Schooling the Ignorant and Historically Challenged

For those Salisbury residents ignorant of the well-documented historical facts leading to the adoption of an official town Code of Ethics, allow me to explain and give credit where it is undoubtedly due. This may be a traumatic revelation for Barbara Maltby, Salisbury’s resident Ethicist, since she entered into the COE process halfway through it and then tried to pretend that she knew what was going on. Her lack of information and understanding was glaringly apparent in her recent Letter to the Editor in the Lakeville Journal.

During the 2011 election campaign, BOS candidate Mark Lauretano promised to bring the issue of a Code of Ethics to a town vote. He did not promise it would pass, but he promised to bring it to a vote.

At the December 2011 BOS meeting, newly elected selectman Mark Lauretano made a motion that the 2005 Val Bernadoni COE be the town COE, applicable to all. He even was open to some previously suggested revisions perhaps being incorporated into it. Curtis Rand and Jim Dresser refused to bring it forward to a town vote, saying it should only apply to the BOS. They did, however, agree to allow Mark Lauretano to explore and develop a COE proposal for the town.

Mark Lauretano devoted months to research and, working openly with the citizens and town employees to fashion a COE that included Mr. Dresser’s required enforcement arm. Mr. Rand and Mr. Dresser steadfastly refused to participate in the drafting process.

A year later, when it appeared that there was a finished product being brought to a town vote, Messrs. Vail and Morrill suddenly trotted out Val Bernadoni’s 2005 COE that Lauretano had originally suggested be used for the official town COE! For some reason, Rand and Dresser suddenly thought this was a brilliant new idea never heard of before.

Wanting as many citizens as possible to participate in the democratic process, Mark Lauretano obtained enough signatures on a petition to bring the COE issue to a town referendum vote instead of simply a town meeting vote. Both COE proposals and a separate Ethics Commission proposal were placed on the ballot. The Ethics Commission section had been separated from the original draft so the voters could decide separately whether or not they wanted to have any enforcement arm with a COE. Despite the concerted efforts of the Democratic Party leaders in town to defeat all the proposals with No votes, the people of Salisbury did pass the 2005 Bernadoni COE.

For anyone to claim that Mark Lauretano was not the driving force behind there finally being a vote for a town Code of Ethics, along with the passage of one, is laughable. It is irrelevant which COE was passed, but very ironic that the one we have today is the Bernadoni COE Lauretano originally proposed. What matters is that the issue was brought to a vote as he promised, and happily, the people of Salisbury voted in favor of one. It is a good thing for the town.

The whole eighteen month ordeal could have been avoided if Rand and Dresser had cooperated with Mark Lauretano and seen to it the original 2005 Bernadoni COE had been enacted in the first place. Their partisan obstructionism was the problem, not Selectman Mark Lauretano.

A Purging of Posts and Prayers For All

I am pleased to point out to anyone interested that certain political posts, that caused distress to a local gentleman whose serious health condition was absolutely unknown to me at the time, have been removed from this blog in order to avoid causing him or his family any additional unhappiness.

Unfortunately, due to a legal action, it was not possible to remove them sooner, which I would have been more than willing to do if the gentleman’s condition had been brought to my attention and a request made through a simple phone call, letter or even an email. Unfortunate because the removal would have been made instantaneously last year if someone had simply asked. Instead, the court system was dragged into the matter, resulting in an unavoidably long delay in achieving the desired outcome.

The matter has now reached a sensible and predictable conclusion, and that being the case, I have voluntarily removed the posts immediately upon hearing the good news from my attorney this afternoon.

The gentleman and his family have my apologies for the embarrassment and anguish the posts caused at such a difficult time in all of their lives. Had I known of his condition and in spite of his very energetic, outspoken pubic political activities and position as a public official, the posts would never have been written.

I wish nothing but God’s blessings and comfort on him, his family and friends, and I pray for all their sakes that he is spared and healed.

Signs of a Post Election Feeding Frenzy

There has been a strange, sudden jump in my blog stats yesterday and today – most particularly today. I had not posted anything but apparently folks were in some sort of frenzy looking for something to read. Maybe they thought I cared about the election since I was on the ballot and they were looking for me to go on some sort of rant about losing. That, dear readers, was not going to happen. No, I just threw my name onto the ballot so that there would be some sort of GOP slate, albeit an abbreviated one. Not that most of the Republicans in town would care whether or not they actually had candidates, but for appearances sake.

