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Forum, Sept. 1: Kenyon missed details in Thetford

Published: 8/31/2020 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 8/31/2020 10:00:01 PM
Kenyon missed details in Thetford

We regret that Jim Kenyon’s column about Thetford in the Sunday Valley News (“Missing management, Aug. 30) omitted information and failed to present a clear picture. It only escalates the tensions from the pandemic and political climate. It erodes our best and honest efforts to keep local government functioning in challenging times, undermining rather than strengthening our community. Sadly, the Valley News, a local newspaper of which we are usually proud, serves as its platform.

Jim omitted the fact that Guy Scaife, our other finalist for town manager, had been fully vetted through extensive interviews and background checks, thus no additional interviews were necessary. Another omission was that Serena Bemis-Goodall departed a few scant weeks before the town budget was due, leaving it largely unfinished. The only Selectboard member with budget experience, Mike Pomeroy, took over but tragically died before its completion. Luckily Guy Scaife, an experienced manager, was available and vetted. Guy made a special effort to come on board in time to assist us.

In the context of Guy leaving Thetford, the word “bailing” is regrettable. Guy has always been upfront with the Selectboard and we knew early on about his developing family situation, including the pandemic’s impact on major life decisions.

Most Vermont towns employ Vermont League of Cities and Towns to administer town manager searches. VLCT’s Executive Search Process Overview states: “Confidentiality is very important to some applicants, particularly those who have a current employer…. we highly recommend adopting a confidential application process up to the final interview, to the extent that is practicable.”

The column hints at clandestine exclusion of women and minority candidates. Please note that our first hire was a woman, as are three of five Selectboard members.

Thetford and its villages have a unique identity and we regret that Jim, or the Valley News, would seek to demean that.

Nick Clark, Li Shen, Steve Tofel, Sharon Harkay and Mary Bryant

Thetford Selectboard

Prentiss: Judge me
by my record

As a proud Democrat running for state Senate, I wanted to set the record straight. I was disappointed that in a recent Forum letter, a group of current and former legislators questioned my integrity related to my past support of a moderate Republican presidential candidate. In this election, it is my record that is up for review and consideration by the voters.

I am proudly pro-choice and have gone on record supporting funding for Planned Parenthood contracts before the governor and executive council. As a long-time health care professional, I supported the Affordable Care Act. I have the direct experience to see what happens when people don’t have access to this basic human right. We can do better. I do not support the death penalty. I have fought against climate change. I was mayor when Lebanon adopted the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and am part of a team of Councilors that supports renewable energy projects, putting our city on the road to becoming a leader in the effort to provide community power. I led the vote on anti-discrimination protections for transgender employees and spearheaded the city’s first Inclusiveness Resolution in 2017 in response to racist hate speech. This is just part of my record that District 5 voters can examine.

My desire to serve my community led me to run for City Council, where I have served for the past 11 years, championing and voting for a progressive agenda as a non-partisan city councilor and mayor. Before that, I worked hard to become the state’s chief of EMS, investing hours upon hours to protect the public. Fighting for justice, equality and protection of the most vulnerable in our communities is at the center of decisions I have made and will make as your next state senator.

At my table, everyone is welcome. I stand on my record. I invite voters to visit my website, prentissfornhsenate.com, and decide for themselves. The District 5 seat belongs to you, and it would be my honor to represent you in the New Hampshire Senate.

Sue Prentiss


Former mayor
backs Prentiss

I am writing to ask the voters of New Hampshire District 5 to vote for Sue Prentiss to be their next state senator.

I have had the privilege to work closely with Sue during my tenure as mayor of Lebanon. Sue served as assistant mayor and was then elected mayor where she guided Lebanon through a city manager search and the unique complexities of setting policy for the region’s largest municipality. In those leadership roles, Sue never lost sight of the real people affected by her decisions. I have seen her fight to amend policies to achieve balance. I have seen her agonize when a necessary policy would have a negative impact on a given segment of the community.

But what has always been clear to me is that Sue does this work to serve those she is elected to serve and that her highest priority is to insure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. Even when not legally required, Sue has arranged for public hearings on controversial issues so that all views can be expressed.

