What the FOX?
Perhaps Seven Days should have its representatives stick to the written word rather than radio interviews. I heard Fair Game columnist Paul Heintz on WVMT’s “Charlie + Ernie + Lisa in the Morning!” program supporting high gas prices in Chittenden County. After all, according to Heintz, high prices are nothing more than capitalism at work — a concept our country was founded on. It’s this right-wing take on things that continues to make me wonder what planet I live on. I’m sure Heintz knows that with only three companies setting prices, it’s not capitalism but greed at work here. At the same time, he was including some negative things about Sen. Sanders in his comments. Apparently he found it funny that the senator was trying to do something about this outrageous hold on gas prices.
Again, perhaps Heintz should stick to the written word or work for Fox instead of Seven Days.
Gerald L. Jeffords
Sound and Fury
I approached the Savoy Theater in Montpelier at least six months before they were cited [“Feds Crack Down on Long-Ignored ADA Violations; Vermont Businesses Pick Up Tab,”  December 5]. I am hearing impaired and offered to assist owner Terrence Youk with a fundraiser to provide needed money for a new system. I never heard back from him. His complaint that he was taken by surprise is baseless. The system he finally installed is fraught with problems; entire sections of the theater are “dead,” and the system echoes. It is not used frequently because it is, for the most part, useless.
A Different Perspective
Being an art critic — as Kevin J. Kelley tries to be in [“Reality Show,”  December 5] — is not easy. Of Julie Y Baker Albright’s “Nathaniel Hawthorne” painting, he says that she presents sensuous details with exceptional precision. Kelley makes particular note of the reflection in a wooden tabletop of the yellow lettering on the spine of the book depicted in the painting.
However, the book is not located in a position that would generate such a reflection. The book is positioned too rearward on the tablecloth placemat, such that the book spine’s reflection would not be seen in the tabletop.
While Albright may have some art talent, this misplaced book spine reflection is not one of those talents.
Daniel G. Cohen
I request a written apology from Paul Heintz for the use of the term “blue-hair” in describing the audience at Cathedral Square [Fair Game , December 5]. Imagine Mr. Heintz describing an audience of Asians as “black hairs,” or African Americans as “nappy heads” or women by a common anatomical feature. Everyone makes mistakes, including editors, and when it comes to racism, sexism, ageism and the like, we all have much to learn. Apologizing for this perjorative epithet is owning the mistake.
Dennis J. Deiters
Thank you, Patricia Bettinger; you’re a saint to share the chocolate chunk [cookie] recipe [“Chips Off the Old Block,”  December 5; Feedback, “R.I.P. Fresh Market,” November 21]. Now I’ll have to see if I can do it justice.
With all due respect to Lisa Yankowski’s memories of the “Wolf Tree” [Feedback , “A Tree Grows in South Burlington,” December 12; WTF: “What’s up with the ‘Wolf Tree’ at Red Rocks Park?”  November 7], trees might expand in width throughout the plant’s life but only lengthen from the terminal bud at the top. It is very unlikely that the railroad spike would have moved higher up the tree.
What I Want
Enjoyed reading “What We Want,”  [November 28]. Here are my suggestions: What if Vermont became known as the “Earth-Friendly State?” This would include:
Earth flags flying over every school and business in the state
The Vermont license plate with a picture of the Earth on it
The state’s branding motto would be: “What happens here gets recycled here”
Signs at all border crossings that say: “Welcome to Vermont, An Earth-Friendly State,” with a picture of the Earth attached to the signs
The Moran Plant would become a planetarium
All business cards would have a picture of the Earth on them and say “Earth Friendly”
A unisphere at the top of Church Street that could electronically highlight different countries depending on who viewed it
“High School Earth” varsity jackets for students working on ecological issues
The YMCA would hook all exercise machines up to its own generator to produce its own electricity
And, my wackiest idea: A wind- and solar-powered Yellow Submarine!