Mr. Hammond, who had been our representative on the Board of Assessment Appeals, had informed the SRTC that he was not sure whether or not his health would preclude him from running again, and that if he did decide to campaign later he would do it as a petitioning candidate. That left a vacancy on the ballot. Mr. Lloyd, who in the past has approached the SRTC for their endorsement, failed to do so and Madame Rumor had indicated he was not going to run again. So we had another vacancy on the ballot.

Imagine my dismay when I later discovered that both gentlemen applied as petitioning candidates after all. Both of them have served on their boards satisfactorily in past years and there was no reason for the voters not to re-elect them. I had occasion to see and speak with Mr. Lloyd at the Transfer Station over the summer, at which time I told him that had the SRTC known he wanted to run we would have welcomed him on the ballot again. I wished him well.

So I made no particular effort to campaign against either of them and was perfectly content to have them both re-elected to their respective boards. My congratulations go out to them both. They will no doubt continue to serve Salisbury quite well. Had I won either of the offices it would have been my pleasure to do my best on behalf of the town for the next two years. Happily for all concerned, that was not the way things turned out.

To those so suddenly and avidly scrutinizing my blog for anything more exciting than this about the municipal election results, I am not sorry to have disappointed you. I have other things to devote my time and energy to.

The Obamacare Plague

One thing I do share with Dick Boyle is the pleasant hiatus from political debate since my last posting in June. The Salisbury COE debate was interminable, exhausting for all and summer provided us all with a blessed respite. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. How I wish that would be the case for the horrors that we are subjected to by intrusive, dictatorial government. Those traumas and terrors tend to be impervious to efforts that would eliminate them from the backs of the people. The continuing Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) debacle is the latest case in point.

First, it was written in secrecy and voted on out of ignorance – no one was allowed to read, analyze or debate the contents before voting on it. Afterwards, no one could understand the convoluted, interwoven mess of insanity in order to competently plan for it on any level. It was passed by the Democrat controlled House and Senate, and signed by Pres. Obama in disdainful defiance of the expressed will of the vast majority of American’s opposition. At the same time the Obama administration – notoriously incompetent – predictably hired political cronies to build the Obamacare internet website.

Those of us who understood from the beginning that the purpose of the bill was to destroy private healthcare insurers so that ultimately the government would be the single payer controlling all medical care, sat back to watch the fiasco unfold. At the same time we continued to issue periodic warnings while also struggling to find a way to derail the train before it wrecked the lives of everyone in the United States. It would be funny if it were not so tragic.

Healthcare insurance company’s financial viability and the level of employment they provide – particularly here in Connecticut – are fast diminishing. Healthcare insurance companies are ultimately going out of business and their employees will join the ranks of the unemployed. They are having to eliminate large numbers of the population from coverage, are firing doctors from their participation lists, and there is no safety net for those left out in the cold without coverage because there is no way to register in a timely fashion online for the ACA.

After three years building the government website, we are now the proud owners of a non-functioning computer nightmare that illustrates the dangers of hiring political cronies instead of competent, experienced, independent professionals. Private corporations hire truly qualified, knowledgeable companies to build intricate websites designed for massive visitor traffic all the time. Their new websites are constructed within a few months, commonly debuting without any problems. What do we get after three years and about seven hundred million dollars ($700,000,000)? Complete failure to function, along with Kathleen Sebelius whining that they just needed five years to do it in rather than only three!

It was obvious to those of us with functioning brains and even a rudimentary ability to judge politician’s veracity, that Pres. Obama was lying when he said people would be able to keep their doctors and current plans if they liked them. These were complete lies and unarguably outside the realm of possibility. There has never been a government program that has ever, in the history of mankind, resulted in anything costing less than it did before the government got involved or functioned the way it was supposed to. So the promise that the ACA would result in lower prices, that it would lower the rising cost of healthcare and improve the quality of our healthcare while being “fair” were just more lies added to the mountain of lies the American people had already been fed by Pres. Obama.

Wish I could say that we got what we deserved, but that would not be true. Over seventy percent of the nation opposed this legislation, the way it was written secretly and passed without vetting. The people spoke and the Democrats refused to listen. The dictatorial Democrats did what they wanted to do for whatever politically self-interested and corrupt reasons they had, and the people be damned.

The seventy percent of the population that hounded and begged Congress not to pass the Affordable Care Act does NOT deserve what they are being subjected to. The people losing their jobs and having to find new part-time employment to support their families, the people losing their doctors and preferred healthcare coverage, the terrified folks tossed off their private plans trying unsuccessfully to tap into the government coverage – these people do not deserve this abuse.

