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Letters to the Editor 

Hoarding Horses

I have to disagree with the comment that these owners have a “bond” with their animals [“Is Vermont Failing Its Livestock? A Tale of Two Animal-Abuse Cases,” December 14]. The bond that these people feel for their animals is not love for the animal; it is the same sickness that affects hoarders. According to research on this condition, hoarders are mentally ill. I have been in hoarding situations where dead cats were decaying in the house. Dying cats were left to die by owners who “loved” them. This is not love; this is an obsession. People who ignore the suffering of animals they own do not love them. Animals belonging to these sick people need protection. The law protects them from abuse and neglect, but only if applied effectively. Not the case here.

Peggy W. Larson

Williston

Larson is a Colchester-based veterinarian

Concerned Citizen

[Re “Is Vermont Failing Its Livestock? A Tale of Two Animal-Abuse Cases,” December 14]: I saw a skeletal horse in Vermont last year and was so incensed by its appearance, I called to report it. I started with our local humane society, which referred me to the police of the area. I called them and was referred again to a state representative for animal welfare, who was then out of town, who then referred me back to the police, who then told me they couldn’t do anything about it until the person was back in town. I asked all of these agencies to let me know they had followed up on my complaint and not one of them called me back. That horse was on its last leg and, having described it that way, I was shocked that not one person seemed even a little interested in doing anything about it. It was disgusting. It was also very frustrating that no one seemed to know a set course of action. Each person I talked to seemed unsure of who the right contact was, didn’t know a name and certainly didn’t seem concerned at all.

Beth Demers

Lebanon, N.H.

Reality Check

[Re “Is Vermont Failing Its Livestock? A Tale of Two Animal-Abuse Cases,” December 14]: It is all well and good to say seize them, when referring to neglected animals, but then, who pays for that? You can’t give away good horses in this market.

I used to be able to comfortably retire my horses — that have taught hundreds of children to ride — with former students. Now I am reduced to putting ads on the internet and poring through hundreds of responses from people who are clueless.

Now our choices are to euthanize the animal (dealing with remains is problematic), give the animal to a clueless person or not being able to afford to feed everyone, our families included. Please give us some suggestions, not just righteous anger.

Amanda Gifford

Fairfax

Two Little Piggies

[Re “Pork, Please,” December 14]: For the record, we have had a “Pig Mac” on our lunch menu at Crop Bistro & Bar in Cleveland for the past three years, and it is our no.-1-selling sandwich: grilled pork loin, braised shoulder, cob-smoked bacon, special sauce, challah, and you know the rest. It will also be featured at the new Crop Bistro & Brewery in Stowe soon. Let’s see how long it takes for the Golden Arches’ counsel to give notice!

Steve Schimoler

Cleveland, Ohio

“NoCo” Naysayer

I returned to the “North Country” from New York City two years ago, so you probably know where I am coming from. I did my junior high school in the late ’60s and early ’70s in Plattsburgh. It has not changed. I have to go to City Market and Healthy Living to buy my organics. Pretty sad, since many of our neighbors from Canada who come shop here would help support the same type of store. Dan Bolles, who wrote [“Things to Do in Plattsburgh When You’re Drunk,” July 27] showed up in a recent article.

Marc Gendron

Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Queen City Snobs

Seriously? I’m kinda surprised by the narrow-mindedness of this article [“Things to Do in Plattsburgh When You’re Drunk,” July 27]. I would have thought people from across the pond were more open minded, if a little bit to the left of the foul pole in Fenway. I grew up spending summers in the Northeast Kingdom. I can tell you that people there in no way reflect the snobbishness of Burlington — in fact, they are much more pleasant to be around than anyone I’ve ever known in the Queen City. I also think it’s a good time to point out that for a number of years the print edition of this paper was printed in Plattsburgh.

Steven Jones

Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Publisher’s note: True enough. The Plattsburgh Press Republican ably printed Seven Days for many years.

Digitizing History

I was interested to read in last week’s Seven Days about the Fleming’s project to digitize its collection and to share it and interact with it in a variety of new ways on the web [“Digitizing a Treasury of Objects at the Fleming,” December 14]. It may not be long before I can selectively interact with the Fleming collection and thereby relive some of my impressionable, early exposures to the arts.

The Fleming’s digitization project interested me in another way, too. I have begun to interact with several small-town historical societies in Vermont that proudly, diligently and spiritedly hold and maintain invaluable pieces of their local and state history. As a community director for e-Vermont: The Community Broadband Project, I am seeing exciting ways that technology can be used to research, catalog, identify, manage and share these priceless historical resources. For example, e-Vermont has provided equipment and software to Martha Canfield Library’s Russell Collection in Arlington for one of its digital history projects. The Bridgewater Historical Society is developing a project to first catalog and then share its holdings online.

There is a tremendous and present need to assist small-town Vermont historical societies with the preservation, management and sharing of their collections. Fortunately, organizations and entities such as the Vermont Historical Society, Vermont Department of Libraries, University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum and Center for Digital Initiatives, Vermont Folklife Center and Billings Farm and Museum, among others, provide examples and potential resources to help communities preserve their history in rich and meaningful new ways, digitally. Bravo to everyone involved with sharing our Vermont heritage on the internet!!

Philip Petty

Montpelier

Lyme Literacy

Lyme disease is a serious disease that manifests differently in each patient [“Lyme Time? A Single Scientist Proves Vermont’s Tick Problem Is Growing,” December 7]. It is also frequently misdiagnosed, as it mimics lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. In [“Ticked Off,” June 23, 2010], Ken Picard mentions the documentary Under Our Skin, which can now be watched for free on hulu.com. It covers little-known information such as in utero transmission of Lyme. Under Our Skin should be required viewing for any health-conscious person. I certainly wish I had known the risk moving to and traveling around New England (though the disease is now in every state in the country). Many doctors, including local doctors, use tests that fail to detect up to 50 percent of Lyme disease cases. I visited numerous doctors locally, but, partly due to my strong immune response, went undiagnosed for five years.

