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Forum, July 7: Pleasant Street project a good investment for future of Claremont

Published: 7/6/2020 10:00:14 PM
Modified: 7/6/2020 10:00:10 PM
Pleasant Street project a good investment for future of Claremont

I write this letter with great hope and enthusiasm addressing the members of the Claremont City Council and community concerning the proposed changes to Pleasant Street.

Five years ago a group I led, the Claremont Citizens Group, worked very hard making several presentations to the City Council and residents concerning the data collected from all stakeholders. We identified then the need for better communication between the city government and residents, increased parking, enforcement of existing ordinances and laws for property owners, and beautification, with planting and maintenance, benches on the street, landscaping and the like.

It was clear then, as it is now, that changing Pleasant Street will bring small businesses to the downtown, will allow existing businesses like mine to thrive, will increase parking, will increase foot traffic and create a much better experience for residents and visitors, both. It was identified that community pride, community growth and community participation would be brought forth. There is no logical or cost reason not to move forward on this.

The funds needed require a simple increase of 3 cents on the tax bill for a property owner. Seems like a reasonable increase for a water and sewer replacement, a new one-way street, sidewalks, lighting, benches, planting of shrubs and trees, rerouting large trucks away from downtown, additional parking, more foot traffic and business. The $4.8 million is nothing more than a continuation of the bonding happening now, plus 3 cents. Why wouldn’t we do this?

On Wednesday, the City Council will be presenting and deliberating on the project and I invite everyone to watch on CCTV Channel 10, where public participation will be allowed.

Please encourage the council to move forward on this project and let’s do this. We need to continue to invest in us, in Claremont, to draw people to live and participate in our community.



Concerns about returning students

The Dartmouth College COVID-19 task force and administration have come up with what they believe is a careful plan to bring students back to Hanover so they can experience a more normal college life. But this plan is doomed to increase the number of COVID-19 cases in the Upper Valley.

Currently, the alarming surge of the virus in the U.S. is being driven by people under the age of 35. In reaction, governors and mayors across the country are reversing or slowing reopening policies. Academic communities have been experiencing considerable financial and legal pressures to provide students with a more normal college experience. But let us remember that the virus was introduced to the Hanover area by a young Dartmouth-associated person who was asked to self-quarantine. Instead, he attended a social gathering and infected another and on it went.

Entering students will be tested and then asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. They will be required to monitor themselves daily via an app or on the web. The plan also will put restrictions on social gatherings, activities and lectures. Students will be required to wear masks, except when they are in their private dorm rooms. This is a lot to ask of young people.

Recently, I was in a store that required masks. Another customer, in her 40s, ignored the sign and entered without wearing one, pleading the First Amendment. If mature adults disregard such regulations, does the Dartmouth administration seriously expect 18- to 21-year-old students to curb natural instincts such as sexual drive, rebelliousness, having fun and hanging out with friends at a restaurant over hamburgers and beer?



Giving in to a narrow political agenda

I am disappointed in Dartmouth College’s decision to remove a symbol of its founding. Here was a beautifully thoughtful reflection of two humans, of widely separate backgrounds, offering to one another the best of their cultures, one with his book, the other with his peace pipe.

Has this moment in our history turned noble symbolism into a negative, narrow-minded political agenda? One can be cynical about politicians bending to the will of mobs in the big cities, but to infect a country college campus? This could be our last hope. Have we completely lost our way?



Intolerance on both sides of the coin

Is it possible to love your country, approve of social reform movements, or even like yourself, while at the same time having reservations about certain aspects thereof?

President Donald Trump doesn’t think so. He calls anyone who criticizes our country or his presidency “nasty people” or “evil human beings.”

Some people in Windsor apparently have the same opinion of Principal Tiffany Riley, who says she supports the Black Lives Matter movement but has some reservations about certain features of it.

Is it possible that we’re just seeing two sides of the same coin, a coin called “intolerance”?

Ah, yes, and when it comes to coins, there’s no doubt some lawyers may harvest more than a few from this fracas. The question is, how many will the taxpayers of Windsor have to part with in order to subsidize the swelling feelings of righteousness in the breasts of some of their fellow citizens?



Proposed qualifications for Hartford police

I am innocent. I’ve never met a member of the police in Hartford. I believe the salaries and qualifications should be raised if they meet the following criteria: a college degree, a minor in psychology or social work, live in Hartford, and have recommendations from three neighbors. If they meet those criteria, their salary should start at $75,000. Plus, they should leave the guns in their police cars and wear body cameras.


White River Junction

President Donald Trump has been unmasked

More than 125,000 Americans are dead, yet President Donald Trump doesn’t wear a mask, even when surrounded by the dwindling crowd of his followers. But then he has been unmasked for a long time, ever since he called Mexicans rapists and murderers, called the nations of Africa s---hole countries, told three elected U.S. representatives to go back to where they came from and extended a warm welcome to any Norwegians who might want to come to Trumpland.

