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Forum, March 2: Two voices for all Lebanon residents

Published: 3/1/2021 10:00:07 PM
Modified: 3/9/2021 9:47:46 AM
Two voices for all Lebanon residents

A community is strongest when all residents are empowered to advocate for their needs within local government. To achieve this, elected officials must be willing to connect with community members who are in need, understand and empathize with them, and use their position of power to be their champion in government. This is not easy work. It requires time, effort, care and compassion.

This is why I strongly support Devin Wilkie (Ward 2) and Sylvia Puglisi (at-large) for Lebanon City Council on March 9. Both these candidates have demonstrated that they will put in the work to be the people’s advocate in Lebanon city government.

Wilkie has volunteered countless hours to this community, including serving on the Lebanon Housing First working group and Welcoming Ordinance task force to ensure that the needs of our most marginalized residents are represented in local government. He will bring this work ethic and principled advocacy to City Council.

As a teacher and education administrator, Puglisi has the experience and skills to engage with residents through a democratic process and bring forward change. This inclusive approach to long-term planning has proven to be a powerful and effective way to foster growth.

Both candidates understand that being a city councilor means serving your community, not the other way around.

Lebanon is lucky to have these two hardworking, compassionate and progressive residents as candidates for City Council. Please join me in supporting their campaigns. Together, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more welcoming Lebanon.



Cory Grant can work with everybody

Cory Grant is running for Lebanon City Council because he believes he can bring positive changes to the city and reunite the people.

Grant has been a very active member of the Lebanon Outing Club, which helps operate the Storrs Hill Ski Area. He grew up at Storrs Hill as his family was also very involved with the outing club. He is now the president of the club and has brought major, positive changes to the ski area.

I have been on the Lebanon Outing Club board for a few years, and I have watched the significant changes brought to the ski area with Grant as president. He has allowed inclusion and participation from the board, the Recreation Department and members of the public to help build a better place to ski for the children of the Upper Valley and beyond.

I believe he will make a great city councilor because of his ability to work with everybody. He has great ideas and is willing to share them, and also receive constructive criticism when needed.

He is a great project manager; he has taken on several projects at the hill that have required many participants, including the city of Lebanon, and was able to bring them all together to get the project accomplished.

Please vote for Cory Grant as city councilor on March 9.


West Lebanon

Karen Liot Hill is a consensus-builder

It is critically important for all of us in Lebanon to get out and vote for our City Council and School Board candidates on March 9. I am writing this letter to encourage your support for Karen Liot Hill, candidate for at-large seat on the City Council.

Liot Hill has served the city for 16 years, including a term as mayor. During that time, she has been a champion for sustainability and investing in Lebanon’s infrastructure, and she is a fierce advocate for property tax relief and community safety. She has been a strong voice for prioritizing public health and emergency preparedness. Most recently, she has been a proponent for the creation of a Commission on Diversity and Inclusion in order to implement a 2018 resolution denouncing racism and promoting inclusiveness to make Lebanon a more welcoming community to all.

Her extensive experience in county government, currently serving as our county treasurer, and her understanding of state government increase her effectiveness in advocating for issues that are important to our city. Always willing to share her knowledge, she has taught a unit on government and politics for Vital Community’s Leadership Upper Valley program for the last 10 years.

Most important in these troubled times, Karen Liot Hill has been a consensus-builder. She is a good listener who brings people together to share ideas no matter where they are on the political spectrum. Respect for each others’ points of view characterizes her civic activity.



These candidates know the challenges that Lebanon schools face

Lebanon’s capable teachers and learners from pre-K to grade 12 need School Board members who will ensure that they have the resources and facilities needed to do their best work.

Candidates Stephen Kantor, Lilian Maughan and Lisa Vallejo Sorensen have demonstrated a willingness to ask questions, apply evidence and work creatively to ensure that our school budget is allocated responsibly and equitably. They recognize that our collective best interest lies in school policies that address the health, safety and productivity of our future leaders and problem-solvers.

As parents of current Lebanon students with experience in all grade levels of the local school system, Kantor, Maughan and Vallejo Sorensen also know firsthand the challenges our schools face today and the real-life consequences of policy decisions made by the board. Seeing the needs this year has exposed, particularly the unequal impact of pandemic schooling on Lebanon families, they are prepared to lead through making strategic plans to help our schools face the next crisis.

As educators and professionals in diverse fields, they understand that the skills our community’s children must master are evolving, as are best practices in primary and secondary education. Kantor, Maughan and Vallejo Sorensen all recognize the need to improve communication among stakeholders in our school system, from teachers and administrators to parents and local taxpayers, in order to make policy decisions that best serve the greater good.

