Forum, March 4: New Lebanon High auditorium would have many benefits

Sunday, March 03, 2019
New Lebanon High auditorium would have many benefits

Dick Tracy asked why Lebanon voters should approve Article 3, which would allocate funds for an auditorium facility at Lebanon High School (“Why not make the most of Lebanon’s Opera House?” March 2). The Lebanon Opera House has been a gracious and wonderful host for school district events and performances for many years. I have enjoyed many SAU 88 events hosted at the Opera House, watching my two school-age daughters sing, act and play instruments. However, the benefits of an auditorium on the Lebanon High School campus are many.

A school auditorium would be a home for the performing arts and allow for more frequent rehearsals, more opportunity for students to learn stagecraft and lighting, and would allow more convenient scheduling of performances (and rescheduling, if needed, due to snow or similar occurrence). With an auditorium at Lebanon High School, students could access it easily and without the need to transport instruments or travel by bus to and from an off-campus facility.

An auditorium would also be used for academic purposes. Many seniors study Shakespeare in English class. This class would benefit from auditorium access. Public speaking is a popular social studies course that would thrive with the chance to regularly practice in an auditorium. The Science Olympiad group and the Model United Nations group could also use the space. Other groups and classes would surely be eager to utilize this space as well.

Community-building is important. An auditorium would hold regular assemblies, class meetings, ceremonies and other events for Lebanon High School and all SAU 88 schools. And an auditorium could provide space for many community events, such a films, community theater, speakers and more.

A beautiful space draws a community together in shared pride in our city and our children. I encourage a yes vote on both Article 2 and Article 3.



School use of Opera House poses scheduling issues

A reader wrote to the Forum asking about the warrant article that proposes building a new auditorium at Lebanon High School (“Why not make the most of Lebanon’s Opera House?” March 2).

I share both the reader’s underlying sentiment and creative energy for troubleshooting and maximizing the value of performing arts spaces already in our community. The Lebanon School Board and the SAU 88 administration evaluated our current usage of the Lebanon Opera House. While that space is suitable in many ways, our ongoing use of the space poses scheduling constraints on the Opera House for booking other visitors. Additionally, there seems to be excess demand for this type of space within our community for other groups and uses. We are excited to maximize such a space for the community’s use as well.

Additionally, others have asked about using the auditorium at the SAU building (the former Seminary Hill School). This space works for some smaller uses, but its lack of a backstage area and aging technology infrastructure make it a challenge to use for high school performances.

Thank you for the reader’s question.



The writer is the chair of the Lebanon School Board.

Norwich climate articles are simply virtue signaling

I was astounded that four Norwich farmers think it necessary to back the three climate action articles to reduce the use of fossil fuels in Norwich, which will appear on the Norwich ballot Tuesday (“Norwich farmers back articles on climate action,” Feb 25). I would have expected better of these farmers.

Surely they must know that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is a great boon to plant life. Commercial greenhouse owners regularly boost their CO2 content to 1,000 parts per million to increase productivity, and already we have seen a 14 percent increase in the amount of greenery globally. Also, the 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature since 1950 has had the effect of prolonging the growing season.

In my view there is no “climate crisis,” and I don’t know why these farmers are signing on to these resolutions. Surely they must know that these reductions in fuel usage would have absolutely zero effect on the climate and on their farming. But, hey, I guess they wanted to signal how virtuous they are.



New Hampshire has moved on from the death penalty

It was thrilling to be present at the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing on Feb. 19 to hear testimony for and against repealing the death penalty under HB 455. I have been a part of the repeal effort, speaking for 14 years as the family member of a murder victim. I know that it takes time to change hearts, and that is what this is about.

The facts haven’t changed over time, except for the climbing number of exonerated people. The death penalty has never deterred crime and hatred does not help victims heal. States that have and use the death penalty have overwhelmingly higher rates of capital crimes. What has changed is the number of citizens and legislators who are determined to abolish the death penalty, as we saw in the successful bipartisan passing of a repeal bill last year (which Gov. Chris Sununu then vetoed) and the overwhelming number of people who spoke in favor of repeal at the recent hearing.

