Wednesday May 1, 2013

Does the time
(and cost) match the crime?

Editor of the Reformer:

Pettiness comes cheap in small towns. Jail time, unfortunately, does not. Such is the case of one Amanda Krause, who I am told stole "wallets and a purse." Deputy State’s Attorney David Gartenstein, speaking without a whiff of irony, decides that that is worth six to 16 months in prison.

Those of us who have devoted any time to studying the legal system know that the prosecutorial profession is rife with misconduct; it should then necessarily be the case that it attracts people who hold power close and keep reason at a distance.

Certainly, consideration of any of the fiscal costs associated with jail time seem to have been defenestrated with impunity. Housing of prisoners costs us a minimum of $30,000 per year. As a result, six months in prison will far exceed the expense of any of the things that Krause stole. Gartenstein’s blithe ignorance of this fact is not only indicative of a severely limited capacity for critical thinking, but also of a Bush-like treatment of public funds: If he wants to waste our money, that’s his prerogative.

It shouldn’t be.

Matthew Cook,

Brattleboro, April 29

Helping those who serve our country

Editor of the Reformer:

As a professor of Spanish Language and Literatures at Marlboro College, I often work with students who have served in the armed forces in various capacities. These young men are drawn to Marlboro College because of its individual attention and its sense of community. They report, that after several failed attempts to complete their education, only Marlboro College has made them feel home.

These are strong young men, wise beyond their years. Since there is no draft, they were lured by wanderlust and the promise of an education that otherwise would not have been possible within their economic backgrounds. But when they come back they face many hurdles. Chief among them is our inability to relate our day-to-day comfortable experience with theirs: our indifference to their humanity and service. They are also confronted with the added pressure of expiring education benefits at a time they are needed the most.

Precisely because of these issues, the college invited Cynthia Enloe on April 15 to speak about "Women Soldiers in Combat." When I think about the idea of lifting the ban on women in combat as some sort of egalitarian maneuver, an alarm goes off in my head. First, to the extent that women’s lives have been placed in harm’s way, women have always served in the military. Second, how are we going to respond to their needs if we cannot adequately respond to the needs of those young men and women who have already returned?

Rosario M. de Swanson,

Marlboro, April 29

Let’s get ready
to recycle!

Editor of the Reformer:

Over 700 households have signed up for Brattleboro’s upcoming curbside compost program.

Distribution of curbside carts and kitchen containers will be held at the Nelson E. Withington Ice Rink at Memorial Park Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those who wish to participate, but have not signed up, are welcome. All participants must currently have their trash and recycling picked up by the town. Those living in buildings with five or more units cannot participate -- they should speak with their landlord about recycling and composting options.

Two different sizes of curbside carts will be available -- each has wheels and a lockable lid. A nominal fee will be charged. The 13-gallon cart ($7) is suitable for households with up to four members. The 21-gallon cart ($10) will work for families with five or more members. A limited supply of 32-gallon carts ($15) is available for two or more households who would like to share a cart. They should have more than 7 members combined for this larger cart.

Participants are not required to purchase town-provided containers and may use their own. Curbside containers must be rigid and have a tight fitting lid that is easy for the driver to open or remove. Round stickers will be available to identify owner-provided curbside compost containers ($0.50 each).

Kitchen containers will also be available for a $3 charge. The container offered is a "Max Air" made by BioBag USA. It is designed to be used, and must be used, with a compostable bag (BPI or ASTM D6400 certified). A roll of 25 bags will be included with each container.

Informational pamphlets and fliers will be available.

Cash or checks made out to Town of Brattleboro will be accepted. Sorry, we are not able to accept credit or debit cards.

Questions? Email brattleborocompost@comcast.net, call Moss Kahler, Brattleboro Recycling Coordinator at 257-445 or call the Town at 251-8103.

Moss Kahler,

Brattleboro, April 26