The short article [“Film News: Palace 9 Becomes Merrill Theater,”  November 21] on the purchase of Palace 9 Cinema by the Jarvis family left me sputtering with indignation. As I understand it, under the new ownership, long time employees were demoted and/or had their hours significantly reduced or were fired. For some, the reduction in pay or hours left them unable to pay their bills.
Sure, buying local can be a laudable practice. But I don’t want to buy my potatoes from a local farmer who is mistreating his labor.
The Correct Approach
I was disappointed that your “Offender Bender”  article [Fair Game, November 28] did not address the important underlying issue of former offenders’ need for gainful employment.
Data published by the Vermont Department of Corrections indicate that more than 4000 prisoners were released from Vermont correctional facilities during state fiscal year 2011.
I believe that former prisoners and Vermont’s communities would benefit much more from news coverage that focuses on successful employment and reintegration of former prisoners than from news coverage that questions the appropriateness of hiring former prisoners.
John A. Pandiani
[Re “WTF: Why will parking against the flow of traffic get you a ticket in Winooski?”  April 11]: As a former resident of Winooski, I am repeatedly reminded that the city is neither visitor friendly nor open for business. Over the years, I have received three parking tickets totaling over $200 for breaking city ordinances that I was simply not aware of — all of which I paid because I was in the wrong.
Two of the tickets I received were issued between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., which makes me think that perhaps Winooski’s parking enforcement is working unnecessary overtime on a regular basis. These tickets included: parallel parking against the flow of traffic, parking on city streets at 1 a.m. last December during a snow ban with no snow or possibility of snow, and parking in a loading zone at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
According to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Winooski’s traffic circle is the most crash-prone intersection in the state. Additionally, the city has also grown to become one in which it’s difficult to park and patronize local business. There was a time when my family and I frequented Sneakers for breakfast on a fairly regular basis, but now that parking enforcement officials have added even more loading zones — limiting parking near the city center — the likelihood of me visiting Winooski has been severely diminished.
Here’s an idea: If you want the public to patronize your city’s businesses, you might want to think about adding some welcoming elements instead of continually adding deterring ones.
Help for Crime Victims
In response to a story about the recent uptick of robberies in Burlington [“Rash of Robberies Suggests Burlington Isn’t as Safe as We Thought,”  November 7], we wish to remind the community of the unique assistance available through Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime. This internationally recognized program is a joint endeavor of the Burlington Police Department, CEDO’s Community Justice Center and the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services. Now in its seventh year, it has proven enormously effective in supporting those affected by crime, especially with safety concerns and basic needs.
When a robbery or other crime is reported to the Burlington Police Department, the trained staff and volunteers at Parallel Justice reach out to offer aid. Depending on the situation, victims can receive assistance with security upgrades, information about what happens next in a criminal investigation and court case, or a chance to tell their story and find ways to regain their sense of power.
In addition to addressing tangible needs, many victims served by our program have reported that their sense that the community cares when something bad happens was restored. If you or someone you know have been the victim of a crime in Burlington and needs help, please contact our team at the Burlington Police Department at 540-2394. You can learn more about what we do at pjburlington.org.
Currently this program only serves people who have experienced crime in Burlington. If you are interested in seeing it developed in your area, please contact us.
Vastine is the coordinator of the Burlington Community Justice Center.
Kevin J. Kelley’s article [“Angry Masses or Hungry Masses? Occupy Vermont Reaches the 99 Percent by Feeding Them,”  November 28] is an example of our governed cultures coming together as dependents under the regulations and policies set. The majority of us at some point in our ancestry gave up self-sustenance and relied upon supplies of regulated resources. If we were left wild, we could procure our necessities as we see fit, although this has been known to cause warfare.
Thus we developed notions of necessity and desire, right and wrong, legal and illegal. But a drug is a drug — a substance ingested for purposes other than nutrition. Ken Picard’s interview with Michele Campbell [“Drug Remedies,”  November 28] about the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug is another example of regulations on materials that are not necessary but desirable. It is not fitting to punish the majority for a minority that cannot self-regulate their use of substances.
