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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 7-2-20

Thank you, Mr. Krupa, and all at Housatonic Valley Reg. High School

Despite the myriad challenges of COVID-19 affecting our world, I have found a silver lining that I wish to share with you all. Despite the hardships, losses, grief and isolation our world has suffered, the love and appreciation of our fellow humans has brought our world closer together and made it a better place.     

 One of the many silver linings I have discovered is seeing the care that the teachers have provided for the students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, recently demonstrated at graduation and throughout the spring.

As a parent of twin sons, Class of 2020, graduates of Housatonic Valley Regional High School at Lime Rock raceway, I can say that it has been quite a rocky ride! We never dreamed that our sons’ last day of high school was to be a grand unexpected exit with a final performance as Captain von Trapp and Uncle Max in “The Sound of Music,” produced by the awesome Housatonic Musical Theatre Society in March.

Our sons love and breathe music and it was with great disappointment that they couldn’t finish the year out with their friends and teachers whom they adored, but most of all, the sting was missing band and chorus and their long-awaited spring concert.

However, Mr. Krupa (band and concert teacher) surprised the parents with a beautiful, touching virtual spring concert that was put together so expertly with his music students in remote! The entire concert was absolutely beautiful and demonstrates the hard work and tenacity on the part of the music students and of Mr. Krupa. The younger classes created a touching tribute and send off to the class of 2020 that is so tender and kind!  The shining piece de la resistance was the short chorale finale, “Better Place” by Rachel Platten. This choral piece unwittingly resulted from COVID-19 and though one would never choose a pandemic that forced everyone into quarantine, at least we can treasure this musical gem forever.  If you can take a “Deep Breath” moment, please listen!  It continues to delight us and I believe anyone who sees and listens may feel the same!

Thank you, Mr. Krupa, your music students and all the teachers who labored to keep the human connection during this strange, bewildering time! The link to the whole concert: www.bit.ly/3ifWBdE

There you can witness the touching tribute to Class of 2020.  

Here’s the link to “Better Place”: www.bit.ly/31wC4vK

The lyrics to the chorus go as follows:

“There’s a song in my heart

I feel like I belong

It’s a better place since you came along

It’s a better place since you came along!”

Thank you to all the teachers and administration at Housatonic Valley Regional High School who lined up together, 6 feet apart, for the final finish line, cheering on our seniors, Class of 2020, to step out with love and confidence into this Brave New World and begin their next adventures!

 We thank you, teachers, and teachers everywhere!  

“It’s a better place since YOU came along!”

Leslie Elias

Cornwall

 

Could more be known on 2009 drowning?

Any unnatural loss of life or serious injury in modern America is generally investigated. Even if not a crime or neglect case, advocacy can follow to prevent someone going missing, or danger, abuse or death.

Many grieved with us over the drowning on June 16 of 2009 of our late teen son Kaelan Alexander Palmer Paton near the Falls of the Housatonic River. Yet few realize the importance of having an investigation into such a turn of events even though there were all minors involved. 

Even 11 years later, in 2020, I would welcome input from anyone as to who was there, which parents or other adults knew or approved of the dangerous outing and response teams to appreciate what unfolded that day. 

Along with others, I offer forgiveness to all who let the youths go to the river unsupervised and with the option to “go in if they found a safe place,” did not call the school or try to prevent the outing.

 A report within days or weeks would have been helpful. A standard could be set voluntarily and even made into law to learn and recognize what occurred and ways to make amends. A meaningful apology of action or show of good will to prevent such tragedies would prove a valuable response.

Why wouldn’t there be guidelines akin to when a fatality occurs in a workplace that mandates an investigation? 

Regarding the events of that day and in general, I ask the following (and would appreciate any info and ideas).

What could be done to make the danger of the Falls clear to all going there? Is it legal to swim, or to jump from lower or higher rocks? What is the penalty for doing so and who can enforce the rules, if it’s not legal? Who is liable if a person is injured or dies and under what circumstances? What are the responsibilities and optional outreach a town or the state could provide?

Responsibilities for youth, parents, teachers, local community and rescue personnel could all be spelled out for voluntary improvements in various settings.

As more mature youth and legal adults, people could be accountable to “stay on track.” A reasonable life approach could preclude speeding, drinking and drugging to avoid going to jail if injuring or killing someone.  

Thank you to all who consider the greater good for people from all walks of life, colors and ages. This new adventure of reform calls for our best collective efforts.

I offer many ideas and resources on Livfully.org and hope to network with more people and places through online forums. I can be reached at cppaton@yahoo.com

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village

 

Proposed development too large for Falls Village

Practically unannounced, nowhere on the municipal calendar, there was a COVID-19 compliant, physically distanced, in person (and Zoom) meeting on Thursday, June 25, in Falls Village. The Falls Village Housing Trust (FVHT) re-submitted to the Falls Village Planning and Zoning Commission (FVPZ) an application for a five-building, 29-bedroom development here in little Lime Rock Station. 

The FVHT has an option to buy the property from Habitat for Humanity. Habitat’s Mission Statement clearly amplifies home ownership, not rentals. A presentation by the FVHT’s architect proceeded. Behind masks and distanced, it was hard to hear much. The Zoom component had a surreal feedback loop.

The FVPZ stated that this meeting was merely to accept the application; that a public Town Meeting would be held within 90 days. To say the least, it is dismaying for us residents in Lime Rock Station that FVHT should, at this time of stress and uncertainty, submit yet again. We bravely fought this fight Spring of 2019. Then, our questions were specific and legion, and unanswered. Thankfully, FVHT withdrew their application. First Selectman Henry Todd, promised a “sit-down” with all parties. That effort was last minute, hasty and generally unattended. So, here we are. Revisiting our same requests and questions. 

Why do we “need” it ? Our percentage of affordable housing (Falls Village 7.19%) is higher than Kent 3.72%, Norfolk 3.72%, Cornwall 3.28%, and Salisbury 1.2%. Is the Incentive Housing Zone even still valid (adopted by the FVPZ in 2013, without a Town Meeting or any notification to neighbors and adjoiners)? We want to see a signed document. We want full transparency and access to all relevant documents. 

One question from a Zoomer was, “We need a full profit-and-loss estimate of the project before it begins and to understand how it will affect the town’s mill rate, which just keeps going up and up and up. And what is the liability to the Town and FVHT?” One of my neighbors said, “We live here because we want to. If you want to buy a house and live and work here, do it.” 

Yes, we live here. We have personal knowledge that the old Vail sand pit where they propose to build was used for maintenance of trucks, excavators and bulldozers. We have seen the vehicle dump and oil pit. It is alleged that that was cleaned up, but we know it was mostly covered over. 

This property directly adjoins the old Appalachian/Mohawk Trail and backs up on Dean’s Ravine, a precious natural resource. The 2009 affordable housing study by the town mainly looked into in-town development. We are FOR appropriate, intelligent, small (like our town) development in town, where people want to be. This project is fully 2 miles from town. 

We’re just citizens. With all due respect for the hard work and good intentions of the FVPZ and FVHT, this project remains artificial and inappropriate. Just because you can build it, doesn’t mean you should.

Colter Rule

Falls Village

 

Prepare to vote

Every day I watch the news

All it does is add to my blues

The three year old who is in charge

His ego is indeed so large

His lips move and lies spill out

But now it’s an even worse spout

As he fuels his racist base

How we miss Obama’s grace

My old age remembers well

The 1930s’  hell

When similar rhetoric did abound

And jackboots stomped the ground

Time to rise up and take back by voting

And stop his forever gloating

Michael C. Kahler

Lakeville

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