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Letters to the Editor 

Published June 23, 2010 at 5:56 a.m.

Northgate Flourishing

Thank you for featuring Northgate Apartments in a recent Seven Days article [“Vexed Over Veggies,” June 9]. We always welcome media coverage that gives the public a better understanding of our unique community.

I am writing to correct an error that leaves your readers with a fundamental misunderstanding: Northgate Apartments is owned by the nonprofit Northgate Residents’ Ownership Corporation, not Maloney Properties, and contracts for property management services with Maloney. Residents who live at Northgate own NROC, a nonprofit corporation.

Northgate Apartments is 336 units of mixed-income family housing in Burlington’s New North End. Built between 1969 and 1970, Northgate is Vermont’s largest rental-housing community, and its rich history has made it a model of resident leadership in affordable housing nationwide. For more than 20 years, residents have significantly shaped and directed the quality of life at Northgate, making decisions about Northgate’s policies and its future, and directing the professional team, which includes our community builder and Maloney Properties staff responsible for managing Northgate.

As a result of residents’ efforts, Northgate Residents’ Ownership Corporation is governed by a board of nine Northgate residents and four community representatives. Along with resident leadership through board and committee meetings, Northgate offers many social activities, resident forums, youth groups and community events for residents to participate in. NROC is committed to permanently affordable housing, led by its residents, to foster a safe, strong and diverse community.

As a follow-up to your article, readers may be interested to know that, as president of the NROC board, I recently convened a meeting of our executive committee to review a resident’s request for reconsideration of the garden issue. The committee asked the NROC board to reconsider its decision to remove the gardens that are currently in place. After careful consideration of this request, the board agreed to allow existing gardens planted in the common areas to stay for this growing season, and will develop a process to create a clear common-area-use policy that balances the needs of all our residents. It will be in place well before next spring.

Shellie Spaulding


Spaulding is a Northgate resident and president of the NROC board.

Big Brother in Barre

As a small-business owner and native citizen of Vermont, I find this situation inconceivable [“A Barre Renter Is Fighting City Hall for Shutting Off Her Water,” May 26]. Whether this tenant failed to pay her rent on time or not should have no bearing if the landlord has never decided to take further action. I am not a person whose heart “bleeds” for all those in need of assistance, but this is without a doubt a situation of misconduct. I believe that the landlord and all those involved from the city of Barre need to be held accountable. Had this woman’s condition become worse as a result of this situation, we wouldn’t be having this nonchalant conversation. I, for one, will be looking forward to hearing how the courts decide on this case. The courts now have to decide whether they want to take the easy route and side with Big Brother, or use common sense.

Sam Smith


Jazz Hater?

I find it interesting that [Seven Days music columnist Dan Bolles] declared the two weeks from June 2-16 a “jazz-free zone” [“Soundbites,” June 2]. How is that different from the other 50 weeks? I find very little of substance on jazz in this column at any time (except maybe in a condescending way). It seems to me that Seven Days should have at least one other music columnist-reporter with a different perspective so that everything isn’t filtered through the tastes of one individual.

Richard D’Toure


“Five Finger” Fan

Lauren Ober did a great job of getting to the “not for everyone” aspect of Vibram FiveFingers in a funny and breezy writing style [“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: What’s with those funny-looking, ‘five-fingered’ shoes?” May 26] — and I forgive her for calling me a “nut.” I’m starting my second season in them, and I’d like to throw in a few pointers for those looking to free their feet: The adjustment period is almost nothing … if you’re a hiker or hill runner. The calf demands when hiking uphill as you launch off your toes have probably kept your calf muscles from atrophying. Having my toes in individual pockets [turned out to be] a discomfort similar to the strut that flip-flops have — and which, as all you flip-floppers know, disappears quickly.

There are some technical changes: Your stride shortens, you become very aware of what’s on the ground, your cadence quickens, and you naturally lean forward a bit. While your pace in the backcountry will slow due to more careful footing, I just ran a 10k on dirt roads and tied my running-shoed personal record. It’s all about remembering how to be barefoot all over again. I still use trail-runners on backcountry bushwacks and hiking boots with a heavy pack, but use the “FiveFingers” in the Green and White mountains on day trips on established trails.

As far as Elsinger’s warning that it requires “more work” for the muscles, that’s somewhat misleading. That’s like warning a car driver that walking is not for everyone because it places a lot more stress on the body than driving.

Daniel Zucker


Radish or Turnip?

While Suzanne Podhaizer did give an otherwise fair and accurate review of the Farmhouse Tap & Grill [“Taste Test,” June 9], she did make one mistake that I feel needs correcting. She said that her salad came with large chunks of turnip, which she found to be bitter and unpleasant. I also ordered that salad, and found it to be delicious. Those “turnips” were actually this spring’s fresh radishes. Local turnips are not really ready this early in the growing season. And, while radishes can indeed sometimes be bitter, I found mine to be wonderfully fresh, sweet and with a radishy tartness that was a great addition to the salad. It was a creative way to use what was fresh and local.

Lauren Morley


Podhaizer responds: Small, white “salad turnips” have actually been available in Vermont since at least the first week of May. They are sweeter than many turnip varieties but can still have a bite. According to Jed Davis of Farmhouse Tap & Grill: “There were nights we used turnips, there were nights we used radishes, and there were nights we used neither. It just says “veggies” on the menu. We had a bunch of salad turnips from Pete’s Greens that week, so my guess is that they were turnips. It’s possible that everyone is right.”

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