Forum, July 19: Hartford Schools; Happy to Work at the Co-op; Israel Protects Its People

Don’t Delay Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

To the Editor:

The words dementia and Alzheimer’s often evoke fear. Fear often leads to denial. Denial often leads to delay in diagnosis and help. The Annie’s Mailbox published in the July 16 edition of the Valley News includes an excellent letter on the subject, as well as an informative response.

Here in the Upper Valley we are most fortunate to have assistance readily available at the Aging Resource Center, which is exactly what its name implies: a resource for all sorts of information relative to aging. In addition to all that the center offers in the way of education and support, the local representative of the Alzheimer’s Association is based there. This valuable resource is located in Lebanon at 46 Centerra Parkway. For more information call 603-653-3460 or email

Don’t wait for a crisis; make that phone call as soon as you suspect your loved one is experiencing significant cognitive loss. From personal experience, I doubt you would ever regret doing so.

Marie Esselborn


This Is Progress, Hartford?

To the Editor:

Policy governance was adopted by the Hartford School Board about six years ago in an effort to be big-city modern.

Instead of micromanaging the school system based on taxpayer and teacher complaints, the board now creates policies and asks the superintendent to report on how those policies are being carried out, a process which takes weeks, if not months, and amounts to Teflon accountability: “We have a policy which addresses that complaint. Next complaint?”

The board operates in a bubble and it doesn’t have to immediately react to teachers and town-folk who are sounding the alarm (Repeat: “We have a policy in place which addresses that complaint.”) and instead reacts in astonishment months later when things like a three million dollar goof-up occur (the amount miscalculated in the recent school recreation bond.

By the way, this is a goof-up which the superintendent didn’t see coming either, but following policy governance, did duly report after it occurred.

By the time the mistake was understood, the board’s opportunity to prevent it was long lost in the policy governance bubble. Who was responsible? The superintendent? The board? The taxpayers for believing both of them?

Let’s look at the history of policy governance in Hartford. Under the previous superintendent :

Thirty years of carefully maintained trust was destroyed when the superintendent introduced into contract negotiations a lawyer with a reputation for union-busting; Tens of thousands of dollars was found to be in incorrect school district accounts and “lost” for months; For the first time in 30 years, voters rejected a school budget.

Under the current regime :

The recreation bond fell three million dollars short of its promise of creating a track, turf football field and field house for its physical fitness curricula; Hartford’s football coach, with 10 championships and 28 years service to his record, resigns after two years of chaos.

I’d say this is a pretty lousy six-year record. Let’s go back to small-town governance and leave “streamlining” to the big-city folk.

Paul D. Keane


Happy to Work at the Co-op

To the Editor:

I have worked at the Lebanon Co-op floral department for seven-plus years, and in retail for 43 years. My experience at the Co-op has been very positive.

Within the past seven years, both of my parents have passed away. Following the death of my father, I had to move my 92-year-old mother from her lifelong home in Massachusetts to my home in Vermont. Without the support of my Co-op family, it would have been extremely difficult to get through these challenging and chaotic times in my life.

I have also witnessed this kind of support for other employees. For example, when a co-worker ran into issues with transportation during the week of Valentine’s Day, my manager rearranged our schedules to accommodate this person’s needs.

I would like to state a few employee benefits: paid vacation, sick days, holiday pay, medical and dental health plan, 401-K, 20 percent shopping discount, free cooking classes, and a college scholarship opportunity, for employees and family.

The Co-op has 80 percent full-time employees, and it works around the school break schedule of college students. The Co-op did not lay off any employees during the economic decline a few years ago.

Additionally, the Co-op is a large contributor to local communities. We do Listen dinners, donate to Willing Hands and the Haven, have collection bins for the Humane Society and the Listen Center, collect plastic containers for recycling, and are building a park in downtown Lebanon. We also work with local farmers and growers.

I want you all to know that I have never been afraid to talk to any member of the Co-op’s management team, and these are the reasons that make me proud to be a Co-op employee.

Cindy Balzotti


Israel Protects Its People

To the Editor:

I am greatly disturbed by Robert Belenky’s letter (“Jews Stood for Justice,” July 17). While I don’t necessarily feel that being Jewish means unequivocal support of Israeli policy, to equate Israel’s efforts to defend itself with former oppressors of the Jewish people is unconscionable.

The Jewish commitment to justice requires knowing the facts, which Belenky chooses to blatantly ignore. Israel has a terrorist organization, in the form of Hamas, in its midst, and has tried to negotiate with the Palestinian people while rooting out those that would bring harm and violence to all its citizens, Israeli and Arab alike. The United States would do no less. Hamas is an organization that has fired over a thousand rockets into Israel (my own family has been forced to seek cover in bomb shelters) and denied its own people in Gaza food and medicine while ordering them to stay in their homes and be fired upon. It’s worth noting that the start of this latest conflict was the kidnapping and murder of three young Jewish boys on their way to school.

There are so many erroneous statements in Belenky’s letter that it is impossible to address them all here. The main point is that Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinians and has made that clear, most recently by accepting the proposed cease fire which Hamas patently refused. But Israel will not condone the violence of terrorists such as Hamas, nor should they.

Helena Binder