Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 4-29-21
Pope property should be used
Let’s correct the misstatements about the Holley Block vote and understand why the Pope report has no housing recommendations.
The vote taken in 2018 was to lease the 1/3 acre Holley Block property to the Salisbury Housing Committee to study the feasibility of building 12-18 units on Millerton Road. Many voters thought that an objective traffic study reviewing accidents on Route 44 would surely kill the project and zoning restrictions would protect the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the traffic consultant hired by the applicant saw no problems at all with the traffic on Route 44. Letters submitted by the neighbors show multiple accidents on Main Street, contradicting the applicant’s expert. In the last meeting, the applicant revealed that truck deliveries will be made on Route 44. Before approving this project, the P&Z should cause an independent traffic consultant to review this critical safety issue on town-owned land.
In 2016, the town voted to approve the purchase of the 59-acre Pope property off Salmon Kill Road for $1.6 million with the expectation that some of this land would be used for workforce housing. The Salmon Kill Road/Pope property has the potential for up to 64 units. The 2018 Plan also states that the Pope Commission Report would make recommendations to the selectmen for housing on Salmon Kill Road. Nevertheless, when the report was released in January 2021, there were no housing recommendations. Only Mat Kiefer disobeyed the mandate, and included his own opinion. His opinion on page 12 of the report is that the land should be used for athletic fields. Housing could wait for decades in his opinion.
Why did the SAHC agree to follow a mandate and remain silent on the suitability of the Pope property to meet our housing needs? Instead they devoted their time and well-meaning efforts to Holley Block and took their attention (and ours) away from the more suitable properties, Salmon Kill Road and others.
There are six sites in the 2018 Plan that could meet all of our affordable housing needs and allow Bicentennial Park to furnish parking and a park that serves the whole community. We agree with the goal of creating a recreational park on some of the 59 acres off Salmon Kill Road, but we need not harm the center of historic Lakeville and its businesses. But let’s be fair in deciding where to put our housing and parks. Demolishing Bicentennial Park to build 12 units of housing so that the Salmon Kill Road property can be dedicated to athletic fields cannot be the right answer. Let’s try for a better balance of the interests of Lakeville and Salisbury. Thank you.
Pamela Wilson and
Disagrees with LJ reporting, editorial and NHCOG
It’s time again to share the facts. I believe the April 22 Lakeville Journal editorial and Patrick Sullivan’s reporting are in good faith, but they are shy of investigative. I pointed out the errors and the publisher and editor in chief, Janet Manko, replied, “I will not be correcting that. You are welcome to write a letter.” So here goes.
NHCOG’s assertion that towns require 10% government subsidized housing is false. Google Section 8 30g for details, or write to me. NHCOG knows or should know this, yet it keeps up the misinformation campaign.
Next, NHCOG’s count of current affordable housing is just wrong. In Falls Village (FV) we have five Habitat homes, four are in the River Road neighborhood alone, representing 25% of the Lime Rock Station houses. But NHCOG doesn’t count these units as affordable. Their numbers are meaningless.
More to the point, their logic is empty. Home sales data show an average price of $187,000 in FV, and some million-dollar estates are in this average. The “hair on fire” hysteria over needing affordable housing in FV is myth.
Who is benefiting from this myth? $300,000 in state funding has gone to NHCOG and its associated consultants for studies in FV alone, not for housing but studies. And the results of these studies are bogus: FV needs a cluster of 29 homes in the woods 2 miles from town like a fish needs a bicycle. The only proposal worse would be to waste more money trying to build this foolishness.
We do not need to wait years, raise millions in grants and loans, drill wells, create a new water company, remediate the Vaille Sand and Gravel dump site of over 50 cars, refrigerators and other toxic material, and divert water runoff from the adjacent sheer slope straining even the existing conditions; and we certainly do not need to erect 16 units and pave a parking lot on this dump site.
The fastest route to increasing affordable homes is to choose cost effective and long-term affordable housing through in-town rehab and infill construction, the topic right now before the FV Affordable Housing Plan, a state mandate. Let the good people of Falls Village Housing Trust join with the Affordable Housing Plan volunteers to reintroduce honest planning to our small town.
We must send the peddlers of overpriced boondoggle River Road Homes packing. Falls Village cannot afford future maintenance on this ill-begotten housing project even with our existing high taxes.
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of the FV Affordable Housing Plan Task Team.
An important thought
The world is weeping.
Welcoming the season
Finally it feels like spring
Birds chirping with a ring
Daffs out all over the place
Waiting for the Queen Anne’s Lace
Squirrels Foraging for something to eat
Chasing each other to their own beat
Deer gathering every eve
To eat the apples that I leave
All in all it’s a wonderful life
Peaceful here with no strife
The sensible corner of the sensible state
Some down South I would not rate.
Eversource got this right
The powerful thunderstorm that blew through Sharon last Wednesday afternoon (April 21) snapped several trees like toothpicks and dropped them onto the powerlines on Route 4. I called the automated Eversource number to report the outage, but after last summer’s extended power fiasco following Hurricane Isaias, I wasn’t expecting much of a response.
To my surprise, I got to speak to a live person who asked for all the pertinent details (Lines down? Limbs still on the lines? Any sparks or explosions? Cell phone number?). Over the next seven hours I received four text messages from Eversource updating their repair estimate.
