What’s become of the Townshend Dam?!

Editor of the Reformer:

I have been a resident of Townshend for 51 years and I would like to let people in our government in on something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Have you in the last two years been up to the Townshend Dam? If the answer is yes, then you know what I am about to say. If not, let me fill you in.

I grew up here in Townshend and the Townshend Dam is where I learned to swim, taking swimming lessons there every summer when I was a kid. I remember going there and the place was so crowded it was hard to find a place to park. I have a lot of good memories of spending summer days there.

I invite all you to take a ride up to the dam and take a look at the beach and boating area. It is a crying shame as to what it has become. My family used to fish at the dam only a few years ago, but I would not dare eat anything out of there today, if there is anything in there at all.

The federal government has been paying the same taxes to Townshend since it built the dam in the late 1950 and ‘60s; what a deal they are getting. Massachusetts and Connecticut, who we save every time we get major flooding, do not feel that they need to pay their agreed upon payment any more. This is not right. In short, we are getting screwed. It is time that our state and local politicians to do something about this.

This dam is in our backyard. It used to be a real nice place to enjoy spending time at.


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In the last few years it has gotten real bad and is more like a cesspool rather than a recreation area. It has filled in so bad it is hard to believe anything can live in it; you can basically walk across it because it is so filled in. They cleaned out a tiny part for the swimming area but that was not even a small part of what needs to be done at the dam. Please take a ride up and take a look. Bring a kayak or canoe and you will really know what I am talking about. Please do not just read this and say "OK, I will sometime." Seriously, go take a look.

Michael Meyer,

Townshend, Aug. 1

Think about the children

Editor of the Reformer:

There are some points in your editorial ("Blood on our hands," Aug. 2) with which we can agree. Hamas is despicable for hiding behind children while lobbing rockets at Israel and it is time for this to end.

Iran, Qatar and Turkey are the only countries actively supporting Hamas in this conflict. Egypt, the Arab League and most of the other Arab countries have kept a low profile. They acknowledge that the loss of Palestinian civilian life is largely due to Hamas and its tactics.

The deaths of children are firmly in the spotlight -- and rightly so. It pains all reasonable people to hear of children dying as the consequence of war. Hamas and its supporters display gruesome pictures of dead and wounded children in order to gain sympathy for their portrait of Israel as the villain intent on killing Palestinians.

Israel cites the need to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets at its own children, who are being forced to live in bomb shelters, as well as the need to eliminate the tunnels that Hamas dug into Israel in order to carry out terror attacks against Israelis. Hamas built these tunnels using some of the same children who are now trapped under fire in Gaza. In 2012, the Institute for Palestine Studies reported that at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials. The author, Nicolas Pelham, explains that Hamas uses child laborers to build their terror tunnels because, "much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies."

Not only has Hamas misappropriated much of the humanitarian aid supplied to Gaza -- 800,000 tons of cement that could have been used for building homes, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and libraries were used to construct the terror tunnels into Israel -- they are also directly exploiting and endangering Gaza’s youth in their construction and operation.

Hamas, while digging bunkers for their leaders and tunnels to attack Israel at a huge cost, gave their civilian population no shelters. And, Hamas fires missiles from populated areas and stores their missiles in schools (including UNRWA schools) and mosques. The network of tunnels indicates that Hamas had been preparing for an ongoing conflict for at least a year.

Professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in a recent opinion piece, "When Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, it left behind farm equipment and other material capable of feeding the population. But instead the leaders of Gaza enriched themselves and used the remaining resources to build rockets instead of plowshares."

According to British Colonel Richard Kemp, "Hamas’ sickening exploitation of their own people’s suffering, and media’s complicity in it, is demonstrated in the operating theaters of the Gaza Strip. Without the slightest regard for life-saving hygiene, or for the care, privacy or dignity of the wounded, Palestinian officials enthusiastically hustle camera crews in to the emergency room as desperate surgeons battle for a bleeding and broken child’s life."

Only after Hamas recognizes Israel can there be peace.

Martin Cohn,

Newfane, Aug. 4

Water-cooler diplomacy

Editor of the Reformer:

I liked the forced integration in the 1950s and 60s because it had a jarring affect on American consciousness. Segregation was outlawed, and integration became the rule of the land. And that watershed moment is a mighty and essential part of what changed our country for the better. Integration-by-law had and has a widespread effect on changing attitudes to this day.

No matter what blacks and whites thought of each other, the lawmakers gave them a way to violate their own bias behavior. Many Americans immediately became aware of how their thinking was changing. What the Lincolnesque 1964 Civil Rights Act elementally did was take starkly dissimilar peoples and said, "Yes, you must be allowed to drink from the same fountain."

What we need is not solutions or agreements to the Israeli-Hamas type world problems. We need water-cooler diplomacy. We need the chance to talk face-to-face. We can reach agreement amongst us, one at a time or in small groups, but we usually face agreements and disagreements better when we have to look each other in the eyes. It’s there where we find our real similarities. Establish a water-cooler zone. Yes, instead of an iron dome, the Israeli-Hamas should build a water-cooler zone.

Mr.Netanyahu, tear down this damn Iron Dome, and build a water-cooler zone.

Vidda Crochetta,

Brattleboro, Aug. 2

Snow White, dwarfs sought!

Editor of the Reformer:

To the person who stole Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from our yard on South Road. We have had them for 20 years and we want them back under the tree. Please bring them back no questions asked (802-254-2197).

The Whitneys,

Marlboro, Aug. 6