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Forum, July 9: The Dangers of Alcohol; Co-op Shoppers; Amtrak on Track

The Dangers of Alcohol

To the Editor:

The article, “Addiction and Alcoholism Hit Men, Women Differently” on June 30 failed to mention the chief differences between men and women — pregnancy and nursing. The effects of alcohol on a developing fetus unfortunately can be devastating. Everyone should know about the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control states, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.” See www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html.

It would be very helpful if the Valley News periodically published articles on this subject.

For a richly detailed, personal story about parenting a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, there is The Broken Cord by the late Michael Dorris, a former professor at Dartmouth and husband of the writer Louise Erdrich. For those of us who are not women of child-bearing years, please help create a social environment again in which it is normal not to drink or use drugs. This can provide support for women to avoid such sad and difficult consequences.

Cecelia Blair

Windsor

Program Gave a Better Chance

To the Editor:

Soon after we celebrate the birthday of our country, we are also celebrating the anniversary of the A Better Chance Program that was started here at Dartmouth College 50 years ago. Program participants will gather Thursday and Friday to share their experiences since graduating from either local high schools or private schools.

Students at the end of their sophomore high school year, who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to attend college, were selected from inner cities or rural schools. These students attended the eight-week summer preparatory orientations; the women at Mt. Holyoke College and the men here at Dartmouth. They then were assigned to either private or public high schools.

Hanover High School was one of many public and private high schools that accepted ABC students.

The students entered Hanover High School as juniors. The first students were boys who lived together with house parents in a building that formerly stood at the junction of Wheelock and Park streets in Hanover. During weekends these students stayed with local host families. The first four women students at Hanover High were housed with local families for two years, since there was no women’s dorm for them at that time.

The purpose and value of this program was to help students gain good study habits and have tutors assist them in raising their own personal academic capabilities. The program still continues in over 300 private and public school communities. Many of the former ABC students have gone on to be major contributors to their communities as a governor, lawyers, doctors and social workers, or have worked with international agencies or served as consultants in community development.

Those host families, teachers and legislators who have been involved with these students here in the Upper Valley are encouraged to check out the reunion website: www.abetterchancefilm.com for information about the reunion, which starts on Thursday afternoon in Collis Hall at Dartmouth College. Although the Thursday evening event is no longer open, the Friday morning ABC documentary preview and panel discussions have limited space still available.

Jean and Bob Keene, ABC Host Family 1968-1970

Etna

From 1984 to 2014

To the Editor:

If George Orwell lived in the Upper Valley now, he would likely say “All Co-op employees are equal, but some are less equal than others.”

Rich Blair

Grafton

The Cost of Alienating Shoppers

To the Editor:

A note to the Hanover-Lebanon Co-op management team:

With a retail background, I was always told it takes at least twice the amount of money to get a disgruntled customer back as to get him or her in the door the first time.

You have ruined my shopping pleasure at the Co-op. I plan to more frequently use other food stores, and, better yet, farmers markets and farm stands.

Happy customers leaving the store is the greatest asset that a store has to build a business on and you have lost many of your loyal supporters with your recent behavior. What a disappointment you are to so many of us.

Helen Brody

Lebanon

Organizations Make Mistakes

To the Editor:

When responsible employees such as Dan King and John Boutin are terminated, there is something very wrong at the Co-op. The Co-op is a wonderful organization, but wonderful organizations can make mistakes. These mistakes can easily be rectified. Maybe voting with your feet and your money will produce some change.

Laird Klingler

Cornish

Keep Amtrak on Track

To the Editor:

Thank you for Charles H. White Jr.’s fine account of the evolution of Amtrak (“Amtrak: A Failing Bargain,” July 6).

In many ways I think your choice of a photo of a coal train in an article about Amtrak illustrates the ambivalence that the government, the public and the railroads have felt toward Amtrak from the beginning. The fact is that freight, well, pays the freight. John A. Droege, general manager of the New Haven Railroad, in 1916 argued in his Passenger Terminals and Trains that even then passenger trains were not profitable, even though the railroads enjoyed a virtual monopoly in many areas. Moreover, finding track capacity for Amtrak trains today can be a problem on busy lines.

Nevertheless, Amtrak trains are needed. A study of the Southwest Chief by the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) argued that critics who claimed that it would be cheaper to fly the train’s passengers between the end points of Chicago and Los Angeles than running the Chief ignored the fact that only 8 percent of the passengers travel the entire distance between these two cities. The rest move between various combinations involving 31 intermediate points. For many of these communities, the Chief offers the most convenient public transportation. This service is popular enough that the Chief attracts 355,000 passengers per year.

Unfortunately, the political forces that support Amtrak are just strong enough to keep it going, but are unable to prevent cuts to baggage and food service. Those who oppose Amtrak cannot exterminate it, but are succeeding in eroding the service to the point where the most recent gains in ridership may well be reversed. As a relatively frequent user of Amtrak’s long-distance service, I can only hope they continue to offer me the option of exploring the U.S. by train. I urge others to give it a try.

Charles W. Bohi

White River Junction