Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 10-12-17

Make your voices heard on guns

So many people dying in the natural course of events is a bit overwhelming, as so many are close in age to myself and a lot of my friends. It makes you think. It’s a bit scary. But more than 50 people, many even younger, who we never heard of, died in Las Vegas because we live in a country where the right to bear an automatic rifle is more valued than the right to live.

Thoughts and prayers? Seriously?

The only “thought” I have in the wake of the most recent carnage is that we are all cowards, citizens and leaders alike, in the face of the NRA and its proponents. Many politicians take NRA money under the guise of protecting their constituents’ Second Amendment rights.  What about their duty to protect their lives?

Gun owners selfishly believe that their right to own an assault weapon precludes the rights of other people to live. What about the right of all of us to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” How can we define ourselves as “freedom loving people” when we can’t attend a sporting event, shop at a mall or attend school without fearing for our lives because we won’t take a stand against the gun lobby?

The general consensus is that we are powerless to change anything related to guns. I propose the opposite. I think it is the one place where Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to agree. The senators and congressmen taking money from the NRA are mostly Republican. But statistics say that roughly the same number of Democrats and Republicans in the general population want common-sense gun laws. And they are in the majority. They do not aspire to be innocent victims of gun violence. They want to see the end of murderous attacks of domestic terrorism like that of the other night in Las Vegas. They want to protect their right to live.  

But they need to make their voices heard. They need to contact their legislators. The insanity has got to end. The White House said it wasn’t “the right time to discuss guns.” Well then, when is the right time? The right time is here. Now.

Action is required to honor those who died. To do nothing is the ultimate insult to their memory. Every problem does not have to be solved at once. But it needs to start. Let’s start now with the banning of assault weapons and the accessories that make them more deadly. Make your voices heard. Be loud. 

Louder than gunfire. 

Sherie Berk



The New Winsted is here

I’d like to ask fellow Winsted residents if they see what I see: the dramatic, positive changes and the upbeat climate of our business people and fellow townspeople over the past couple of years.

So much has been happening that it’s tough to keep up with! Sure, Winsted has lost a few things, due either to unexpected circumstances or to dedicated, long-serving owners who are simply ready to retire, but has it gained!

Residents are showing tremendous pride and banding together to pitch in and help create The New Winsted.

Think about it. Our community college now has a snazzy modern building, with a new, motivated president. It has been nominated best community college in Connecticut two years in a row.

Ellen Griesedieck’s American Mural Project is close to completion, a nationwide contribution of art, melded into a massive mural, built in dedication to the American worker — what better place to have it reside? Winsted: in its heyday bustling with factories and industry, the mural is housed in one of those proud old structures. 

Speaking of proud old structures, Mad River Lofts and The Edge. Yep, “Lambert Kay” and the “old mill buildings”— beautiful buildings being repurposed by developers who have a vision, have gathered with us and believe in Winsted.

Mad River Lofts was the idea of Marty Goldin, a dedicated developer who pretty much knows all of us now! He is a regular at meetings, events and gatherings. It’s so amazing to see the artwork on Main Street, another idea he had, now a reality. I can’t wait to see what he does with the rest of his properties, also strong and grand buildings. 

Then there is Brian Lyman with Parker Benjamin, another developer who has decided to believe in Winsted and take on “Lambert Kay,” the building on Lake Street. It is being called The Winsted Edgeworks, aka: The Edge. There have been a few great people involved in this endeavor. For instance, groups like the three guys heading The Little Red Barn Brewers and the people building Mad River Market Co-Op.  

We have had businesses steadily move in. Town Manager Bob Geiger has been a key influence on how people have changed how they feel about their hometown. 

Along with Bob comes Police Chief Bill Fitzgerald. Bill is a spitfire (am I allowed to say that?) who has energized our police department in so many ways. He, with support from our manager and selectmen, made a great group of officers into a strong and higher-educated force of men and women. Their pride is evident when you see them working street jobs, patrolling or at local establishments. 

I think we have an amazing team of selectmen led by our tireless, caring and knowledgeable mayor, who work together like a well-oiled machine, keeping this vibrant community moving forward! This group is the glue keeping this machine chugging along.

I’m very optimistic that this trend is going to continue.  Remember this on Election Day, Nov. 7. 

Lara Green-Kazlauskas



Road safety as days shorten

On Saturday evening, Sept. 23, we began our drive home from a wonderful birthday spent in the New Hartford/Pleasant Valley area at the Brodie Park Flea Market, tag saleing, visiting family and friends and attending the Methodist Church’s delicious Bean Hole Supper. I can’t drive, due to a traumatic brain injury, so I have the (so underappreciated) job of front seat driver for my fiancé. As we were traveling in the dark on Route 20, near Woodcliff, we came upon some dark, moving objects against the roadside bushes that were unidentifiable in the night. I told my fiancé to “Slow down and move over!”, my (apparently irritating) solution to all his driving challenges, and he replied with his usual answer: “Agggh!!” 

As soon as the utterance left his lips, though, a flash of light came from the moving objects, and we could barely make out two tweens riding skateboards, so gave them a last-minute wide berth (with oncoming traffic). The riders were on the proper side of the road and sticking fairly close to the edge of the road, however they had no white or reflective clothing on, so had been very hard to see. Their saving grace was a flashlight the boy in front was holding, pointed out behind him. I’d like to say thank you to that youngster for smartly skateboarding with that flashlight and also to the person who trained him to do that: great idea! If it weren’t for that flash of light, we may have skimmed too closely to the boys and might not have had such a nice ride home. 

