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Forum, Oct. 12: Show your support today for NHSaves energy program

Published: 10/11/2021 10:00:09 PM
Modified: 10/11/2021 10:00:12 PM
Show your support today for NHSaves energy program

Are you worried about reports of drastic rate increases heading our way for electric and heating bills? There’s not much you can do about rate increases, but what you pay reflects not just the rate but also the amount of energy you use. As rates go up, finding ways to use less energy to get the same or better result — what the industry calls increasing energy efficiency — is critically important.

So what are our lawmakers doing to help? Are they acting to strengthen NHSaves, the popular energy-efficiency program that helps energy users save money and reduce their carbon footprint? According to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s 2019 annual report, “Over the years, the NHSaves programs have demonstrated consistent cost-effectiveness.” This is without even accounting for the greater savings NHSaves customers have achieved for themselves. In the Upper Valley, NHSaves has helped residents, businesses, nonprofits, schools and towns lower electric and heating bills.

Yet incredibly, some lawmakers are headed in the opposite direction. Having initiated the delay on PUC adoption of the energy efficiency plan for 2021-2023 (now 10 months overdue and leaving many enrolled residents and businesses in limbo), they now propose HB 549, a bill that would have the Legislature micromanage energy efficiency using “short-term planning” and “short-term goals.” HB 549 would decimate NHSaves by eliminating weatherization incentives for buildings sorely in need of efficiency improvement. Really? This is their response to rising costs and the urgent need to eliminate energy waste?

If you agree New Hampshire needs more, not less, energy efficiency, and if you don’t want to see NHSaves politicized and subject to gridlock or whiplash every two years, please tell the members of the New Hampshire House Science, Technology and Energy Committee that you oppose HB 549. The committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building, Room 302-304, in Concord. You may testify in person or email before the hearing (committee member email addresses can be found at



We can be the heroes we imagined we’d be

Everybody wants to be a hero. This is true for every little kid I’ve ever met, myself included. Who in their youth has not dreamed of slaying the dragon, of being the one to save the town … or the planet?

On this compelling theme stand countless books and movies, all speaking to a deep human desire. And how many of us former kids believe that, if confronted with such a situation in our real worlds, we would pull the motorist from the burning car, help the shopper having a medical emergency at the grocery store, or even the classic act of helping the old lady cross the street? We all feel we have this skill and this compassion deep within us, just waiting for the call. Our imagined heroes spring to action in acute emergencies when a clear and present danger arises that cannot be ignored.

Recently I’ve been wondering how different the COVID-19 crisis would be were it an acute danger rather than a chronic one. How different would our behaviors be if we could see directly and immediately the benefits our vaccinations and mask-wearing have on others?

What if we could know the elderly person we helped live to see another grandchild’s birthday, or the work colleague we kept out of the hospital, or how grateful our doctors and nurses are to us for saving them the trauma of seeing so many die? What if we could know how we kept a neighbor from losing her job?

In this crisis we cannot know those our actions help, but what if we could? Would we be the heroes our children-selves wanted us to be, indeed expected that we would be?

Go ahead, make your inner kid proud of you. Be a hero.



Roe v. Wade decision is not a historical departure

The sound and fury of the current argument about whether terminating a pregnancy should be legal or is, for that matter, moral lacks historical perspective.

We hear much about the “coat hangar” days before Roe v. Wade and the safer clinical options that followed.

On the other hand, we hear of a moral decay, that permitting abortion is not consistent with traditional American values or religious belief.

But any appeal to tradition that does not square with historical fact is clearly problematic. A push of the pause button is in order.

It is not the fact that in America abortion has always been illegal. Indeed, in 1800, there were few if any statutes concerning abortion in the United States. But by 1900 it had been widely banned. In Colonial America, the decision to terminate a pregnancy was the woman’s, the terminus ad quem being quickening, the moment between the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth month when movement is felt in the womb.

What led to the change from toleration to abolition? Several socio-economic factors are cited.

First, the shift in America (and in Europe, where prohibitions of abortion also grew) from an agrarian to an urban-industrial base; second, the lowering of birth rates (which seems to be in play in the current legal storm); third, the intrusion of a male-dominated medical profession into what had formerly been the province of midwives.

In the 1960s, however, a coalition of individuals and organizations (including the American Medical Association, ironically enough) sought to overturn the mass of existing counterproductive anti-abortion laws. The result was Roe v. Wade, which, with some tweaking, restored the pre-19th-century perspective.

There is not space here to discuss the complexities of the philosophical issues involved in the current controversy. The point is that Roe v. Wade is not a departure from long-standing American values; it is rather an affirmation of a tradition of humane response to a perennial human dilemma.



Don’t tell women what to do

I would like to thank Forum contributor Vicki Ward (” ‘Valley News’ failed women,” Oct. 6).

She’s absolutely right that women should have every right to do what is right for their bodies and not have government tell them what is right.

Men wouldn’t like it. Why do they think women need to be told what to do?



Where is the news about Planned Parenthood rally?

On Oct. 2, I made the hour drive to Montpelier to attend a rally in front of the Statehouse, organized by Planned Parenthood, among other groups. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many men and women (my estimate was 200-300) showed up to show their support for a very controversial issue. One organizer told me they hadn’t been sure that many would show up on a sunny day. Instead, for two hours, a crowd stood in the rain holding soggy, melting signs and listening to many prominent speakers.

For the last week, I have scrutinized the Valley News, waiting to see some acknowledgement of this event, but there has been total silence.

Is this a reflection of the policies of the Valley News? Or is it just that your reporters are too delicate to come out in the rain?



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