Letter Box

Thursday April 19, 2012

Dialogue, as opposed
to silence

Editor of the Reformer:

While I am not opposed to the Day of Silence as one way to stop bullying, its message needs to be counter-balanced with a Day of Dialogue.

As opposed to a Day of Silence, a Day of Dialogue gives students an opportunity to share their experiences and convictions while keeping their parents engaged in the discussion at the same time.

The Day of Dialogue is set for April 19, which is the day preceding the Day of Silence.

Different groups are putting out a partial perception of the issues involved, and if you don’t take a look at both sides, you’re not getting the full story.

If you are opposed to the Day of Silence, visit doswalkout.net for more information. Or you can visit dayofdialogue.com and show some real compassion and concern for all the youth in our schools.

Dave Garrecht,

Guilford, April 16

More on dog
shooting incident

Editor of the Reformer:

I was disappointed to see your report of the shooting at Green Street School ("Brattleboro police release results of dog shooting investigation," April 14-15).

The day after the shooting, I spoke with a person who was present at the time, who relayed what happened to her, still visibly distressed. Here’s what I heard: The dog appeared at the school playground by walking in and then sat at the edge of the area on a small rise, watching the group using the playground. As relayed to me, the dog was not acting erratic. This is not, as you quote the officers, "dying on the ground."

One of the adults went to tell the officers where the dog was. When she arrived at the Crowell Lot, the officers weren’t there. She returned to the playground by the path. While walking down she heard a shot and the dog yelping. She continued and saw the dog crawling and bleeding. As it was relayed to me, the woman saw the officer with a rifle trained on the dog. She was close enough to the dog that she was afraid she was in the line of fire. The officer made no indication he saw her.

The statement in the article "and the officers arrived shortly thereafter Š and drew their guns" sounds benign, but as told to me the officers arrived at the playground, one with a rifle at his side. It was then that the adults began to herd the children off the playground, anticipating what was about to happen. Drawing their guns sounds like they had handguns in their holsters and took them out when they saw the dog. This is not what was witnessed. These officers were looking for this dog to shoot it -- not with a tranquilizer gun, but with a rifle. On a school playground. During a week day with children and teachers in the building. Without notifying the principal.

First Woody, then shocking people in a vacant lot when using bolt cutters would have worked, and now this. Isabel contacted the Reformer because she felt the police chief was dismissive of her concerns. The Reformer’s response was that they’d interview her and run a story. She waited over a week before calling back. We know now why the Reformer waited: to get the police report. That’s the story you ran, not a citizen’s concern for the way this situation was handled, that a woman was possibly endangered by a police officer, that school officials weren’t notified officers were outside with a rifle, and that four children heard a dog shot on their school’s playground.

I find it hard to believe that the officers "used their years of training and experience" in this situation. What I see is officers showing poor judgment, a police chief more concerned with protecting the reputation of his police department than with the safety of people in this community, and Barbara Sontag and the Reformer playing a support role to Chief Wrinn.

There needs to be an impartial and thorough investigation into this incident.

Ann Wright,

Brattleboro, April 16

Celebrating our
local children

Editor of the Reformer:

As our small town becomes connected through the many forms of media to the larger world around, so do the young children in our community. Today we know more than ever before about the importance of children’s earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.

In Brattleboro during the month of April, we celebrate the abilities of our community’s youngest citizens and recognize that children’s opportunities are our responsibilities. With the belief that early years are learning years, we need to assure that children experience learning whether at home, at child care, at school or in the community. We need to embrace the abilities of our young children and allow opportunities to explore the world around.

The Month of the Young Child celebration offers free activities all month for young children and their families. Look for the brochures and posters in town to find what’s happening including music, story telling, a tea party and more, or go to www.windhamchildcare.org for more information. We look forward to your participation.

Gretchen Horton,

director, Brattleboro Centre

for Children, April 10

Real affordable health care

Editor of the Reformer:

Many Vermonters have expressed concerns about the transitional "health care exchange" process. It is important to keep in mind that this is not part of the single-payer system being developed by the Green Mountain Care Board.

Under the benefits plan described by the GMC Board all Vermonters will have a simpler, more coordinated, incentive-driven healthcare system. Compensation for providers will be value-based -- they get paid to improve patient outcomes at the most reasonable cost.

The benefits plan widens benefits beyond clinical care into a system-wide approach. This includes prevention and public education. It incorporates Community Wellness Teams to help support patients and families by coordinating care and services, managing cases, and helping people manage their own care. Patients who have avoidable complications won’t "fall through the cracks" of the system in the area between primary and specialized care. The issue of "generous" insurance policies for some Vermonters and not others will be meaningless. This rational approach will mean every Vermonter will receive the care and support we all need.

This will reduce waste in the system from things like poor access and coordination of care, over-treatment, excessive use of some medications (antibiotics), and even the unwanted use of intensive care in the last few days of life.

All of this should have been incorporated into the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but the lobbyists for those few who make huge profits from the current failed system prevented it from happening. Vermonters are too smart to let that happen here.

David Schoales,

Brattleboro, April 10


Editor of the Reformer:

What would you do if the telephone rang, you said "hello" and the caller frantically claimed to be your grandson; that he was in trouble, in jail and needed your help? This recently happened in my family and my mother had the good presence of mind to simply hang up the telephone.

The media, in recent months has focused more attention on people, the elderly population in particular, who have fallen prey to telephone scams. Obviously, what happened to my mother was one example of an attempt to extort money from an unsuspecting person; fortunately, in this case, not a victim. It is important to say that we believe the caller most likely gained personal information from the recent obituary of my father that was posted in the Brattleboro Reformer.

My dad lived in Albuquerque yet, as a family, we decided against publishing this information in the Albuquerque Journal, opting rather for the smaller "protected" hometown venue here in Vermont. Isn’t it unfortunate, but now more evident to me, no matter where you are, the eyes of the unscrupulous are watching. Please take heed and be informed .... this can happen to you.

Susan Avery,

Brattleboro, April 15


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