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Forum, June 8: Faulkner Park transfer would violate trust

Published: 6/7/2021 10:00:23 PM
Modified: 6/7/2021 10:00:19 PM
Faulkner Park transfer would violate trust

My family has owned a residence on Mountain Avenue in Woodstock since 1978. We consider ourselves part of the town. I am married to someone who grew up in Woodstock and whose parents reside on Mountain Avenue across from Faulkner Park.

I am strongly opposed, as are my husband and my children, to the transfer of Faulkner Park to the town for many reasons. From the time I was 9 years old (40-plus years ago), I have enjoyed the park. As a child, I played there with my sisters and neighborhood children. As a teenager and young adult, I walked in the park with friends and visitors to our town and accessed Mount Tom’s trails frequently. As a parent, I enjoy it now with my own children and hope to do so with my grandchildren in the future. It is a necessary, beautiful and well-maintained green space within our village. Over the years, we have enjoyed meeting visitors to Woodstock who are looking for directions to Faulkner Park and access to Mount Tom’s trail system. The park is a destination within the town. It must continue to be that without risk of future development, which surely is in the minds of those who want to take over control of the park.

Marianne Faulkner’s estate made very clear its intention for the park property. Attempts to alter these desires are in opposition of her will and, if these attempts are not vacated, stand to violate the trust between the town and its citizens. Further, it is certain, without grounds for debate, that the town will not be able to maintain the park to the standards the visitors have come to expect. Faulkner provided for the perpetual care of the park and there is no need to interfere when the care her gifts provide continues to meet the standards. Stealing the asset from the people of Woodstock, an asset gifted to the people by Marianne Faulkner, is wrong.



Faulkner Park change a bad precedent

I strongly oppose transferring Faulkner Park from the trust to the town of Woodstock. As a property owner on Mountain Avenue for more than 40 years, this park has been a meaningful destination for me. I learned how to ride a bicycle there, and my two young children also ride their bikes in the safety of the park sidewalks. Indeed, to ride anywhere else in town is dangerous with the car traffic and the bustling activity around The Green. Faulkner Park has been a site for many visitors and locals seeking a quiet place with access to the trails system up Mount Tom.

With the current economic status of both Woodstock and the entire globe, it makes more sense to keep Faulkner Park in its original trust form, where it sustains itself. For the town of Woodstock to assume the continuous liability of upkeep and cost seems a poor management decision. I am not clear on whether the trust and its endowment would be earmarked for park upkeep or if the monies would be folded into other Woodstock town expenditures.

Here we have park that was gifted to citizens and visitors for enjoyment and pleasure. This suggestion to dissolve Marianne Faulkner’s will calls into question the status of any philanthropic efforts by individuals gifting to land trusts and conservation easements, which Vermont so willingly embraces and seeks. To dissolve Faulkner’s direct bequest from her estate would set a very dicey precedent for future gifts for the benefit of the community and conservation. As I write these words, my mind wanders to the status of the trusts that the Rockefeller family set for the parks and lands around the town. Are they at risk, too, of being dissolved out of their original form?

To transfer Faulkner Park from a self-sustaining entity to a town liability is a poor decision and a bad precedent.



Zero tolerance shown for conservative input

Judicial Watch recently revealed that Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland spent $450,000 on an “anti-racist system audit” and “critical race theory” classes that included teaching students that the phrase “Make America Great Again” was ranked just under the “N-word” in its relative offensiveness to people of color. This presents a problem for me because that phrase is on a Trump bumper sticker that was affixed to my ancient Volvo before I acquired it, and I don’t intend to remove it. Rather, it presents a problem for those who see it, and they’ll just have to deal with it.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called out Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for her anti-white racism in limiting one-on-one interviews to journalists of color. The hypocrisy and racialism of those who claim to be “woke” is almost beyond comprehension. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has resigned and will probably take with her a “golden parachute,” including her high-end real-estate portfolio and considerable fees from “consulting activities.”

Schools are being used as vehicles to force vaccinations with unknown future effects on children and to indoctrinate them in critical race theory and other leftist ideologies. In her May 16 op-ed piece, Miriam Richards calls out the mislabeling of social activism as legitimate education.

Then there are those like Forum contributor Kevin McEvoy Leveret who advocate reprogramming climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, those who voted for Trump and everyone else who doesn’t toe the leftist party line, or sending them to reeducation camps (“Threatening others’ well-being,” May 21). Not sure if it’s done facetiously, but in the context of some other writings I tend to doubt it.

So much for liberal pseudo-tolerance. Between sanitizing social media platforms and outright censorship in the “mainstream” media (including, on occasion, this newspaper) there is nearly zero tolerance for most conservative input. The strength of our society is the ability to freely exchange ideas and information. This freedom is being impeded by those whose motives and practices need to be questioned and challenged.



Coaching wage gap reveals liberal hypocrisy

I must admit that I find the disconnect between what a liberal says and what a liberal actually does quite fascinating.

One common theme among liberals is the wage gap between men and women. At Dartmouth College, a bastion of the liberal mindset, you could certainly expect that this would not be an issue. But you would be very wrong. Head coaches for women’s teams make significantly less than head coaches for men’s teams, averaging $93,609 in annual salary compared with $133,033 (“Coaching salaries under review: Report shows disparity by gender of team,” June 1).

How can this be possible? And if that isn’t embarrassing enough, assistant coaches for women’s teams at Dartmouth make significantly less money as well. I guess it’s easier to tell others what’s best for them than to walk the walk.


North Haverhill

Pence now in direct opposition to Trump

As a registered Democrat, I was glad to see that former Vice President Mike Pence, in his Thursday talk in Manchester, said the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a dark day in America. And it was. But he added: “And that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” While Pence did not clearly say so, that constitutional duty was to certify that Joe Biden was officially elected president of the United States.

This single statement puts Pence in direct opposition to Donald Trump’s false views that the election was “stolen.” Will Pence back off from that conclusion? Stay tuned.


White River Junction

Enduring lessons about citizenship

When I took Bill Murphy’s U.S. history course during the 1977-78 school year at Hanover High School, he began every class by asking if there were any comments about “the state of the school, the state of the town, the state of the state, the state of the nation, the state of the world” (“An ‘institution’ celebrates 60: High school social studies teacher Bill Murphy feted for lifetime as an educator,” June 5). It had never occurred to me before then that the content of a history course might be related to contemporary events or that I ought to consider those events and express opinions about them.

Murph taught my classmates and me that our opinions mattered and that, even as teenagers, we had every right to add our voice to the public discourse. His history class taught us enduring lessons about what it means to be a good citizen.


Baltimore, Md.

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