Forum, May 21: Thank you to EMS providers

Published: 5/21/2022 11:31:52 AM
Modified: 5/21/2022 11:31:33 AM
Thank you to EMS providers

Today is the last day of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. While Lebanon’s dedicated firefighters and emergency medical service workers provide exceptional service 24/7/365, this week has been our opportunity as leaders of these professionals and as members of the community to say thank you!

You all have been on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember to keep yourselves safe and to balance the demands of your profession. Your commitment to working at mass vaccination clinics — over 4,000 hours — clearly shows your dedication to our community and more.

As the chief of the Lebanon Fire Department, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all that you do for the City of Lebanon, our residents and visitors. You are and always will be appreciated.

Lastly, we would like to encourage our residents and visitors to thank your emergency medical service providers.

Chris Christopoulos Jr.


Think long-term on electric vehicles

Gretchen Dwyer believes that electric vehicles (EVs) are not a solution but just another problem (“Unintended consequences of electric vehicles,” May 17). She laments that widespread adoption of EVs will lead to dependence on unreliable sources on the input side and tons of hazardous waste on the output side. She characterizes widespread adoption of EVs as a blunder comparable to, among other things, eating an apple from the tree of knowledge in Genesis.

Much of what she notes is currently true. We are dependent on some unsavory characters for the materials that go into the cars (as well as our cell phones, computers and other features of our lives). And recycling of lithium, cobalt and other important elements is not economically competitive with virgin materials. But she, like many others, fails to see that markets and innovators respond to these kinds of forces. In a 2021 Science paper, Ian Morse outlined the challenges we face in recycling and the actions and research that is now being carried out. The benefits of recycling are huge — both in greatly reducing the waste issue and securing a more reliable source of theses materials. There are also many other prototypes of energy storage systems that don’t rely on these materials. We are at one point in time; let’s not base our future decisions on current conditions.

Most important, though, Dwyer fails to provide a solution other than to stop buying EVs. As she notes, continued use of fossil fuels carries its own cost, far greater than the temporary problems from EVs. Too bad her only solution is to continue business as usual.

Michael Hillinger


Dazzling Dartmouth performance

Conductor Filippo Ciabatti and the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra outdid themselves once again last Saturday night when they gave a thunderous, stirring performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pathetique.” Every member of that orchestra, and especially its director, are treasures in our midst. Thank you for gifting this gorgeous music to the Upper Valley and beyond!

Jean Mallary


Equity officers hinder academic success

SAU70’s desire to spend $100,000+ hiring a diversity/equity officer is misguided and will not have the outcome intended.

According to the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University and the Heritage Foundation, studies have shown that diversity officers not only fail to close educational achievement gaps among races, but actually make them worse.

Who hires these officers? In red states like Texas, Georgia and Louisiana, 16%, 18% and 8% of schools, respectively, have equity officers. In blue states like Maryland, Minnesota and Illinois, the rate is over 80%.

So have these blue states been better at closing the achievement gap?

According to the data, they haven’t — in fact, they’ve gotten worse.

In districts with diversity officers, the achievement gap is half a grade level larger, with the average Black student 2.4 grade levels behind the average white student. This is a national disgrace.

But according to the report, the gaps have gotten worse with each passing year after the hiring of a diversity officer.

The report speculates the reason is that these officers are not focused on academic achievement and instead rely on pushing political ideologies. Lowering the bar by removing advanced level classes, as has been done in some districts around the country, or creating curriculum “less centered on logic and argument” as is being considered by SAU70’s equity committee, also isn’t the answer.

So how do we respond to the education crisis occurring in our country and our state? We should all be able to agree that sharp declines in proficiency scores are bad. Math proficiency in Concord dropped from 47% to 27% from 2019 to 2021. For Black students, proficiency dropped to 12%. We should be horrified by these numbers — I know I am.

The fact that the Hanover school district and others have shifted focus from excellence to equity, which the data shows hurts the students it intends to help, is part of an unfolding national tragedy that will impact our graduates and our country for decades to come.

Daniel Richards


GOP threatens democracy

Regarding Wayne Gersen’s May 8 opinion column (“Republicans trying to rewrite history”), I would like to expound on his point about the party’s complicity in the “big lie” that Trump won the 2020 presidential election and another conspiracy: “white replacement theory.” These lies have provoked the Jan. 6 insurrection, numerous attempts to corrupt the voting process, false accusations of teaching critical race theory, opposition against reasonable gun laws and even mass shootings. The Republican leadership refuses to denounce these lies because they are politically convenient. However, two U.S. federal judges and three non-Trump Republicans have recently called them out.

In a March ruling against John Eastman, a lawyer who had advised Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election, Judge Carter argued that both Trump and Eastman had most likely committed felonies, including obstructing the work of Congress and conspiring to defraud the United States. One month later, Judge Walton, who was presiding over a trial of a Jan. 6 Capitol rioter, called Trump a “charlatan” who doesn’t “care about democracy, but only about power.”

On May 11, the former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper concluded that Trump posed a threat to democracy: “Given the events of Jan. 6, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to D.C., stirred them up that morning and failed to call them off.”

On May 15, one day after the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, House Republican Liz Cheney tweeted “The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy and antisemitism.” Her colleague Adam Kinzinger specifically called out Elise Stefanik for pushing “replacement theory” in her Facebook ads. Stefanik recently replaced Cheney as #3 in the House GOP after Cheney and Kinzinger had been sanctioned by the Republican Party for criticizing Trump for his role on Jan. 6.

Televised coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings is scheduled to begin on June 9. Hopefully, the hearings will finally make clear to the public the enormously grave threat that Trump and his radicalized party pose to our democracy. This should be the number one concern of voters in upcoming midterm elections.

