Tuesday June 4, 2013

Flag of my father (and many other fathers, too)

Editor of the Reformer:

I have had many positive memories of my Pop, Angelo Tudda. Some traditional, like throwing the ball around or learning how to ride a bike. Yet one in particular seemed to strike me differently. His love and respect for the American Flag.

Serving as a clerk in the Army, stationed in Germany during the Korean Conflict, he never saw combat. So there was never a need to make up some wild story about his service, that wasn’t something he was about. Raising and lowering the flag was something he looked forward to doing.

Myself I served in the Navy on board the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), as a clerk. My favorite job was the color detail. Duties included dressing up in our cracker jack blues or ice cream whites and lowering the flag as the bugle played. It was incredible.

While participating in the local Brattleboro Fourth of July parade, I got to walk underneath the two Fire Department Ladder Trucks with the huge American Flags. Against the back drop of a clear blue sky, it was awesome.

Yet lately as I stroll the streets of our wonderful community of Brattleboro, Old Glory seems to be a sight less seen. Businesses and residences alike don’t seem to be adorned with the Stars and Stripes. Not all, but enough.

I am proposing a friendly and patriotic challenge to this wonderful community of ours. Go to Brown and Roberts, Fireside True Value, Bakers Hallmark or any of our fine Brattleboro businesses and pick yourself up a brand spanking new American flag.

Fly it proudly, no political speeches and no promises. Just enjoy that flag as it waves against our beautiful Brattleboro backdrop.

"Sure I wave the American Flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? I’m not ashamed of that. Never have been, never will be." -- John Wayne

Michael W. Tudda, USN,

Brattleboro, May 23

Steps needed to improve climate for our teachers

Editor of the Reformer:

I am writing because of my concern over the current climate in some of the elementary schools in the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. Teaching positions are being eliminated, in part because of the cutbacks in educational funding. It’s the way in which this is being handled that troubles me -- a lack of respect and appreciation being shown for long years of service and commitment on the part of local teachers. Which brings me to the larger issue of fear and intimidation.

Because of the federal pressure of testing and the threat of becoming a "failing" school, diversity of opinion is becoming devalued and discouraged. Teachers are becoming afraid to speak up, both because of harassment on the job and because of the fear of losing their jobs. When critical thinking and creativity are inhibited it takes a toll on the school experience for children.

Having taught in this district for over 30 years and having served on a town board for 13, I know this district has many dedicated and outstanding educators and administrators. Many fine things are happening for children. I am wondering what steps can be taken to improve the climate for teachers.

Anne Fines,

Putney, May 22

Town borrowing too much without a payback

Editor of the Reformer:

First, I’d like to say shame on you Brattleboro Reformer. Oklahoma has had the worse tornado in history yet nothing in the Reformer? That is more of a story than Ricco being re-elected to Bellows Falls. [Ed: We dedicated a full page -- Page 2, May 22 -- to the destruction caused by the Oklahoma tornado.]

Second, The Police/Fire bond issue. The Selectboard has a funny way of trying to sugar coat things, don’t they? If the town borrows money for a project and pays it all back, then borrows again, I wouldn’t see a problem. But what I see here is they sugar coated the bond for the transportation center, got it passed, and saddled the tax payers with an un-wanted burden. Then they approved a big bond for the high school, yet saddling the tax payers with yet another burden; then they approve to borrow money for the waste water project; and now they are going to saddle the tax payers of Brattleboro with yet another un wanted burden.

The issue is none of the borrowed money was paid back before they borrowed again. Just how much money is the tax payers of Brattleboro on the hook for? And you can take this to the bank, write it on your calendar because they aren’t through. They will find another un-wanted project before this bond is re-paid and shove that down our throats as well.

The former Kipling theater would have been a perfect spot for the Police/Fire stations. Are you sure George Bush isn’t running this town? If I take out a loan, the banks aren’t going to loan me more without first re-paying the existing loan, and the town shouldn’t neither. Smarten up, Brattleboro Selectboard members and manager.

Roger L. Andrews,

Brattleboro, May 23

Violence a reflection
on society

Editor of the Reformer:

On May 21, the Putney Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends approved the following Minute on Gun Violence to be sent to our legislators:

Live in "the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion for all wars." George Fox (July 1624 - Jan. 13, 1691), a founder of the Religious Society of Friends.

This applies to all violence. Violence is a reflection of the ills of society.

We challenge you, our legislators, to look at the depth of this issue so you can address the heart of the matter.

Carol Forsythe,

presiding clerk,

Putney Friends Meeting,

Putney, May 24

Who should pay?

Editor of the Reformer:

I would like for you to broach the subject of cessation of all sports that incur costs to the taxpayers of Westminster and have those sports groups seek funding elsewhere.

Also, it would be nice if taxpayers could call in while town meetings are in progress.

Christian Blake,

Westminster, May 21