I loved your “Best Food in New England” article, especially the ice cream part (May 19). Though I’ve never eaten at Gifford’s in Maine, I’d like to point out my own favorite spot: Shaw’s Ridge Farm in Sanford. As kids, we’d go to get the ice cream — pistachio, native strawberry, or the signature Grammy Shaw’s Original Coffee. We’d sit on the cow stools and watch the little model train chug by us. Now also home to a delicious barbecue restaurant and mini golf, you can make an outing of a visit to Shaw’s. No matter how old I get, I’ll always enjoy sitting on a swing on the little play structure while I eat my fresh and delicious ice cream.
Emily Tiberio / Waltham
Before making recommendations, had you tried Farfar’s Danish Ice Cream Shop in Duxbury? It is by far the best ice cream I have ever had in New England, or anywhere else.
Elayne N. Alanis / Duxbury
You were not even close on best ice cream for Massachusetts when you chose Richardson’s. It’s good in the category of large-scale distributors, but there are numerous independent shops that make their own products that I’d place higher. At the top of the list with no close second is DownRiver Ice Cream in Essex, whose ice creams, yogurts, and sorbets are fresher, richer, more flavorful, and far more creative than anything in Richardson’s arsenal.
Dan Connell / Gloucester
How could you have omitted Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville? The Lemon Crisp ice cream is to die for.
Gary Silverman / Arlington
In the small town of New Gloucester, Maine, you can find superb frozen custard at Hodgman’s. Pumpkin spice is my favorite.
Rachael Martin / Ottawa, Ontario
Warren K. Zola’s essay “Personnel Foul” (May 19) includes many interesting facts, but not much logic. I do agree with him that NCAA Division 1 student athletes deserve some type of financial benefits, especially because they have very limited opportunities for employment outside the classroom and playing fields. However, to think that they should reap big financial rewards as a result of the exorbitant amount of revenue their sports generate is simply ludicrous. Millions of college students face tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the time they graduate (compounded by thousands of dollars in interest). I would say that athletes on full scholarship have it pretty good. No need to change a thing.
Brett D. DiMartinis / Plymouth
I know I am in the minority, but I find it appalling that many hold sports in higher regard than academic achievements at most colleges and universities. I agree that there does seem to be a disconnect that colleges and universities with respected sports teams receive a lot of money from television networks, but wouldn’t it be better to invest that wealth into more solid and beneficial academic programs and share it with the departments and the professors who teach skills that in the case of sports-playing students would benefit them long after their respective sports careers are over?
Bradford Conner / Boston
The NCAA, a hypocritical organization at best, has many outdated rules, and not paying athletes is one of them. It makes no sense that many scholarship athletes are thrust into an environment where they are expected to perform athletically in exchange for a so-called college education, yet many don’t have the money for pizza and a movie. Meanwhile, their jerseys are being sold in the campus bookstore. I don’t believe that the athletes should share in the profits, but I do think that a reasonable stipend for every player would be fair.
Victor Conklin / Dover
I was very frustrated with Kim Kavin’s support for the biased proposed regulation to screen shelter dogs (Perspective, May 12). While it may be well intended, this regulation would continue to create a situation that discriminates against rescue dogs. If Massachusetts is going to screen for behavior issues to protect people, why isn’t it also requiring the screening of dogs from breeders and pet shops? Why is it automatically assumed that dogs from breeders are healthy and well adjusted? Personal experience has shown that is far from the case. This type of overbearing regulation is exactly what earned Massachusetts the nickname “Nanny State.” Sadly, it would most likely prevent wonderful dogs from finding a home.
Sandra Clarke / Bedford
Kavin is right that proposed shelter regulations will spark debate, and rightly so. The Massachusetts Animal Coalition has been involved in discussions and training events for years to assist shelters and rescues to follow best practices. However, there is legitimate concern about striking a balance and identifying unintended consequences within the proposed lengthy regulations that could lead to unnecessary euthanasia, not just of dogs from out of state, but the many local ones also seeking homes. There is no argument as to whether adopted animals should be healthy and safe. Whether this regulatory framework will reach that goal is worthy of robust discussion and detailed input from those doing this important work — and doing it well.
Emily McCobb, DVM / President, Massachusetts Animal Coalition, Westborough
If we, as a society, are judged on how we treat the most vulnerable, we are failing miserably if we do not look to the cultural causes that have created a population of “sweet and just plain unlucky” victims. Animals lovers, and I consider myself one, have the responsibility of finding the political will to do the work that needs to be done to ensure a loving home for each pet brought into the world. This happens not only through advocacy for a reliable rescue system and successful adoptions, but by demanding that the Southern shelters step up their efforts to prevent horrific conditions. Where do we sign up for that?
Esther Heimberg / Sudbury
When I read Laura Shea Souza’s “Mom, Ours Forever” (Connections, May 12), I got goosebumps. Not only was it a testament to the bond between mother and child, it also showed that even long after one’s mother has passed, the bond is still strong. I’ve heard that many elderly people cry out for their mothers on their deathbeds. What a comforting idea to think of being welcomed by one’s mother into the next life.
Gail Scola / Gloucester
My mother passed away in February at the age of 90. Shortly before she died, in a restless state, she said, “I want my Mama.” This essay reminded me of her. It made me weep, yet also smile. As Souza indicated, we will always feel a part of the beautiful woman who brought us into this world and protected us with love.
Denise McShane / Stoughton
I don’t cry. Well, hardly ever. Life has taught me not to, and as much as I might want to let it all out, I find it difficult. But when I finished reading Souza’s essay and realized that I had tears in my eyes, I had to go back and read it again. Her words just got it so right, and she said it all so beautifully. Thank you.
Stacy Amaral / Worcester
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