Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 7-12-18

Setting the record straight

I am writing to correct a couple of inaccuracies in your otherwise excellent report of the Sunday, June 24, (not Saturday’s) demonstration in Kent, particularly President Trump’s cruel policy of separating children from their immigrant parents seeking asylum in the land of the free.

You reported that a 91-year-old veteran of World War II, who was among the demonstrators, had organized one of the very earliest national protest groups, which addressed hiring discrimination against veterans after the war.  The facts are that I celebrated my 97th birthday earlier this year and the group I organized was a group of veterans that opposed racial and ethnic discrimination.  Unfortunately the group has long passed into history .

Such organizations are sorely needed today.

Larry Rivkin



Bad news, handled poorly, on Sharon maternity unit

The announcement by Sharon Hospital and Health Quest that they intend to close the maternity unit at Sharon Hospital by the end of this month came as a shock to most people. It has been like dropping a nuclear bomb on affected communities.

I can believe that the hospital has been losing money on this service for some time, but it has never explained to the community how much of a problem that is. One can believe that they have had problems organizing this service. Times have changed: Now insurance companies decide where monies are spent, and they must make a profit. Hospitals work for them. Doctors work for the hospital and not directly for the patient. (If the government is paying the bill, it does not have to make a profit). 

Doctors used to ask the hospital only for privileges to perform certain duties at the hospital, but they did not expect the hospital to pay them salaries for doing so. Dr. Fisher delivered about 7,000 babies at Sharon Hospital between 1949 and the late 1980s. Drs. Josephine Evarts and Carnes Weeks delivered others, as did Dr. Tesoro. However, these doctors billed the patients themselves, and collected what they could. Paying salaries to the doctors adds to hospital costs, and the salaries can easily outpace the collections generated by the services provided, leaving the hospital to bear the loss.  

People are understandably upset. It is very hard to get to Great Barrington, Torrington, Northern Dutchess, Northern Westchester or New York (for our weekenders) in bad weather. Birth at home can be risky. I worry that a mother or baby could die because they could not be transported to skilled people in time.  

I give the hospital and Health Quest failing grades for public relations on this matter. I hope they can straighten it out.

Malcolm Brown, M.D. 

Retired Sharon Hospital Medical Staff



Regional asset in peril

According to the Sharon Hospital administration, about 250 babies were born in Sharon in the past year. Next year there may be none.

The startling decline looms as a distinct possibility now because Health Quest is proposing to shut down the birthing center at Sharon Hospital.

But of course this is not just a matter of numbers. Of real concern is the threat to the health and safety of 250 or so women of child-bearing age and their potential offspring.

Sharon Hospital has earned a well-deserved reputation for the proper medical facility and specially trained personnel it offers to new mothers from throughout the region.

There is no comparable facility within a range of about 30 miles for mothers-to-be from Sharon, Salisbury, Lakeville, Canaan, Falls Village and other Connecticut communities as well as Millerton and other nearby towns in New York state.

That could be a hazardous trip for a woman about to give birth.

Nor are home births an acceptable alternative. There is not even one registered and licensed mid-wife in the region. Nor do I believe that the post-natal care, often critical, would be as immediately available. Obstetricians would, it seems to me, understandably focus their practice on areas where the births occur.

Additionally, I have heard from a staff doctor it is possible that as many as 17 nurses and trained unit clerks would lose their jobs if Sharon Hospital is allowed to shut down its birthing suites. This fact is especially pertinent in view of your recent concern about the region’s economy (June 28 editorial, “How about some help for the economy here?”).

Obviously, the state of Connecticut should not permit Sharon Hospital to lose its birthing center and our community should insist on that.

Ed Chrostowski



Speaker takes on important topics

Thank you to Virginia Gold and Deanna Barry from Women’s Support Services for their outstanding, dynamic and thoughtful presentation as part of the series presented by Partners in Community Safety at the Bitterman Center in North Canaan, bringing much-needed attention to the problem of domestic violence that affects many in our community. Thank you to the many who attended and participated in a meaningful discussion. There is still more to learn about the many faces of abuse, whether physical, social, emotional, financial and/or sexual.

