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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 8-5-21

Gratitude to Cornwall fire, EMS vols

I was out for a walk the other day and ran into Ian Ridgway, who lives two doors down. I had no words for him. The reason was…one week earlier, he saved my life. You may have read the story about this in the news pages of this week’s edition. Ian is a Cornwall EMT who along with 11 other lifesavers worked on me on the side of the road after I went into cardiac arrest and died, briefly, one Saturday morning. A complete stranger and the selfless hero who I now know is named Elizabeth Jakobsen started CPR and kept going until other, familiar heroes arrived. Read these names. I hope you know some of them: Diane Beebe, Mike Carano, Joyce Hart, Skip Kosciusko, Ted Larson, Patience Lindholm, Rod MacNeil, Will Russ, Dick Sears, Jessica Slaven and Dave Williamson. It’s hard to know what to say to people like that without sounding trite. And there are few things worse than sounding trite.

I was just out for a morning walk… like any other day… and it was almost my last. I dropped to the ground. There was a series of amazing circumstances that helped me survive, as detailed in Leila Hawken’s article. 

But what really saved me was that this happened in Cornwall. This is a special place. A place where people help one another. It made all the difference in my life.

The people who worked on me are all my neighbors and friends. They volunteer their time (and a lot of it) to the Cornwall EMS squad. They are people I wave to… people who laugh (or quicken their pace) as they go by our house and our lunatic dogs go bonkers… people I have had dinner with… people who have been in our house. But a relationship changes when someone saves your life (okay, I haven’t done perfectly avoiding being trite!). Now I feel closer to this place and its people and I am indescribably grateful. 

I’ve traveled the world as a reporter and always come home to Cornwall. Over the years this little town has become the center of my world. I chose well.

Cornwall has been described as cool… calm and quirky. It is also one other thing…. a more descriptive and important adjective. Cornwall is caring. I have always known that but never better than now. I wasn’t too pleased to die here…but I’m sure glad I came back here.

Richard Schlesinger

West Cornwall


It’s for the Presidency, for the country

“The Buck stops here. “

— Harry Truman

Seventy-six years ago, Aug. 14, the Japanese finally, totally surrendered — ending World War II on both battle fronts, East and West. Harry Truman had been president for 124 days, he was depicted as a “common man” — unpossessed of elite degrees, family prominence (a farmer), wealth or status-seeking ego.  

“When you get to be president, there are all those things, the honors, the 21-gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.”

Harry Truman drew crowds, large crowds, one million in San Francisco as the UN was chartered in 1945, a half million on Aug. 14, 1945, as Americans engulfed Lafayette Park, swarmed the White House fence as Truman greeted them — in such stark contrast to June 1, 2020, with a president, a Bible upside down and targeted gassings. Truman crowds gathered, together, to cheer national success, well-being, progress —  not in red-hat rallies making noise and calling names. A reminder to 45: It isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.

Dewey was the Republican presidential candidate in 1944 against Roosevelt and 1948 against Truman — he lost both in squeeze-tight races — in 1948, the Chicago Tribune the morning after the election erroneously headlined, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”  Dewey of course conceded his defeat in both elections.  After World War II devastation, the country and parties progressed into a new American era of development, prosperity for many but not all. Reminder to 45: It isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.

Truman, like Biden, had come from the Senate, where he successfully moved legislation and advanced efficient war-time production. An extraordinary U.S. infrastructure arose with World War II as hopefully an extraordinary infrastructure will arise following the traumas of a worldwide COVID pandemic. Perhaps soon the current U.S. Congress will go with Biden, replace a feckless 45 term of Infrastructure Weaks with focused, results-driven Infrastructure Restoration — jobs, jobs, safe transport, extended communications, renewed competitive stature.  Reminder to 45: It isn’t for you. It’s for the country.  

Truman at 5’9” was often portrayed as a small man as well as a man of little means. Truman had not wealth, he had character widely acknowledged by Churchill, foreign allies, his congressional colleagues, his World War I artillery unit, White House staff of all levels, voters in Missouri and nationally. While the GOP continues to lie down its honor, lies comfortably with political villains and false pundits, and lies continuously with the guilt of an insurrection at the Capitol, Biden is in it for the country. He honors the presidency.   

