July 31, 2014

Letter to the Editor: A Hearty Thank You to Lyme From Lyme Library Book Sale Organizers

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Friends of the Lyme Public Library, I’d like to thank everyone who came to our Book Sale this weekend.  Additional and very special thanks go to our wonderful volunteers who sorted, stored, priced, and sorted some more.

Because of our new library construction, this turned into a wonderfully shared community event: we coordinated with Lyme Land Trust on the date so we didn’t conflict with the Tour de Lyme; we held the sale at the Lyme Public Hall; we used the Lyme Ambulance shed to store our books all winter; we borrowed Lyme Fire Company’s sturdy tables and we parked at the Lyme Congregational Church!

We are so fortunate to live in this extraordinary community.

Sincerely,

Anne Clement
2014 Lyme Public Library Book Sale Chair

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Letter to the Editor: Senator Linares, Explain Your Voting Record

To the Editor:

The ValleyNewsNow.com (April 29) and LymeLine.com (May 16) carry a press release written by supporters of Senator Linares expressing “marvel at what this young man has accomplished in such a short period of time.”  Given Mr. Linares’s lamentable voting record, it is hard to understand what the release is talking about.

The record shows that Mr. Linares has waged a quiet but persistent campaign against a wide range of legislation that most constituents in his District support.  For example, Mr. Linares has:

  • Voted against an increase in the minimum wage, a measure supported almost three to one by Connecticut voters (71% for, 25% against).
  • Voted against a measure that paves the way to allowing commuters, the elderly, working parents, and many others who have difficulty getting to the polls to exercise their right to vote by means of absentee ballot.  Such provisions are prevalent in other states and enjoy strong public support.
  • Voted against bipartisan legislation on gun safety following Newtown that was supported by a super majority of Connecticut voters (anywhere from 68% to 93% depending on the provision) and even by many in his own party.

Mr. Linares’s web site does not even mention these important votes, let alone explain his reasoning for them.  The web site is filled with details of his other exploits — toy drives, hosting flag collections, honoring a beauty queen (and, yes, his opposition to an increase in the gas tax and work on some other bills) — but not his opposition to major mainstream legislation that commands widespread public support.  It is hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Linares seeks to draw attention away from his record.  Why?

One concern is that Mr. Linares may be more attuned to the interests of the Tea Party than those of the moderate center of his District.  Mr. Linares has stated publicly that he was inspired to enter public service by his experience in 2010 working “proudly” for Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, known in political circles “the Crown Prince of the Tea Party”. When it comes to voting, can it be that Mr. Linares hears the voice of the Tea Party more clearly than any other?

In the absence of information from Mr. Linares on his voting record, constituents can turn to Project Vote Smart, a well regarded, non-partisan, independently funded voter education website. It has posted a report on 10 “key votes” by Mr. Linares over the past two years.

In 7 of the 10 cases, Mr. Linares voted “no” — in other words, his “accomplishment” was to oppose any legislation.  In an 8th case, he did not vote at all.  In only one case in the sample did Mr. Linares vote for something that actually became law – the legalization of mixed martial arts competitions – a matter most voters would not consider a priority.

Mr. Linares, we are entitled to know why, in our name, you have opposed the exercise of basic voting rights, opposed economic fairness by means of increasing the minimum wage, and opposed protecting the public from gun violence.  Please give us a full accounting of your votes on these key issues, so that we may know you by your actions, rather than your press releases.

Sincerely,

David Harfst,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: A Note of Thanks From the Old Lyme Historical Society

To the Editor:

This past Tuesday, April 8, several local historical societies and the Connecticut River Museum sponsored “Light Up the Night” to commemorate the 200th anniversary of “the Burning of the Ships” in Essex Harbor by British forces during the War of 1812.  Three different sites along the Connecticut River in Essex, Old Saybrook and Old Lyme featured bonfires such as were used 200 years ago to silhouette the escaping British forces on the evening of April 8 1814.

