From Scytheville to Butmanville

To the Editor:

My Sept. 1 letter referred to the Scytheville district of Lebanon, which generated inquiries regarding its location, how it came to be so named, etc. To clarify: It is the area surrounding the junction of Slayton Hill Road with Route 4. At one time, a factory making scythes was in that vicinity. If you go through the underpass to Mascoma Street and turn left — at the top of the grade on the right is what was the Scytheville school. All of this is described very eloquently in Roger Carroll’s History of Lebanon.

Another Lebanon district is the Butmanville area of West Lebanon, once encompassing the area that begins approximately at what is now Romano Circle on South Main Street and extending south to the Mascoma River. The building that now houses RE/MAX real estate is the original Butman home and is shown in Robert Leavitt’s picture book of Lebanon. Over the years, the name applied to an area that gradually spread northward, so that most of South Main Street was usually referred to by that moniker. The naming of Butmanville is also explained in Carroll’s book. As “recently” as the 1940s, an original family descendant (William Butman) was seen frequently on Main Street in West Lebanon.

A very active railroad (the B&M) operated parallel to Butmanville. When trains of 80 or 90 cars that were pulled by two large steam engines passed, the whole area shook. But the railroad was the lifeblood of the area, so there was minimal complaining.

Will my reminiscing cause people to say again, “I live in Butmanville,” or prompt plaza stores to describe their location as “just south of Butmanville” in advertising? That would allow them to avoid mention of Route 12A, which invokes images of traffic congestion and inconsiderate motorists.

More likely, we will soon forget and once again travel through Butmanville, pass under I-89 to the plazas, and we will be grateful that they are there.

Gordon M. Stone

West Lebanon

Poor Decision to Publish Photo

To the Editor:

I want to take the Valley News to task for publishing a photo in the Sept. 24 paper of Corey Fernandes practicing with his double compound bow in Windsor near houses. This kind of hunting bow is extremely powerful and meant to bring down large game, including deer and bear. It should never be used for target practice near houses, possibly endangering people in the area.

The publication of the photo with its headline and caption calls into question the judgment of Valley News editors when deciding what to publish and whether the newspaper is worthy of its reputation for fine, accurate reporting.

Lorraine Zigman


A Mean-Spirited Sort of Insensitivity

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, a senator from Idaho was quoted as saying, “Just because you are poor does not give you the right to health care.” Alan Tanenbaum, in his Sept. 25 letter, referred to the Democratic Party as supporting a “nanny state.” He also whipped off a number of damaging economic conditions that are and will be caused by the Affordable Care Act (as Republicans love to do), even though these are completely hypothetical and disavowed as nonsense by a majority of respected economists. The point is, no one knows for sure how this will all play out, but the party line is that the law will bankrupt the country and make the poor poorer and that our present health care system is just fine.

Ask people in their 20s or patients who can’t get coverage because of a pre-existing condition what they think. When Republicans love to talk about increasing premiums (without long-run proof, of course), they do not mention that significant subsidies will actually make insurance a lot cheaper for those who really need help. In addition, major medical institutions around the country won’t mind an increase in collectable accounts, which makes it cheaper for all of us.

A major complaint is that it is too complicated. Well, duh! It is complicated. I ask everyone to open up their existing health insurance policy, read it in a day and then tell me how well you understand it. That’s why we ask independent insurance representatives to explain it all to us.

Not only has the Republican Party become insensitive to the needs of the poor, it is actually mean-spirited about it. Let us not forget that an election was won by the other party, a law was passed and upheld by the Supreme Court, and Tea Party groupies are asking people to ignore a law! We used to call people who did this anarchists. One Tea Party member referred to his fellow-believers as the new “Rosa Parkses.” Please.

Roger W. McWilliams


Importance of Dependable Power

To the Editor:

The recent power failure at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center gives us a glimpse of what life would be like with intermittent electricity. Renewable wind and solar power sources are not as steady and reliable as hydro, nuclear and natural gas, so such renewable power brings the grid closer to the edge of failure. Dependable electric power is essential not only to health care but also to water and sanitation, to police and fire services, to communications, education, commerce, industry,and transportation. We’ll lose some electric power reliability a year from now when Vermont Yankee shuts down.

Robert Hargraves


Both Annoying and Dangerous

To the Editor:

In his Sept. 22 Perspectives commentary (“Green Solution to Hanover’s Parking Crunch”), Peter Smith neglected to mention the need for an alternative route for pedestrian traffic on Wheelock Street near the Dartmouth Green. The propensity of Dartmouth students to trickle across the street in dribs and drabs, willy-nilly wherever they choose, is both dangerous and annoying, especially in twilight or the dark. Alternatively, one could reroute the traffic under or above the street and turn the area over to pedestrians. Either way, a change is needed.

Tara Mullen