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Letters to the Editor 

Easter Offense

A while back, Red Square ran an ad caricaturing the figure of Christ [February 17]. I left a message with the establishment expressing my anger, but wasn’t able to find the right words for your paper until tonight, when I made a visit to my 93-year-old Catholic friend.

Before I left, she pointed to her treasured picture of the Sacred Heart and simply said, “I just keep asking Him to help me be the person I should be for Him.” In the face of such love, faith and devotion, I would hope there are still threads of basic decency and respect left that declare some things off limits for the sake of a cheap laugh and an unsuccessful attempt to appear sophisticated.

Obviously, your paper didn’t see the ad this way. Perhaps in the future you will at least pause before repeating the degradation of a sacred symbol…

Bobbi Perez


Editor’s Note: Seven Days does not censor advertisements unless they promote hate and/or violence.

Buzz Kill

I liked [Lea McLellan’s “Rules of Caffeination,” April 7]. But at the end, when you suggest an extra $1 in the tip jar, how does that help the business owner’s bottom line? That money goes to the staff. How does it keep the doors of the establishment open to give extra money to the staff? Perhaps buying a bottled juice to put in your bag for later?

Sally Brink


Great Issue

The April 7 issue is great! A wide range of interesting articles! As the Burlington Free Press declines as a source of useful information, Seven Days has just gotten better. Thanks.

Ron McGarvey


State Course?

In his article [“Fair Game,” March 24], Shay Totten says, “States can chart their own courses to universal coverage provided they meet the federal standards.” I looked at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) to which Totten refers, and I guess he is referring to Sec. 1332, Waiver for State Innovation. I just want to mention that this provision cannot be used until 2017. Also, it is not clear to me whether states that “chart their own courses” could enact their own single-payer plans using this provision. The term “single-payer” is never used anywhere in the Act, of course, since that was “off the table.” What does Shay Totten think?

Berry Ives

Albuquerque, N.M.

Shay Totten responds: It’s true the innovation provisions do not kick in until 2017, but that does not preclude a state from going forward and requesting the appropriate waivers from the feds prior to 2017. In Vermont, some would like to implement a single-payer system, but other states could pursue their own course.

More to the Mob

Thanks to Lauren Ober and Seven Days for covering the first Green Mountain Crop Mob at Adam’s Berry Farm [“Mob City,” March 31]. I’d like to share the credit for GMCM with Emily Curtis Murphy of Fair Food Farm in Calais. Emily was the one who came up with the plan to start mobbing Vermont, and deserves just props. Thanks, again!

Rachel Schattman


Selective Slopes

I would like to thank Seven Days for printing Barbara Hibbitts’ letter regarding Mad River Glen [“Feedback,” March 31]. Ms. Hibbitts’ remark, “and thank heaven, no boarders are allowed, I don’t have the worry of being hit by one of them...” points out the discriminatory actions of Mad River Glen banning riders. Intolerance and bigoted behavior. Hmmm, does not sound like Vermont to me.

Chris Robinson


We Need a Health Care “System”

Thanks so much to Shay Totten for “Health and Consequences” [“Fair Game”] in the March 24 edition of Seven Days. I was at the testimony where Dr. Hsiau, the world-renowned expert on designing health care systems, said of Vermont’s various health care options, “But it’s not a system. They are patches of a quilt, but you haven’t decided what the quilt will look like.”

As someone who has suffered the consequences and almost lost his life in the meat grinder of our dysfunctional health care system, I understand what Dr. Hsiau means by quilt. It cannot come together soon enough. The patches that we do have here and there seem to work against each other. They block so many Vermonters who need [health care] through various eligibility requirements. It is gratifying that the gubernatorial candidates … are looking to put our disparate health care elements into a system. With luck, Dr. Hsiau will help design it. He designed the universal health care system in Taiwan.

Yesterday, I visited with two Australian friends on a brief swing back through Vermont. We compared health care systems. When I described ours, they looked at me, eyes bulging, as though I had just landed from Venus. “Truly shocking” was all they could say.

Walter Carpenter


Cheating Readers?

Andy Bromage’s two articles on Vermont legislators’ compensation have generated interest in the mechanism by which state lawmakers deal with expenses and compensation for travel, lodging and meals. But perhaps an eye should be turned to the thought with which the articles were written?

The March article [“Money for Nothing? Montpelier’s Mad Method of Compensating Lawmakers,” March 31] explains that the initial implication of cheating the system is actually a legal allowance, nominally citing a memo from Emily Bergquist’s office about the rules governing lawmaker’s behavior. With an eye towards thoughtfulness and accuracy, wouldn’t it be better to have done the necessary legwork and asked the Legislative Council what the rules are when writing the first article [“Vermont Legislators Admit to Cheating the System. Are They Justified?” February 3]?

