Forum, March 18: Lebanon Police and Social Media

Friday, March 17, 2017
The Police and Social Media

The Lebanon Police Department maintains a Facebook page. It’s an interesting site with many positive things posted, but I would question the wisdom of posting information about arrests while investigations are still ongoing.

For example, the site now features the cut-up face of a well-respected local businessman who was kicked or pushed in the back and jettisoned through a glass door. This Facebook entry calls the person who kicked or pushed this man through the glass door a “victim” who had several teeth knocked out as a result of an assault.

There is no mention in the Facebook entry that the person who was arrested told police that “the victim” threw the first punch before he delivered a defensive punch in return. Neither is there mention of how the local businessman got all those cuts on his face.

Wouldn’t it be smarter for the police to wait until their investigation is done before posting things like this on a social media site? To do otherwise can mislead the public as to the identity of the true victim.

Peter Decato


The writer, a Lebanon lawyer, is representing a person in the case.

The Trump Cult

Recently I listened to the hour-long National Public Radio program On Point with Tom Ashbrook, which featured a three-person panel of Trump supporters from several states and a Reuters reporter who has followed the Trump campaign from the beginning. I wonder how many Trump voters would listen to even five minutes of alternative views or what right-wing radio station would air an hour-long program of Democrats’ views.

I was very disturbed by the cult-follower mentality of the panelists and other Trump supporters calling in: complete unquestioning, uncritical belief in — faith in — Trump as infallible; that is, completely right in everything he says and does and incapable of wrong. They excuse away any contradictions to their beliefs — even blatant lies by Trump — and denounce any alternate viewpoints as completely biased even when presented with no evidence supporting such claims.

They are as deluded as all cult followers are: the followers of Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Osama bin Laden or the preachers of ISIS, for example.

I wonder what delusions the Trump cult followers will tell themselves when their preacher-con-man’s presidency implodes with corruption and lies and he and his inner circle and family slink back to revoltingly lavish lairs.

Alice Morrison

Newbury, Vt.

Thanks, Lebanon, for Support

My colleagues and I applaud the decision of the Lebanon City Council to support the Good Neighbor Health Clinic and Red Logan Dental Clinic in the human services budget this year. Together, the clinics provide dental care and primary medical care at no cost to those in need from Lebanon and other nearby Upper Valley communities.

 Good Neighbor Health Clinics serve people from our communities every day. The tireless efforts of our many volunteers, along with generous support from communities, organizations and individuals in the region, allow the clinics to keep our doors open and continue to positively affect the health of our community.

One recent example involves a man who came to the Red Logan Dental Clinic in severe pain. Dental externs from the University of New England — under the supervision of volunteer dentists — performed extractions and fitted the man for new dentures, all of which he received at no cost to him. He left the clinic with a new smile —pain free!

The Lebanon city grant covered the cost of his dental supplies, and will do the same for nearly 150 Lebanon residents who visit the dental clinic each year. A Hypertherm HOPE Foundation grant funded the cost of his dentures, and again, will do so for many others in need.  Indeed, it takes a village to care for members of our community who would otherwise go without essential dental and medical care. The Good Neighbor Health Clinics are grateful and honored to be able to count on our good neighbors in the city of Lebanon for this support.

Laura Fineberg

On behalf of the board of trustees,

Good Neighbor Health Clinics

White River Junction

Girls Need Hockey, Too

Thank you to the Valley News for the Feb. 26 article about the challenges and benefits of youth ice hockey. Girls who play hockey experience additional challenges and benefits that are worth acknowledging.

In most sports, boys and girls play on separate teams beginning at very young ages because of real physical, emotional and social differences. In some youth hockey organizations, girls who want to play must join predominantly boys’ lineups. Past the introductory level, many girls will quit hockey if there is not an all-girl option available.

During the economic downturn, the numbers of girls involved in youth hockey in many communities declined. As a result, programs such as the Lebanon-Stevens girls’ hockey team currently are faced with extremely low numbers.

Hockey is a terrific sport for girls. It emphasizes strength, speed and assertiveness, and can be a wonderful antidote to problematic societal messages about women. The Twin Valley Flyers Youth Hockey Association has had distinct girls hockey programming for years and has been the main feeder organization for the Lebanon–Stevens girls team. Twin Valley offers reduced fees for girls who might not otherwise be able to play. However, its girls program is struggling to obtain sufficient ice times at hours appropriate for young children and to maintain enough community funding to keep participation affordable. Here are some steps our community can take to support girls hockey:

 Ask your local recreation department if it is providing financial support to youth hockey. If it is, ask whether the organization it supports has meaningful girls programming.

