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Letters to the Editor 

Published August 11, 2010 at 4:06 a.m.

Give Flanagan a Break

As someone who is supporting Doug Hoffer’s candidacy for state auditor, perhaps I should have been pleased to find Senator Ed Flanagan’s bicycle foibles chronicled in last week’s “Fair Game” [July 28]. Instead, I was both saddened and annoyed that Shay Totten devoted almost half of his column to discussing two bicycle accidents of a man who has experienced a traumatic brain injury. Though I believe that voters should know about incidents that question the judgment of elected officials, Flanagan’s judgment has already been well documented by Seven Days in both “Fair Game” and a feature article.

It seems to me that the only person hurt in these accidents was Ed Flanagan. Totten would do well to display some compassion for Flanagan’s extraordinary circumstances and stick to reporting on the real political crimes in Vermont — such as deep cuts to human services and mental health budgets — rather than one man’s challenges in his recovery from a life-threatening injury.

Sarah Robinson


Too Many Bikes

So, now there is a “Cycling Academy” [“Feedback,” July 21]? I’m glad it is in Bennington, not [in Burlington]. Why should VTrans count bikes? Bruce Lierman talks about “lane use.” What does that mean when he says “…use the lanes as they are marked”? To me, the lane is from the center line to the edge of the pavement, not from the center line to the fog line — you know, that white line along the edge of the road to warn drivers, in the fog, that they are near the edge of the pavement?

Also, would Mr. Lierman explain “…the conditions in which you [motorists, I guess] may expect to see a cyclist using the full lane”? They shouldn’t be using the full lane. There is a “law” saying motorists have to give cyclists a 4-foot clearance when passing. Does that mean from a cyclist riding single file, or from the cyclist furthest from the right when they are riding two and three abreast? As most motorists know, when we encounter cyclists riding side by side, they don’t give way to the motorist.

Mr. Lierman states that “VTrans collects no information on bicycle traffic,” but that VTrans counts bicycles as pedestrians if they are being walked and then as vehicles if they are ridden. How does Mr. Lierman know how VTrans regards cyclists if VTrans doesn’t count them? Cyclists should be tested, inspected and pay to use the highways.

Let’s take back our roads.

Mike Lavery

Grand Isle

Potato Power?

[Re: “News Quirks,” July 28]: “Researchers developed a potato-powered battery ... using zinc and copper electrodes and a slice of potato.” Are you kidding? I’ve seen this sort of thing way back in the novelty catalogs in the ’70s. (Remember potato-powered clocks? Around 15 years ago, someone even brought one to work.)

Brian Garen


End Run?

Only a fool changes his business model “on a whim” [“River Running Away,” July 28]. Ignacio Ruiz says he eliminated breakfast service at River Run, changed the restaurant’s name, and decided to serve only Spanish fare “on a whim.”

It was on a whim that my husband, son and I happened to have breakfast at River Run, at what turned out to be the last day for this local institution. We did not spend days looking at our budget deciding if we could afford to keep having breakfast. We were sitting on the sofa and my husband says, “What about going to the River Run for breakfast?” That is a whim.

If breakfast numbers were down for Mr. Ruiz, perhaps it has something to do with the food not always being as good as it was when Jimmy [Kennedy] was cooking, or that the food often takes much longer to come out of the kitchen than it used to.

I was not confused by the restaurant’s dual personality. But I was twice confused by finding the place closed on a weekend day, after a 25-minute drive to get there. And there was no sign of explanation posted the second time this happened.

I believe Ruiz closed as he did without warning because I think he knew that if he gave locals any advance notice, he would have been mobbed at breakfast time and mobbed with protests about eliminating breakfast.

I have no idea how his Spanish fare is. But he will need to create a lot of goodwill with it to make up for the ill will he created by dispensing with River Run the way he did.

Yvonne Baab


Blog Not!

I’m writing to thank the readers of Seven Days for making vtdigger.org the runner-up in the “Best Blog” category for the Seven Daysies. Our volunteers, freelance writers and web team sincerely appreciate the recognition.

In the web world, blogs have become a catchall name for information sources, but there are important distinctions to be made between the blogosphere and online media.

Unlike a blog, Vtdigger.org is a nonprofit news website. Our writers and editors are professional journalists, and we report information based on firsthand interviews, direct coverage of events and government documents. We do not espouse any ideology or political point of view.

Vtdigger.org is for Vermont readers who want to know the story behind the story. We run investigative and in-depth articles about a wide variety of topics. Recent subjects include racial profiling, campaign finance reports, the Challenges for Change government restructuring plan, and edited commentaries by local experts and concerned citizens.

Thanks so much for the votes! Next year we hope vtdigger.org will be recognized in the news category.

Anne Galloway


Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org.


Vermont state auditor candidate Doug Hoffer graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law and Jurisprudence, not the University at Buffalo as reported in last week’s story, “Which Watchdog?” … In last week’s “Facing Facts,” we reported that outgoing Burlington City Councilor Marrisa Caldwell is leaving the city council because she can’t find affordable housing in Ward 3. We stand by that information, but mistakenly attributed it to Caldwell herself; it came from other sources. Caldwell disputes the claim, and says that she is leaving Ward 3 for “personal reasons.”

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