Ashley M. Pulaski
[Re “A Morrisville Company Turns Used Fryer Grease Into Heat and Power,”  November 14]: First point: Biodiesel and used cooking oil or fryer grease are not the same thing. Sure, people use both as fuel for diesel engines or for heating, but that doesn’t mean the terms are synonymous. Vegetable oils — used or virgin — and fats are primary ingredients in the production of biodiesel, but technically, biodiesel is one product of the transesterification process. It can be used as a fuel in diesel engines but is no longer “fryer grease.”
Second point: Bourne’s Energy, or any other fuel dealer selling biodiesel (if that is indeed what Bourne’s is selling) in Vermont, is not “turning fryer grease into heat and power.” They are merely “blending” and selling fuels to their customers. They purchase biodiesel from a producer and then blend it with petroleum diesel.
Third point: Biodiesel blends refer to the ratio of biodiesel or fatty acid methyl ester to petroleum diesel in a given quantity of fuel. For instance, B5 refers to a ratio of five parts bio to 95 parts petroleum diesel. Once again, there is no “fryer grease” included in these fuel blends, as was suggested by Ken Picard.
Fourth point: It is highly unlikely that White Mountain Biodiesel is buying used cooking oil for $1 per gallon and then selling it to “customers like Bourne.” They are actually taking that fryer grease and then processing it into biodiesel using the transesterification process. A quick examination of their website confirms this.
I get that people often mix up the terms biodiesel and vegetable oil. It is not uncommon for someone to suggest that they know someone or met some “hippie dude” driving a “biodiesel car.” It does bother me, however, that a well-respected Seven Days author would write such a factually confusing article. It is certainly possible to blend used cooking oil with petroleum diesel and use it as fuel, but I’m pretty sure that is not what is being described in this article.
Ken Picard responds: Matthew Davis may be correct about the story’s somewhat misleading headline; the Morrisville plant blends biodiesel but does not manufacture it. But the story does not claim that fryer grease and biodiesel are one and the same. Rather, it states that Bourne’s Energy sells biofuels that are made from recycled cooking oil. The pure B100 biodiesel is purchased from White Mountain Biodiesel, which does, in fact, pay $1 per gallon for used cooking oil.
Meat in the Middle
I’m glad that Gary Kowalski brings up the issue of eating meat as a growing problem in our modern society [Feedback, “Divest from Big Meat,”  December 12]. Worldwatch Institute reports that worldwide meat consumption has increased 20 percent in the past 10 years and tripled over the last 40 years, and most of it comes from factory farms that have a severely damaging impact on the environment — without even considering methane production from the animals themselves.
Heavy use of inputs such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and the amount of water that is used, are causing tremendous pollution which can be traced directly to the production of fossil fuels. The fossil-fuel industry has its hands deeply into industrial animal agriculture. Those inputs are all petroleum-based. Government subsidies influence the cost of food, and the advertising industry influences the choices people make about what they want to eat. If we had to pay the true cost of meat that is humanely raised and sustainably farmed, our choices would be very different.
Eating less meat and supporting small local family farms at every level is essential to combat the destructive trend of factory farms and increase food security. I would say that in the fight against fossil fuels, we are allies.
Ruby Perry organizes for 350VT.
Good Teacher, Good Friend
Thanks for publishing this interview with my favorite UVM professor, Richard Sugarman [“The Wondering Jew,”  December 12]. It’s sometimes hard to say “favorite” professor, because I had many great ones at UVM. But Sugarman was the best.
I graduated in the class of 1979 — yikes. I was an in-state student. From day one Sugarman was warm and personable.
Over time, we even became friends. Whenever major decisions or changes are coming up in my life, he is right there to offer an insightful opinion and loving word of encouragement.
UVM is extremely lucky he’s there. And you guys did a fantastic job on the interview.