Of the 99 people who testified, 93 testified in favor of abolishing the death penalty, including faith leaders, murder victim family members, two people who were exonerated, and current and former judges, prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement officers and members of the Legislature.

In terms of former Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s testimony, it is clear she sees abolishing the death penalty as losing a feather from her cap. She personally wants Michael Addison to remain on death row. She wants New Hampshire citizens to pay to build a death chamber so that the state can kill its first citizen in more than 80 years. I’m sorry, but the heart of New Hampshire has moved on.



Kudos to former FBI director

Thank you, Andrew McCabe, for having the courage to speak truth to power.


West Lebanon

We’re entering a period of national turbulence

This coming election cycle will undoubtedly be the most chaotic in our nation’s history. Here’s President Donald Trump’s coming gambit: Make wildly inflammatory claims about the disastrous evils of socialism, and accuse the Democrats — and particularly the Democratic presidential candidates — of being agents of such evil. “If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris become president,” Trump will say, “then the America you know and love will cease to exist. This is the election that will determine whether we save civilization or not!”

An invasion of Venezuela, if it serves this Faustian cause, is (amazingly) a real possibility. Trump’s Twitter account stands at the ready. Calls to resist the rise of the socialist destroyers — to resist at any and all costs — will soon follow. Trump’s minions will obediently regurgitate his increasingly fascist rhetoric. And all the while, members of Congress will sit idly by and watch as colleagues are pilloried on the McCarthyian crosses of yesteryear. Remember, they have really great health insurance and a future of lucrative speaking engagements to protect.

Buckle up folks. We are entering a period of national turbulence that will shake us to our very foundational core. I am very worried. I think you should be as well.



Build permit system, not a wall

I agree with Tom Thomson that we need border security (“Do the right thing and secure our southern border,” Feb. 14). I don’t think we need a $5.7 billion wall.

Mexicans want to come to the U.S. to work at jobs that most Americans don’t want to do because, among other reasons, the work is hard and the hours irregular. On our dairy farm we have Mexican workers who initially came here illegally 40 years ago to pick fruit in California. When Ronald Reagan was president they were given legal status as resident aliens and received green cards as a work permit. Today several of our employees are still Mexican citizens and therefore use the cards, valid for seven years of employment, for which they pay the U.S. government $700. Over the years some of our employees have become U.S. citizens. The problem is there is a very lengthy wait for a Mexican citizen to get a resident alien card. If a person can’t get a card, I guess they’ll do what their grandfathers and fathers did for many years: Come illegally, without a work permit.

I am confident that if we had an efficient e-verify program, and a work permit system that would accommodate both the needs of U.S. employers and the Mexican citizens who want to come to work, we would not need a $5.7 billion wall. We would simply need a system at the border, like we have with Canada and Mexico now, to monitor the flow of people and freight. Removing the incentive to come illegally to work is all it would take.

With an efficient work permit program, virtually no Mexican citizens trying to feed their families would want or need to come illegally. Employers could easily be held accountable for the status of their workers. The police could devote more time to preventing the real criminal problems, such as mass shootings. Immigration officials could monitor the work permits. Everyone would be better off. Please contact your legislators and ask them to come up with a good work permit program so we don’t build an unneeded wall.


Bradford, Vt.

Beware the northern crisis

Why is nobody paying any attention to the crisis at our northern border? That is where the real national emergency exists.

Canadians are pouring across and clogging up our ski trails. They jibber jabber in their secret tongue — I know for a fact they are making fun of us. Poutine is being smuggled in at an alarming rate, clogging our arteries and killing us by the thousands. Snowmobilers fly across the border unimpeded. Where is the wall? In the interim, the military must install high-powered lasers to vaporize the invasion ...

Of course, all this makes about as much sense as the “national emergency” on the southern border.