Forum, Sept. 15: Richards Free Library Festival a Community Effort

Friday, September 14, 2018
Library Festival Was A Community Effort

A huge thank you to all who helped make the 2018 Richards Free Library Festival such a success — both in raising money for our library and in raising everyone’s spirits.

This is truly a community effort. Businesses donate to cover the costs of the tents while others offer products and services. Library staff, trustees and Friends of the Library put up tents, signs and banners and staff the day’s events, including lunch on the porch, children’s activities and a raffle. Volunteers of all ages pitch in for the huge job of setting up before and cleaning up after the festival. Our high school sports teams — football, soccer, field hockey and spirit — do the literal heavy lifting while scores of folks display and box up the thousands of books we have for sale. And then there’s the Cookie Walk — a sweet Newport tradition — that brings together willing cookie bakers with enthusiastic cookie eaters that is always a sell-out and by itself raises about $1,000.

But we rely on book lovers — those who donate books all year long and those who buy books — to make this the community event we all look forward to. At the end of the day, area organizations including the Newport Food Pantry, Turning Points Network, the Sunshine Diner, area teachers and the White River Junction VA received leftover books.

We couldn’t do it without all of you. So mark your calendars for Aug. 24, 2019.

Elaine Frank


On behalf of the Friends of Richards Free Library.

McCain’s Passing and The Death of Integrity

The recent death of U.S. Sen. John McCain brought into sharp focus the difference between high-flying great men and slow-moving bottom feeders. One of the great ones has left this world and one of the mediocre ones remains, presiding over the Divided States of America.

President Donald Trump has encouraged that division and has enlarged it daily, with racist and sexist remarks and actions, trying to hide his ignorance and growing fear in the face of expanding investigations into his wrongdoing. He spews hate, foments distrust, calls for violence, attacks our stable national institutions, demands loyalty but delivers none. He treats women like trash, disparages anyone not of his skin color. He lies about his wealth, his achievements, his words and actions. He lies about lying.

McCain? Strength of character, strength enough to admit when he’s wrong, strength enough to gently but firmly correct others when they are wrong. He had integrity, humility and honor. Sharp elbows? You bet. He loved a good scrap and was an effective fighter. He had a sense of history, and a profound understanding of America’s greatness and why we had it and what we had to do to maintain it. He had a sense of humor, one that did not depend on demeaning others or bringing them lower to make himself feel taller. He wasn’t in my political party, but he was in the American party, and proud to be there, a larger group we both belonged to.

We are living through a very rough chapter in America’s book of life and, unfortunately, Trump, a man without ethics, has been mistakenly handed the job as chief writer. There are several legitimate ways to remove that writer, and the sooner we do it, the better.

Robert Roudebush

North Haverhill

Blood Drive in Norwich

I invite all blood donors to Tracy Hall in Norwich on Monday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The blood drive is dedicated to Daniel Somerville.

Daniel was 14 when his cancer was diagnosed. He received many blood transfusions, which gave him and our family more time and improved his quality of life, before he lost his battle on Dec. 2, 1993.

Since 1996 this drive has collected more than 4,200 pints of life-saving blood. Donors can make appointments by logging onto redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-733-2767. This blood drive is being organized by Dan’s stepsister, Kristina Aldrich, and her amazing crew at Vivo Salon and Day Spa.

Thank you for your support in honoring Daniel’s memory. We are thankful that Dan’s life continues to make a difference even though he is in heaven.

Rose M. Smith


Looking Northward

The almost daily slanders by President Donald Trump bring a chill and a shadow to his policies, as when he says he could cause the “ruination” of Canada in his NAFTA trade dealings. It is schoolyard stuff and confirms Secretary of the Defense James Mattis’ observation that the president has the “understanding of a fifth- or sixth-grader.”

As the Russians did when they saw their country falling apart in the mid-1800s, we might begin to ask ourselves: What is to be done? Perhaps the solution here is with the governors. The 10th Amendment gives them the right to ignore Washington altogether if directives are vague and unconstitutional and much of the president’s not-so-subtle-asides suggest his intentions are. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld carries a copy of the 10th Amendment with him.

Last year I wrote to Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott and asked him what is to be done. His answer was inspired. “The growing uncertainty about decisions made in Washington, D.C., presents a greater opportunity for state governments to secure partnerships with fellow states and foreign nations,” he wrote back.

And he has recently traveled to Quebec to meet with the premier to discuss ways to increase economic ties between Vermont and Quebec.

It might be remembered that the framework we live within today in America is frequently called “an experiment,” which is hardly auspicious.

Anyone who has ever visited a hockey game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens would find a more auspicious and fundamental relationship, a natural, existential relationship of place, people and history. We in Vermont and New Hampshire have more in common with our neighbors to the north than we do with Texas, Arkansas or Mar-a-Lago.

Bernie Quigley