Letter Box

Thursday October 11, 2012

Trust local Editor of the Reformer:

A recent ad from a local funeral home states "Our families serving yours since 1901." That simply is not true. Sure, that funeral home has been in Brattleboro for generations, but the firm that bought those names and the people running it are not familiar to Brattleboro. In fact, there has been a revolving door there for several years. Remember the recent embezzlement?

I know when it comes to my family, I will only trust and rely on a family owned, family operated, independent funeral home. People who grew up in Brattleboro, who send their children to our schools. People who care about our community and their families who live here.

We recently lost a hometown independent funeral director, Bernie Fleming. Bernie was from the "old school" of funeral directors. Bernie worked for the families he served. He was always putting the needs of the family ahead of the almighty "bottom line." Bernie and his dad, Joe, began servicing our family in 1961 when my grandfather passed away. I remember my dad approached Mr. Fleming after one of our many funerals to arrange to make payment for the just completed service. Mr. Fleming said "John, come in whenever you’re ready, there’s no rush." Try that with a big corporate funeral home. I remember Joe and Bernie would always take time to greet you, shake your hand and always call you by name, even just walking down Main Street. They knew their town. Rest in peace, Bernie.

So just remember, only the names on the sign have been around since 1901. The current owners of the name, a large corporation, only care about the past to promote their future. They wouldn’t stand a chance in town if the name out front said "The Keystone Group Funeral Home" or " The SCI Corporate Funeral Home," and they know it.

Think family owned, family operated, independent funeral homes.

John Nebelski,

Vernon, Sept. 27

Pointing the finger of blame

Editor of the Reformer:

Though I rent a storefront in Brattleboro, I don’t have a horse in this race: I don’t live in Brattleboro, or Windham County, or Vermont, so the conflict over a skatepark in Crowell Lot is none of my business or concern. But I have read the local news accounts almost since its beginning and have come to anticipate a level of civility that has vanished in the furor erupting over the location of a proposed skatepark.

It appears that the skatepark is going to be built within Crowell Lot come hell or high water, but this decision comes at what cost to the social fabric of the community? Is it really worth the enmity generated by the selection of the Crowell location? One wonders if Brattleboro’s much-celebrated conciliatory friendliness and charm will ever be restored -- or how it can be.

This issue, like a classical brother-against-brother struggle for dominance, could have been nipped in the bud had the Selectboard chosen to welcome free and open debate on the location and proven to everyone’s satisfaction that there was no other viable alternative site. Instead the members dug in, banned discussion, and created a committee (BASIC), which they then packed with individuals biased toward the location they wanted. Apparently they expected the thwarted opposition to surrender and fall into line, but in fact, the opposite has happened. As the issue festered the opponents organized (SOPC) and gathered data about the site’s drawbacks and the very problematic selection process, and now, for their part, have dug in, too.

So, looking back over the sorry months expended on the thrust-and-parry over this site selection, it’s important to determine who is to blame. It isn’t BASIC, it isn’t SOPC -- it’s the Selectboard. Three members have terms expiring next spring; whether the incumbents run again or new candidates come forward there are some questions to ask the candidates. How -- and at what point -- would they have voted differently, in order to avoid the present donnybrook? How will they find reconciling common ground to heal these wounds to the community? And finally, how, looking to the future, will they take the personal responsibility to see to it that this lapse in democratic leadership never happens in Brattleboro again?

Danna D’Esopo

Bloomington, Ind. Oct. 1

The lucky and the not
so lucky

Editor of the Reformer:

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. At least that’s what Mitt Romney wants. What does he care? He’ll never have to worry about where his next meal comes from. He won’t be cold in the winter, or homeless because he can’t find affordable housing.

He doesn’t have to worry about having to have a child because of no Planned Parenthood to provide counseling or birth control. He won’t have to worry about unwanted children due to rape or incest.

He doesn’t have to worry about losing money because he’s elderly or disabled and depending on Social Security. Lucky him.

Unfortunately, too many of us are not that lucky. We fall into the middle to poverty levels. The ones he wants to hurt the worst. Small businesses will be taxed so much they will have to close. Leaving more unemployed, homeless, uneducated Americans. Our children won’t be able to get funding for college and the parents won’t be able to "lend" them the money they will need for an education.

He wants seniors to lose thousands a year. Money they already don’t have.

It is no wonder there is so much "depression" and suicides, crimes, etc. People are fearful of how they and their families are going to "make it."

My husband and I are both disabled and with so many "cuts" we are living on less than before Social Security gave the increase in January. We are not looking for handouts, but after working for so many years we would just like to be able to live and raise our nephew.

People may not like President Obama, but do you really want Mitt Romney taking away what little you have? I’m sure the rich won’t mind, but if you are not that fortunate be very careful how you vote. Just listen and be very clear what we will lose.

I, for one, am very concerned about the future of my family and friends.

I almost forgot, some of the most important people are going to be hurt by him. Our veterans, men and women who fought so he is free. Now he wants to rob them too. How is this right?

Dorothy Parker

Bellows Falls, Oct. 2

Our sincere apologies

Editor of the Reformer:

Vera Harrington had a lovely 101st birthday on Oct. 8. Some people stopped in to wish her well. Unfortunately, many people didn’t know about it as we had made plans to have it announced in the Reformer on Oct. 6, paid for it and were promised that it would run. That didn’t happen. Then we thought it might appear on Oct. 8. Again, it didn’t happen. We were very disappointed in the Reformer. Obviously they don’t keep their word. Will we dare to put it in the paper next year when she celebrates her 102nd birthday?

Bruce Harrington,

Newfane, Oct. 10

Editor’s note: The Reformer apologizes to the Harrington family for the failure to print the paid notice. The Reformer has reimbursed Mr. Harrington.


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