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Letter: Connecting Charlestown Town Offices

Connecting Charlestown Offices

To the Editor:

Article 5 on the Charlestown warrant asks Charlestown residents to vote for a $450,000 bond to connect the Library Municipal Building to the town offices. This addition would consolidate town office staff and create a safer and more secure space, including fire exits. Town residents would be able to go to one place to do all town business. Passage of this article would make town offices accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act at the most efficient cost possible, using one elevator to service both buildings. By connecting the two buildings, we would solve many safety issues that can no longer be ignored.

The bonding of this project would allow us to spread the $450,000 cost over 20 years. The first payment would not be due until 2015. The effect on residents’ tax bills in the first year would be 17 cents per thousand dollars of valuation, or $17 on a $100,000 home. The town cannot wait any longer to correct the many safety, security and access issues of our current arrangement. All would be addressed as a part of this project. Charlestown residents can vote on the article at the Town Meeting on March 11. I can be reached at 603-543-7046 to discuss any questions you may have.

Albert St. Pierre

Charlestown

Other Things to Worry About

To the Editor:

Let’s see, the civil war in Syria rages on, Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions, Egypt is in disarray, North Korea is working on long-range nuclear missiles, there is rioting in the Ukraine, and the U.S. secretary of state is worrying about . . . climate change?

Jeff Lehmann

Lyme Center

Dedicated to Public Service

To the Editor:

When the voters of Norwich go to the polls March 4, one of their decisions is whether to send Ed Childs back for another three-year term on the Selectboard. This should not be difficult given Ed’s nine dedicated years on the Selectboard, his devotion to the town manager form of government, and his sincere interest in the future of Norwich by serving on the Capital Facilities Committee. And all this was preceded by 16 years on the Planning Commission.

Again, this dedication to public service is to the benefit of all those of Norwich. Exercise your democratic right and vote.

Roger Blake

Former Norwich Selectboard member

Norwich

Burton Family Endorses Cryans

To the Editor:

With the passing of our brother Ray Burton in November, District One and the state of New Hampshire lost its most vocal and well-respected advocate. We believe that Mike Cryans would be an excellent executive councilor for District One. He will, like Ray, make sure Concord remembers to “look north” and address the needs and concerns of his constituents.

When our mother was a resident at Grafton County Nursing Home for six years, we saw from personal experience Mike’s concern for the residents as he attended many of their family functions, and spent time talking and listening to them.

Mike served side by side with Ray for 16 years as a county commissioner and understands Ray’s philosophy when it came to working on behalf of the North Country residents. During these 16 years, Mike and Ray worked together to move Grafton County forward, never letting partisan differences stand in the way of helping those who were in need.

Ray served the people of District 1 for 35 years. He will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to the needs of his constituents. There is little doubt that Ray left big shoes for the next executive councilor to fill. Mike knows no one can fill Ray’s shoes; however, he will do the best he can for District 1 and the state.

For our brother, public service was never about partisan politics. That is why we are endorsing Mike, who will share those values we always admired in Ray — service above politics.

Joan Day

Concord

Steve Burton

Hanover

Mary Grimes

Columbia, N.H.

Goulet’s Knowledge Runs Deep

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Dan Goulet in his bid to join the Norwich Selectboard. Though I moved to Norwich in 1999, it wasn’t until I met Dan, in 2006, that I felt myself a part of the town.

Dan has been a part of Norwich all his life. His mother grew up here and made sure Norwich was an integral part of Dan’s life no matter where they lived in Vermont, such that when he moved back, he was “coming home.” Dan knows every inch of Norwich; he’s walked its trails, tended its woods and introduced many to the secrets of its wildlife. He cares deeply about protecting the integrity and balance of land use that makes Norwich unique; his tireless work with the Conservation Commission attests to this commitment.

Dan cares equally for Norwich’s residents and homes. In meaningful ways, he’s changed the lives of those who have been blessed to know him. We are his people and community, and he looks after us. He is the one who will, unasked (and uncompensated), drop off a load of firewood for an elderly woman who has trouble leaving her house. He will arrive at the Transfer Station bearing hot coffee, because it’s cold out and he was “going there anyway.” On afternoons when I come home to find birds clustering around the feeder I forgot to fill, I know he’s been by, just to check in.

