Letters to the Editor

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Help CT corporate taxes benefit Granby 

If you or someone you know has a business that pays Connecticut corporate business tax, this letter is for you. The Connecticut Neighborhood Assistance Act (NAA) provides a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for businesses that contribute to approved energy efficiency projects of non-profits. There are three such projects approved for Holcomb Farm in 2023. All you have to do is sign up this month, make the contribution by year-end, and claim the credit when filing your 2023 tax return. 

In 2022, the Friends of Holcomb Farm replaced the CSA barn roof (in preparation for solar), and addressed some energy efficiency needs in the farmhouse, thanks to contributions from State Line Oil, Eversource, and Cigna—all at zero cost to these businesses! Thank you to them and to the state for this great program. 

For 2023, the Friends applied for, and the town approved, projects to further improve energy efficiency at the farmhouse, in the greenhouses and in the CSA barn. All we need now is for businesses to step up and fund the projects—again, thanks to the tax credit, at no net cost! 

It’s easy, feels good and benefits all of us. Contact me or Holcomb Farm (info@holcombfarm.org) and we can walk you through the process. 

Jenny Emery, Volunteer Executive 

Director, Friends of Holcomb Farm 

Book Sale was success! 

I am thrilled to announce that the Friends of Granby Public Libraries’ (FOGPL) 40th annual book sale in July was a huge success, raising approximately $12,500.  

The book sale is by far the Friends’ largest fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds go toward helping fund both Granby libraries. The success of the sale would not be possible without our volunteers, the donation of items, and the hundreds of people who came out every day for the three-day sale. 

Planning and running of the Friends’ book sale is a large undertaking, and would not be possible if it were not for our awesome volunteers, who range from high schoolers and people working full-time, to retirees. We had many new volunteers, along with dedicated familiar faces, help out with everything—from collecting donations, sorting books, setting up the room, to running the actual three-day sale and clean-up. This year there were 842 total volunteer hours utilized for the book sale. 

A big thank you to everyone who donated books, puzzles, games, comics, DVDs, CDs, and records. We really appreciate your donations and holding on to them until we started collecting in late June. While books make up the majority of the sales, many enjoy shopping for other items. Each year we receive unique items that make it a treasure hunt since you never know what you will find. 

We would like to thank our sponsors, who also contribute and support the book sale. Gold Sponsor: Murphy, Laudati, Kiel and Rattigan, LLC. Silver Sponsors: Beman Hardware, Inc., Granby Dental Center, Judy Guarco, Realtor BHHS New England Properties, Salmon Brook Veterinary Hospital. In Kind Service: Paine’s, Inc., Geissler’s, Liquor World, Wine Etc. 

This year, as people were checking out, we asked, “How did you hear about the sale?” The most popular answer was, “We live in town, and we just know about it, and we go every year.” Perhaps, as other patrons mentioned, they may also have seen the signs around town, postings on Facebook, came into the library, are a member of the Friends, seen an ad in the newspaper, or on booksalefinder.com It’s not surprising that two-thirds are from Granby, and the rest are from surrounding towns, although we do get some coming from as far as New Jersey and New York for our paid admission preview sale event on Friday night. 

Lastly, a special shout out to Del Shilkret who was not only president of FOGPL, but also the leader of the Friends’ book sale for many years. After taking it on this year, I can attest that there is a lot of planning that goes into it, and Del did a great job of keeping those many parts well-oiled in the book sale machine. 

On behalf of the Friends, thank you, everyone, for making our 40th annual used book sale a great success. We look forward to next year’s sale. 

