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Forum, July 24: More Co-op; Less Greed; ‘Tabasco?’; All This and Chocolate Chips

Employment Issues Are Complex

To the Editor:

With regard to Sunday’s editorial (“The Co-op Firings,” July 20): Everyone who has ever managed a business with many employees is familiar with the difficulties of personnel management and the delicate balance required between the need for fairness and transparency, on one hand, and team morale and protection from legal liability, on the other.

I am a satisfied Co-op member and although I am not personally familiar with the two individuals whose employment was “terminated at will” or with the manager who informed them of their “termination,” I can imagine a range of situations that would justify invoking the “termination at will” clause without explanation, especially given the litigious nature of our society and the burden of proof required of defendants in legal actions for libel and unjust termination brought by ex-employees.

I would suggest that the press accept at face value the pledge of the Co-op board to review the issue. I would also invite the Valley News to reconsider whether your presumption of guilt and your double standard vis-a-vis similar firings at a chain store are warranted.

Thomas Kehler


Yes, Explanation Is Deserved

To the Editor:

I read with interest the article by John Boutin and Dan King headlined “We Deserve to Know Why the Co-op Fired Us.” I agree. That would be common sense and common courtesy.

In recent years we have seen an escalation of “corporate speak” that hides corporate practices that are often “legal” but entirely unethical. Just because something is “legal” doesn’t mean it’s right.

Some have said that the public can’t know the pressure that the Co-op faces behind the scenes and that we shouldn’t question management practices because they know what they’re doing and have to maintain confidentiality.

None of this makes sense to me as a Co-op member. In fact, it just seems absurd. How about “telling it like it is?” The cold phrase, “The Co-op is exercising its right under New Hampshire law for ‘at will’ employees to terminate your employment” must have been horrid for the two long-term employees to hear. And not given any explanation? I cannot imagine being in their shoes. And to be escorted out like that after so many years of dedicated service — was that really necessary? I think not.

This wrong needs to be righted. That’s no way to treat employees, especially those of our Co-op that we loved so much. I hope these fine fellows are reinstated to their positions, and that an apology to them and to the Co-op community will follow.

Susanne Walker Abetti

White River Junction

All We Need Is Love, Not Greed

To the Editor:

I have said this before and I will continue to say it until I join the Holy Spirit in the next world: “No one needs more than he or she needs.”

Until humanity gets rid of this greed instinct, we will have sorrow, hunger and war. First, examine and eliminate it in yourself. Then look around and go help others who be having trouble doing it.

Why? Because when it is all eliminated, this planet will become a shining example of love, circling and spreading love far and wide in the universe. Greed will then be gone and life will be eternally blissful.

Robert Daubenspeck

White River Junction

Tabacco, Tabasco, Tobacco?

To the Editor:

Regarding your July 20 headline, “Tabacco Company Hit with Damages,” apparently not everyone knows that Tabasco is spelled with an s. Tomato, tomahto, potato, potahtoe, let’s ask Danny Quayle for a ruling.

Tim Dreisbach

South Royalton

Editorial Disqualification

To the Editor:

​​The “Back on Track in Hartford?” editorial makes you wonder if “Those who are following this saga” include the editorial writer. As the editorial hits its stride, the newspaper states that Hartford voters may want “to assure themselves that the $3.5 million figure represents the outcome of qualified engineering and design work.” Yet the newspaper itself reported on April 12, in a news article headlined “Architect Plays Role on Multiple Fronts” that “The school district paid (architect David) Laurin to do architectural designs and civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering for each of the projects. He was paid $65,000 for the track and turf field, $56,000 for the middle school and $90,000 for the field house.”

Secondly, the editorial also questioned the reasoning behind the petition “upping the ante” an extra $500,000 to $3.5 million. While the search function on the Valley News website doesn’t enable me to locate the relevant articles, your internal archives will show that in addition to the well-documented pieces of the joint town-school recreation bond, there was also a shared utility improvement cost of about $500,000 split between the town and school. The school’s $250,000 (plus or minus) share of this expense has been consistently overlooked in recent reporting, but was covered in the articles about the Hartford Town Meeting cycle, ​particularly of the​ information night and​ the​ community day events. This expense is behind the fact that the school district has only “$1.375 million remaining from the bond” as reported in the article “Hartford Track, Field Face the Ax” published June 26. The town and school get in trouble when they ask for bond amounts that “sound good” instead of what is really needed, and we know we need more than $3 million to get this work done.​

The Valley News is an important partner in the work of transparent self-government. By ignoring the work of its own news staff, the editorial writer failed ​this aspect of its duty to the community and fed the fear, uncertainty and doubt that gets in the way of democratic decision-making​.

F.X. Flinn


Letter-Perfect Performance

To the Editor:

Thanks to the great Forum letter you had about the performance of Carousel at Lebanon Opera House, a friend and I went to see the Friday, July 18 performance. The best word I can find to describe it is “wow” — the acting, costuming, singing, dancing and orchestration were all superb. Plaudits are in order for this superb performance. Stupendously wonderful!

Lorraine Zigman


The Manicured Candidate

To the Editor:

Here it is, July 2014, which means there are only about 800 shopping days until the next presidential election. This election cycle though, I have decided that I am not going to wait for the billion-dollar campaigns to influence my vote. It may sound a bit jaded, but I really don’t think there is enough of a difference between the two parties to justify the insane amount of money that goes into getting the wrong person elected (which is the only possible outcome when one wrong person squares off against another wrong person), so I decided to commit my vote to the person on the first bumper sticker I saw.

Politics being what it is in this country, that seemed as fair a method as any for picking a leader. So, in the upcoming presidential election, in 27 months, I will proudly cast my vote for someone I hope will be the first woman president of the United States. I just hope Mary Kay runs a clean campaign.

Skip Chalker

White River Junction

All This and Chocolate Chips

To the Editor:

The Lebanon Outing Club Board of Directors and the Storrs Hill Ski Area community extend appreciation to Diana Colt for her many years of volunteer service.

During your long tenure as president of the Lebanon Outing Club, your commitment to the mission and vision was unwavering. Your leadership, energy, creative programs, special events, fundraisers and potlucks created opportunities for participation in a wide range of activities that were fun and often unique.

Your professional experiences in the realm of health and safety ensured high standards at Storrs Hill for a safe and healthy and nurturing environment.

You played an important role representing the Lebanon Outing Club as a partner with the City of Lebanon, sustaining the organization and facility. You made Storrs Hill a safe and fun place where everyone could grow, develop skills, enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, ski lessons and, of course, our famous fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

We hope you share in the joy and special community you’ve helped create for many years to come.

Lebanon Outing Club Board of Directors

Betty Ann Heistad, vice president