Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 4-12-18

The bear necessities

This is a reply to Lucille Paige and Russ Hurley, who wrote letters supporting black bear hunting in the past weeks in The Lakeville Journal. I can understand their point of view. Black bears are a nuisance, but before you start asking for the Legislature to authorize bear hunting, I do believe that DEEP biologists should come in with charts, graphs, calculated percentages and whatever other scientific data is needed to evaluate it carefully. They fail to admit that in some of this overpopulation of bears, we, mankind, are somewhat at fault. 

First, the Northwest Corner is surrounded by two states, Massachusetts and New York, which have several vast mountain ranges, as does New England. In the last 40 or so years, the bears slowly migrated from their natural habitat. Rich and greedy land developers, along with the logging companies, caused a forced push on the habitats of all wildlife. Now here’s your devastating effects on the ecosystem: making space for our own overpopulation, and no regard for nature, next to global warming and climate change. Now here again, the biologists should know that wildlife creatures have natural instincts that define their seasonal movements, like their migration habits, breeding seasons, feeding and most importantly hibernation.

So factor that data in, and there’s a good start as to why the bears, through their migratory paths, move into the human civilization areas, not because they’re not afraid of humans. They’re surviving through their instincts and where there’s a food source, they’ll return. You have been told to secure your garbage and bird feeders. It appears some of you aren’t hearing that, or have no common sense.

Now black bears aren’t aggressive by nature, but if they are provoked and they are with their cubs, they are very protective. Dogs show no sign of fear of bears, and nine times out of 10 are the aggressor. Other animals that are not predators can sense if an animal is sick, dying or hurt, and they will kill it for food. 

Now before we go and eradicate the bear species, remember than man’s need of room and man’s tampering with the air, fracking, Mother Earth and all the causes of global warming and climate change are not the bear’s fault, and the ecosystem has been soured for years to come.

Michael Parmalee

North Canaan


Another way of dealing with bears

Sure, continue the ban on bear hunting — while we’re at it, how about re-introducing wolves? Probably won’t do much about the bears (though we can hope).  But future generations of hemlocks and other deer-decimated trees will surely thank us for it.   

Not a loony idea, by the way. Go to the website for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, www.wolfwatcher.org, and look up Northeast wolves.

Spencer Reiss



Revive Earth Day

As I walk around the lovely towns in our area, I am absolutely appalled at the amount of litter along the roads. I am asking all of you to make an effort to step outside your homes and pick up the trash on both sides of the road. If we all do our part, then maybe we can inspire other people not to litter.

Thank you!

Diane Mayland



Spring Splash 2018 a success

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to the more than 150 adult and children “splashers” who endured the frigid waters of Lakeville Lake to benefit the Housatonic FFA Alumni John Rice Scholarship and the Jane Lloyd Fund.  We are extremely grateful to the members of the community who volunteered, pledged and cheered us on.

We would also like to thank Housatonic, Hotchkiss, Salisbury and Berkshire schools; the town of Salisbury; Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance; Lakeville Hose Co.; and Deano’s Pizza for their time, support and donations.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

The Rice and Lloyd Families



How we can make Connecticut votes count

National elections are decided in 12 battleground states and Connecticut isn’t one of them. Maybe it seems OK not to be bothered with all the hoopla and security problems that come with presidential candidate visits, but there is a lot more at stake for those states where votes in presidential elections don’t matter any more.

Those states that count in national elections are also the ones that receive more attention from officials, from Congress, from government agencies. This means Connecticut is missing out on investments, grants and development opportunities at every level.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t even require a constitutional amendment to make a change. The National Popular Vote compact can go into effect once states equaling a majority of electoral votes decide that majority vote means just that: the person who receives the most votes is the winner. That change requires 270 electoral votes. As of now, states with 165 electoral votes have agreed that the presidential candidate receiving the most votes should be the winner. 

For the sixth time since 2009, a bill to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was voted out of committee in Hartford. Now it is time for the General Assembly to vote on H.B. 5421 so those of us who live in Connecticut can again have a meaningful voice in national elections. 

Betty Krasne



A new generation of politics

At a time when national and state politics are filled with negativity, it trickles down to the local level. Quaint coffee shops and local pizza restaurants become the offline battleground transported from the comments section of some monetary driven, sensationalist, Facebook article. 

It is times like these that we need politicians who truly care about our communities and the people who reside within them. Rep. Brian Ohler of our 64th District is that politician, but he is more than a politician, he cares about the interests of our community and is approachable in a way that few are. Rep. Ohler lives a life of service to both country and community. After serving 12 years in the U.S. Army and two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, he returned home utilizing his knowledge and skills in offering himself as an EMT and firefighter. Over the past five years he has dedicated his life to school safety that aids in protecting our children. He has worked in every Region One school, two schools in Regional 7, and the entire New Milford school district.

Those who attack him with political pollutions, muddy the waters of open conversation, in turn hampering any real results. Straight partisan politics does nothing to stop the vitriol that holds back civil discourse on the issues that so deeply divide us. 

As a senior at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, I am looking to the future seeking new career opportunities, hopefully in my home state. I need people like Rep. Brian Ohler on my side to make this state a place where I can live and grow in a career. The alternative is that I become a statistic, taking advantage of better opportunities elsewhere. The time is now, to stand with a leader like Brian Ohler who truly cares about us, or let the rabble-rousers divide us. 

Jeffrey L. R. Nasiatka



To the taxpayers of Winsted

I would like to bring to your attention a few items that are what I feel a little bit unnecessary for the taxpayers. The town manager, Bob Geiger, has proposed a $20,000 pay raise for himself. This will be three years in a row he has put in for an increase in salary for himself. In 2015-2016, the town manager salary was $87,484. If the proposed budget goes through, it will be for 2018-2019 $120,000 ($32,516 increase in four years!) You can make up your own mind if he deserves it. I know what I think.