Sue and I have not always agreed but she always listened carefully to my perspective. As in all good exchanges, she sometimes persuaded me to change my view and she always gave me new and different ways to see an issue. Whether we agreed or disagreed, we were always able to move forward without bitterness or anger.

I am especially troubled when I hear statements from others attacking Sue’s motives for running for the Senate seat when it is these exact constructive and persuasive personality traits that make Sue a unique public servant and the best candidate for office.

I want a senator who will listen, feel the depth of each issue on a personal level, search her soul and do what she feels is right on behalf of those of us she serves. Sue Prentiss is that person and she has my vote for District 5 Senator.

Georgia A. Tuttle

West Lebanon

The right candidate
for the environment

Of all the issues facing us, the environment is the most urgent. My backyard, no matter the season, is in large part the joy that gets me up in the morning with something always exciting and unexpected going on. Preserving our world’s gifts so that my children and grandchildren, and yours, have a decent chance in their future to survive, but even better, with lives that still afford them much of the beauty and abundance we enjoy, is one of the reasons I joined a subcommittee of Sustainable Hanover. It supports the Weatherize and Solarize Hanover programs, environmental webinars, “Who knew” columns and other activities to let Hanover’s residents know what’s going on and become involved in efforts to address climate change.

That’s also why I am supporting Beatriz Pastor for state senator. She has a deep understanding of, and creative solutions for, the current issues we face, but the health of our environment is her top priority. Moreover, she has the experience we need, having previously represented not the people of just one town, but all the towns of District 5, having served three terms in the House, stepping down only when her husband became critically ill. Her concern for the environment, as well as improvements in access to broadband internet, lower electricity costs, and improved educational funding, are the reason 350NH, Rights and Democracy NH, and Youth Movement Action NH have endorsed Beatriz. She has long been an active and strong supporter of Democratic efforts in our state, unlike her opponent, who served on the state steering committee for Republican presidential candidate George Pataki.

The choice for me is very clear.

Judith Pettingell


Prentiss’ experience will be helpful

I write to share my support of Sue Prentiss in the race for New Hampshire Senate for District 5. I have known Sue for over 15 years, initially in her role as a consultant in emergency services and later as a Lebanon City Councilor and committed public servant. Sue brings an intelligent, thoughtful, and collaborative approach to her leadership that will serve all residents in her district, from Charlestown to Lyme.

Sue’s real world experience will be particularly important as New Hampshire faces the public health challenges of living, working and attending school during a pandemic. Her relationships with first responders will be critical as state and local governments respond to racial inequities in law enforcement.

As a person living with ALS, I know that Sue understands the health care needs facing New Hampshire residents. As former county manager and resident of Sullivan County, I know that Sue is just the voice we need in the state Senate. If I could, I would enthusiastically vote for Sue. Please consider casting your vote for Sue Prentiss on Sept. 8.

Jessie Levine

New London

Dartmouth putting us all at risk

As a Dartmouth alum and resident of the Upper Valley, I am dismayed by the college’s decision to bring students back to campus this fall — a decision that shows total disregard for the health of our community. The foolhardiness of students on college campuses has already been demonstrated this month multiple times. Shame on your administration for ignoring this evidence along with the protestations of faculty members and town residents. You are putting us all at risk unnecessarily in the midst of a pandemic.

Liza Draper


Hanover Country Club is a sad sight

I drove past the golf course in Hanover recently. What a sad sight. The grass and weeds growing helter skelter, the greens brown and dead. I parked where it still says “HCC Members Only.” I looked in the window of the clubhouse. Everything inside looked absolutely normal, as if the crew was on a lunch break. I saw my mother’s name written over and over again on the champion board. She must be turning in her grave. I don’t even golf, but it brought a tear to my eye.

John Guest


Don’t skimp on
teaching the arts

I agree with the suggestion by Cathy Lacombe (“An alternative way to teach,” Forum, Aug. 26) that one-on-one, intensive teaching for children is effective. But I was alarmed by her sentence, “Subtract 40 minutes for art, physical education or music, etc.” If one doesn’t provide instruction/coaching in those areas, development of those skills will likely be stunted forever. Those same skills are most effectively taught individually. They cannot be recovered in adulthood.

Jon Appleton

White River Junction

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