Friday July 26, 2013

Don’t trust
the process

Editor of the Reformer:

Many thanks to Howard Weiss-Tisman for his extensive July 19 article on the changes happening to Strand Avenue -- that once tiny and picturesque road beloved by town walkers that connects busy Western Avenue to busy Williams Street.

I hope readers looked closely at Mr. Weiss-Tisman’s photo showing the halted reconstruction replacing two retaining walls and adding a lane to the top of the road. A real, actual, bonafide second lane. Strand residents, shown only rough plans several years ago, thought their one-lane road would be "slightly" widened to 16 feet. But upper Strand will become two genuine 8-foot "minimum-width" lanes, as described by the Selectboard at its July 16 meeting. Moreover, although on final plans Strand appears 16 feet tightly flanked by new walls, the measure between such walls at the actual site is 21-and-a-half feet. What’s going on here?

A cautionary tale indeed. Residents never suspected that the concerns they voiced in early meetings with planning officials were meaningless because the Traffic Safety Committee would dictate the fate and size of their road. They never even knew the committee was involved. Nor were they told when the funds were allocated or when at other times they could have spoken up again.

There’s a moral here -- even if a show is made of including Brattleboro residents in decisions about the road they live on, they must ferret out the real steps in the process and insert themselves into each and every one. Otherwise they might end up with a road never imagined in their worst dreams, and when they complain, a town official will tell them to "trust the process" -- exactly what one official did tell Strand residents at a July 15 neighborhood meeting when they asked for a walk up to the site to explain the plans.

Don’t trust the process. It vanishes in the maze of town bureaucracy. The Strand/West Street neighborhood was always divided about keeping the road open, but no one ever asked that it become two lanes. No one on Strand or West, to my knowledge, wants two lanes now. Cars used to negotiate the one lane carefully. But when, on July 16, I asked the Selectboard to consider rebuilding the road at its original 14 feet for a host of aesthetic and safety reasons -- now that the east wall must be rebuilt again anyway with properly sized blocks -- the board said the road would go forward exactly as planned. Bureaucracy, it seems, just grinds on, despite a second chance to do what’s right for this little scenic slice of historic Vermont and all the Brattleboro residents who enjoy it.

The charm walkers loved will be lost -- if they manage to walk down the road at all. Who can walk down the steepest street in town while dodging cars that try to pass before Strand funnels down? After $314,000 of wasted taxpayer money, Strand will be ugly -- a supersized expanse of tar and concrete -- and it will also be less safe.

Ainslie Gilligan,

Brattleboro, July 22

If not for
the folks at BMH ...

Editor of the Reformer:

Jan. 2, 2010, was not any ordinary day. For me, it was the day I was on my death bed. My husband brought me in to the ER at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and there I was so ill, my chances of survival were slim to none. I had to have an emergency operation, and the outcome of that operation couldn’t be guaranteed. If I survived the first 24 hours, it was almost likely I wouldn’t survive the next 24. But, thanks to Dr. Greg Gadowski and Dr. Jon Bookwalter I am alive today to talk about it. My experience is something I’ll never forget, yet have trouble remembering everything because I was so ill. The care that was given me at the hospital, I also will never forget. The nurses on the third floor are the best. They saw me through one hell of a rough road to recovery. Along with this, I want to give a thanks to Dr. Evan Ginsberg, who at the time was given my case at Grace Cottage Hospital. The staff there too, were exceptional. If it weren’t for Dr. Ginsberg, I wouldn’t have my eyesight today. The infection I encountered from being so ill infected my entire body. Loosing the sight in one eye, and certain to lose sight in the other eye, Dr. Ginsberg never stopped. I could go on and on and on, but for those of you who know, you helped in my recovery, though some of you had doubts I’d make it. I say with all my heart: Thanks to each and every one of you for the extra time you have allotted me to spend with my loving and caring husband, and my family. You will forever be in my heart.

Jan. 2, 2010, was not any ordinary day. For me, it was the day I was on my death bed. My husband brought me in to the ER at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and there I was so ill, my chances of survival were slim to none. I had to have an emergency operation, and the outcome of that operation couldn’t be guaranteed. If I survived the first 24 hours, it was almost likely I wouldn’t survive the next 24. But, thanks to Dr. Greg Gadowski and Dr. Jon Bookwalter I am alive today to talk about it. My experience is something I’ll never forget, yet have trouble remembering everything because I was so ill. The care that was given me at the hospital, I also will never forget. The nurses on the third floor are the best. They saw me through one hell of a rough road to recovery. Along with this, I want to give a thanks to Dr. Evan Ginsberg, who at the time was given my case at Grace Cottage Hospital. The staff there too, were exceptional. If it weren’t for Dr. Ginsberg, I wouldn’t have my eyesight today. The infection I encountered from being so ill infected my entire body. Loosing the sight in one eye, and certain to lose sight in the other eye, Dr. Ginsberg never stopped. I could go on and on and on, but for those of you who know, you helped in my recovery, though some of you had doubts I’d make it. I say with all my heart: Thanks to each and every one of you for the extra time you have allotted me to spend with my loving and caring husband, and my family. You will forever be in my heart.

Rae M. Andrews,

Brattleboro, July 22 Won’t be playing ball with the Reformer much longer

Editor of the Reformer:

I’ve enclosed what will be my final renewal, unless some improvement is made in your Sports Dept. coverage. The 16-plus percent increase in price is hard enough, but sports coverage is worse, specifically the horse racing. There’s more racing than just the "Triple Crown." Belmont was not mentioned. There is considerable other racing during the year never mentioned!

H.R. Foltz