Saturday May 25, 2013

Almost, but not quite, there

Editor of the Reformer:

While the content of Howard Weiss-Tisman’s May 24 article about Latchis Arts’ fundraising campaign was right on the money, the headline ("Latchis Arts Reaches Fundraising Goal") paints the wrong picture.

Latchis Arts is delighted to be approaching our fundraising goal, but we have not yet reached it. Because of long lead times, funds received to date did allow us to place an order for the seats. That was an exciting day.

However, important effort is still being made to raise the final $130,000 to complete the ceiling restoration, spray stars across the sky, add safety lighting in the balcony, paint the floor, re-carpet the aisles, etc. So while there is much to celebrate, we’re still at it, and still need community support.

Whether it is $10,000 to claim a sign of the zodiac (only five left), a $5 roll of nickels, or anything in between, we need it. Donations can be made at www.latchisarts.org, by calling me at 802-254-1109, or by mail to Latchis Arts at 50 Main Street, Brattleboro. Many thanks to our supporters for helping us get so far ($420,000 is quite a feat), but please know that we are nearing, but not across, the finish line.

Gail Nunziata,

Managing Director, Latchis Arts & Latchis Corporation,

Brattleboro, May 24

Help us keep moving fourth

Editor of the Reformer:

So far, the "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth" all-volunteer citizens’ committee -- planners of the town’s annual Independence Day celebration -- has raised $10,000 of the $14,000 needed for local bands, fireworks and appropriate liability insurance and security.

Could you help us bridge the gap as we mark our community event’s 40th anniversary with a day of free family festivities this July 4?

Working with the Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department, we’re again planning a morning parade downtown and afternoon and evening program of games, concerts and fireworks at Living Memorial Park.

The 10 a.m. march along Canal and Main streets to the town Common is open to all units that agree in advance to a set of safety rules. (Parade participants can request a signup form with a full set of guidelines by e-mailing brattleborogoesfourth@gmail.com.)

Thanks to all who send a contribution to "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth," P.O. Box 1112, Brattleboro, VT 05302. This celebration has been a town tradition for four decades, and the committee appreciates your help in ensuring it continues.

Timothy O’Connor,

For the "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth" citizens’ committee, May 24

Follow the bouncing ball
to BOC

Editor of the Reformer:

Spring is here, and we would like to tell people about our wonderful community resource. The BOC Tennis community has six beautiful clay courts which are among the best in New England. They are, surrounded by maples and pines and include our rustic clubhouse with shower facilities, But the courts aren’t all we have. We offer a fun, accepting, affordable, inclusive tennis community for families, adults, and kids We have no wait list to join. There is great tennis for all ages and skill levels -- rank beginners to advanced. Our seasoned tennis pros offer clinics and lessons for kids and adults. There are scholarships available for the youth programs. Not only are we set up to accommodate the most casual of players but opportunities for competitive play abound as well, including USTA teams and intra-club competitions -- for those who want them.

Joining the BOC Tennis community is a social opportunity as well. This Memorial Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. we are hosting a tennis "mixer" where instructors arrange doubles for anyone of any age and skill level who wants to play. The mixer is complete with free food and beverages and open to the public. We have similar events on July 4th and Labor Day.

Our beautiful courts and friendly members and staff make us feel very lucky. We hope to see some new faces this year. For those of you who might like to try tennis this season, you can visit us at 202 Cedar St. or visit brattleborooutingclub.org/tennis/. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Membership fees are $190 for adults, $40 for youth, free for kids with a parent or Big Brother/Big Sister member. Contact Julia Chase, administrative assistant, at brattleborotennis@gmail.com, or committee chairman Hyam Siegel at hbs1001@gmail.com or 802-257-0691.

Hope to see you on the courts!

Jenny Burtis and Hyam Siegel

Brattleboro, May 24 Back in the day

Editor of the Reformer:

A recent editorial ("Protecting what we care about the most," May 14) got my dander up a little.

I learned to drive in a Model-A Ford. There were different controls then: a "spark advance" and "choke" and "throttle." My Dad had two As called Mr. and Mrs. Fosdick. They had distinct personalities. In winter you’d have to start Mrs. Fosdick with a hand-crank, and she kicked like a mule. Finicky Mr. Fosdick had a clothespin on the choke that had to be positioned just right. Tires would explode. We drove sitting bolt-upright, white knuckles on the wheel, peering past the steaming radiator-cap. Now we have steel-belted radials and computerized stability controls and automatic braking systems and proximity detectors. We lounge on heated cushions, cruise-control and power steering. But none of this advanced technology has improved our attention spans. More likely, it puts us to sleep.

Practice doesn’t improve anything. Practice makes permanent. We have habitual ways of driving, and we pass these along, as noted, to our kids. How do we change habits? Easy: We change the practice. Keep it simple. Try keeping both hands on the wheel, all the time.

Who needs both hands with power steering? When I was trained to drive a school bus, I was made to understand that this two-handed grip is absolutely necessary. I had thought I was a pretty good driver up till then. But driving with only one hand, I would be fiddling with something -- the radio, a snack, my phone. My posture was awful, which added to tension and fatigue. Attention wandered. But the worst thing was that all this added up to not being in complete control.

Nowadays before getting in a vehicle, I recall a demanding situation in which I had been calm and ready, and had performed well. The idea is to set the brain up for the complexities of driving. It always affects posture and attention, pulling me into the present moment. And both hands go on the steering wheel, and stay there.

And maybe we could get off "us vs. them." Statistics are useful. But before you become one, the chances of anything happening are unknowable, whether you’re a teenager or a guy who remembers inner-tubes. Looking at the world from another angle, we’ll act another way. Sometimes all it takes is a slight change in posture.

Peter Barus,

Whitingham, May 15