William C. Black


True Christianity is pro-LGBTQ

Recently, conservative Christians have renewed the culture war against LGBTQ people, thus confirming Blaise Pascal’s words, “[People] never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” Some examples: the Biblical justification for slavery, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials and Germany’s Christian anti-Semitism.

Despite centuries of demonization, persecution and shaming, LGBTQ people still claim their full humanity as a natural part of God’s diverse creation. They, too, are God’s children. As Pete Buttigieg said to Mike Pence, “Your quarrel, sir, is with my Creator.”

Conservative interpretation of relevant Biblical scripture is not universally accepted. My wife and I belong to an Open & Affirming United Church of Christ congregation, which disputes this narrow, literal view. We believe in an inclusive God.

A couple years ago we housed a gay couple for several months. Our many conversations revealed great emotional trauma for the way they had been treated, including by their own families. All they seek is validation, safety and belonging.

It’s time to affirm LGBTQ people for who they are and to celebrate their contributions: Elton John, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Sir Alec Guinness, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Lady Gaga, Laurence Olivier, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Harvey Milk, Gore Vidal, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Sally Ride, Alan Turing, Leonardo da Vinci, Eleanor Roosevelt and Alexander the Great — to name just a few.

“Battling the ‘homosexual agenda,’ the hardline religious right has made a series of incendiary claims. But they’re not true” (Southern Poverty Law Center). Read “Ten Anti-Gay Myths Debunked” at the SPLC’s website.

There are currently 130 anti-trans bills in state legislatures. Given this environment, trans youth are cruelly being driven to despair by harassment and shaming.

Gender dysphoria is real, and gender-affirming care is not child abuse. Why are parents not being allowed to make decisions about their own children and pediatricians to give science-based advice?

“All people, regardless of orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential” (Harvey Milk). Accordingly, we need to trade in “fear of the other” for Christian compassion.

Allan MacDonald

New London

Electric vehicle myths dispelled

Gretchen Dwyer got at least one thing right in her letter (“Unintended consequences of electric vehicles,” May 17). That would be the part where she wrote, “I am not an expert ...” It’s a common myth that electric vehicle (EV) batteries will end up in landfills. Think about the many millions of gasoline cars that all have batteries too. Guess what? More than 90% are recycled, because there are laws to prevent lead pollution from batteries.

The metals in EV batteries are more valuable than lead and these, too, will be reused or recycled. There aren’t many used EV batteries yet because they’re good for many years, even decades, and the industry is so young. In some places, used EV batteries are being given a second life as storage for intermittent renewable power like solar or wind in order to tap that power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Federal laboratories and private industries also are teaming up to find the best way to reuse or recycle EV batteries. Here’s just one example from New Hampshire Public Radio: “Mass. startup transforms old electric car batteries into better-than-new ones” (

Dwyer is right, though, that consumers who have concerns about any product should do their research before purchasing. To learn more about common anti-EV myths like this one and to get more reliable information from real experts, visit the non-profit groups or

Sherry Boschert


Lange column hits nail on the head

Willem Lange’s “Yankee Notebook” columns in the Valley News make my day. In his latest column (“Precedent shows prohibition is poor policy,” May 18), Lange writes:

“About a month ago, I opined in this space about the most likely cause of the disintegration of our democracy; to wit, stupidity. I received no comments, positive or negative; but this week, to my delight, my opinion was supported by none other than Jonathan Haidt, most notably the author of The Righteous Mind. His new essay, appearing in the May issue of The Atlantic, is titled ‘After Babel: How Social Media Dissolved the Mortar of Society and Made America Stupid.’”

End of conversation! Lange’s columns should be required reading!

Nancy Parker


New London committee has value

Last Tuesday night’s New London Selectboard meeting is a good reminder that sometimes we have to step back, breathe, listen and see reason together.

Selectboard member Nancy Rollins deserves immense credit for doing just that, while Bill Helm and Janet Kidder refused to put Mr. Helm’s wish to demolish the Building and Facilities Committee (BFC) on hold. They would have done well to listen to those who attended the meeting, many of whom were their own supporters. The overwhelming majority of meeting attendees implored Helm and Kidder to meet with the members of the BFC to work for the common good of New London.

There are major issues coming up, including a significant financial investment to accommodate our police department. In order to give New London voters the information they need to make a sound decision on a matter that will likely cost many millions of dollars, we need the expertise of those who serve on the BFC. They provide sound and needed counsel. Let’s cool down and listen to them!

Barry and KC Wright

New London

Upper Valley Haven goes too far

There is a huge difference between what one wants and what one needs. The proposed apartment building to be built on a tiny portion of a shared lot with the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church planned by Twin Pines for Hartford Avenue in White River Junction is just way too big and out of character with the rest of the neighborhood. Not only that, but the Haven will soon be asking for another shelter to be built on that same property.

Twin Pines wants a three-story massive structure and has requested a variance by the Planning Commission and Zoning Board to go from the allowed 14 units for that lot to 18 units. The stated reason is that they want a community room with kitchen facilities as well as some administrative space. There is a perfectly good community room in the St. Paul’s Church, which could serve this desire and would allow just a two-story structure to be built. In addition, the apartments will have their own kitchen, so why must they have a community kitchen? Why can’t Twin Pines be content that the Hartford residents are once again willing to have another shelter building (I don’t see any other towns stepping up to do this) and just build a reasonably sized building that everyone in the area can accept? I hope that the Planning Commission and Zoning Board agree that granting the variance is not necessary, and that they only allow a 14-unit building to be built.

Linda S. Miller


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