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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 9-24-20

Disagreeing on who are the best candidates

I can’t say I blame Bill Littauer for talking up the old “All politics is local” trope in his letter to the editor Sept. 17. If my wagon was hitched to a party with a national leadership as off the rails as his is, I might consider it too.  

For the record, his statement “One local political party issued a letter accusing their opponents of incompetence, division, lies, hate and selfishness,” is not accurate. What our letter said is, “We have had enough incompetence, enough division, enough lies, enough hate, enough selfishness. We have had enough of Donald Trump and his Republican enablers.” Harsh for sure but nothing about local Republicans there. 

Our letter went on to sing the praises of our presidential and vice-presidential candidates, listing a few of the important issues facing our country and why we think a Biden/Harris ticket is the best choice to lead our country.  

Next, we gave our three superb, local candidates, Jahana Hayes, Maria Horn, and David Gronbach, similar treatments without once saying untrue things about their opponents or calling them names. Which is more than I can say about a recent letter sent by the Salisbury Republican Town Committee, on which Bill sits, a letter that never mentions the president… in a presidential election year! Now that’s telling, isn’t it? 

Mr. Littauer laments, “What do you say after that when you run into them the next day in LaBonne’s or Stop and Shop?” We may disagree on political issues, but we do ourselves a disservice by not at least listening to opposing views.”  

Well, Bill, we listen, and we know your party’s views on the issues, and that’s why we’re Democrats who proudly supporting our excellent candidates.  

It’s what you and other local Republicans are not saying that matters most today. If Democrats were responsible for getting anyone half as bad as Trump and his enablers elected, I would publicly apologize, start working to repair the damage done to our country, and work to reform my party. There would be no problem about what to say to my neighbors in LaBonne’s or Stop and Shop. 

Al Ginouves

Chairman, Salisbury
Democratic Town Committee



Fighting air pollution in Connecticut


Driving Route 22 through Dover Plains in winter, it is a shock to see the immense size of the Cricket Valley Power Plant, sprawled over 193 acres on the border of Connecticut. Powered by methane, a natural gas, it spews pollution into the atmosphere, which is carried with the constant westerly winds into our state.

Connecticut has always had a serious problem with air quality as we are downwind of several industrial states: Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.  Ninety percent of our pollution comes from these states. The air pollution can cause high rates of asthma, heart disease and breathing problems. A Harvard university study found even a small increase in small particle pollution, is associated with a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate.

Maria Horn, our state representative, has been fighting back. While the current administration in Washington has been reducing the standards for air pollution, Connecticut has been fighting in the courts to stop the blatant use of polluting fuels in plants in different upwind states. Maria has worked to tighten the restrictions on leakage from gas pipelines in Connecticut to reduce dangerous pollution. 

She joined with another legislator to pass a law to provide support for air-quality monitoring for our towns at risk downwind from the Cricket Valley plant. There are monitors in seven towns: Cornwall, Sharon, Sherman, Warren, Washington,  Kent and New Milford. If high-particle pollution is detected, she will join her friend, Connecticut Attorney General Tong, to sue to fight to stop the pollution.

Re-electing Maria is essential to continue this fight to control the air pollution blowing through our towns. She is a fighter and that is what we need to win this difficult battle.

Liz Piel



This is the actual fake news: don’t be fooled

I have been increasingly disturbed by what is going on with Brian Ohler’s Facebook page, Northwest Corner Chatter, and the tactics that are being used on this site. No one has worked harder than Maria Horn to represent our 64th District, spending long hours in Hartford during legislative sessions, defending school funding, helping constituents get their unemployment checks and access to health insurance, keeping people informed about the rapidly shifting status of the pandemic and about what programs are available to help businesses and ordinary people survive. 

And yet, if you follow this FB page, you would think all she does is sit home, twiddle her thumbs, and look snooty. And now the site has descended to a new level with baseless rumors posted and left up for days — crazy charges of infidelity, theft and financial scandal on the part of Maria. Only after Marshall Miles, the host of Robin Hood Radio, took Northwest Corner Chatter to task, did one of the moderators, Judy Jacobs, finally remove the thread. 

Brian Ohler, who is also a moderator, has continued to sanction outrageous behavior on this site, which many people still seem to think is not under his control. People who try to say good things about Maria have their posts taken down or blocked. Maria herself is blocked from seeing what Brian Ohler comments about her. 

