Monthly Archives: October 2017

Don Lowe Has Earned Our Support

From Town Tribune Oct 26, 2017. To the Editor: Sherman needs a leader who is dedicated to the Town and to the position.

In the years that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Don, I’ve found him to be an intense listener who cares about only one thing- doing  what’s right for the Town. Don has shown that he not only listens to his constituents, but he actually gives thoughtful and careful consideration to their views. Don is a true outdoors man and understands that many of us choose to live in Sherman due to its natural beauty and the many recreational opportunities that it affords. As an adjunct professor and advanced degree holder, Don understands the importance of a strong educational system in Sherman.

Candlewood Lake has experienced challenges that included milfoil and blue green algae. New Fairfield’s Chapman/Hodge pursued a wildly unpopular and unwise plan to introduce for the first time chemicals into Candlewood Lake without consultation with the other Towns or the CLA. Fortunately, Don Lowe became an outspoken and well informed critic of this plan, at one point spending several hours to review the complex factors influencing Candlewood’s water quality. Mr. Cope, despite being presented with a petition signed by scores of Sherman residents who opposed this plan stayed mute—no doubt not wanting to go against his earliest supporters for his failed run for congress- New Fairfield’s Chapman and Hodge who were championing the introduction of dangerous chemicals into Candlewood.

Sherman has only one full time Selectman. We can’t risk re-electing an official who allowed the very real campaign demands of a US Congressional campaign to cause selectman meetings to be cancelled, public comment periods to be truncated and poor decisions to be made that were dictated by the demands of political influences both inside and outside of Sherman.

Don is a homeowner and taxpayer whose interests are closely aligned with the long term interests of the community. He has pledged that the First Selectman job will be his only focus. Don cares deeply about our community and will increase governmental openness and transparency fostering greater community involvement in managing our Town. Don has earned our support.

Scott Randall, Sherman

Cope’s Lack of Leadship is a Very Bad Sign for Sherman

From the Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017.  To the Editor: One would never expect a First Selectman to willfully violate a local zoning regulation because, after all, what kind of example would that set for the rest of us? But this is precisely what Clay Cope has done.

Before ordering a rather large sign for the new Wash Station, he was advised to first check with Zoning to be sure it conformed to code. He did not, and it did not. He spent taxpayer money to purchase it anyway, intentionally choosing to not pay attention to an important regulation that everyone else is subject to. When the non-conforming sign was put up, the Land Use Enforcement Officer had no choice but to cite it as being in violation of a zoning regulation.

The consequence to the enforcement officer for not looking the other way, but instead doing his job in a professional and non-partisan manner, was to receive notice that his hours were being cut.

Does any of this illustrate good leadership, the kind you would want  for another two years? You do not need my twenty-five years of Sherman land use board experience to know that the town itself is never exempt from following its own rules.

As a former member of Planning and Zoning, shouldn’t Mr. Cope be especially knowledgeable, mindful and respectful of all of our zoning regulations, particularly as First Selectman? It’s shocking that he evidently believes that regulations which apply to the rest of the town do not necessarily apply to him.

The sign is still there. The sign is still in violation. It’s a very bad sign.
Joe Chiaramonte, Sherman

Vote for Lowe-Keenan

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017. To the Editor: I pose the following questions for thought when you go to cast your ballot next week.

First, to the people of Sherman that have been without cell service for six years. All we have to date is a statement by the current Republican team that they are in negotiations with adjacent municipalities of which, they admitted at the debate, will still not provide service to all of southern Sherman. This is simply not acceptable to homeowners and first responders.

Second, to the elderly who are the backbone of this town’s elected and voluntary positions and find themselves in financial or medical straits, has anything been actually done to alleviate your situation? Does one actually believe that a $300 credit is a tipping point in changing your circumstances?

The above referenced group of people that are affected from these shortcomings are your fellow Shermanites who you see at church, school, town events,and the IGA. Do they not deserve the same cell service you enjoy? Do they not deserve some compassion in their golden years after giving of their time to enrich the life that you enjoy in this town?