The people who do deserve what they get now are the fools that voted to re-elect our Liar-In-Chief. The rest of us are being tortured and tormented undeservedly. Thanks a lot to those responsible for perpetuating the stupidity and corruption. At the rate people all over the country are losing their healthcare insurance, there will be more people newly without coverage than there are signed up for the government coverage via the pathetic, dysfunctional Obamacare website. Almost a half million more citizens have lost their healthcare coverage in Florida and California just during the last couple days alone.

The Democrats and Pres. Obama would have been smarter to compromise with the GOP over delaying the Individual Mandate for a year in order to allow more time to straighten out the mess on the government website. The only problem with that is Pres. Obama claims no one told him ahead of time about the website problems.

Perhaps if the President and the moribund Harry Reid had known about it two months ago, they would have seized the opportunity to delay the implementation. Oh, well, it is another opportunity lost. Lost because the President has no control over his administration and the staff systematically withholds vital information from him, preventing him from dealing with impending disasters in a competent way to minimize or avoid the disaster altogether. What a President Barack Obama is – he displays ignorance, incompetence, irrationality, intransigence and no leadership ability.

In the meantime, the nation flounders about trying to find a cure for the hemorrhaging of healthcare insurance providers, medical coverage and their jobless formerly attendant employees – on top of atherosclerotic blockages in the ACA website. We find ourselves faced with increasing numbers of patients, a decreasing number of doctors to provide healthcare services and the steady demise of our hospitals.

There is no escape from the unrelenting plague of Obamacare that brings only disaster and destruction every place it spreads throughout our healthcare system and economy. Welcome to socialized, government-run medicine and get ready to die unmercifully. You can only pray that death will be quick, but there are no guarantees with this disease. And like all previous government controlled entitlements, there is not escape, no end to it other than death.

Bruno Bear Returns For A Snack

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Almost three years ago I discovered Nite Guard Solar Lights to keep predators away from house and barn at night. I placed one strategically in our sun room window, about four feet above ground level, where after dark it would flash in the direction of the bird feeder stand. Our friendly neighborhood bear, dubbed Bruno, immediately stopped his depredations – not only at night but during the day as well. No more rattling the garage doors at 3AM trying to get at the garbage cans either.

Two weeks ago at 11AM one morning, Bruno reappeared and after I brought our black Lab Maggie in off the back deck, I grabbed my camera and was able to get a series of photos of him making his way through our property. The first two above were taken looking down our cliff side from the house to see him moseying across the field to begin his climb up the steep hill. I knew from past experience that he would appear about ten feet from the sun room windows as he topped the crest of the hill in my garden. Once climbing the hill, he could not be seen because of the height of the Crown Vetch and weeds. His progress could only be judged by observing the rustling movement of the foliage on the slope.

He was magnificent when he reappeared over the hilltop and ambled through my raised veggie garden. The sloping windows of the sun room distorted the camera shots so I was unable to get those photos, so I moved out to the kitchen sliding glass door at the deck and took the third photo of him standing up at our bird-feeding station. He grabbed one of the feeders and lifted it down among my day lilies, then he carried it backwards out of the flower bed onto the grass where he could begin his feast on seed.

I got two metal pots and banged them at the door, having opened the slider three inches to let the sound carry outdoors. True to form, Bruno immediately turned and headed west across the yard, not being partial to loud noise. I took three other photos of his departure. In the past, Bruno has even been frightened and distracted by the soft whirrings and clicks of the camera used to take his pictures. So much so that he would start to leave and I stopped taking photos for a moment just so that he would settle down to linger longer and give me additional photo opportunities from door or window.

The slider is twenty feet from the bird feeder station, sixteen feet of that being the depth of the deck. The center post of the feeder station is eight feet above ground. So Bruno was about five-and-a-half feet tall standing upright and probably weighed close to 350 or 400 lbs. He had no ear tags.

Speaking of tags, when I reported the sighting to DEEP online it was amusing to read one question asking if there was an ear tag visible, followed by a second question asking for the number on the tag. I wondered how many folks notice the tags and who would be foolish enough to ask Bruno to hold still for a minute while they examined the tag(s) close-up and wrote down the ID number for the report. Of course if someone hit and killed the bear with a car by accident, obtaining the ear tag number is a piece of cake. But generally speaking, these live sightings do not lend themselves to up close and personal inspections of bear ears. I had to go back to my photos to check for a tag and, had Bruno still been in the yard, we would not have had any discussion about him letting me take a peek at his tag if he’d possessed one.

