By EVELYN "EVIE"
I am writing to comment on an article on April 17, about Laona parade funds. This is not to slam anyone or give criticism to anyone, but state facts so you know where I am coming from with this response.
OBSERVER file photo
Area youngsters — and their families — took part in the Laona Easter egg hunt on April 19.
I am the person being mentioned in the article. You know that song by Jim Croce, "I've Got a Name?" Well, I have a name and I carry it with me like my daddy did. I protect it and defend it. So, about the article.
As for my name, I did not give anyone permission to use my name in this article. I felt like it was being slandered. Some people thought that read it, people that I know, that I was being accused of embezzling funds.
As a Christian, I wouldn't do that. I have a name and people know me as a Christian and I would not do that. For over 25 years, 30 years this year, I believe it to be, I have run along with other Laona community ladies and men at Halloween and Easter events.
Last year in June we had a craft/yard sale event at the playground, for the playground, a fund-raiser. It was to possibly raise money for another baby swing. We charged $10 a spot. We had 10 vendors show up. (We had 17 but some got scared off by threats of rain.) We also raised some of the money through selling refreshments, which might have been $50 if that.
I went to our Parks and Rec Commission meeting in July and I was asked why I didn't ask permission from them to do this. I said I didn't know I had to ask permission from our community. I asked the Town Board in October of 2012, but I didn't hear anything from them so, I gathered it was a go.
I also told them I talked to them about doing it and nothing was said. (We get left in the dust out here.) I told them the amount that we raised. One of our members asked me if I could use the money. I told him yes and we could probably use it for Halloween. He said you keep it or it will go into general funds and you won't see it. He also pointed out to our leader that there was money in the budget and to show me a catalog to pick out a baby swing. No one has showed me a catalogue yet and never brought up the money back into the conversation.
I heard from the town clerk at that time and was told the money raised was on the agenda for the board meeting that week. I said I was going to be there to defend the Laona committee and myself. This meeting was probably in July or the August one. I went with notes in hand, so I would say the right things. I gave them my spiel on many things. I was given the third degree by one of the board members, who I thought was quite rude to me.
1. The money She said, "How do I know that you didn't raise $2,000 and keep some of it?" I told her to take a look around the room, 95 percent of these people know me and know that I wouldn't do that.
2. She accused me of having my own personal key to the playground. Don't think so! I come and get a key just like everyone else.
A few of the questions were ridiculous. This board member talked about the walk-throughs that our commission does for the playgrounds before opening up. She said I didn't show up. My chairperson knew I was not coming. I had good reason for not being there. However, two days before our event was to happen I went to the playground and the door was open because the guys were doing the yard. Town highway Superintendent Dan Bigelow happened to show up and I showed him there was a leak somewhere because there was water on the bathroom floor and the main building area floor. He found the leak and fixed it.
I guess the walk-through did not include opening the building and looking for these things, as I know we have not done at times in the past. They questioned the money and the fund-raiser and the permission to do so, and I said I asked permission in fall of 2012 and never heard a thing. At the same time, they do not know what is going on at half these playgrounds. The town officials have never come out here to see what we do.
They came out the year they wanted votes, with the exception of a couple of the trustees who helped a few times. Nothing was ever asked about the money after that meeting. I have handed in my receipts faithfully for all the years when we have received money from the town. We took in enough from Easter 2013 and with the fund-raiser that I did not have to ask for any money for Halloween 2013. I even wrote a letter to the town telling them this and thanking them for the other years of helping. (I have said thank you many a time.) I didn't think I would have to report to the town money that was not given by the town for our Halloween party and parade. This was donated by the town of Pomfret residents toward the parade and party.
Some of you may have read the article on April 17. The OBSERVER printed what they thought would be a good story from the meeting, to fill up a page. I never was told about my name going to be mentioned and this was going to be the topic of conversation at the meeting. There are quite a few people upset and of course, that includes me. They didn't ask permission to use my name in anything that I knew nothing about.
I have worked hard to earn my good name. All these years I recorded things for my own benefit and handed in receipts and now they need to keep the monies for us. I understand in some ways, but at the same time, 30 years later? If I was keeping the money, would I have been able to keep having the events?
I don't even really live in Laona but I consider myself a "resident" as I have grown up on Route 60 since seventh grade. It is a friendly little place. People concerned for one another and concerned for their playground. I and others take care of it and watch over it. Many people come from other places to play on the equipment and to play basketball. It is a good place!
My thoughts in raising funds each year was so we would not have to ask for so much from the town. Is that not a good thing?
A big thing about this is - this is for the kids! That was my big reason for joining the Parks and Rec many years ago! What is wrong with doing a good thing? I was raised by my mother and father to do good, as I am sure many of you were.
I have a friend who says this quote: You are damned if you do and damned if you don't. That is the way a person could feel right now.
I want to thank Laona for helping with these things all these years, and making it a success. For all the ones who come from the town, village, and from Silver Creek, Dunkirk, Cassadaga, and from out of state to help make it a good time at the egg hunt and Halloween. Thanks to Debbie, Kylie, Trish, Bruce, Glen (who donated 500 eggs) and Gregg, my sons-in-law, for cleaning up the park of branches and trees. A real big thank you to my good friend, Kathy Buckley, once again for helping me make the candy and hiding the eggs.
Again thank you.
Evelyn "Evie" Sievert is a town of Pomfret resident.