Only 15 to 50 percent of Lyme disease sufferers remember a tick bite. Two thousand twelve is supposed to be the worst year for Lyme disease. Visit ilads.org for up-to-date information and to learn how to find a Lyme-literate MD. I hope that area doctors will take the steps to learn to recognize and treat this disease so patients don’t have to leave the state to get good care.

The list of symptoms in your recent article is incomplete. A more thorough article would cover a wider range of symptoms. Since it’s not being covered in our doctors’ offices, it would be helpful if there were more accurate media coverage. Educate yourself about Lyme disease this winter; be prepared.

J. M. Decker

South Burlington

GMP Puts Safety First

In his November 30 story, Ken Picard asked about Green Mountain Power’s approach to workplace safety and the company’s relationship to state and federal safety inspections [“Why Aren’t Vermont’s Wind Turbines State Inspected? Ask Green Mountain Power”]. GMP is a recognized leader in workplace and employee safety in Vermont and nationally. In 2005, GMP reached Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certification through the Vermont Department of Labor, Project WorkSAFE and federal OSHA. This recognition spans all GMP facilities, including our Searsburg wind farm, and has been recertified twice.

Safety is central to everything we do, and we open our doors to regulators. As part of the SHARP program, every facility is inspected from top to bottom, job sites are visited, every safety policy is evaluated, all employees have a voice, and the IBEW Local 300 has a strong presence. This past summer, GMP invited federal OSHA to participate in an annual safety training held at our Searsburg wind facility. OSHA sent staff from Boston and Washington. Following the visit, the OSHA team expressed their confidence in our programs and in the great work and relationships created with Vermont OSHA and Project WorkSAFE. They have asked us to partner with them in an effort to educate OSHA about safe operation of wind installations. At GMP, safety compliance is a minimum expectation, and understanding the rules is a very basic component of that. However, providing our employees with the safest possible workplace means that we go beyond compliance. That is what we do today, and that is what we will continue to do in the future.

John Tedesco

South Hero

John Tedesco is safety manager at Green Mountain Power.

Stairway to Trouble?

[Re “Why Aren’t Vermont’s Wind Turbines State Inspected? Ask Green Mountain Power,” November 30]: It appears that Vermont’s OSHA regs are pretty clear about this — 21 V.S.A. § 152: “New installations; annual inspections and registrations: (a) A new conveyance shall not be placed in operation until it has been inspected by an elevator inspector other than the installer, and a certificate of operation has been issued.”

But frankly, I’m a lot more concerned about the uncaged personnel ladder next to the elevator in the picture. OSHA regs (29 CFR) 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) require that “cages or wells … shall be provided on ladders of more than 20 feet.” As a technical rescue specialist who has climbed the fixed ladders inside the Searsburg wind towers and performed industrial rescue training for Yankee Atomic, I have a healthy respect for the danger and difficulty of ascending long, vertical ladders. Where is VOSHA in this picture?

Robert Riversong

Warren

Hail Kale

Chick-fil-A’s shameless attempt to stop Vermont artist Bo Muller-Moore from silk-screening the words “eat more kale” on shirts and bumper stickers makes me want to … well, eat more kale [Side Dishes, November 23 & December 7]. Chick-fil-A’s so-called trademark “eat more” slogan makes light of a very serious matter: animal suffering. Both cows and chickens can agree that people should eat more plant-based foods.

Unlike beef and chicken, kale is cholesterol free, extremely low in calories, and exceptionally high in antioxidant vitamins A, C and K. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and other essential minerals. The fiber-filled super veggie can help consumers lower their blood cholesterol level, combat heart disease and cancer, and maintain healthy eyes.

And kale is not only nutritious; it’s delicious, too. This king of greens is great sautéed or in salads, sandwiches and soups. You can toss it in pasta or on pizza, or use it in place of spinach or collards in your favorite recipes. Support local agriculture: See peta.org for free recipes featuring kale and other wholesome vegan foods.

Heather Moore?

Norfolk, Va.

Moore works for the PETA Foundation.

Democratic Spring?

I am writing in response to Judith Levine’s Poli Psy column “Is Greed the Enemy?” [December 7]. Maximizing one’s individual gain regardless of the cost to others is the simplest definition of raw greed. One can easily see that greed is the cornerstone of all dynasties, corporations, empires, etc., throughout history. Being honest, though, it is also one of the ugliest ways that we organize ourselves. We actually thrive in spite of the power of greed, not because of it. Our families would never survive if we surrendered to greed entirely. Just because my mom is elderly and has a lovely home doesn’t mean that I’ll invade it, stuff her in the basement and take over. For some reason we submit to the domination of gigantic greed cults — except at levels of family and community where we have a self-interest “fail-safe.”

The state of absolute corporate domination in which we find ourselves requires a sophisticated domination and control system. The myth and superstition that make up much of our worldview go hand in hand with blind nationalism, racism, misogyny and anti-intellectualism. These are the means by which a very few people control most of the world’s wealth and power.

Many people are cognizant that the “group fantasy” of import is not contained in the free-form, open discussion practiced by the Occupy movement, but the Orwellian allegiance to corporatist false democracy and supply-side bullshit.

To save ourselves, a deconstruct-reconstruct period of rational analysis is very much called for. To expect that choosing the means of our own demise will satisfy our need for self-determination and meaningful democracy is no longer realistic. The year 2012 need not be filled with paranoid apocalypse, but could be the start of a “democratic spring.”

Brad Hartley

Ferrisburgh

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