Forum, Feb. 23: Bias and bigotry shown toward gun owners

Published: 2/22/2021 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 2/22/2021 10:00:12 PM
Bias and bigotry shown toward gun owners

I have decided that it is time to voice my First Amendment right to free speech while I still have it.

Steve Nelson’s Jan. 30 op-ed column (“There’s no vaccine for America’s gun virus”) was appalling and over the top against gun owners, calling them a virus. Being involved with shooting sports most of my adult life, I have never misused or threatened anyone with a firearm and don’t know anyone who has. It seems Nelson can’t understand why police and ex-military are involved with certain groups. The answer is simple: They know what it takes to keep a democracy and its freedoms.

There are more dangerous viruses out there than guns that Nelson embraces, such as bias and bigotry and others. We don’t need him and his poison pen spreading his kind of virus in the Upper Valley. We already have the rest of the Valley News doing that.



Dartmouth College heating plant is modern

In his Forum letter, Dwight Aspinwall mentions Dartmouth College’s heat-power cogeneration plant and says college President Phil Hanlon “proposed the replacement of one carbon-producing heating plant with the creation of another carbon-producing plant,” (“Hanlon’s tenure marked by failure, fiasco,” Feb. 13).

I would suggest adding ignorance or deception to failure and fiasco.

During the past two years, many articles have appeared in the Valley News that refer to the plant as “antiquated.” In fact, the plant is very modern and controlled by a modern system. Tour the plant and you will see operators controlling complex systems using computers.

Ask to look at boiler No. 2, a super-heat, low-nox (oxides of nitrogen) boiler installed in late 2008. That boiler is hard-piped to a ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel tank. Around 2010, we successfully ran that boiler on biodiesel. That’s correct. For normal operations, it burns No. 6 oil, but with the turn of a valve and a flip of a switch, it can burn biodiesel. South of the plant there are two, 125,000-gallon fuel tanks. Tank No. 1 is lined up to boilers Nos. 2 and 3. Tank 1 could be filled with biofuel or ultra-low sulfur diesel.

Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects, recently announced that the plans for a wood-chip plant had been dropped. He then talked about solar arrays. In 2010, 24 mounts for a solar array were installed on the plant roof. To this day, to my knowledge, there are no solar panels installed there.

So, in the future, activists and concerned neighbors might want to ask Dartmouth officials if the issue is climate change, or is climate change just an excuse to remove the plant for a real estate grab?


West Hartford

The writer worked at the Dartmouth heat-power plant for 18 years, 12 years as boiler operator.

Donald Trump remains a threat to democracy

What did we learn from Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial?

■ Republicans will never hold Donald Trump accountable, despite their constitutional duty to do so (called checks and balances). There is no conceivable act that they would see as an impeachable offense — not undermining the Constitution, democracy and the rule of law, not incitement to overthrow a valid election, not corruption or pathological lying to the American people.

■ This is Trump’s Republican Party. Republicans can no longer call themselves the law-and-order party. They can call themselves the Big Lie Party, the Hoax and Fraud Party, and the Anti-Democracy Party.

■ Their cult leader is without a moral compass and has a toxic need for power. He took no responsibility for the events of Jan. 6 and made no real attempt to stop the insurrection once it started. He feels no remorse for putting legislators, police, election officials and his own vice president in harm’s way.

■ Trump’s America is one of conflict and chaos, armed vigilantes, empowered white supremacists, QAnon, conspiracies and division.

■ Republicans are untrustworthy as legislative partners, even more so than those who exploited President Barack Obama’s attempt at bipartisanship in 2009. Trump Republicans see compromise as capitulation, prioritizing party over the country.

Donald Trump still has not acknowledged that Joe Biden is the lawfully elected president of the United States. Same with many of his followers. As de facto leader of the Republican Party, he remains an existential threat to our democracy.

The Republican Party has sold its soul to a despot.


New London

Clean house in Senate

In a few short weeks, I have already seen a big change in the United States’ medical teams. Dr. Anthony Fauci is in control of his department. He stands at the lectern and advises the American people about COVID-19 without his job being threatened. Science finally has a say about this very, very dangerous virus, and vaccines are being delivered after a long screw-up by the Trump administration.

What happened in the United States in the last four years was brought on by Donald Trump and his Republican senators. Trump lied and gave false information to the American people and the Republican Senate swore to it.

Get rid of the Republican senators. They, in my book, are corrupt and think they own the people. A dictator has complete and absolute control of his people. This is what Trump wanted to do.

Almost 500,000 mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers have died because of Trump and his Senate gang. Clean house, or this will continue to go on.



Dan Fraser bring out the best in others

Hartford is fortunate to have many qualified candidates running for Selectboard this year, and I am proud to endorse Dan Fraser, Julia Dalphin, Rachel Edens, John Hall and Ally Tufenkjian for the various positions they are campaigning for.

In this letter I wanted to note specifically my support for Dan Fraser, who has served as chair of the board through what have been some of the most challenging months Hartford has ever experienced. Fraser is a listener, and his energetic, upbeat personality helps bring out the best in those he serves with. Whether he is managing a meeting over Zoom or raising money to support local nonprofits, he is always quick with a kind word and is thoughtful in his deliberations. I encourage you to vote for Dan Fraser, and I thank him for his continued work to better our community through his civic engagement.



The writer represents Hartford in the Vermont House.

Running as candidate for Bradford board

My name is Meroa Shepard Benjamin and I am running as a write-in candidate for Selectboard in Bradford, Vt., vacant due to Randy Moore’s decision to step down after many dedicated years of service. I am a full-time, longtime Bradford resident. In 2015, after 33 years, I retired as business manager for the Vermont Department of Corrections’ Northeast Regional Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury.

Experience managing multimillion-dollar budgets, personnel and payroll operations was a valuable resource when I obtained my degree from the Community College of Vermont. The training and workshops offered by Vermont that I attended over the years have given me a good perspective on how governments work and how to be effective within rules and regulations.

Previous experience serving as technical director for Old Church Theater, River Bend Career and Technical Center’s advisory board, board secretary for Bradford Academy and Graded School District, and board member of Vermont Conference of Social Concerns has prepared me for working as a team member and representing the concerns of constituents.

I serve as president of the Bradford Historical Society and liaison with Bradford Academy Alumni Association. Previously, I served as chairman of Bradford’s 250th Celebration, Sunday school teacher at Bradford United Church of Christ, Girl Scout leader, Service Club president, and a charter member of the original Oxbow High School Alumni Association.

My interest in Bradford and its people make me the perfect candidate for this position. I know and understand the financial burden that taxpayers’ carry. I understand the need to provide essential services to residents without unduly increasing spending. I will carefully weigh each decision, listen to your input and make thoughtful decisions.

I will appreciate your support and will execute the duties of Bradford Selectboard member to the best of my ability. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at mshepardbenjamin@gmail, or call 802-222-9621.


Bradford, Vt.

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