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Forum, Oct. 4: Supporting our neighbors in need


Thursday, October 03, 2019
Supporting our neighbors in need

I would like to thank the Valley News for highlighting the new program that Listen Community Services and the Hanover Co-op Food Stores have initiated to help low-income residents across the region make minor car repairs (“Hanover Co-op, Listen put brakes on car repair costs for low-income drivers,” Sept. 29).

The good news is that Listen is here to help so many critical needs like this in the Upper Valley because of the generosity of supporters like the Co-op.

It is not ironic that the same page that carried this column also featured an article from The Washington Post describing the income inequality in the United States reaching its highest level since the Census started tracking it in 1967 (“Census: Income inequality hits high,” Sept. 29).

More disturbing, New Hampshire was noted as one of nine states that are experiencing the largest spikes in this divide.

This persistent rise in income inequality should not be a surprise to us here in the Upper Valley. Every day, our counselors at Listen meet with clients who are struggling. Despite some people having two and even three jobs, they are unable to make ends meet.

Just a few months ago, Listen concluded its most recent fiscal year with a record number of services provided to individuals and families in our community. This included a 52% increase in direct assistance to ensure our neighbors had heating fuel for the winter, and a 40% increase in visitors to our food pantry over the previous year.

We are experiencing this same level of need today and expect it to increase as the colder weather begins.

Please accept my sincere gratitude to everyone in this region who is helping to provide services and support to our neighbors across the Upper Valley.

And if you or your family find yourself worrying about the costs of the cold months ahead or cannot put food on your table, please contact us so we can help.

KYLE FISHER

Grantham

The writer is the executive director of Listen Community Services.

Helping Bahama pet rescue

On behalf of the animals rescued by Big Dog Ranch Rescue, based in Loxahatchee Fla., the Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society thanks donors for their generous contributions to the effort to save animals after Hurricane Dorian destroyed the island and their homes.

The members of this group have worked tirelessly to rescue the animals left behind or separated from their families.

To date, they’ve rescued 120 animals — three cats, the rest dogs — and their mission continues.

They’ve been to Grand Bahama Island four times so far and were there again recently.

Their photos show the devastation, rescue crews, lines of dogs waiting in kennels to be transported to Florida by air and by sea, and happy reunions. It’s a remarkable endeavor, and thanks to many, it’s working. (If you’d like to see these photos before they’re on our website, e-mail: skaskiw@vermontel.net.)

Robin Friedman at Big Dog Ranch Rescue said the animals are all receiving needed veterinary care and the contributions have made this possible, along with funds to feed and nurture the misplaced animals.

Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society purchased three extra-large dogs traps, and financial contributions were well over $3,000.

Sincerely, thank you all.

SUE SKASKIW

Bridgewater

The writer is executive director of Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society.

Hamilton’s essay still relevant today

A few weeks ago, I picked a book at random from my shelf. This one should keep me busy for a few hours while visiting my husband at the hospital. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, is 700-plus pages, heavy to carry but not the least heavy to read. I discover that this is a story for now.

After many chapters and many years, I arrive, finally, at Revolutionary success. The new federal Constitution has been written and accepted by the 13 states, but not without conflict, rancor and necessary compromise.

How, then, shall it be advertised and interpreted for citizens?

Hamilton and James Madison, with John Jay, join to write The Federalist Papers — 85 in all — to tell us. Fresh from the domination of the British monarchy, they were particularly concerned with the issue of executive power. Clearly, this is where we are now with the Trump presidency. You are hearing frequent references to Federalist 65, Hamilton’s exposition of the process of impeachment. It is as relevant today as when it was first penned and published in 1788. The Founding Fathers worked to protect our democracy as best they could. It is up to us to follow their lead.

FELICITY SWAYZE

Tunbridge