Forum, March 9: The So-Called Prouty Controversy

Wednesday, March 08, 2017
So-Called Prouty Controversy

When I managed the Dartmouth Bookstore, Ben Thompson would occasionally bring Norris Cotton into the store and we would chat. Norris was a wise man. I wonder how he would react to the controversy, which has been stirred up by former Cancer Center Director Mark Israel and the Valley News, regarding the use of donated funds raised by the Prouty. Much ado about nothing might have been his reaction.

Our family has supported the Prouty from inception. My father-in-law, Jack Stebbins, was the top fundraiser for many years. When he stopped doing the Prouty, we supported his law partner Dave Bradley and still do. Never have I questioned that our donation would be to the benefit of cancer patients.

Israel had been the director for around 15 years. I believe he didn’t notice improper use of the funds over those years or he would have spoken up sooner. In the annual Prouty magazine summary of the recent Prouty, I noticed that he was quoted as saying when he came to be director the Prouty “was possibly one of two or three unrestricted (my emphasis) revenue streams already in place.” Seems strange he changed his line of thought recently to thinking of them as restricted funds.

The Valley News editorial on Feb. 22 lecturing DHMC on transparency is somewhat hypocritical. Every year when I pay for our Valley News subscription there is a line to add a tip for our carrier who delivers the paper, which we do.

Never have we received a note from either the Valley News or the carrier that our tip has been received and passed on to the carrier. It’s possible it could be used to pay for bus tickets so Steve Nelson can come to the Upper Valley on weekends to lecture us on how we should live our lives, or perhaps pay for Jim Kenyon’s traffic tickets in his beloved Norwich. How do we know?

In summary, this so-called controversy is really meant to sell more papers and feed lawyers. It definitely does nothing to help cancer patients, but will be costly to DHMC and thus the Cancer Center.

Dave Cioffi


Mind Your Towns and Villages

Being a trivia buff, I enjoyed your trivia test on Feb. 26 in the Sunday Valley News. However, some of the answers did not fulfill what the question asked.

Question 1: Stern’s Produce is in the town of Hartford. There is no town of White River Junction. It is merely a village in Hartford. P&H Truckstop is in the town of Newbury. Again, Wells River is a village in said town. Eaton’s Sugar House is in North Royalton, a hamlet in the town of Royalton.

Question 13: Charles Bronson could be either West Windsor or Hartland, as the town line bisects the main dwelling. I suppose West Windsor has a leg up as he is buried there. When one uses the term town, they should not cite a village in the same.

Clyde Jenne


Rumors Seeking Confirmation

Apparently Donald Trump meant it when he said during his campaign that he will give as good as he gets, just a little harder.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Nancy Pelosi has been seen in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco after midnight? How about the one that Chuck Schumer goes to Bermuda regularly to avoid paying all his taxes?

Looking for confirmations.

Peter Dooley


Unsubstantiated Headlines

Once again, the Valley News gives upper front-page headlines to tweeted substantial, alarming accusations of campaign office tapping by Obama administration officials, when there is no apparent substantiating evidence (“Trump Claims Offices Tapped,” Sunday Valley News, March 5).

Only after the headlines and first three paragraphs comes an inner-page lengthy account citing context, lack of support to the claim and the possibility it might be raised to distract attention from the Russian probes.

The expected analysis and less stark headline did accompany “Dodd Frank Not to Blame” story in the Business & Money section in the same issue.  

The bald focus in headlines alone has more than comic effects despite uncertainty of truth implied, unfitting for responsible public service news.          

Andrew Taylor


It’s Not About Affordable Housing

The Norwich Planning Board is pushing hard to steamroll through an amendment to the town plan, alter the zoning regulations governing the entry to town from the south, and to do so in a manner that denies citizens the right to vote on the scheme.

Those favoring the plan would have you believe that their goal is to lower taxes and provide affordable housing in the town, but that is no more than window dressing. They admit that at most 25 per cent of the land to be opened up for development will be devoted to affordable housing. Far more significant is that 75 percent of the land — currently open fields on the west side of Route 5 — will be rezoned to permit commercial development. Never in the history of capitalism has such a change reduced property taxes. This modification stands to eliminate the rural beauty of our hometown.

Somebody will be making a whole lot of money if the proposed changes to the town plan go through, and Norwichites have the right to be heard on this important issue.

