Forum, Sept. 10: Enfield Dog Park; Stricter Bike Rules; The South Is Coming North

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Enfield Dog Park Has Its Day

To the Editor:

We are pleased to announce that the Mascoma Valley Dog Park Supporters have raised almost $60,000 to build a dog park adjacent to the Shaker Recreation Park on Route 4A in Enfield. The dog park will be free and open to all. We hope to break ground later this fall or next spring. Thanks to the Internet votes of many from the Upper Valley and beyond, we were awarded $25,000 by PetSafe, a pet product company. The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation matched the PetSafe award with another $25,000. A number of Upper Valley residents and business have generously donated as well.

We have funds enough to build a basic dog park with fencing and a parking lot. We are committed to raising more money for amenities like benches, dog waste stations, trees and shelter for shade and play equipment. If you would like to help or to find out more about MVDPS, go to mascomavalleydogpark.com or facebook.com/MVDPS, or email mascomavalleydogpark@gmail.com.

Marcia Herrin

Larissa Pyer

Mascoma Valley Dog Park supporters

Stricter Rules for Bikes

To the Editor:

The Hanover Bike/Pedestrian Committee can take a namby-pamby approach to bicyclists and their disregard for street and highway behavior, but the time has arrived for some strict regulations and requirements.

First and perhaps foremost, bicyclists should be required to contribute financially for the painted lanes, bike trails and other additions and improvements that have been put in place just for bicycles. This could be done by requiring the registration of bicycles (similar to that of an auto) by the municipality, not by the state motor vehicle department. The infrastructure of the improvements for bicycle paths and trails has resulted in a very substantial financial outlay for taxpayers. A person who can afford up to $250 for a helmet should not object to a modest registration assessment.

A book of ethics should be mandatory reading for all bicycle riders. Among the requirements would be that all highway traffic rules be obeyed including: staying in line; observing all traffic signals such as stopping on red; no left turn when not authorized; no going the opposite direction on exit and entrance ramps; no side-by-side riding; no riding against the traffic; and no riding your bicycle on a sidewalk.

Last — and this is to protect all of those thousands of bicyclists — bright, colorful garments such as a shirt should be worn to enhance visibility against the foliage and the dark road pavement. A small blinking light on both front and rear of bicycles are reasonably priced and also recommended. These two items would make for a much safer situation on the highways for both bicyclists and motorists.

Gordon M. Stone

West Lebanon

Pasta With Democrats

To the Editor:

A silent auction featuring some of Vermont’s best-known treasures — artisan cheeses, arts and crafts, restaurants, lodgings and more — will take place Saturday in conjunction with the Windsor County Democratic Party Pasta Dinner.

State Sen. Dick McCormack will perform a concert for the lucky high bidder of a silent auction item. Vermont cheese, handmade items from Windsor County artists and craftspeople, restaurant gift certificates, maple syrup, rounds of golf and more will be up for auction.

The event starts at 5 p.m. at Damon Hall in Hartland. A delicious pasta dinner by many cooks from throughout the county will follow. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Rep. Peter Welch will be on hand. For more information contact Bill Kuch at 802-291-2989.

Bill Kuch

Chairman, Windsor County 
Democratic Committee

Vermonters in the New South

To the Editor:

I have seen Vermont’s future. I grew up in South Carolina, and I know what global warming is sending slowly but steadily northward. Vermont and Maine have already warmed more than other states in the lower 48.

First joining me as newcomers will be truly serious amounts of ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, poison ivy, water moccasins and other pit vipers, and kudzu. You can sit and watch the kudzu grow from your porch, but your porch should definitely be screened by then.

Porch screening will be a new business opportunity, but nothing compared to installing air conditioning units and snowmaking equipment. Farmers spending lots of time on tractors will dream longingly of those big enclosed and well-cooled rigs.

The loblolly pine will begin to appear and the maple-beech-birch stands will slowly disappear. The growing season will be longer and wetter and especially suitable if you like okra.

Did I forget the people? With the Atlantic’s beaches eroding and temperatures soaring, there will be many folks heading here seeking high ground and a little cool.

Perhaps many of the newcomers will be from South Carolina also. If you already worry about the future of the Vermont accent, wait till those South Carolinians are here, saying pen like pin, ear like air, beer like bear and referring often to the number of hurkins coming ashore and the frequency of Category 5s. They will almost all be very nice people, but the ones who follow former Gov. Mark Sanford in his penance march north up the Appalachian Trail may not see Bernie for the godsend that he truly is.

All of which is a good reason to show up at the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21, as 15 busloads of Vermonters are now planning to do. We can begin to bring global warming to a halt, but only if we force political leaders to act now. See you in New York!

Gus Speth


Football in a Time of War

To the Editor:

Can the Roman circus of the NFL with its attendant pageantry of violence, racism, misogyny and mock militarism distract our blood lust from the sad fact that President Obama’s poll ratings decline even as he courageously tries to steer us through a world in which polls show Hamas, Bibi Netanyahu, Putin (even the Cheney/Bush adminisration) find their popularity greatly increased by resorting to war?

John Galton

North Hartland

The Real Market Basket Lesson

To the Editor:

Zach Despart’s reporting on the reopening of the Market Basket store in Claremont missed the most important aspect of the almost three-month boycott. It was the overwhelming support of customers of the boycott that carried the day (“Check Out the Smiles: At Market Basket in Claremont, Everyone’s Happy Dispute Is Over,” Aug. 31).

There was little flavor in the article indicating the extent to which the boycott was effective. It was disingenuous of the store manager to suggest that he couldn’t estimate the lost sales. Of course he could; sales are tabulated every day and are the driving force in a retail business.

The real point of this story is the unprecedented way in which customers defied the greed of wealthy owners seeking to “hollow out” worker pay, benefits and an empathetic management style. It is true that Arthur T. Demoulas’ dismissal spurred the firing or resignation of several key managers and subsequently warehouse employees went out on strike in sympathy. But empty produce shelves don’t account for the wholesale support of that strike by customers willing to pay higher prices in other stores to support the strike.

All during the strike, the parking lot of Market Basket was empty. The very few customers who did venture in had no awareness of what was going on or just a gauzy recognition that there were huge sections of the store devoid of products, and no other customers.

The real message of the strike and the subsequent jubilation at its end was the emphatic statement by middle and lower income Americans that proper treatment of employees and lower prices through less greedy profit objectives is what is going to drive consumer decisions. As awareness grows as to the extent to which the quality of life for middle income Americans has been sacrificed to benefit the very few at the top, more boycotts will follow.

What was so heartening for the customers of Market Basket was the fact that it worked. The effort gained national attention and may have been a cautionary indicator for the Wal-Marts and McDonald’s of the world that squeezing your employees so CEOs can gather millions and billions simply doesn’t fly any longer.

David Russell