If you agree with me that this is just wrong, then please cast your vote next week for Don Lowe for First Selectman and Kevin Keenan for Selectman.

Richard Connell, Sherman

In Support of Kevin Keenan

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017 To the Editor:  We support Kevin Keenan for the position of Selectman for the town of Sherman.

His dedication to family, friends, and our town of Sherman makes
him an outstanding citizen. He will bring his knowledge of community
services and how to keep them function efficiently to Sherman. He will
excel in the position of Selectman.

We support Don Lowe for 1st Selectman and Kevin Keenan for Selectman for the town of Sherman, Connecticut.

The Wakatsuki-Wentink family, Sherman

Ann Chiaramonte – Candidate for Board of Assessment Appeals

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017. To the Editor: Ann Chiaramonte’s name will appear on the November 7th ballot as candidate for Board of Assessment Appeals in Sherman, CT. If elected, Ann will represent you in a non-partisan and objective manner. Her 24 years of related property valuation experience, including completing and fulfilling the required coursework and exams for the State Local Appraisal Certification, translates to being a rare and dynamic combination of skills for this position. Ann’s unique blend of expertise eminently qualifies her to serve you unlike any other board member or contested candidate.

Ann intends to bring a new voice and a new vision to the table which will allow you to be heard. Recently the DTC and Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to appoint her to fill a vacated position on the Board of Assessment Appeals until the November 7th election. Their support and display of confidence in Ann was the right thing to do.

If you are looking for a candidate with the proficiency & judgement needed to determine accurate property. valuations in today’s fluid market, please cast your vote for Ann Chiaramonte on Nov. 7.

Virginia Zellner, Sherman

Cricket Valley – A Major Oversight by Cope

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017. To the Editor:  One of the most important qualities a leader can possess is Honesty, followed closely by Accountability. Neither of those qualities are exhibited by Sherman’s Clay Cope. When the question was asked at the debate “When did you learn about Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant only 3 miles away from Sherman, CT?” Clay stated that he “didn’t recall receiving any letters about it” and he “only recently learned about it”, I was shocked. See the debate video on the Town Tribune website.

Either 1) Clay Cope doesn’t read his incoming mail, as there is an 86 page letter from Eversource (Click here to see the letter)cc’ing him dated February 5, 2016 on public record at  which he “does not recall receiving” AND he forgot about his live meeting with Eversource on December 9, 2015 (also a matter of public record), OR 2) he is not taking accountability for this major mistake in recognizing a potential threat to Sherman. Either scenario is unacceptable in a leader. In contrast, Don Lowe stated that he learned about this matter from a citizen in late August and he has already contacted Congresswoman Esty, Rep. Mclachlan, Rep. Smith, and CT Attorney General George Jepson about this “major source of air pollutants at a state and national level” as described by the EPA in the Environmental Impact Statement on file at the Dover Town Hall. Don raised the Cricket Valley topic at the last 808 meeting as a concern, and it will therefore be discussed at the 808 meeting on Oct. 26. I urge all who are concerned about their air and water quality to attend this BOS meeting and see which of our leaders are knowledgeable enough to figure out how to handle what is not only a Sherman problem, but is also a regional and state concem. This would have been easier to handle had Mr. Cope read his mail 18 months ago. or had the ability to understand that what he discussed at the 2015 meeting with Eversource regarding  Cricket Valley was something he should mention to others in town.

Despite Mr. Cope’s defeatist position that “it’s too late now” the #StopCricketValley team is saying it is NOT too late. Other power plants that were fully built out, have been shut down. Visit  their facebook page  page to see what you can do to help prevent NY from dumping its air pollution on CT in violation of the interstate provisions of the Clean Air Act. CT is currently suing another state for a similar plant dumping air pollutants on CT.

I expect better of a First Selectman whose job is to protect the interests of Sherman. But then again, when you are Mr. Cope and are hoping to leave your temporary rental in Sherman for Washington, DC you might not be so concerned about long term Sherman issues. We deserve better.

