Letter to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 7-23-20
Church bells are ringing out all over Salisbury
Sincere thanks to the wonderful group of volunteers who have been ringing the 2,300 pound bronze bell at St. Mary’s RC Church in Lakeville. Starting about March 23rd, these hardy souls have been climbing to the hot choir loft at St. Mary’s to manually ring this 1882 Meneely Bell for the Angelus at noon and 6 p.m. without missing a day. The bell is now automated.
The spirit has been contagious!
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury has repaired their bell and it is ringing, as are the bells at the Lakeville Methodist Church and the Salisbury Congregational Church. If you drive through Lime Rock, you will also hear the Trinity Church Carillons. The bells in the Congregational Church and St. John’s are Meneely Bells, as is the five bell Westminster Peal in the Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury.
Our volunteers are Jerry and Mary Ellen Baldwin, Lou Bucceri, Tom Callahan, John and Paul Harney, Emmet Hussey, Rick Meehan, Scott Morris, Janet Neary, John Panzer, Jim Smith and David Valcin.
May this spirit of love and concern for all continue in our wonderful community!
Affordable housing in northwest Connecticut
Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut is committed to being an advocate for the most basic of needs — shelter.
These extraordinary times have served to highlight the need for affordable, decent housing. Regardless if the housing is an ownership model or a rental model, Habitat of NWCT supports any and all efforts to bring more affordable housing to our region. This support is a fundamental tenet of efforts to promote social justice, racial equality and the need to give a voice to those with none. Stable homes promote stable families, and nothing helps to build a flourishing community more than secure, confident families.
The availability of affordable housing is a fundamental need for communities to thrive and be vibrant. Without affordable housing, essential workers would not be able to live in northwest Connecticut. They won’t be available to work in our grocery stores, deliver our goods, teach our children, care for our family members or serve as first responders for critical situations.
Planned development that considers the highest and best use of our available lands has been a priority in the partnership with the Falls Village Housing Trust. Falls Village has designated the property on River Road as an Incentive Housing Zone (IHZ) conscious of its distance to the town center, and given that the town center is without basic amenities such as a grocery store or pharmacy, a commute to satisfy those needs is a foregone conclusion. The lack of available building sites and the inability to handle waste disposal on any property in the town center was what drove the community to designate the River Road properties as an IHZ initially.
The IHZ is 67 acres of land on River Road owned by Habitat. The Mohawk (Blue) Trail crosses a small portion of the northeast corner of the IHZ near the top of the mountain.
The Falls Village Housing Trust site is in the northwest corner of the IHZ bordering River Road and does not encroach on the Mohawk Trail. The Housing Trust site is 10 acres.
Habitat of NW Connecticut is proud to support the efforts of a sister organization working to bring more affordable housing to our region. We encourage the communities’ support for the Falls Village Housing Trust in these efforts.
Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut
Managing changes happening around us
Most of America has been talking and zooming through COVID-19 and other challenges (changing work, being home more, needing to rethink everything.)
Some business,social and political ships (and shops) have sailed.
Exploring what people want (not what they don’t want) is a compass that can guide us from the personal to the community and larger world levels. As we engage our precious human creativity and advocacy with a goal of fair share or resources, care, growth of skills, talents, meaningful connections and more, the easier our realities can change.
Not worrying about the exact how or what may get in the way is important too, says David Adelson (and others with decades of thought, mind, energy training) who offers free podcasts and a free download on PeaceandHarmonyCo.com.
I explore more ideas and resources on Livfully.org as a model for others in each state and country (as it is legal and safe to do so) to cover critical information intentionally excluded by the media.
Since the Jeffrey Epstein personal and political scandal we need to improve in our society on all levels. Most people with a mental health disorder or addiction do not cross criminal lines or have widespread support although there is bias against females, people of color and children. There is a need to educate and promote safety for people of all ages, particularly if there is decline in self-care or fair play.
Thanks for joining in the offers online and locally to promote inner peace, respect, safety and healing on all levels.Every person could benefit from an online screening (domestic abuse and social safety and basic health tests for blood sugar levels, blood pressure, physical, dental, mental health, basic living needs of housing and support.)
Let’s Dare to Care and Share ideas and resources in these promising times in 2020, especially when voting in November.
Catherine Palmer Paton
Maria Horn has been dedicated to the people of the 64th District
Russ Hurley’s characterization of State Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) in his letter of July 9 is from an alternate universe. Maria Horn won her seat on foot, knocking on doors and talking to people all across the district. She continues to reach out to constituents, working tirelessly to make things better for our district.
She has held publicly announced meetings for constituents in every town. Before the pandemic struck, she sent out an email newsletter and posted on Facebook every Thursday. Since COVID-19, she has posted and emailed three times a week with important updates: how and where to get help whether you own a small business or are on a limited income; health care assistance; how contact tracing works; updates on unemployment compensation; closings and re-openings.
