Forum, June 18: National Health Care; Bravo, John Chamberlain; Defending the Co-op

The Real Co-op Issue

To the Editor:

Thanks to Jim Kenyon for insulting the Co-op Food Stores enough times to generate some inspired letters to the editor — not a bad outcome for any muckraker (“Co-op & Competitor,” June 4). I do worry that more Kenyon tempests in the local Co-op teapot will distract from real issues of real concern to real Co-op members. Here’s an example that came up in discussion recently.

The Hanover Co-op currently sells paper products made by the Koch brothers’ Georgia-Pacific company — but are not identified as such. The Koch brothers are famous for massive funding of the climate change denial movement, presumably because their tens of billions in wealth could increase even more from continued burning of oil and gas. Do Co-op members want to be informed when we are offered Georgia-Pacific products?

As the world heats up we need Jim Kenyon’s sharp vision, not to smear the motives of well-organized good people, but to help us focus energy and good writing on issues of dire concern to present and future generations.

Robert Spottswood


Trouble With National Health

To the Editor:

I recently picked up the May 22 copy of the British newspaper The Independent and read the following headline: “Hospitals plead for emergency funds; Health trusts unable to pay bills, with one close to having its electricity cut off; Patients at risk as financial crisis results in ‘untenable’ levels of equipment breakdown.”

The story said: “The extent of the financial crisis facing the NHS (National Health Service) is laid bare today in a series of letters from hospitals pleading for bailout loans to replace defunct equipment and even to avoid having the electricity switched off … Details of desperate requests for emergency financial aid sent to the Department of Health reveal that patients at one hospital faced ‘increased clinical risk’ from machines used for examinations ‘failing to meet appropriate standards.’ Another warned that its operating theatres ‘have in effect reached the end of their useful life’ ”...

In a related article in the same edition: “The Medical Director of NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, warned in April 2012 about ‘unacceptable’ cases of elderly patients being left to make their way home alone in the middle of the night. However, since then more than 300,000 patients have been discharged late at night, according to figures obtained by Sky News, through Freedom of Information requests.”

New Hampshire Sen. Jean Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster have repeatedly told their constituents that they support Obamacare. The problems we are seeing in Obamacare now represent just the tip of the iceberg. What the Brits are seeing in their NHS is what Shaheen and Kuster are bringing us.

I would caution voters to think about this when they enter the voting booth this year. It would be best for the people of New Hampshire and its Second Congressional District that they both be voted out … and maybe sent to the U.K. if they get sick.

John R. Lohmann


Bravo, John Chamberlain

To the Editor:

On Saturday the New Hampshire Democratic Party held its annual convention in Manchester. Not much of what happened there made the Sunday papers. And while I understand there might be reasons to not cover the convention, there was something there that ought to attract the attention of Upper Valley folks. The Democratic Party awarded one of its highest awards to our wonderful friend and mentor John Chamberlain.

John has been the backbone of organized Democratic efforts in the Upper Valley for years, and his generosity, kindness and determination have won the hearts of all of us running for office as long as I can remember. He has always been the first to help open an office, and the last to leave a clean-up effort. Perhaps John was a camp counselor in his youth: there certainly was never a time he would let an unclean space go without attention. Anyone who has helped with a campaign for either party knows how important that is.

So I write to say “bravo,” John, for the announcement of your award. And thank you for all the support and friendship you have given over the decades.

Peter Hoe Burling


The Co-op Contributes

To the Editor:

A great big thank you and round of applause to Amanda Charland, member and employee of the Co-op Food Stores (“The Co-op Helps the Community”). Her letter to the Valley News published June 10 describes the many worthwhile contributions that the Co-op provides to our community in addition to being an excellent market. I agree with everything she pointed out.

In my opinion, we are fortunate indeed to have this valuable local resource and should do everything possible to support the Co-op’s outreach as well as enjoy the fine food.

Marj Boley


History Month in Norwich

To the Editor:

June is a busy month for Norwich history. “Cycles of Change: Farming in Norwich” is the new exhibit at the Norwich Historical Society, which opens Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. In partnership with the Norwich Historical Preservation Commission, the exhibit tells the story of our community’s rich agricultural heritage through the stories of eight working farms operating in Norwich today through Chad Finer’s photographs, a video by Ben Silberfarb and oral history interviews by the Vermont Folklife Center.

“Cycles of Change” will focus on the important role that farms still play in the life of our town, the current threats to working farms and how the Norwich farms featured in this exhibit are adapting to changing markets and the new interest in local foods. More importantly, it looks at how they can continue to survive and grow. A series of community programs and a public forum will follow in the fall to discuss policies and programs that will sustain the agricultural community and how Norwich residents can become further engaged.

The fifth annual House & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 28 follows the farming theme this year. Meeting House Farm, one of the working farms featured in Cycles of Change, is the oldest working farm in Norwich. It is celebrating 100 years in the same family in 2014 and will be one of the stops on this year’s tour. Visitors will also be able to visit a second Norwich farm, an extraordinary private garden, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house designed by famed architect and Wright protege Allan Gelbin, and a contemporary home and artist studio.

We invite the community to both events to learn about life in our small town.

Nancy Hoggson

President, Norwich Historical Society