Forum, March 9: Lebanon School Proposal an Investment in Community

Thursday, March 08, 2018
An Investment in Community

I am writing to express my support for the proposed improvements to the facilities in the Lebanon School District.

As a resident of Lebanon and 1973 graduate of Lebanon High School, I appreciate the financial sacrifices prior generations of taxpayers made to support the education I received in the Lebanon School District. I have paid taxes, and yes, made sacrifices to help ensure the educational facilities my children accessed in Lebanon were of high quality. I am soon to join the ranks of fixed-income retirees, but still feel that financial support of quality education for Lebanon’s children is the best investment a community and I personally can make.

The proposal for improvements should be accepted in its entirety. This includes an auditorium on the high school campus. The Lebanon Opera House is not as readily available to school groups as some perceive it to be and cannot be seen as an annex to our school buildings. The course offerings at the high school include woodworking, for which the school has a woodworking shop. We do not ask students to be bused up Route 120 to use the shop at Trumbull-Nelson. We offer a varied science curriculum, for which an entire wing of science labs is available. We are not contracting to use labs at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover. Our sports teams have fields, a track, a gymnasium and equipment. The students enrolled in music and drama courses offered at the high school deserve access to course-specific facilities that support the study of performance arts.

I would urge others to see voting yes on Article 2 on March 13 as a continued investment in our youth and, subsequently, our community.

Jeanette Hutchins

West Lebanon

Thetford Looks to Energy Future

Thetford has a yearlong series of events called “Thetford 2050: The Good Life in a Post Fossil Fuel Era.” These forums, movies and discussions are designed to look at how we reach 90 percent alternative energy by 2050, which is the goal of Vermont’s Act 174.

Our first event will be Saturday, beginning at 3:30 p.m., at the Martha Rich Theater and Cafeteria at Thetford Academy, to view the documentary Tomorrow. A free community dinner will follow at 6 p.m. Come for one or both. Please bring your own utensils, plates and cups to make this a zero-waste event.

Also, those considering building new or retrofitting to maximize energy efficiency should mark their calendars for our second event, “Net-Zero, Mini Split Heat Pumps, Geothermal & Financing Explained,” set for April 10, at 6 p.m., at Thetford Academy.

Mary Bryant

Thetford Energy Committee

SNAP Supports Nutrition, Economy

The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society strongly supports SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As it is currently structured, this program is highly successful in addressing food insecurity in the Upper Valley and throughout the nation. The recent proposal to shift a substantial portion of benefits to a “harvest box” delivery program would greatly diminish the practical benefits of SNAP.

At our Co-op Food Stores, we see the positive impact of SNAP: Our neighbors have access to quality food. They can choose food that is nutritious and often locally grown while selecting products that best meet their family’s needs. In addition, the Co-op offers programs that help eligible recipients boost the buying power of their SNAP purchases.

According to the Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed by the end of the month of issuance; the daily per-meal benefit is about $1.40 per person; and SNAP generates $1.80 in economic activity for every $1 in new benefits.

The Upper Valley’s system of food producers and retailers is a vibrant contributor to the local economy. SNAP removes barriers to participation in that economy. Let’s support a program that helps our neighbors choose products while supporting our regional economy.

Edward W. Fox

General Manager

William Craig

Board President

Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society

Kudos to Dick’s Sporting Goods

Finally, there is a crack in the National Rifle Association’s armor. Although it appears that, once again, after another U.S. mass shooting using an AR-15 assault-style weapon, Congress will take no meaningful action on banning this type of gun, Dick’s Sporting Goods has stepped up to the plate. The company has stopped selling all assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines and has raised the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21.

The NRA and much of Congress pussyfoots around the issue, hiding their heads in the sand, suggesting that guns are not the problem. Guess what, assault-style weapons are the major part of this particular problem, when it comes to mass killings.

I applaud Dick’s Sporting Goods. Now if Congress could only grow a backbone. And if the majority of NRA members, who also believe that assault-style weapons should be banned, will finally speak up, we may begin the process of lessening this terrible problem, unique to the United States.

Dana Seguin


Less Lethal Ammo, Better Data

Gun safety is not just a matter of politics. It’s also a practical matter of physics, of human anatomy, of mortality. A .22-caliber rifle bullet, great for plinking at tin cans and harassing woodchucks, will not easily inflict a mortal human wound by accident or evil intent. It lacks serious lethality.

By contrast, the high-velocity .223-caliber round from the typical “assault rifle,” while essentially the same size as the .22, delivers so much more energy upon impact that wounds are often fatal. That is why we equipped our troops with the weapon in the first place, and it is why 20 little kids in Connecticut and 14 teenagers in Florida died.

Numbering roughly 10 million, there are already far too many AR-15s and AR-15 clones circulating in America for any “assault weapons ban” to end the mayhem. But the lethality of the .223-caliber ammunition used in these random mass murders can at least be reduced.

I propose that assault rifle ammunition be federally regulated to come in two flavors: “full strength,” available only when shooting at licensed ranges, and “decaf,” a lighter and less lethal powder load available over-the-counter. An AR firing “full strength” ammunition has such lethal potential that it simply has no place outside the safety of the shooting range. The “decaf” charge would be graded for target and varmint shooting, home protection and other legitimate uses. The current inventory of privately owned lethal ammunition will diminish over time.

We also must begin to systematically record, gather, organize and disseminate comprehensive data on gun deaths in this country to better inform and focus our debates on effective gun safety policy. Confiscation paranoia be damned. Continuing our willful ignorance regarding guns is killing our young and blighting our future. We are criminally negligent as a society.

Dodd Stacy


Don’t Cut U.S. AIDS Funding

The United States has been fighting for more than three decades to protect and uplift people affected by AIDS around the world. Since 2003, the U.S. has been the leader in funding to fight global AIDS. Our country launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and is the largest donor to the multilateral fund, The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Because of the resources that have been provided so far, half of all people with HIV are living with treatment, but that’s not enough. With treatment, HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence but a chronic condition. We could end the AIDS pandemic in my lifetime if we reprioritize it.

President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget threatens to completely reverse our progress with HIV/AIDS. In the proposed budget, he suggests over $1 billion in cuts in global AIDS funding. How many unnecessary deaths and new infections will result? Luckily, the president does not make the budget, Congress does. Congress needs to reject these cuts to the President’s Emergency Plan and the Global Fund and request nothing less than the full, necessary funding levels: $5.16 billion for the emergency plan and $1.35 billion for the Global Fund. I urge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to spearhead these efforts and be a hero for people with HIV/AIDS.

Rachna Shah


Chronicles of ‘Dilly Dilly’

If it’s not too late to comment on the Super Bowl commercials, I’ll offer the following observation: I read the article about the Bud Light commercials (“‘Dilly Dilly!’: The Story Behind the Ad Catchphrase of Season,” Feb. 4) and watched for it during the Super Bowl. Upon receiving cases of Bud Light, the king exclaims, “Dilly! Dilly!” the same way an American might say, “excellent” or a Brit “jolly good.” I missed the “viral” use of the catchphrase on the Internet, but I knew I had heard it before.

Finally, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out C.S. Lewis’ epic The Last Battle, the last book of the acclaimed Chronicles of Narnia series. There, on Page 100, Shift, an evil talking Ape who has sought to corrupt Narnia, is goading the Narnians and their friends to enter a mysterious Stable, where they might — or might not — meet their doom.

When Shift suggests one of the Dwarfs go first, the head Dwarf, Griffle, responds, “Dilly, dilly, come and be killed! How do we know what you’ve got in there?”

The Last Battle was published in 1956.

Margo Howland-Mastro

White River Junction