Forum, July 15: Hanover’s Annual Make-Work Project

Friday, July 14, 2017
Hanover’s Annual Make-Work Job

Markings on West Wheelock Street in Hanover suggest that repaving it is the annual mid-summer make-work project for the public works department. Forget whether it needs it; that’s not the point. As with other departments, it has a role to play in the social dance between the classes, residents and non-. These projects would be laughed at in the towns nonresidents live in, and we act clueless about such practical matters. Our job is to provide whatever shiny new equipment is appropriate to our station in the region, and then drive the Tesla to a farmers market. Non-management for results, sort of Sociology 101 right outside the door.

Dick Mackay


Health Care Terminology 

I have just realized that we are all using the wrong words almost all the time. When we say “health care” we often mean “medical insurance.” Sometimes we mean “medical care.”

Insurance is not medical care, nor is it health care. Medical insurance is a way to pay for medical care.

As a retired medical care provider, I appreciate the importance of medical care, but health care is 90 percent sanitation, housing, eating well, community support and exercise. As I start using the correct words, I find it easier to understand what I read and think.

Amelia Sereen


Shall I Compare Thee to … What?  

The Valley News, through an Associated Press story, reported that the Antarctica iceberg that just broke loose is more than seven times the size of New York City and twice the size of Luxembourg. CBC of Canada said it was twice the size of Prince Edward Island, and CNN said twice the size of Atlanta. The Guardian in the U.K. reports it as one-quarter the size of Wales. The Los Angeles Times compared it with Delaware, or maybe it was Denmark, or some place starting with a “D.”

I've been to both “D” places and Wales, but not Luxembourg. The New York Times used Brunei, but exactly where is that? Comparison with New York City is vague. All five boroughs, or just the one or two that really matter?

So can someone compare the iceberg with New Hampshire? Or any part of New Hampshire, preferably including the Upper Valley, and maybe some of the hills around like Mt. Cardigan or Moose Mountain? Then I'll have a better feel for the iceberg. 

Martin Lubin


Preventing Suicide by Veterans

More than 42,000 deaths by suicide occur in the U.S. each year, and 20 percent of those are veterans.

Of the 20 veterans who die by suicide each day, six are users of the VA. Many veterans who die by suicide are not getting the help they need. We want Vermont and New Hampshire veterans to be aware of the services available to them through the VA and encourage them to enroll in VA care. One suicide is too many.

Combatting veterans’ suicide has been designated as the top priority by VA Secretary David Shulkin. The White River Junction VA hospital has walk-in mental health services six days a week and a 24/7 emergency department. All veterans seen in the White River Junction emergency department are screened for suicide.

An important, free and anonymous resource for veterans or those concerned about them is the Veterans and Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255). Veterans can call or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net or send texts to 838255 for free, confidential support 24/7, even if they are not enrolled in VA health care.

On July 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the White River Junction VA Medical Center will host a community mental health summit focused on suicide prevention. It will feature a range of speakers, including members of the veterans community, community mental health, the VA and the University of Vermont. The summit will also include break-out groups focused on special populations at elevated risk for suicide.

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. If you are interested in joining us at the summit, please contact White River Junction VA Public Affairs Officer Katherine Tang at 802-295-9363 ext. 5880.

Brett Rusch, M.D.

Chief of Staff

White River Junction VA Medical Center