The Old Lyme Historical Society was proud to be one of the sponsoring organizations.  We could not have done our part without help from several different groups: the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen,  Old Lyme Fire Marshal Dave Roberge, Public Works Director Ed Adanti and his crew and members of the Old Lyme Fire Department.  In addition we owe great thanks to Brenda Milkofsky and Jerry Roberts for their organizational skills and drummer Jason Augur for “alerting the citizens of Lyme” to the narration of the events of so long ago.  In addition we have to thank all the townspeople of Old Lyme who came to the Dinghy Dock on Ferry Road to observe the events.

On behalf of the Old Lyme Historical Society, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to all those who contributed showing how well a small town can come together to recognize a significant historic event.

Mark Lander, Co-chair
Old Lyme Historical Society

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Letter to the Editor: Thank You to Old Lyme Fire, Police Volunteers

To the Editor:

Although I was just going to sit down, read the paper and start a cozy fire in my fireplace, fate decided to take a turn.  I poured a beverage as I planned to enjoy the warmth of the fire, I noticed an all too familiar sound, a flue fire.

I left the house, called 911 and waited a minute until a growing team of volunteers and police showed up. The fire was extinguished and all is well.

The speed, professionalism and courtesy of all of those who came to help cannot be ignored.  All too often we go through our day without appreciating the tremendous team that is here in Old Lyme to assure we are safe.  Thanks to all.

Sincerely,

Bob and Sue Staab,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Sale of Drug Paraphernalia in Old Lyme Sends Wrong Message to Community, Especially Children

To the Editor:

As the health teacher at Lyme Old Lyme Middle School, I have major concerns about the Bestway gas station at 281 Shore Road selling drug paraphernalia.   I truly believe this gives children in this community the wrong message about drugs.

While bongs, glass pipes and other items can be used to smoke or prepare tobacco, even young children know that they are primarily used for marijuana.  Seeing these items sold so openly in a convenience store normalizes the items and can affect a child’s attitude about marijuana.  The message becomes: sure it isn’t good for you, but everyone does it.  This is not true.  And marijuana is not a safe substance, especially for young minds.

In addition, the Bestway sells items used to conceal drugs!  Parents should be particularly concerned about these items.  Do we want a local business helping our children conceal drugs?  It is difficult enough in our current times to protect our children.  We do not need a local business making it easier for them to consume and conceal substances.

The beach area is already struggling with a reputation.  Selling drug paraphernalia in Bestway only adds to this reputation.   Also, drug paraphernalia attracts drug users as customers.   This certainly does not help the beach community remain a safe and enjoyable area.

Please voice your opinion to the owner of Bestway that drug paraphernalia does not belong in our community.

Sincerely,

Patricia Cournoyer

Editor’s Note: The author is the Health Educator in Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools.

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Letter to the Editor: Sale of Drug Paraphernalia in Old Lyme Continues Despite Objections by CASFY, Customers

Drug paraphernalia (File photo)

Drug paraphernalia (File photo)

To the Editor:

The CASFY Coalition (Community Action for Substance Free Youth) wants citizens of Old Lyme to know that the owner of the Bestway gas station at 281 Shore Road is selling drug paraphernalia.

We have sent the owner two letters asking him to remove his large display of paraphernalia from his store.  We have followed up with visits and phone calls.  The owner has repeatedly said “no” to us, and also to customers who asked him to stop selling these items, even after telling him they will not buy products from his business until he does.

The Bestway gas station has a vast collection of drug paraphernalia in two large glass cases displaying bongs, glass pipes, scales, and other items for smoking or inhaling drugs, grinders (for marijuana and other substances), “hides”(items used to conceal drugs), and many other items used to consume or prepare illegal drugs.

Here are four reasons to prevent the sale of drug paraphernalia in Old Lyme.

  1. Youth who see it in a store conclude that drug use is normal and acceptable. It is not.
  2. Drug paraphernalia attracts customers who are drug users, drug addicts, or drug dealers.
  3. Availability of drug paraphernalia is a contributing factor to substance abuse in our community.
  4. People who are in recovery from a substance use disorder could be “triggered” to use when they see paraphernalia.  A gas station should be a place where someone can reasonably expect to avoid being triggered by seeing drug paraphernalia.

