Changes will have lasting effects, for better or worse

There are times for all communities that are tipping points, when some centers that shape their residents’ lives in profound ways change or are at such dramatic risk that there is no turning back to what once was. We’ve all seen or know about such places. But it’s not always obvious to us when it’s our community, and we’re in the middle of such change, is it?

Looking at the pages of this newspaper over the past months, of course the most obvious changes that directly affected individuals and institutions came as a result of repercussions from dealing with COVID-19. Worldwide pandemics do have a way of turning things upside down and leaving it to humanity to find a way to right them.

Many rose to the challenge, from first responders and all medical staff to educators to grocery store staff to news reporters. But dealing with the crisis of the moment cannot alleviate the need to address longer-term problems. While Sharon Hospital was a center of help and courage throughout the worst days so far of the pandemic, the long-term issue of needing to increase revenues there could not be avoided.

So we are now at that crisis point of losing key services, especially labor and delivery, the Birthing Suites. The nurses and staff there wrote so eloquently about their work and commitment to their patients in last week’s letters to the editor. And, the rally to support them on Nov. 6 organized by the group Save Sharon Hospital drew around 400 people who feel strongly this department needs to remain for the health and for the vibrancy of the community.

It’s one of the most personal connections any young family can have to a hospital: giving birth to their children there. Those who attended the rally in support of keeping maternity going at the hospital surely had strongly felt connections there, but also understood the importance of having the resource here for new families to create their own new connections.

Hospitals are centers of emotionally fraught times as well, where we and our loved ones go for critical care and may face the end of life. Life and death. Doesn’t get much more serious.

Which explains why so many of us feel the proposed changes at the hospital so deeply. They could surely have a lasting effect on the way our communities look going forward. Will the private schools, for instance, be able to attract young families to live here if the closest birthing center is more than 30 to 40 minutes away?

As state Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) said at a meeting of area town officials on Nov. 5, the state Office of Health Strategy still needs to approve the plans Nuvance has for Sharon Hospital. How will that office decide to handle Nuvance’s requests? One thing we know for sure is that they will want public input, so if you feel strongly about the changes being proposed for the hospital, let the Office of Health Strategy, and Horn and state Sen. Craig Miner (R-30), know your opinions. They are the ones who will be able to influence the outcome of Nuvance’s strategy the most. Their decision will make a real difference to the health of the residents of the region, as well as the health of the communities served by the hospital.



Latest News

Robert J. Pallone

NORFOLK — Robert J. Pallone, 69, of Perkins St. passed away April 12, 2024, at St. Vincent Medical Center. He was a loving, eccentric CPA. He was kind and compassionate. If you ever needed anything, Bob would be right there. He touched many lives and even saved one.

Bob was born Feb. 5, 1955 in Torrington, the son of the late Joesph and Elizabeth Pallone.

Keep ReadingShow less
The artistic life of Joelle Sander

"Flowers" by the late artist and writer Joelle Sander.

Cornwall Library

The Cornwall Library unveiled its latest art exhibition, “Live It Up!,” showcasing the work of the late West Cornwall resident Joelle Sander on Saturday, April 13. The twenty works on canvas on display were curated in partnership with the library with the help of her son, Jason Sander, from the collection of paintings she left behind to him. Clearly enamored with nature in all its seasons, Sander, who split time between her home in New York City and her country house in Litchfield County, took inspiration from the distinctive white bark trunks of the area’s many birch trees, the swirling snow of Connecticut’s wintery woods, and even the scenic view of the Audubon in Sharon. The sole painting to depict fauna is a melancholy near-abstract outline of a cow, rootless in a miasma haze of plum and Persian blue paint. Her most prominently displayed painting, “Flowers,” effectively builds up layers of paint so that her flurry of petals takes on a three-dimensional texture in their rough application, reminiscent of another Cornwall artist, Don Bracken.

Keep ReadingShow less
A Seder to savor in Sheffield

Rabbi Zach Fredman

Zivar Amrami

On April 23, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield will host “Feast of Mystics,” a Passover Seder that promises to provide ecstasy for the senses.

“’The Feast of Mystics’ was a title we used for events back when I was running The New Shul,” said Rabbi Zach Fredman of his time at the independent creative community in the West Village in New York City.

Keep ReadingShow less