2017-01-05 / Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Flynn’s Record

To the Editor:

Your article ("Flynn's Family Defends Claims," Dec. 22) discussed clarification of the press coverage of Middletown native Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The clarification provided by his siblings on his behalf is a commendable effort. So what does the record actually show?

In relation to Gen. Flynn’s speech at the RNC that is mentioned in the article, a short YouTube video is very helpful and informative (search "Flynn lock her up"). Also on the Internet, a tweet by Lt. Gen. Flynn titled “U decide” promotes fake news about Hillary Clinton. The tweet has been deleted, but is on the Internet via archive, as are several responses to the tweet.

Thanks for your coverage, it made me want to know more.

Judith A. Byrnes
Newport

Be Part of the Process

To the Editor:

Middletown is a successful community by design, not chance. Communities can grow by choice or chance. Abraham Lincoln used to say, “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” We have created a successful future for Middletown by involving our residents, who have assisted in determining and planning our town's future.

As we enter into the budget season, there will be accurate accounts of budget meetings, as well as scuttlebutt buzzing through our community. I know that I speak for my fellow town council colleagues when I say that we are committed to seeing that we maintain a high quality of life for all residents, and that our next generation of Middletowners will be equipped to enter the workforce with the skills that they need to succeed. Our schools are moving in the right direction with the recent passing of the $10 million bond that will repair long overdue infrastructure issues, as well as funding new and current academic agendas.

We will continue to collaborate in a partnership with our School Committee to sustain our educational excellence, social environment, and after-school programs. We will stay united and renew our efforts and support statewide initiatives to address the need for changes in state funding for public education. We are motivated by a common desire to see that our schools are of the best, but we also realize that we must be conscious to the post-recessionary times that our residents are still living in.

Middletown residents will again play a vital role in determining our budget, and my personal proposal will be a reflection of their priorities. Hundreds of residents helped shape last year’s budget by offering their feedback during public hearings. This year will be no different; residents will also be asked to give their input on the budget at several public meetings.

We have a history of working together to shape our future. I ask for your support. Attend budget meetings, express your desires and share your thoughts and concerns with us. Open – honest – civil, civic engagement has always been Middletown’s formula for success.

Robert J. Sylvia, President
Middletown Town Council

Private Coastline Property Not the Taxpayers' Problem

To the Editor:

As previously reported in the news media, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $58 million plus project ($38 million of which is our federal tax money) to lift 341 privately-owned structures to reduce their potential damage from storm surges and sea level rise. These structures are located along 28 miles of coast in Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.

I think this is a total misuse of our federal tax dollars and opens the door to having taxpayers fund protecting vulnerable private structures along the entire seaboard – can you imagine the cost? Protection of private property is the owner's responsibility, not the responsibility of the American taxpayer.

I think our tax dollars would be better used to provide low or no interest loans to owners of vulnerable properties, or to purchase and demolish vulnerable structures to expand the sea barrier.

Money used to help owners finance the US Corps of Engineers' recommended upgrades would create a self-replenishing fund to assist every owner of vulnerable property instead of just the 341 identified in the proposal.

John Drotos
Newport

Confidentiality Maintained

Dear Letter Writers:

A few weeks back we received a very long, passionately written letter in the mail. Judging from the size of the type, it was probably close to 1,000 words, twice the maximum length typically allowed on this page.

The letter referenced articles we had written about Newport becoming a sanctuary city and the recent racial tensions that many are attributing to the November election. At Newport This Week, we welcome dialogue, feedback, and even criticism about our articles.

The letter was not signed and the envelope had no return address, so there was no way to reach out to the originator. I would like to use this space to ask the letter writer to contact us again to talk about the NTW articles.

It is essentially an industry standard that Letters to the Editor or letters to the community at large not be anonymous. The writer feared retaliation for their views. As the owner of the paper, I feel it is unfortunate that anyone would feel that way. I hope to hear from the writer, who can trust in the confidentiality of our conversation.

Lynne Tungett
NTW Publisher

Wrapping for a Cause

To the Editor:

During this season of gratitude and reflection, Norman Bird Sanctuary is thankful for the tremendous support we receive throughout the year from members, volunteers, individual and corporate donors, and local businesses who contribute to the sustainability of this amazing and important 325-acre treasure.

Aquidneck Island is a very special place to live and work. I wish that I could mention every one of the caring individuals and businesses who share their invaluable time and resources. We are grateful to each and every one and simply could not accomplish all that we do without them.

Just before Christmas, as they have for five years, one local business, Patagonia on Thames Street, donated 10 percent of weekend receipts to Norman Bird Sanctuary as part of their Charity Wrapping Weekend program. We enlisted the help of volunteers who wrapped customers’ purchases. Many thanks to Martha Parker, owner of Team One Newport/Patagonia on Thames Street, and Hootie Fogg, manager of Patagonia on Thames Street for this very generous year-end gift. Thanks also to the volunteers who took the time to lend a helping hand during the hectic holiday season.

2017 promises to be an exciting year for Norman Bird Sanctuary. We are proud to be part of such a wonderful and engaged community.

Happy New Year!

Lesley Muir
Director of Special Events
Norman Bird Sanctuary

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