We value local business, but not at the expense of the health and well being of our children.  Protecting our children from drugs and harm is something we take very seriously and we believe our community shares this principle.

We encourage the citizens of Old Lyme to let the owner of Bestway know how you feel about this issue.

Sincerely,

Karen Fischer and Mary Seidner

Editor’s Note: The authors are respectively the CASFY Prevention Coordinator and the Director of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau.

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Letter to the Editor: Sale of Drug Paraphernalia in Old Lyme May be Legal, But Sends Dangerous Message

To the Editor:

I am writing to express concern and hopefully spread awareness regarding the sale of drug paraphernalia in Old Lyme, and in surrounding communities.  Because this is a legal practice, by law little can be done to halt the sale; however, as a community we have a powerful voice and role to play.

Working in education for 15 years in various capacities, I have witnessed first hand the impact of substance abuse on young people.  I have also witnessed how access to paraphernalia can lead to poor decision making, as well as impacting students in and out of school.  The visible presence of drug paraphernalia in stores and gas stations also creates a level of complacency and acceptance, which in my opinion, is the wrong message to send to patrons of any age.  I urge residents to oppose such sales and help promote substance-free youth and community.

Sincerely,

Michelle Dean.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Assistant Principal at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

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A Note of Thanks From Old Lyme Public Works

An Open Letter to the Residents of Lyme Street and Ferry Road:

The Public Works Department would like to extend their thanks to our residents for observing the Parking Ban on Lyme Street and Ferry Road through this winter storm.  Your compliance made it easier and faster to clean up these roads.

Happy New Year to all and stay safe on the roads.

Sincerely,

Public Works Department,
Old Lyme.

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Dilapidated Lyme Barn Continues to Present Safety Hazard

An Open Letter to Lyme officials, Connecticut officials, or any interested party:

There exists on a field located at the intersection of Cove Rd and Ely’s Ferry in Lyme … the broken down remains of an old yellow barn… in delapidated (sic) and dangerous condition.

It has been in this condition for the 25+ years that I have lived on Ely’s Ferry.

The building has partially collapsed and remains a significant safety hazard … hundreds of pounds of unstable lumber waiting to crush a hapless child unfortunate enough to enter it.

Despite my previous attempts to suggest the  destruction (burning or other) of this hazard,  the hazard remains.

I appeal to the town of Lyme or any other interested and responsible party that this hazard be burned, otherwise destroyed in the interest of  safety and avoidance of tragic loss of life.

Any doubts?  Please come and inspect it yourself ( ! )

If you wish to examine it, please contact me anytime at  860.434.2160.

Sincerely,

Dwight Stevenson

Lyme.

 

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A Message of Thanks from LYSB to the Old Lyme Police, Community

The fruits of their labors - members of the LYSB Advisory Council gather for a photo with Old Lyme Police officers after the recent Food Drive.

The fruits of their labors – members of the LYSB Advisory Council gather for a photo with Old Lyme Police Officer Marty Lane after the recent Food Drive.

To the Editor:

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) wishes to thank the Old Lyme Police Department for organizing the recent Holiday Food Drive.  Led by Officer Tom Heinssen, the Old Lyme Police officers donated their time to hold the food drive on three dates at the Old Lyme Marketplace to “stuff the cruiser” with holiday food for needy families in our community.

The response from our community has been truly amazing.  During the past week food was distributed through the LYSB to 62 families in Lyme and Old Lyme which includes 96 children and 64 adults of all ages.  Food was also delivered to the Lymes’ Senior Center and the Old Lyme Social Services to fill their food closets.

We are truly grateful to our police officers for their commitment to our community, and also to our citizens who are so generous during the holidays and throughout the year.

On behalf of the LYSB staff and board, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Seidner
Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The writer is the Executive Director of the LYSB.

