Thank you, Paul Heintz, for having the courage to show how Bernie Sanders tried to dodge multiple attempts to ask him what he thought about Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster [Fair Game, “Bernie One-Note,”  March 13]. Bernie, just answer a simple question next time instead of running off to catch a plane. It’s a Vermont thing to have public discourse.
Heintz No Freyne
In the March 13 Fair Game column [“Bernie One-Note”], Paul Heintz was extremely critical of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for staying on message about increasing economic inequality in the U.S. Thank goodness there is at least one member of Congress who describes the stunning economic reality in which the top 1 percent controls more than 40 percent of the nation’s wealth while the middle class shrinks and poverty increases.
There is no more important issue for the vast majority of Americans — and no one in Washington who articulates this better than Bernie. He is the Washington leader on the issue of gross wealth distribution inequities in the U.S. If there is one issue that needs constant repeating, it is that working people are getting the shaft while the rich have never had it so good.
While Heintz suggests that Bernie is a “one-note” message machine on this issue, he failed to note that Bernie is the leader on a wide range of other issues in Washington. Who wrote and introduced the most far-reaching climate-change bill? Who wrote and introduced the key bill to overturn Citizens United? Who is the strongest advocate for veterans in Washington? Who regularly brings hundreds of Vermonters together to discuss the issues? That’s right, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
While Peter Freyne sometimes mixed it up with Bernie, he always respected Bernie’s ability to stand up to the big-money guys. Peter got what “class” issues are about. Heintz doesn’t seem to be there yet.
Patricia J. Kleppinger
Best Cover Ever
The March 13 Real Estate Issue cover is friggin’ fantastic — best you’ve ever had.
“Terrible Reality” of GMOs
[Re “Who’s Trying to Kill the GMO Bill?”  February 27]: I, for one, am worried that the legislature may postpone GMO labeling in Vermont, waiting for another state to pass similar legislation for fear of legal backlash from Monsanto. Like many, I try to avoid pesticides and other additives in my food. Recently, though, I discovered a terrible reality: Because of inadequate labeling, it is almost impossible to avoid buying foods with GE ingredients. Even foods labeled “organic” are not required to have all-organic, non-GMO ingredients. For instance, unless specifically labeled non-GMO, the sugar and soy lecithin in the “organic” brands of rice milk I buy are more than likely to have been genetically engineered. How am I to know for sure?
I believe that Vermont can and should lead the nation on this issue. We cannot cower in the face of corporate money and power; we must find the means to secure our right to feed our families as safely as possible. It is in Vermont’s best interest, indeed, the basis for the state’s wholesome image, to safeguard both the health and integrity of its people. We owe our children our best effort.
[Re Web Feature: “Movies You Missed 79: 5 Broken Cameras,”  March 15]: 5 Broken Cameras is available on Netflix.
Editor’s note: We take it for granted that our readers know most DVDs are available on Netflix, just as most books are available on Amazon. But, because we’re a local paper, we prefer to call attention to local options. Vermont still supports some well-stocked, carefully curated indie video stores and bookstores at a time when they’re increasingly rare across the country.
Thanks so much to Pamela Polston for a great article on Embracing Art [“A New Vermont Enterprise Aims to Put Artworks on Nonprofits’ Walls,”  March 13], which came out on the same day as our launch. By 3:30 p.m., we had made commitments to give 13 pieces of art to 13 nonprofits.
As Polston said in her article, artists are often asked to donate artworks for fundraising auctions, where the works almost invariably sell for a fraction of their value. But in Embracing Art, organizations choose a work that their staff members respond to, then they own it and display it in their workspaces. If they should have an (unexpected) opportunity to sell the work (at the full retail value), the artist and the organization each receive 50 percent of the sale — the same arrangement as in most commercial galleries. It couldn’t get more win-win than that!
But, of course, the big win is that original contemporary art is now being seen as an integral part of spaces that serve all kinds of Vermonters, some in crisis or transition, some working on poorly funded social causes — places where art can be a part of change and growth, which is something art is really good at!
We are open to hearing from other nonprofit organizations that would like to be invited to choose a piece of art, as well as from artists who would like to participate. Visit embracingart.blogspot.com.
Janet Van Fleet
I read with great interest your recent article on sleep apnea and FAHC’s Sleep Center [“Sweet Dreams,”  February 20]. Your readers also may find it helpful to know that they may be candidates for an alternative treatment: oral appliances. The Sleep Center study that they undergo can help determine that possibility. It should be noted that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that oral appliances have been shown to be very effective for treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance should be considered as a viable option if the patient prefers it to continuous positive airway pressure, cannot tolerate CPAP, or are unable to use positional therapy or weight loss to control their apnea.
The key is to find a treatment that each patient will consistently use on a nightly basis. All options should be considered, as one size does not fit all. As a sleep-center consultant, I have found compliance with the oral appliances I have fabricated to be greater than 90 percent after one year of use versus 55 percent compliance for CPAP.
Shuman is a dentist at Associates in Periodontics.
[Re Fair Game, “Deadlocked and Loaded,”  February 27]: It is our right to choose what we purchase and keep to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. If someone feels our choice is wrong, or foolish, it is not their place. Again it is our right — not a privilege to be compromised or diminished.
If it is truly about “trying to protect our children,” then schools and other like facilities need to be secured. So far, mass killings have been committed by insane Americans. When a trained, funded and armed terrorist squad decides to attack, the death toll will be much higher, and proposed gun-control laws will do nothing. To test it, just try to enter any local school unannounced and see how easy it is.
When someone proposes restricting our Second Amendment right, it is no different than proposing restrictions on our first. For example, the sex issue of Seven Days [February 27] is seen as offensive by some, and it is readily available for viewing free by all age groups. But this is a First Amendment right that should not be infringed. It’s the same, folks.
Freedom comes with a price.
[“If at First You Don’t Secede,” March 6] gave me an idea for Burlington: After watching yet another bloated school budget increase get the green light from a small majority of voters (many of which are renters and students, who believe they have no real financial stake in voting for these never-ending increases) it dawned on me that if the New North End voters in Wards 4 and 7 are the only ones who have the cojones to say no to the school board every March, then we, the citizens of the NNE, should seriously think about secession from the city! Made up of mostly middle-class, budget-conscious homeowners, that part of Burlington “gets it”: that we are merely funding never-ending raises and health care costs; that the teachers are never the ones to suffer in the budget-cutting process; and that unfettered 5 to 10 percent increases every year mean that in a matter of years, Burlington’s school budget will be in the neighborhood of $100 million. Something’s gotta give.
So I propose the formation of the City of North Burlington, made up of average homeowners and taxpayers, who, like our compatriots in Milton and Colchester, will either regularly call our brand-new school board to task in the budget process by voting the initial dollar proposal down, forcing them back to the drawing board, or opt for a school voucher system for NNE students to attend area schools. Either way, I think it’s a cheaper option. The days of nine-month-a-year public employees demanding and expecting salary and benefit increases funded by the other 95 percent of us who don’t get that deal are over.