Friday March 15, 2013

River Garden
is a value to the community

Editor of the Reformer:

I was very disheartened to read the attitude in today’s editorial regarding the River Garden: "It’s time for Brattleboro to cut its losses and move on."

I commend BABB for working so hard over the years to keep it going. The River Garden has served the public with wonderful, creative and practical events over the years. But clearly, it needs more of them to sustain itself. Might a full-time booking agent be a solution? If the Garden had an aggressive, creative agent whose sole responsibility was to promote it and keep it rented it seems that the Garden could sustain itself, as well as pay this person a modest salary. The shortfall is not that much, approximately $1,000 per month. That is not an insurmountable amount of money. How do other, more expensive, function spaces stay in business?

I would hate to see the Garden sold to a private business that would turns it into office space and closes it off to the public. There is no other place downtown for the community to gather in such an open, sun-lit space with a beautiful deck overlooking the Connecticut. I’ve been to dozens of events, parties and community functions at the River Garden and the energy is always high and happy. We cannot afford to lose this unique and valuable resource.

Carol Ross,

South Newfane, Feb. 14

Visitor to area unhappy with road markings

Editor of the Reformer:

It started with a $214 traffic citation on a recent Sunday for going the wrong way on Park Place off of Putney Road. I did some research of Vermont’s Motor Vehicle Laws, Brattleboro’s town ordinances and the 760 page Federal Uniform Traffic Controls Manual before contacting the Brattleboro Town Office and the Brattleboro Police Chief Eugene Wrinn. I believe the Brattleboro police officer did not understand the state motor vehicle statutes.

My complaint is that the officer incorrectly interpreted a "merge lanes" diamond-shaped yellow warning sign as equivalent to a rectangular-shaped white regulatory one-way sign.

Being from Plainfield, N.H., I am unfamiliar with the town. I was traveling south on Putney Road when the lane ended, and was directed to make a right turn onto Park Place. I then turned my truck around to retrace my route and ending up facing a Brattleboro patrol car at the intersection. Confused by the unmarked lanes, I obeyed the officer’s motion to pull over.

I studied the state statutes and concluded that the officer didn’t understand the town’s non-compliance with Federal and state laws. I went to the State of Vermont website, looked up Title 23, Chapter 13, § 1037(b). At that point I realized I was not in violation of the statute because the jurisdiction for one-way traffic failed to erect appropriate signs giving notice. The statute reads: "The traffic committee may designate any highway or any separate roadway under its jurisdiction for one-way traffic and shall erect appropriate signs giving notice therof."

My communications with the Vermont State Police, the Brattleboro Town Manager and the local police chief have not yet resolved the complaint. Town ordinances require compliance with the federal manual, and clearly they were not in compliance.

James Hollander,

Plainfield, N.H., March 1

Scam artists continue their ploy

Editor of the Reformer:

I was reading a recent Reformer with interest and came upon a well written and informative obituary describing the life of the individual with careful thought. Included in one of the paragraphs was a detailed list of surviving relatives, names and addresses, all carefully identified. As I continued to read, my telephone rang and when I answered, "Hello," the male voice on the other end of the line said, "Hi Grandma, how are you today?" Well, I was immediately alerted because none of my grandchildren refer to me as "Grandma," but I played along and replied, "I am just fine, what are you doing?" He then said, "well, I may sound kind of funny, Grandma, because I have broken my nose in a car accident". I knew right away this was a scam call, very similar to one that my mother received shortly after my Dad passed away. I interrupted the caller by saying, "this is not my grandson, I know this is a scam" and hung up the receiver, yet after the fact, thinking of a far more detailed and clever response for this guy.

When our family was in the process of preparing my Dad’s obituary, we were very selective as to where to publish this news. At the time of his death, he lived in Albuquerque, but we decided against publishing it in the very largely circulated Albuquerque Journal for the very reason our family, as described now, has experienced. Because Dad had been a local resident of Brattleboro for most of his life, we did ask the Reformer to print it in the smaller town venue of the Reformer.

I am writing today, as I did earlier last year, after a series of phony and disturbing calls to my mother, to say that while a beautifully written, and descriptive obituary is a wonderful way to honor a loved one’s passing, this, unfortunately, has become a tool for the most unscrupulous of individuals. Imagine these folks scanning newspapers and online websites for the sole purpose to garner personal information and then to prey on the emotion and vulnerability of citizens, perhaps those named in said obituaries, such as what happened to me today, a call off guard and "out of the blue." The "big city" has arrived here in our protected nook of New England. It does not matter where you live, Brattleboro or Albuquerque, the eyes are everywhere, personal information must be protected at all costs.

Be informed, this can happen to you, too.

Susan Avery,

Brattleboro, Feb. 28