Home Commentary Letters to the Editor, Apr. 3, 2024

Letters to the Editor, Apr. 3, 2024

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Image from Vecteezy.

Lack of a Coherent Plan

To the Editor:

Recently, a Chittenden County Superior court judge handed down a decision siding with the state against the plaintiffs in a case brought by Vermont Legal Aid on behalf of those living unhoused (aka homeless) and evicted from motels during the middle of March.

Although I disagree with the decision by the judge, I agree with the statement made toward the end of it. Parties on all sides of this case, “could work together to design a big-picture approach to the problem rather than continuing to cobble together short-term solutions while in crisis mode.”

Prior to the judge’s decision being handed down, this is, generally speaking, the conclusion I had reached as well. Finding a better way to meaningfully and seriously address homelessness long-term has been handled by all sides as nothing more than a political football.

Everyone is looking to someone else to figure it out, come up with a plan, and act first.

What both the administration and the legislature has been doing up to now has been rather haphazard, lacking any actual, coherent, real, significant, and workable action plan to move forward with. Given that this seemingly formidable task could take a while to accomplish, one might ask what is one to do in the meantime?

One solution that comes to mind might be to have high-level representatives from each party involved be locked within a room together and not be allowed to leave until they have a workable plan to put in place. 

They could use the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) annex building in Berlin and have access to Porta Potties, as provided to those who stayed at the temporary regional homeless shelter hosted there.

Morgan W. Brown, Montpelier

Hazardous Sidewalk Leads to Ambidextrous Musing

To the Editor:

On Friday, March 22, less than a month before my 88th birthday, after filling the woodroom with half the remains of this year’s woodpile, and before the weekend’s expected storm, I started walking to David Fried and Tobie Weisman’s house to thank them for the Purim gift box they’d left on my porch. While walking on Loomis Street between Liberty and Harrison Streets, I tripped on a massively consequential stretch of broken pavement, one of many such hazards all over this town, and went flying. 

My fall was broken by my right arm trapped between my chest and the ground, which at least prevented my head from smashing down hard on the pavement. But I did hit the pavement enough to open up a bloody gash at the bony ridge above my right eye. 

A guy across the street exiting his driveway had a front-row seat to the performance, as did a couple outside their house. They rushed to my aid, brought me into their kitchen, and cleaned and bandaged the wound. Head wounds appear dramatic with their copious bleeding, but the more serious injury turned out to be to my arm, which took the brunt of the fall. I broke both the ulna and radius in the forearm just below the wrist. 

Now, because I am right handed, that hand and arm are virtually useless and need to be protected for the next few months. Well that’s the end of my bike riding plans for the rest of the spring and probably most of the summer. What a bummer. For the last dozen years or so I have been riding my bike daily over a range of 15 to 35 miles a day, on average. 

After a minor cardiac event in May of last year, I cut down my daily rides to between 14 and 21 miles a day and so have been averaging about 4000 miles per year for some time. It’s the only exercise I get and it has been keeping me healthy for quite a while. 

Can anyone argue (and why would they?) for maintaining a dominant hand as opposed to being ambidextrous? “On the other hand,” can anyone present a reasonable argument in its support? Why would anyone oppose ambidextrous training early in life, starting even in infancy? At this late stage of my life, how difficult it is to train my left hand to do almost anything as basic as showering, dressing, eating, taking notes, etc. I remember as a young kid, copying the handwriting instructions and learning to write with my right hand as students did. What harm and what a small amount of time would it take to have children do the same thing with both hands?  Could there be any harm in being able to use both hands equally? Absolutely not. 

In the past, lefties were forced to suppress their natural tendencies and become righties, but at what psychological costs? Any musician knows you need to develop skills with both hands, regardless of the instrument, wind, brass, percussion, or strings. Both hands must be totally under mental and physical control, and we know that as difficult as it may appear, virtually anyone can achieve such control if they start early enough and work at it. Once acquired, it is automatic, and always available, no matter if either hand becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

Ed Epstein, Montpelier

Letters to the editor represent the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of The Bridge. Submit your letter by email to editor@montpelierbridge.com. Preference is given to submissions by those who live in central Vermont, should not exceed 300 words in length, and may be edited for brevity and accuracy.