been coping with life. Also love reading Seven Days online, as I moved from Vermont in 2003!
Traverse City, MI
[Re "Journalism 101? UVM Brainstorms a New Program," March 29]: If the University of Vermont student newspaper is that school's idea of award-winning journalism, God help us.
You quoted the Vermont Cynic's chest-thumping so-called faculty adviser as saying the paper had won two awards from its peers across the country.
Those of us with years of experience in breaking news and writing notice excellence when we see it. Your assistant editor Candace Page is among that select crowd.
The Vermont Cynic could be a beacon of cutting-edge reporting and writing if someone of substance were able to grab it by the lapels.
The young staffers, however, are immune from guidance, refusing to take so much as an occasional suggestion designed to improve their work to heart.
Believe me, I have tried several times, including on trips to their campus digs at my old alma mater. Whomever I have found in the paper's office, I have accosted with my searing advice on how to improve their writing and reporting.
So far, no takers. It's their way, or else. Worse, if possible — they have no idea.
Their idea of excellence is an award from a self-involved group of safe-space students such as themselves with no ears.
And their so-called faculty adviser is as disinterested in hearing suggestions.
Your piece discussed whether and how UVM could start a journalism program.
They already have one — called the Vermont Cynic.
But it needs commitment to the craft.
I refuse to give up on potential. Call me.
[Re "Size Wise: In Burlington, Upward Growth or 'Vertical Sprawl'?" February 22]: My family is from Burlington, but I live in Toronto, which, except for size, has much in common with BTV, including the fact that both cities escaped brushes with urban renewal's bulldozers a generation ago and today are known for being prosperous and livable.
A fear of heights, similar to Burlington's, existed for a time in Toronto. But the city has lately pushed skyward. Land values are high, and large lots hard to assemble. This gives extra impetus to going up — mostly downtown and on main streets, less so in neighborhoods, but sometimes on their edges. What has the result been?
Numbers of narrow-point towers occupying small lots, built tight against the sidewalk with parking underground or no parking at all, loom less than wide, low, giants filling blocks.
The designs have been urbane; many are handsome. The towers hardly seem ominous at street level. Their occupants enjoy terrific views.
The buildings are mostly condominiums, meeting — or perhaps creating? — considerable market demand for housing. Affordability remains a problem, but condos have opened up some rental housing as people move up.
The growing downtown population keeps schools filled; the density contributes liveliness; more people walk, take public transit or use the growing network of bicycle routes.
If I were to change the plan for Burlington, I would, if anything, suggest architect Jesse Beck reconsider the big block and go taller and thinner.
Catch up, Burlington?
I'd like to share a little background on my reasons for canceling delivery of 05401PLUS ["05401PLUS Magazine Takes Long View of Burlington," March 29].
I never subscribed to the magazine and was a bit suspicious when they mailed a publication focused on the Burlington area to a patron with a Jeffersonville zip code. I would hate to assume that they acquired my address to sway my opinion, but I am a Burlington city employee and do not appreciate their total antidevelopment slant. I work for Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, the department charged with maintaining and conserving open spaces in our beautiful city.
Putting my suspicions aside, I still did not appreciate the one-sided presentation of ideas and, more importantly, the personal attacks on Mayor Miro Weinberger, local developers and other officials, as well. While I enjoyed the creativity and artistic forum of 05401PLUS, I cannot tolerate the divisive sentiments they put forth or the tactics they use to spread their message.
The current projects they oppose are one of several ways that the honorable mayor is working to address critical issues. I know he also does a lot to support the local voices in our community, nonprofits and city agencies that all work together to improve Burlington. I am personally proud to work for the city, under Weinberger's leadership, and the work that BPRW does, in particular, makes my soul happy.