Letters to the Editor
I grew up in downtown Rutland in the late ’70s and early ’80s [“Leaving RutVegas,” February 1]. It was a unusual upbringing, growing up on a bustling Center Street surrounded by retail and restaurants. At that time, almost every storefront was filled. The Center Street Alley, my backyard, had been completed. What I remember most is the architecture and the setting. What has not changed with the times are the impressive historic buildings and Green Mountain backdrop. That’s a beautiful base to work with when reimagining downtown Rutland. Although I’ve lived 2000 miles away for some time, I make a point of visiting Vermont annually and driving through Rutland, and, to me, the shell of the downtown looks preserved. Rutland is a beautiful city, and I hope the energy will be harnessed to breathe life into it.
Santa Fe, N.M.
iLiked That Manock Article
Wonderful job getting this great story to us [“iWitness,” February 1]! I had no idea this very talented guy was among us. Fascinating tidbits from an amazing business-technology-lifestyle story.
This is exactly what local Vermont needs [“In the Company of Meat,” February 1]. I have noticed that there are no high-quality Vermont butchers local to Chittenden County. This article was a great highlight to fill a void of great local meats from Vermont farms. There are some great butchers out there: Bob’s, Williston Meat Market, Shelburne Meat Market and then the local groceries. Please tell them to start featuring Vermont beef!
Was the bloody and disfigured image of a pig really necessary [“In the Company of Meat,” February 1]? I know Seven Days food writers are meat-obsessed, but there are plenty of Vermonters who are not. It would be great if Seven Days could be more balanced with food articles. How about sending Alice to review Mint, the newly reopened vegetarian restaurant in Waitsfield?
Editor’s Note: See this week’s story about MINT.
The editors blew it when they included the Peg Streep quote in [“Momzilla and Me,” February 8]. Streep, who claims never to have heard of anyone getting married where there isn’t some stress between the mother and the daughter, must not be aware of the fact that in Vermont we allow a man to marry another man. At my wedding to my husband, there was no stress between any mother and any daughter. Nor was there any stress between any mother and any son. Streep is entitled to her views, but by quoting her so prominently, the editors perpetuated an incorrect assumption regarding marriage. Marriage is between two people who love each other, even if neither of them is anybody’s daughter.
Mark S. Westergard
What the Frack?
A moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Vermont is idiotic [“Frack, No: Vermont Looks North to Québec as It Considers a Ban on Natural-Gas Drilling,” February 8]. In the first place, we don’t even know if we can get at it. In the second place, if we could, it’d easily reduce heating bills for up to 200,000 Vermonters by 50 percent or more. Rather than putting the idea on ice, the legislature should permit more study of it, and set terms for drillers to ensure both water quality and a good deal for Vermont energy consumers.
The reality is that if we don’t get it, Québec will, and then sell it back to us at a hefty markup. That would be a disastrous failure.
[Re “The Sound and the Fury and the Banjo,” February 1]: I was at that show until the end, drink in hand, rocking out to Amadis — I even got a signed set list to take home with me. You said, “The show ends after Dystic and his crew tear through their song ‘Skin,’ during which a six-person mosh pit erupts — though it could be described as a ferocious hug.” That was a six-man hug at the end. Metal = Love.
Newborns Aren’t Addicts
Kudos and criticism for a very positive article on treating pregnant, opioid-dependent women [“A Chittenden County Program Helps Pregnant Addicts Become Successful Moms,” February 1]: First, it’s most important to emphasize, as you do, the enormous benefits associated with methadone (and more recently, buprenorphine as well) for both the pregnant woman and her child. The very favorable treatment outcomes were noted in a 2009 State of Vermont publication co-authored by Marjorie Meyer, a physician member of the CHARM program that is the focus of your report: “Methadone is considered the medication of choice for treatment of opiate dependency in pregnancy. There is no waiting list in Vermont at any of these [methadone maintenance] clinics for a pregnant woman who is opiate addicted.”
As for criticism, it is simply wrong to describe newborns as “addicts.” Addiction is the compulsive, uncontrolled use of a substance, generally under antisocial conditions — clearly not a term that applies to neonates. Sadly, it most definitely is a label that will carry with it a lifelong stigma.
Robert G. Newman, MD
New York, N.Y.
