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Forum, April 7: The positive impact on children of community partnerships

Published: 4/6/2021 10:00:16 PM
Modified: 4/6/2021 10:00:14 PM
The positive impact on children of community partnerships

At this time when families and children are strained with uncertainty and new challenges, there are Upper Valley organizations working to provide new approaches and easier access to social and health care services for the youngest in our communities.

The Family Place of Norwich, and the pediatric practices at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Mt. Ascutney Hospital’s Ottauquechee Health Center have worked diligently to establish programs that address these issues. Two of these valuable programs are the “Strong Families, Strong Starts” initiative at CHaD and Project DULCE at the Ottauquechee Health Center.

Incredibly, even during this year of constraints, The Family Place has served more than 1,300 children and their families who live in our Upper Valley community, many of them offered support at their first pediatric visit.

It is well-documented that the first three years of a child’s life are the most critical in shaping that child’s brain structure. Experiences during those first three years have a direct impact on how children develop learning, social, emotional, and physical skills. Research also reveals that exposure to adverse childhood events can be linked to physical and psychological illness throughout an individual’s life, which affects not just the individual but the entire family and community.

On April 20, The Family Place’s annual Force for the Future Luncheon will be virtual and available to all interested. Titled, “Better Together:

The Positive Impact of Community Partnerships,” the lunchtime discussion will have panelists Dr. Steven Chapman from CHaD, Sara Kobylenski from the Couch Family Foundation, and providers Anya Gendal and Sue Olmsted from The Family Place. The panelists will discuss current pediatric issues, share information about their exciting work and answer guests’ questions.

In addition to this virtual event, The Family Place is celebrating early learning for the Week of the Young Child, April 10-16.

Additional information for the virtual luncheon and other activities is available at

Let’s all remember, children carry bright hope for all of our futures if we support them early and often.



The writer is a member of The Family Place board of directors.

Support passage of Prop 5 in Vermont

This year the Vermont Legislature is being asked to consider an amendment to the Vermont Constitution. It is a multi-step process before Vermont citizens are presented the proposed amendment for a vote. Proposition 5 (Prop 5) would assure every Vermont citizen the right to personal reproductive autonomy. It would enshrine this right in the state constitution.

This is being proposed over concern about the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, which became more conservative during the Trump administration.

There is a distinct possibility that in the not-too-distant future the federal court may overturn Roe v Wade, which currently assures reproductive freedom. Passing Prop 5 would at least assure Vermonters the right to reproductive autonomy.

Before I retired from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, I was the division director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Services. We took care of couples from various religious perspectives seeking assisted reproductive technologies, assisting them in the quest to have a family. Their religious perspectives ranged from believing that a fertilized egg constituted a human being to the belief that a developing fetus wasn’t truly “human” until the first breath was taken at birth. Personhood cannot be defined by science, and shouldn’t be defined by our government.

Our country, more than ever, has a diversity of religious beliefs and our government needs to acknowledge all religious perspectives, assuring all citizens of their First Amendment rights, and not disadvantaging one religious community over another.

Please thank your legislators for supporting Prop 5, and to consider doing so if they haven’t come forward to do so at this time.



Examine safeguards for Haverhill Business Park

It is time to closely examine the lack of safeguards that the Haverhill Business Park protective covenants afford the students and staff at the Haverhill Middle School. With the biodiesel plant already in the Business Park, the addition of an industry that could potentially compound the present dangers to our children would be a serious mistake.

The possible release of dust and harmful emissions, increased truck traffic, annoying levels of noise, and the threat of spontaneous fire and explosion emphasize the inadequacy of the present covenants. Furthermore, these hazards do not reflect the type of businesses that were portrayed as suitable for approval when the park was first developed.

Public health, the environment and safety should be at the forefront of any new businesses that are considered for town approval due to the proximity of the school. The covenants need to be revised to address these vital issues. It seems prudent to put a “hold” on any new business agreements until a revision can be explored. Ideally, an ordinance would provide statutory authority and address potential negative impacts on the occupants of the middle school.

Fortunately the town is beginning to review this document and the conditions that exist in the Business Park. Please stay informed by attending Selectboard meetings and asking questions. Your involvement is critical to ensuring the safety of the school, the quality of the air, and the health of our students and staff.



What are they thinking? Or are they?

My grandchildren’s grandchildren will be paying off these ridiculous trillion-dollar payouts. As for tax increases, tell me, how do we pay off the national debt, let alone fund all the ideas that President Joe Biden and his administration have? So much for the nation.

As far as the New Hampshire Republicans, doesn’t anyone have a daughter or a granddaughter? Imagine she is walking in school when her period comes. Too bad. No help for her.

What is wrong with you? So much for New Hampshire Republicans. I’m embarrassed to be one.



The greedy capitalist scramble to China

Regarding Raymond Wilkins’ Forum letter (“Capitalists are out of control,” April 5): Hear! Hear!

It has been my humble opinion for decades that this greedy capitalist scramble to China only spells disaster. The shocking thing to me, as a consumer, is that frequently the American-made doodad is at least the same price as the cheesy Chinese doodad.

It is an extremely difficult task to find what you “need” still made here and, personally, I feel like such a hypocrite when, like my Apple addiction displays to all, I can’t find it and I have to bite the bullet and just buy it.

I have a Chinese-made stove in the basement, if anyone wants to haul it away! The proud American label tricked me into buying it. My shame. I know this is a conservative battle cry, but in this case they are right. I mean correct.



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