Where’s the justice for Shela?
Editor of the Reformer:
Shela Linton is one of the most compassionate people I know. She strongly believes in fighting for equal rights and fairness in her community. She is dedicated and passionate in the way she approaches her work. Shela worked for the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity for more than eight years. She has helped so many people who were in desperate need in order to bring justice to their lives. She has supported various clients so that they could benefit from services and programs in the Vermont community.
There are various cases in which she has advocated for those who were going to lose their homes, individuals who were going to lose custody of their children and others who were being discriminated against because of their ethnic origin. These are just some examples of hundreds of situations she has taken on.
I recently learned from Shela that she was dismissed from Vermont Partnership. She was given no warning and was let go instantly just as she was entering the office to begin a day of work. Most people may think that she at least would receive unemployment. That was not the case at all. Shela Linton did not receive unemployment or severance from Vermont Partnership. As I listened to her story, I was shocked. I thought, how could she be treated so unfairly? She worked for very little pay in order to bring justice into her community. It is
Westmoreland, N.H., June 30
Is there a ‘dog issue’ in Brattleboro?
Editor of the Reformer:
Based on some of the recent letters and comments I’ve read in the local media, the issue of how to deal with animals in Brattleboro seems to have struck a nerve among many people who care about animals and how we treat them.
After numerous instances of witnessing or reading about unleashed dogs on town streets being hit by cars, nearly hit, pooping in my flower beds, causing traffic accidents and nipping at people, or unleashed larger dogs approaching smaller leashed dogs, I suggested changes in our leash ordinances in Brattleboro several years ago. Currently, Brattleboro addresses the problem of dogs "roaming at large" by allowing dogs to be unleashed if "under restraint" in the "at heel" position beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s commands. Clearly this has often not been the case in town over the years and, in addition to the unquestioned phenomena of dogs simply "disappearing" or somehow becoming lost, killed, or hurt unnecessarily while roaming at large, we also pay police officers to respond to the predicable problems that arise.
If we look to authoritative statements to guide us, we can see the human factor in dog-related problems. According to an article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which examined breed specific dog bites that resulted in human fatalities, the authors concluded that biology and the breed of the dog alone are too narrow a focus in the search for effective solutions to the particular problem of dog bites. They recognize the responsibility and role of humans in their observations that "socialization and training" and "quality of ownership and supervision ..." are relevant human factors to be considered. They also noted that effective solutions should consider legislation that aims "... to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior." Additionally, the researchers found that "problem behaviors (of dogs and owners) have preceded attacks in a great many cases and should be sufficient evidence for preemptive action" and "targeting chronically irresponsible dog owners may be effective."
If we took a deeper look into the various problems and costs of unleashed dogs in Brattleboro, I do not doubt we would reach similar conclusions. But do we need to conduct research on what is a rather obvious problem? We must have meaningful leash laws, as well as enforcement of existing ones, in Brattleboro.
Brattleboro, June 30
Let your loved ones know how you feel
Editor of the Reformer:
As the anniversary of my father’s death approaches, and in the waning shadow of another Father’s Day, I think about my feelings a lot. I have sometimes felt guilty for not missing him more than I do. I feel strange not crying as much as I think I should have. But I have come to the conclusion that I don’t miss him more or cry as much because I have no regrets. What I mean is, there is nothing I wish I had told him.
I was fortunate to live within one mile of my parents as my father became ill. Over the last two years of his life, I could see him slowly weakening, forgetting more, sleeping more, etc. I watched him forgo trips to Atlanta to conferences, cruises with my mom, even day trips around the state. During the last year of his life, I helped him finish editing the third edition of a book he has collaborated on with many of his colleagues. I remember the day in April 2008, when the book was sent to the publishers. I was seated at the laptop and dad was dictating the thank you e-mail to all the authors. From over my shoulder, he corrected my spelling and fixed my grammar as he had done all my life. I hit the send button and watched the e-mail go. I heard dad sigh behind me and I turned around to look at him. He looked very happy, very relieved, but also very old.
It dawned on me right then that I needed to say something to him that I had wanted to say to him for years. "Dad, I want you to know how proud I am of you. I want you to know how proud I am to be your daughter." Whew, there, I had said it. One of the hardest things I have ever done, but one of the most satisfying. I say that because I wanted to make sure that he knew those two things and that he would remember them. He was "with it" at that moment and I knew that a moment like that was becoming fewer and fewer by the day.
Dad died on July 8 of 2008. I know that he is somewhere wonderful, probably Big Sur, enjoying a drink and a bottomless bag of Doritos with his best doctor pals that have already died. I know that he knows what he meant to me.
Don’t let another day go by without telling your loved ones how much they mean to you. Skype (dad wouldn’t know what that is, but would have loved it), phone or visit. If your loved one is far away, write a letter. If necessary, have someone read the letter to them so they can hear how much you care. Find the time, make the time. Do it now and save yourself years of regret.
Guilford, June 26
A retraction ...
Editor of the Reformer:
I have a retraction to make relating to my most recent letter to the editor "West B stores will be missed," June 28).
I had been told over and over that Dollar General was moving to Putney Road and leaving its location on Marlboro Road. But I stopped there today and was told that they are not moving and that they have a nine-year lease and are staying where they are.
They have my abject apologies. I am sorry that I didn’t ask them first. I’m sure I made a lot of people nervous, and for that I am truly sorry.
Brattleboro, July 3