I have talked to voters who clearly think that she is doing nothing because of Northwest Corner Chatter and its persistent campaign to denigrate, dismiss and lie about her. This is fake news spreading its infection in our towns, distorting truth by manipulation of social media, sowing doubt and distrust.

Susannah Wood



Gronbach is right for 30th

I’m writing to express my support for the candidacy of David Gronbach, a Democrat who is running to represent the 30th District in the Connecticut state senate. 

What’s appealing about him is his openness and even eagerness to listen to people and explain his positions in contrast to his close-mouthed opponent, Craig Miner, who has not yet agreed to a debate with him. 

Gronbach stresses the importance of battling for the Northwest Corner by fighting for state funds, a struggle that would be easier for him as a Democrat in a blue state than for his Republican opponent.

If elected, he would vote differently than his opponent on many issues. For instance, whereas in 2012 Miner voted against Eversource reimbursing people for ruined food and medicines after the recent power blackout, and curbing its executives’ multimillion-dollar salaries, Gronbach takes the opposite position.

Miner has also opposed raising the minimum wage, eliminating silencers on rifles and providing paid medical leave to families, all of which Gronbach supports.

At 44, this energetic and impressive Democratic candidate already has wide experience as an attorney, businessman and in government as mayor of New Milford.

Let’s back him to represent us in Hartford. 

Laurie Lisle



Connecticut not good on COVID-19 response

Across the United States, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has been a serious problem, and unfortunately, Ms. Ascher, in her recent Viewpoint column, feels that Connecticut and Governor Lamont have done a good job in managing the virus. I feel the evidence does not prove her case. 

Most commentators refer to the total number of deaths from the virus. Such statistics, however, must be put into relative context, i.e. the number of deaths per 100,000 of population. Connecticut has one of the highest death rates per 100,000 — 81 deaths per 100,000 residents, while the national average is 60.9 deaths per 100,000 based on the current Johns Hopkins’ data.  

In Connecticut, nursing home deaths have accounted for 64% of its total virus-related deaths while nationwide the percentage is approximately 40%. Furthermore, an independent study, by Mathematica Research Policy, released in mid-August,  said Connecticut has the highest coronavirus death rate in long-term care facilities in the Northeast. This state-funded report said that Connecticut health officials failed to develop a plan to protect nursing homes in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and were also hampered by an outdated outbreak-monitoring system. This was caused by a lack of scientific knowledge about the disease, unfilled positions at the Department of Public Health, obsolete reporting systems, and an insufficient supply of personal protective equipment. The report also cited several other factors, including inadequate technology, as Connecticut’s data collection systems were paper or fax-based at the start of the pandemic. Daily electronic reporting from facilities to the state did not start until May 8, three days before former state Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell was fired. As a result, the Department of Public Health did not have the ability to monitor outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, so the state had to revamp systems to monitor the virus based on the type of facility, the report says. Governor Ned Lamont has to take responsibility for this catastrophe and commit to fixing the system.

Victor Germack

West Cornwall


Vote for Ohler for the 64th

The words “state representative” do two things. They name an elected office and they describe an active function of representing the needs and desires of the people who work in the district.  It is difficult to choose between two candidates who are both good, qualified individuals. However, Brian Ohler, by his life and work, presents a clear picture of someone who will represent the people of the 64th District in a manner that is desperately needed.

We live in an area of Connecticut that is geographically remote. However, many social problems have invaded our corner of the state at an alarming rate. We are seeing an increase in crime, illegal drug use, drug addiction, speeding on our roads and trashing of our roadsides with litter.  This is a time when we need increased police protection and enforcement, not less. 

A typical shift of the officers from the State Police barracks includes only four officers out on patrol. This in a district of approximately 500 square miles. We certainly do not want to see fewer police out on patrol in the district. Yet, the legislation that has recently been passed is very likely to make it more difficult to recruit and retain the number and caliber of officers that are desperately needed in this remote area. It is hard for me to understand how any representative from this part of Connecticut could vote for such legislation.

This part of Connecticut needs someone who really understands the challenges of security and police work,  and has the background that provides for the understanding of why police and other first responders need to be encouraged, and protected, as they step up to face the difficult tasks and decisions that they continually face, especially here in the remote Northwest Corner. We need Brian Ohler as our State Representative.

Don Mayland



Story was unnecessary and not newsworthy

I write to protest your article in the Sept. 17 Lakeville Journal “Cornwall woman arrested for NYC vandalism.” It is misleading, unfair and incorrect. For starters, the young woman is not a Cornwall resident, but the daughter of a weekender. Second, being arrested is not the same as being convicted, the latter being more newsworthy. Much of the article is about another woman, also not from Cornwall, who was arrested in some other incident. Ms. Kraebber claims the other incident never happened. Whether Ms. Kraebber is guilty of the allegations against her will be determined by the legal process. In our country one is innocent until proven guilty. 

