Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 9-16-21
Check public docs to know what is going on
A recent article and a recent Letter to the Editor makes reference to confusion over the liability of the Town of Canaan/Falls Village for River Road Homes. The Town of Canaan/Falls Village has applied for a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing for $725,800 for site clearing, earth moving, gravel for trenches, sub-base courses for paving and storm drainage. In the CDBG grant application, Project Information (Exhibit 00.5) identifies River Road Homes as the Project Name and The Town of Falls Village, CT as both the Responsible Entity and the Grant Recipient. The Certifying Officer Name and Title is listed as Henry Todd, First Selectman. The document concludes with the signature of the Responsible Entity Official Signature. This document was signed by Henry Todd, First Selectman, Town of Canaan, CT on June 16, 2021. Chapter 2 of the CDBG Small Cities Grants Management Manual defines The Responsible Entity as follows,
“Under 24 CFR Part 58, the term responsible entity (RE) means the grantee under the state CDBG Program. The responsible entity must complete the environmental review process. Environmental review responsibilities have both legal and financial ramifications. As part of the assurances and agreements signed by the responsible entity, the Chief Executive Officer of the responsible entity agrees to assume the role of “responsible federal officer” under the provision of the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This means that if someone brings suit against the responsible entity in federal court on environmental grounds, the CEO will be named as the defendant. There may be financial implications associated with any lawsuit and, of course, fines, judgments or settlements that may result. The State of Connecticut accepts no responsibility or liability for the quality or accuracy of the local environmental review process.”
Both of the documents cited are public documents. The CDBG Small Cities Grants Management Manual is available on the Department of Housing website. The CDBG application is also a public document and a Citizen Participation Plan is included in and is a requirement of the application.
Town of Canaan/Falls Village
An uplifting story
What a delightful story in the Sept. 2 edition about Noreen Driscoll taking in five Appalachian Trail hikers as storm Henri threatened. It was so good to have a positive story for a change. I think all of them will remember those days forever.
Thanks to camp helpers
Thank you to a wonderful cast of young actors, theater professionals, musicians and puppeteers for a grand performance in honor of Grumbling Gryphons 41st anniversary.After a week of relentless rain and humidity, the sky cleared and the play began.
On Aug. 14th a lively production of St George and The Dragon, written and directed by Leslie Elias was performed for an outdoor audience of nearly 100 folks at Grumbling Gryphons Headquarters. A triumphant and talented tribe of children who came from as far as Alaska, came together with teen and adult actors to perform an enchanting dramatic production beset with jesters, royalty, dragons, snakes, ceremonial dancers, wild animals, mummers, St George and the Mad Doctor.
Adding to the magic were two lively musical bands -The Merry Minstrels with Rachel Gall, Jane Prentice and Kathy Lyon of Still, The Homegrown Band and guitarist percussionist Arieh Saed who accompanied the thespians with beautiful strains of lyrical and lively traditional tunes. The Berkshire Stompers got everyone on their feet with their exuberant and powerful music, led by Charlie Kiel, Shamu Sadeh and a talented band who played for the finale’s celebration and outdoor processional. The breathtaking and larger than life Golden Lady danced (created and performed by Ellen Moon) with jubilant children whilst the enormous 10-person Dragon danced along.
Green is Gold; Fire is Wet; Fortunes Told; Dragon’s Met!
Bravo to our cast and players of Theater Camp 2021. Thank you children, staff, musicians and artists for your creativity and hard work.
A special thanks to our artist in residence and costume maker, Lory Bevans, who created art with the children during camp; to our Lady Gryphon of Sharon Katherine Almquist for her elegant performance and to Kaitlyn Carozzo, Catherine Paton, Daniel Saed, Johnny Segalla, Micah Conway for their help during theater camp and performance. Thank you to parents, grandparents and our dedicated team of merrymakers.
This was our first performance ever outdoors at Gryphon Headquarters. The stars aligned and magic was made.
See you next year! With love, thanks and safekeeping to all.
We need Klarides to run
In 2022, Connecticut voters will have an important choice to make at the ballot box for Governor. Ned Lamont may be a nice guy, but he has proven unwilling to make the structural reforms necessary to take the state in a new direction. Connecticut can’t afford four more years of Democratic party rule, and to win back the state house Republicans need a new face with a different message.