Rusty Sachs


Poor Choice for Sharon

The state of Vermont is using carrots and sticks, i.e., bribery and threats, to persuade us to consolidate our schools in the way they see fit.

With fewer students, consolidation is not a bad idea, but the groupings are idiotic. I live in Royalton and we are being joined with Bethel and Rochester, which will be costly.

That we aren’t being joined with the closer towns of Sharon and Tunbridge is inane — Sharon and Tunbridge are “free choice” towns and we aren’t. There is some law created in “Montpeculiar” that says we can’t join with them because of that. Vote how you please, of course, but these are my thoughts.

Alison S. Gravel

South Royalton

News Media at a New Low

I, for one, am getting a little tired of the ongoing fake news assault on the Trump administration by the so-called mainstream media. There hasn’t been a feeding frenzy like this since the last days of the Nixon administration.

A prime example is the attempt by certain members of the minority party to take out Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Frustrated when old, discredited allegations of racism failed to derail him, they launched a new assault based on his allegedly false statements during his confirmation process. The claim is that he lied in his testimony concerning contacts with the Russians and he must immediately resign.

What actually happened was this. Sen Al Franken, D-Minn., asked Sessions about contacts with Russians during the campaign. Sessions answered that there were none.

 Then came the accusations that that statement was a lie; that Sessions had indeed met with the Russian ambassador. Yes, he had — twice in fact. Once at a Republican gathering and once in his capacity as a senator on the Armed Services Committee. Neither meeting had any connection with the Trump campaign.

The fact left out of the accusations was the part of the question about if the meetings had involved campaign business. They had not — they were before the campaign began. Sessions was telling the truth. That doesn’t matter to the anti-Trump people.

They have shown a propensity to lie and spin in an attempt to gain what the voters wouldn’t give them — power.

The news media is at a new low in the eyes of the people as they wholeheartedly join in in trying to destroy the new administration. Maybe it’s time for the far-left members of the media to step back and do actual journalism and stop the ceaseless editorializing.

Patrick O’Connor


Dog-Waste Hazards

Surface water supplies are adversely affected by dog waste that is not picked up by the dog walker or owner.

The pathogens include E. coli or coliform bacteria and giardia. Public water for our consumption is diminished in quality and safety by these pathogens. Please make an effort to love thy neighbor by picking up after your dog and properly disposing of the waste. Let’s make Hanover a tidier town. You and your pooch will benefit from cleaner water.

Jerry Madden


Absurd Smokescreen in N.H.

I challenge New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper to show me one instance when “somebody with a 5 o’clock shadow” went into a ladies room in order to molest his wife or daughter. I guess nobody really worries about men’s rooms where somebody in a skirt and with lipstick might walk in, though they tend to be much more public.

The whole argument about protecting women is a smokescreen and absurd. It really is about discrimination against very vulnerable people, especially the young. Thank you very much, Mr. Jasper, but I can take care of myself in public facilities. I wish your concern about my safety would extend to the real threats of violence I and all women face every day, almost all of them perpetrated by straight men.

Ulrike Rainer


After the Fire

On Feb. 2, Frederick Johnson Pianos Inc. suffered a catastrophic fire.  We want to thank the Hartford Fire Department and neighboring fire departments who put in a very long and cold night fighting this fire. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and we are grateful that no one was hurt. 

After 87 years in business, 46 of them in White River Junction, we are shocked and devastated by this tragic event. Not only is this a difficult loss for us, but also for the many customers and friends who often stopped in to visit, play pianos and browse our sheet music.

This was more than just a piano store. Frederick Johnson Pianos served as a center for many musicians, piano teachers and others who share our love of music and pianos. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from our valued customers, the extended music community throughout New England and, of course, our local community. 

Having lost our inventory of over 100 pianos and an extensive offering of sheet music, we are now working through the ramifications of our loss. We are continuing business on a limited basis, offering piano tuning and service. We are a Yamaha dealer and can still order and deliver new Yamaha pianos. Frederick Johnson Pianos can be reached by phone (802-295-2674 or 800-295-2674), by email fjpianos@aol.com, or our website, fjpianos.com.

 Many have shared personal stories and memories of Frederick Johnson Pianos with us and we truly appreciate the heartfelt support we received. 

Nancy and Julie Howe

Richard Johnson

Joel Teenyanoff

White River Junction