Wednesday February 13, 2013

All that’s asked for
is a little respect

Editor of the Reformer:

As my friends and I were walking onto the Retreat Meadows on a brisk, sunny morning for a day of ice fishing, I noticed that there was an old, ratty couch on the ice a few feet out from the accesses point. My first thought was, "Are dump fees really that expensive?"

As the day went on I forgot about the couch until I walked off the ice and saw that a few of the growing number of ice skaters were sitting on this unsightly piece of trash to put their skates on. That’s when it dawned on me that somebody had left this on the ice for a dry place to prepare for ice skating. I find that more disgusting than somebody just dumping it.

People whom ice skate, canoe, kayak and hike do so for free on Vermont’s body of waters and public lands. People like me who enjoy fishing, hunting and motor boating have to pay for licenses, tags and registrations every year to do what we enjoy. Part of that money goes to maintaining access points to bodies of water like the one at the Retreat Meadows. I would bet money that as the snow falls and makes the ice unsuitable for ice skating, the couch will be forgotten about until spring time when some good Samaritan (probably a fisherman) will pick it up and bring it to the dump on their own dime. I would like to ask everybody who uses these accesses points that me and my fellow sportsman help provide to respect them as if they were their own property.


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Heath Peters,

Guilford, Feb. 8

School budget is too high; Gun laws don’t work

Editor of the Reformer:

Where is it all going to end? When every taxpayer in Rockingham is bankrupt?

The new Rockingham school budget up 5.9 percent. That is absurd. We pay the highest tax rates in the state. It has to stop, period. The voters of Rockingham must all say no to their 5.9 increase.

And to top it off, the School Board says we will feel the impact of the Bellows falls Middle school renovations. That should not have happened -- the vote was a resounding no. But, of course, the board pushed till they got another vote. That should not have happened. When are the property owners of Rockingham going come to their senses and say enough is enough and tell the school district no more taxes.

Also, in regards to Susan Burklund’s letter: I find interesting she assumes that because of Detroit and D.C.’s gun laws the criminal element has absolutely no access to firearms and uses a age old ploy by the anti crowd that they must have bought their guns in Vermont.

Have you ever heard of the black market, Susan? And do you have access to the ATF records on gun trafficking? I know full well what happened to Sara Brady’s husband and the tragic results of it and I do not blame her for her stance. But I resent being blamed for it and I know a lot of other honest law abiding people in Vermont and that’s exactly what they are doing every time they propose gun laws.

The only people gun laws affect are honest people, not the criminal element. England banned private gun ownership in 2009 and guess what: the criminals kept their guns and England’s crime rate went through the roof.

There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books and they didn’t amount to a needle in a haystack to stop that psychopath from getting his hands on the guns that his mother bought and trained him to use to teach him responsibility. She knew damn well her son was unstable. That’s no different than handing a habitual drunk the car keys.

There are state and federal laws that prevent the mentally ill and convicted felons from getting their hands on guns. Did those laws work that time?

Gary Mosher,

Saxtons River, Jan. 26

Coming full circle

Editor of the Reformer:

The Brattleboro Retreat has a rich history indeed. In the early to mid-1800s the institution had just evolved from a simple mecca sought by many. It’s premise was based on health care for all.

Its focus on the bio-psycho-social model permeated the city of Brattleboro. Inmates at the asylum, were treated to physical health care though considered controversial today, such as wet packs, and prescribed crafts. The patient newspaper can still be found at the local library. 

Today, the Retreat stands firm in its commitment to providing health care to the rich and the poor. The Retreat’s patient population comes from all over the state of Vermont.

The bio-psycho-social model is still in place. The attentive staff provide patients in the hospital with walks on the grounds. Part of the scheduled routine includes trips to the gym. Tai Chi is practiced as well. A dietician makes herself available at the patients’ request, and the food is rated highly by staff and patients alike.

Psychotherapy and daily sessions with psychiatrists are consistent and social workers are an active part of the treatment team. Patients tend to feel well cared for.

Social activity includes visits to the game room where one may engage in a round or two of pool, ping-pong, or air hockey while listening to music. One unit activity includes art therapy and music therapy.

Despite recent controversy, the Retreat has managed to remain a mental health sanctuary with the goal of providing holistic health care to all classes.

Kelley L. Murray,

Jamaica, Feb. 8

Robocall a scam?

Editor of the Reformer:

Has anyone else been inundated by robocalls that start: "If you are a senior citizen, listen carefully." They then go on to suggest that the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association want you to get their medical alert system, which they promise is free, despite being worth $290. They don’t mention that if you sign up, you’ll be billed for $29.99 a month for the service. They are also fraudulently using the name of an organization called American Senior Benefits, which says it has nothing to do with them.

The scammers will call even if you’re on the Do Not Call list. They’ll say they’ll remove you from their own list, but they don’t.

I’ve contacted the Consumer Protection Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s office, but there’s not much they can do. I don’t have Caller ID, so I couldn’t say what their number was, and they refused to give me a number or an address. People on the Internet with Caller ID say that when they call that number, they’re told it’s not available.

Maybe if the AG is swamped by people complaining about this scam, they’ll figure out how to stop it. In some states, the AG has cracked down on the group, which just changes its name, according to Internet sources.

In the meantime, anyone getting such a call should not sign up. There are legitimate businesses that offer a similar service.

If we get rid of the "If you are a senior citizen" calls, maybe we can get rid of Rachel at credit card services as well.

Gretchen Becker,

Halifax, Feb. 7