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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 9-22-22

Hayes’ record speaks volumes

Our 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has NEVER supported “defunding the police,” and considering that her husband spent 25 years on the Waterbury police force, it is insulting that her opponent is smearing her record with that false accusation. I was present at a recent gathering of candidates in Salisbury to hear Representative Hayes’ own words, spoken with passion and pride: “For 25 years, I prayed that my husband would come home safely, and I relied on the officer next to him to have his back. I know what the job entails and I have worked during my time in Congress to support law enforcement.”   

Check the Hayes’ record: In her congressional role she has brought millions of dollars to police departments in the district. This year’s budget provides for: Wolcott ($3.2 million), New Fairfield ($2.1 million), Watertown ($3 million), and for police/community programs in New Britain ($15,000), and Waterbury PAL ($171,000). (She emphasizes that these funds are not disbursed yet, but in this year’s federal budget.)

She has voted to save police pensions and mental health support, and to re-establish trust between police and communities they serve. Anyone serious about well-funded, just police protection should vote for Jahana Hayes on Nov. 8. 

Joanne Hayhurst

Lakeville

 

Salisbury P&Z should hear concerns

Last week’s Lakeville Journal had letter about a recent P & Z hearing during which the neighbors’ comments about a re-subdivision on Taconic Road were given short shrift by the commission. That experience was unfortunately familiar. Last year an application was submitted to the P & Z for a special “philanthropic” permit on a large residential property on Long Pond Road. It referred to having retreats and community events, among other activities. Long Pond Road is a rural/agricultural area, some of whose residents are already deeply affected by the noise from Lion Rock.

This special permit application understandably raised considerable fear among more than 65 neighbors about possible excessive noise and traffic that could change the peaceful character of the whole neighborhood. We neighbors made a detailed list of our concerns and tied them into certain existing P & Z regulations. We also went to the effort and expense of hiring an experienced lawyer to present these concerns at the final hearing. As we were allowed to talk at the prior hearings on this application, we assumed we would be able to speak at the final P & Z , and most certainly to have our lawyer present our concerns about the still undefined parts of the application. It was shocking then to hear the Chairman announce upfront that neighbors’ concerns had no standing before the commission as long as a permit/proposed use could be considered within the regulations.

Most disturbing was the fact that after the applicant presented her revised application, neither our lawyer nor any of us were allowed to speak. Instead, the commission members moved directly  to a lengthy, internal discussion about how the applicant’s requests could be made to fit within existing agriculturally defined parameters. The applicant then agreed to be guided by those parameters and withdrew her application. Unfortunately for the 65 neighbors, the number, size and impact of any planned events, our major concern, went undiscussed.

We live in a place that traditionally tries to weigh individual rights against the needs of the present AND future community at large. Almost everyone wants to protect what makes this place special while still allowing for change. Thus, for our community’s good and for fairness itself, both sides of an issue should be presented before a final decision on an application is made. Indeed, the essence of due process is the right for both sides to be heard, a right we were denied.

Let me end by saying that I have the greatest respect for the members of this commission. They have a daunting task that requires zoning expertise, time, energy and yes, patience.

It’s a hard job! However, It should not be an onerous burden to ensure that individual and community views are both allowed to be presented in future proceedings.

Barbara Maltby

Lakeville

 

Hayes is right on health care, hunger and more

Like Rep. Jahana Hayes, I’m a history teacher. Like Jahana,  I believe in the Constitution’s promise  to “promote the general welfare.”  (See The Preamble.) That is the job of Congress.

In her four years as Congresswoman,  Jahana Hayes has used her considerable know-how,  intelligence, compassion, and energy to fight for our welfare, especially regarding hunger and health care.

Few issues are more important than hunger. As chair of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Rep. Hayes  helps to assure that the nation’s economic problems do not deprive families  and veterans of needed meals. She has fought  hard for SNAP, WIC, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Jahana also sponsored a bill to eliminate school hunger, and to assure that family farms, like those in District 5, get their fair share of USDA funding.

Reliable health care is often unaffordable. Jahana has pushed to make essential medical care possible for all. She has worked to lower drug prices, to improve Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and to make health insurance affordable. She has also addressed mental health needs for veterans, and  for students, for whom the pandemic has greatly increased depression and suicide.