Perhaps this time of year, when dusk comes early, would be a good time for parents and school systems to ensure that children (and they, themselves) are reminded of some of the safety rules of the road (for pedestrians and riders alike): Wear white and/or reflective clothing as soon as dusk hits, carry a light source and/or reflectors visible to motor vehicle operators (like that smartly backwards-facing flashlight), know that only pedestrians FACE traffic and all others go WITH the traffic, learn the universal hand signals for road usage, obey the traffic signs and be aware of the movement of motor vehicles around you. They don’t have the visibility other travelers do. 

One of the first things I taught my preschool son about walking amidst motor vehicles in the supermarket parking lot was what the white reverse lights mean. If he saw them, he was to stand back, stand still and give the car full leeway, as drivers don’t have full vision when backing up. I demonstrated it to him, allowing him to try and see a traffic cone behind him while backing up his Little Tikes car. That lesson stayed with him for life and saved him from many a parking lot mishap. Thank you for the opportunity to (hopefully) improve the safety of all who share the road. 

Burma Shaw

East Windsor


No male bashing here

I would like to respond to Mark Godburn’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 5 issue of The Lakeville Journal. Mr. Godburn, Barbara Maltby is not the one who said that women of Hillary Clinton’s generation are the most sexist. I believe you did. As far as Alfred Nemiroff’s remark about a young woman he had known all her life being adorable, would one call a young man one had known his whole life “cute”? I don’t think so. There isn’t any male bashing here, Mr. Godburn. I have five children, three of them are my sons. I couldn’t imagine bashing men or women.

Perhaps you are right about being a grieving Hillary supporter, especially if it means I am disgusted with the toxic narcissist we have running our country.

Finally, I will reiterate that The Lakeville Journal is a fair and above-board paper without a preponderance of views from the left as stated by Mr. Godburn. 

I am an American in fear for my country because the leadership at the helm is so clearly lacking. 

Gretchen M. Gordon



Sincere thanks and appreciation

We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for the generous outpouring of support, both monetary and the physical supplies, which were greatly appreciated and needed for the victims of Harvey in Houston, Texas.

We live in a community that is comfy and cozy and, so far, sheltered from the catastrophic damage the weather can make -— seemingly unaware of the horrific devastation it can incur in your life.

For this reason, so many of you opened your hearts, your wallets and volunteered your time to make our mission a wonderful success.

We would especially like to thank both the Waterbury Republican and Jean Saliter of Robin Hood Radio. With their help, it spread the word through their media, informing the Northwest Corner of our needs.

Through their efforts, and those of the local churches, businesses, Geer, Noble Horizons, Boy Scouts and especially our community, we say a sincere and humble thank you. 

Rich and Valerie Crane

North Canaan


GOP will lead well in Winsted

To my friends and neighbors in Winsted/Winchester: I urge you to please vote for the Republican team of candidates for Board of Selectmen and Board of Education. 

The candidates I speak of are authentic, enthusiastic, hardworking, tenacious and a diplomatic group of members of our community. 

Where they may lack in political experience they make up for in their fresh perspective, open-eyed and clear, untarnished understanding of the issues. They have an absolute willingness to work together to problem-solve. They see great, legitimate opportunities for our town and our local school system.

I think it is admirable and takes personal courage to have the desire to be a public servant. 

These are the qualities we need in our leadership. I can tell you with great commitment, Michelle Grant, Elizabeth Morin, Todd Verzino, John Vecchitto, Candace Bouchard, Jamie Duffy, Shaina Devaux and Eleni Fortinopoulos have the utmost ability and desire to be responsive to the needs of our town. 

Let’s keep Winsted on the path forward. Amazing things are happening in our community, and we will help with the sustainability needed for success. These candidates will support existing business, help attract new business, encourage fiscal responsibility, move for a stronger infrastructure, support smart growth, education accountability and always make public safety a priority. 

Please vote row B for a team of candidates that will represent you,  my friends and neighbors, and not a personal agenda. 

On Nov. 7, let your voice be heard. 

Lisa Smith, Chairman

Republican Town Committee



Liberals love this country, too

I was going to let pass the “mansplaining” about feminism but my two husbands,* two sons and six grandsons said I should respond, but to a more relevant issue. (*My deceased husband was a newspaper editor and dean of a journalism school, so I intuited his advice.)

The point to be gleaned from the recent exchange of letters between Mark Godburn and myself in The Lakeville Journal is simply this: Blanket accusations of liberal media bias are mostly unfounded and wrong, and conservatives should stop trying to undermine and discredit the press. In my opinion, never before has a free press been more needed. In the case of the Mueller investigation, the investigation has taken a number of public actions. These actions are legitimate news and deserve to be reported, and their implications defined. This is not bias on the left.

 But, if reporting facts is bias on the left, then it should be mentioned that not reporting facts represents bias on the right. A recent TV panel I saw interviewing a group of Trump voters asked them what they thought when they heard the word Mueller. Half had no opinion because they didn’t recognize the name. One can’t help but wonder if they get their information from the likes of Fox News.

The hyperbole of arguments from conservative voices like Mr. Godburn can’t be allowed to go by unanswered. He wrote of Trump and the Russia connection: “The press and the Democrats should drop their fishing expedition – they’re worse than the Bolsheviks.” Now he says his reference to the Bolsheviks was “tongue-in-cheek, not [intended] literally.” 

There is nothing tongue-in-cheek about relating Democrats to a revolutionary group aimed at overthrowing a government. There is nothing ironic or funny about it, despite the tone of my earlier letters. He intended it to be exactly as incendiary as it reads. He is saying the liberal press and the Democrats are anti-American, and need to be silenced. That kind of overkill, which we hear all too often from conservatives, needs to be called out, and not allowed to stand. It is not the truth, and it is damaging to our country. 

Barbara Maltby