Editor of the Reformer:
There is always room for good debate on any subject. It is annoying however when the information used during debates by community members is deliberately misrepresented, misleading at best, or factually incorrect to substantiate their point of view. The proposed criminal rehabilitation center is not centrally located in the village of Bellows Falls. This project will be rehabbing a 20-year-old eyesore that looks like a bombed out building located on the confluence of the Saxtons River and the Connecticut River just below the sewer plant. All who know Winhdam County Sheriff Keith Clark and his department know he and his personnel run a progressive and well-managed law enforcement department. Our current criminal justice system is broken, unaffordable and in need of new ideas. Keith Clark and his department wish to implement a new and well vented alternative to our current unsustainable system which only increases our jail population (expensive monetarily and more importantly costly in lost human lives).
It was suggested our children would be walking within feet of the building and criminals would be walking our streets and Keith and his department would turn our community into a social pariah. This statement is misleading and uninformed at best. The Edger May Center, which is a health and indoor pool facility located in Springfield and was built with funds provided for locating the correctional facility there, could have been in Bellows Falls but there was a fear that we would be known as a jail town. Is Springfield now known as a jail town, or Keene, N.H., Rutland, Burlington, or Newport? There is unfortunately a few people in our community who like to create and promote controversy. The Rockingham Library is a good example of this form of controversy.