I hope you’ll join me in voting for Stephen Kantor, Lilian Maughan and Lisa Vallejo Sorensen for Lebanon School Board.


West Lebanon

Lilian Maughan is proactive, reliable

I am writing in support of Lilian Maughan for Lebanon School Board.

I first met her in 2018 while serving as a volunteer with the Four Winds Nature Institute program, one of her many volunteer commitments to the Lebanon public schools. She has also served as the secretary of the Hanover Street School PTO, chair of the Scholastic Book Fair, and currently serves as the president of the Lebanon Middle School PTO.

While attending PTO meetings, I was impressed by her thoughtful, well-informed ideas regarding improving communications among the SAU 88 board and administrators and the parents and caregivers of students.

She was also one of the most proactive, reliable and dedicated volunteers, committed to supporting teachers and making a difference to all students regardless of background, abilities or circumstances. In fact, she stepped up as a parent adviser to the Proactive Planning Team during the summer of 2020, at a time of very difficult decision-making for the board.

She is running alongside Lisa Vallejo Sorensen and Stephen Kantor, all three of whom share a common platform of thoughtful, evidence-based decision-making, responsible investment in schools, innovative improvements to education, and support of district teachers and administrators.

These three candidates have something else in common: a demonstrated dedication to the districts they hope to serve through years of volunteer service. I plan on voting for these three candidates for Lebanon School Board on March 9, and hope my fellow Lebanon residents will join me.



Vote against proposed zoning in Canaan

Although zoning has some benefits, there are also some significant drawbacks. I am against the proposed zoning for parts of Canaan Street because of the cost and the lack of demonstrated need. In fact, the town newsletter says if you don’t live in the Canaan Street Historic District, this ordinance has no effect on you or your property. But if you do live in the Historic District, these are the same rules that currently exist, and nothing will change.

Assuming those statements are correct, why do we need this zoning ordinance?

Zoning costs money and taxes are already high. Zoning discriminates against the elderly and low-income households. Zoning requires (or will eventually require) administrative people, inspectors and increased legal and court costs. And the town can’t even enforce the current junkyard laws.

We talk about shortages of affordable housing in the Upper Valley. Have you seen a new mobile home park in the Upper Valley in the last 80 years? Is there any zoning that allows that?

Zoning laws and building codes have grown over the years, raising the cost of building. How can you get affordable housing while increasing costs every year?

We also hear about a shortage of labor. This is partly because of laws causing a lack of affordable housing.

Remember all the renovation and upgrades in the school district? It took several years to pass and we were told there would be almost no increase in taxes for it. Look at your taxes now and compare them to before the school changes.

Tax increases affect older residents substantially. I would tell voters to look at the delinquent tax list in any town in the Upper Valley. A large percentage of those are older citizens on fixed incomes dealing with increasing costs.

Vote your conscious and remember, zoning regulations only increase once they get started.



Learn the facts about Sunapee school renovation proposal provides the facts about the significant life safety and code non-compliance issues in the Sunapee Elementary School, as outlined by the New Hampshire Department of Education, the state fire marshal and Sunapee’s fire chief in their assessments and reports. The declining condition of the school facilities has been a topic of discussion in town for 25 to 30 years. The list of facts about the safety, code, HVAC and ADA issues is lengthy. The school is one of the only school facilities in the state without mechanical ventilation.

Please go to to learn the facts. Please review the documents from the state that detail the extensive list of safety issues that have ranked Sunapee Elementary School as the third-highest priority project in the state.

The high score the school received for life safety issues qualifies the proposed comprehensive $10.6 million renovation-addition project for up to 30% building aid (which would represent a $3.1 million reduction in the overall project cost), should building aid be approved in the final state budget.

Thank you for supporting Sunapee schools over the years, and through these unprecedented times. A point of great pride for the district staff, teachers, students and their families is how we have exceeded 100 days of full-time, in-school learning so far this year. Community support for Sunapee schools is deeply appreciated. Please learn the facts at, and vote on March 9.



The writer is chair of the Sunapee School Board.

Michael Graham has values Haverhill needs

I urge Haverhill citizens to vote for Michael Graham for Selectboard. We need a leader who can help heal our town, and he is the right choice. He has deep roots in our community, understands its needs and challenges, and is a highly respected business owner.

There has been a lot of change and turmoil in Haverhill over the past year. I agree that many changes are needed, but the present leadership has engaged in a negative way that has alienated many of our citizens. We all need to treat each other better, especially our town leaders. Because some people don’t agree with you, that doesn’t mean they are evil, that doesn’t mean they are unworthy. Everyone is worthy. It is up to each of us to model how we treat each other with respect and dignity.

Graham has the positive values and talent to move our town forward. I urge all voters to head to Haverhill Cooperative Middle School on March 13, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and mark their ballot for Michael Graham.