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Letter to the Editor: Elect Greenwood to BOE, Obtain His Project Manager Experience for Free

To the Editor:

The challenge for Old Lyme is to continue to pay and maintain our excellent school teachers and support staff while keeping taxes at reasonable levels.  In Max Greenwood, an independent candidate for school board, we have a senior project manager who has over 25 years in construction, management, and maintenance.  His proven ability to work with contractors, unions, suppliers, and facilities managers would cost six figures as a consultant.  Yet, we can acquire his
expertise for free as a member of the school board.  This is a great opportunity for the voters to elect an experienced facilities manager who will reduce outside consulting costs, lower operating expenses, and offer preventive maintenance programs to maintain our facilities.

I urge all to support Max Greenwood for Board of Education.

Sincerely,

David H.W. Griswold,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: BOE Democratic Slate is Strong, Offers Variety of Relevant Experience

To the Editor :

I am running for re-election as an Alternate on the Old Lyme Board of Finance.  In the course of preparing for the November 5 election, I have gotten to know the other Democratic Party candidates.  They are all well-qualified, effective leaders who are seeking office for the right reasons.  I urge you to vote for them.

In particular, please examine the credentials of the Board of Education candidates. These individuals are not merely smart and enthusiastic; each of them has particular experience and expertise that will enable him or her to make an extraordinary contribution to the Board.

Sarah Smalley is a passionate professional educator.  As a former teacher and current Special Education Coordinator for neighboring Region 17, Sarah is intimately familiar with the challenges facing our schools and with many creative, cost-effective ways to address them.  Nancy Lucas Edson is a psychotherapist whose specialties include school-based clinical social work and family therapy.  She is, therefore, especially familiar with the needs of school-aged children.  Jean Wilczynski has spent countless hours over many years getting to know our school system, both as an involved mother of three graduates and as a dedicated volunteer on a number of committees and programs.  This experience, combined with careers in the Coast Guard and in business, will ensure Jean’s sound analysis and wise decision-making.  Diane Linderman is an analytical scientist and a teacher who has volunteered extensively in our community and our schools.  She will be an ideal member of the Board.  Finally, Rick Goulding’s qualifications are similarly impressive.  He is a physician, teacher and coach, and has been cross-endorsed by the Republican Party.

Public education nationally is going through a period of serious soul-searching and change.  Our Lyme-Old Lyme school system has served us well in the past but it must evolve and adapt if our children are to continue to receive the best education.  To guide this process, the Board of Education needs well-informed, dedicated, practical, cost-conscious members.  It needs this team.  If you agree, you must vote on November 5.

Sincerely,

Bennett (“BJ”) Bernblum,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Vote the Democratic Slate on Nov. 5

To the Editor:

I ask voters to support the Old Lyme Democratic candidates in the Nov. 5 election.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder has remarkable leadership and management skills: she researches issues, listens to all viewpoints, promotes cooperation among diverse groups, and translates ideas into action.  Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal has shown energy and enthusiasm in her tireless work for our community.  These selectwomen have used their knowledge of the procedures of our town government to maintain community ideals, and they deserve re-election.

Board of Education candidates Jean Wilczynski, Diane Linderman, Richard Goulding, Nancy Lucas Edson, and Sarah Smalley are all highly qualified to serve our students.  They are well-informed on our school district’s financial and educational issues, and will carefully monitor the expenditure of each tax dollar.

Bennett Bernblum does valuable work as a Board of Finance Alternate.  George Finlay, Board of Assessment Appeals candidate, has a wealth of career experience and familiarity with Old Lyme since 1945.  Edgar Butcher, Planning Commission candidate, is knowledgeable on both planning and zoning issues from his long service in Enfield and Old Lyme.  Zoning Commission candidate Joseph “Gil” Soucie has 40 years’ experience in commercial banking and real estate.  Mary Stone, on the Zoning Board of Appeals, has demonstrated a keen understanding of zoning issues and deserves your vote to continue for another term.

These Democratic candidates have demonstrated the ability to listen carefully, communicate, and implement with fiscal responsibility. I urge you to vote for them on Nov. 5.

Sincerely,

Adam S. Burrows,
Old Lyme.