Themis Klarides, the former House Minority Leader, has taken the initial steps to run for governor, and I believe she’s the best candidate for two reasons: 1.) She’s the one Republican candidate who can win; 2.) Once elected, she’s the one candidate who can govern from day one.
Themis can win because she can appeal to the unaffiliated voters who comprise over 40% of Connecticut’s electorate. She can take the fight to the Democrats with an issue-focused message that appeals to these moderate voters.
Themis led the most effective reforms our state has seen during her tenure as House Minority Leader. Thanks to her, Connecticut now has limits on spending and borrowing. As governor, Themis won’t be afraid to take on the entrenched interests in Hartford. She not only has the experience to govern, she has the guts to make the tough decisions our state so desperately needs.
I’m encouraging Themis to run for Governor, and I’m urging voters to support her for the gubernatorial nomination in 2022. Themis is the complete package, the real deal. Connecticut needs Themis Klarides.
In full disclosure, I was the GOP nominee for State Treasurer in 2018.
Thanks to a caring community
Regarding the unfortunate car accident I had on Taconic Road on Friday, Aug. 27, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Neil, Ronda and all the other kind people (whose names I don’t know) who came to my help at that time, as well as to the excellent care at Sharon Hospital Thank you, thank you! I feel so lucky to be part of such a caring, competent community.
Salisbury’s fresh waterways
In early August I walked Glacier National Park’s magnificent Highline Trail. The Highline Trail runs along the great continental divide. This is where half of the annual glacial melt eventually flows into the Pacific and the other half reaches the Atlantic, CT’s nearest ocean. Along its winding path to the oceans Glacier Park’s watershed provides fresh water for countless creatures and communities. Had it not been for farsighted conservationists’ passing a bill to protect the area in 1910 by establishing a national park, the world would not have this pristine treasure and its crystal-clear watershed. It is astonishing that Glacier Park’s melted ice and Salisbury’s waterways eventually meet in the Atlantic. This got me thinking about Salisbury’s forward thinking Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission (IWWC) and its recent efforts to protect our local fresh water sources for generations to come. The world is rapidly losing fresh drinking water and this is the right time to think globally by acting locally, as it cannot be known what may happen to our local lakes and waterways a century from now. Salisbury is fortunate to have the IWWC whose members sincerely care about our community and its water sources. Natural treasures require binding protections before they are lost forever and I am grateful to each and every member of the IWWC for their good, voluntary work to protect our local water.
Justicemaking in the dark: no way to run the Supreme Court for the nation
“We want a Supreme Court which will do justice under the Constitution — not over it. In our courts we want a government of laws and not of men.”
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The Supreme Court’s transparent, public, argued by cream of the cream attorneys, analyzed then documented by nine brilliant jurists and their highly credentialed clerks — the well-named annual Merits Docket caseload — has dramatically shrunk from 200 in the 1960s, to 184 in 1982 to 62 in 2020-2021. However, the number of Shadow Docket cases have soared in the Robert’s Court since 2017 (41 in 4 years vs 8 from 2001 to 2017).
For clarity, Shadow Docket cases are those for which SCOTUS doesn’t have to show its work — like a high school algebra exam where the taker submits only a numerical answer not how the answer was arrived at: no presented explanation. Like a carpentry project with an exhibit name but no physical exhibit. In the recent upswing of “in the dark” decisions, Justice written Shadow Docket opinions are only dissenting decisions. Why won’t prevailing Justice(s) be legally out front — “show their work” — their legal grounding — beyond a thumbs up, thumps down?
On Sept. 3, the Texas Heartbeat Act shadow decision was issued at midnight, Friday night, no majority opinion/explanation/ reasoning provided, no majority Justice(s) signature – seemingly a back-door sly to overturn Roe vs Wade. Justices without deliberation, briefs, or oral argument denied women their constitutional right to manage their own bodies without government restrictions.
Stunningly this latest SCOTUS “night court” decision followed an ole precept that DC events on Fridays bypass scrutiny: “take out the trash” — “quick while no one is looking” initiatives. So a Supreme Court Justice carefully banks on weekend low news coverage to announce a stinger Shadow Docket decision?