Encourage youth hockey organizations to work cooperatively to make sure that every girl in our community who wants to be involved has a reasonable pathway to play.

Inform athletic directors/gym teachers at local schools about youth hockey options so that children with an interest in the game can be directed to an appropriate resource.

Make a financial gift to girls programming at a youth hockey club.

Support the Campion Rink addition to increase availability of ice times in the region.

If you have a young girl in your life, take her ice skating! Knowing how to skate significantly reduces one barrier to trying ice hockey during the middle school or even high school years.

Nancy Nowell


What’s ‘The Other Side?’

In response to a Forum letter from John Brighton (“A Nation Divided, Neighbors Too,” March 7):

I would like to know what the “other side” of the following might be and what there might be to understand: racism, misogyny, discrimination against immigrants, the attack on LGBT rights, the destruction of constitutional policies, the encouragement of hatred and violence, the destruction of our land and water, removal of health care for our people, the destruction of public education, the acceptance of “alternative facts,” to name but a few issues.

These are anything but ordinary times as we have moved dangerously beyond small disagreements between a Democratic or Republican approach to the future of our country. This is not about “absolute correctness or unassailable high ground.” It is not a competitive sport. I believe I am speaking to core values or the absence thereof.

While I can understand your hope for a coming together of our people, how or why would we come together with evil?

Do we legitimize horrific statements and actions with our silence for the sake of cordiality?

Elie Wiesel wrote, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor. Never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor. Never the tormented.”

Frances Elliott


My Father, the Immigrant

My father, Joseph J. Lecouffe, was born in Canada in 1905. He came to the United States as an immigrant at 17 years old. He settled in Vermont and worked as a lumberjack.

He went to Windsor High School to learn trig. He worked in shops and retired from Cone Automatic. He could read and write in French and English. He won many fiddle contests.

During the Second World War, we lived on West Heights in Windsor. At night they had blackouts. He would go with his flashlight to check on all the neighbors. He became a U.S. citizen. He could recite the Constitution (proudly) by memory. The treatment of the Muslims or any religion or race would have devastated him.

During my childhood there was music, singing and dancing. My father’s friends and relatives played violin, accordion, guitar, harmonica and piano. We had no TV, no computer and no tweeting. We played cards, board games and were outdoors, summer and winter. We all had our own religions. And we had peace and love.

Nola Dunn


Five Colleges Book Sale Returns

For the past 55 years, the Five Colleges Book Sale has been a wonderful way to give unwanted books a new home, and a valuable book recycling option in the Upper Valley and surrounding areas. The sale recycles over 40,000 books annually, with net proceeds from the sale benefiting New Hampshire and Vermont students attending Mt. Holyoke, Simmons, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley colleges.

 We are extremely pleased to announce that the 56th Five Colleges Book Sale will take place on April 22 and 23 at Lebanon High School, the location for the past several years. We continue to be encouraged by the support of new volunteers, and the widespread community response affirming the value of the book sale to the Upper Valley region.

 Donations will be accepted at our donation site every day except Sunday through April 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays until 7 p.m. as volunteers are available. Small quantities of books and media may be left in our collection boxes at the rear entrance to the Lebanon, Kilton and Howe libraries, and the Lebanon and Hanover Co-ops. Donations are tax deductible.

This year, the donation site is located at the Gilman Office Center #224 in White River Junction. For detailed directions consult our website, five-collegesbooksale.org or Google maps. The sale appreciates the generous donation of sorting space, equipment, supplies and in-kind services from numerous local businesses listed on our website.

We welcome donations of books, manuscripts, prints, maps, memorabilia, CDs, DVDs, videotapes and books-on-tape. We do not accept or sell textbooks, encyclopedias, Reader's Digest condensed books, Harlequin Romances, ex-library books, magazines, vinyl records or audiocassette tapes (with the exception of books-on-tape). We also cannot accept or sell home recordings made on videotape, CD-R or cassette.

For complete information about all things regarding the sale visit five-collegesbooksale.org.

Questions may be directed to Priscilla Dube, 603-277-9191, Priscilla@WhiteMtnKettleCorn.com.

We look forward to seeing you at the sale!

Marcia Frederick, Cindy Heath, Cindy Kordys

2017 Tri-Chairs, Five Colleges Book Sale