Monthly Archives: October 2015

Don Lowe is an ideal leader


From Citizen News, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse the candidacy of Don Lowe for First Selectman. Others have written in these pages of the public service and dedicated
volunteerism of both Don and Ashleigh Blake. I want to focus on some of the human qualities I have observed over many years of friendship and
collaboration with Don that I think make him an ideal leader for our town.

As a writer of fiction, Don shows great empathy for individuals and communities coping with the vicissitudes of contemporary life. As a writer of non-fiction, including highly-respected reference works in several disciplines, he exhibits a great talent for researching complex topics and distilling them down to the essential facts and conclusions.
As a songwriter and musician, he gives eloquent voice to the grieving family of a dead soldier, the straying lover mending his evil ways, the husband and wife learning to live together once the honeymoon is over – real people with real joys and sorrows not unlike those of people in Sherman and every small town in America.

I have seen Don at work with our children as writer, director and stage manager of several Song to Symphony productions at the Sherman School, where he was teacher, mentor and inspiration to a whole generation of Sherman students. He has engaged with older adults at the senior center and elsewhere, not just  in his prior position as a
Selectman but also as a private citizen concerned about the well-being of all in our town. Don has involved himself with campaigns and organizations focused on housing, farming, education, the arts,
natural resources and conservation. He is hardworking, intelligent, articulate and compassionate. Don is the kind of person Sherman
needs as First Selectman.

Please join me in voting for Don Lowe and his running mate Ashleigh Blake.

Mary Rindfleisch,

In Support of Don and Ashleigh:Very involved and transparent budgetting


Citizen News, Letter to Editor, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

I intend to vote for Don Lowe for First Selectman and Ashleigh Blake for Selectman and I urge you to do the same. Here’s why:

Both Don and Ashleigh have paid their dues in town government and organizations. They have volunteered on numerous town boards and commissions. Ashleigh was president of the Sherman PTO. Further, they have been attending numerous meetings of various boards and
commissions, as well as the Board of Education, to both stay up-to-date on the issues, and to support the volunteers serving the town on these boards and commissions.

Both Don and Ashleigh intend to be transparent if elected. That means that citizens attending board of selectmen meetings during budget discussions will be provided with the most up-to-date copy of the
proposed budget – – the same one that the selectman are working off of. That means Board of Selectmen meeting agendas will be specific as to topics of discussion.

Both and Ashley understand the value to the town and the region of Candlewood Lake. They intend to protect it in every way that they can.

Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake will be engaged, accessible, and effective leaders to guide our town into the future. Join me in voting for them.

Mark Weber,

In Support of Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake:to provide the leadership Sherman has been missing.

Citizen News, Letter to Editor, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

What we most need in Sherman right now is real

leadership. Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake are well
qualified to meet that need.

I like Clay Cope as a person (and certainly Bob
Ostrosky as well). Sadly, he has repeatedly proven
himself ineffective as our town’s chief executive,
and has NOT earned my vote for First Selectman.
Sweet, outgoing and charismatic, Clay has been a
fixture in our town for many years – however, this
election should not be a popularity contest.

While certainly accomplished as a “folksy” singer
and songwriter, Don Lowe’s experience and track
record of accomplishments as a leader has more than
proven his analytic acumen, intellectual sophistication, and his ability to make good decisions for our town. Over the past decade, I have
come to greatly appreciate the depth and intelligence
behind his kind and approachable demeanor. His
ideas and long-standing dedication to Sherman will
bring focus and direction to our currently adrift town

Ashleigh Blake is as dynamic as she is brilliant.
Over the years I have watched in baffled amazement
at how she has managed to become a powerful force
for positive change and accomplishment in so many
Sherman organizations, while simultaneously
fostering and encouraging a spirit of fairness,
transparency, and appreciation among volunteers.
This is a rare talent, undoubtedly honed over her
years of experience both in the business world as
well as a (repeatedly-recognized) volunteer here in
town. The Board of Selectmen is a natural next-step
in her public service career, and we will be lucky to
have her.

What we most need in Sherman right now is real
leadership. Don and Ashleigh are well qualified and
ready to meet that need. Vote Lowe/Blake on next
Tuesday: Allow them to provide the leadership
Sherman has been missing.

Kathrine Gubner,

Let’s Resuscitate Volunteerism in Sherman


Citizen News, Letter to Editor, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

Recent claims of attendance and support of town.
commissions by the selectmen seeking reelection
don’t ring true to me. In my twenty-fiVe years of
service on the Sherman Zoning Board of Appeals, I
cannot recall seeing either of them at any of our
meetings, except to show support for one applicant’s

A more serious lack of both attendance and support
was clearly demonstrated towards the prior Housing
Commission, despite this commission’s frequent
invitations to come to the meetings and provide input
as their proposal was taking shape. To make things
even worse, the often- and still-repeated
characterization of the new Housing Commission as
“recently reinvigorated” remains as insulting,
offensiv and intentionally disrespectful of the
formercihmnissioners as the first time I read it.

Evidently, volunteering these days seems to either
go unappreciated at best, or ridiculed at worst.

This can change on Nov. ‘3rd if Don Lowe and
Ashleigh Blake are elected. Both of them will
continue to be exactly as they have always been
genuinely respectful of everyone, and sincerely
appreciative of the efforts of those who so generously
give of themselves. I am convinced that their election
will result in a rejuvenation of the volunteerism which
has been in such nOticeable decline in recent years.

