Forum, Aug. 11: Meet Democratic Candidates Kelly and Marchand

Friday, August 10, 2018
Meet Kelly, Marchand

Upper Valley citizens will soon have an opportunity to meet the two Democratic candidates for governor of New Hampshire: Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand. The forum will be held on Monday, from 5-6 p.m., in Alumni Hall at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover.

The event is not a fundraiser. Regardless of your party affiliation, this is a great chance to meet the candidates and ask your questions.

Helen Skeist


Question of Convenience

In July 2017, China told the World Trade Organization it would be imposing bans on certain solid wastes by the end of 2017. China had been accepting more recyclable products than any other country in the world for years; nearly 50 percent of plastics went to China. It needed the raw material to manufacture goods.

Over the years, many have taken advantage of China’s lack of environmental controls and its need for “resources.” Recycling companies allowed for greater and greater contamination rates knowing that China is resource poor. This resulted in a degradation in the quality of materials sent to China for manufacturing.

So where do we go from here?

With China not purchasing so much of the world’s recyclables, what should we do? The solutions haven’t matched the problem. Ban straws? Ban grocery bags? Can we really regulate good behavior? McDonald’s is talking about discontinuing straws. The queen of England has banned them from Windsor Castle. Starbucks is also hopping on the bandwagon. Brattleboro has banned single-use plastic shopping bags.

But are we just kicking the can the down the road? Are straws really the problem? We have a love affair with the convenience of single-use, disposable stuff.

Maybe it is time we take some personal responsibility and whenever possible simply not use single-use, disposable items. Carry a coffee mug or a water bottle. Bring your own utensils. Pack a lunch. It shouldn’t be that complicated.

Also, recycling right is critical. Be sure that the item being placed in the bin is acceptable. Many of our products have a recycling symbol on them, but that doesn’t mean it is recyclable. Ask questions of your recycling vendor to be sure you are not adding to the problem.

Solutions start with a change in our thinking. The natural world provides so much more than raw materials for our consumption. It is time for a fresh look at the beauty all around us. It is time to question convenience.

Marc Morgan


The writer is the city of Lebanon’s solid waste manager.

Don’t Sell the Refuge

I’m deeply disturbed that the Trump administration is trying to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to seismic exploration, the first step toward drilling in this last wild place.

This zeal to drill overlooks the tremendous cultural and natural value of the refuge, the dismal track record of the oil industry and the broad public support for safeguarding this place.

This is yet another attempt to hand over our valuable public lands to corporate polluters. It’s obvious that President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke care more about filling the pockets of the oil industry than the interests of the native communities in Alaska who depend on the refuge for survival, or of the public at large who want to see the refuge continue to exist unspoiled.

I urge those who care about the state of our environment, our climate and our future to speak up and tell Zinke “no” to oil drilling or exploration in the Arctic Refuge. It is imperative the administration hears loud and clear that we will not stand for this special place to be sold off to Big Oil.

Carol Perera Weingeist


Bailing Out Farmers

I don’t get it. President Donald Trump enacts tariffs on imports and China does the same. And we the taxpayers have to bail out the farmers for what they are losing.

Trump got us into this mess. Now we have to pay for it, at the sum of $12 billion (that’s billion with a “b”). Wake up, America, or don’t you care?

Now, according to the news, he wants another tax break for the 1 percent, the billionaires and millionaires, all while the United States is borrowing money and increasing the debt. At our cost. Your last tax break went to pay for the increases in food and gas costs. The rich sent theirs to offshore banks to avoid taxes.

Bailing out the farmers for Trump’s mistake is a political thing for the Republican Party. Because, according to them, we the people are stupid.

Robert Pollard


Railroads and Pools

Regarding Dick Mackay’s strong reply (“Risk-Takers, Not Metal Objects,” July 24) to my recent letter about the trend toward ripping up active railroads for recreational trails (“A Dislike of Large Metal Objects,” July 10), I confess to occasionally viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, which I find infinitely preferable to viewing the world through rosé-clouded judgment.

Mackay failed to get his facts straight in a couple of key areas. First, I wasn’t a resident of the Upper Valley 53 years ago, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed the railroad traffic offered at that time. Second, B&M trains continued to traverse the entire Northern Railroad (now the Northern Rail Trail) until 1982. I personally watched B&M through freights moving through Westboro. Passenger train moves took place as late as the mid-1970s, and I personally witnessed one of those passing Mechanic Street in Lebanon.

The Upper Valley has a rich railroad history, as any member of the National Railway Historical Society will tell you, and it’s not all history. Rail freight travels in four directions out of White River Junction and Amtrak trains carry approximately a busload of passengers daily from White River Junction depot. As far as the Mascoma River Greenway’s being extended all the way to Westboro, I’m sure the New England Central Railroad will weigh in on that. Its owner, Genesee & Wyoming Industries, didn’t purchase operating rights on Claremont-Concord Railway just to tear up the rails.

Regarding Hartford’s Sherman Manning Pools: I find it interesting that Marjorie Rogalski’s letter (“Articles on UVAC Destroyed Privacy,” July 31) contrasts the Ciardelli family’s investment in the Upper Valley Aquatic Center with the purchase of “throwaway items.” I personally don’t consider the Manning Pools a “throwaway” item. The “wide range” of people she says UVAC serves obviously doesn’t include those of lowest incomes.

Maybe the UVAC should consider making a payment in lieu of taxes to the town of Hartford to support alternate swimming opportunities for those who don’t have $1,100 a year in “disposable income.”

William A. Wittik