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”  

— Harry S. Truman 

Kathy Herald-Marlowe



Railroad Days a great success once again

On behalf of the Board of Selectmen of North Canaan, I want to thank all of those who participated in Railroad Days, 2021. Between all the rain, and extending another weekend, it turned out to be a great success.

A very special thank you to John Lannen and the Railroad Days Committee; Chief Brian Allyn, as well as the members of the Canaan Fire Company. The Fire Company extended the participation this year to other organizations, which was a great asset to the parade; William Minacci and the North Canaan Ambulance Corp; and The Town of North Canaan Highway Dept. personnel, as well as our Resident Trooper Cori Swift. 

I would also like to thank all the civic organizations, churches, local businesses, news media, radio and TV, the Marine Corps League Northwest Detachment #042, and Post #1903 for their safety patrols. For everyone I may have left out, a huge thank you for everyone’s involvement with Railroad Days and I extend a special thank you to all those who came to enjoy and partake in the activities. 

With COVID last year, this was a very special year for everyone to get out and enjoy. Once again it was a great event. Thank you all for your hard work and planning to make this happen and to make it a huge success. Hope to see you all again next year. A job well done everyone!

Charles P. Perotti

First Selectman

Town of North Canaan

North Canaan


Too noisy around the hospital all summer

Sharon Hospital has not been a good neighbor for the past four-plus months. I urge readers to drive by the hospital entrance, slow down and roll down your window. You will hear a loud constant horn-like sound that registers 100 decibels in front of a truck-like unit that has been put in place, temporarily they say, to assist the hospital’s cooling system. Apparently they are “waiting for a part.”  

Really? The sound registers 80 decibels on our property, day and night, non-stop, with no clear end in sight. All the neighbors are livid about this, but the hospital has done nothing helpful to mask the sound to a tolerable level. When I spoke to Scott Pietras at the hospital several months ago, I asked for some sort of compensation, like maybe tickets to Sharon Playhouse, for having to live with that noise, and he told me he cannot do that but that he thinks I should just be grateful that the hospital is still able to operate. 

The second time I called I was told they would have some “blankets” installed on the unit to dull the sound. The blankets were finally installed but the sound has not changed. We called state Rep. Maria Horn to see if she could get some action for a wall to be built around the unit, but as of yet, nothing has been done.  

How does this affect the neighbors of Sharon Hospital?  We have no peace and quiet with our windows open, not to mention being out in our yards.  Gatherings outdoors are out of the question. It jostles our nerves and is not mentally healthy. It affects the value of our homes. We have to sleep with windows closed and all the white noise we can muster up! Friends have often said, “I would not be able to tolerate that!” It certainly has disturbed the peace and quiet that we are entitled to. The lack of consideration is unconscionable. 

The hospital did not communicate with the neighbors before putting in this unit, nor any time since then, though I have heard this could go on for a few more months, and I have no reason to doubt that.  

On my first phone call to Scott he said they mentioned it on their website at the start. I don’t know about others, but I have never checked the hospital’s website. I feel this whole thing has been handled very poorly and that, yes, the hospital should compensate each of the neighbors for this dreadful sound we have been putting up with, and I am way beyond thinking tickets will suffice.

Andrea Weyant



We all need to be there for each other right now

It’s inspiring to know the Olympics with top athletes are happening like clockwork even with setbacks such as Simone Biles needing to step back from all events except the balance beam.

I happen to be helping someone that wowed crowds for years riding a horse, standing up and holding one leg straight up, in a circus.

We don’t hear about the incredible talents of many performers in various fields but know they are all inspiring us to realize greater possibilities in how we run our lives and work together.

The show sometimes cannot go on as planned however. Nor should that be a qualification to get help.

Some people get hurt or decline physically whether through illness or injury or aging. Then the heroism one shows in self-care and helping others changes to receiving help one can ask for or needs. Who steps up to assist those in immediate or long-term needs?

We don’t have this arena of life figured out well at the local, state or national level. Everyone can step up their game to be part of the Caregiving Olympics, especially during this COVID pandemic and challenging political time. 

Many hands and funds can help someone get through a short-term or longer need. The rewards of being on a team can be healing, educational and inspiring (and often financially satisfactory.) 

Let’s see what’s needed to get the job done with win-win outcomes. Everyone’s worth it and can benefit! See what help one can give and get on reputable sites online (such as care.com) Everyone could learn caregiving basics and have support to find ways to help or ask for help.

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village


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