Letters to the Editor — October 2023

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Thank you, Granby Ambulance Association

When we moved to Granby in the 1970s, I joined the Granby Ambulance Association (GAA) as a volunteer. The ambulance was an old Cadillac hearse-like station wagon and I completed a Red Cross program to qualify and later took an Emergency Medical Technician course. Our primary goal was to transport people to the hospital of their choice while performing basic emergency care and stabilization. I was proud to be a small part of a great service to Granby.

Never did I consider I would ever need help from the GAA. Last month I had a heart attack at home. Initially we went to Urgent Care and they soon called GAA. The ambulance arrived quickly, I was evaluated and found myself on a cot in the ambulance. While en route to Hartford Hospital, the EMTs gave me an EKG, a nitroglycerine, and forwarded my status to the hospital. The hospital had its heart attack team at the door and within a half hour, the blockage was removed and a stent was in place. Two days later I came home feeling fine and profoundly thankful.

Believe me this is not the GAA of my volunteer days and I most certainly appreciate its professional and technical advances and the incredible commitment to service it provides to Granby and surrounding communities.  If my experience has taught me one thing, it is this: donate to the GAA’s fundraising efforts during its next drive. It’s a service I hope you never need, but truly a lifesaving one if you do.

Thank you, GAA and Hartford Hospital, for saving my life.

Harry R. Jones

Social Security Concerns

I attended Representative John Larson’s talk on where we stand with Social Security benefits. I had not realized that there are members of Congress who want to raise the age to receive Social Security benefits and cut those benefits, as well. Larson has a bill that will address the deficiencies of Social Security and move us into the 21st century, without compromising what we already have.

His bill, “Social Security 2100” would increase benefits by two percent on average for all beneficiaries for the first time in 52 years. It would improve the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) to correctly reflect inflation. It would cut taxes for middle income beneficiaries. Public service workers would no longer be penalized. The starting age to receive benefits would not change. Student benefits would be restored to age 26. Caregiver credits would increase. And here’s the best part: these and other improvements would all be paid for by raising the income ceiling (the point when your income is so high, you do not pay any higher amounts). That will affect only those making more than $400,000 per year (the top 0.6 percent of our entire population).

Representative Larson pointed out that most Social Security recipients spend their benefits locally, thus strengthening our local businesses and contributing to the economic health of our communities. He reminded us of something we tend to lose sight of—Social Security is the insurance policy we paid into all our working lives; it is not a “free handout” nor “welfare.” It is pay back on our insurance policy, just like any other. And it has never missed a payment.

Our country cannot function effectively if our fellow citizens are living in poverty. For half of all seniors, Social Security provides the major part of their income, keeps 9 million women out of poverty, gives benefits to 8 million veterans, and the list goes on.

A similar bill to Representative Larson’s will come up for a vote in the Senate after the new year and then it must make its way to the House. Let’s keep an eye on its progress—for all our sakes.

Josi Klein

Support for Logan

I write this letter to encourage you to consider voting for Monica Logan for the Granby Board of Education. She did not grow up in Granby, so she may be an unknown to many of us who have been here for many years. I first met her as one of the primary movers to bring a group of citizens together to form Granby Racial Reconciliation (GRR), which has brought several educational opportunities to Granby: book studies, movies, Conversations in the Park, as well as the annual Juneteenth Celebration.

I served with her on the Education Subcommittee of GRR which has met with the superintendent and assistant superintendent monthly to discuss ways in which we might be supportive to the school system. She proved to be an eminent listener, thoughtful and reasonable in her responses. In this time when there are rigid ideologues on both the right and the left, she seeks practical solutions discovered by listening to all voices, from the shouts to the whispers.

Her experience serving Granby is already apparent. She has worked on the BOE for two years as a member of the finance subcommittee. She is also the board of ed liaison for the Granby Equity Team and was recently elected secretary of the BOE. She is part of the negotiation team for the teacher’s new contract and was part of the team that successfully negotiated the custodian contracts last year. She has a personal interest in our school system as her boys are in third and fourth grade at Wells Road Elementary School.

A vote for Ms. Logan is a vote for creative thinking and compassionate conversation toward the goals of excellence and equity in Granby Public Schools.

