Keith Whitcomb’s front page article about the police shooting is an excellent piece of journalism. The April 26 article deserves an award.
It was refreshing to read the back story ... something that is often missing when most news comes only from "official" sources. This article showed the humanity of all involved. Maybe there is some way to find the silver lining in this tragedy. Many residents in Bennington lack support systems. How many others out there are in desperate need? How many are isolated? Normal resources are not available to all and are not a good fit for all.
I first became acutely aware of this many years ago when a Bennington friend died. His obituary was listed in the Banner. I immediately phoned the funeral director that was listed to inquire about visiting hours. I was told that his body had been immediately cremated "because he had no local family." As a way of honoring my friend, I wrote an article titled "A Death on Valentine Street." (http://dissidentvoice.org/2007/11/a-death-on-valentine-street/).
My hope was that maybe the article could raise the consciousness of others about those who live in isolation. My friend went by the name Frank, but his real name was "Celestine." Bennington needs a "Celestine Project." A group of caring individuals who would be matched with others who are alone. This would not require any taxpayer money.
All that is needed is human compassion. We can do this. Let’s turn a tragedy into a silver lining.
Vote on May 6
I would like to encourage the voters of the Bennington School District to participate in the May 6 Special Meeting where we will be voting on the proposed budget.
The ballots are now available at the Town Clerk’s Office. The Town Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may vote in person at the Town Clerk’s Office during regular business hours or have a ballot mailed. If you need a ballot mailed, you may call the Town Clerk’s Office at 802-442-1043. Vermont State law allows anyone who wants to cast an early ballot to do so without giving any reason.
Voting for residents of the Bennington School District will be at the Firehouse at the corner of River and Lincoln Streets. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BSD School Clerk
To the voters of Bennington
Please vote "Yes" on May 6 for the Bennington Elementary School budget. As you all know, their budget got shot down this year, but it was very confusing as to why that budget was defeated. The reality is that the budget is only going up by less than 2.5 percent. I will be voting "Yes." My feeling is that if we don’t support our school systems, there is no way to entice serious economic growth in our town.
Unfortunately over the last year, we have had a lot of negative press on a lot of different issues. We do not need another black eye by saying that we, the voters, do no support our schools. And, of course, if the budget does not pass, the schools will have to lay off teachers. That will lead to bigger class sizes and cuts to many vital programs. It is not the job of the school board to keep our taxes down while raising our grand list value -- that is the job of the Select Board. Let us hope that our new Select Board, with its new chairman and one new member, will start concentrating on growing Bennington’s economy and the grand list. Growing the grand list is the only way we can pay for our schools, fix our aging infrastructure, and make Bennington both attractive and affordable for current and future residents.