Newman is director of the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center.
Just want to say that Don Mullally is the reason that I — and countless others — pursued a career in radio [“Mr. Saint Johnsbury,” December 14, 2011]. I was interviewed by him on WTWN and thought I had realized my 15 minutes of fame, being in the same room! He sang in a band my dad played in and generally was an awesome influence in my life. When I grow up, I want to be just like him! May he have many more fantastic years!
West Lebanon, N.H.
Patients Want Film Quiz
I admit I am not a faithful Seven Days reader; I read it maybe every other week. But I work in an office where we have one of your stands, which runs out within days of delivery. I hear our patients talking daily about how much they miss the film quiz. Our doctors run behind on a daily basis, and while it didn’t keep the patients at bay for long, it did indeed help entertain them, while supplies lasted! Please bring it back and consider delivering more papers to a currently growing doctor’s office in the Burlington area!
Maroney’s Plan Won’t Work
As a conventional dairy farmer, milking 170 cows, I have been interested in Mr. Maroney’s assault on Vermont’s dairy industry for some years [“Dairy Don’t: A Dogged Ag Activist Takes Aim at Vermont’s ‘Sacred Cow,’” January 25]. I would agree with Prof. Erickson that for many farmers, Mr. Maroney’s attacks are uncomfortable, however, he continues to ignore much of the progress that has been made: new structures to store manure, nutrient management plans to make sure manure is used wisely, and better soil and crop management plans to reduce runoff. In addition, Mr. Maroney’s assessment of the economics of both organic and conventional dairy seems to ignore many of the external forces that impact dairy production in our state. There is no surplus of milk in the Northeast, and organic dairy farmers have as hard a time making a go as conventional, economically.
We in agriculture do need to work together to improve environmentally and economically. So far, James Maroney has not shown either a full understanding of the problem or the flexibility to make progress working with anyone else. His frustration with lack of progress is partly because his plan won’t work either economically or environmentally, coupled with [his] inability to work jointly towards a measurable, replicable solution.
Dr. Wayne wants his film quiz [Feedback, “Film Quiz Junkie,” February 1]. C’mon, it’s Dr. Wayne!
It Ain’t Necessarily So
Your account of efforts by attorney David Sleigh to obtain records of possible financial improprieties at the Governor’s Highway Safety Program raises an important but unresolved question arising under the state’s Access to Public Records Act [Fair Game, February 1]. At issue are records the state has withheld on the ground that they concern personnel issues.
You quoted General Counsel Steve Collier of the Department of Human Resources as saying the APRA allows the state to release personnel records if “personal privacy interests are outweighed by the public interest.” But it ain’t necessarily so.
Section 317(c) of the APRA lists “personal documents relating to an individual, including information in any files maintained to hire, evaluate, promote or discipline any employee of a public agency” as among 38 (count ’em!) categories of documents that are flatly and specifically “exempt from public inspection and copying.” Nothing in the statute suggests this is a matter of agency discretion; to my knowledge, the Vermont Supreme Court has never confronted the issue head on.
The balancing test Mr. Collier lays out is a good one because it means — and the Vermont Supreme Court could decide — that in compelling circumstances the disclosure exceptions should yield to considerations of public accountability. But that’s not what the statute says. The Legislature should swiftly adopt a clarification.
Donald M. Kreis
Kreis is an assistant professor at Vermont Law School.
Watt’s the Problem?
That flame has been burning for years [Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “Why does a perpetual gas flame burn near I-89 in Moretown?”]. It’s great that some of the methane becomes electricity, but a tremendous amount of energy is wasted. They need more generating capacity, if they can’t use all the gas now!
One thing about this article that is annoyingly common in the mainstream media is the propagation of cluelessness about power and energy. There is no such thing as 2.3 megawatts a year! Does the plant put out an average of 2.3 megawatts of power over a year’s time, which equals 20,148,000 kilowatt hours/year, or does it produce 2.3 megawatt hours (2300 kWh) per year? Megawatts-per-year is a nonsense term. One can deduce the meaning by guessing the average energy usage per home, but why not be clear and use real terms?
An electric bill charges for units of energy, kWh. Power is the rate at which energy is used. These are important distinctions that should be taught in school. Eschew obfuscation!