What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 2 days ago
More in Letters
from the editor's desk ...
As a resident of Norway, I had the opportunity to sit through the Norway Town Meeting Monday evening. There were only 70 or so residents in attendance – out of some 4,500 residents of the Town of Norway. Obviously apathy is alive and well here in Norway.
Of the 44 articles to the Town Meeting Warrant being voted on, all were passed by majority – a testament to the trust residents have in Town Manager David Holt and their faith in the obvious due diligence done by the Board of Selectmen and budget committee.
A few articles spurred minor clarifying questions. One non-resident, non-voting taxpayer felt it necessary to question a few of the articles in what appeared to be more of an opportunity to hear himself speak and, perhaps, impress others.
Until Article 28.
For those of you who are not residents and do not know what Article 28 is, and for those of you who are residents but didn't bother to attend; Article 28 authorizes the town to spend money on General Assistance. Last year $85,000 was approved by residents. This year the amount has increased to $110,000.
When presented to the floor for questions or comments the gates of vitriol opened. Although the number commenting was small, the disdain for people on general assistance was clear. And although the questions and comments were supposed to be specifically about the article, they deviated and digressed to code enforcement issues, questions and comments about landlords, how the money was given, what could be done to force "them" all to work, and so on and so forth.
But when the non-resident, non-voting taxpayer gentleman stood up and began reading, from his yellow pad, what was clearly a prepared speech taking to task "the 15 or so people" he saw "loitering on Whitman Street" ... when honest [implied] folks were working ... well that was beyond the pale.
We are all a part of society and we must take care of our own. Every nation, state, city, town has those less fortunate. People find themselves in need of help for myriad reasons. And, yes, there are those who abuse the system. There always have been and always will be. Just as there are those who ignore traffic laws, ignore parking rules, litter, cheat on their taxes, or flat out steal. People who are not on general assistance.
"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty." — Mother Teresa
I had the honor of meeting one lovely woman and her little boy – on general assistance here in Norway – one day in the pouring rain. They came to help with the annual Art Gouin Town Cleanup. They didn't have to be there. In fact, most of Norway didn't come out – it was a miserable day. Yet there they were, with their plastic bags, a smile on their faces and, yes, their general assistance voucher.
They came back an hour or so later, soaked to the skin, smiles still on their faces and turned in a couple of bags full of rubbish collected from the streets of town. Rubbish that those aforementioned folks threw on the streets.
And last night there was much comment about the young man who weeded all the curbs in town.
The "community service" these folks on general assistance get to do is not glamorous. It could be considered demeaning by some. Yet these folks are willing to pay back the help they receive, with smiles on their faces.
So instead of being contemptuous of those receiving it and critical of those giving it, perhaps energy could be better spent coming up with a way to help these folks get back on their feet.
Because, my friends, tomorrow it could be you... .