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Forum, June 30: A Stranger From Utah; Excess Togetherness


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Excess Togetherness

Has anyone else noticed that modern culture has an obsession with togetherness?

We know Victorians moralized a lot. But I have the impression they moralized about more than one topic: piety, charity, humility and so on. By contrast, when our own literati start giving advice, the prescription is always the same — more unity, inclusion and tolerance. Which are all really the same thing: that is, togetherness.

Now, I’m not against being together. But, like anything else, it’s subject to diminishing returns. At some point, it becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

In private life, people are usually adept at realizing when that point’s been reached — whether it means moving to a new job or saying “no thanks” to a visit from the in-laws. Frequently, the best thing to say is “Let’s just do our own thing.”

Unfortunately, in public life, people seldom bear the costs of the ideas they advocate. That means that lofty rhetoric often wins out over common sense. No wonder, then, that practical but nasty-sounding words like exclusion, separation and exit have largely been excised from our vocabulary.

That’s a shame. In the past, the most common method of settling disputes was also the simplest one — getting away from each other. Like it or not, that option will remain important in the future.

Christopher Hansen

Lebanon

Support for Matt Dunne

I urge Vermont voters to support Matt Dunne for governor in the Democratic primary Aug. 9.

One of the biggest problems facing Vermont is the need for robust economic development to create jobs that will allow our young people to stay here. For this to happen, it is as essential to create broadband links to the national economy as it was to build railroads in the 19th century and interstate highways in the 20th. The era of large manufacturing businesses coming to Vermont is likely over. However, our unique quality of life can attract entrepreneurs who will create new opportunities in economic sectors that we now can only imagine.

Because of his long years working for Google, Matt Dunne has had unique exposure to this new form of communication. He also has been “present at the creation” of many technical innovations that are essential for Vermont’s continued economic growth. For that reason, I hope that Vermont voters will nominate and elect Matt Dunne to the governor’s office.

Charles W. Bohi

White River Junction

Seeking Vermont Senate Seat

I, Randy Gray, am a candidate for the office of state senator for the Windsor County District.

Born, raised and residing in this area all my life, I have seen the area change in negative ways: drugs, lack of job opportunities, high costs of living and taxes, unbearable heath care costs and a declining young population.

We need positive change for Windsor County and Vermont. For far too long we have had too few choices on the ballot.

I am the vice chair of the Springfield Republican Committee. I work full time as an office administrator and salesperson for a successful, growing company.

I am running to improve Vermont’s business outlook by making it more business friendly and affordable. In addition, I am hoping to help solve the growing drug problem with stiffer penalties and better prevention/interventions. I want to work to reduce the high cost of living, wasteful government spending and excessive budgets.

By improving our economy we can solve many issues and give our young generation a reason to stay.

As an educated voter, like many of you I feel I have not been heard, and now is my time to try to make a difference. I will listen to all of you; even though we may not agree on all issues, I will hear your voice.

For more information, see my website: randygray4senate.us, or find me on Facebook.

Randy Gray

North Springfield, Vt.

Tribute to Andy Harvard

This is a follow-up up to Jim Kenyon’s June 12 article on Andy Harvard (“Members of Class of ’71 Urge Dartmouth to Do Right by Stricken Classmate.”)

Recently, about 20 of us — family, classmates and friends — gathered at the Class of ’66 Lodge off Three Mile Road in Hanover to pay tribute to Andy Harvard, a member of the class of ’71. Andy made the rebuilding of this Dartmouth Outing Club facility possible, so we gathered there to honor his life as an adventurer, lawyer, educator, writer and companion.

Four of us spoke on the occasion. Chris Polashenski, a student during Andy’s tenure, talked about how Andy’s exploits on the highest mountains of the world represented a rare ability to fulfill impossible dreams. He spoke of appreciating Andy’s knack for capturing students at their own moments of inspiration, then helping them convert them into reality.

I spoke of our times together over the decades — from our major expeditions in China and Tibet to his service on the board of directors when I was president of Sterling College.

Tom Loucks recalled their undergraduate years, including taking Andy on his first climbing adventure and conspiring to do many hikes and climbs throughout the White Mountains over the next six years.

Andy’s wife, Kathy, who has somehow held the family together for the past eight years, thanked everyone, but mostly challenged us to consider how to join the effort to educate employers about understanding early onset Alzheimer’s and engaging in fair treatment of employees so diagnosed — while on the job or even shortly after “leaving” the job.

Chris Polashenski hand-routed a sign etched in a board from a felled campus elm tree that said it all: “In recognition of Andrew Carson Harvard ’71, Director of Outdoor Programs 2004-08. His vision and mentorship made the construction of the Class of 1966 Lodge a reality.”

Jed Williamson

Hanover

A Stranger From Utah

Our communities and the state of Vermont have come under assault by a wealthy stranger from Utah. He claims to have ties here, but the use of the word stranger is meant in its fullest sense. His bizarre plans for a 20,000-person development are Orwellian.

Participants in the social experiment would be required to give up all assets. Its “sustainable” plan necessitates natural gas, clearly a non-renewable energy source. The stranger knows not our values toward each other or our land. From his words and actions, disrespect for both is loud and clear.

Now is the time to stand tall and determined. Landowners, fear not the high-pressure tactics and reports of land sales. You have the support of your community. Together we can, and will, weather this squall blown in from the West. It will pass as we say yes to maintaining the size, ownership and development patterns of our communities, as we say yes to our democratic system of local governance and control. And yes to our children’s future.

I would wager this year’s potato crop that this hair-brained idea of a city in our hills will not live to have a single permit application submitted. Your land, our land, will be spared the wrath of inappropriate development thanks to our visionary town plans, written by townspeople who spell out in simple language just where and how we want our towns to grow. Thanks also to Act 250, Vermont’s proven legislation that has more than once kept Vermont looking and developing as Vermonters want it to, with independence, strength and unity.

Fear not for our land and our communities. Standing together, we survived Irene and are stronger for it. Saying no this strangeness and yes to communities will again make us stronger. The stranger from Utah has said if Vermont doesn’t want it, he won’t build it. Let’s stand together and tell him no thanks. Let your selectboard, planning commission and legislators know this is wrong for Vermont.

Michael Sacca

Tunbridge