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Estuary Council Says Thanks to Community, Supporters

To the Editor:

small logoThe Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) is the sole provider of Meals On Wheels to homebound seniors in the nine Estuary towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Killingworth, Chester, Deep River, and Essex, and Madison.  We also provide noon meals for active seniors in four café sites.  Just about every family on the Shoreline knows someone who is either receiving Meals On Wheels or enjoys meals at our café sites.

Like so many other nonprofits, ECSI has budget cuts and has to tighten its belt.  Although we get funding from Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging and donations from our clients, the funding does not cover the cost of providing the meals.  We could not provide our services without fund raising events.

Our latest Autumn on the Dock Wine Tasting and Auction was held on September 21 and was a success again this year.  I would like to thank all those generous people who attended the event and opened their wallets to support our seniors.  Len DiBella of Luigi’s was our honorary chairman and an eloquent spokesman for our senior nutrition program.

I urge you to support and thank our great sponsors as they donated $23,350 for our senior nutrition program.  They are Scranton Financial Group; Fred Cliffe; Middlesex Hospital; Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale; First Niagara Foundation; Rachel Thomas Real Estate; the Essex Savings Bank; Tri State Maintenance; Reynolds’ Garage & Marine; the Safety Zone; the Clark Group; the Guilford Savings Bank; Claremont Sales Group; Gladeview Rehabilitation & Health Care; Kitchings & Potter, LLC, Home Instead Senior Care, Ceil Printing, and the Wine Cask.

If you know of a senior in need of our nutrition service, or if you would like to volunteer to drive for Meals On Wheels, please call Peg Barrett at 860-388-1611.

Thank you,

Paula C. Ferrara,

Executive Director, Estuary Council of Seniors Inc.,
Old Saybrook.

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Letter to the Editor: Drug Paraphernalia on Sale in Old Lyme Store

To the Editor:

I recently went to the Bestway Store in Old Lyme to purchase milk.  I was stunned to see “Drug Paraphernalia” on several shelves as I walked into the store.  In all honesty I probably should have just walked out without purchasing my milk … long story short, I did not.

As I waited to be checked out, I thought I should tell the person behind the register that I am really unhappy that this merchandise has found a home in this store.  However, before I could come up with what I felt were appropriate words, I paid and left.  Now I am feeling guilty.  I still have not come up with an appropriate sentence, but feel as though I need community support to do something.  I am aware that the internet has made acquisition of anything imaginable available to our youth … but I am still upset to see these things available right in my “own back yard.”

I have been told that it is not illegal to sell these items as long as there is not “drug residue” on said item.  However, I am sure I will not go back to buy milk at Bestway until I learn that the owner has stopped selling these products and has permanently removed them from his stock.

I strongly recommend that others, who feel as I do, stop patronizing Bestway, Old Lyme, for all the things they usually go there to purchase.  Obviously, we have given them too much financial support since they are at a point where they can purchase products,  which harm our community at large.

Please stop supporting this retailer until he disposes of these items so we as parents have a little more control of what our children purchase when they are not in our immediate care.

Sincerely,

Kathy Bartus,
Old Lyme

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Letter to the Editor: Linares, Gun Control and the NRA — More Transparency Needed on ‘No’ Vote

To the Editor:

The LymeLine (May 4) quotes Senator Linares at length in remarks before a recent seniors’ luncheon of the Estuary Council explaining why he voted against the Newtown gun control law.  In my opinion, Mr. Linares’s remarks are unconvincing.  They set a standard of glib analysis that hopefully will not characterize his future votes in office. Equally important, Mr. Linares’s remarks leave me wondering whether he has told us the whole story of his “ no” vote. The LymeLine reports that he did not volunteer his explanation, but only responded to questions after having  “consented” to a discussion.  Mr. Linares’s web site does not mention his vote.  Why is that, on an issue of such importance to his constituents?