The way the town operates, its budget is a joke. The mentality “If you don’t use it, you lose it” needs to change now. If you have a department head that can manage the finances, without wasting money on unneeded things just to spend the budget, the whole community wins. I suggest we roll the money over to that department’s budget for the next year, sometimes you have good years, and your equipment doesn’t break, the next year you can have catastrophes. It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right leadership, the community can flourish.

The town manager said there would be no tax increase this year. I call bogus: last year was evaluations, property values went up and the mill rate stays the same. You are paying more taxes, end of story.

It’s time for this community to wake up, we pay big taxes in this town. The roads are shot, the school buildings are neglected, the services provided are minimal, but everyone in Town Hall keeps getting a raise. This is a beautiful town with a lot of potential, but it’s much different from when I grew up here. The citizens around Highland Lake area pay big taxes for either living on the lake, or having a view. If this is the case, then the people who have a view of eyesores such as the abandoned Lambert Kay building on Lake Street, and like properties, these taxpayers should be issued a refund or rebate for their horrible view.

I hope by the time you have read this, your blood is boiling like mine is as I write this. I hope this motivates you to get out and vote on this year’s budget. Keep this in mind: the roads are horrible, the town buildings are neglected and the school budget keeps increasing, even though student population is declining. But the salaries in the Town Hall are bumping up way out of proportion, $20,000-plus increases per year are ridiculous. This type of spending is unsustainable. Taxes keep going up and you receive less and less in services. If you have any questions, please inquire, I’m easy to find.

Thank you for your time if you have read this letter.

Rob Asselin



The extinction president

President Donald Trump and his Department of Interior now propose to gut the Endangered Species Act by quietly removing over 100 threatened and endangered species, from spotted owls to sea otters, from the list of protected species.

Why would anyone do this?  Answer: It’s the money, of course. Trump is doing this to further enrich himself and his real estate development cronies at the expense of everyone else, the environment and life on this blue-green planet Earth. 

What can we do about it?  Environmental advocacy groups and all concerned Americans must march in the streets and call on our legislative representatives to pass legislation to protect the Endangered Species Act, and block the brainless self-serving acts of this “Extinction President.”  The time to act is NOW.

Tony Piel



Winchester and Winsted seniors … tell us your needs

On behalf of the Town of Winchester’s Board of Selectmen’s appointed Senior Citizen Commissioners, I am writing to request suggestions from the community on projects we may be able to help with. The Senior Citizen Commission’s objective is to study the needs of and coordinate programs for the senior citizens of the town of Winchester.

Please contact us in writing at Winsted Senior Citizen Commissioners, P.O. Box 676, Winsted, CT 06098.

Frances Cooper, Chairperson

Winchester Senior Citizen Commission



Geer: important questions need to be answered

Things have happened recently within the Town of North Canaan that I do not understand.

The Lakeville Journal published a Guest Commentary on April 5, 2018 from Mr. Kevin O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer of the Geer Village Senior Living Center in North Canaan.His letter was clear and raised many questions about how and why the Zoning Commission in North Canaan, and the assessor, have suddenly decided to disregard Geer’s long-standing and lawful (as far as I can tell) tax-exempt status. The proposed change in tax status would have a devastating effect on Geer’s ability to provide good medical care to its residents. If the town ruins Geer, it is ruining itself. Everyone should read Mr. O’Connell’s letter.

The minutes for the Zoning Commission are not available on the Town website, at least not for 2018. Does one have to travel to North Canaan to read them? With the minutes could one understand the rationale for this decision?

Why doesn’t the Town of North Canaan place all of its notices, agendas and minutes on the Town website as other towns do?

To my knowledge, municipalities in Connecticut do not tax hospitals and nursing homes that have a federal tax exemption.  Am I incorrect? The state can and does tax nonprofit hospitals. Are Connecticut municipalities now taxing nonprofit hospitals and nursing homes within their borders?

I practiced medicine in northwest Connecticut from 1973 until 2005, and was on the active medical staff of the Sharon Hospital. I am now on the Emeritus Staff. I was also on the medical staff of the Geer Nursing Home from 1973 until 1985, and served as its medical director for a few years both before and after 1985.  In those capacities, I attended board meetings at Sharon Hospital when I was on the Medical Executive Committee. I attended board meetings at Geer during the years that I was its medical director.

I also was the First Selectman of the Town of Sharon from 2005 through 2009.

The Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled a meeting on Tuesday, April 10, to hear arguments in this matter. The public apparently may attend, but not speak. I cannot tell that this meeting was properly noticed. There is no mention of it on the Town website.  I can’t find a notice in the Lakeville Journal. Did they place it in the Waterbury Republican American? Was it given adequate time for notice? Do you have to travel to the North Canaan Town Hall to see any such notice?

Was Town Attorney Judith Dixon of Winsted ever apprised of what was happening in these matters?

These are some of my questions. I would like to know if they are all relevant. If I am wrong in any of my assumptions, I would be glad to be corrected. I intend to attend the ZBA meeting on Tuesday and hope that any other interested citizen will have done so as well.

Malcolm Brown



Ohler absent on gun control activity

I noted Rep. Brian Ohler’s conspicuous absence from any gun-control legislation activity on March 24. His “duck and cover” tactics might eventually lead to “cut and run” — or more appropriately, get cut and thrown out of office. 

It should also be noted that his espousal of “school security” has already enriched Mr. Ohler’s own security business, notably at Sharon Center School and likely other local schools as well. Or has he, like Trump, “divested himself” of financial enhancement in the security  business as a clear conflict of interest? One can hope and one can vote.

Monica Connor