Letters to the Editor - 3-28-24

The Dominican/Haitian border looking at Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti, from the Dominican Republic side.Peter Halle

Letter from the Haitian border

‘The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” It’s a sentiment most of my friends are feeling, and to be frank, so am I. The newest addition to the list of countries with seemingly intractable violence is Haiti. It is a place I know something about. Along with Louise Lindenmeyr and Helen Scoville from Salisbury, we are directors of Hispañola Health Partners (HHP), a nonprofit that supports a health clinic deep in rural southeast Haiti. Louise and I have been traveling to this ever-struggling country several times a year for the last decade, watching Haiti descend further and further into political chaos.

In the last year, gangs have taken over the capital Port-au-Prince, but that city has been unsafe for us since 2020. We now travel to our clinic through the Dominican Republic, bypassing the gangsters in Port-au-Prince — a longer passage, but so far, a safe route. And that is what I want to report on.

Louise and I have just returned from a week at the Haiti/DR border. The news media have rediscovered Haiti in the last month with Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s blocked return and subsequent resignation. For the first time in years, Western reporters have ventured to Haiti to report on the growing violence, starvation, and insecurity. We here at HHP have been tracking this descent for years, wondering when the big news providers would take an interest. And now they have — finally!

The news media, and the U.S. State Department, have reported that all of Haiti is unsafe and desperate, in every town, at every border crossing. I am here to tell you that in the last few days Louise and I crossed into Haiti in the south at Anse-à-Pitres to meet our clinic staff and hand over duffle bags of medicine and supplies. Louise also spent a day screening women for cervical cancer, a major disease in Haiti. The border town is safe, with somewhat less commerce due to the political strife and the mostly closed border.

For those of us who have had personal experience with news media, including such respected publications as The New York Times, reporters often get the story wrong.

The purpose of this letter is to show another side of this unfolding story, much of which is an utter nightmare.

If you would like to know more about Hispañola Health Partners, please visit us sat www.hispanolahealthpartners.org

Peter Halle


Thankful farewell after 41 years of practice

This week brings to conclusion more than 41 years of my practicing Ophthalmology in Lakeville.

There are many people I wish to thank for making it the experience of a lifetime. My parents were always encouraging. By paying for my education, they allowed me to complete my training unencumbered by student loans, making it possible for me to borrow the money I needed (at a 16% interest rate!) to start my practice. My wife, Sue, had more confidence in me than I had in myself that we could move to the area after my residency and start a practice. Along with our daughters, she put up with my coming home from work late many nights, being called away on weekends for emergencies, and the occasional eye surgery video on our TV (long before personal computers and tablets). Sue, our daughters, their partners and our grandchildren have given more joy to my life than I ever imagined.

I will always be grateful for the wonderful people I have worked with at the office. They have been more like friends and family than employees and have created an environment that I have been happy to return to every day. I was very fortunate to be able to bring Dr. Avinash Tantri into the practice. He has been a pleasure to work with, and his excellent medical and surgical care of our patients has allowed me to retire knowing that I am leaving the community in good hands.

I thank everyone at Sharon Hospital for the excellent care provided to our patients for so many years. The last four decades have seen many changes in the field and the staff have always quickly adapted to new procedures and techniques. There have been a few different administrations during that time, but each one has always provided the equipment we needed to provide state-of-the-art surgery.

I have had the pleasure of working with skilled and caring colleagues — optical, optometric, ophthalmologic and medical — and I thank them all for working with me for the benefit of our mutual patients.

Most of all, I am grateful to all the people who came through the door and entrusted me with the care of their most precious sense. I know I kept many of you waiting, and I know I was often too busy to get to know you personally as well as I wanted, but I always tried to do my best for each of you. It was an amazing experience.

While I am leaving the practice, we are staying in this wonderful area, and I hope to still seemany of you. Thank you all!

William M. Kirber, MD


Grateful for Sharon Hospital and the staff

Where can I go! To get excellent medical care, It was a question that many of us thought about. About 4 years ago I moved to Sharon, Connecticut. It’s a beautiful small town with lovely scenery and great people. And an outstanding hospital, I had the pleasure of being there a week from a tick bite. However about 3 months ago I had a terrible pain in my left hip and went to see my doctor in Amenia Dr. Dweck and he sent me to Sharon Hospital to get an x-ray. And to my shock the X-ray was not what I expected. I needed a new hip! I did not know where I could turn, so I called my family and they told me to go to a New York city hospital to have the replacement. They felt that I can get the best care there. However I know that you can get excellent surgeons but I am not too sure about the care. So I decided to call Sharon hospital and I was told to see doctor John Mullens in Sharon. He is an Orthopedic Specialist. I was skeptical so I made an appointment. When I met Doctor Mullens I was very impressed with his bedside manner I said to him what hospital will you perform the surgery and he said Sharon hospital. I was delighted because I love Sharon Hospital and I know I will get the best care there. The surgery was in February and they were very careful with me because of my heart condition and Doctor Mullens was especially careful to keep me infection free. I will always be grateful to Doctor Mullens and the staff at Sharon Hospital for the great care I received and one last thing: the food at Sharon hospital was fantastic.

Angelo Prunella


Preserving Housatonic scenic shorelines

In May 2022, the U.S. Senate passed a bill creating the Housatonic River’s National Wild and Scenic River designation from the Massachusetts—Connecticut boundary (in western area of the state).

Just to let you know, the Housatonic River Commission meets occasionally in the Cornwall Consolidated School regarding the Housatonic River and its future in Northwest Connecticut and the lower reaches.

More land could be purchased on the west and east shorelines for preservation. If not government (National Park Service) then perhaps private donations of land or private (individuals or business) buying land and giving to National Park Service.

Christopher G. Redington

West Hartford


The ‘billionaire’ is so broke

Now we see through the smoke

The con man was exposed today

I’ll wait before I say hooray

The day will come for me to cheer

And toast the jailer with a beer

Then follow with a bourbon shot

What will he do? What has he got?

Michael Kahler


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