Alas, there weren’t any. Only hungry, persecuted asylum-seekers wanted to come, but for them there was no way in.

You are unmasked, Mr. President. We know you. You are on your way out.



Rush to create vaccine could be a disaster

The president wants a COVID-19 vaccine rolling off the production lines by autumn. The speed of the initiative, indicated by its name, “Operation Warp Speed,” shouts 23rd century technology. No matter which side of the political divide, or how you identify yourself, who can disagree with wanting a vaccine quickly?

Unfortunately, the problem lies in the details. Creating the vaccine material, that portion of the virus designed to elicit the protective antibody response, is Step 1. Technological advances in the lab have reduced this step from months (or longer) to weeks.

Step 2 is safety testing. How safe is the candidate vaccine in terms of short- and long-term adverse reactions? Step 3 measures effectiveness. Does the vaccine produce protective immunity, and how long does that protection last? Both of these steps take time (months, at the least) to enroll vaccine trial recipients (ideally numbering in the thousands, enough to be representative of a varied recipient populations), give the shots, wait and watch for outcomes, and analyze the data.

The president’s warp-speed time frame seems to be politically driven: Get it done in time for the November election. To do so requires short cuts, and clinical trials cannot be done reliably and safely when rushed.

Any COVID-19 candidate vaccine announced as ready by this autumn will be no different from the president’s suggestions to use an anti-malarial drug or to inject oneself with poisonous cleansing agents. It will be an uncontrolled, unethical clinical trial in which the American population will serve as guinea pigs designed to satisfy the president’s political agenda, not our health needs.

If this scenario is allowed to occur, and the vaccine is worthless or causes dangerous reactions, it will destroy not only the credibility of, and trust in, any subsequent COVID-19 vaccine, but may even destroy those of other vaccines. The legacy of the current federal COVID-19 response already a train wreck. Damaging or destroying immunization efforts will leave a legacy of a long-term health disaster for our nation.



A relief for potential sex crime victims

The New Hampshire Senate recently passed HB 1240, referred to as the Sexual Predator Bill. The vote was 24-0. I am relieved that Ghislaine Maxwell has been apprehended (“Epstein associate arrested in NH,” July 3). The allegations against her show how some predators work to gain trust from young girls, and then use them for sex work. I applaud the work by our federal law enforcement officials, who kept tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts and followed her to the small town of Bradford, N.H.

I know that Maxwell is innocent until proven guilty, but just having her off the street, so to speak, for now, should provide a sigh of relief for many of our young girls.


Stoddard, N.H.

The writer represents District 8 in the New Hampshire Senate.

A cruel, brutal killer, but not a traitor

I’m not a supporter of Robert E. Lee. I believe that statues honoring him should be removed. But we should understand the facts about Lee and the Civil War in considering his place in history, not use divisive charges like those in Martin Singer’s recent letter (“Robert E. Lee was a traitor,” July 1).

The Southern states were not fighting to destroy America but to maintain the independence of the state governments that formed the Confederacy. The fight was for a different conception of the United States, not to destroy the country. The states that formed the Confederacy had no appetite for war. They fought to preserve their rights as individual states, not to change any of the Northern states. We rightly disdain the slavery that the Southern states wanted to protect, but their believing in their right to continue keeping slaves was not traitorous.

I believe that Robert E. Lee can be forgiven for choosing to fight for his state of Virginia, not for the larger United States.

We cannot respect his actions toward Black people. His behavior toward them should be the basis for our not respecting him and the removal of his statues. Lee was not only a slave owner — he was a cruel slave owner, not hesitating to break apart slave families when selling his slaves. He had his slaves brutally beaten for resisting his demands, and as a military leader, he enslaved free Black people when he gained control of new areas. He massacred Black Union soldiers who tried to surrender to him. He refused exchanges of Black prisoners as equal in rank to white soldiers.

He was cruelly racist, even for his times and among his fellow Virginians.

It is right that we should remove Lee’s statues for his horrendous acts, but that doesn’t make him a traitor.



Veterans Affairs must end animal research

It is heartbreaking for me, and all my fellow animal lovers, to read that the Department of Veterans Affairs does laboratory research on “dogs, cats and monkeys” (“Report rebukes VA experiments on dogs,” July 2).

Our dogs and other pets are “family,” not research material. To think of them being used in experiments breaks my heart. It makes me think of doing “research” and experiments on those doing this to the animals.

I beg the VA to stop this cruel and immoral work. Now!



Feedback sought on Mascoma Greenway

The Mascoma River Greenway was opened in 2018 after a decades-long effort by community leaders and volunteers.

Now, local and regional partners want to hear from Upper Valley residents.

This feedback will inform priorities for managing and improving the Greenway. Whether you use the Greenway once a day or once a year (or never in your life), we are interested in hearing from you.

A short, interactive survey on the Greenway can be accessed at



The writer is a planner with the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission.

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