Mr. Hurley would like people to believe she doesn’t care about our “blue-collar towns.” Let’s see. Last session she worked to expand health coverage to include mental health and ensure that Connecticut insurers cannot exclude people with pre-existing conditions; successfully pushed back against the governor’s plan to shift some of the cost of teacher pensions to the towns; went to bat to win a higher minimum wage, which will directly improve the lives of the many essential workers who staff our nursing homes and rehab centers and grocery stores and keep our hospitals organized and clean.
And yes, the Legislature did pass a balanced budget on time, creating a rainy-day fund of $2.5 billion, which will help us deal with some of the enormous costs of this pandemic, a rainy day fund that Horn and her Democratic colleagues had to defend from the Republicans who wanted to raid it to pay for infrastructure. Because of her grit and that of other representatives, the Legislature refused to cut Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding to our towns.
The budget included no increases in the income tax or the sales tax rate and eliminated the business entity tax to encourage new business startups. Overall, since 2008, the state budget has grown by only 2.5% and most of that is in fixed costs. Discretionary spending, on the other hand, has decreased by 14.8%. For the current budget, non-fixed costs were increased 0.3%. This is a representative who knows how to protect her district while working to repair the economic hole the state has been struggling out of for years.
One of the most pernicious ways Mr. Ohler spreads fake news about Maria Horn is through Northwest Corner Chatter, a Facebook page. People may not understand that this site is under his control and those who challenge his mis-information campaign are likely to find themselves blocked from making further comments.
Don’t be fooled. We have a great and dedicated representative working for us in Hartford. She is always ready to help constituents with problems, to listen hard, even to criticism, and to engage in a real conversation about the issues we care about.
Only has the welfare of the dogs at heart
This is to respond to Bill Littauer’s letter of July 16. I have no doubt your efforts to this board and other boards are an advancement to all concerned. Thank you.
But, how do you know what my contributions to the Salisbury Dog Park are? How many of the board of directors actually bring dogs to the park year round for any length of time? None that I know of.
Have you ever introduced yourself to the users of the park and/or asked for their input?
My letter about the patio was for the public to know what was going on. The board of directors of the dog park should have oversight. It also needs to listen to advice and be open-minded.
The patio idea from last fall was for a sloped area. The change of site was done this spring. COVID-19 made the patio a bad idea, I believe. The drainage idea was also discussed this spring. It was suggested that planting grass might be better done in the fall. By planting the grass seed now it waits for rain in July. The board made no plans for watering.
I am at the park nearly every day. There is no attendant so someone needs to take an interest. I have also donated chairs for the users to sit and social distance. Picnic tables invite food (which is against the dog park rules) and do not promote social distancing.
I have been at the park when it is cold and hot. I have tried to give advice to new dog owners and create an atmosphere of kindness. I do not need to come to the park. My dog is a wonderful blue heeler who is well-trained. We are there to set an example. This park is a great asset. So why is it so under-utilized? Not because of COVID-19. It is because no one knows about the park.
However, the board’s COVID-19 restrictions for this outdoor acre of land have been too severe. The board has limited the number of people allowed to be in the park needlessly and even asked owners to stay outside the fence while their dog is inside. On the board’s Facebook page they have also threatened to close the park. These are shortsighted policies.
Operating an important resource like the dog park should be more about people, their dogs and positive health of the community. Promote the park and people and dogs will come to it. Isn’t that why it was created? Use the money that is donated in these poor economic times to help owners and their dogs. The dog park is a great place for owners to share tips and dogs to have fun. Please, follow your mission statement.
Instead of criticizing the messenger (me), why not invite her to be on your board?
Everyone who comes to the park knows me and my dog, Tillie. We give good will generously to all.
Thank you for your future efforts at the park.
No disrespect meant in Falls Village housing disagreement
Responding to Ms. Hanna’s “Defense for Falls Village Housing Trust” statement that “Attempts to discredit or disrespect the representatives of the regulatory bodies, the work of FVHT, or to manipulate public opinion actually make no sense. After all, it is the regulatory bodies, not a public referendum, that have the power to approve or disapprove the plans submitted, based on the careful alignment of the plans with mandated regulations.”
We in Falls Village ARE “making sense.” Without ANY disrespect whatsoever. ”Manipulate public opinion”? Do you mean the “Democratic process”? I’d like to quote my fellow townsperson, Daly Reville, from her Letter of last week. “One frustration with the Lime Rock Station proposal is that from the very beginning, FVHT has blocked an open dialogue with members of the community. Instead the plan has been hatched outside of public input and discussion. And most importantly, this proposal is in complete opposition to the town’s existing Plan for Conservation and Development. This must end now.” Indeed.
