Letters to the Editor | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor 

Published September 23, 2009 at 6:32 a.m.


VSAC is a resource we cannot afford to lose [“On Borrowed Time?” September 9; “Blurt,” September 18]. I came from Florida in 1994 and took out federal loans with Chittenden Bank. Chittenden ended up selling my loans to VSAC around 1995. This was the best thing that could have happened. VSAC has always been there to help me. When I was unemployed, my son was born and I needed help adjusting my payments for a short term. I have always recommended VSAC to any person looking to go to school. Their resources are priceless.

Jeremy Watarz



You totally missed an important point in [“What’s the Rush?” September 2] in your discussion of why so few folks got married on September 1. Many, many of us are married. We married in Massachusetts and Canada and overseas. We also had our Vermont civil unions. We are tired of the well-meaning question, “When are you getting married in Vermont?” even from people who know we were married years ago in Canada. Full faith and credit … the clause that allows straight folks to travel state to state, country to country, without being remarried … this also converted our “Canadian marriage” into a Vermont marriage.

At midnight on September 1, Becky and I did get married in Vermont. No paperwork, no party, no gifts, no justice of the peace. We actually slept through the event but when we awoke on September 1 — and, believe me, we realized the tremendous importance of that date — overnight we had become married. So please, don’t ask us when we are going to be married. We are married and have been since June 29, 2005.

Susan McMillan and Becky Roberts



I loved the information in your article about the history of the South End buildings [“Art’s Start,” September 9], and was particularly intrigued to learn that the Lumière brothers had a factory in the Vermont Hardware Co. complex on Flynn Avenue. I followed up with some reading online and discovered that there is a slight inaccuracy in the article: It was not color film they were producing in Burlington but a precursor technology called Autochrome, which involved the application of colored grains of potato starch onto glass plates. Color film as we know it did not become readily available until the 1930s, when Kodachrome was introduced.

Regardless, Autochrome was the most popular method of color photographic reproduction for many years, and it is cool to know that Burlington played such an important role in the development of this technology.

Janice Dawley



I really appreciated Tim Newcomb’s cartoon in your August 26 issue. He highlights the elephant in the closet of working on the problems of peak oil and global warming. That elephant’s name, as the cartoon shows, is Overpopulation.

On average the U.S. has added 3.5 million people each year to our population since I was born in 1954. That is a city slightly smaller than L.A. and slightly larger than Chicago. [Americans] causes more global warming than any other group on the planet. Each American uses more resources. Adding another large city of Americans every year is not sustainable. Think of the jobs that need to be created. The health systems. The schools. The houses. Think of all the land that will have to be used to feed all those people.

And that is just the U.S. It is granted that countries in the Third World can maintain higher populations because they use less than Americans.

The trouble is that the majority of people on the planet want to be like the Americans.

Population policy has got to become a part of the discussion. Vermonters For Sustainable Population is working at bringing population out of the closet. Look up www.vspop.org.

Lisa A. Sammet



In the “Facing Facts” list [August 26], it is reported that Vermont’s jobless numbers dropped [the week before] by a larger percentage than any other state. It also reports that number as not that high to begin with, and ends with the statement “All good.” I have heard from several people that the reason why Vermont unemployment numbers don’t seem bad is because many workers who have lost their jobs, such as the IBM employees who were fired at the beginning of the year, are moving out of the state. I don’t have an official number of those who have been forced to move; counting it would upset those who only want to see the world through rose-colored glasses, so it is harder to find. Please remember that printing economic figures without any context can be very misleading, especially when you cap it with the phrase “all good.”

Nate Maddison



In defense of the older barbers, I would like to correct some of the statements that Mr. Shal made in his letter to the editor [September 2]. The story written by Kevin J. Kelley was correct in the stereotype of old-time barbers. The subheading of the story was, “Old-time barbers are getting old, but their services still appeal.” This article was not about young women in the trade. Contrary to Mr. Shal’s opinion, Kevin did his research accurately. In response to his truth-be-told comment, stating there are barbers using straight razors today, with a skilled and trained hand: The insurance companies have a rider on their policies for any shops choosing to shave their customers with a straight razor. This rider expense would offset any profit to be made from shaving.

How many face shaves have you had in the past year? His remark that today, the excuse of AIDS as the reason why it is not offered any more is a farce; I was chairman of the Vermont State Barber Board when they discounted shaving from the barber’s test because of the AIDS epidemic. For your information, most of the old barbers still do shave around the ears, but not on the face. If you had looked more closely at the article, the picture of Web Williams shows him using a straight razor. No doubt Mr. Shal has been to many shops in his 84 years, and I am happy that he has found that perfect young lady barber. There has never been one person that could cut hair to satisfy everyone; that is why we have so many shops.

