Forum, July 31: Articles on UVAC Destroyed Donor’s Privacy

Monday, July 30, 2018
Articles on UVAC Destroyed Privacy

As the media continues to suffer criticism, cries of “fake news” and threats of violence, journalists continue their hard work of investigative reporting to expose the corruption and greed that permeates our society. That is, of course, unless the reporter is Rick Jurgens of the Valley News, who obviously spent a great deal of his time and investigative skills to destroy the privacy that Andrea Ciardelli and her family worked so hard to preserve.

Instead of allowing their generosity to continue to anonymously fund an asset that serves residents of Hartford and the surrounding community and brings jobs and income to the area, Jurgens chose to “expose” the source of the funding.

I realize much of the public is fascinated by wealth. However, in this case, a woman of means chose to share her good fortune to provide a space where people could enjoy themselves and improve their health, as opposed to purchasing yet another throwaway item. The Upper Valley Aquatic Center makes swimming — a life-saving skill and healthy pursuit — available to a wide range of people while employing local residents. In addition, the competitive events provide income to local hotels and restaurants as they create long-lasting memories for the swim team participants.

In a world where modesty and humility are sorely lacking and every day thousands of people “act out” in hopes of achieving their 15 minutes of internet fame, this family chose to do its good work anonymously. But Jurgen’s articles are yet another example of how today’s internet has destroyed any concept of privacy.

As a reader and subscriber, I hope that in the future the Valley News chooses to allocate its resources and energy to address more pressing issues, perhaps the flow of drugs into rural New England, which has caused a devastating opioid crisis, public fraud or political misdeeds. Concentrate on what should be exposed, not what can be, and allow private citizens who want to do good to remain “private.”

Marjorie Rogalski


Women Outnumbered In Photographs

Where in the Upper Valley are the newsworthy women? That’s the question I asked myself when I looked online at the Editor’s Picks photo gallery for the week of July 1-7. While paging through, I noticed an absence of females in the photos. Curious, I did a quick count. Of the 18 featured photos, one photo had only females, four had mixed groups and 13 had males only. Was this week a fluke, the odd week that the editor thought all of the best photos were of men?

I then looked at the 15 photos chosen the previous week. Two were female only, five mixed, one of an object and seven with males only. It was raining, and I was putting off my trip to the gym, so I analyzed six weeks of photos, beginning May 27. Of the 108 photos, 17 percent were of females only, 33 percent of mixed groups, 2 percent of objects and 48 percent of males only.

I’m not suggesting that the numbers have to be equal. It’s just that the extreme difference stands out. So many of the photos are of people enjoying the outdoors, participating in athletic activities. When I’m outside, I see just as many females as males running, biking, kayaking, rowing and hiking. Could the Valley News try a little harder to represent all of the people living here?

Jill Terman Potter


We Must Restore Our Founding Principles

Forty-nine years ago this month, American astronauts made it to the moon. I was home on summer break from college. Along with the rest of the world, I watched in awe as Neil Armstrong put one foot on the lunar surface, then I glanced over at my usually stoic father. He was weeping. It took me years to fully understand why.

My dad had driven a horse and buggy 8 miles to high school. He graduated from Norwich University at a time when the cavalry was the four-legged type. Rural electricity didn’t make it to his home town until he was in his 30s. In his lifetime, there were four major wars, the Great Depression, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. All this paled in comparison to that day in 1969 when he witnessed that epic event of the first man on the moon.

Politically he was a staunch Republican, and we often disagreed. It didn’t stop him from teaching my siblings and me to respect others and their views, no matter how different. We were raised to be honest, accountable and considerate. We were expected to stand up for civil and social justice by making our voices heard in a diplomatic manner.

In the decades since, the world has certainly seen notable milestones and developments. So if my father were alive today, would he be weeping? Yes, but not because of what we had accomplished, but because of what we have lost.

We have forgotten what it means to compromise, to exchange ideas face-to-face, to work for a solution that benefits all as opposed to a few. No one is held accountable. It is high time to reflect on who we are as Americans and to work toward restoring the principles this country was founded on.

Sandra Cutler

Brookfield, Vt.

Support Black River Action Team

Since 2014, the Black River Action Team has conducted weekly sampling at several area swimming holes all summer long. BRAT volunteers are trained to collect their samples carefully, following protocols set forth by the state of Vermont and Endyne Labs (a nationally accredited facility in Lebanon).

Endyne tests the samples for fecal coliform, which are present in the gut of all warm-blooded animals, including birds as well as humans. These bacteria are naturally present in our rivers and other bodies of water. The most common, Escherichia coli (or E. coli), is not a direct threat; rather, it is an “indicator” bacteria — its presence in high numbers tells us that other pathogens commonly found in fecal matter may have entered the waterway at the same time as the E. coli bacteria.

We’ve seen some higher-than-usual numbers recently, and a couple are quite high. While there is no need to panic, people should be aware of this information before they jump in their favorite swimming hole (and folks can check this site for updated information: http://connecticutriver.us/site/content/sites-list). Check the website for weekly updates, stay out of the water for 24 hours after a heavy rain and anytime it appears cloudy.

BRAT is in the process of raising money to cover the cost of testing additional sites above the swimming holes with high counts so we can attempt to narrow down the location of the source. Please consider donating $25 or more to help us reach our goal of $5,000 to cover additional testing this summer, as well as adding new sites next summer to attempt to locate potential sources of E.coli at our beautiful swimming holes.

Learn more about the Black River Action Team, how to donate, and how to become a volunteer “River Dipper” at www.BlackRiverActionTeam.org.

Kelly Stettner

Springfield, Vt.

The writer is the director of the Black River Action Team.