Raise the Journalistic Bar

To the Editor:

Come on, Valley News, raise your bar a little, and use experienced human eyeballs and brainpower to proofread your text. The latest case in point is two errors that wouldn’t sneak through freshman English — and I mean “freshman” as in “high school.” The lead story on page 2 of your Nov. 20 paper has a wacko apostrophe in the call-out: “... It can get ugly at any place — morning, church, you’re mother’s birthday.” A call-out is second only to headlines in prominence, so this is pretty bad.

Just below, in column 2, is this about a man who was subsequently arrested: “Craft turned himself into police.” Whoa — that must have been quite a trick!

A company whose sole product is the written word really should take some pride in the craft of journalism, acknowledge that spell-check software is inadequate, and accept that competent proofreading is necessary for responsible journalism.

Be a role model; set a good example; and don’t contribute to dumbing-down our wonderful language.

Michael Whitman


A Splendid Idea

To the Editor:

In regard to the letter “Expand Bus Service” (Forum, Nov. 19): It is a splendid idea to expand the bus service, which should be paid for, not by the city, but be taken from a “transportation budget” of the retirement facilities in question. The city is already doing a splendid job as far as rides are concerned for those living in their homes.

Until this issue is resolved, future residents of Harvest Hill should be warned of the status quo and make their own arrangements, which is really all I wanted to achieve with my “jailed in Harvest Hill” letter.

Miriam Arndt


The Indignity of Dependence

To the Editor:

The longer I live, the more futile seems the effort of modern medicine to face down death. Disease is usually caused by bacteria and viruses, coupled with malfunction of inherited genes. Many of these are now eliminated or corrected, allowing us to live longer. We often need more support as we age, in an effort to postpone the inevitable.

Those who promote palliative care, ending life with “dignity,” seem to ignore the indignations of being utterly dependent on others, often unable to wipe ourselves after defecation.

It isn’t that I want assisted suicide. I want simply to be allowed to die, earlier rather than later, trusting modern medicine’s ability to keep the body relatively comfortable, i.e., pain free.

Jack Hemenway


True Friends of Norwich Library

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Norwich Public Library would like to thank everyone who helped make our latest book sale a tremendous success. Thanks first to all who donated books; due to your generous donations we were able to offer an enormous variety. Thanks to everyone who lent their hands, backs, brains, muscles and energy to the task of getting books, tables and supplies to Tracy Hall for setting up tables, unboxing books and shifting books to their proper places. We can never sufficiently thank those of you who hauled boxes of books for hours on end (from one location to another). We appreciate, too, the efforts of Hanover Youth-in-Action and the Norwich Boy Scouts. Their willingness to haul boxes, tables and to break down empty boxes at cleanup time was amazing. Tracy Hall was completely cleared out in less than two hours! And finally to those who came to buy books: Our shared love of books has provided much-needed funds, which will support one of our greatest local treasures, the Norwich Public Library. See you all next year!

Anne Goodrich


Friends of the Norwich Public Library

Preventing Future Abuse

To the Editor:

In response to recent events in Orange County, we at Safeline would like to extend our support and provide information to the community. Safeline is a non-profit organization that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Orange and upper Windsor counties. We offer a toll-free 24/7 hotline (800-639-7233) among other services. We encourage you to call us, anytime, to get further information or to receive emotional support. When violence and abuse occur, the entire community is affected. It is common for memories of abuse to be triggered by these events, and we are here to listen and support.

Our thoughts are with Bradford and surrounding towns in the wake of the recent charges filed against Brian Musty, a coach at Oxbow Union High School. An incident like this is confusing, angering, and leaves us unsure of how to react, who to blame, and how to prevent it from happening again. It is important to know the facts. In over 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is an adult known to the child; an adult the child trusts, respects and has been told to obey. Though we want to point the finger to something easy, we can only blame the perpetrator, as well as our culture that veils sexuality in secrecy and shame. Parents, school administrators, community members and children cannot blame themselves for not preventing the abuse. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse work hard at gaining everyone’s trust, and it is often hard to detect their motives. While there can be preventative systems put in place by schools and other programs, it is important that we focus on what can be done now and in the future, and not spend time focusing on what wasn’t done to prevent the abuse. What we can do is make sure, as adults, we are accessible to our children, and that we listen to and believe them. We can speak up when an adult’s behavior makes us uncomfortable. We can teach our children the correct names for their body parts, and lead by example that it is OK to talk about our bodies and sexuality (this makes adults more nervous than kids!). We must set the tone for our children, and lift the veil of secrecy that has protected perpetrators of sexual abuse for so long.

If you have questions or concerns or if the recent events have brought up painful memories, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-639-7233, day or night. You are not alone.

Marina Carleton

Executive Director

Safeline Inc.