Brian Tomasino, FOGPL President 

Embracing Our Agrarian Roots 

Growing up in a rural suburb is a unique and enriching experience that has a significant impact on one’s perspective on life. Nestled outside the bustling cities, rural suburbs offer a tranquil environment where children can explore nature, build lasting friendships, and cultivate a deep connection to their community. My upbringing and perspective delves into the joys, challenges and invaluable life lessons that come with growing up in a rural suburb. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of growing up in a rural suburb is the abundance of nature that surrounds you. From expansive green fields of the farms to meandering streams and rivers and dense forests, every day presents opportunities to immerse oneself in the beauty of the natural world. Children in rural suburbs often spend afternoons climbing trees, chasing fireflies, and playing in the mud, fostering a profound appreciation for the great outdoors. The sights, sounds and smells of a farming community are ingrained in our imagination. 

Living in a rural suburb means being part of a closely-knit community where many people know each other by name. Neighbors become like extended family, always ready to lend a helping hand or celebrate milestones together. This strong sense of community creates an atmosphere of support and security, instilling core values such as empathy, compassion, and unity in the hearts of young minds. 

Unlike city dwellers or urban/suburban kids, children in rural suburbs enjoy the freedom to roam and explore without the constant constraints of traffic and crowds. From bike rides along quiet lanes to discovering hidden treasures in the nearby woods, these childhood adventures foster a sense of independence and curiosity that stays with them throughout their lives. 

While the countryside offers an idyllic backdrop for childhood, growing up in a rural suburb also comes with its share of challenges. Limited access to modern amenities and services can be an obstacle, especially for education and healthcare. Nonetheless, this scarcity often encourages resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. 

Rural suburbs are often steeped in tradition and cultural heritage. From annual fairs and local festivals to age-old customs passed down through generations, these communities celebrate their roots with pride. Growing up in such an environment fosters an appreciation for cultural diversity and a sense of identity, grounding the younger generation with a strong sense of belonging. 

The result is that growing up in a rural suburb is a cherished journey filled with enriching experiences and lifelong memories. The natural beauty, sense of community, and freedom to explore leave an indelible mark on the hearts of those who call these places home. The challenges faced in rural living also contribute to the development of resilience, resourcefulness, and a deep appreciation for the simple joys of life. Whether they stay in their rural haven or venture out into the world, those who grow up in rural suburbs carry with them the essence of their roots, forever shaped by the idyllic environmental tapestry of their childhood. 

Mark Higby 

Lack of Parent Engagement at BOE Meetings 

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the refusal of the Granby Board of Education to engage with parents during public comment at its meetings. As a concerned member of the community, I strongly believe that fostering an open and inclusive dialogue between parents and the board is essential for the betterment of our educational system. 

The voters of Granby have elected the BOE members to provide guidance to the administration to properly educate students without indoctrination or exposure to prevailing social issues over which parents should have influence and approval. 

Public comment sessions in BOE meetings serve as crucial opportunities for parents to voice their opinions, share concerns and contribute to the decision-making process. It is through these interactions that parents can actively participate in shaping the policies and practices that directly impact their children’s education. 

By refusing to engage with parents during public comment, the BOE is effectively silencing the voices of those who have a vested interest in the education of their children. This lack of transparency not only undermines the principles of open governance but also diminishes the trust and confidence that parents have in the board’s ability to address their concerns. 

The excuse given by the board chair for not engaging is that the board cannot discuss any topic not on the agenda according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, FOIA does allow items to be added to the agenda by two-thirds majority vote of the members present. Therefore, if the board chooses to discuss additional matters, it may do so. 

Engaging with parents is not only a matter of courtesy but also an essential aspect of effective governance. Hearing diverse perspectives from parents provides valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of our educational system, enabling the board to make informed decisions that benefit the entire community. 

I ask the Granby Board of Education to reconsider its stance and include a robust and meaningful public comment session during their meetings with no session time limit. By actively engaging with parents, the board can demonstrate their commitment to transparency, collaboration and the best interests of our students. 

Furthermore, I urge fellow community members to voice their concerns and support a productive and inclusive public comment session. Together, we can work toward creating a more transparent and accountable educational environment that promotes the well-being and success of our children. 

It is incumbent upon parents to present their views in a proper and respectful manner. 

Bill Regan