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The Community Lawyer was invited by the editor and publisher of the weekly Winsted Journal to submit a regular opinion/editorial column. The table of contents displays the wide range of topics covered by the Community Lawyer since starting the column in 2008.

Connecting the dots

Fri, 04/05/2013 By Charlene LaVoie An angry citizen at the Water & Sewer Commission meeting last week made a pointed comment. “Where are the checks and balances?” From this question comes the answer to how we got into this financial mess and how to get out of it. Here’s the first dot. The Board of Selectmen acted as the Winsted Water Board for over 130 years. In 1998, a change to the charter shifted the ...

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Examining the effects of Citizen’s United

November 16, 2012 Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie In January 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The case did not expressly designate corporations as individuals as is often reported. Corporations became “people” legally in 1886 as the result of a clerical error – see Thom Hartmann, “Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became ‘People’” (2010). The case also di ...

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Obama Administration To Select and Target Citizens to be Killed

July 13, 2012 Civic Beat Sage Hahn & Sam Reynolds On July 4th, as you lit up your fireworks and sat down for a barbeque with your family, did the legacy of the holiday cross your mind?  July 4th, 1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, instituting a set of rights that we take for granted.  Included in these rights is the basic presumption of innocence until guilt is proven, an ...

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Postal Panic of 2012 Delayed?

Civic Beat June 10, 2012 Sam Reynolds   The fate of the United States Postal Service has taken yet another twist, just one in a series of maneuvers in recent months, as both Congress and the USPS have been trying to address the self-created fiscal crisis. This financial struggle was, and remains, avoidable. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act burdened the USPS with the obligation to 100% ...

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An update on the postal panic of 2012

May 18, 2012 Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie The Senate has acted. On April 25, by a vote of 62-37, the Senate adopted Senate Bill 1789 — the 21st Century Postal Service Act. This legislation addresses many of the issues faced by the U.S. Postal Service, but it is limited in other ways. Highlights of 21st Century Postal Service Act Senate Bill 1789 include: Prevents immediate closing of 252 mail-processing ce ...

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May Day and every day is Law Day

May 4, 2012 The Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie In 1958, the American Bar Association proposed that May 1 be designated as Law Day as the peaceful answer to the traditional May Day military displays in Communist countries, particularly the former Soviet Union. President Dwight Eisenhower agreed and thus, the Law Day tradition was born.  In 1961, a Congressional resolution pronounced Law Day as a way for Ameri ...

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The Postal Panic of 2012?

April 6, 2012 Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie What does 45 cents buy today? Not a cup of coffee, not a pack of gum, not a newspaper. But for 45 cents you can mail a letter to anywhere in the U.S. and be assured that it will reach its destination in one to three days, most letters making it overnight. You also get return service if it cannot be delivered! Every day, letter carriers traverse 4 million miles and ...

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Happy Birthday to the Bill of Rights

December 16, 2011 Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie Dec. 15 marks 220 years from the day the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution, establishing that the rights and voices of “We the People” are the heart of American democracy. On Sept. 17, 1787, the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document they created that combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the Articl ...

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Constitution Day marks the birthday of our government

September 16, 2011 The Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie On Sept. 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 men, representing the colonies. These “brothers” combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the Articles of Confederation, tem ...

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What about the commons?

April 22, 2011 The Civic Beat By Charlene LaVoie Next Thursday, April 28, at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, author and activist David Bollier, the co-founder of the Commons Strategy Group, which advocates the commons as a focus for economics, politics and culture, will talk about “The Theft of Our Common Wealth and the Rising International Commons Movement.” Bollier encourages us to see the wor ...

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