Denny Moon

It is my pleasure to ask you to re-elect Monica Logan to the Board of Education on Nov. 7. During her tenure, Monica has been an advocate for parents and students and a needed voice of reason during critical conversations. Throughout her tenure, she has served on the Finance Subcommittee, participated in union contract negotiations, acted as liaison to the Granby Equity Team, and additionally currently serves as board secretary. Clearly, her professional skills as an attorney and negotiator are highly valued.

As the mom of two boys, Monica has first-hand experience of the strengths and challenges in Granby Public Schools. She is deeply committed to public education and strongly believes in creating a welcoming school climate in order to not only improve students’ mental health and interactions but also to boost their academic achievement.

Re-electing Monica Logan to the Board of Education is a win for our schools and our community. Please vote for Monica on Nov. 7.

Kim Becker

You may not know the name Monica Logan, but if you want to make sure your vote in the upcoming municipal elections makes a positive impact on our town, please join me in supporting Monica Logan for our Board of Education.

Monica was appointed to the BOE two years ago and in a short time has already made her mark: she serves on the BOE Finance Committee and the Granby Equity Team and is active in BOE contract negotiations. Her 20-year legal career includes extensive experience in complex dispute resolution. Her work on our behalf is also personal, as she has kids in Granby’s public schools.

As a 10-year veteran of Granby’s BOE—now serving on the Board of Finance—I can attest to the important and complex issues that our volunteer-elected officials deal with. Post-Covid, and in the current environment, the complexity has certainly increased. As a taxpayer, I am grateful that people like Monica Logan are working to ensure the most efficient and effective public education resources are available to all of Granby’s residents. Finding the right balance between funding quality education while managing the tax burden is a challenge we must embrace, and Monica Logan has and will continue to help us do so. Please join me in voting to keep her on the Board of Education.

Jenny Emery

Support for Lombardo

I am writing in support of Heather Lombardo for the Granby Board of Education. As Granby Public Schools face change and uncertainty, the board needs a balanced approach to navigate through. Heather’s history with our community exceptionally demonstrates these skills.

First, taking a data-centric approach but tempering with empathy. Running a team of journalists at EPSN for over 22 years has honed these skills. In sports, statistics measure performance and often determine the outcome, but we care because of the context and story. Bringing this to Granby Public Schools, citizens need the data, but also the “why”—especially when segmented achievement score statistics are not as generally understood as field goal percentage.

Which leads to doing and listening. Heather’s performance as chair of the Granby Agricultural Commission is exemplary. While we have quite a diverse group of farmers in town, there are no “red farms” or “blue farms” on the Ag Commission, only Granby Farms. By both acting (e.g., the continued success of Open Farm Day) and listening to their common needs (e.g., staffing, taxes) the Ag Commission keeps our farm community viable and at the center of Granby’s culture.

Finally, embracing conflict then forging team consensus is where it all comes together. Heather knows professional debate is a tool to build the very best ideas. It’s accomplished by knowing the facts, listening to people’s points of view, understanding those perspectives in context, and finally arriving at a decision to do. It’s about everyone on the team committing to the common outcome—whether meeting a production deadline, advocating for our farmers, or, in her new role, elevating our public school system to be the envy of the state—with property values to prove it.

Please vote for Heather Lombardo on Nov. 7.

Chris Becker

As the mother of a first grader here in town, as someone with many teachers in her family, and as someone who believes that a strong school system contributes to the strength of the town itself, the long-term growth and success of the Granby school system is very important to me. This is why I am writing to enthusiastically support Heather Lombardo for Granby’s Board of Education.

A Board of Education (BOE) with a more balanced representation of our town is better for our schools and our students, and the current make-up of five Republicans and two Democrats simply does not accurately represent our town. We need a more balanced BOE so it is able to work fairly and responsibly to represent the perspectives of all parents and students in town.

I’ve personally known Heather for many years through our shared passion for horses, and two years ago I joined the Granby Agricultural Commission, of which Heather is chairperson. No matter the project or the situation, Heather always brings level-headedness, professionalism, and a drive for excellence to her work. She is a natural leader, a thoughtful and objective listener, a person who cares about people and our town, and she is a person who will advocate for our students and our schools. Heather can bring the perspective and balance we need to our Board of Education.

