Letters to the Editor March 8
Gov. Tom Wolf on civic engagement
[The letter below was written to River Reporter writer Linda Drollinger by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, dated February 13.]
Thank you so much for taking the time to attend the Cabinet in Your Community Event at Wallenpaupack Area High School. Listening to you and your fellow citizens in your region is the best way for me to understand the complex and challenging issues you each face every day as you strive to build stronger communities and create opportunities.
Civic engagement is a right and privilege of all our citizens. Pennsylvania was founded on the ideals of a government that works for the people it represents, and our state prospered thanks to individuals like you who voiced concerns and shared stories to improve their communities. Your questions and feedback to Physician General and Department of Health Acting Secretary Rachel Levine, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will greatly help as my administration works to improve education, create jobs and make government work better.
Thank you again for being a part of this great event. Northeastern Pennsylvania has long been an area of strength, progress and resolve, and you upheld this tradition through your attendance and participation in this event. To learn more about how I am making a new way forward for Pennsylvania, please feel free to visit www. governor.pa.gov, follow me on Twitter at @Governor TomWolf, or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook. com/governorwolf. Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Together, I believe we can build a stronger Pennsylvania.
Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylania
Live in Tusten?
There is a big problem on a single family residential R1 plot next to you. The planning board could grant a 10-to-one increase of the four-person, single-family model? and crush a slew of other zoning laws, out of context, out of nowhere, without a legacy right or compelling reason?
So, old laws or new, it doesn’t matter, and when you question it, your local government, which you would expect to walk back an obvious miscarriage, turns away and tells you to get a lawyer.
Others have asked the town’s code enforcer about smaller-scale multi-family development on this plot and were told, no, the zoning would not allow it. But for this one local contractor, the Tusten Planning Board leap-frogged over the zoning laws.
Three months of numerous articles in The River Reporter, large turnouts and negative opinions at the public comment sessions of the planning board had no discernible impact on local government. How does a resident, or for that matter a member of the town’s government, engage local government, alerting them to a problem that needs correcting? Vote intelligently and know the rules when you get bullied. Not familiar with any of this? Want to know more? Call 845/252-7400.
An alternative view on mindfulness
I’d like to comment on a My View on mindfulness in the March 1-7 edition, which equates teaching meditation in schools with religious rituals. I have been a practicing physician for 30 years, and have witnessed health in the U.S. get worse and worse as we spend more and more. We spend more on health than any other country, now over $10,000 per person per year, and rank 37th in terms of actual health. Frustrated by the limits of our for-profit health system, I became a certified practitioner of mindbody medicine.
The article says mindfulness is a therapy, and should not be practiced in schools without a doctor’s supervision. It’s true that doctors use mindfulness practice to help their patients. For some conditions, like depression and chronic pain, the primary therapies in 2018 are nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. To object to teaching mindfulness in schools is the same as objecting to physical education and nutrition.
The article says mindfulness is a religion. This takes us back to when people objected to the “religion” called yoga. It seems like we’re always revisiting old confusions. The Olympics began in pagan Greece, so teaching sports in schools could be seen as promoting a pagan religion. Jewish dietary laws in the Old Testament outline what and what not to eat, so teaching nutrition in schools might be seen as promoting religion. Saying that health educators are promoting Buddhism is itself grounded in confusion, as Buddhism, like yoga, is not a religion. The Buddha called himself a “physician of the mind.” He was a wellness teacher, not a god figure.
Mindfulness as practiced today is a modern practice based on evidence regarding the way the mind influences the bodily health. In an age where school children are increasingly obese and suffering from diabetes and even heart disease, our schools are doubly responsible for educating them about health. If you don’t like the term “mindfulness,” pick another. “Awareness” will do. But if you object to this health education in the schools, you need also to object to telling kids to get a good night’s sleep, to exercise and eat good food.
Mike Weddle, MD, PhD
Speak up for our home
he Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is waiting to hear from you with regard to the regulations it eventually finalizes with regard to fracking and ancillary activities in the river basin.
We have the chance (and obligation)—but only through this month—to voice our concern that the Delaware River Basin—our home— be kept clean and neither fracked nor contaminated by the waste from fracking. Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) has detailed points at DamascusCitizens.org expressing the clear science why we and the Delaware River Basin must have a ban of fracking, on the import of fracking waste and the export of our clean water for fracking elsewhere.
We can each submit as many comments as we want, though all have to go through either DRBC’s internet form (dockets.drbc.commentinput.com) or other web arrangements accessible on our website. Alternatively, DCS will enter your comments for you—bring them (with your name, full address and email (if you have one)) to DCS’ office at 25 Main St., Narrowsburg, NY, from 2 to 6 p.m., Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday, phone 845/252-6677, dcs@DamascusCitizens.org.
Also feel free to come to the office to see, take home or use our extensive reference materials at the office to write your comments, or mail to DCS, P.O. Box 147, Milanville, PA 18443 Let’s make a river of comments.
B. Arrindell, Director
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability
Thanks to The Corner, a refuge in the storm
I write this letter in deepest gratitude to Lou and June Monteleone, proprietors of The Corner in Eldred, NY. While the entire town and surrounding areas were completely blacked out, all but one establishment were closed. That one is The Corner. I am so truly grateful they were open. We were out of firewood, and if they hadn’t opened, we would be very cold and hungry—cannot cook on a cold stove. They had a limited menu with a lovely balance to choose from. A wonderful gift, with big smiles. The Monteleones are very caring and dedicated to serving our community unceasingly. Thank you, Lou and June.