We are not like other towns. Kent’s municipal budget is approximately $12 million with almost 3 times the population. Our town budget is $2 million. This entire process has rolled along with little public input. Last April, 2019, when the Falls Village Planning and Zoning commission stood ready to approve Falls Village Housing Trust’s application for a Special Permit to build their 29-unit, 50-bedroom behemoth, the only notice any of us received was a letter to an adjoining landowner two days before the Planning and Zoning (P+Z) meeting! Talk about Minutemen! Seven citizens showed up and voiced myriad concerns. The application was tabled.
The threat of an activated citizenry for the following June 2019 P+Z meeting and a visit by a civil engineer we hired had the effect that the FVHT withdrew their application. We have not been asleep.
Just as we thought, FVHT re-applied. We are ready, willing and able and working to inform the entire town that this thing is on the front burner. The promised Town Meeting to hear the “Special Permit” application is the forum at which we are fully prepared to officially rebut this inappropriate, oversized development, flung far from town. So much information needs to see the light of day so that the “Democratic Process” CAN proceed. Hopefully, notification will be posted well in advance.
Please support housing options in Falls Village
We are writing in response to a letter to the editor that suggested that the development proposed by the nonprofit Falls Village Housing Trust (16 homes on 10 acres) was too large for the town or located in the wrong place.
We heard similar sentiments expressed by neighbors when we proposed affordable housing in our towns. We can tell you that these developments, now built and inhabited for years, fit nicely into our towns and provide much-needed affordable rental housing in our region for seniors, young families and essential workers. We need more.
Every town needs to provide this type of housing to meet the range of housing needs we all have during different times in our lives. The percentages of affordable homes in each town that were provided in that letter to the editor were also incorrect and/or out-of-date. The most recent data provided by the Connecticut Dept. of Housing have Falls Village at 1.28% (10 homes), compared to Kent’s 4.02% (67 homes), Cornwall’s 3.28% (33 homes) and Salisbury’s 1.62% (42 homes).
Especially in times like these when having a safe, affordable, place to call home is especially important, we all need to do whatever we can to support developments like the one proposed by the Falls Village Housing Trust. We encourage residents who support affordable housing options to make their voices heard when this project goes before the Falls Village Planning & Zoning Commission. Too often the louder voices of a few opponents drown out the many quieter voices of support for essential projects like this one.
Kent Affordable Housing
Cornwall Housing Corporation
Salisbury Housing Committee
It’s in the eye of the beholder
I’ve been monitoring the “stupid” debate and have decided to chime in. “Stupid” is not an appropriate descriptor for the Steiner cartoons. “Unfunny” is more apt, as is “boring”, “one-note” and “vapid.” I imagine Steiner takes about 2 minutes to do them. The subject matter is the same week-to-week and the effort put into drawing is something I could do. And I can’t draw. But maybe “stupid” is in the eye of the beholder. It is sorta “stupid” to object to the cartoons because they ain’t gonna change and the Journal’s standards are so low.
I do have a proposition that can provide a moment of agreement and peace. It’s not about Trump, who seems more “feral” and “primitive” to me vs. “stupid.” It’s not about his supporters who seem more “nihilistic” than “stupid.” It’s about our next president, Joe Biden. Now that son-of-a-gun is “stupid.” Always has been. A true box of rocks. A post. Add to that the creeping senility, and we’re in for another great presidential show.
Do the pros and cons really even out?
Often when discussing the political situation with my Republican friends, their response to my criticism of Trump is that while he has many faults, his policies are aligned with their conservative values. They point to his tax cuts, his reduction of anti-business regulations, his support of the military, his success in changing the courts and, of course, “the economy.”
But do they really support his other policy priorities? Do they applaud eliminating Obamacare, gutting regulations that protect our environment and safety, withdrawing from our global relationships related to climate change, health, weapon reduction, etc.? Do they really admire him for building up our deficit to record levels, for his efforts to expel foreign students because their colleges are not offering in-person classes, for his relentless fight to scrap DACA, for his bizarre relationships with North Korean, Turkish and Russian strongmen, not to mention the white supremacy crowd?
Do they really admire his choice of cabinet members, his decisions of whom to pardon or commute their legal sentences? Do they really think he has done a great — or even an okay — job managing the pandemic? How about his efforts to limit voting wherever possible? Net net, do my Republican friends really WANT Trump to lead this nation for another four years? I hope not.
Help when it was needed
Another chapter in neighbors helping neighbors. I live alone, confined to a wheelchair, and last Wednesday about one o’clock in the afternoon I began to smell smoke coming from my lower level. Within about five minutes the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department and a neighbor were here. The smoke had become darker as it spiraled up the stairway. My neighbor bundled me down and out the front door as the firemen swept in.
Turns out the problem was the furnace, where a belt was awry. A huge fan blew the smoke out and happily there was no need for water. As the fire department finished up, the Fire Marshal arrived to give a report to Carlson Propane so they knew exactly what to do. The air conditioning was up and running the next day by noon.
What a great community! And a perfect example of how small towns work. I am so fortunate to be a part of one.