The last of the three-part series will take place on Thursday, July 12, and the topic is Substance Use Prevention: It’s Never too Early, It’s Never too Late. Alcohol and opiate use will be addressed. The presentation is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with time for questions and answers.

Please attend this important session. If not for yourself, then for someone you care about.

Jo Loi

Sophia deBoer



Great send-off for HVRHS grads

Each spring, students and staff at Housatonic Valley Regional High School are reminded of the generosity of our community. On June 20, we awarded over $350,000 in locally supported awards and scholarships. For this year’s graduating class, that is an average of over $4000 per student! 

On June 21, the Class of 2018 also celebrated with Project Graduation, an all-night party for our new alumni that featured games, dancing, food and prizes, with the goal of offering a safe, fun alternative to the risky behaviors that often occur that night. We would like to thank our fabulous volunteers and in particular The Northwest Corner Prevention Network for their continued sponsorship of the event. In addition, LaBonne’s Supermarket, Stop & Shop, Sharon Farm Market, The White Hart Inn, The Falls Village Inn, Deano’s Pizza, State Line Pizza, Roma’s Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, and Lindell’s all made this a true community effort. We thank all of our sponsors for making graduation night so memorable.

Graduation is a “threshold moment” when we pause to celebrate the moment that students leave school, and whether you donated time or another resource, we thank our communities for all they invested to produce our graduates. We look forward to their involvement in our communities in the years to come.

Ian Strever

Principal, Housatonic Valley Regional High School

Falls Village


Inspiration found at Music Mountain

Saturday night, June 30, at Music Mountain with the unconquerable Michael Berkeley at the piano helm presenting a storied evening of patriotic songs, old and new, familiar and not. As others around the globe marched for Peace and Justice many stayed close to home, holding down the fort, not circling the wagons, but opening paths to where the Grapes of Wrath are stored.

My friend Lindsay Wells and I were in dutiful attendance; little did either of us know how much we would be moved.

Looking from above upon our witness,  our BFF’s, our Best Founding Fathers — Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, et al., taking their respective sides in heated debate, rancorous, but always measured, pointed, passionate, always striving to be more perfect, and always We, never Us, never Them, never using a surname, never needing to, the Sacred We, indivisible with Justice for all. Michael and Company, with Wanda Houston, the first among equals — the bell-clear,  the sonorous, the red-shirted Padre powerhouse of others — now belting, now soothing, always clear, poignant, at times teary-eyed. Lindsay and others audibly expressing pain and the recognition of our common values. (Who knew a Paul Simon song, unbeknownst to almost all of us, would carry us away?)

A fitting and shared and most importantly patriotic response to these anguished times.

Is it enough? I hear my friends ask, if not sneer.  Is it ever enough?  To the barricades (and the ramparts we lost)! The next step?  Perhaps. For this moment, for this shining moment, the great thinker, Diana Trilling, has the last word, here and at home, “We must March, my darlings.”

Lonnie Carter

Falls Village


Let’s reunite the children

Saturday, June 30, 2018, saw a major turnout in Salisbury and other northwest Connecticut towns of citizens protesting the Trump administration’s separation of refugee children from their families as punishment to discourage further immigration.

Under pressure, President Trump did issue an executive order halting the separation practice for the future, but it failed to address the more than 2,000 children already sent to various holding facilities around the nation.  The current administration failed to keep accurate records, will no longer report numbers of children to the public and now claims it is too difficult to match specific children with specific parents any time soon.

Is there a practical solution? Yes, there is: First, take digital photos of all 2,000-plus children.  Send the photos electronically to a central collection point. Show the photos to all potential parents seeking asylum. Let them identify their own children, provide names and birthdates and record the results. (If, in the case of babies or very young children, two or more families make the same claim, then do a quick, painless  DNA  saliva check to confirm parenthood.) Then promptly transport all the children directly to their respective, rightful parents.

