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Forum, May 28: Lebanon proposal ignores city history

Published: 5/27/2020 10:00:16 PM
Modified: 5/27/2020 10:00:11 PM
Lebanon proposal ignores city history

Lebanon is not a city of high-rises. It is not a city of blind progress. It is simply a city. The construction project proposed for 8-10 and 14 Bank St. by Jolin Salazar-Kish is alarming, not only for the unprecedented scale of the project in such an intimately appointed residential area, but also for the apparent disregard for regional history.

I am not for the fetishizing of history, yet I am also against blindly destroying historic structures, particularly those of aesthetic and local import. According to Lebanon, New Hampshire in Pictures, Volume II, compiled by Robert Hayes Leavitt, “Number 10 Bank Street was built from the same plans as the older Carter house and has had several owners, among them ... Dr. H.B. Hazen.” Leavitt continues, “Number 14 Bank Street was the old Colbee Benton home built by 1858.” Colbee Benton was a merchant and gentleman scientist of old Lebanon, involved with the surveying of the Northern Railroad and served in the Civil War.

My challenge to Jolin Salazar-Kish is that of reconsideration. Progress is all fine and dandy, but to disregard local history and aesthetic value in such a manner is preposterous.



Piling huge debt on future generations

Contrary to Rep. Annie Kuster’s self-promotional essay of May 12 (“COVID-19 exposes weak links in our food chain,”) there is nothing wrong with our nation’s food chain, at least there wasn’t until government intervention distorted and crippled the natural forces of supply and demand. Gee, it’s too bad that Kuster’s “heart breaks” to see farmers dump milk, but what did she expect when government forced schools, restaurants and hotels to close? Actions, particularly government actions, do have consequences.

Meanwhile, the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, for which she was “proud to vote in favor” provided a paltry $23.5 billion for support of farmers. Actually, she wrote “$23.5 million.” An honest mistake, or could she just not be sure what she voted for? What’s another $20 billion among friends?

The funding for those poor farmers she worries so much about amounted to barely 1% of the total cost of that monstrous spending spree. Was she also proud that the Act provided big piles of cash for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ($25 million) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($75 million)? Farmers are struggling, millions of folks are out of work, and the total damage done by COVID-19 is as yet unknown, but Kuster and her cronies were sure to provide funding for the arts. Is the Kennedy Center “essential”?

Yes, Rep. Kuster must be very proud indeed. Piling ever more debt onto future generations is just what the doctor ordered, right?

While Kuster’s “heart breaks” as she cries over spilled milk, the hearts of millions of Americans break for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren as yet unborn. It is they who will endure the economic collapse that is certain to decimate the American way of life, a collapse that will be brought about by the spendthrift ways of Democrats in Congress. They have mastered the art of buying our votes with our own money.

Future generations are being deprived of hope for a better tomorrow. Will Annie Kuster’s heart ever break for them? Not very likely. Future generations won’t vote in the 2020 election.



Beware hypnotic power of hate

The human brain is beyond fascinating. We know so little about it, and yet what we do know is, well, mind-blowing. Here’s one thing we do know: The mind likes to believe in things that precipitate the brain’s release of yummy hormones and neurotransmitters. This is one of the reasons why the echo chambers of the internet are so seductive. It feels good to feel angry, to have others validate our anger, to believe in something to the very core of our being, to be willing to fight for what we believe, even if what we believe may not be true.

The current crisis has exposed yet another in a long list of human frailties. No, in this case I’m not referring to our susceptibility to the virus that causes COVID-19. I am referring instead to our vulnerability of reason. If there’s one thing that the pandemic has exposed, it’s that we humans will often attach ourselves doggedly and blindly to a belief, regardless of fact. Why? Because certainty feels good! The United States is experiencing a collective amygdala hijacking, and if, as individuals, we’re not each willing to admit our own potential fallibility, and to embrace those with whom we disagree, we may very well witness the breakdown of social order on such a scale as not seen in recent memory. These are terrible times. Let’s not make them worse by finding refuge in the hypnotic power of hate.



Work of NH House continues

We are fortunate here in Grafton County that the COVID-19 emergency is less intense than elsewhere, but we must remain vigilant. We are proud of the people and organizations who have stepped up to the challenge — the health care workers and the first responders, as well as the workers in grocery stores and gas stations, helping us with our daily essentials. Throughout the crisis, we have spent much of our time helping our constituents find the best route through a confusing bureaucracy. We are directing them to the right resources and agencies to get their needs resolved.

Our work in the House of Representatives was interrupted after our 20-hour marathon session on March 11-12, when we stayed until 4 a.m. to finish voting on bills before the deadline. But the hiatus was brief, thanks to Zoom. Committee work resumed on April 30, with the first virtual meeting of the Finance Committee. All committee meetings are open to the public because of our state’s right-to-know law, and will be posted, with instructions on how to listen in, at Calendars are usually posted on Thursdays or Fridays.

As for meeting in the Statehouse, plans were made to assemble at a large facility where 400 legislators, plus staff, can maintain social distancing. This will give us the opportunity to attend to the issues we were elected to work on — health care, education, mental health, reducing property taxes and protecting our right to vote.

Now, with safety concerns addressed, the House will be meeting June 11 at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire. This will be the first time the House has met outside of Concord since the Civil War.

Meanwhile, we are here to help.

If you encounter problems or issues, we will do what we can to help you navigate the system. Email us at:, or

Stay safe. Stay strong. Help others. Shop locally and wear a mask. We will get through this.







The writers represent the Grafton 10 district, the Grafton 11 district and the Grafton 17 district, respectively, in the New Hampshire House.

Kids ignore safety rules

Those of us who live in and around Hanover can take comfort this May from the very low incidence of COVID-19 in our neighborhood and the almost unanimous observance in the town of masking and distancing guidelines. We may find a much less inviting public health situation here after Dartmouth College students gather for the academic term.

An early evening gathering last week of 30 unmasked youngsters in a North End front yard probably foreshadows many such parties in the fall. Kids will be kids. They easily overlook the serious health consequences for the older community of virus transmission that occurs in unrestricted social settings. It would not be surprising if their academic mentors had a tough job enforcing health safety rules in the town.



Photos inspire our hearts

Yet again, Valley News chief photographer Jennifer Hauck comes through with photographs that raise our spirits and inspire our hearts. “Afternoon Amphibians” (May 21) shows a sister and brother catching frogs and salamanders, identifying them, and then releasing them back to their pond. She captures the best of the human spirit. Time after time. Thank you, Valley News.


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