I am hoping that the solar flashing light failed (he had nailed the feeders at night also) due to lack of sunlight through this very cloudy, rainy season and that with the coming of sunlight it will be effective again at night. We will move it a bit and add another in a different location nearby. The bird-feeders will have to come indoors at night again also.

A neighbor west of us on Rt 112 phoned last Friday midday to say Bruno was in their yard at the moment pilfering birdseed and she added that another neighbor up a side road had seen a female with two cubs this spring – the first local report we have heard of a bear with cubs in Lime Rock. Another neighbor has reported a bear watching her gardening on occasion and she has gotten an air horn to frighten it away. Best beware, put feeders in at night, keep garages closed all the time, stay inside or go indoors if the bears come through and only take pictures from indoors. if there are cubs around, lock yourself in the house and stay out of sight so the mother bear does not attack you to protect her cubs. Personally I prefer second floor vantage points from behind curtains or blinds under such circumstances.

Enjoy the National Geographic or Discovery Channel moment safely. And never argue with Bruno over the ownership of your barbeque. Go indoors, defrost something else, cook it on the stove and enjoy the wildlife from the safety of your home..

No More Rain Dances

Okay, okay, okay. All right already. Stop with the rain. Enough. Let the sun shine – like non-stop for a month. Heck, if I knew that my last weather request was going to be answered in waterfalls I would have put in a new order sooner. The yard feels like we are walking on soaked sponges. Barnyard is a mire – won’t be able to spring clean that for a week or so. Weeds that were pulled out and disposed of have been replaced with new growth thanks to the nonstop torrents of water and no opportunity to put out the rest of the Preen. Weed & Feed still on hold also. Flower pots and barrels still empty.

I was so relieved the COE controversy was over with and it was time for spring yard work, planting of flowers. Had everything ready to go and no sooner did we get started than the drought ended. Doom and gloom dark clouds, rain, wind and hail. Golf ball size no less on Trivia night last month and There I was at Mizza’s with my car parked outdoors. And all the while I owned a perfectly good garage sitting empty at home. It was a miracle there was not a mark on the vehicle when we left the restaurant triumphant later in the evening.

So indoor spring cleaning has been the name of the game, no doubt for many others besides myself. Not nearly as much fun but nonetheless necessary to some degree. I never could get into totally overhauling and washing down all walls, ceilings and windows throughout the whole house every spring and autumn like women used to do relentlessly back in the day. But it has been happening this spring. at least until we get a run of good weather.

Pray for sun so not only will the flowers get planted, Weed & Feed spread on lawns, as well as Preen put down to suppress the weeds, but also for the sake of the farmer’s crops and the making of hay. Let the sun shine.



We need rain. Lots of steady rain for days and days. Yards are like deserts here in New England, with dust scuffing up to form low-lying clouds as animals and people walk or run across them. Faint whispers of the Dust Bowl years. No point in mowing as there is nothing to mow. Dry leaves, shriveled burnt grass that barely had time to turn green this spring before it withered and dried out from thirst.

The sun and blue skies have been glorious after winter, raising spirits beaten down by the long gloom. The rush of exhilaration every morning when the brightness meets our eyes – there is nothing quite like it except in the fleeting yellow-gold daffodils that have already gone by and dried as miserably as the grass. We fear the threat of brush and forest fires, fret over farm crop prospects, pray for the rain, but nonetheless still cheerfully greet the morning sun and blue sky that has such power to lighten our hearts.

I recall as a child that the gray-blue skies bringing rain were a pleasure to me. I loved the sound of the falling rain, the power of thunder and lightning. Sometime along the years stretching over six decades, the joy of the rain passed away, replaced by sadness and gloom relentlessly settling in whenever the steel-gray clouds slid closed across the sky. Yes, we need rain but it is hard to endure the oppressive, dulling darkness that inevitably accompanies the watering of the earth.

It reminds one of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author of Anne of Green Gables, and the annual fear that settled on her soul as brilliant autumn progressed into winter gray. She wrote in her Journals of her dread as winter bore down, the days growing dark and short. Her spirits only lifted again with the advent of spring and bright sunlight.

The light drizzles we had over the past forty-eight hours, and then the more intense but not too prolonged downpour today, may have moistened and softened the earth enough that it will be able to soak up what rain comes next. We don’t need floods from too much rain and dirt hardened like stone. Bring on the thunderstorms tonight with intermittent showers.

Then over the weekend we can welcome a few days of long steady rain to give the fields and forests a good soak. It will bring the grass and flowers back to life, as well as replenish the rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wells. We will be thankful for the rain and remain patiently waiting for the sun to reappear.

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