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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 8-10-17

Legislature should have just said ‘no’

Monday, July 31st’s vote by the Connecticut Senate to approve the Connecticut State Employees Union so-called “concession” package will devastate the financial picture for Connecticut over the next 10 years. This concession package, brokered by our governor and union representatives behind closed doors, with no legislative input, has now been passed by a Democratic Legislature determined to pacify their union supporters (Democrat votes) and increase taxes on an already overtaxed citizenry of this state.

The purported $1.5 billion savings over two years sounds terrific until you read the actual contract, and before the Democrats pass more legislation to increase taxes. Wasn’t there a time when Democrats actually supported the middle class? Today they are the tax-and-spend party and certainly not fiscally responsible. 

I encourage all of you to read the actual contract and decide for yourselves if a State of Connecticut employee really deserves these benefits that no one employed in the private sector enjoys. If a private business is in a financial crisis, that business takes measures to cut costs and downsize. That business would NOT guarantee their employees 10 years of no wage cuts, no benefit reduction and no increase in their portion of benefit costs. 

I’m sure we will hear from the union members that they will not be receiving a pay raise for two years, but what we will not hear from them is the $2000 minimum bonus that they will all receive in the year following the wage freeze. We will also not hear them complaining about the 3.5 percent wage increases that they will receive in the two years following their wage freeze. 

No one can tell me that any state employee is more valuable than his or her counterpart in the private sector. An office manager working for the State of Connecticut performs the same functions as an office manager in the private sector. A nurse working for the State of Connecticut performs the same job responsibilities as a nurse working in the private sector.

The time is now to start saying “no” to the continuing burden placed upon taxpayers by union leaders and our governor.  The time is now to start saying “no” to the fiscally irresponsible Democrats in our state Legislature. The time is now to say “no” to the continuing tax-and-spend mentality of the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Our state may be in a financial crisis now, but you can be assured that in 10 years our current financial crisis will pale in comparison to the debacle we will be experiencing then. 

Rob Perotti

North Canaan

 

Many advantages to forgoing mowing

I read Bernard A. Drew’s nostalgic Nature’s Notebook column on roadside mowing just after I had come in from an afternoon walk along the roads near my house. Unmowed, the roadsides in Sharon have been a tapestry of wildflowers, and everywhere I walked I saw Queen Anne’s lace, with its white umbrels, and chicory, with its cornflower blue flowers. Bees buzzed alongside me, and chipmunks darted past me to hide in the vegetation. For some reason, the roadsides haven’t been mowed this year, and I welcome that. 

Development, urbanization and the human need to control the environment has taken habitat and refuge away from many pollinators and small creatures, including ground-nesting birds, amphibians, reptiles, beetles and small mammals. Recently, managing roadsides for pollinators (most especially bees and butterflies) has become a priority worldwide. Pollinators are of special interest now because we need butterflies and bees so badly. Those tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, sunflowers and squash that are in our farmer’s markets now? You wouldn’t be eating any unless they had been pollinated.

But bees are in decline (for multiple reasons, not all obvious to scientists.) Roadsides that are unmowed can provide a surprising bounty of biodiversity, and these days on both local and national levels the unlikely team of transportation engineers and biologists are working together to focus on managing roadsides for conservation (with safety always in mind). In spite of the extraordinary number of roads and highways in the U.S., Europe is ahead of us here — Belgium, for instance, has now planted almost all of its highways for bioversity, after having mowed them down before. 

Judicious mowing can still be necessary in some places, and Drew’s article has a fascinating description of how it is done. But the thinking has shifted dramatically away from routine mowing, with a new understanding of what we need to do to keep our ecosystem properly functioning. Not mowing until the end of July, for instance, allows many ground-nesting birds to fledge. Not mowing at all gives pollinators an entire summer cycle.

I don’t know why the roads around me haven’t been mowed yet this year (it’s certainly a great cost saving!), but I am delighted to see the roadsides in bloom and hear birds and bees all around me. It looks, smells and sounds like the countryside. 

Alexandra Peters

 

Sharon

 

Thanks for the help, Officer Janco

On Thursday, Aug. 3, I was shopping in North Canaan at Stop & Shop. When I got to my car after shopping, I realized that I had left my keys locked in the car! (A senior moment?) 

I spotted Officer Janco in the parking lot. He did not have a tool to put in the window of my car to open it, but he called a garage, then stayed with me to wait. 

While waiting, he went into the Family Dollar store, got a hanger and opened my car. He went above and beyond the call of duty and has my thanks.

He gave me some advice I’ve already taken, and thought some other readers might benefit from it as well, and that is to keep an extra set of keys in my pocketbook. My mind is more at ease knowing that, though I hope to not have it happen again.

Thank you again, Officer Janco! 

Agnes Santarsiero

East Canaan

 

Thanks for Habitat tag sale support

Sometimes, it takes a region — not just a village. Northwest Connecticut is blessed with individuals and institutions that believe in the mission of Habitat — that all families deserve a decent and affordable home to live in.

The tag sale this past weekend, Aug. 4 to 6, in The Dome at Salisbury School, was a demonstration of the capacity of generosity in our area. Salisbury School, the Geer Corporation and Hotchkiss School all provided invaluable support — from The Dome itself to signage and traffic support, as well as a shuttle bus and carts to help folks get their treasures to their cars — the institutions were fantastic!

The real heroes, though, are the people who give so generously of their time to turn an empty space into an amazing shopping paradise. Numerous people commented on the breadth and quality of the goodies, and it seemed that no one went away empty-handed. That only could have happened with the efforts of the people who worked so hard to prepare for the sale, and we’d have to fill a page with the names of everyone involved. You know who you are and we thank you!

We look forward to seeing everyone again at our next event — The Wine and Beer Tasting at Stillwater Farm in Salisbury on Oct. 28. Mark your calendars now. 

Bob Whelan

Executive Director

Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut

Salisbury