Last week’s Forum’s missing heart
To the Editor:
I submit to you, dear Forum readers, the part of my last Forum that ended up on the proverbial “cutting room floor.” The heart of my piece that was crucial to its meaning, the key for what is needed to help those overcome the emotional pain of loss: support.
“A car hit ‘my’ tree in June, destroying much of its trunk. Due to external forces beyond its control and through no fault of its own, shards of wood, remnants of its once-solid base, now litter the ground. Like a worn and melancholy tune on repeat, last month another friendship ended. Bereft and broken again, yet, I stand. I saw a bicyclist resting against the tree last week and enjoying the view. The tree is not alone! My loving husband and children provide deep roots of support to help me cling to the hope of one day overcoming my emotional pain, and so, I stand.
“Like similar organizations, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has chosen green ribbons for recognition and remembrance. Look for ‘my’ tree on Route 225 in the Sorli field during Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 7-13. Add your own ribbon or use it as a reminder to consider what goes on behind the strong exterior we each present to our world. NAMI’s awareness goal this year is to ‘Cure Stigma’ associated with mental illness. This article seeks to support that goal.”
“If you are in need of support, text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7.”
Deer Agent addresses questions
To the Editor:
As the town’s Deer Agent and a member of the Deer Committee, I would like to address some questions and make a correction following recent articles and letters that have appeared in the Mosquito.
In particular I’ll address three items here:
• Wearing orange clothing—During the Carlisle Archery Season (October1-November 24), there is no recommendation to wear orange clothing.
• Deer entrails—Hunters are required to bag and remove entrails so they are not left for dogs to discover.
• Dogs on leashes—There is no leash law in Carlisle and no requirement to keep dogs on a leash during hunting season.
We recognize that there are many more questions that people would like answers to or require further clarification. To that end we are in the process of putting together a Frequently Asked Questions page which will appear shortly on the Deer Committee website (http://www.carlislema.gov/196/Deer-Committee).
Clark Farm Road
Support for Richard Howe
To the Editor:
I am writing to strongly support Richard Howe as North Middlesex Register of Deeds. Since becoming Register over 20 years ago, Richard has put online all records dating back to 1629. Before he became Register it took four weeks to process a document. Now it takes four minutes. Richard is very conversant with technology and is constantly working to keep the Register up to date. He will shortly be making the Registry process paperless. He implemented a one-step process for homeowners to protect their home by using the Homestead Act, with all the forms and recording taking just minutes. If you need a copy of your deed, you can download it at lowelldeeds.com to get a free copy.
Richard is a lawyer with 30 years of real estate experience. His is also a former Army Intelligence officer and with these backgrounds he is aware of legalities of real estate documents as well as being expert with regard to cybersecurity, and protecting this important information. Richard is an indefatigable leader. He has twice been chair of the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds, is currently the Association’s Chair of its Technology Subcommittee and is the editor of the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards.
A new six-story Judicial Center building is rising in Lowell. The Registry will be replacing its computer system. Richard’s experience and expertise will be invaluable in this huge move as well as installing the new technology.
Since moving to Lowell, I have come to know Richard personally. He is smart, conscientious, forward-thinking and an amazingly self-effacing person. He has an unending energy and frequently volunteers his time for helping others. Please join me in returning Richard as the Register of Deeds for North Middlesex County in the election Tuesday, November 6.
Lowell, formerly Virginia Farme Lane
The conversation must start now
To the Editor:
The last couple of weeks of the Kavanaugh hearings have been gut- wrenching. It threw me back upon my Puritan roots. Bad behavior and sexual assault is not okay. It is wrong. Coming from an extended family of too much drunkenness and unreported rape/assault, I know the ravages of such scars. Of course, proving this in a court of law is frighteningly hard, but this does not mean such wrongs did not happen.
As parents and adults who have been parented, we know that much of growing up is about discovering our moral compass. Our Concord neighbor, Hawthorne, showed us in The Scarlet Letter that puritanical rules do not work —that hypocrisy is ever present and that accepting our sins—or weaknesses, if you want, is never easy. Each of us must find our conscience and try to be good people.
The spectacle of the Kavanaugh hearings over the past month has been deeply disturbing. I certainly knew what bad behavior and crimes were as an adolescent. And yes, we all grow up in our own ways. But I understood what was wrong: excessive drinking, assault, vandalism, racism, sexism and derogatory comments. Most young men (and women) learn these lessons as we mature—we make missteps and correct them. I realize that this is difficult for some who find it easier to look the other way; or pretend something did not happen.
Saying no and turning from the crowd is hard—letting our conscience speak is often lonely. We have seen our fallibility in full display over the past couple of weeks. It is clear, to me that many of our institutions are not serving us well. So, what are we to do? How do we rebuild trust in each other and our civic fabric?
We must talk to each other, listen, and share. For me, this starts with family, friends and our communities. We are better than the vitriol we hear. Men and women must speak up, tell our stories—our fears, our joys. Our fragile democracy will not heal unless we do.
John Winthrop Ballantine, Jr.
Vote NO on Question #1
To the Editor:
I have been a nurse for 44 years working as a staff nurse, nurse manager and clinical nurse specialist seeing all sides of staffing issues. I am writing to explain why I will be voting NO on Question #1 for the following reasons:
• Clinical Judgement – A 1:4 ratio for every unit, every specialty, every hospital on every shift must be adhered to regardless of differing levels of acuity. Clinical judgement of the nurse to make assignments based on this acuity can mean a patient who may need higher attention may not get it. Ratios are not one size fits all.
• 37 Day Deadline: California had a five year plan to implement as the only state to do so and is ranked 14th in the nation for patient outcomes despite ratios while Massachusetts is currently ranked 2nd! MA will only have 37 days to implement the plan. After January 1, there will be $25,000 per violation per day to meet the needed number of nurses. Predictions of high costs seems spot on.
• Unintended consequences:
• Closed hospitals - Increased cost to community hospitals and inability to retain and recruit may cause closures reducing local access to care. 6,000 more nurses will be needed.
• Delay in care - Delay in planned surgery or acute admissions will likely result if ratios are not met as inpatient beds will have to close.
• Loss of ancillary support to nurses – Increasing hospital costs for nurses may cause nursing assistants and unit secretaries and other cuts, thus, more non-nursing work on nurses.
• Nursing specific concerns – How does a nurse leave if ill or has a family emergency? Hardships on nurses forced to change shifts to meet ratios.
I have always been proud to be a nurse. It is a privilege to be with patients and families during some of the most critical times of their lives. I have always wanted nurses to have safe patient assignments. Some hospitals might benefit from improved staffing ratios but this rigid bill is not the solution. Nurses need to have the ability to use clinical judgement in flexing up AND down.
Susan Stengrevics, RN