Forum, March 25: Child care bill would benefit NH economy

Published: 3/25/2022 2:14:34 PM
Modified: 3/25/2022 2:13:43 PM
Child care bill would benefit NH economy

Everyone in our community has been affected by COVID-19. However, as our nation tries to return to normalcy, we must reflect on how our state’s workforce will be impacted. Creating a robust system of child care will be essential to building an efficient economy. We need to get people back to work, and child care is one way to do that.

The reality is that for millions of parents, usually single mothers, working full time while raising a child is the only option they have. Not only is child care expensive, but child care facilities often have waitlists that take years to pass through. There are simply not enough child care facilities to meet demand.

The result is that parents are forced to step back from their jobs and/or children don’t get the care they deserve. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go to preschool while both my parents worked full time. These were some of the most formative years of my life, but I’m conscious that this was a privilege not many children will have as we transition back into an in-person economy.

There’s currently a bill in our state legislature that would support the development of a child care workforce: SB 446-FN-A. This bill would create jobs in child care and give child care centers the tools they need to support the children of our state’s workforce. I urge our legislators to pass this bill so that our child care workers have the support they need, enabling our entire workforce to succeed.

Mihir Sardesai


Norwich solar project poorly planned

Those of us concerned about the Upper Loveland Road Solar Installation are tired of Phil Robertson’s throwaway “NIMBY” insults. We invite him to become educated about the project.

The Norwich Solar Technology (NST) plan as submitted to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) is very different from the plan shared with the abutters, selectboard and Planning Commission for the required “Preferred Site Review.” Each successive map shows significant change and conflict with the 2020 Town Plan, zoning regulations and the Quechee standard. For example, the town reviewed a plan with a 2-3 acre clear-cut nowhere near the ridgeline. But the actual plan submitted to the PUC includes an 8-acre clear-cut high on the ridgeline on very steep slopes and with great visibility to town roads, I-91, Hanover and the town forest.

We provided the town officials with the succession of maps and invited them to tour the site. This industrial project does not meet the Town Plan.

NST wrote to the PUC in February to report a failure to notify an abutter. This confirms that NST’s submission was incomplete as well as inaccurate. The town ran its process with an understanding that abutters had been notified — they were not.

The residents of Norwich need to be confident that town officials and town employees hold developers to high standards. More than 90% of land in Norwich is available for solar development without town permission. NST proposes a site that needs special authorization. They presented inaccurate information to the town to obtain the necessary “Preferred Site” letter, did not notify abutters and then changed the plan dramatically.

We ask that the town rescind its approval and redo the process. As noted, if you have a permit for a two-bedroom house and then decide to build a four-bedroom house, you must get a new approval. Why should this project be different?

Please stop the NIMBY insults and look at a real project with real consequences. We invite any resident to tour the area and review the documents, which we’ve provided to the Valley News.

Mary and Steve Gorman,
Jen and Dan Goulet,
Joy Kenseth, and Larry Ufford


Kenyon misconstrues Plainfield story

On a recent Sunday morning, I received a phone call from a family member asking if I had read the paper yet. I responded no and then received an earful about a front page article about the Plainfield town moderator and zoning board (“His appointees give his property a first-of-its-kind pass,” March 20). I was livid but for different reasons.

Paul Franklin is a wonderful man and that description falls short. He deals with conflict and difficult people with more grace and dignity than most folks could hope to have.

Paul’s calm and level-headed nature is complemented by his kindness, fairness and generosity. Decades of kindergarten classes have made their way to his farm to pick apples. Those apples are then used for baked desserts served at Plainfield senior dinners. Many fundraisers have also benefited from his donations.

When my Sunday morning caller recounted the story, I asked many questions they couldn’t answer, including what the details of the zoning board exception were and why past requests had been denied. They couldn’t answer the questions because the details weren’t in the article.

When I did look at the paper, I saw that it was a commentary piece written by Jim Kenyon, which explained everything. Unfortunately the paper treated the commentary as a front page news story. It should have had a bold title stating it was commentary. Instead it gave Jim the title of “Valley News Columnist.”

Once again, Jim is using his column to work through whatever personal issues he has. I think therapy would be more effective, Jim. The only issue that could have been considered news is that residents don’t know they can appeal decisions by the selectboard. This might be useful information for those who disagree with the selectboard’s ruling.

I wish Jim would realize the harm he does by trying to sensationalize small-town politics. His divisive columns make it more difficult for towns to find good candidates who are willing to serve on committees or as town leaders. No one should have to worry about Jim coming along and slandering their name when they are just trying to support their community. We all do the best we can. Unfortunately our best is never good enough for Jim.

Andrea Keen


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