Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 6-18-20
Sunday racing ban has been around since 1959, should stay in effect
I write to respond to the letter from Kevin McGivern June 11 on the subject of Sunday racing at Lime Rock Park.
I have several thoughts in response.
The permanent injunction that ended the possibility of Sunday racing was issued in 1959. Thus, when my parents bought their home in Lime Rock more than 50 years ago in 1965, they did so with the ban on Sunday racing firmly in place. This is, of course, true of everyone who has come to the area and put down roots here since 1959 (as I have done.)
Not only have any residents who arrived since 1959 come to a world without Sunday racing, so have owners of and investors in the track. The absence of Sunday racing does not deprive any of them of anything that they had before. The Skip Barber Racing School was founded in 1975, some 16 years after the injunction had been issued. Those who have invested in the track since 1959 have all known what they were getting.
It is perfectly true that buyers of property in the area know of the track when they buy their homes, but it is a track without Sunday racing, something any investors in the track know as well as residents. It has been this way since 1959.
Like many other residents of the area, and like my parents before me, I enjoy Sundays in Lime Rock (just as I enjoy every day here.) I love Music Mountain and the glorious concerts there. I love listening to the birds, something that cannot be done over the continuous noise of many engines circling the track.
I appreciate the fact that limited racing means limited air pollution as well, something of enormous concern in our times of disastrous climate change. My parents would not have bought what is now my house if there had been more extensive racing at the track.
I very much want the businesses in our area to succeed. I support local businesses whenever possible. But there is none that I can think of that was founded in an era when Sunday racing still took place at Lime Rock.
Reflections during Pride Month and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations
This is a moment of opportunity for our community and nation — one that comes along only rarely — to collaborate in bending the long arc of the moral universe towards justice, as described by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. This year, the lakes, mountains, gardens, hiking trails, bike routes and beautiful Northwest Corner countryside that are usually the focus of summer activities, are especially treasured. They offer solace and peacefulness in the midst of being brutally upended by several intractable diseases — the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as virulent, systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia.
As leaders and members of the Congregational Church of Salisbury, UCC — an Open and Affirming Church — we take our responsibility as stewards of justice seriously: seeking to learn, influence and act effectively. We join with many other community organizations, decrying violence and injustice, celebrating our differences, believing that love is transforming. We seek to understand fully how racism, homophobia and injustice intersect and require strategic, coordinated, community-wide solutions.
It is disturbing that this June’s celebration of Pride Month is marred by recent decisions at the national level to roll back protections on LGBTQIAP people. It is tragic to see the outbreak of increased violence against black and brown people. However, it is thrilling to learn that more than 110 LGBTQIAP organizations across the country recently united to help combat racial violence. It will take many such coalitions — integrated by race, gender, age, and religious beliefs — to achieve lasting change.
Lofty language. What can each of us actually do?
In a recent message on www.salisburyucc.org, our pastor, the Rev. Dr. John Nelson, acknowledges the “continuing upheaval and anguish that grip our psyches and communities” and suggests that rooting out these destructive forces of our society requires at least five things: reading, listening, discussion, action, and prayer. Among many resources that Pastor John provides is a document entitled, #75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice. Well worth reading; well worth doing.
We are grateful to The Lakeville Journal for featuring discourse on these topics and for noting when and where related activities such as demonstrations and protests are planned. Your role is central.
Our church community seeks to listen, learn, and determine the best ways to take action. We currently gather for Sunday 10 a.m. worship on ZOOM. Pastor John begins each service by saying:
“Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome.
Welcome, if you are old or young, or a little bit of each;
Doubting or believing, or a little bit of each;
LGBTQIAP or straight; Hurting or hopeful; Hungry or full;
Welcome to worshipers of all colors, all genders, all relationship statuses, all states of mind, all shapes and sizes;
Because you are here, the Congregational Church of Salisbury,
This body of Christ, is whole and perfect.
Won’t you join us? www.salisburyucc.org
Lorna D. Edmundson, Chair, Board of Deacons and Betsy F. Beck, Moderator, Congregational Church of Salisbury, UCC
Remove him before Election Day
There is a Chinese curse
Which leaves you better or worse?
“May you live in interesting times” it says
It’s brought about by this prez.
How he got there I don’t know
He’s sunk the country to an all time low
Every day his tweets are banal
Showing a brain on anal
Voting him out is not enough
Needs removal with the cuff
Then off to the asylum to end his days
Where he can, his life appraise.
Michael C. Kahler
Thanks from BTCF
I write to thank the many members of our community who responded with enormous, spontaneous generosity to the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19. In mid-March, as the dimensions of the crisis became clear, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF), through its Northwest Corner Fund, established a separate COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support our neighbors in need and the inspiring nonprofits working on the front lines to help them. In response to this appeal, one generous (and anonymous) donor immediately contributed $50,000 in matching funds. To date more than 70 compassionate donors have contributed to the fund, and we have already distributed nearly $116,000 throughout the nine towns in northwest Litchfield County to help our neighbors in crisis and to offer assistance to these vital organizations as they deal with the adverse economic impact of the pandemic.
To date the fund has given $37,000 to skilled social service providers who are directing funds for food, rent, utilities, health services and other emergency needs to struggling Northwest Corner residents. One social worker told us, “I have written more checks in the last two weeks than I usually do in months.” In addition, thanks to a group of local donors, 35 student families in the Region One School District received $100 grocery cards during spring break, when the district could not deliver meals.
In a preliminary round of emergency grantmaking from late March to mid-April, the fund awarded $15,950 to 20 nonprofits working directly with vulnerable Northwest Corner residents, including low-income families and those experiencing sudden job loss, seniors, veterans, immigrants, health workers, and people living with mental illness to enable them to cover the costs of essential basic needs, including food, utilities, rent, child-care payments, medical supplies and virtual access to counseling services. In a subsequent round of grantmaking, the fund provided an additional $59,275 in operational support to 13 essential nonprofits in the Northwest Corner. Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, our grantmaking partner, provided matching grants to every nonprofit.
None of this grantmaking could have happened without the immediate, generous support of our donors, and we are deeply grateful for their support.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact individuals and families in northwest Litchfield County, and the fund will continue to respond to the needs of our community. If you are able to do so, we urgently ask you to consider a gift to our Northwest Corner COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund at www.BerkshireTaconic.org/NorthwestCornerCOVID19.
Henry Putzel III
Chair, Northwest Corner Fund, BTCF
Gap in educational opportunity for all remains today
I am grateful for The Lakeville Journal’s article about my new book, “Sunny Days,” in your June 4 issue. I just wanted to clear up a misconception that Sesame Street succeeded, as the article suggests, in “closing the ‘achievement gap’ between kids from lower-income and middle-class households.”
While that was indeed a stated goal of Sesame Street’s co-founders, Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, when they launched the program, I note later in the book that this goal went unfulfilled, and that Cooney came to regret using the “achievement gap” phrase. Sesame Street succeeded in giving disadvantaged children a leg up educationally as they entered kindergarten, but it didn’t close that gap — to this day, kids from lower-income households face a much tougher road.
Which is not to say that the experiment that was Sesame Street wasn’t a success, for it taught so many kids the alphabet and counting skills, and demonstrated how multicutural America really is. But the “gap“ remains, alas. As the protests of the last two weeks have demonstrated, we still have a lot of work to do. That said, I appreciate that The Journal and the Hotchkiss Library have given me the opportunity to shine a light on Cooney, Morrisett and other activist-innovators whose work, even 50 years later, is a model for a way forward.