Ashland mayor to send condolence letter to Newtown

Mayor John Stromberg will send a condolence letter on Ashland's behalf to Newtown, Conn., as the nation continues to mourn the Friday school shooting there that left 20 children and six adults dead, as well as the shooter.

Stromberg said this week that he will draft the letter and give city councilors a chance to sign it if they wish before sending it.

Stromberg also volunteered to serve as the collecting point for ideas from Ashlanders who want to help Newtown and honor the victims.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse said he would like to see the letter emphasize the human-to-human connection between the people of Newtown and Ashland.

Lemhouse said he doesn't want anything political in the letter and was sickened by how some people in the country began politicizing the tragedy almost immediately.

Councilor Carol Voisin, on the other hand, said recent mass shootings in America are a call to action.

She said she supports efforts to ban assault weapons and long ammunition clips, and wants to see more rigorous background checks on people who want to buy guns.

Students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who was armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a Bushmaster rifle similar to the military's M-16 rifle.

Lanza's mother, a teacher who was apparently killed by her son at home with a .22-caliber rifle, owned the guns that he used. Lanza had a troubled history, the Associated Press reported.

Voisin said the nation must also do more to address mental illness.

Councilor Dennis Slattery said perhaps Ashland shouldn't send a condolence letter or do anything else that would help local residents feel a little better.

"Maybe we should let this one be raw for a while," he said. "People do these things and it makes them feel a little better. Maybe we shouldn't feel better."

Slattery said if Ashland does do anything, perhaps it should be something long-lasting, such as planting 26 trees in memory of the victims.

People with ideas to help Newtown or to honor the victims can reach Stromberg through his Ashland City Hall number at 541-552-2104 or email him at

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Parent Teacher Student Association is accepting monetary donations indefinitely for Newtown and hand-cut paper snowflakes until Jan. 12, 2013.

The snowflakes will be used to transform school into a winter wonderland for Sandy Hook Elementary School students, who will resume classes in a different building, the National Parent Teacher Association said on Monday.

Donations and snowflakes can be sent to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514.

For more information or to make an online donation, visit

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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