Forum, Feb. 8: Dartmouth is being a bully

Thursday, February 07, 2019
Dartmouth is being a bully

I appreciate the article about the steady march north of insects that are decimating red pine tree stands in New England (“What’s Killing the Red Pines?” June 25, 2017) and the recent coverage of the forces menacing the mature trees in Hanover’s Pine Park (“Tree Disease Closes Trail: Hanover Will Remove Dead Pines,” Jan. 12).

When Dartmouth College touted the need for its proposed indoor athletic practice building, which would tower over the neighborhood while sticking its butt side in its face, the college’s representative said any problem with the behemoth’s proximity to residential housing was essentially moot, as there was already a natural buffer between them: 75-foot red pine trees. I asked him if those particular trees were to die, was Dartmouth prepared to replace them with new trees of the same height. He laughed and told me, “Of course not!” When I asked if they had a backup plan, he gave the same answer.

Despite the fact that this facility will cast a shadow for most of the year on neighboring houses, that many community members stood in opposition, that the town denied it a permit, and that the college lost its appeal twice, Dartmouth persisted. It appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and won on a narrow ruling. The division between town and gown has been starkly revealed by this and other instances of bullying by the college.

Downtown Hanover is becoming a ghost town while Dartmouth shoehorns buildings into any available space. Soon this “college town” will have only the college left.

In the meantime, all those pine trees that have shielded us from the worst of the encroaching concrete and callousness will die. Hanover is deemed a “Tree City,” but that title will have to be stripped from the signs welcoming you into town, as coveted green boughs give way to Big Green.

I hope Dartmouth College will reconsider how is approached the practice building, take its neighbors into account and, most important, begin a dialog of equals in planning the future that awaits all concerned.

Jon Gilbert Fox


Register guns just like cars

In order to drive a car, you must have a driver’s license and carry liability insurance. The car must be registered and inspected regularly. In order to fire a firearm, you should have a firearms license and carry liability insurance. The firearm should be registered and inspected regularly.

Why is it considered irrational to say the rules that cover drivers and their vehicles should also cover guns and their users? Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while an appellate judge, wrote that requiring guns to be registered was “unconstitutional.” Why cars and not guns?

A closer reading of the Second Amendment is needed. Remember the business of maintaining a “well-regulated militia”? The right to bear arms seems to be connected to militias. However, there are other more benign uses for guns that should be permitted within the restrictions described above: registration of gun owners and their guns, liability insurance and gun inspections. It’s the only safe and reasonable way to prevent gross misuse of guns.

Anne Harms

West Lebanon

Do homework on horse shelters

The Concord Monitor article on rescued horses (“From famished to flourishing: Horses removed from N.H. farm recovering” Feb. 3) touches on a disturbing issue that is all too often overlooked: Equine shelters and rescues are not closely regulated.

Horses are large, expensive animals that require a lot of open space; well-meaning people quickly find themselves in over their heads financially and emotionally. Animal hoarders, who may truly believe that they are “saving” horses from slaughter or abuse, often subject horses to conditions that are little better (and sometimes worse) than the situations they claim to be saving them from.

Horse slaughter is an emotional hot button for almost anyone who loves horses, and the internet is littered with pleas for financial support. Some of these are legitimate rescues but, sadly, many are not. Anyone can claim to be a horse rescue and set up a PayPal account. Before donating or supporting a horse rescue, do your homework. Don’t just look at a web page, which can easily be faked to look like it reflects an equine paradise. Check with local humane societies, veterinarians or other established horse businesses. When possible, pay a visit to the actual rescue or sanctuary.

If you truly want to save the lives of horses, start by being a well-educated supporter of legitimate rescues.

Lori Berger


The writer is an instructor of equine studies at Vermont Technical College. These are her views, not those of the college.

Vermont needs a family and medical leave program

Just about everyone agrees we need a strong family and medical leave insurance program in Vermont. Other states have it and we should too.

If you have ever been in the position of needing time off to take care of your mother, father or sibling when they really needed you, then you know how important this time is. Or maybe the birth of your child when the time after birth is so crucial for the parent and for child development. But not many people can afford to do that without receiving their salary.

There are many reasons for supporting the Legislature’s family and medical leave proposal. It would help build a stronger small-business economy and a healthy workforce. There is lots of talk about the need to attract and keep young people in Vermont. This would certainly do that. It would level the playing field for small businesses.

But those are the greater-good-for-Vermont reasons. What I am really concerned with here is personal.

If your mother has had a fall or your daughter has been injured you want to be there — not at work worrying about what’s happening or whether there will be enough money. Or, if we had Gov. Phil Scott’s opt-in plan, did I sign up? I should have signed up! Why didn’t I sign up?

In the end, this is personal — for me, when my cousin needed to be there for her mother, and when I may need to be there for someone who is precious to me.

I support the Legislature’s universal family and medical leave insurance program. I hope you will, too.

Bill Kuch

Springfield, Vt.

A prescient program

Back in the 1960s, as part of its White Paper documentary series, NBC aired a program on organized crime. Buried deep in the commentary was the following prediction: “Someday we will elect a criminal to the White House and won’t even know it.” My father and I, watching the program together, exchanged doubting glances.

What did we know?

Christopher L. Chase