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Forum, Nov. 19: A warm thank-you to all the window insert volunteers

Published: 11/18/2021 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 11/18/2021 10:00:11 PM
A warm thank-you to all the window insert volunteers

We are the coordinators of the “community build” that just completed 191 insulating window inserts for folks living or working in Hanover and Norwich. This was a joint project of the Norwich Energy Committee and Sustainable Hanover, collaborating with a fantastic nonprofit, WindowDressers of Rockland, Maine.

The inserts are custom-built, attractive, easy to install (since they are inside), removable and reusable. They let light in, keep drafts out, and reduce heating costs. By lowering heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions, the inserts will help 28 households achieve a lower carbon footprint while staying more comfortable over the winter. They are high-quality and low-cost because they are built by volunteers at barn-raising-style community builds.

We want to thank the 100-plus volunteers from across our area who measured, glued, screwed, taped, attached plastic film and foam edging — and made soup for lunch!

We want to thank our mentors from Thetford and Strafford, who showed us the right way to do things at their community build in September, and got us off on the right foot as we started our build last week.

We want to thank the Norwich Congregational Church, which allowed us to take over the parish hall for six days; and King Arthur Baking Co., which donated breads and cookies each day to fuel our volunteers.

And we want to thank WindowDressers, which — with a staff of just four — has worked out the zillion logistical details of having volunteers all across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont build great-looking functional inserts. It’s a job worthy of an Army quartermaster.

The inserts are provided at no cost or low cost to households with budget limitations; please support this with a donation at WindowDressers.org/donate.

YOLANDA BAUMGARTNER and JUDY PAYNE

Hanover

LINDA GRAY

Norwich

The writers represent Sustainable Hanover, the Norwich Congregational Church and the Norwich Energy Committee, respectively.

Community nurses can do so much good for Vermont

We need community nurses in Vermont. Aging at home has become a front-and-center issue. People 65 and older make up 20% of the population. Medical facilities can’t keep up with demands. We have a housing problem. We’re focused on reducing fossil fuel use. A community nurse lessens emergency rescue needs. Town volunteers supporting this help build diverse community.

For nurses feeling overworked, what about changing to part-time, small-town caring for elders in their homes? You would have ongoing relationships with clients and support from town volunteers. The community nurse in Sharon establishes a relationship with residents in need of health care. She provides information, resources and access to local volunteers, all free of charge.

The Upper Valley Community Nurse Project will help explain how this works to interested groups and provide startup funding. Each town approaches this in a variety of ways. In Sharon, we started by getting this worked into the town plan with the goal of making high-quality medical care available to all Sharon residents, especially elders who need assistance “aging in place.”

We need planning commissions throughout the state to make this a part of their town plans. The state needs to require towns to address health issues, especially aging at home.

Having lived in Sharon for more than 60 years, I’ve seen the need for a community nurse grow, and I’ve seen how this one solution can address medical stress, housing and transportation needs, and build community.

The time is right for this.

CAROL LANGSTAFF

Sharon

The writer is president of the Sharon Health Initiative.

For businesses, customer safety must be a top priority

What a disappointment!

I admit I was counting the days until the West Lebanon Target opened its doors. I usually patronize our local stores, of course, but I’ve inexplicably loved Target since living in Denver in my youth. On opening day, I noted that the West Lebanon Target posted signs “requiring” masks for everyone. Inside, there were frequent general announcements that “masks are required and available at the front of the store.” Go Target!

My excitement was dampened somewhat by the empty shelves and messes left by over-eager patrons, but I understand that hiring is hard and the supply chains limited. But then I felt truly unsafe. There were unmasked shoppers everywhere. Some were coughing, and most of them had unmasked children in tow.

In my former-school-teacher way, I reminded one couple that there were masks at the entrance. They ignored me and quickly walked away. I spoke with floor workers who said that they were “not allowed by management” to enforce the mask requirement. The store manager, who was polite and understanding, said that mask-wearing was enforced at Targets in other New England locations where he’d worked. He couldn’t explain why “District” told workers at this store not to enforce the rule, but offered to share my concerns. I haven’t heard back.

As COVID-19 cases rise in Vermont and New Hampshire and a “fifth wave” is inevitable, I recommend that we avoid businesses with unsafe practices. I want to support the local economy, but we should expect that businesses in the Upper Valley are doing everything they can to keep us safe — as many do. I will not patronize a business that does not make customer safety its top priority. I recommend that others do the same.

MARTHA HENNESSEY

Hanover

Gov. Sununu continues his attack on reproductive care

As a resident of New Hampshire, I am terrified about continued attacks on my freedom now that Gov. Chris Sununu plans to run for a fourth term, given his political career chipping away at reproductive rights.

When Sununu was an executive councilor in 2015, he cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which jeopardized access to family planning care for thousands of patients. Recently, he stood by while his Executive Council colleagues voted to defund Planned Parenthood once again.

In 2018, Sununu put his full support behind Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and now 26 states are at risk of losing access to safe, legal abortions.

Sununu signed the first abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history, which criminalizes doctors and requires ultrasounds for all abortion procedures. He campaigned as a “pro-choice” governor, but pro-choice governors don’t pass abortion bans or restrict access to reproductive care.

As a young college student in this state, I hoped to live in New Hampshire after graduation. But many young people like myself no longer feel our rights will be protected. Young women like me now have many barriers to accessing abortion care in this state. I don’t want to live or raise my future family in a state where health care rights are under attack. I will not be voting for Sununu as governor and I encourage everyone to join me in calling Sununu and holding him accountable for his attacks on reproductive care.

SAMANTHA MONGEON

New London




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