Thanks to YMCA for weathering the storm
To the editor:
On a day when schools were shut down and many businesses closed their operations due to Hurricane Sandy, the Haverhill YMCA maintained its normal business hours even into the late afternoon hours, allowing three fervent racquetball players time to finish their workout.
When news of an earlier shutdown arrived at the court, management waited until the players finished one last game and showering before the door was closed.
The three players were the last to leave the facility, playing the sport they have revered for the past 30 years, only because the dependable facility maintained its vigil through the storm.
Ron Weeks, former Groveland police chief, negotiated two detours to arrive for his match while George Yell spent his day in the open as an employee of the Haverhill Water Department. The game has always been his panacea, even in foul weather, while Haverhill Gazette columnist Tom Vartabedian was recently recognized for his 50 years of membership with the YMCA.
We wish to express our appreciation to the YMCA for bringing a ray of sunshine into our hearts on such a gloomy day.
Tom Vartabedian, Ron Weeks, George Yell
Shame on man who ruined girl’s trick-or-treating
To the editor:
I am absolutely appalled at the way an adult treated my poor 11-year-old daughter while trick or treating on Saturday.
I was out trick-or-treating with my daughter in the Walnut Square area when we arrived at this particular house along with about 15 to 20 other kids and parents. The man on the porch asked my daughter what grade she is in, and she told him she was in the sixth grade. He then asked her a multiplication problem. My daughter froze. I told the man that math was difficult for her and a woman I am assuming was his wife said, “How about a 5 times 5?” My very relieved daughter immediately answered “25.’’ The man, who had a large bag of candy on his lap, reached not into the candy but into a bag he had off to the side and handed my daughter a ruler and a piece of paper with MCAS questions on it. He then explained, not to me or my daughter, but another adult in the vicinity, that that’s what they were doing for “the older kids.’’
I know some people may be sympathetic towards someone discouraging older kids from trick or treating and I’m sure this man thought he was being cute but there is nothing wrong with an 11-year-old girl trick or treating. I don’t think it’s too old at -all. Secondly, my daughter has Asperger’s syndrome and, although she’s made great improvements, she didn’t quite know how to respond to this behavior. She has an IEP at school and math is extremely difficult for her. She comes home from school crying at least once a week because she feels stupid because she didn’t know an answer or because kids made fun of her for not knowing an answer. She got a low MCAS math score and is getting tutored.
I think this man’s behavior was horrible. He embarrassed my daughter horribly in front of a whole group of people. I would almost consider it bullying. Maybe people would defend him by saying, “How was he supposed to know?” When someone invites strangers to their porch, and that’s what you’re doing if you’re handing out Halloween candy, they don’t know who’s going to show up, so you have no right to make assumptions about them.
Either hand out candy or don’t. Picking and choosing who gets candy and who gets a pop quiz is just mean. My family works hard to build my daughter’s self-esteem and he single-handedly set us pretty far back. He took a night that should have been all fun and no stress for her and ruined it. I would have thought an adult would have better behavior.
Lisa McCormick, Haverhill
Everyone should get flu shots
To the editor:
During this time of year, people are storing their summer clothes, unpacking their warmer ones, and heading out to stock up on cold remedies and cough drops. While all of this is happening, a hot topic begins to creep up in doctors’ offices and other healthcare facilities: The flu vaccine.
Everyone should get the flu vaccine. The World Health Organization strongly recommends that elderly people, especially those in nursing homes, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, children ages 6 months to 2 years, and health care workers receive the vaccine. All of these people are at increased risk of not only contracting the influenza virus, but also experiencing complications from it. However, even if a person is healthy, he or she should receive the vaccine to reduce transmission and mortality.
There are several reasons why a person should be vaccinated. The flu is one of the largest infectious killers in the world. About 36,000 Americans die annually from this preventable illness. The other reason is health care costs. The average hospital stay for a diagnosis of influenza is more than $5,000. For Americans looking to save money, the flu vaccine is a better option.
There are many myths out there about the flu vaccine. It is important that Americans become educated about this topic to better protect themselves and the people they care about. The flu vaccine can save lives, money, and time spent being ill.
Kristen Mansell, Haverhill