Forum, April 4: Where Are We in the ‘Grocery Wars’?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Where Are We in ‘Grocery Wars’?

On Page C3 of the Sunday Valley News was a story with ominous implications for those who care about thriving communities (“Grocery Wars Claim First Victims,” March 25). It was a Washington Post account of two supermarket chains going bankrupt thanks to the “grocery wars” touched off by Amazon and other race-to-the-bottom corporate monoliths coming to dominate the retail food business. These companies hope to turn us all into couch zombies who buy food online and passively await their delivery as pre-packaged, factory-made meals. So much for the local food economy.

We are fortunate to have a powerful antidote to those trends: the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society and its stores in Hanover, Lebanon and White River Junction. For 82 years, the Co-op has embodied socially conscious business enterprise in our community. Today it is the bulwark of the local food economy and one of the region’s best employers.

But if the Co-op is to continue to resist these trends it is going to need active support. Too often, folks drive right by the Co-op on the mistaken assumption that the stores are too expensive and too elitist. So just shopping at the Co-op is important, as is participating in the democratic processes that distinguish the Co-op from other institutions with which people do business.

As it happens, our annual month-long opportunity to make democracy real at the Co-op began on April 1. With hope, many of the Co-op’s 20,000-plus members will cast their votes at mycoopvote.com, or at one of the stores. Eight dedicated people — I am one of them — are seeking four available seats on the Co-op’s board of directors. I hope the members prove to be as enthusiastic about the Co-op as we candidates are, because a high voter turnout will send the right message about where our community stands in the “grocery wars.”

Don Kreis

Hartland and Concord, N.H.

Norwich Meeting on Housing Tonight

Norwich Affordable Housing Inc., a private, nonprofit company, is holding its first public meeting to promote small-scale, affordable housing in Norwich this evening, from 7-9 p.m., at Tracy Hall. The guest speaker will be Andrew Winter, executive director of the Twin Pines Housing Trust. Many of Norwich Affordable Housing’s advisory committee members will be present. Their bios can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/y84bnnjb. The agenda for the meeting is found at: https://tinyurl.com/y8bpa463. If you would like to see small-scale affordable housing created in Norwich you’re encouraged to come and share your thoughts and ideas.

Stuart L. Richards, Director

Norwich Affordable Housing Inc.

A Missed Coverage Opportunity

What a shame that there was no coverage of the March 21 moose and deer meeting held in Windsor.

With all the debate and coverage about gun laws, maybe 110 law-abiding, gun-owning citizens could have had a positive, rational, more balanced insight into what some people think. Making more laws when a person has no regard for them probably will make some feel better, but probably will not stop terrible things from happening in the future.

The meeting was an educational presentation by Vermont’s professional biologists, game wardens and Fish and Game board members to try to explain things like habitat, carrying capacity, health and threats to our great resources. As Vermont changes and we try to attract more people from elsewhere, sadly, the culture and understanding of our sport has increasing difficulties to deal with. Thank you to the Vermont Fish and Game Department for trying to balance the biological reality with the social perceptions.

If you get a chance, try to attend one of these public meetings. We all have our own opinions, but it’s best to have factual information in our decision-making process. The media missed out on a great opportunity to report on something good, in my opinion.

David Taft


Citizenship Question Questions

Considering the proposed addition of a citizenship question to the next census, two thoughts came to mind. First, I assume everyone realizes that this is just a veiled attempt at locating illegal aliens, and any such information gained would be turned over to immigration authorities. Second, if the census does contain such a question, why can’t everyone simply not answer it?

What’s the government going to do, send all the forms back for completion, or attempt arresting everyone who doesn’t comply?

Stephen Raymond


My Rifle Is the AR-15

The fact that the “March For Our Lives” was the largest youth protest in D.C. since the Vietnam War is pathetic.

This is the big motivator? Not environmental justice, equality, peace, hunger or love, but anti-gun politics?

“Commonsense gun legislation” is not a term you can use when you can’t properly identify firearms and are going after weapons based on their cosmetic features alone.

There are people alive today, from a Western nation, whose government tried systematically to exterminate them, but having a sophisticated firearm in your house makes you insane?

I don’t hunt. I own guns as a hobbyist, for self-defense, or in case of natural or human-influenced disasters that could leave me without food, water, power, law enforcement, government, etc. Nobody wants a musket, just like nobody wants a carrier pigeon in place of an email address.

My rifle is a modern sporting rifle. The standard AR-15 fires a very small caliber projectile. The similarities this firearm shares with military-grade firearms are purely cosmetic. My rifle is not a weapon of war.

Every time you get in your car you do more damage to the environment and put the general public at more risk than when I fire my AR-15.

Spencer R.B. Cone

Topsham, Vt.