Wednesday July 31, 2013

My reflections on working for Windham Foundation

Editor of the Reformer:

I was an employee of the Windham Foundation for six years. I was the manager of the Grafton Village Nursery. We were responsible for all the plantings and landscaping on all The Foundations properties. I was "let go" because our most recent maintenance manager felt his crew could take care of the tasks that the nursery crew was responsible for. This of course was not true because I employed a crew of eight to 10 employees full time for an entire summer.

You could say that I am a frustrated ex-employee of the foundation because I believe Mr. Bob Allen is making all of his decisions based on the almighty dollar verses the mission of the foundation. Dean Mathey was a strong believer in making the landscape magnificent. This can only be accomplished by employing people who do care and I don’t believe Bob Allen cares about anything or anyone in the town of Grafton. He was hired to cut the budgets and that is exactly what he is doing. It’s very sad that he has removed the few people who did care.

Kathy and John Cray were excellent inn-keepers who were also residents of Grafton. They care and it was nice to finally see tourists coming back to Grafton to stay at the Inn. Also Adam Howard, the blacksmith, he was very knowledgeable about his work. He turned the Blacksmith shop into a working facility. Mr. Dan Normandeau was my direct supervisor, he, too, cared about the town of Grafton and the employees of the Windham Foundation.


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I still to this day have no idea why he was let go. The Grafton Village Nursery was doing well, and now the buildings sit unoccupied and falling apart. I know this would make Dean Mathey turn over in his grave. It’s very sad that a bunch of money hungry mongrels can ruin a dream one man had for the little town of Grafton.

Cheryl Fernald,

Grafton, July 28 Concerns in House’s farm bill

Editor of the Reformer:

The House farm bill contains a dangerous provision proposed by Republican Rep. Steve King that could nullify dozens of state laws created to protect animals of all types from cruelty and abuse. In addition, it threatens common-sense state laws designed to protect consumers from food safety mishaps and the environment from agriculture-related pollution.

Luckily for humans, the environment and animals alike, the Senate did not include similarly damaging language in their version of the farm bill. Also, Vermont’s Senator Leahy, who is expected to be in the conference committee that decides the bill’s fate, pledged to work to eliminate the King provision from the farm bill. I’m glad we have him in Vermont -- and Washington -- fighting to make the farm bill better for everyone.

George Adair,

Whitingham, July 30

Waiting for VY’s next shoe to drop?

Editor of the Reformer:

In the days following the July 17 meeting of the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel, we’ve learned that Entergy Nuclear may lay off 10 percent of its Vernon workforce, make current employees "re-apply" for their jobs, and that ENVY’s radiation monitors have been going off for two months.

None of this was revealed at the meeting of the state nuclear oversight panel, nor to the Public Service Board at hearings on whether ENVY should be permitted to operate for 20 more years in Vermont. Because of its history of omissions and deceptions, maybe a permanent question to Entergy Nuclear management should be, "What aren’t you telling us?"

Ed Anthes,

Dummerston, July 30

Powell resigns

Editor of the Reformer:

As of July 16, I tender my resignation from the Friends of Pisgah Council. I feel I must pursue my interests in Pisgah State Park in another venue. It has been a privilege meeting and working with our many loyal members as well as the FOP Board Members, past and present. We have come to this group for many different reasons but the bottom line is that we all share the same love of this Park.

I hope to work with Kathy Thatcher, the former Friends of Pisgah Council President, to clarify Pisgah State Park’s purposes. As the History and Education Chair for seven years, I have learned about what Pisgah was like before it became a State Park. I studied documents, maps, photographs, and artifacts. I was spell bound by the many stories shared with me by the people who worked and lived on the land and enjoyed what the space offered for recreation. I feel compelled to assure these people that the type of Park that was promised is reality.

Laurel M. Powell,

Chesterfield, N.H., July 25

Thatcher resigns

Editor of the Reformer:

It is with regret that I have tendered my resignation to the Friends of Pisgah Council. It has been an honor and wonderful experience serving as President of the FOP. It was also a great challenge learning to speak publicly, officiate at meetings, write pieces for the update and master, the tech tools to get the job done. The job could not have been done without the support and effort of all the council members. I know Pisgah is in the hands of folks who care deeply for the park and that they will continue their volunteer work in maintaining the property as they have done for so many years.

I will still be involved with the park, but in a different capacity. I must continue my pursuit of challenging the state in their claim that Pisgah State Park is a state reservation. I have reviewed a great many documents over the last few years and believe that Pisgah is, indeed, a state park, and should be managed accordingly. Because of my taking such a stand in challenging the state, it became apparent that I needed to resign from the council.

Here’s to a place we are so fortunate to have in our midst. Here’s to caring for that place for now and for those who have yet to discover Pisgah.

Kathy Thatcher,

Chesterfield, N.H., July 23

On the River Garden’s future

Editor of the Reformer:

[Editor’s note: Though a decision has since been made on the future of the River Garden, the views in this letter are still worth sharing.]

Thanks to the River Garden, the Strolling of the Heifers kickoff during Brattleboro Gallery Walk was festive in cool, rainy June twilight as a crowd gathered under the glass roof to sample tasty foods and beverages while Gov. Shumlin worked the room.

The River Garden was, that evening, and should remain, a downtown commons, which should be its name: River Commons.

Contrary to its owner’s opinion expressed publicly at the June 20 River Garden forum on downtown development, the River Garden is neither ill-advised nor a mistake: It is an uncut gem awaiting revelation of its potential.

The aftermaths of the Paramount Theatre, Wilder Building and Brooks House fires demonstrate that our resourceful and creative community of citizens and pros can solve such challenging problems.

Why does the River Garden cost so much to own and run? Energy-efficiency experts and programs can minimize costs of heating, cooling and lighting.

Resourceful and creative citizens can propose and implement financially sustainable uses capitalizing on the moves of Community College of Vermont and Vermont Technical College to the renewed Brooks House, when Downtown Brattleboro will become a college campus.

Let’s not round up the usual suspects.

Howard Fairman,

Vernon, June 21