I would hope that constructive, investigative journalism is the hallmark of the politics column at Seven Days, rather than judgmental, shallow pieces, flavored with a patina of outrage.

Kelvin Chu


Editor's Note:

A lot of issues are swirling around Vermont’s largest airport — not the least of which is that Burlington owns BTV, which is located in South Burlington. The airport has expanded, necessitating the destruction of dozens of affordable homes. Now, there’s a chance it might host F-35 fighter planes, which are louder and faster than the F-16s there now. Seven Days readers weigh in on Kevin J. Kelley’s March 31 story, “Airport Noise Fuels Resentment — and Activism — in South Burlington.”

Fly Right?

We don’t need more jet fighters in our local skies. We are already subject to noise from F-16s daily; also, Army helicopters that fly way too low and close to residential areas. They are the most aggravating. Brad Worthen obviously doesn’t have a clue. This base’s future, I’m sure, is not contingent on obtaining F-35s. This is a fighter that was requested by [the National Guard].

As far as commercial flights are concerned, they should stay as is. They are up and gone in seconds.

Jerry Bourque


Right on, Gene Richards. It’s a bit like the “people from away” who buy a house near a farm and spend plenty of time bitching about the smell of the cows! Let’s do the right thing and support the VTANG and encourage the F-35s. It’s good for them and good for Vermont.

Pete Saile


My family has lived next to the airport for the past 30 years. But never has the noise been so loud as it has been these past couple years. We especially used to love watching the jets from the Air Guard take off. However, the noise has been incredibly loud for us, now that so many homes have been taken down. The F-16s have been unbearable. We live just outside the 65dB zone. We have no interest in selling our home. Those of us who are sharing our concerns about what is happening — or not happening — at BTV and the even louder F-35s do so because we want to stay here, not sell our homes.

Those of us who are voicing our concerns are not “activists.” Why must we be labeled because we are concerned, and choose to voice those concerns? We moved near an airport before it had grown and before noise was unbearable. Those who do not live next to the airport cannot possibly appreciate the noise levels we now live with on a daily basis — certainly no one from Burlington!

The city of South Burlington deserves to have more than one person sit on the airport commission. I do not know how it came about that we have so little representation on the board, but the fact is, BTV sits in South Burlington. The time has come to balance out the ratio of representation on this board, and respect the city BTV lives in.

Donna Carlson

South Burlington

If the security of the nation were at stake, do you think the United States Air Force would be debating whether or not to have the F-35 come here? Clearly, all 10 sites would serve the security purposes of the USAF; that is why the sites were selected for consideration. Whether we welcome the F-35 with open arms or fight it tooth and nail, only one of the sites will be getting the plane. It is not necessary to have the plane here for security purposes.

Juliet Buck

South Burlington

It’s a shame that Gene Richards, chairman of the Burlington airport commission, is unable to take a more measured approach to noise pollution impacting nearly one-fifth of the state’s population.

My Burlington home is nowhere near the airport. In fact, it is further away than many homes within city limits. Yet the F-16s manage to disrupt conversations with clients, rouse me and my neighbors awake at irregular hours (the latest at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 27), frighten pets and, as of last summer, dump fuel into our drinking water.

Perhaps Richards can explain his excitement to children I see blocking their ears beneath the roar of a half-dozen F-16s maneuvering over Vermont’s largest population (and economic) center. Is Richards’ “excitement” shared by those who suffer stress, illness, aggression and hearing damage? These and more health issues will become more pressing by welcoming the louder F-35s, whose decibel levels reach 110dBA.

One does not need to live near the airport to know that Cold War military weaponry does not make a good neighbor. Besides the obvious noise issues surrounding VTANG’s growing mandate, keeping VTANG where it is presents enormous financial concerns. Each fighter will end up costing taxpayers $122 million — barring another 50 percent price hike. In conservative numbers, each F-35 will also cost taxpayers $20,000 for every hour of flight.

Instead of issuing marginalizing statements, perhaps the airport commission can entertain the opinions of those who see a future that does not involve hearing loss or diminished productivity levels.

Tiki Archambeau


Here is one suggestion to help with the airport noise resentment. Since Gene Richards hears the noise of F-16s flying around as “exciting” and says he thinks “it’s part of being in a lively community,” and George Maille feels like he is “living in a disaster” due to the noise of the current air traffic, how about [having] Gene Richards buy the house conveniently located next to the airport [from] George Maille, and he can listen and feel a part of a lively community all he wants.

Harold Kaplan



In last week’s story “The Law of the Land,” we mistakenly indicated that Adam Prizio, Esq. is a Vermont Law School graduate: He actually studied at Notre Dame Law School. Also, Law for Food’s partners will not act as lobbyists.

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