Thursday January 3, 2013

Hinsdale after-school program in jeopardy?

Editor of the Reformer:

As a resident of Hinsdale, N.H., and a parent, I believe people need to know that one of the subjects coming up at school board meetings is the Hinsdale After School Program (HASP). The grant that is used to run that program is up for renewal this June and the school is trying to figure out how to maintain the program because it is so vital to our community and to our children. It has been suggested that it be turned into a fee-based program. This is where the program would be solely run on fees paid by the people who use the program for their children. When numbers were run to try and figure out how much this would cost people whose children use the program the number was (if using the before and after school program) $70 a day for each child based on a $90,000 budget.

So realizing that in our area not many people could afford to pay that kind of fee for their child and the fact that the program is there to support and enhance our children’s education, the school is suggesting that the program go into the school budget as a line item in order to show their support for the program and ensure the program continues. If it gets submitted to our Town Meeting in the spring as a warrant article (and doesn’t get submitted as part of the school budget) and fails then the program can no longer exist period.

In the school budget the thought is that it would still cost the user a fee based on his or her lunch program but that the school could budget the program to cover what the grant did in the past. Keep in mind they are applying for the grant again in the June and hopefully we get it. If this happens then the money from the school budget that is set aside goes back to the tax payers. Putting it as part of the school budget helps keep fees low enough to where most parents could utilize the program in case we don’t get the grant.

This program is vital to our community. There are many studies about the long-term benefit of after-school programs and HASP gives them a place to go so they don’t get in trouble and parents know they are safe.

It’s a needed program and if they don’t get this grant we would want the program to continue regardless. At the January School Board meeting on Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the district offices behind the high school I would like to ask you to join us to show your support of the HASP program. Would you be willing to say a few words in support of the program at the meeting? Write a letter to the Reformer to really express what a good program it is and how vital it is for our children?

As a community we need to be behind the students at Hinsdale Elementary School and Middle School who use this program.

April Anderson,

Hinsdale, N.H., Dec. 30

We must limit access
to assault weapons

Editor of the Reformer:

I didn’t need to drive through Newtown, Conn., this week en route to visiting family in New York to be reminded of its recent tragedies. Every new day brings troubled thoughts of the horror, but seeing the makeshift memorials along the highway brought home the reality of unfinished lives and a community ravaged by grief. It could so easily have been Guilford, Putney, or Vernon, instead of Newtown.

We may not be able to prevent every senseless gun-related massacre, but we must take steps to reduce their probability by banning assault weapons and multiple ammunition clips like the ones used in Newtown and Webster, N.Y., to kill firemen responding to arson. This isn’t about limiting hunting and taking away people’s guns. It’s not a first step toward a gun-free America (as much as some may think that’s a good idea), but we need to restrict access to weapons that have no legitimate purpose in civilian life.

The saying "Guns don’t kill people. People kill people," is specious: People with guns kill people, and people with assault weapons kill even more people. Assault weapons exist only to wreak carnage: they are indeed "weapons of mass destruction." The NRA’s offer to put more guns into schools is unlikely to save lives. It is well established that having a gun at home greatly increases a gun-owner’s risk of murder or suicide by their own weapons. There’s no reason to believe more guns in schools won’t also multiply gun deaths and injuries, accidental or deliberate.

As we make our resolutions for 2013 I hope ordinary Americans can talk civilly but urgently about finding ways to limit access to assault weapons, so that next year at this time we aren’t mourning the unfinished lives of 26 more innocents.

Linda Hecker,

Guilford, Dec. 31

Quite the list ...

Editor of the Reformer:

Now that all the year-end best and worst lists are coming out, here are my favorite Reformerisms of the year (and I’m not even going to mention the recent "Let Is Snow" headline). My favorites generally require more than typos -- I look for errors with some personality. Most of these would get by the spell checker, and they somehow managed to escape the editor’s eye as well. So here goes:

April 25 editorial: "... the teens left behind the chard remains of several vehicles" (these kids today just won’t eat their salads).

May 4 article on the Best of New England designation awarded to Sticky Fingers Bakery: "(The owners) merely received a plague and letter in the mail from Yankee Magazine" (be careful what you wish for).

May 30 Fish column: "(W)e can’t keep beatifying with murals" (where’s the Pope when we really need him?).

July 5: "Strolling of the Heffers" (one I’d like to see, if I knew what it meant).

July 24: Page One article on Newfane church expansion: "We desperately needed to improve our handy-capable access."

Sept. 12 Fish column: "JFK braisingly told the world that ... we’d put a man on the moon" (inspired by his Kitchen Cabinet, no doubt).

Dec. 15: "... the state Supreme Court agreed in a spit decision" (again, one I’d like to see).

Looking forward to another great year in 2013.

Michael J. Hertz,

Brattleboro, Jan. 2

Editor’s note: Our No. 1 resolution for the new year is to do better in this regard. Thank you very much for this letter.

Kudos to dog feature

Editor of the Reformer:

Congratulations to Becky Karush for her "A dog’s job" (Dec. 29-30). This is a superb piece of writing with a wonderful insight into the inner life of dogs. My new dog listened with great interest when I read Becky’s story to him.

Reto Pieth,

Grafton, Jan. 2