Mr. Linares is quoted by the LymeLine as saying he “did not have a chance to read the bill.”  This is hard to credit.  The new law is largely the work of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety established last January – of which Mr. Linares was a member from the beginning.  The Task Force took extensive testimony, and legislative proposals began to emerge from it as early as the beginning of March.  The members of the Task Force then reportedly met behind closed doors to negotiate the legislation for two months before emerging in early April with a bipartisan proposal. Is it possible that Senator Linares was still clueless after participating in such a process?

The LymeLine quotes Mr. Linares as saying that the legislation “could create a black market” in guns. So what?  A black market in heroin “could be” the result of existing laws prohibiting that substance.  Mr. Linares does not, I assume, favor legalizing heroin. Taxes on cigarettes and regulatory restrictions on the production of pharmaceutical products arguably have fostered black markets in those products.  Does Mr. Linares support eliminating cigarette taxes or allowing the production of prescription drugs in substandard facilities? The answer to black markets is to enforce laws against them – not cave in.

Mr. Linares’s thought process in explaining his  “no” vote is so obscure he sometimes seems to speak in riddles.  He is quoted as saying, for example, that his concern was for police officers.  He reasons that taking guns away from common citizens could have the effect of being “dangerous to law enforcement officers.”  What does he mean by this?  How can it be good for the police, let alone the rest of us, to allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry, irrespective of mental instability or terrorist proclivities, to have access to military style weapons?  Mr. Linares does not explain.

Mr. Linares claims that “most guns are used for self defense”. This seems doubtful. I would guess that “most guns” are used for hunting or target practice.  Still, if Mr. Linares is correct that ”most guns are used for self defense,” perhaps it is because folks are returning fire — in which case it might also be true that “most guns are used in violent crime.”  In any event, Mr. Linares’s observation is irrelevant because the legislation does not ban “most guns” in Connecticut, but only a small subset of them, specifically some 100 types of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.

Few would contest Mr. Linares assertion that citizens should have the “right to defend themselves.”  However, that is not the issue presented by the Newtown legislation, which leaves intact an individual’s access to a huge variety of guns.  The issue presented by Newtown is whether we as citizens also have a right to gather in public places without the nagging fear of being attacked by an unstable, violent few bearing arms of such great destructive force that they properly belong in the military for our collective defense.

A few weeks after he voted “no” on the Newtown legislation, Mr. Linares posted a piece on his web site entitled “what I’ve heard in my first 100 days as State Senator.” There is no mention of Newtown.  Instead, Mr. Linares speaks forcefully against fiscal irresponsibility and wasteful government spending.  Is it not wasteful to spend scarce taxpayer dollars on the compensation of elected officials who do not have the  time to read important legislation and yet proceed on the basis of superficial analysis to vote against it?

In the meantime, well over a month after the enactment of the Newtown legislation, Mr. Linares still has not posted on his official website an explanation of his reasons for voting no.  I respectfully call upon him to do so now.  This is important to the transparency of his position.  All of Mr. Linares’s constituents have the right to know his reasoning, not only those who happened to attend the seniors’ luncheon at the Estuary Council.

In the context of such disclosure, it would be helpful if Mr. Linares would also clarify his dealings with the National Rifle Association.  According to the non-partisan voter education organization “Project Vote Smart”( www.votesmart.org), Mr. Linares last year was accorded a 92% approval rating by the political action committee of the National Rifle Association.  This entity, known as the “NRA Political Victory Fund” (NRA PVF), is the campaign finance arm of the NRA.  The 92% approval rating given Mr. Linares apparently was the highest accorded any member of the Connecticut General Assembly (shared with only a distinct minority of his colleagues). The NRA PVF website in turn states that it “ranks political candidates – irrespective of party affiliation – based on voting records, public statements and their responses to an NRA-PVF questionnaire.”

Since Mr. Linares had no voting record on gun control at the time of his 92% ranking in 2012, and his public statements on this issue have in my experience proven elusive, it would be reasonable to assume that Mr. Linares’s stellar NRA ranking was the result of his answers to their questionnaire.  Those answers in turn hold the key to understanding what standard Mr. Linares applied when he told the seniors’ luncheon that the Newtown legislation “ went too far and was too extreme.”

