Remembering Irene; Official’s effort saved vital documents
Editor of the Reformer:
As we in the Deerfield Valley are edging closer to the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, I want to remind us all of how close we came to legal and historical disaster in Wilmington. We would have had in the future no birth, death, or marriage certificate records, no deed transfer records, survey maps and no written historical notation of the town’s 261 year trajectory had Susie Haughwout, our town clerk, not had the prescience to check on her downtown offices at 8 a.m. on that miserable Sunday morning.
Rallying Pat Johnson, Larry Nutting, Jim Burke and Ann Manwaring to rescue our town records, the five of them piled the volumes, maps and ledgers on the rolling office chairs, ferried them to the elevator and up to the upstairs meeting room, trip after trip for two hours, until it was no longer safe to stay in the building. It boggles the mind to think how crippled the town would have been if those documents had been lost or damaged (the deed to my newly purchased house went down the river with my lawyer’s office, so I had a small taste of those consequences). When you run into any of those five people downtown this month, be sure to thank them for their contribution to our town’s continuity.
Wilmington, Aug. 6
Safe Chemicals Act
a step in the
Editor of the Reformer:
Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders did something for Vermonters that deserves our thanks.
On July 25, the Environment and Public Works Committee of the U.S. Senate, on which he sits, passed the Safe Chemicals Act. For the first time in 36 years, the country is finally moving forward to provide meaningful protection to its residents from unnecessary toxic chemicals.
Senator Sanders voted for the Safe Chemicals Act and hopefully it will move swiftly to the floor of the Senate for a full vote by members. Some in Congress would like to pull up stakes and do nothing else useful for the rest of 2012, but I think Americans not only deserve to know how their incumbent Senators will vote on the Safe Chemicals Act, but are also damned interested to find out where they stand before November.
I am a wife and mother of two kids and run a small non-profit business. I care about chemical exposures and how they negatively impact health, especially children’s health. Finding affordable healthcare for my employees and their families, who are dispersed around the northeast, is getting nearly impossible. At the same time, diseases linked to chemical exposures are on the rise: various cancers, learning and developmental disabilities, infertility, thyroid and bowel disease, delayed time to pregnancy, etc. Ask if anyone in a crowded room has or knows someone with one or more of these conditions and virtually every hand in the room goes up. Each of us needs good medical coverage to be prepared for what might happen and yet it is also true that prevention is the best medicine. So let’s work to get people quality, affordable health care and at the same time stop the reckless production, distribution and disposal of dangerous, toxic chemicals.
We need our representatives in Washington to stand up for our health over the deep pockets of big chemical corporations and answer the question of whether they are for or against the Safe Chemicals Act. We deserve to know what side our elected leaders are on. I am very happy to report that both our Vermont senators, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, are co-sponsors of the Safe Chemicals Act. Thank you, Senators.
Marlboro, July 31
Arts collaboration could exceed our expectations
Editor of the Reformer:
It is with awe and pride that I am compelled to applaud the recent announcement in our newspaper, regarding the National Endowment for the Arts grant, funding the collaborative efforts of the Brattleboro Town Arts Committee and the Community of Brattleboro itself.
For the past many years the NEA has experienced numerous cuts to an ever shrinking budget and has struggled to sustain the funding of organizations it has nourished for many years and who count on that funding for their very existence.
Given that context, it is nothing short of a miracle that a team presenting its first grant proposal for funding a collaborative project with small town the size of Brattleboro, should be extended such a large and affirming award. It appears to be a visionary proposal to coordinate the initial strategic planning regarding the future growth of the arts in the region in collaboration with the goals and aspirations of the community it serves. The arts have always led the way in urban renewal, facility repurposing, attracting tourist resources by making the arts in Brattleboro and arts destination and the expansion and utilization of already impressive local artistic resources.
High praise must be extended to those who have worked so hard to make this happen: Kate Anderson, Brattleboro Town Arts Community chair; Zon Eastes, representative of the Arts Council of Windham County; and Rod Francis, Brattleboro Planning director. Kudos and salutations for the visionary work this committee has initiated.
Now the real work must begin. Let us and those of this community be so inspired and supportive of this initiative, that we respond to and nourish one of the most visionary and promising projects outlined for our region in an effort to inspire this community’s growth, attract-ability of desired resources and future course we chart within our great state of Vermont. Believe it or not, it can and will exceed our expectations if we nourish the vision outlined in the grant proposal so richly rewarded with this sizable grant.
Robert Sinclair Galbraith,
Brattleboro, Aug. 1
a life changer
Editor of Reformer:
Emotionally moving, fun, humorous, serious, heart wrenching -- how can I describe the performance of "Godspell" at the New England Youth Theater last month? As an old clown and kids opened the show I wondered if I would stay awake. Returning late from intermission I watched the remainder of the show from stage level center aisle. As each youth poured her/his heart into their parts big and bit I asked the clown beside me, "Are you the director?" With tears running down my face I said, "Oh my God, what a show!" and hugged him.
Broadway acting cannot be as inspiring as these kids. I understand these performances are often life changing for the youth. It was for some of us audience.
David P. Terrell,
a visiting Buckeye,
Ohio, July 18