At 10 p.m., five bucket trucks arrived, and crews spent over an hour high up in the howling wind removing tree trunks from the lines and re-attaching downed wires to utility poles. Our power was back on within five minutes of the estimated repair time, and Eversource sent a final text asking if everything was working.
I applaud Eversource for their response — this is exactly how a public utility is supposed to fix a problem. I also want to applaud our state Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) and her colleagues in Hartford who passed legislation in October requiring Eversource to be held more accountable for the way it manages emergencies. That is a good example of how government is supposed to fix problems too.
Save the Sharon Hospital Intensive Care Unit
As a practicing physician at the Sharon Hospital for over 40 years, I am quite concerned about losing our ICU. In the past week, two of my patients were almost diverted to Vassar Hospital due to a “lack of beds” in the ICU.
One had COVID pneumonia with the new onset of atrial fibrillation, a serious cardiac arrhythmia. The other presented with respiratory failure due to pneumonia and congestive heart failure close to requiring mechanical ventilation. Although the ICU had nine beds, there were only enough nurses for four patients in the ICU and all beds were in use.
After consultation with a Sharon Hospital hospitalist, a patient was transferred out of the ICU to make room for my patient and my other patient was placed in the medical-surgical unit with close attention. Fortunately both patients did well. These patients illustrate the problems if the present ICU is closed or capacity severely limited.
Firstly, patients that want to be in the Sharon Hospital will be forced to transfer to another hospital away from family and their private physicians. Even patients that may only need ICU care for a day or two will have to be transferred, i.e, post operative patient that needs to be on a respirator overnight or requires one on one attention or an unstable patient hemorrhaging internally. Imagine coming in for elective gallbladder surgery and finding yourself in another hospital several hours later. Ambulances are already being redirected away from Sharon Hospital because of an absence of critical care services.
Secondly, we already have a shortage of ICU nurses and without critically ill patients, more will leave. ICU nurses are needed to help manage patients on respirators, control drips to control blood pressure, monitor arrhythmias, etc. They need to see these critically ill patients regularly to maintain their expertise. Without a house staff in the hospital at all times, doctors have to have confidence in ICU nurses. What do you do in inclement weather when it’s not possible to transfer a critically ill patient?
We faced a similar situation when there was consideration of shutting down the obstetric service two years ago. You cannot have an acute care hospital without a true ICU. Without it, other services will soon be eliminated and hospital census reduced. With the recent COVID pandemic, we needed every ICU bed we had and then some. Eliminate a few beds to allow for remodeling the present ICU.
The administration and board should collaborate with practicing physicians in the community before making decisions. Save the Sharon Hospital!
David R. Kurish, MD
Cent Jour measures a leader, Napoleon or Biden
One hundred days after Napoleon returned from exile in Elba, he met his Waterloo. Thus, Cent Jour, 100 days, was concocted by the French as a yardstick for leader performance. McKinsey & Company, a prominent management consulting firm, publishes a fleet of pricey volumes on impactful first 100 days for: CEO, CFO, Sales Manager, on down the org chart — myths, sinkholes, zeniths.
Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon in his first 100 days. FDR started what he depicted as the “wheels of the New Deal.” JFK launched the Bay of Pigs while the Soviets launched a man into space on April 21, 1961. Reagan survived an assassination attempt. Obama hauled the nation out of a financial nose dive passing a $787 million Recovery and Reinvestment Act within 30 days of inauguration.
Former 45 is the only U.S. President entering the White House without a pending crisis as he stepped into one of the longest running stretches of U.S. economic well-being — inherited not erected. Former 45 ginned up a rash of his own crises, overturning bills, alienating allies, bullying adversaries, siphoning moneys. The April 26, 2017, Gallup Poll put Former 45’s approval rating at 40%; current President Biden’s rating on April 24, 2021 is 57%. Presidential ratings of Former 45 are the lowest ever for a U.S. president: at the conclusion of his presidency Former 45 at 34% approval, term average was 41%.
Come Thursday, April 29, the Biden administration will complete 100 days in office having trumped the previous administration’s anemic 30 million (Former 45 committed to 40 million by end of 2020) COVID vaccines into American arms with a boast worthy 200M COVID vaccines equitably delivered as of mid April. A $1.7 billion stimulus bill, American Rescue Plan, was signed into law within 48 days of Biden’s inauguration resuscitating the US economy as well as restoring public health and security. Americans of all hues of red, blue and purple are 70% plus in approval of Biden’s COVID progress and government rescue of COVID beleaguered, under-nourished, evicted Americans and American small businesses. Forty-two world leaders, including Xi Jining and Putin, joined Biden’s climate conference on day 93 to reverse human wasting of the planet.
Come this Thursday, the 100th day, Biden and his administration will have been doing their work, doing their jobs, without triggering child-restriction concerns as to content and language from the president, without endless tallying of lies, without almost daily corruption charges against federal department appointees as well as within the circumference of the Oval Office. While wild conspiracies, violence to citizens and democracy threatening state voting rights restrictions are in the news, the focus of the U.S. nation led by Joe Biden forges ahead to address current and future challenges and opportunities. Forward — what a promising direction to pursue.
“I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require.” FDR, 32
“If Americans come together, there is nothing we cannot do.” Joe Biden, 46