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Letters to the Editor 

Soldier Needs a Ride

I just want to say how grateful I am to be able to read through “Hackie” columns past and present while stationed here in Afghanistan. I have lived in Burlington my entire life. Reading the column not only gives me a current perspective of Burlington, but brings back great memories associated with growing up in what I consider to still be the greatest place on Earth. When you mention certain places and annual events, it allows me to remove myself from my current surroundings and reminisce. I am looking forward to the end of my tour, and being able to pick up Seven Days as part of my Wednesday routine. Thanks again for the great column, and I look forward to them biweekly.

Patrick A. Therrien

Burlington

Go Re-Figure

As superintendent of the Chittenden South Supervisory Union, I can assure you that the salary figure in Andy Bromage’s article [“Which Vermont Superintendents Make the Most — and Least — Money?” August 18] is grossly exaggerated. I understand that you got your numbers from the Department of Education’s database. I also understand that they advised you that this particular survey is intended to capture teacher and staff salaries and that they could not verify whether or not the numbers for superintendent salaries corresponded to actual salaries — or multiple salaries. I can assure you, mine certainly does not. In 2008-09, my compensation was $138,966 — $25,000 less than you indicate in your table.

Elaine Pinckney

Williston

Andy Bromage responds: We printed the figures supplied by the Department of Ed, with the caveat that the numbers reflected what each supervisory union budgeted for superintendent compensation — not what their actual salaries were. That’s why we wrote that the salaries cannot be assigned to individual superintendents, but serve as a general guideline.

Diversity … Eventually

Just a thought, but does any one of the fools mentioned in [“The Diversity Test,” August 25] have an inkling of an idea that maybe teachers of color just do not want to work in Vermont? What do you people want — a dozen buses sent around the country picking up resisting, hollering and screaming minority teachers and bringing them back here to teach? Kind of makes one think about the slave ships of yore. Give it a rest, turkeys, Vermont will diversify in due time, but don’t jam it down our throats. We have a president who does enough of that.

Ed Kuban

Chelsea

“Academic Apartheid”

Once, while working as a part-time professor of philosophy at Castleton State College, I read an article about a professor in New York City who, after 25 years of teaching part time at two esteemed colleges in the city, decided to retire. I commiserated but swore that would never happen to me. I’m now entering my 21st year of teaching and am about to eat crow. When I saw Margot Harrison’s article [“ ‘Temp’ Teaching,” August 25], I cringed, thinking it was the usual diatribe against adjuncts. How pleasant to read her sober and balanced treatment of life toiling away in academia.

I comfort myself at times by taking the long view: It was only in the 20th century when scholars started to view teaching as a lifelong profession; previously, journeymen academics traveled around Europe and taught here and there until they found security or, to put it bluntly, died. But reality intrudes its ugly and persistent head into my ivory tower and reminds me that I am a second-class citizen living in academic apartheid. For example, while teaching at a certain school that shall remain nameless, I was twice nominated for a teaching award that the administration said was reserved for full-time profs!

For 21 years, I have carried the same workload, been peer reviewed successfully, published, wrote recommendations, sat in committee meetings and been lauded for my classroom work (check out my Rate Your Professor rankings), and I’ve not yet had benefits nor a salary. Labor of love, indeed.

Patrick Standen

Burlington

Beer 101?

As the professor who teaches NFS 033, “What’s Brewing in Food Science,” I would like to make a few points [“Gut Reactions,” August 18]. The course is open to all students at UVM. It is the goal of the course to get students to think about what goes into their food and to have a connection with their food. Many of the students who brew a batch of home brew talk about the camaraderie, community building and learning experience that go with the process. These same students talk about respecting the end product and truly enjoying the product for its flavors, colors, bitterness and history. There are guest lecturers, including a local accredited beer judge, and an expert on beer styles, and in the past there have been speakers from the UVM Center for Health and Wellbeing program. As a point of clarification, the class does not teach quarters, beer pong and flip cup. I do offer extra credit in the class but it is not for performing keg stands. Students may earn extra credit for donating blood or performing a minimum of five hours of community service throughout the semester.

“Dr. Todd” Pritchard

Colchester

“Apparel” Offensive

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then the brazenly offensive ad by American Apparel on your back cover [August 4] severely undermines the consistently excellent reporting you have done on the commercial exploitation of adolescent sexuality.

As former small business owners, we are well aware of the difficult compromises involved in keeping a business afloat. But surely you could suggest to a local advertiser that an alternative photo be used, instead of one that perpetuates the most degrading aspects of our popular culture.

Rick Winston & Andrea Serota

Adamant

Baseball Business

Ray Pecor is a successful businessman. Why would we use the offices of city government to prop up a failing business [“Can Burlington Save Centennial Field and the Lake Monsters?” July 28]? If raising ticket and concession prices won’t bring in enough to build or renovate the field, let Mr. Pecor choose to either borrow the money himself or let his franchise fold.

The time and talents of our city government have no business in private business. We would be outraged if this were a discussion about saving a shoe store or a consultant’s office or any other privately owned business.

Any thought of using public resources to “save” this business is outrageous. Stop running city government and spending our tax dollars and your time and talents thinking about someone else’s business and start thinking about the business of the people who live here.

Chris Ryan

Burlington

Buy Global

Judith Levine’s critique of localism was on the right track [“Poli Psy,” August 18]. It’s interesting to compare localvores to right-wing Republicans, beginning with their fear of science. In general, neither have qualms about using science to save their children’s lives (unless, perhaps, it involves vaccines), but both directly or indirectly prevent others from doing likewise. Republicans oppose science education. Localvores oppose technology to increase crop yields, whilst hoping rainforests won’t be plowed into soybean fields.

They share poignant nostalgia. Republicans imagine a time when everyone was a white Christian. Localvores imagine a time when everyone was a small-scale farmer with 21st-century values. Actually, it was small farmers who destroyed Vermont’s forests — trees only returned after farming became unprofitable. The traditional hunters here before weren’t any better: America’s first humans drove species to extinction, just like we did everywhere else we settled. Clearly, the past is nowhere to look for sustainability.

Today, we in the rich world glorify picturesque poverty and subsistence farming. Regardless, billions have streamed into cities to make money to feed their children — and if you wonder why they want factory work, take a look at their farms. And while the CSA farms in Jakarta and Karachi may be bringing healthy greens to their shareholders, realistically the only way to feed everyone is through improved technology. And the only way for people to earn enough money to start caring about environmental protection and sustainability is through trade. So, if you care about the environment and other humans, buy global.

Peter Du Brul

Charlotte

CORRECTION:

In last week’s “Side Dishes” Alice Levitt noted that Rob Minichiello, chef-owner of Via Loma, was “waiting for the health department to approve his menu.” In fact, he is finishing up the menu while waiting for the health department to approve his restaurant.

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