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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 7-19-18

Thank you for supporting area artists

This year’s Open Your Eyes Studio Tour, featuring 30 artists’ studios in Cornwall, Warren and Goshen, exceeded all records over the previous eight years of this event. Although we don’t have a final count of studio visitors, we know that hundreds of visitors from within the region, as well as from far away, went from studio to studio during the weekend of June 30 and July 1, even in the oppressive heat. We are so thankful to the artists for generously opening their studios to the public so that visitors could gain insight into and appreciation for the process of creating art. Painters, photographers, sculptors, textile artists, printmakers, jewelers, woodworkers, metal, clay and glass artists all had a wonderful experience connecting with visitors.

 Thanks to this year’s sponsors, we were able to continue the tour for a ninth year, as free and accessible to all. Our local businesses (large and small) generously sponsored the ninth annual Open Your Eyes Studio Tour and made it possible for the NW CT Arts Council to promote and organize this event effectively. For this we thank Housatonic Heritage, the Republican American newspaper, WSHU Public Radio, The Matthews Group and The Kestrel Foundation and 12 area restaurants that advertised in the Tour Map. New to the Tour was a Toast the Tour “after-party” which was generously hosted by Souterrain Gallery at The Wish House. Special thanks go to Housatonic Fine Art and Framing and Amy Tobin Holistic Massage for providing space for artists who have studios inaccessible to the public.

The numerous volunteers who helped the staff of the Arts Council prepare for the tour and man the tour information stations during the weekend are to be thanked as well. We are so grateful for the physical help, the funding, and the generosity of spirit that allow the Arts Council’s small, part-time staff to continue to present this popular event in the region each year.

Amy Wynn

Executive Director

Northwest Connecticut Arts Council

Torrington

 

Air quality and Cricket Valley

We appreciate the extensive coverage The Lakeville Journal provided about the construction of a natural gas-powered electrical generating facility in Dover Plains, N.Y. Hopefully many readers closely followed your three-part series about Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) published on June 21, June 28 and July 5. 

More attention needs to be given to the air quality impact this enormous enterprise could have on western Connecticut once its turbines are operating and plumes of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulates emerge from its 28-story (282 ft.) exhaust stacks. The Sherman Conservation Commision hosted an informative forum about CVEC in April. The Kent Conservation Commission (KCC) then approached their selectmen about the need for baseline air quality measurements in Connecticut before the plant opens in 2020. But we want to make it very clear that at no time did KCC make a plea to Kent selectmen to take action to help stop the plant as was stated in your article. 

CVEC licensing applications have been approved according to N.Y. state environmental guidelines in 2012. Under current federal rules, Connecticut did not then have the final say in what was approved by N.Y. state. An effort to stop the construction of the plant at this stage would be neither attainable nor appropriate. It is better to put efforts now into the goal to call upon the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health to live up to their responsibilities as environmental watchdogs. CVEC plans to carry out air quality monitoring in Dover, but their findings will not be measuring what happens over here in Connecticut, just a few miles downwind! Connecticut should not accept the judgment of CVEC authorities for what is good enough for Connecticut citizens. 

Air quality and the dispersal of contaminants is complex and needs precision measurements. For these reasons we are calling upon Connecticut authorities to institute as soon as possible a system of scientifically designed monitoring stations that can record air quality under a wide variety of variables. Currently, Connecticut does not have a high air quality rating, but we want to know with some certainty if it becomes worse when CVEC goes on line. 

The monitor currently closest to Dover is atop Mohawk Mountain, high above the settled communities of Kent and Cornwall. Smog, or low-level ozone, the most detrimental of the noxious pollutants that are produced by generating plants, tends to be ground-hugging, so monitors need to be located along the river valleys where communities cluster.  

Finally, we would like to inform your readers that several Connecticut town Conservation Commissions are forming a multi-town Task Force to organize and formalize requests to the Connecticut State DEEP and the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Once the Task Force is formed, it can have its own Facebook Group page to be checked for progress and updates. Also, the Kent selectmen issued a special e-newsletter to inform Kent residents about CVEC. 

Carol Franken

Wendy Murphy

South Kent

 

Takes issue with some  of columnist’s points

Dan Pelberg’s front page column on “the death of net neutrality” in the July 5 Lakeville Journal attempts to portray both sides of the issue fairly, but I take issue with some of the article’s facts supporting the recent FCC action. 

First, none of the rules guaranteeing that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) treat all web content equally have expired. If the FCC did nothing, nothing would change. 

Furthermore, “net neutrality” did not come into being when Tim Wu coined the phrase in 2003. It was embodied in the internet and its U.S. Army predecessor, DARPA, from the beginning. I know; I was there. (I have a T-shirt that says: “this old woman earned a degree in electrical engineering before the internet.”)

The column also fails to point out that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, before entering government service, spent two years serving as associate general counsel for Verizon Communications. Verizon and AT&T will be among the largest beneficiaries of this regulatory cutback.

Mr. Pelberg’s descriptions of the changes we all will be seeing in the future are accurate: possible throttling of a competitors’ content, higher bills for streaming content, blocked sites. All of this downside, however, is supposed to open up competition among ISPs, and, according to Mr. Pelberg, make it possible for startups to enter the market. 

Wait! What market? In Cornwall, I have a choice of one ISP, Optimum. (My landline phone company is unable to offer me internet connectivity.) My choice of cellphone service, given coverage in my area of Cornwall, is limited to Verizon. No small company will come in and offer a competing service in such a sparsely populated area. I would guess that many if not most people in the United States are in the same boat, and in the future we will be paying much more for much less.

Virginia Brecher

West Cornwall