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Rage Against the Gantries (via Facebook and valleyadvocate.com)

Comments in response to “The Top 5 Reasons To Hate The Mass Pike All-Electronic Tolls,” published online Sept. 7, 2017, and appearing in print in this week’s issue.

Fletcher Smith: So when will we start being charged for our miles … annually or pay as we go? What’s a fair price for oxygen usage and carbon dioxide processing. Oh, why not a dollar a year for our public servants and they could work for tips … or do they do that already? William Bulger, Salvatore F. DiMasi, Thomas M. Finneran, Charles F. Flaherty, Dianne Wilkerson …

Crystal Lynn: $16 in May to go round trip from west side to downtown Boston Without an E-Z Pass.

Samantha Wood: Thank you many times over for writing this.

David Rolandini: Agreed, gantries is such a dumb word.

Jessica Dunphy: I think it’s a good idea. We used to have to sit in traffic because the tolls got so backed up!

Punk Rocks (via email)

I enjoyed the Punk Rock issue, (Sept. 7-13, 2017). I remember seeing the Unband and selling their CD’s at Dynamite Records. It was great when they got signed to TVT Records! If you saw them on a Friday Mike would look like he’d been wearing the same jacket and vest since the previous Saturday. The drummer had dreads before every other rock n’roller had them. Guitar player looked like a character out of Keith Richard’s “Life.” The first time I saw the name Pixies was on a poster for a gig at Sheehan’s which has been Eileen Fisher, gray clothes for women, for 25 years!

Times change.

The Bay State was kind of a joke flop hotel until Sheehan’s closed. Then Mal Thursday and others convinced Ron, the owner to start doing music in the Hotel lounge. Early 90’s I saw Morphine and Royal Trux there. Pearl Street Club Room had the Bad Brains twice, both versions. Dinosaur Jr. was great at Katina’s out on Rte. 9 (now a printing business). They drowned out the sound system! They were also great at the “after Jordi before Eric” Iron Horse in Fall ‘94. Neil and Stu were holding down the bar even then! $3 cans of Bud!

But, as Bob Dylan once wrote: “The good old days are gone and the new ones ain’t far behind.” Maybe, as the slogan goes: “Music alone shall live.”

— David Boatwright (the Equalites), Shelburne Falls

Vegan School Lunches (via email)

With the new school year upon us, parents turn their attention to school clothes, school supplies, and school food. Yes, school food! More than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat. Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened Obama’s 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk, and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86 percent approval rating. Fortunately, many U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.

As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our local schools. Entering “vegan options in schools” in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.

— Eddie Buster,  Easthampton