Letters to the Editor - 4-25-24

Applauding government responsiveness to citizen concernsThis is a shout-out to our local legislators, Representative Maria Horn and Stephen Harding. The Housatonic Herbicide Working Group has been expressing concerns about the use of certain herbicides that can reach nearby waterways, wetlands, and aquifers to control vegetation along the Housatonic Railroad’s right-of-way for several years now.

The Lakeville Journal has also covered this topic, most recently in an article by Riley Klein.

Representative Horn and Senator Harding arranged a Zoom meeting that included the railroad’s attorney, Parker Rodriguez, and several staff from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, including Harrison Nantz, Emma Cimino (Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Quality), and Jennifer Perry. It was an honor to be able to share our concerns with them and to discuss potential compromises.

In the meantime, the legislators have sponsored an amendment to the current statute governing railroad rights-of-way management. Surely, this is an example of government responsiveness to its citizens at its best!

Bruce Bennett, Heidi Cunick, Kent Fletcher, Ellery Sinclair, Anna Timell

Housatonic Herbicide Working Group


The Bike Path (aka, Rail Trail)

On Feb. 20, 2015, a Special Town Meeting was held in the Salisbury Central School gym, to consider and vote upon the grant of a right of way on the Town’s bike path for an affordable housing development in the abutting woods. The majority vote was to not allow the bike path to be used for this access.

On July 28, 2022, a second Special Town Meeting was held in the Salisbury Congregational Church, to consider and vote upon the grant of a right of way on the Town’s bike path for an affordable housing development in the abutting woods. The majority vote was to allow the bike path to be used for this access.

I would feel better about this access and project if: (1) more people had voted; (2) the majority of those who organized the second vote and/or voted for it (a) lived in the direct vicinity of the project, (b) did not own ten plus acres of their own and/or multiple homes (while claiming they cannot think of other locations for the project) and/or (c) regularly walked that portion of the bike path; (3) the project did not require paving or lighting up any part of the bike path, cutting woods, and disturbing forever the night sky there (there are vernal pools, clearly visible to all, and, I understand, Cooper Hawks who nest in those woods). This does not feel like a process of the people for the people, so to speak.

In early April 2024, a petition was submitted to Town officials, requesting another vote. If there was a second vote, why not a third, seems a valid point. Petitioners were told a third vote will not occur.

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if every Town voter/landowner/resident could have written in their vote—thus, inclusive of those who could not attend in person, and allowing for issue clarification, including on why there was a second vote. Prior to such in the second meeting, there was a call-to-vote by a project leader. Minimum legal notice was provided for both meetings.

How I wish no portion of the bike path would be forever changed, a treasure—at least to some. I wish there had been better process. It may have been legal, but that does not make it right. I feel this is particularly so because when receiving the bike path for Town residents, Town officials promised to consider the interests of the “abutting property owners.” Moreover, when accepting a financial gift that contributed to the Town’s purchase ability, Town officials expressly acknowledged, even in 1968, “the need for this kind of open space to be owned by the town for all its people.” With “sincere thanks,” the Town accepted the gift for that purpose.

An accessible, rural ‘green space’ will turn suburban, with pavement and manufactured imaging. Those who say merely minimal footage is changing ignore its public value, prior promises, and the exponential impact of cars.

Eugenie L. Warner

Lakeville


A tale of two leashes

This story is ‘a tale of two leashes’. And yes, like in the times of Dickens — it is the best of times and the worst of times. The good old U.S.of A. is a country founded on, built on and flourishing on — immigration. It is also a place where you will find daily, all over the media, such unchained xenophobic language being used against it — by some.

Where do the two leashes come in? What do they have to do with immigration? I’ll tell you.

This morning I was walking our dog, Jasper, in the local state park. He was on his normal 25 foot rope leash [I gather the leash up and let it out depending on if any other people, with or without dogs, are around].

We were walking along the only road to the park interior. Nobody was around. The leash was all the way out. All of a sudden a big pick-up truck came up over the rise from behind. As quickly as I could, I started gathering the leash up to gain full protective control of Jasper. The truck slowed up a bit but was still coming ahead too fast. I walked to the side of the pavement as I worked on gathering the last half length of the leash and Jasper up. The driver of the truck, a young caucasian man, with his windows rolled up, just continued on through. I was appalled that, by not slowing further or stopping, he simply ‘expected’ me to get out of his way.

A bit later on our walk in the park, as we traversed in the woods, we came upon a young man, unknown to me, walking his dog on a long leash. The two dogs immediately ‘checked each other out’ with the sniff and scoot dance dogs do. This, of course caused the leashes to become tangled up but good. Both of us dog owners laughed and instead of trying to untangle them we looked each other straight in the eye and each extended to shake hands and introduce ourselves. From his name, his darker olive skin and obvious accent, I could tell he was from Latin America. We chatted a bit as we then focused our attention to disentangling the dogs. His english was broken but earnest. Both he and his dog were warm, friendly and helpful.

Given a choice — I’ll take the tangle any day.

Michael Moschen

Cornwall Bridge

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