Dan’s knowledge of this town runs deep. He knows its people, its buildings and its land. He is a regular presence throughout Norwich, and wherever he goes, he talks with people. He knows the issues that are important to them and — from dollars to floorboards to riparian impact — he knows the pragmatic realities of addressing them. Dan speaks his mind and is truthful. Always. It’s a quality I respect and trust.

Dan Goulet’s love for this community, in all of its complexity, is, for me, what it means to call a town “home.”

Julie Kalish

Norwich

Not Ready for World Languages

To the Editor:

There’s an old joke that goes like this: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

There’s a lot of truth to this joke, and in this world of increased globalization and interdependence, that needs to change. We need to do a better job of teaching our children foreign languages. That’s why I’d love to support Lebanon’s upcoming Warrant Article 3 to fund a K-4 world language program. Unfortunately, I can’t. I can’t support it because the school district doesn’t have its ducks in a row. The article asks taxpayers to pay $163,600 for the first year of the program and yet: No curriculum is in place or been picked. No language has been chosen, although the School Board has suggested that it might be Spanish, German or Mandarin Chinese. The board says it all depends on what teachers are hired and what languages they speak. No one has figured out what will be taken out of the current schedule to make room for the new program. No one has explained how the program would impact the current world language program in grades 5-12. (For instance, if children in K-4 are taught German, will we be hiring a whole new crop of German teachers for the upper grades?) If presented with a smart and comprehensive plan, I would support adding a world language to grades K-4. But as it stands now, I plan to vote “No” on Warrant Article 3.

Melissa Billings

Lebanon

Make Dartmouth a Better Place

To the Editor:

I have been a resident of the Upper Valley for nearly 20 years. During that time, I have been the beneficiary of many programs that Dartmouth offers to the public for which I am exceedingly grateful. I am not grateful to those residents, such as the writer (“Bloomberg Attacks Dartmouth,” Forum, Feb. 23) who chose to disregard the damage that frightening sexual practices at the college, as well as the behavior of the Greek letter societies, have done to lower the application numbers this year (down 14 percent). It has been my experience that problems pushed under the rug have the habit of resurgence. Why not continue to look at Dartmouth’s real problems in an effort to make the school a better place rather than adopt an ostrich-like attitude toward them?

Barbara Taylor

Hanover

Fluoridation Is Effective

To the Editor:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed community water fluoridation one of the best public health interventions of the 20th century. As future Vermont dentists, we strongly agree. Numerous studies have confirmed the tremendous impact fluoridation has made for millions of Americans. Children who grow up drinking fluoridated water are more likely to keep their teeth even 50 years later. Community water fluoridation costs less than $0.75 per person each year. Every dollar spent saves $38 in preventable dental costs.

The American Dental Association supports fluoridating community water supplies to prevent dental decay. Tap water is fluoridated to a level between .7 and 1.2 parts per million. At this level, there is no evidence of any harmful effects to children or adults. Children’s developing teeth are strengthened by fluoride, making them more resistant to decay. Both children and adults benefit from the topical effect of fluoridated water, which lowers the number of harmful bacteria on the teeth.

Studies suggesting that fluoride is neurotoxic have examined fluoride levels exceeding 15 parts per million, a level that does not occur in the United States. Our colleague Dr. James Gold (“Problems With Municipal Fluoridation,” Forum, Feb. 11) is correct that regular dental visits would be ideal to prevent tooth decay. However, for many Vermonters dental care remains tragically out of reach. Twenty percent of poor Vermont families report forgoing dental care for their children due to cost. Children in Vermont whose mothers did not attend college suffer untreated tooth decay at rates twice that of wealthier children. Vermonters who did not complete high school are three times as likely to have lost teeth by age 65.

In addition to cost, geographic barriers and a shortage of dentists contribute to the difficulty vulnerable Vermonters face obtaining dental care. The protection of fluoride prevents needless expense and suffering for these individuals. We must work toward improving oral health for all citizens; to that end, community water fluoridation remains the most immediate, effective and economic means to protect the teeth of Vermonters of all ages and incomes.

Robert Cauley

Lisa Simon

Lebanon