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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 7-9-20

We have to make our own macaroni salad, I guess

You have to try to find a little humor in these troubled times, so I’ve been noticing the wacky ways people are behaving in the name of staying safe.

I recently saw a pair of walkers taking what, presumably, was meant to be an enjoyable stroll in the fresh air. Except that every time they saw someone approaching they hightailed it to the other side of the street. For a solid 3 minutes I watched them bounding back and forth in a panic. Talk about a good walk spoiled.

And what’s up with the selective social distancing? People don’t seem to mind being next to someone they like, but see somebody coming that they don’t like or want to talk to anyway and they scatter in a huff.

Businesses are reopening but with “special” hours. Apparently anyone who comes in before, say 5 p.m., is perfectly safe, but admit a customer after five and you’re a goner.

The other day I went into a shop to buy some macaroni salad. They had tuna and chicken salad and coleslaw but, “because of the virus,” are not making macaroni salad. So tuna and chicken are fine but macaroni will kill us all?

Or how about all the people walking around with masks on their chin? I suppose it is important to protect your chin, but on the other hand why even bother.

I could go on but there’s no point. All this madness makes me want to:

 

     Shelter in place

     Self-Quarantine,

     Put a mask on my face

     So I can’t be seen.

 

     Close down all the windows

     Lock the doors up tight,

     Not coming back out

     Til Fauci says it’s all right.

 

Kevin Godburn

North Canaan

 

Elect Ohler for the 64th

There comes a time when people need to realize the importance of local politics. With all of the hate and disdain surrounding politics at the national level, we should feel fortunate here in northwest Connecticut that we have leaders who truly understand our needs and can actually relate to our concerns.  

Unfortunately, in 2018, Brian Ohler was swept up in the so called “Blue Wave” and what we got instead of a caring, empathetic, compassionate leader, was someone who has a hard time connecting with constituents or even care about the issues that are really affecting our families and businesses here at home. State Rep. Maria Horn has been in lock step with her Democratic party since she first took office, quickly becoming a programmable foot soldier and a “rubber stamp” for Governor Ned Lamont. 

As vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, she had a front-row seat in the drafting process for our current budget. Instead of being fiscally conscious and mindful of how the adoption of new fees and taxes would hurt our blue-collar towns, she quickly moved forward on a budget that ultimately increased new fees and taxes by nearly $2 billion dollars. What was her response when called out for the budget’s present imbalance? “I am just proud that we passed our two-year budget on time.”

Brian Ohler is the clear choice for state representative. His record of being fiscally accountable and socially responsible is the precise formula and balance that we need right now. When it comes to the 64th District, this election is about who you think will best represent us and our interests in Hartford. 

You can vote for someone who is led by special interests and party leaders, or, you can vote for a proven civil servant and community advocate, someone who has risked his life and dedicated his life for the betterment and advancement of our small rural towns. 

For anyone who follows both Maria Horn and Brian Ohler on social media, you would swear that Brian never even left office. Besides actually voting, Brian has been the one leader that has never left us.  Brian is always there with answers and critical information. I am backing Brian Ohler for state representative and I think you should too. 

Russ Hurley

Goshen

 

Please, no patio at dog park

I am a user and donor “in kind” at the Salisbury Community Dog Park on Long Pond Road in Lakeville. I think that the users, donors and public should be aware of the board of directors putting in a brick patio (for an old picnic table to be put in the center) and possible drainage for an estimated $5,000. The Friends of the Salisbury Community Dog Park, as they are called, are a nonprofit organization. The brick patio is neither needed nor wanted and does not benefit the dogs or promote social distancing at the park. It does not follow their mission statement to educate and run programs for the community to benefit dog ownership.

Perhaps your money should be better spent on events at the park such as  veterinarian talks, dog trainer clinics, rabies vaccine clinics and even an obstacle course afternoon for the owners and their dogs. A brick patio is a waste of money. Please reconsider this poor choice of expenditure. Thank you.

Jen Bosworth

Sharon

 

Not a dinosaur

“Hear! Hear” to Dick Ahles for “Snowflakes fall on the Times and the paper melts” in the July 2 issue. His piece promotes the classic liberal position that supports freedom of speech and the right and obligation of informed citizens to make up their own minds. 

Dick, you are no “journalistic dinosaur,” but the voice of reason. Here’s hoping people are listening.

Donald Black

Norfolk

 

In Falls Village, let’s do affordable housing right

The towns of Salisbury, Cornwall, Norfolk and North Canaan all of which adjoin Falls Village have successfully built affordable housing in or close to their town centers while preserving critical recreation areas and areas of ecological sensitivity. Falls Village can and should do the same.  This approach to housing and conservation is clearly outlined in our Connecticut State Statutes, in our state, regional and town Plans for Conservation and Development and in our local zoning laws. The River Road Incentive Housing five-building, 29 bedroom development currently being considered for Falls Village is out of step with this approach. With careful and thoughtful deliberation, a more prudent and feasible alternative might very well be found.

A proposal of such magnitude should not be rushed.  The Incentive Zone Funding is intended to revitalize town centers and ideally to provide housing in walking distance to the town center. The River Road property, currently owned by Habitat for Humanity,  is across Route 7, two miles from the town center. 