The Texas Heartbeat Act is atrocious, unconstitutional, instituting a snitch culture to pit citizen against citizen. Alarming isn’t just this decision but the trend it indicates — the Supreme Court drifting from a full slate of centuries — true transparent decisions to a creep in dark night of “slipped one over on ya” judicial outcomes. Shadow Dockets in 2020 reinstated carrying out federal death sentences when none had been executed for 16 years. For 45’s administration, 11 such executions were enacted from July of 2020 until Biden’s inauguration — all Shadow Dockets. A lame duck president’s Court overturned federal stays to execute 11 death row prisoners in six months (three death row inmates are exonerated annually.)
SCOTUS Shadow Docket decisions since 2017 have been made on immigration, Muslim bans, capital executions, monies for 45’s wall, abortion, evictions in a pandemic. Stay alert.
“Will a nominee embrace and uphold the essential meaning of the four words inscribed above the entrance of the Supreme Court building: Equal justice for all.”
— Edward Kennedy
“We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to fear the birds of prey, and let it keep one shape till custom make it their perch and not their terror.”
— William Shakespeare
Bad behavior at sale
The day before the recent Norfolk Library book sale, I was asked by the library employee in charge to help set up. As a town resident, I agreed.
Knowing some libraries don’t want book dealers involved with their sales, I stated my own background in bookselling and rare book research. No one voiced any objection, and I spent several hours helping set up tables and carry books. I also answered questions about evaluating and pricing their better books. If they were hoping I’d buy some, I wasn’t interested.
Next morning I came back to help finish setting up before the sale started at noon. This time the manager confronted me loudly, angrily and publicly - peremptorily demanding I leave at once because I was a bookseller.
As a town resident, a library-supporting taxpayer and a fully transparent volunteer, I was taken aback, to say the least. The manager had been brusque the day before, but this angry, accusatory confrontation was beyond the pale.
I spoke to the director, but she also wanted to evict me. She apologized for the manager’s behavior, saying it was a common occurrence, but her idea of fixing the problem was simply to chalk it up to “stress” and offer me a cookie (declined), hoping I would just walk away.
With my volunteer status revoked, I decided to wait with the large crowd for the sale to start, and to observe.
There was much to see. At one point, a few of the people waiting were walking around the outside perimeter of the tented sale area, which was roped off with yellow police tape. They were all dutifully outside the tape, but the manager came racing over at full tilt, her arms waving wildly and screaming repeatedly, “Get the hell away from there!”
Later, some others who were waiting in the hot sun moved to the shade behind the tented area on the library’s lawn. They too were outside the taped perimeter, but another sale worker angrily ordered them away, saying no one was allowed to be close enough to see under the tent.
This suspicious, adversarial attitude is not unusual. Some libraries think it’s cheating if anyone glimpses any books before the sale starts. Book dealers are common suspects.
It’s certainly true that some dealers (and others) occasionally try to jump the line or otherwise cheat. In 25 years of attending sales and helping at some, I’ve seen such behavior on all sides, including library staff helping themselves to books.
But the answer is to ban individual bad actors - including abusive staff. Allowing them to scream at patrons and volunteers, or trying to placate those who were bullied with baked goods, is no way to run anything.
Good can come from evil: Nat’l Day of Service
The nationally recognized, National Day of Service and Remembrance on 9/11, is a chance to help others as we honor lives lost, and honor our first responders, and those who serve to defend our freedoms, both at home and abroad every day.
At the Lee H. Kellogg School, we believe the words, “We are people who act. We do our part to make the world a better place.” On Saturday, September 11th, families of Kellogg joined together with those in the Falls Village community in our first 9/11 Day of Service. Community members engaged in picking cherry tomatoes from the Adamah Farm at Camp Isabella Freedman to be donated to an area homeless shelter, cleaned the inside of the Beebe Hill Schoolhouse, weeded the rose gardens and other gardens in town, weeded the bricks of honor around the flagpole at the Falls Village Daycare Center, weeded and planted bulbs in the garden at the Kellogg School, planted hydrangea trees by the veterans’ monuments, washed windows at the Falls Village Senior Center, picked up trash on our local roads, and planted mums around town. Thanks to Freund’s Farm Market for providing the mums.
By joining together on 9/11, it helps us to realize that light comes from darkness, and goodness comes from evil. Many thanks to all who joined together in this day of service.
Lee H. Kellogg School