I take umbrage with the writer Judy Greenawalt's letter in today's Banner regarding a fee of five to 10 cents for taking plastic bags from large retailers. Introduced by Senator Bob Hartwell, this bill would encourage use of reusable bags rather than plastic which are oil based and often end up as litter and are not easily recycled.

Washington, D.C. has this law and has reduced plastic bag use by more than 60 percent, as has neighboring Mont County, Md. San Francisco and Los Angeles have similar ordinances with similar results. There are outright bans on plastic bags in Westport, Conn. and Austin, Texas.

To my mind this law, if passed, would be beneficial to the environment in Vermont. While good people may differ on this proposed legislation, I strongly object to denigrating the motives of Senator Hartwell. Our legislators work long hours and are dedicated to good governance and do not deserve to be insulted by calling them names.

JUDY MURPHY

Bennington

Happy 40th anniversary

On April 4, 1974, Steven Leonard opened a small pipe and tobacco shop at 452 Main St. called The Smoker's Den. Since then, many changes have taken place. A move in 1979 to 214 Hunt St., (which changed to 340 North St. with the advent of the 911 emergency number), adding beer and wine and changing the name to The Smoker's Den and Discount Beverage Center. There was the rebuilding after a devastating fire, an expansion and remodeling in the late 80s, and to be more "politically correct," another name change early in this new century to The Beverage Den and Smoke Shop. In this four decade period, many competitors have come and gone, product lines have been added and discontinued, and consumer habits have changed. The biggest change was the passing of Steve in 2012, leaving the business and its history to an entity that it meant nothing to, who didn't want it, and couldn't wait to get rid of it. The sale of the business and property in late 2013 was yet another change. The doors remain open and to the few long time employees that have been a part of its history, Congratulations and Happy 40th Anniversary!

JIM BROWN, Former Manager

Bennington

Sad that Shaftsbury Country Store is closing

We join this community in expressing our sadness that the Shaftsbury Country Store is closing. Tracy and Evan and their kids Ty, Avery and Addy, have done an amazing job and have become wonderful members of this community. Thank heavens they are staying here because they certainly are a great asset to this community but their store will be very much missed - their warmth, enthusiasm, kindness - all the personal touches and energy which they brought to the store. They brought the Country Store to life - and the occupied rocking chairs on the porch were a joy to see.

We thank the Galle family for all they have done, and wish them only the best in what they are continuing to do. We are so thankful that they moved to Shaftsbury nine years ago!

LIZ & BRUCE PUTNAM

Shaftsbury