Letters to the Editor

Letters: Annual Strawberry Festival was a success; Thoughtful action needed on broadband access

Annual Strawberry Festival was a success

On behalf of the Lemont Village Association, and Granary Committee, I would like to thank the Centre Daily Times, the Gazette and other media in Centre County for excellent coverage of our 38th Annual Strawberry Festival. Thanks to the excellent publicity, we had a crowd of over 800 strawberry lovers who enjoyed a beautiful afternoon, consuming 192 quarts of strawberries, 50 cakes, and 42 gallons of delicious Meyer Dairy ice cream. The event will help fund the lighting in our new band pavilion that was recently built by Envinity, Inc.

Too many helped to name, but thank you to 15 people who washed and hulled strawberries from Mark Kurtz’s Belleville farm. Forty provided cakes, and many more helped to set up and clean up, and served refreshments. We had a “waste free” event, composting 13 large bags. Weis Market, Hills Plaza, subsidized the supplies and the Art Alliance organized art activities for children. Over 100 children rode ponies by High Horse Farm Pottery, Amy Rominic, owner, and volunteers. College Township officials and State College police also helped, and neighbors were tolerant of traffic.

Music was provided, with payment in dessert, by Group Therapy and RamaLama, and for the eighth year, “speeder” rides and “pumper” rides were provided on the railroad tracks by volunteers from the Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society.

Summer fun on the Village Green continues with free concerts every Friday evening, 7:30-9 p.m. Please bring your own chair or blanket. Check our website for details, www.lemontvillage.org.

Susan F. Smith, Lemont. The author is the chairwoman of the Lemont Village Association.

Thoughtful action needed on broadband access

It is disheartening to read about the lack of broadband access in rural areas, and what it means for the people living there. African subsistence farmers can get on the internet and find about markets, and prices, and useful information — they can get a veterinarian to give them advice about their herds — they can take photos of plants that are not doing well, and have an answer in minutes on what to do about it. Our farmers, in the richest country on earth, cannot do it.

What it means for the education of their children is alarming. There are enough complaints about substandard education because of lack of funding in poor areas. We are discovering another source of substandard education — that no matter how much money you put in the school, students will be unable to study or do homework.

One would think that our legislators would do something about it. Alas, they did. They passed a law that prohibits municipalities from offering their own broadband access, because “free market,” “competition,” “government interference.” And because of campaign contributions. I hope that the farmers remember that these people, no matter what their words, no matter how much they seem to agree on many things, do not have their constituent’s best interest at heart.

And kudos to Centre County commissioners Mark Higgins and Michael Pipe for finding a way around to bring that much needed tool for business and education.

Adriana Ines Pena, State College

Solar decision shows priorities are in order

On June 5, Chris Exarchos wrote a letter stating his disagreement with the Centre County Board of Commissioners for approving a $1.6 million contract to install solar panels at the county correctional facility, stating that the allocated money could have been used to help individuals with mental illness stay out of jail. I disagree.

As the wise theologian/geologian Thomas Berry once said, “We cannot have well humans on a sick planet. ... Human health is derivative. Planetary health is primary. Apart from the well being of the earth no subordinate life system can survive.”

Therefore Mr. Exarchos, I deeply and sincerely believe that Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins do indeed have their priorities in order, and thankfully so. They realize that the earth is primary and everything else is derivative, including humans and if we don’t protect and care for the only home we have we are doomed. Solar panels are a small but important step toward caring for our Mother Earth but still, I am grateful for their forward thinking and action.

Betsy Green, Spring Mills