Valley News – Forum, June 2: Time for citizens to take back control of Lebanese police
The recent arrest and indictment of Lebanese police lieutenant Richard Smolenski for a criminal harassment offense is alarming (“police lieutenant charged with criminal harassment”, May 8). Smolenski, who has pleaded not guilty, allegedly harassed and threatened a woman using the specter of force and violence – a foul-smelling abuse of power. This man was responsible for leading important operations for the Lebanon Police Department, including as the commander of the tactical team.
This incident calls into question the operations of the Lebanese police which go back several years. What investigations or tactical operations were carried out or influenced by this man who would have so willingly abused his power? How can we be sure that the staff in the department have the best interests of the community at heart when this man has been raised to a leadership position? More importantly, how can we continue to grant such powers to a police force knowing it could easily happen again?
The only way to ensure this is to reduce the scope, size and power of the Lebanese Police Department. In theory, we, the residents, are supposed to have this ability. Unfortunately, under the current system, the current city manager (a former police officer) can negotiate the police service contract in secret, present it to city council for approval, and then use that contract as a club to counter any changes to the police budget that are proposed by residents.
We have yet to see any public statements from the Lebanese Police Department or the City Manager regarding this incident. I’m sure they’re hoping to sweep it under the rug.
It is time for residents to take back control of these public employees, instead of letting the police run the city.
The Friends of the Meriden Library have made a number of commitments to support our small library. While we enjoyed the library and made the most of its small space, we are very excited that it will become a little bigger and more accessible for everyone in the community. We’re about to get our city approved for a new and improved, ADA-compliant, energy-efficient Meriden Library, and we’re thrilled!
It has gone on for many years, with countless volunteer hours and donations making it a reality. Thanks to the generosity of the people of Plainfield and beyond, the estimated budget of $ 1.15 million for the project is now counted in pledges and existing funds. Of course, funding for additional costs will continue and donations are always appreciated.
We think it’s important to share what happened regarding the library’s fundraising. The Friends and the Meriden Library Building Foundation were doing all they could to raise funds for the new library when the pandemic struck. We were hoping the city would approve the library at last year’s town hall meeting, but it was taken off the record due to the pandemic. A large sum of money had been raised – $ 594,000 – but the trustees were going to ask the city to pay the balance from taxpayers’ money. Due to COVID-19, the Trustees are committed to carrying out this project without any additional tax dollars. It might have seemed impossible, but our community came together and raised an additional $ 302,000 in one year. Thank you to everyone who donated to this community cause.
We are a few days away from the city approving the construction of the new library. We hope that the residents of Plainfield will come and vote on Saturday and support this project, which has been a real community effort.
Now more than ever, it is evident how important community spaces are for meeting and supporting each other. Thanks again to everyone who made this dream come true.
The writer is president of Friends of the Meriden Library. This letter was also signed by members Leeli Bonney, Emily Boynton, Shannon Decker, Sarah George, Amy Lappin, Susan Nugent, Caren Saunders and Betsy Underhill.
Marianne and Edward Faulkner chose to reside in Woodstock in 1898. She continued to do so for 60 years, until her death in 1958.
Their generosity is evident from 1904: Practicing Protestants, they finance the reconstruction of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges after a fire. The Catholic shrine still exists today.
After her husband’s death in 1926, Faulkner saved the local golf course with an interest-free loan, and area hospitals received generous funding. Yet she is best known for creating three icons in Woodstock.
In honor of her late husband, Faulkner began building a trail on his property in 1934, crossing the south face of Mount Tom and opened it to the public in 1937, with no entry.
In 1943, she ceded ownership of her mill to the educational company Woodstock Associates Inc. to create the Recreation Center.
In 1953, she established a charitable corporation, The Homestead Inc., then donated the land and building for an assisted living facility.
She has repeatedly chosen the model of nonprofit ownership for the public good.
Today, 84 years later, Faulkner Park and Trail is still cherished. The recreation center has been around for 71 years, The Homestead for 64. Thanks to his will, the three gifts remained intact, without change of owner.
Faulkner’s will says a lot about his generosity, vision, financial sense, and compassion. He set up trusts for the benefit of the Recreation Center and The Homestead and Faulkner Park. Its guidelines state that the park could be owned and managed by a Vermont corporation formed for charitable purposes.
The bank chosen as trustee has changed ownership several times since 1958. The current trustee, JPMorgan Chase, proposes to transfer the ownership of Faulkner Park and Trail and a tiny fraction of the trust capital to the city. This would remove the park as the beneficiary of the trust and end its access to the principal of the trust. Faulkner’s will repeatedly asserts that political beneficiaries like the city are not an option. Its guidelines are clear. The trustee’s proposal is contrary.
WENDY WRIGHT MARRINAN
The writer is a member of the Friends of Faulkner Park.
Israel has been vilified in social media, print and broadcast since the recent conflagration between Arabs and Israelis began. Sadly, bitter anti-Israel criticism has served as a pretext for an increase in incidents of blatant anti-Semitism, the oldest of all hatreds. Aside from the writers who welcomed the coverage of the Middle East conflict to attack, there were those who were rejected for acting on the basis of misconceptions about the conflict. For example, consider the alleged Israeli crime of Palestinian evictions from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Boston Globe Journalist Abdallah Fayyad recently wrote an article that touches our hearts as it tells a story of learning to ride a bicycle on Sheikh Jarrah Street in East Jerusalem where he grew up, the street where he claims he can no longer ride.
The warm, hazy feelings that Fayyad’s childhood memory quickly evokes as he transforms his rite of passage story into a yoke denouncing Israel for all the evils plaguing the Middle East today, including the Israel’s very existence is not the least. It didn’t have to be that way.
While the Palestinian leaders had adopted a number of proposals, starting with the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 followed, among others, by the Oslo Accords (1993), Camp David (1978 and 2000) and the Plan of Olmert’s Peace (2008), this holy land indigenous to Jews and Arabs could today be shared by two independent and sovereign states.
Sadly, the Palestinians encouraged by their otherwise ineffective leadership of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority continue to fight the 1948 War of Independence. In this battle, only the nascent state of Israel, burnt but not destroyed, emerged. .
This is why Fayyad is not able to cycle Sheikh Jarrah today.