September 19, 2007
Applebee’s response of offering blankets to all nursing mothers is unacceptable [“Got Milk,” September 12]  because it promotes the idea that breastfeeding is a shameful act. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months and advises mothers to continue breastfeeding for at least one year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years. Women who follow this advice are not just making a lifestyle choice. They are following doctors’ orders.
Mothers have many reasons to be out in public and often cannot wait until it is “more convenient” to others to feed their baby. If our culture embraced breastfeeding as the norm, current statistics regarding children’s health would surely improve. As a result, more women may choose to breastfeed and more may stick with it longer. Businesses should adopt breastfeeding-friendly policies and should consider posting the International Breastfeeding Symbol in their storefronts.
IT’S YOUR LOSS
Count me in as a taxpayer in Winooski whose jaw dropped when I received my tax bill [“After Revitalization and Re-assessment, Winooski Takes on the Tax Man,” September 12] . But instead of throwing a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and dissing the Winooski School District, I took pride in the fact I’m now living in a $200,000 house. Who would have thought? Little ole lower-middle-class me?
I’m sure that cages are being rattled in City Hall, and I trust The Powers That Be to do something righteous about the unhappy homeowners. In the meantime, I am glad to live in Winooski and am proud of the parents who believe in their child’s potential, as well as teachers’ and administrators’ abilities to get the best out of the public education system. Winooski is what we make of it. I feel sorry for the folks who have decided to leave our city while we are still polishing up the silverware and setting the table.
Wendy Whaples Scully
Whaples Scully is a former Winooski school board member.
I was fascinated to read Ken Picard’s article about Vermont House Bill H. 315 — an act relating to health-care rights of conscience [“VT’s Rights of Conscience Bill Would Shield Health Care Pros Who Deny Care, Prescriptions,” August 29] .
The bill, if enacted, would allow hospitals and health-insurance companies to refuse to participate in any “health care service that violates its conscience.” According to this proposal, inanimate institutions such as hospitals, HMOs and insurance companies are capable of having a conscience — at least when it comes to denying care or coverage! What about insisting on coverage based on the institution’s supposed conscience? You don’t hear much about that, eh? Maybe the legislature should take that up.
I attend a private college and I am feeling the direct hit of decreased federal spending for higher education. Just this past year, my tuition went up 5 percent, which made a grand total of $37,405. Seeing that I am completely financing my own education, price increases like this make it an increasingly difficult task. At this rate, it will be $60,000 to attend my college in 2017. My question: Who will be able to afford this ghastly figure?
Middlebury College itself is not exempt from such cost increases. In the 2006-2007 year, attending cost $44,330. So when I hear that institutions are being investigated for possible financial kickbacks for directing students to particular lenders [“Feds Visit College,” September 5] , it disgusts me to think that colleges are benefiting even more from our financial struggles.
What are the colleges doing with all our money? Where are these financial kickbacks going? They keep asking for more money, and I just keep giving it without seeing the direct benefits of paying more. How could this happen? Are they not required to complete a statement of where all their funds are coming from and where they are going? Unfortunately, things are becoming more a question of whether private school is worth the price over state school, instead of which institution holds higher standards of learning.
What a nice ruling in regards to the right to pull over motorists for no reason [“VT Supreme Court Says Police Can Stop Drivers Who Are Not Breaking Law,” August 22] . Just beware of driving after using Listerine first thing in the morning. You might not get fined, but you may be reprimanded (or even fired) by your employer after you show up to work late because you were pulled over. At least it will help increase police officers’ daily quotas and take their attention off less pressing matters, like drug use, vandalism, robberies, etc.
So let’s all clap hands like idiots while every ruling body in this nation whittles away our rights one by one until we finally become the fascist dictatorship that the founding fathers fought so hard against (even though they were all racist, elitist, sexist hypocrites).
It’s not that I really care about this one particular issue — it’s just another example of what I see happening all the time — but the fact that it happened in good ole Vermont makes it that much worse! Pratt obviously wasn’t drunk if he wasn’t swerving around or driving recklessly.
First it’s Pratt; next it’s your son or daughter. Drinking a few at a show and then driving home is par for the course. If one is responsible, there will be no harm. And for every driver pulled over after a concert just for the hell of it, there’s probably a few that drive right past who are drunk as a skunk. So let’s set our priorities on the reckless, swerving drivers and not focus on maybes. I believe that’s what checkpoints are for.
When you’re a mom, going against the efforts of MADD feels wrong. However, I found myself cheering the former president of Middlebury College and his risky stance on lowering the legal drinking age [“All Stirred Up,” August 22] . Underage drinking is a very serious issue to parents, school administrators and communities, but the current system is continually failing us.
I have grappled with this topic for years as I attempt to arm my daughter with the knowledge she needs to take with her into the world and return home safely. Our conversations often discuss the chances of her breaking the law. School administrators need the same opportunity for transparency with their students regarding what is really happening on campus. Although the drinking age has changed since I was in college, I do not see fewer students drinking. The difference I see is that students seem better informed than we were. I read a study conducted by Dr. Robert Foss at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Center in 1997, 1999 and 2002 which found that a large majority of students tested by a breathalyzer (rather than relying on self-reports) demonstrated light to moderate drinking habits.
I think we need to continue to better educate adults on how to educate and model better behavior for our children on the effects of alcohol.
As a seasoned skateboarder, runner and cyclist in this town, I am compelled to respond to Rick Edmonds’ letter “Close Call” ">[August 15]. His letter is yet another rant by a driver who feels entitled to the entire span and scope of the road. Drivers with this attitude are inconvenienced when their maximum speed is compromised by a sustainable form of transportation.
I have, on countless occasions, confronted injury at the fault of inattentive drivers. My demise has nearly been spelled out by drivers who refuse to come to a complete stop when making a right turn. Anyone who bikes or skates in traffic has been heckled by a hassled driver who loses seconds in sharing the road.
Those entangled in the web of car culture need to become aware that we boarders, bikers and runners are always on hyper alert. We know, without question, that we cannot rely on the distracted driver to recognize us as “equals.” I encourage Mr. Edmonds and all other disgruntled fossil-fool addicts to park your Hummers and experience the streets of Burlington at a more human pace. Doing so would benefit the health of all in our community.
Thanks for the article [“Laid to Rust,” September 5] . Those who were in Burlington when the EPA made their first proposal for the Pine Street Barge Canal will have some understanding of how outrageous their “clean-up” plans can be. While you folks were able to scale back the giant sarcophagus they had proposed, here in Strafford we have not been so fortunate. We are getting a large cleanup project, as well as unintended degradation to the very river they were suppose to be improving.
Two minor corrections: I had suggested gridding or sectioning off — not “grinding” off — the waste piles in order to try different experimental remediation techniques. Second: My “old Ford pick-up truck” mentioned in the article ain’t that old. Hell, I am still making payments on it.
Editor’s Note: Freitag is an environmental activist who has opposed the Elizabeth Mine Super Fund cleanup effort. A correction about the grinding-gridding mixup was printed in last week’s issue.