Forum for Feb. 8, 2024: Mourning a man and a business

Published: 02-09-2024 4:22 PM

Mourning a man and a business

Mike Zack died on Feb. 2 and in losing him we also mourn the end of an institution. This requires us to take notice.

Mike was the remaining brother who founded Northern Motorsports, a repair shop that cared for the humblest of cars right up to the most luxurious and collectible.

Michael and Jeffrey Zack brought extraordinary automobile expertise to the Upper Valley. More than that they created a community, a family of people who knew that the Zack brothers offered superb care, personal attention to detail and expertise. No garage was populated by more talented mechanics who were also great characters and who loved a customer’s car as much as the owner did. And they had the cleanest and most professional work bays in the Upper Valley.

Then there was the waiting room, lumpy sofa and all, where one might meet the most fascinating people — locally famous as well as those of us who were not local celebrities. The common element was we were all Zackophiles! We absolutely adored the Zack brothers and everyone who worked there.

When Rick Gobeille, Northern Motorsports’ service manager, died there was great sadness. When Jeffrey Zack lost his long battle there seemed much less happy air to breathe at Northern Motorsports. Once Mike chose to close the business after Jeffrey died, our little community crumbled with the collective grief — no more Zack gatherings on the lumpy sofa. One could still call Mike, and drop by the garage. Now Mike is gone.

I am in Florida and only heard of his passing from another Zackophile who reached out before I had read the Valley News online. All I could do was cry and lament that a great and mighty man was gone from my life — and that a warm, excellent and caring institution has truly left a void in our Upper Valley world.

Zackophiles should rev our engines and raise a glass to Mike, Jeffrey and the guys, who gave us so much over so many years. Gone, but never forgotten.

Karen R. Blum

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Working people
are priced out

I have come to the conclusion just how out of touch some of our local selectboards and school boards have become.

Woodstock wants a $99 million castle due to lack of maintenance over the years. Hartford wants a $21 million nest egg for what might happen in the future. Both of these pipe dreams are beyond the abilities of local working class Vermonters. On the front page, you have a group out searching for homeless folks (“A point-in-time picture,” Jan. 27), three quarters of the page, and along with that article under another heading , you have a group doing their best to add to that group.

To add $2,000 to a $300,000 house tax bill on the school side and a 7% increase on the town side in one year is insanity, and beyond when the average house value has risen above that number due to all the trustfunders and momma-and-daddy’s bank accounts from out of touch home buyers My education taxes went up $1,200 last year, and due to a failed Democratic-controlled state they are due to exceeded that this year.

Plain and simple, you are overpromising benefits that are out of control, adding positions that are not needed to pacify a small group of transients and you are screwing the folks that grew up here and work for a living.

I will vote no in Hartford and would vote no in Woodstock. Get rid of the tax-and-spend Democrats that destroyed our education funding system and start over. No more pork barrel benefits, municipal employees and school employees will get the same benefits as the average citizen in their towns, period. The time has come to rein in the ignorance once and for all and start operating within your means.

Douglas Tuthill

West Hartford