With administrative competence and the necessary will, this  reunification can be done within four days — not weeks or months. The reunification issue is non-partisan. It’s a matter of fundamental morality and human rights. Let’s do it because it’s right.

Tony Piel



Thanks for supporting Sharon Playhouse

On Sunday night, July 1, Linda and James Quella opened their beautiful home to help celebrate The Sharon Playhouse’s 2018 season and the cast of our first show, “Anything Goes.” As president of the Board of Directors, it is my daunting task to try to adequately express our appreciation for their generosity.

To Linda and James, the evening was a tour de force in every way — from the extraordinary setting, the specialty cocktails, amazing hors d’oeuvres and farm-to-table dinner prepared from Q Farms products. Plus, you made everyone feel so comfortable and welcome. The words “thank you” don’t seem sufficient. But they are all I have. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

To the amazing local performers who shared their talents, we are in your debt. To our sponsors and community of supporters who weathered the beastly heat to attend the festivities, you are always there for us.  

We are so grateful to you all. 

Emily Soell

For the board of directors, and our producing team, 

Robert Levinstein and Alan Wager



A taste of their own medicine

This is in response to Mr. O’Hara of Sharon, whose letter was published June 28.

If you truly believe Ms. Huckabee Sanders was denied service  at a restaurant in Virginia last month because the owner simply did not like her, then you are missing the point of the exercise. And believe me when I say, “it was indeed an exercise.”

Dating back to at least several months leading up to the general election, your candidate/now president and those who choose to work for him systematically attacked, degraded, dishonored and demonized Latino immigrants, Muslims, war heroes, journalists, women, the LGBTQ community, third-world countries and Canada — of all places — to name only a few. Those people, like Ms. Huckabee Sanders, who have chosen not only to work for your president but to also perpetuate his lies, slander and vitriol are as responsible as your president, himself.

What occurred on the weekend of June 23–24 was, as my parents would have said back in the day, a dose of her own medicine. The owner of the Red Hen was making a point and using the situation as a “teachable moment,” and what Ms. Huckabee Sanders discovered (but I’m certain did not learn) is prejudice, when directed at you, sucks, especially when you do not believe you warrant it.

The bully got punched in the nose, and it hurt.

Jeffrey L. Magnoli



Men in white, in a cricket match, for a good cause

On Saturday, June 23, the Salisbury Cricket Club hosted its third “international” match against the “Rest of The World” at Community Field in Lakeville in aid of the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service and the Jane Lloyd Fund. Donations are still coming in, but to date the event has raised over $6,500 for these organizations.

As in previous years, this wonderful event would not have been possible without the generous help of so many. We have personally thanked everyone — local businesses, organizations, families and individuals — who so enthusiastically helped out to make the day so successful. But we would like to make a special thank you to a few people:

To our local business sponsors, B Metcalf Asphalt Paving, Bristow Profitt Studio, Hendricks Churchill, Elyse Harney Real Estate, Hussey Painting, Klemm Real Estate, Salisbury Wines, St. John’s Church and The White Hart; especially to Emmet Hussey for his hauling and storing capabilities and general good humor, and to Ben Metcalf and his pitch-creating roller, without which the actual cricket game could not be played.

Also, thanks to Lisa McAuliffe at the Salisbury Rec for enabling this all to happen.

A huge thank you also to all our players — both local and from afar — and to all of those who came to watch and to be baffled by the rules of cricket, or brought their children to Smack the Rat, Count the Candies or Score a Googly. We hope you all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Above all, the real purpose of this event was to show our collective appreciation to the wonderful volunteers and organizations who come to our aid in our greatest times of need. It is far too easy to forget until we need them how extraordinarily lucky we all are to have amongst us such dedicated, kind and giving neighbors. So to the members of the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service squad and the organizers of the Jane Lloyd Fund, most of all, we say thank you.

David & Pom Shillingford