Woodstock should OK Faulkner Park offer

To me, this decision is a “no brainer.” The town and people of Woodstock should accept the generous offer being made by the Faulkner Trust to transfer Faulkner Park and Trail ownership, plus an endowment of $850,000 to support annual expenses. There truly seems to be limited downside.

Faulkner Park is only one of the many wonderful outdoor resources here in Woodstock. Having it under town management enables a common direction and policies governing all of these assets. I believe this approach is best to maintain equal access to these resources by all.

There are naysayers who claim the $850,000 endowment would quickly be used up, which would lead to higher taxes. To me, this is a fear tactic and not based on facts. I virtually attended three of the committee sessions and reviewed all the materials used in the discussions. My conclusion is the annual expenses of the park are actually quite low, and certainly well below the expected annual return that would be generated by the endowment.

Recently, I was part of a team of Woodstock residents that built the Ottauquechee River Trail. I learned two important things during this experience: First, it isn’t that expensive to maintain a park and a trail, and second, there are many local residents who will volunteer to help keep the park and trail in good condition. When building the Ottauquechee River Trail we had four or five “volunteer days,” and every time we got 10 or more people turning out — sometimes way more.

In conclusion, the town should accept the offer. It’s best for Woodstock.



Public education is not a mass production assembly line

Richard D. Bircher’s op-ed column (“The public school monopoly is under siege,” Feb. 21) continues the GOP’s anti-American approach to public education, treating it as just another capitalistic venture, like the auto industry, capable of being made more “efficient” and more “productive,” just like an assembly line, and judged as a “success” or a “failure” by the standards used in classical economics — “monopoly” and “competition.”

His analysis completely ignores the very heart of education — the ability of a teacher to bring out in students that which the students never knew they had. This is a process that cannot be replicated by mass production. All attempts to do so have, in my opinion, resulted in charter schools bilking taxpayers of millions of dollars while betraying parents’ hopes.

It was public education that got us to the moon. Until we stop listening to the Republican Party’s poisoning of our children’s future, we will continue to remain no higher than 17th internationally in education, and it is unlikely that we will regain our position among the top 10 nations for technological innovation.


Springfield, Vt.

Regular scans after cancer treatment are a benefit

I write for the benefit of any Sunday Valley News readers who follow “To Your Good Health,” the column by Dr. Keith Roach in the Sunday paper. In the Feb. 21 column, the headline grabbed my attention (“There is no universally accepted level for post-melanoma monitoring”). A woman had written to say that her husband developed melanoma, had 16 lymph nodes removed, went for skin checkups twice a year “and was given an OK.” She went on to write, “He was Stage 4 by the time we knew the cancer was back” and he died. She asks if “there is some test or scan we could have had to know about the cancer earlier?”

To my surprise, Dr. Roach’s answer was: “There is no definitive evidence that additional testing, such as scans, would have been of benefit.”

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma in 2015. At the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, I started a medication regimen intravenously every two weeks. My condition was monitored with CT scans and PET scans. After one month, the tumors were visibly smaller. After six months they were gone. I continued to receive medication for a total of 18 months, with scans every three months. I also received a few weeks of radiation.

In the ensuing four-plus years since the end of my treatment, I have had CT scans and/or PET scans on a regular basis — first every three months, then every four months and now every six months. This is in addition to yearly skin checks. My oncologist explained that regular scans were the best way to monitor how well the treatment was working.

It will be five years in June since my Stage 4 melanoma disappeared. That is the earliest point at which oncologists will start to say that the cancer is “in remission,” my doctor says.

I cannot imagine why Dr. Roach would discount the benefit of regular scans after cancer treatment, or to suggest that it is not a regularly accepted practice. I intend to write and tell him so.


White River Junction

Thanks for support of Cookie Weekend

Feb. 19-21st was National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend. This year, working within the guidelines imposed by COVID-19, the Girl Scouts from Four Rivers Service Unit met the challenge and sold more than 29,000 boxes of cookies. The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps each girl learn essential life skills including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

We wish to thank everyone who purchased our cookies, and a special thanks to the parents for supporting their daughters. A very special thanks to Steve Davis, owner of Vermod, for generously providing his facility for the delivery of these 29,000 boxes of cookies. Working with him and several of his staff, Erin Buck, Girl Scout leader and product sales coordinator for Four Rivers Service, created a safe, efficient process for troops to pick up their cookie orders. We would also like to recognize Buck’s staff from Upper Valley Aquatic Center, who graciously volunteered to help sort and load cookies.

Cookies are still available at cookie booths and online. Go to Thanks again, Upper Valley, for supporting us.


West Lebanon

The writer is volunteer support coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains Four Rivers Service Unit.

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