Heather’s professional experience of over two decades in television and multimedia comes through in her clear communication skills, how she inspires people to work together in such an organized and effective way, and how her approach is consistently positive and solution oriented. This can already be seen in town through her work on the Agricultural Commission, through her leadership in organizing Granby Open Farm Day, and in how she stands up in support of our farmers.

When I heard Heather was running for BOE, I was eager to support because I know she cares deeply about ensuring all parent and student voices are represented in Granby, and I know she has the drive and the skills to advocate for our schools and our students.

Please join me in voting for Heather Lombardo, along with Monica Logan and Liz Barlow for Board of Education on Nov. 7 for a more fairly balanced Board of Education.

Sara Esthus

Support for Barlow

It is with great pleasure that I write this endorsement for Democratic candidate Liz Barlow for a seat on the Granby Board of Education.

I have known Liz for more than 10 years and consider myself fortunate to call her a friend. Liz is thoughtful, kind, compassionate and cares deeply about this town. As a mom of three children currently enrolled in our school system, she is deeply invested in the quality of education they, and all other children in Granby, receive. 

She understands the importance of attracting and retaining high-quality, skilled faculty; of ensuring that our schools are welcoming, inclusive, and able to meet our students where they are while simultaneously challenging them to grow; and of creating a community where parents, teachers and administrators alike can communicate respectfully and partner effectively to help our children succeed. Furthermore, Liz’s background as a licensed social worker gives her a unique perspective into the social/emotional/behavioral and mental health challenges our student and teacher populations face. Having worked in a school setting for almost a decade, Liz has seen first-hand both the successes and failures of public education on these and other fronts. She will bring this insight to her position on the Board of Ed and work diligently to improve and strengthen our Granby schools.

In these uncertain times we need committed individuals who are willing to lead our school community with reason, courage and conviction. Liz is one of those individuals. I hope you will consider joining me and supporting her candidacy for the Board of Education.

Corrine DelGallo

Support for Gilton

I am writing in support of Kristina Gilton’s re-election to the BOE. Kristina’s experience and knowledge of school matters is exactly what our town needs to keep our students’ needs a priority so that they can achieve and succeed in life.

I have known Kristina for 19 years and she has always been a strong advocate for education. She has volunteered in our schools from Kearns through high school. She was active in the PTO, culminating in her role as president in 2012-13. During that time, I had the privilege of serving on one of her boards and appreciated her leadership. When her children reached high school, she supported Granby Boosters and has been an advocate for the sports teams her children participated in.

Her work with the Granby Education Foundation and the GranBee gave her an opportunity to see first-hand some of the needs within our schools, and what a difference the right support and content can make. She also has experience in another school district and knows what students need and what student success looks like. Her broad experience in the Granby schools means she knows first-hand the opportunities and challenges of our school system.

Kristina is a strong advocate for our students and I hope you will join me in November in supporting Kristina Gilton for re-election to the BOE.

Beth Nichols

Support for Guarco

It is with great pleasure that I endorse Michael B. Guarco, Jr., for reelection to the Board of Finance.

Over the many years Mike has chaired that board he has shown a deep understanding of the town’s finances. He is always looking at the needs five to ten years in the future so that the mill rate can avoid major fluctuations.

Mike has gained the trust of both the operating boards (Selectmen and Education) for a long time because he listens to their needs and communicates with them. He also keeps the townspeople up to date with his frequent articles in the Drummer.

Born and raised in Granby, Mike is always working for the best interests of the town. Granby is fortunate to have him in this position.

John B. Flint

Support for Guarco and Kennedy

I’m writing to endorse Mike Guarco Jr. and Bill Kennedy for the Board of Finance. Mike has been on the BOF for more than four decades and Bill, in addition to his involvement on various committees in Granby, has served on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance for many years. Their contributions have served to make Granby a better place. Their financial acumen has enabled Granby to make significant improvements to the school system, DPW and infrastructure, and at the same time consider the tax impact to the citizens. While I no longer live in town, I speak with Mike and Bill periodically to see how Granby is doing. I am extremely pleased to see that Granby continues to grow and prosper. I urge you to support these individuals.

Bob Verrengia,
Former First Selectman
Brewster, Ma.