Letter box


Tisk, tisk Reformer

Editor of the Reformer:

Your headline regarding the event in Bellows Falls to call attention to "illegal" elephant poaching (isn’t poaching illegal by definition?) in Kenya ("Tisk Tisk," April 19) was flippant, a dumb joke, and trivializing.

Also, while "Isac" (sic) Dinesen may be "expected" to conduct a reading of her book at this event, it would be a pretty impressive feat, as she has been dead since 1962.

Heidi S. Mario,

Brattleboro, April 21

Unprecedented times require new thinking

Editor of the Reformer:

The proposed budget has been rejected by the voters of the town. It was a statement that there is a need to pause and take stock of where we are and where we want to go.

The people of Brattleboro are not unaware, unsympathetic nor unconcerned about the health and safety issues of our police and fire personnel. Police and fire personnel are not just employees. They are neighbors, friends and family members. No more or less than every citizen, they are threads in the fabric of our community.

At the same time, the lives of many people are burdened with problems and worries that are increasingly inescapable and unmanageable. These are very difficult and seemingly intractable problems around basic issues of paying rent and mortgages, diet, employment, health care and debt that can rise to debilitating levels.

It’s important to have an accurate assessment of the reasons the budget was defeated. To be sure a number of issues should jump to the fore but it is not so obvious how they should be ranked in importance. The success of the strategy and steps that must follow will likely depend on the quality of the analysis. Although the Selectboard does not have the luxury of a leisurely timeline it should be wary of racing to conclusions, being too insular in its approach or overly confident about its assumptions. Some factors may not be noticed. Others may be mistakenly disregarded. The notions of inclusiveness and exclusiveness should be among the standards by which decisions are assessed.

One letter writer characterizes recent events as the perfect storm. It’s doubtful but one can’t be certain it’s wrong. If not the perfect storm we are at least feeling the wind picking up and that sudden drop in temperature. The difficult situation we are in should not be underappreciated. The recent series of votes are pulling us in different directions. Our social contract, the Town Charter, seems inadequate and is being deeply questioned. We are in a trying and complex situation that cries out for leadership to break free from the confines of tradition and business as usual.

One could offer here an extensive list of possible and reasonable strategies to consider. There are scores of substantially different approaches to the police/fire project alone. These ideas, whether narrowly limited to the project or part of a more comprehensive and longer term strategy, will most effectively to be brought forward in a process in which all ideas emerge in an environment of respect and validity. Planning should not be a contest to win. It is a process of consensus.

We are in unprecedented times with an unimaginable future. The path that will bring us out of our current troubles will have to be lined with patience, humility, courage and above all faith that we can find our community. We’ll get by with a little help from our friends. We have to. We are all in this together.

Spoon Agave,

Brattleboro, April 21

Help me, Vermont

Editor of the Reformer:

Hi! My name is Justine. I am a fifth-grade student at Harlan Intermediate School in Harlan, Iowa. My class is studying the history and geography of the United States. I am very excited that I got Vermont. I would really appreciate it if you would send me pictures of your beautiful state, food products and a souvenir. My teacher would also like a license plate from Vermont if possible for a project she is working on. Send to: Justine B., Mrs. Newlin’s S.S. Class, Harlan Intermediate School, 1401 19th Street, Harlan, IA, 51537.

Justine B.,

Harlan, Iowa, April 21

‘Dumbing down’

Editor of the Reformer:

This latest round of "deconstruction" by the "Personnel Committee" of the work done by the previous Rockingham Free Public Library board, as orchestrated by the "trustees you can trust," is just one more piece of the mission to reinstate the terminated director. Every effort is being made to "dumb down" the job description to fit the former director’s insufficient skillset. This is a deliberate diminution of the intellectual level of education necessary and befitting a Carnegie library in the 21st century. Negating the excellent work on the job description previously done by the coordinated efforts of the board and the staff, this current revision is a blatant attempt to make a square peg fit in a round hole. If shaving away vital job skills is necessary to make this work, then so be it, according to the four trustees you can trust.

The RFPL is not going forward into the future, but rewinding itself into a self-serving, Tammany Hall-esque picture of the last 100 years.

No single trustee has proven the former director was never insubordinate, has never taken unauthorized raises, or has ever followed completely the orders and instructions of the board. Her choices were to wait the board out, to disobey by delaying actions and by instructing municipal managers to authorize raises out of tax monies not theirs to administrate. No trustee has proven that she has never publicly embarrassed the board through the press, while still employed, and tainted the image of the library. No one.

Why do the trustees you can trust not clearly refute these charges? Because they cannot and they do not care. They were brought on board with one mission and one single goal.

Deborah Wright,

Bellows Falls, April 22

Stop making
a mess!

Editor of the Reformer:

We recently adopted a dog that requires daily walks. This has resulted in my becoming something of an archeologist of the roadside. What have I found? I have discovered continuing proof of a society in decline, in which some, fueled by despair or self loathing, litter without a second thought. The artifacts we find while sidestepping broken glass from beer bottles (not friendly to dog paws) are empty beer cans and fast food packaging. The favored brands are Budweiser, Busch, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, I can’t help help but note the irony that the packaging that contains "food" most destructive to our bodies also makes up the bulk of the litter on our roads.

As Green Up Day approaches and we are picking up roadside litter, maybe we can try to come up with ways to reach the litterbugs, to help them out of their disenfranchisement and bring them into mainstream society where we put our litter into garbage cans. In the meantime, as we hear that Green Up Day funding is running low, perhaps the corporations whose products dominate the littered landscape could be required to send money to the state for the Green Up fund.

Marcia Hylan,

Newfane, April 23

Why no
answers yet?

Editor of the Reformer:

I am concerned about the lack of public information regarding the police shooting of Michael Santiago three weeks ago. We know the names of the shooter and the deceased, and the latter’s criminal record. We don’t know what went wrong in the execution of a search warrant that resulted in a fatality. I hope that responsible journalists will help get that information quickly so that the public can have the right level of confidence in our public officials.

Leo Schiff,

Brattleboro, April 23


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