In response to your never finding any of the old barbers around: After 60 years of standing behind a chair cutting hair and not missing many days, I feel that we have earned the right to take an occasional day off. If you wanted the shop owner to cut your hair, haven’t you thought of calling to ask when he would be working? From your comments, maybe you think the old-time barbers don’t know how to answer phones, or they’re too deaf, or too shaky to hold the receiver? I am so happy for you to have found your perfect barber. Now all of us old barbers can go golfing and fishing without worrying about missing you in our shops.

Ron Corey


Corey owns Associates in Haircutting on College Street in Burlington.


I read with interest Andy Bromage’s article on trying to find an apartment in Burlington [“Unfair Market,” September 2]. Your readers should know that for 25 years the Champlain Housing Trust has provided decent, affordable housing — in fact, right now we have a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Burlington available for $683 per month ... Overall, we manage over 500 affordable apartments in Burlington, and 1500 total throughout northwestern Vermont.

In addition, we provide homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention counseling to keep people from losing their homes, and offer low-interest loans for a variety of purposes for homeowners. Our shared-equity homeownership program has won international awards for its innovation in providing opportunity for people of moderate means to buy a home.

While many tend to think of “affordable housing” as serving only low-income people living in our communities, the reality is that housing costs are far out of reach of too many of us, and we are here to help. If any of your readers would like more information on what we can do for you, give us a call at 862-6244 or visit us online at www.getahome.org.

Chris Donnelly


Donnelly is the director of community relations at Champlain Housing Trust.


Great article [“Unfair Market?” September 2]. My girlfriend’s parents bought her a condo in 1998 because she was trying to find an apartment — cash in hand. They would always be rented by the time she got there. Back then they only paid $60K for a condo that is now worth $175K. I can’t believe that in Providence, R.I., we only had to pay $450 per month with utilities included for a two-bedroom apartment just up the street from Brown. Granted, it was 1997, but as a 19-year-old college student, I could still get $10 per hour for work. What do working college students make per hour now? $12?

Brett Schermerhorn



My husband and I recently relocated our family to Vermont from New York, where we ran two bistros in the heart of Brooklyn. In early July, we purchased the former Roland’s Place in New Haven, excited for the myriad opportunities a new community offers. After a month of extensive renovations to update the Victorian farmhouse, we enthusiastically opened Tourterelle’s doors the last week of August, surrounded by new friends, colleagues and community members.

The first week of operation for any business has its challenges. With an entirely new staff and menu, there will always be room for improvement. Night after night, we greet our guests after their meal, genuinely interested in hearing their feedback. We welcome constructive criticism, as it is essential in enhancing the dining experience for all of our patrons. We believe our cuisine, service and ambiance combine to create a truly special place, which we hope will become an integrated establishment in the heart of our community for years to come.

When we read Suzanne Podhaizer’s recent review [“Taste Test,” September 16], we were quite shocked by her level of harsh criticism. We are passionate about providing quality dishes and a comfortable atmosphere. Customer satisfaction is our number-one priority. We cannot, however, address customers’ concerns if they are not brought to our attention. If a mistake occurs with an order (which inevitably occurs in any restaurant during its first weeks of operation), we will happily amend the situation.

We want everyone to enjoy themselves, leave with a smile and look forward to their next visit. We welcome suggestions on how to improve, yet the focus of Suzanne’s article emphasized superficial issues. Although a squeaky hinge is certainly a nuisance during a meal, it is something that can quickly be eliminated (and since has been). Had Suzanne visited a few weeks later, this hinge would not have been an issue. We realize the newspaper industry is extremely time sensitive, and journalists are pressured to “get the story” before others in the business. Is an extremely negative review within the first weeks of service (merely in an effort to beat Seven Days’ competitor to the story) really necessary or fair, given the potential it has to devastate the business our restaurant receives? We think not.

We also were upset with Suzanne’s conclusion that our restaurant is “good” for a burger, but not best suited for a special occasion. Situated in the countryside of Vermont, we want our customer base to be broad, including the farmers with whom we partner and international visitors to the area alike. We do not want to exclude anyone from our restaurant, especially in these challenging economic times. We therefore designed our menu, with extensive options at a variety of prices, to make everyone in our community feel at home. For some, a gourmet burger constitutes a special occasion, and we want to be sensitive to that fact.

As we settle into our restaurant, we look forward to expanding our menu to include more innovative cuisine to expand the culinary horizons of our guests. At the moment, however, we want everyone to expect quality cuisine and service, as well as a positive overall dining experience, with every visit to our establishment. We look forward to welcoming Seven Days’ readers into our home for many memorable evenings of French country cuisine with a Vermont twist.

Christine & William Snell


The Snells own and operate Tourterelle Restaurant & Inn.

(Editor’s Note: Food editor Suzanne Podhaizer dined three times at Tourterelle before writing her review. By the third meal, Tourterelle had been open just shy of two weeks.)

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