Rep. Hayes’ congressional opponents consistently vote against her proposals. If you want to protect the health of our nation, please vote to re-elect Rep. Jahana Hayes.

Carol D. Schulz

Canaan

 

Local news needs to survive and thrive

Thank you to the Salisbury Forum in partnership with The Lakeville Journal for the superb panel discussion on “The Future of American Journalism” in celebration of the Journal’s 125th Anniversary. The community had a wonderful opportunity to hear from prominent and well-respected journalists from television, prominent national newspapers, online news and our new editor of the Journal, John Coston, who formerly served for many years as a news editor at the national news desk at The Wall Street Journal.

The forum made a poignant case for why this community needs to keep our 125-year tradition of local community news going. Across this country, 2,500 local newspapers have closed, or those still reporting are doing so with less resources and staffing over the past 20 years. So many stories are not being told and many voices are not being heard.

At the forum, Subrata De, the Head of Global Programming for VICE News, an online worldwide news service, commented that when people feel they have no voice or that no one is listening, they become alienated. They turn to outside sources to get their news. It may not be reliable or credible as a source for their news, but it fills their void and it forms their views.

We need local news sources to cover the issues that affect our lives: health care, schools, public safety, housing, the environment and local politics. A community needs a news source that people can trust, reflects their concerns and tells their stories. Paraphrasing John Coston, who was paraphrasing First Selectman of Cornwall Gordon Ridgway, when we lose our local source of news, we lose what holds us together. Here’s to many more years of The Lakeville Journal.

Roberta Willis

Lakeville

 

Community support at Sharon Hospital

As a longtime development officer for healthcare, I find joy in what I am privileged to do every day: match funding opportunities at our hospitals with the philanthropic desires of our donors. Each gift that results from such efforts is deeply fulfilling for everyone: the patients who ultimately benefit from it; the doctors, nurses and staff whose work is enhanced by it; the community that feels safer and has more options because it’s been given to their hospital; and the donors, who witness how their hopes can be translated into action.

When Sharon Hospital became part of Nuvance Health three years ago, a new philanthropic community joined the donor family. Even as we were working with leadership to assess the Hospital’s needs and present its vision, the pandemic struck – and the generosity of the Northwest Corner poured into the Hospital through our Sharon Match/Challenge. The funds raised – more than $2 million – have supported significant enhancements and improvements, such as:

• A complete wireless technology infrastructure upgrade to improve telehealth, patient experience and physician/patient communications

• A new MRI machine with a cardiovascular package, essential given the population increase and demand for services

• A comprehensive HVAC upgrade to ensure the safest ventilation and environment for patients and staff

 

Going forward, philanthropy will be essential to ensuring Sharon Hospital’s continued success. While there are a few things philanthropy cannot do – such as provide year-over-year support for major medical areas – there are many more things it can do. Some of the most successful initiatives I’ve been proud to help facilitate over the past decade have sprung from the creativity of donors and healthcare leaders working in sync. These initiatives have helped to revitalize communities, add transformational programs and cutting-edge equipment, and change the lives of patients and families.

Sharon Hospital is fortunate to serve such a passionate, dedicated community. My colleagues and I look forward to working with Sharon Hospital’s new president, Christina McCulloch, and the rest of the full-time leadership team to continue working transparently with our community, and re-envision how community support—combined with the hospital’s growth-based transformation plan—can further strengthen and expand the five-star care already provided at Sharon Hospital.

Grace Linhard

Chief Development Officer, Nuvance Health

Sharon

 

Bend toward justice

Liz Cheney is a hero

Proving Trump is a zero

The hearings are a must

The accusations just

Once and for all

We see his gall

He needs to go to jail

Or justice is a fail.

Michael Kahler

Lakeville

 

Thanks from SFS

Salisbury Family Services held a benefit dinner and barn dance on Saturday, Sept. 17.  The event was a huge success and we want to thank Thao and Scott Matlock for the use of their lovely barn, the event committee that created a beautiful venue, and SFS board members.  We also want to thank the sponsors for their generous and enduring support of the work that SFS does in this community.

Kim Fiertz

Helen Scoville

Co-presidents

Salisbury Family Services

Salisbury

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