The River Road property is bordered by state forest and is part of a fragile and vulnerable woodland wildlife corridor that runs north to south along the Housatonic River.  The U.S. Department of Interior publication The Housatonic in Connecticut, A Wild and Scenic River identifies the segment of the river corridor between Falls Village and West Cornwall as both a critical recreation area and critical ecological area. The corridor supports 163 species of birds and 40 species of mammals.  I asked an Audubon Society lecturer about the ramifications of a development in the midst of a woodland wildlife habitat. The lecturer responded that household pets, cats in particular, left free to roam the woodlands can devastate a bird population especially during breeding season.

The Mohawk Trail winds its way through this property at the base of a spectacular steep wooded rocky slope and  the development would destroy the wilderness character of the  Mohawk Trail disrupting the viewshed of Lookout Point and  also possibly the view shed of The Appalachian Trail which runs along the ridgeline across the river.  

There are interested parties who would like to see this River Road property purchased so that it can remain undeveloped. Habitat for Humanity could then take this money and use it to build houses that are consistent with its mission of home ownership. 

This River Road property is not within the zone outlined in the Falls Village town plan for Smart Growth. Development on this property would disrupt a critical recreational and ecological area. The location is not consistent with the State Plan for Conservation and Development which is a legal requirement for Incentive Housing Zone Development Funding. To take state IHZ funding to build at this location would be unjust. 

I look to members of affordable housing and conservation groups in other towns to help Falls Village  build the best affordable housing that we can while at the same time preserving our precious natural areas. You have done it and we can too.

Laura Werntz

Falls Village

 

Cartoon was funny and accurate

In response to Bruce Valentine’s “Careful who you call ‘stupid’” piece that was in the June 25 Letters to the Editor, commenting on the “Herd Stupidity” comic in the June 18 issue, Mr. Valentine states that he “would think the local papers would be smart enough not to label American citizens as ‘stupid’.” He goes on to say that the cartoon should have depicted rioters, looters, and the anti-police mob.

I think the cartoon was not only funny, but accurate. The paper did not label American citizens as stupid. The paper was labeling Trump supporters as being stupid, or to be more accurate, Trump supporters’ behavior as being stupid.

If one chooses to be in a crowded space, and on top of that not wear a mask, the nicest thing one can say is, “That is stupid.”

When our inept, petulant, narcissistic, demagogue/dictator refuses to embrace and believe in science, that is stupid.

When his base believes the Carny Barker, instead of believing the scientists who are experts in their field, that is stupid.

The majority of Americans are left baffled and confused as to how and why his base is not perceptive enough to see that this Orange Fraud is nothing more than a lying white supremacist who is only interested in himself and cares naught about your health, welfare and safe being. Continuing to support him is stupid.

This Russian supporting, un-American, selfish, weak, thin-skinned, irresponsible, rapacious failure has made this country an embarrassment and joke to the rest of the world. World leaders look upon him and think, “He’s stupid.”

The only thing this Dumpster Fire has done for this country is create division, spread hate and promote moral corruption, grow his bank accounts for himself and his kids and erode our democracy. Continuing to support and believe in him is stupid.

Although rioting and looting are never OK, imagine the frustration, rage and hopelessness that must be felt to behave in that way. The Loser has done nothing to try and calm that rage or attempt to show any empathy or provide any assurance that he will support any positive changes. That is stupid.

With respect to anti-police mobs being stupid, I have not seen any anti-police mobs on TV or social media. I have seen many peaceful protests, which are not stupid, and per our Constitution, they are legal and I believe they are necessary. They are just as necessary today as they were in the ’60’s when white and black kids protested the Vietnam War and supported the Civil Rights movement, all for a better society based around unity.

Unfortunately, our unfit snowflake president does not support unity in any way, shape or form, and that’s stupid.

Andrew Stayman

Pine Plains

 

Come see Kent’s affordable housing

Colter Rule’s passionate Letter to the Editor expressing his desire that his neighborhood not change, and not add some affordable housing, needs some corrections and some context.  Whether meetings on the housing project were suitably publicized, whether the sand pit was properly remediated, and whether Habitat can change its mission are all issues that state and federal regulations cover. One can probably assume that the Falls Village Housing Trust (FVHT) has done its work on those. Similar problems have arisen here in Kent, and other communities, and have been solved without rancor.

Other statements in the letter need change or context. According to Connecticut’s Affordable Housing Appeals List, the percentage of such housing in Fall Village/Canaan is 1.28% or 10 units, not 7.19% or 56 units. Applications for affordable housing construction funds require viable income and cost — not profit and loss — projections for as long as 20 years.  The projects must be large enough to produce rental income to cover operating budgets, as only construction expenses are granted by public agencies.  In towns where real estate taxes are not entirely forgiven, the housing complexes contribute to the grand list total value. In Kent, the affordable housing has been given partial, descending, tax abatements for the initial 10 years, but after that they pay real estate taxes on their assessed value. The 24 units in five buildings at South Common now pay $24,000 a year to the town.

Other phrasing in the letter provokes comment. Whether it is brave to hammer down a long and arduous process by the FVHT to benefit modest income families is questionable. Whether quoting a neighbor saying “If you want to buy a house and live and work here, do it” is worthy of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” is pretty clear.  Whether a well-managed housing project would be close enough to harm the Appalachian Trail or Dean’s is doubtful. Most people know the acronym NIMBY “Not in my back yard,” but people who devote their time and energy to developing homes for lower-income residents also may hear BANANA: “Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything.”

The solution to Mr. Rule’s distress he suggests himself: Find land in Falls Village for an economically viable, tax-contributing affordable housing development. As a start, I’d like invite him to a tour of the several attractive affordable housing properties that enhance the Kent community. 

Virginia Bush Suttman

Kent

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