Jen Freed, Sherman

Don Lowe for First Selectman

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017. To the Editor: I first met Don Lowe having just returned to Sherman to raise my family in the same special place in which I grew up. Don was a father with children in the school, a teacher of Adult Ed, and a volunteer for Sherman Higher Education Fund. I came to know him through his roles on Planning and Zoning and as the founder of the Land Acquisition Fund Board, on which he still serves as chairman. Over the years, my children have come to know Don through his family and his work in our school as director of Song to Symphony and the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, and in his many years as a Selectman to our town. His experience is rich and robust.

Don recognizes our greatest resource, Candlewood Lake, and understands its critical role in our property values, our community, and our economy. He supports the CLA and stays informed. Don cares about Sherman’s small businesses, and he wants to promote a supportive relationship between valuable establishments, like Happy Acres Farm and White Silo Winery, including them in the synergy of our town. Don also has a reasoned approach to issues like senior housing, a hot potato in our community. In recent years, the Sherman Housing commission put tremendous effort into researching viable senior living options for our aging residents, and unfortunately a lot of that information seemed to have been lost on the public, and a viable solution did not result. Don understands that his personal opinion is not that of the town’s. Rather, it is his job to represent the town’s voice, and by that he means to present honest and accurate information to the public to consider, so we may weigh our options accordingly. Don also recognizes that southern Sherman needs sound cell-service options to be investigated, for the safety of our citizens and the work of our local fire department and EMT’s.

What I have grown to most appreciate about Don Lowe is his political balance. A formerly registered independent, has long been one that could easily fall on either side of the political fence. Don listens to all sides, considers facts, and votes on issues outside of party interest.

In that vein, I cannot write a letter in good conscience without addressing something that has been on my conscience as of late. Sherman is a small town. One thing I admire about the Lowe-Keenan campaign is its big integrity. Recently, I’ve been dismayed by both social and political slander that has shown itself on local social media posts and in comments made. As a parent and life-long citizen, I was ashamed that such behavior was being demonstrated by adults in positions of influence. It has run its course through every limb of our town, from the RNC and DNC, to our hard-working Board of Education, and our neighborhoods. Sherman is better than that. We need representatives who focus on the facts and run clean campaigns. That matters to me.

Hannah Roberts McKinnon, Sherman

Kevin Keenan (D): Overview of local government

From Town Tribune, Oct 26, 2017. Local politics is the purest form of governance. It is approachable and readily available. You can walk in your Town Hall (for Sherman that is Mallory Town Hall) and see the functioning of government. The people who collect our taxes, maintain our records, and enforce our local laws and ordinances are there to serve you. You drive the local roads in all kinds of weather and directly see and feel how they are being maintained. If a tree falls or there is a dangerous wintertime road hazard you can call the Town Hall or the Public Works Director to report the problem. The commissions that monitor and regulate the Town assets, all elected or appointed volunteers, convene monthly to work for the Town. Workshops and public hearings are also available to enable people to be involved. To those seniors that take advantage of the programs offered by the Senior Center, you see and experience what local government is about. Providing fields and facilities for the soccer and baseball teams is one more function of local government.

All of this happens through a Board of Selectman that convenes monthly to discuss, among other things, financial health and items that may have a direct impact to the proper functioning of our local government. They propose programs, recommend actions, and disseminate information pertinent to the health and well being of our community. The First Selectman is the point person, the chief executive officer, who is in Town Hall on a daily basis to act as the lead person to know and understand what is needed for the proper functioning of our local government. We should all be able to walk into Town Hall and speak to our chief executive to make suggestions or discuss problems.

Fully aware of all the functions of our local government, I am running for the position of Selectman along with Don Lowe, who is running for First Selectman. I know that Don will embrace the great responsibilities of being a First Selectman. In his six years as a Selectman, Don has consistently displayed his respect for volunteers, elected officials, and residents of this town. His commitment to working on behalf of Sherman is not based on partisan issues or outside agendas. The Board of Selectmen should operate as a cohesive team because we are not Hartford, we are not Washington: we are Sherman. We are local government, and Don and I will be working for you.