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Letters to the Editor 

HARD NEWS

Thanks for the article on local distilleries [“Beyond Bathtub Gin,” August 26], but unfortunately the writer has mixed up some technical details about making ciders and liquors from cider. Cider, whether still or sparkling, is fermented, then bottled — never distilled. The suggestion that Flag Hill Farm distills their still and sparkling cider only further confuses a marketplace that doesn’t understand craft (hard) ciders. FHF is one of the few Vermont operations making a “real cider,” and it deserves recognition without mixing it up with eau-de-vie, which is a distilled and markedly different product. Especially at this time of year we need to celebrate and promote Vermont cider and cider products without misinformation.

Terence Bradshaw

CALAIS

NO MORE “MEAT,” PLEASE

Every Wednesday when I pick up Seven Days, I turn immediately to the back of Section A to check out the latest edition of “American Elf,” which, in addition to being the greatest cartoon ever written, is also local. Thanks for publishing it.

More than half the time, despite knowing better, I also can’t help but check out “Red Meat,” and here is my complaint: Not once has it made me laugh, chuckle, smile, or do anything other than think, What is the point of this stupid cartoon?

I wish somebody would explain to me the redeeming qualities of “Red Meat,” but I doubt anyone will, because I bet you don’t have a single reader who likes it.

Tom Simon

BURLINGTON

LANDLORD’S PERSPECTIVE

In “Unfair Market?” [September 2], you said, “That demand exceeds supply lets landlords off the hook for maintaining their properties.” While this is true, I’d like to offer a landlord’s perspective on this statement. My partner and I own a duplex in Burlington. We live downstairs and rent out an apartment upstairs. The housing market in Burlington being what it is, we couldn’t have afforded to live where we do if we hadn’t bought a house with income potential. We recently made the decision to renovate the apartment even though it will be difficult to make our money back on the renovations. I’m sure many landlords find themselves faced with this dilemma: Keep renting at the market rate or invest a lot of money in improvements and watch your income increase only a small amount each month. If it’s purely a financial decision, then the safe choice is to not take the risk on making improvements.

Bradley Holt

BURLINGTON

SHE’S MY BARBER

The story “Cutting Crew” [August 26] showed a lack of professional journalism on many different levels. The writer apparently hurried the story, or wrote it the night before it went into print. The narrow-minded outlook, and stereotypical attitude, is in every paragraph. This writer did little to no research for this story. It is unfortunate; it could have been an excellent article.

Truth be told, there are barbers using the straight razor today, with a skilled and trained hand. Today, the excuse of AIDS as the reason why it is not offered anymore is a farce … The reason the barbers do not do this service is because they do not know how. Sadly, these “men” cannot admit that. As for the older barbers, their egos refuse to admit that their hands are too shaky anymore to shave safely.

I am an 84-year-old man. I have been to many barbers over the years. I discovered the best barber, by far, just recently at a shop in Shelburne. And she is a woman. She puts these other so-called barbers to shame.

I have been to those shops in the article, only to leave with a chopped-up haircut. These barbers may have time under their belt. That’s it, though. I believe there is more to the trade than being “old.”

Again, had the writer of this article looked outside the box, he would have been pleasantly surprised to discover the young female barber doing top-shelf work in Shelburne. This young lady uses the razor with flair … The shop is relaxed, decorated with antiques from shops long gone. The gentlemen that sit and wait for their turn discuss the weather, the world, their families. This shop is like going back in time …

The day the barber puts his or her name on the sign out front, it is his or her responsibility to be there each day. It is my personal experience that the men who own these shops are usually on “vacation” or “golfing.” So many times I have stepped into a shop wanting the name on the door to cut my hair, only to find out he is “out” today.

The history of the barber is a rich one. I have learned this from my present female barber … In the town of Shelburne, Leigh’s Barber Shop is the real deal.

Joe Shal

HINESBURG

CITY ARTS’ AGENDA

I want to thank Bob Bolyard for his thoughtful letter [Letters, August 19]. The theater community certainly faces tremendous challenges, and it deserves to be part of a larger conversation about what Burlington and the state might do to help secure the performing arts for our region. But I think he missed some of the finer points of our recent Quadricentennial Festival. Let’s just briefly examine the three commissioned dance and theater works: “From the New World” — the signature performance event — involved more than 60 dancers, most of them local. Mark Nash of Vermont Stage Company was hired to direct our Native American theater showcase, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth. And we commissioned Burlington native Abby Page to develop and present “Piecework: When We Were French” to large and enthusiastic audiences. A substantial part of the Quad budget and marketing effort was directed to supporting these new and unfamiliar works.

Less than 20 percent of Burlington City Arts’ budget comes from the city. The rest is raised from local sponsors, donors and foundations to sustain ongoing projects: our annual gallery exhibitions, Battery Park concerts, Art from the Heart, Festival of Fools, educational programs and more.

We agree that Contois Auditorium should be better utilized and have advocated and advanced the theater community’s concerns with many city administrations. We are currently engaged in a discussion about upgrades and accessibility.

It is also the time to advance another Cultural Needs Assessment as soon as funding is available. It was the CNA during the ’90s that led to the building of the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts, which has helped to invigorate the visual arts community and expand its audience.

Burlington is a wonderful place to raise and engage these issues because the arts remain a key part of the city’s agenda. Thanks for your concern, and please be assured that Burlington City Arts will continue to be an advocate for all the arts.

Doreen Kraft

CHARLOTTE

Kraft is the executive director of Burlington City Arts.

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