The issue now is whether Mr. Linares will be as forthcoming to his constituents as he apparently has been to the NRA.  Towards this end, I call upon Mr. Linares to publish on his web site his responses to the NRA questionnaire together with any other information he has provided to the NRA that would shed light on his gun control views.  This would help his constituents understand whether it was the Newtown legislation, or Mr. Linares’s own position, which was “went too far and was too extreme.”

Sincerely,

David Harfst,
Essex

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Letter: Linares’s Vote Against Gun Control, Contrary to Majority of Constituent’s Wishes, Requires Explanation

To The Editor:

I write to thank LymeLine, ValleyNewsNow and OldSaybrookNow for their coverage of Senator Linares’s recent vote against the gun control law enacted by the Connecticut Legislature with broad bipartisan support following the Newtown massacre.

Mr. Linares’s constituents have a right to know the reasons for his opposition, given the undeniable support in his district for child safety, the strong endorsement of the bill across party lines, and the uncertainty as to what credible alternative Mr. Linares is offering.

However, while the coverage of Senator Linares’s “no” vote is helpful, it was not altogether satisfying.  The article reports that Mr. Linares issued a statement which “concluded the bill does not address the most important problems”.  But it does not tell us how Mr. Linares reached that conclusion or what measures he would advocate instead.

Senator Linares reportedly said that he decided to vote against the gun law “after talking to many residents of the 33rd district”.  If Mr. Linares means to suggest that his vote reflects the majority of his constituents’ views, I would guess that claim is almost certainly preposterous. To my knowledge, Mr. Linares never conducted a hearing on the issue in his district, and the extensive testimony he heard as a member of the Newtown Task Force led other legislators to broad bipartisan support for the measure.  The true basis of Mr. Linares’s position remains a mystery.

Mr. Linares’s official website sheds no light on the matter either.  As of today, April 19 – over two weeks after the bill’s enactment – Mr. Linares’s web site does not even mention his vote, let alone carry the statement described by the Valley News.  Instead, when one consults the web site’s “in the news” section, one learns that in the aftermath of the legislation, Mr. Linares spent his time commending kindergartners for helping others, extolling the Haddam Shad Museum, and “high fiving” intermediate school students on tour of the State capitol.

One need not begrudge Senator Linares his “feel good” press releases or his energetic attempts to have them covered in the  local press, no matter how modest the content. (See, for example, the 10 or so articles appearing in ValleyNewsNow since mid January extensively covering among other things Mr. Linares participation in various meetings, his tours of local factories, and even his attendance at someone else’s press conference)  But they are not a substitute for keeping his district informed of what he is actually doing in Hartford and why.

The public’s right to know our representatives positions is not a partisan issue.  It applies left, right and center. Again, the  Newtown legislation is being cited as a model of bipartisan cooperation worthy of emulation at the national level. Residents of the 33rd District, whether they be Republican, Democrats, or Independents, deserve to understand why Mr. Linares took an outlier position on this historic legislation

Sincerely,

David Harfst,
Essex.

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Old Lyme’s Postmaster Seeks Help to Prevent Winter Injuries to Mail Delivery Personnel

To the Editor:

On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service who deliver the mail in this community, I would like to ask customers to help us keep our letter carriers safe from injury during this winter season.

Many letter carriers have suffered injury by slipping on ice and snow. Obviously the safety of our employees is our top priority. But we want to provide excellent service to our customers as well. We need your help.

Customers are asked to clear enough snow from curbside boxes to allow mail trucks to approach the box, deliver the mail without leaving their vehicle, and to drive away from the box without danger or the need for backing. Walkways should be cleared of snow and ice and allow enough traction to avoid slips, trips or falls. Stairs should also be kept in good repair so as not to cause injury to the letter carriers or others who visit the customer’s home.

We ask that our customers work in partnership with us so that we can provide the best service possible. Together we can beat the winter blues and provide safe, efficient mail delivery and the kind of mail service that our customers deserve.

Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,

Postmaster,
Old Lyme.

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