Letter Box

Friday February 15, 2013

Rafferty remembered at dedicated civil servant

Editor of the Reformer:

With the death of Frank Rafferty of Guilford, the town and the region have lost a dedicated civil servant. Frank was not an easy guy to get to know. His brusque exterior hid what may have been a warmer inner self. Perhaps his manner could be described as "take no prisoners." In his role as Guilford’s long-standing lister, Frank prided himself for never having lost an appeal of his work. Highly secretive about his personal life, as well as the tax records of the town, few ever had the chance to know Frank as a friend, a long-time Guilford resident, and a conscientious elected official.

Both as a former selectman and a Guilford resident, I will miss Frank. May he rest in peace.

Fred Humphrey,

Guilford, Feb. 14

Town nurse’s importance to community underestimated

Editor of the Reformer:

Town Meeting is coming up in Wilmington on Tuesday, March 5. Apparently under informed about the vital role our town nurse, Jennifer Fitzgerald, R.N. plays in our community, the budgeting folks cut her salary and billable hours in half. The rationale is that Bayada and the Visiting Nurses program (out of Springfield) will be taking on more responsibility for medical management here in the valley. Where have we heard that before? Yes, of course, our nurse can take blood pressure, administer shots and cut toe nails. But those tasks are not what she really does. What no one else can ever do as well is to undergird the chronically ill and elderly population. I think of her as the quietly operating ligament system that connects person to person and buttresses the physical and mental health care in the valley. She has been doing this job for 30 years. She knows everyone, who their relatives are, what is the climate in the family. She is part nurse, part social worker with an extraordinary ability to network and discover resources. Ask any of the families in the valley with whom she has worked. We have a gem here, a local treasure. Very likely when Jennifer retires the town will not have another Town Nurse position largely because a new person cannot possibly know all the things Jennifer knows and we might as well give up and live with limited services from elsewhere.

Someone has to stand up in Town Meeting and ask for an amendment to the General Fund for line item 156 and restore the hours for this position. Those of you who have benefited for 30 years from Jennifer’s equipment storehouse in her barn, from her interventions to find you caretakers, from her support when you are caring for an elderly or disabled relative need to write letters to the newspaper explaining the value of what she does and to e-mail wilmtmgr@sover.net asking for support for this reversal.

Claudette Hollenbeck,

Wilmington, Feb. 12

Brattleboro can’t
afford bond

Editor of the Reformer:

It is nice to see the Finance Committee thinking with common sense and advising voters to defeat the proposed school budget because we, Brattleboro, cannot afford another tax increase. Why didn’t they say that about the Fire/Police Bond issue? We, Brattleboro, cannot afford that $20 million bond either. Many tax payers and voters are opposed to that bond. Interestingly, the Selectboard members responsible for sending that vote to the Representatives for Town Meeting are not seeking re-election. Shouldn’t tax payers/voters have a say about such a huge expenditure?

I wonder if we took a poll of the policemen and women and the fire fighters, would they, themselves, agree they need the proposed expansions and upgrades of buildings in order to do their job? My guess is that they would agree with Police Chief Gene Wrinn who said he thought the money would be better spent raising salaries and recruiting new members to those service teams.

Fire and Police departments in Brattleboro do a phenomenal job of serving and protecting our community. I believe those folks will feel more appreciated by an increase in their paychecks rather than bigger, "prettier" buildings, especially given the state of the economy. The bond was presented as a means of meeting needs for "renovations" but written in terms of expansions and upgrades. This sleight of hand was misleading at best and down right deceitful at worst. If there is mold in the basement of the police department, let us remedy that problem, not rebuild this historic building and eliminate the parking lot. The building is useful as it is; maintenance issues can be remedied for much less than $20 million.

Brattleboro deserves better leadership and more common sense in fiscal planning and management. I would like a new car, new computer and remodeled kitchen, but I cannot afford them. So, I make do with the blessings I have. Brattleboro cannot afford this $20 million bond for expanded buildings that have served the town adequately for many years. The town’s population has not changed noticeably in years. Brattleboro Police and Fire departments have and continue to do an extraordinary job of meeting the needs of the town with the resources they have. This call for needed expansions seems to come from someone’s imagination, not from all the facts of the matter.

Without increasing revenues coming to the tax payers, we cannot afford to pay an increased tax burden. I encourage voters and Town Representatives to re-think this proposal, to refuse the budget, and to re-claim fiscal responsibility and authority for our community. I encourage voters to elect Selectboard candidates who have common sense and who will guide the town with fiscal conservancy. Let us create our future together considering the good for all concerned.

Lynn Russell,

Brattleboro, Feb. 9

Support for Wilmington gallery design

Editor of the Reformer:

I totally support Ann Coleman’s "Ark" Gallery, designed by Linesync Architecture. I have known both parties for a long time and sincerely believe that this design should be built, a.s.a.p.

Ever since Irene hit Wilmington, I have been coming down and working with Joseph Cincotta, Julie Lineberger and Ann Coleman to document the town in its progress to beautifully restore its 59 historic buildings. I have given my photos to its Historic Preservation Group as well as to its Town Hall. So I have become very familiar with your town and its buildings and residents.

The design for Ann Coleman’s new building is truly cutting edge design. Our Governor Shumlin stopped by to see the design.

I thank you for all of the work you have done in Wilmington, and I sincerely believe that this building, as proposed will be a destination place within Wilmington.

I do hope, now after four hearings in the past five months that you will approve this design, in total.

Carolyn L. Bates,

Burlington, Feb. 13


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