Forum, Aug. 3: Dispersed Settlement Is Right for Vermont

Thursday, August 02, 2018
Dispersed Settlement Is Right for Vt.

All of us here in central Vermont can indeed heave a sigh of relief that David Hall has been forced to give up his ego-centered attempt to use millions of dollars trying to trample on traditional settlement patterns in five Vermont towns.

However, the Sunday Valley News editorial on that topic (“A Vision Goes Dark: Vermont’s Brief NewVistas Era Ends,” July 1) implies that Hall is right in wanting Vermonters to gather together to live in clumps, rather than continue to happily live the way many do — along a dirt road in the hills and mountains.

Heavens to Betsy, the editorial exclaims, some Vermonters actually insist on building single-family houses in the woods and then driving to work, rather than living in a settlement close to the job. Allowing such things, the editorial holds, damages Vermont’s reputation as a “green” state.

We have news for the editor: Vermont’s dispersed settlement patterns are an important part of what’s right about Vermont. Dating originally to the hillside and valley farms that dotted the rural roads of the state, a house in a rural area speaks of the owner’s enjoyment of the woods, trees, brooks and hills.

M. Dickey Drysdale​​​​​​


Help Us Honor Hartford’s Veterans

Flags have been put out in the following cemeteries: West Hartford, Fruit Stand, Russtown, South Main Street, Center of Town, Maple Street and Christian Street.

We apologize if we have missed any veterans. Many of the markers are no longer legible or do not say if those buried there are veterans. We have tried very hard to mark all the veteran gravesites with a half-inch plastic pipe to put the flags in every year. If there is no pipe, we put the flag next to the marker if we know it is of a veteran.

All flags are removed right after Veterans Day. We try to leave sticks there to help for the following year, so please do not remove them.

There are basically two of us plus a handful of helpers from VFW Post 2571 and American Legion Post 26, and we had help from the students at Dothan Brook School, Hartford Memorial Middle School and Ottauquechee School. We try very hard to get all the flags out by Memorial Day. At present time, we put out about 1,000 flags.

If we have missed anyone, please give us a call at 603-369-0329 or 802-291-1270.

Denis Backus


Dan Reed Sr.

Vice president

The writers are members of Hartford’s Veterans Council.

An Unreliable Navigator

In reference to the recent story of a driver of a too-tall truck relying on GPS and damaging the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge (“Truck Damages Cornish Bridge,” July 20): Before electrical gadgets, people in ships had to use natural objects, coastlines and hills, celestial objects and their own observations to navigate the seas. These worked quite well, but human inventions, like the sextant, compass, radar and now satellite positioning devices, are more “efficient.”

In 1952, while in the Coast Guard, I sailed aboard outrigger canoes in the Marshall Islands, and the skipper had to have a vast knowledge of weather, currents and wave patterns, winds and clouds, birds and fish, stars and the sun, to go miles beyond land.

None of the Marshallese would think of trusting a voyage to a person with no training, experience, nor general seamanship — how to paddle, handle sails, do repairs and navigate. Early village leadership was fashioned in the same way.

Fast forward to 2016, when the United States puts at the helm of our ship of state a dysfunctional, vulgar, racist bully with no political experience, nor knowledge of how a democracy operates, and who makes up decisions that affect our survival on whims. Maybe Nancy Reagan gave Donald Trump some of her astrology books.

No. 45 acts a lot like the fictional Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, who became paranoid and mentally imbalanced and focused on stolen strawberries and other picky discipline things, which warped his thinking and ability to make decisions.

Moral: Despite our modern inventions and techniques, a sane, well-trained and rational person must be the navigator of all parts of our Spaceship Earth. The truck driver’s GPS was acting erratically — meaning lacking constancy, wandering, having no fixed course. Ready for the lifeboats? Just hope Mr. Magoo isn’t in your boat.

Dick Holbrook


Two Victories for Individual Rights

I want to express my considerable appreciation and respect to the five members of the U.S. Supreme Court who voted to reinstate critical constitutional rights to employees, private and public; as well as to certain members of the New Hampshire Legislature, the state Supreme Court and the governor (especially), for restoring full voting rights to bona fide New Hampshire citizens.

Both acts constitute significant victories for individual rights.

I remain in a state of mild euphoria.

Richard Bircher