Furthermore, Don and Ashleigh will not take direct
orders from anyone or any party, relying instead on
their own conscience and good judgment to do what’s
right for Sherman. They may even disagree with one
another from time to time, but that’s ok. An honest
exchange of ideas without vilification always makes
for a better outcome, and that’s how government (at
all levels) should work. ‘I don’t think we’ve
witnessed this often over the last four years.

What town wouldn’t be envious of having the
opportunity to elect these two worthy candidates? I
hope the majority of voters feel the same way because
we may not get another chance anytime soon to elect
such outstanding individuals.

Joe Chiaramonte,

Ashleigh makes a positive difference in town

Citizen News, Letter to Editor, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:
I just wanted to take a moment to write a few words about my neighbor, Ashleigh Blake. My family and I have lived next door to Ashleigh and her family for seven years. Over this time I’ve noticed a great deal about Ashleigh. She has shown a tremendous amount of selflessness when it comes to so many things. Ashleigh takes the time to make a positive difference in our town in any way that she can. I feel that her time in the SPTO is a perfect example of this. In all the time that I have known her, Ashleigh has always had the ability to remain objective; even when faced with the most difficult issues. I hope very much that the people of Sherman can take a moment and get to know the woman that I am very fortunate to call my friend.

Julie Noto,

Financial Clarity And Transparency


Citizen News, October 28, 2015

And A Big Thank You!

I kicked the hornet’s nest when I revealed that Sherman’s Operating
Budget has increased 20% in Clay Cope’s four years – the largest four
year increase in Sherman’s history. The operating budget funds the
mechanisms of the town, is absent of the debt service and the school
budget, and is created solely by the Board of Selectmen (BOS).

Bob Ostrosky’s recent column attempts to marginalize me, claiming
that I look “too simply” at this. He ventures into expenditures and
asserts that I have not looked closely enough. I have. I have examined
many Sherman budget details. But I spotlight this topic and choose not
to deflect into other issues because it’s critical to you as a taxpayer.
Here’s why: Taxpayers are taxed on the budget. not the expenses. And
that Bob confesses that the town has, in reality, only spent to a 5
increase should be of interest to you. Bob’s thesis is that while the BoS
budgeted for a certain amount it hasn’t spent that much. Fair enough, I say. However, the taxpayer is billed for the BUDGETED amount
including this past budget (2015/16) for which we don’t yet know the expenses. That such a large amount is budgeted the last four years is
something the taxpayer should stay alert to.

First, let’s eliminate the implication that my numbers are wrong. They
aren’t. Any Sherman resident can access them in Town Hall. Here are the
operational budget numbers per each year: 2012/13 – $3,166,504; 2013/2014-$3,456,533; 2014/15 -$3,625,862;    2015/2016 – $3, 802,792.

Second, let me say this about Bob Ostrosky. 1 like him very much on
a personal basis. I look forward to working with him, and he has my
empathy that financial matters fall into his lap since our First Selectman
is unable to speak or write on this critical topic. That’s most unusual
and will return to normal if you elect me. I can guarantee that both Bob
and Eric Holub, our town treasurer, also someone I admire, will enjoy
collaborating with me to keep Sherman strong. Only the hard wall of
party politics can block our working agreeably together and that wall
will not come from me. However, Bob misrepresented me a bit in his
column and for that I will charge him a beer.

There is nothing illicitly wrong with this over-budgeting practice. In
many ways, at least to some taxpayers, it might seem prudent. It becomes philosophical. Taxpayer A may think it’s perfectly fine for the BOS to over-tax because it knows best what to do with his or her money. In this case, the B0S stockpiled the extra tax revenue in a reserve fund. Taxpayer B might be slightly annoyed and wish that her BOS would budget closer to what the expenses are. In her mind, she does not want to “lend” money to the town and feels there’s already enough inert money in surplus. She would rather add to her family’s surplus. Taxpayer C is angry and sees the words “good management” and “surplus” splattered on campaign material and is outraged that good management merely constitutes taxing him extra to inflate accomplishments.

Here’s why this is important: it educates the taxpayer. I want to
provide Sherman taxpayers the opportunity to understand where their
money goes. I would be embarrassed to preside over a 15-minute
Annual Report Town Meeting. At the October 16 meeting, our First
Selectman read from a prepared script. Before the audience could
peruse a couple pages of the Annual Report, it was over. Some folks
took pride in the speed of that. I didn’t. If you elect me, I will assure
you that Town Meetings will be handled with care, offer detailed explanations and presentations, and have a thorough Q & A period.

This will be my last column before the election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. I
am so gratified by the support and well-wishes that Ashleigh Blake and
I have received. I have relished every aspect of it, but’none more than
the fruitful one-on-one conversations I have enjoyed with so many of
you! Thank you! It’ll all be a memory Nov. 4 and the Sherman we love
will remain. And remember: if you have something pressing with the
town, well, you don’t call the Democratic Party. You don’t call the
Republican Party. You call the office of the First Selectman. And when
I pick up that phone I’ll be there for you. Please feel free to contact me
for questions and concerns:; 860 778 3394. Thank
you for the opportunity to serve you.

Don Lowe

I Stand with Don and Ashleigh

Citizen News, Letter to Editor, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

As a person with hearing disability, I am sure that Don Lowe will
accommodate me at the meetings I attend. Don is sensitive to other
people’s issues, he listens and responds, and will be a strong leader for
everyone in Sherman. I feel the same way about Ashleigh Blake who I
am extremely impressed with for all that she does in Sherman. I am a
member of the Conservation Commission and both Don and Ashleigh
have proven themselves to be strong advocates for Sherman’s rural
character. They will also care for every aspect of Sherman including
its Seniors and its budget. I urge you to vote for these two talented

Pat Bailey,