LETTERS: A response to a column on teachers, praise for column on ticks

LETTERS: A response to a column on teachers, praise for column on ticks

Powell mocks teachers


I am sure I will not be the first or the last person to challenge Chris Powell's Sunday column. I must take exception to his comment that teachers “have been working much less, if at all while getting paid.” I am a retired teacher, and I am thankful that I am! I am in touch with many current teachers, and they all say that they are working “twice as hard with none of the fun.” I don't know a single teacher, student, or parent who doesn't want things to go back to “normal.” No one expects a 100% guarantee of safety, but Mr. Powell shouldn't mock the fears of teachers about the disease.

Maybe he could offer his services; I'm pretty sure he must have a college degree, and could teach journalism to English classes. I sure he would enjoy the $85 a day substitute pay.

Linda Zamoic Hayes, Southington

Mike got it right


As usual, Mike Roberts recent column was excellent [17 July, on ticks]. A few comments based on much field work. One way to locate tick hot spots is “flagging” by dragging a white cloth over the area to be checked. Ticks will attach to the underside. Ticks are active year-round in favorable weather. They climb on plants, with front legs extended [questing] and attach to passing animals. An important feature is how easily they dehydrate and need to retreat into wet ground or vegetation. So dry surfaces make life harder for them. Short grass, stone beds, pavers, rubber squares, concrete, asphalt — all can inhibit their water recharge. In removing an attached tick, avoid squeezing the body, as this can inject its infectious fluids in you. For PPE, there are several good choices for humans. Mike's clothing suggestions are very helpful. Permethrin [Permanone] not only repels ticks, it kills ticks and mosquitoes. A tick walking over a treated surface has convulsions and dies. It is widely available as a spray for treating clothing, and as clothing impregnated with it. Both will last through washings. It must not be used on the skin or on pets. I have been using it for about 40 years, and have had very few ticks attached. Were I doing backyard trash pickup along heavily-vegetated Yoda Brook, it would be my PPE of choice. Good job, Mike.

Dr. Karl Eric Tolonen, South Meriden

The big and the small


With the passing of Civil Rights icons John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, it is an appropriate time to reflect on a major aspect of their legacy, expanding the vote. Despite the physical beatings, despite verbal abuse and despite jailings these extraordinary leaders distinguished themselves by their hope, their optimism that our country, our citizens and our government were capable of positive change in the expansion of the vote. They believed in the best when they had every reason to despair. They are an example that is worthy of emulation by all who call themselves leaders.

Given the stature of John Lewis or C.T. Vivian, it would be a giant task for our local leaders to fill those shoes. It is not unreasonable though to expect that they would try. But in the case of State Rep. Fishbein, instead of expanding the vote, he was a co-sponsor of an amendment that would limit the expansion of absentee ballots for the November election. Instead of belief in people, he and his colleagues dream small and act pessimistic. 

In Wallingford we have Mayor Dickinson, who given an opportunity to expand his constituents' voting options has chosen a much darker vision. His belief is that his citizens would choose vandalism, choose fraud rather than enfranchisement. He is joined in this negative vision by State Sen. Fasano whose emphasis is to have citizens fear each other.

The contrast is wide, the vision of who we are is stark. Are we the people that John Lewis believed in or are we doomed to fear our neighbor as Dickinson, Fasano and Fishbein would have us do? As far as I am concerned I will take my chances crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge with John Lewis believing that things will be better on the other side.

Larry Morgenstein, Wallingford

Cancel this school year


I feel very strongly that teachers should not have to teach class this school year with the new coronavirus outbreaks. Let’s just cancel this school year and take the standardized tests next summer after a year and half of no classroom education. I’ll bet the test results won’t be any worse than the results over the last ten years. Maybe we should be thinking about defunding or school choice more seriously.

Jeff Grunwald, Wallingford

Questions about schools


I am very concerned about our schools in Connecticut opening. Covid 19 is nothing to play with. I’m watching the news as we speak. I’m watching the concerned parents and teachers from around the country and I’m quite concerned about the schools. There is no guarantee that the children and teachers will not be infected. This is taking a toll on our elderly and children.  How will they handle teachers and children getting ill? God forbid if they pass away from this how would you feel?

This is a very bad situation. It’s a tough call. Hopefully there will be a good plan in place for the school systems in Connecticut.

The bus transportation is another big issue. How will that be handled and how many children will be on one school bus? Is there going to be social distancing in the class room and on the school buses?

Debra T. Belancik, Meriden

Cultured meat 


With coronavirus sweeping the globe, now is the time for Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal to support federal funding for cultured-meat research. For those who aren't familiar with the term, cultured meat is grown from cells, without slaughtering animals. Besides the obvious benefits to nonhuman welfare, this emerging technology would help prevent pandemics.

We’re living through a worldwide crisis caused by a zoonotic virus known as COVID-19. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of diseases make the leap from animals to humans. You might know some of them as bird flu or swine flu. Cultured meat removes such risk from food production. We need federal funding to assist its development. This is too urgent to leave to the private sector.

Jon Hochschartner, Granby

False Narratives                                                                                           


There are so many false narratives floating around these days. Whatever side of debate you happen to be on, you can find an expert to support your position.

I argue what is essential today is a common sense approach to politics.

The State’s latest knee-jerk legislation is the “Police Accountability” Legislation (HB 6004). At its core is the ending of qualified immunity for police officers. I believe this is bad for our communities. If passed, how safe will you actually be if police response times increase?

While HB 6004 does contain some positive components, such as establishing police department accreditation standards and applies FOI provisions to union contracts and arbitration awards, the negative take-aways are far more numerous.

There are funding problems. Who pays for all the new mandated accreditation costs, increased costs for health evaluations and drug testing, reimbursement for must-have camera equipment and data storage?

Not surprising, this bill was rammed through without a normal hearing process. No proper notice requirements. No thorough scrutiny. Committee leadership severely limited time allotted for discussion and questions. There’s vague language- what exactly is “…conduct that undermines public confidence.” It’s also unclear just how an officer is to intervene if witnessing excessive force.

Besides the obvious difficulty municipalities will face recruiting and keeping officers, this bill doesn’t give the Police Accountability Taskforce the opportunity to review the issues with this bill. Why no proper review?

Lastly, there are questions about the constitutionality of the new Inspector General position. Our state constitution vests investigation and prosecution of criminal cases with the Division of Criminal Justice, the Chief State’s Attorney and the individual State’s Attorney offices. Do we need more bureaucracy?

Common sense is, why ram this through? Is passing any bill immediately, good for incumbent politicians running for reelection in the fall?

Lou Arata, Meriden

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