One of your sources for the article is the New York Post, a Murdoch-owned tabloid not known for accuracy or veracity. It’s like relying on the facts presented in a Donald Trump press conference. The Columbia Journalism Review stated in 1980, the “New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem — a force for evil.” (Columbia Journalism Review, volume 18, number 5 [Jan/Feb 1980], p. 22–23.)

What is particularly outrageous is how you focus on Ms. Kraebber’s parents. Your weekly column, “Police Blotter: Troop B,” offers a weekly listing, which includes younger people who have been reckless behind the wheel, intoxicated, arrested for drug use or assault. Never have I seen any of their parents singled out. 

It’s unfair to cast the sins of the parents on the children and by corollary, the sins of the children on the parents. I barely know Ms. Kraebber’s parents, but they certainly do not deserve your public embarrassment of them. What was the reason for identifying where they live in Cornwall and when they bought their house, not to speak of mentioning they have an Upper East Side Manhattan apartment: to contribute to the growing anti-New Yorker bias in the Northwest Corner or the nasty pleasure of publicizing a therapist’s child in trouble? Yuk Yuk! It’s very shabby and shameful reportage.

James J. Fishman



Article was a bad basis for cartoon

The so-called cartoon, “How Trump honors the dead,” in the Sept. 10 Lakeville Journal, was triggered by what I believe to be a discredited article in The Atlantic magazine. Did you not know that well over 20 officials refuted the story? They so stated on the record — not hiding behind anonymity. Even John Bolton was included in the numbers who were actually there. 

The official logs confirmed official account that the trip was canceled due to the inclement weather. The Atlantic article was an obvious partisan hit piece. The Lakeville Journal was either ignorant of the reaction or so biased in its reporting that your paper believed that publishing this vile “cartoon” was justified.

Incidentally, Obama/Biden had a 37% approval ranking among the military in 2014-2015. That’s compared to 90% for Trump. That should tell you something.

The disdain many readers of the main stream journalism is because of bias that is demonstrated by this “cartoon.”

John Milnes Baker

South Kent


Dinner and a movie, all for a good cause

To those of you who sponsored, purchased tickets and attended our annual fundraiser for The Equus Effect, thank you!  We weren’t sure we were going to hold an event without our horses, veterans, first responders and frontline health workers to explain how our program has given them a “leg up” but as it turns out, we got them all up on a silver screen at the Four Brothers Drive-In Theatre. We were so glad to see folks from our community and beyond having tailgate picnics — together and safe in this whimsical blast from the past.  

And thanks to our friends near and far, for making this year possible. We know what a difficult one it has been and are very aware that we are but one of many important causes on your lists. We work with people who don’t like to ask for help, and are deeply touched by the fact that when we asked for yours, you responded in a most amazing way. More than ever, we truly feel that we belong to this community.  Thank you!

Jane Strong



Lakeville needs this affordable housing

I am writing to express my support for the affordable housing project on the Holley Block. As a young resident of Lakeville, I know firsthand how difficult it is for young individuals and families to afford rent in the area. Many are looking to move out of their parents’ homes, but simply do not have the money to do so. 

I believe an affordable housing project would support a more diverse, youthful set of residents, who would enliven the town and bring business to local establishments. 

I hope this message resonates with other residents of Salisbury, and will help the Salisbury Affordable Housing Commission achieve its goals.

Hannah Pouler



Why I’ll vote for Horn

I will vote for Maria Horn.

Marlene Woodman’s letter in the Journal Sept. 17 stated: “Maria Horn does not vote to please the Democratic leadership. She votes for what is right for her 64th District.”

I agree that Maria votes for all of the people she represents. She is a hardworking, honest, intelligent and dedicated representative. Check her voting record at Vote Smart, or her web page for where she stands on issues.

Questions I have had for Maria are truthfully answered and opinions I have voiced to Maria are always thoughtfully received (she listens). She is actively engaged - 24/7 - in the many issues which effect the 64th District.

She comes to us with a keen legal background, and uses her many skills to negotiate with honor and dignity.

I will vote for Maria Horn for Connecticut’s 64th and dedicate that vote to honor of the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who worked all of her life for fairness, equality and justice.

Judi Gott


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