I am a LaFlammes employee, I would like to thank all those whose efforts contributed to fighting the fire at LaFlammes furniture store in last Friday’s below-zero weather.

The many who worked selflessly that day were an inspiration. The heroism of the over 100 fire fighters from Vermont, Massachusetts and New York who battled the blaze as well as the Bennington Police Department, and the generosity of those who provided food and/or shelter for those in need, including Price Chopper, Dunkin’ Donuts, the American Legion, Southwestern Vermont Health Care and the American Red Cross, alongside many others who helped in a multitude of ways, proved once again how lucky we are to live in a place where bad fortune elicits such public support.

As someone who grew up in Bennington, I am not surprised by this, but on Friday, as I sadly watched as my employer’s business was reduced to smoking coals, I was especially grateful for the spirit of community we are privileged to have here, and the incredible support from so many neighbors, both within and outside the town of Bennington.

JOANNE HENDEER

Bennington Remembering a wonderful neighbor, Clyde Burgess

I’m sitting here thinking about Clyde Burgess, our next door neighbor for the past 30 some odd years and how much I miss his kindness and generosity. Clyde, from the time we moved in, was always looking out for the ‘girls.’

I remember the first year we were here, the garage was full of lumber so we emptied it out and placed it on the side of the property and tried to figure out what to do with it. A week later, Clyde stopped by and told us he was sending one of his men up to load the lumber and put it in his dump. Of course we tried to pay him, but he would not even think of it. And so this continued until the very end of his life.

He always made sure we were plowed out early in the morning because he knew we left for school by 6:30 a.m.

If there was ice on the driveway he sent one of his men up to sand. When we had a problem with our foundation on the house, Clyde was right there with his backhoe, dug it out and found all the workers that we needed to get the work completed. And through all of this he would not accept any payment. So we tried to reciprocate with vegetables from the garden, home cooked meals and desserts.

Clyde had the biggest heart in the world. He was always there for anyone in need. He was a wonderful neighbor and friend and I and many others will miss him very much. I’m sure he is up there smiling down on all of us.

THEODORA PETRELIS

Bennington

TPP supersedes federal authority

Large corporations are pressuring Congress to give away its constitutional authority over trade. They want Congress to agree to "fast track" authority. Fast Track would allow a massive trade agreement with 11 Asian and Latin American countries to be signed before Congress to vote on it.

Under Fast Track, this "Trans-Pacific Partnership" (TPP) trade agreement could then be railroaded through Congress quickly with no amendments allowed and limited debate.

The TPP is a deal that supersedes US authority with international corporate tribunals, and from the little information the public has been able to access (through wikileaks!) it seems that this is its main purpose -- reviving legislation such as SOPA (the internet surveillance bill) which can’t be passed within the country, and applying it to us internationally.

We need to stand up for our own interests against the corporate forces that are engulfing the world, we need to return the balance of power in our government, to reinstate Congress’ oversight on trade deals and revoke Fast Track.

Visit MoveOn.org and search TPP to find resources on this issue, or contact your neighbors, community organizations, and representatives as you are inclined.

ALEX BRIGGS

Troy

Re: Thank you -- Alden Grout

I met Alden a few days after I found that the (2) Christmas wreaths he made were gone from the front entrance to the Martha Canfield Library. Alden directed me to come to his house, and he would replace them for me.

Many thanks!

BEN BRUMAGHIM

Arlington