Sunday Forum: Offensive License Plates; Trusting the Co-op Management, or Not; Community Support Saves Senior Meals

Talk About Offensive License Plates

To the Editor:

While I am grateful that the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles will be applying renewed vigilance over offensive words on vanity license plates, it would also be appropriate for New Hampshire citizens to be able to own a license plate free of the state’s political message.

In 1976, Chief Justice Warren Burger in Wooley v. Maynard wrote that “Live Free or Die” is such a message, and the Supreme Court ruled that New Hampshire could not constitutionally require its citizens to display its state motto.

It is unconstitutional for New Hampshire or any other state to use a citizen’s automobile as a mobile billboard for its ideological message. It should not be necessary to cover up the state’s words with tape whether they are “Live Free,” “Choose Life,” or “I believe.” Let’s get it all correct — no private offensive words and no state words that are not viewpoint-neutral.

David Bisno


Trust Co-op Management

To the Editor:

Jim Kenyon’s column about the Co-op firings (“Wine and Cheese Firing Party,” June 29) has really aroused the populace en masse! (Jim loves to do this!)

It would seem to me that the reason these two “valuable” long-term employees were fired is something that cannot be discussed by any of the parties because of the serious nature of the reason. I doubt anyone would rather see one of the chain supermarkets in place of the Co-op, so I would suggest that everyone take a deep breath. Let’s trust that management had a very valid reason for the firings.

Now, we need to take a look at what’s going on outside our bubble. Children are being murdered by bombs in the Middle East, children are crossing our borders alone to escape the terror of their own countries, people are dying from famine, just to mention a few of the problems worldwide. Let’s let the Co-op get on with the business of doing what it does best. It’s great organization! And Jim, you’ve done it again!

Nancy Parker


Co-op Employees Deserved an Answer

To the Editor:

Hanover Co-op General Manager Terry Appleby (“The Co-op Serves Its Members and Workers,” July 12) seems to say that the controversial recent firing decisions were not arbitrary: “That does not mean we have nothing to say, but, rather, there is nothing we can legally say.” The two dismissed employees, however, are inside the boundary of legal confidentiality, and they deserve to know why they were fired. An honest and direct answer to their question is a simple matter of respect, regardless of what evasions New Hampshire labor law may allow.

Co-op Board President Margaret Drye (“Co-op Acted in Accord With Policies,” July 13) indicates the board plans to address these employment policy issues in the spirit of our cooperative. That is encouraging moving forward, but the harm already visited on these gentlemen needs reduction. I support prompt reinstatement of their employment and encourage like-minded Co-op members and supporters to join the petition at:

Dodd Stacy


Community Supported Senior Meals

To the Editor:

On behalf of those who rely on daily “Meals on Wheels” and senior center meals, we thank many local private contributors who ensured that we were able to serve meals in May and June in spite of federal sequestration.

This past year, senior nutrition programs across the country were severely affected by federal budget cuts. Right here in our local communities, federal sequestration meant that we served 6,000 home delivered meals and 7,000 congregate meals this spring and summer with no state and federal support. Typically, this funding covers 60 percent of the cost of a meal. We raise the remainder through client donations for their meals and local support.

From mid-May through the end of June, we needed to raise 100 percent of the cost of each meal in order to keep the service in place. Thankfully, with a new state fiscal year starting July 1, we have renewed public support for our senior nutrition program.

How important is the home-delivered or senior center meal to our clients? Last year, more than half of our participants reported that they receive 50 to 100 percent of their daily nutrition from the mid-day meal produced and delivered by our senior centers. A third reported that they regularly run out of money for groceries before the end of the month. A home-delivered meal also comes with a daily face-to-face greeting and safety check, and a congregate meal also provides an antidote to isolation and loneliness.

We are especially grateful to the Couch Family Foundation, which extended us a generous challenge grant to ensure that our meals would continue through this lean time. We more than met the challenge. The support of other charitable contributors, including the Hanover Co-op Community Fund, Hanover Rotary Club, the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund, the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation, and numerous generous individuals and families, ensured that we were able to keep essential senior meals in place through May and June. Thank you!

Roberta Berner

Executive Director

Grafton County Senior Citizens Council, Inc.