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Forum, Sept. 16: Flag thefts show that racism is alive in Vermont

Published: 9/15/2020 10:00:07 PM
Modified: 9/15/2020 10:00:02 PM
Flag thefts show that racism is alive in Vermont

And you thought we were safe from racism in Vermont.

I made two solid black flags that I hung from places on my property, the place I call home in West Windsor. They were simple displays of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. They should have bothered no one. Whether you agree or not with what they represent, the flags were on my private, personal land.

I thought the wind kept knocking them down, but I came to realize someone kept taking them down and putting them on the ground. When I kept putting them back up, they were finally stolen, pole and all.

I am from an African American, mixed-race family. I look Caucasian, and so if the thieves knew me, they would have no idea about my heritage or the pride that feel for my family and the hope that I have for the ones who did not win the DNA prize of appearing white. I had hoped the day was coming that they would all be treated with the acceptance that I have always was given because of how my skin turned out, even though we have the same DNA.

Not that it matters. Either way it is painful to think that people tried to steal my ideals and my hopes because they thought they had an absolute right to do it. What those flags represented made them angry and they just wanted to make them go away.

So, Vermonters, there you have it. Racism is alive and well in this state. What are we going to do about it? I’ll tell you what I am going to do: I am going to make new flags and I am going to keep putting them up no matter how many times they are taken down. Perhaps the thieves who stole my pride and right to hope would like to show their faces, look me in the eye and tell me all about their hate and fear.

Let’s start a conversation.

RENEE JOHANNENSEN

West Windsor

Racetrack listened to my suggestion

I would like to congratulate the Claremont Motorsports Park for the Modified race on Aug. 28.

I have watched many races at Claremont when a traveling tour was run. The racers would exit the pit for the feature and would immediately start the race with no introduction of cars or drivers.

I sent an email to the track asking if the races could be stopped and the drivers and cars introduced so everyone knew who was racing — and that is exactly what the track did.

Claremont will be my racetrack of choice from this point on. I have been a fan of Claremont since 1963.

DONALD R. VESPER

West Lebanon

Support federal bill to cover supplies for Lymphedema

Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, lymphedema patients must have the medical supplies they need to safely manage their condition at home. The Lymphedema Treatment Act (S.518/H.R.1948) is a bipartisan federal bill that would improve insurance coverage for medically necessary, prescription compression supplies.

Without this central component of treatment, lymphedema patients are at significantly increased risk of infection and hospitalization.

With more than 450 co-sponsors, the Lymphedema Treatment Act is the most supported health care bill in Congress and should be passed into law this year.

I have lymphedema in both an upper and lower extremity. Compression garments are medically necessary to treat this chronic condition. There is no other way to effectively manage it.

My private insurance has covered my garments when prescribed, but there are many patients who have only Medicare, which does not cover these medically necessary items. The costs can be prohibitive for the average patient.

SHARI RUTZ

Strafford

Ed Rajsteter knows need for criminal justice innovation

I’m writing this letter to express my support for Ed Rajsteter’s candidacy to become the state representative for the Grafton 15 district serving the towns of Bath, Benton, Easton, Haverhill, Landaff, Orford and Piermont.

When he first told me that he was running, my comment to him was that I couldn’t think of a finer person to serve in that capacity.

I first met him through his many and valuable activities as a leader of the Friends of Grafton County Drug Court and later the Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts. He is everything I want in a representative — he is hard-working and his integrity is beyond reproach.

He listens to other points of view and weighs all of the facts before making a decision. He has a broad range of expertise in the areas impacting our towns. His experience includes not only Drug Court, but he was a former board member and executive director of Headrest, a residential treatment facility in Lebanon, and he understands the importance of innovation in our criminal justice system, including medical issues from an addiction standpoint.

I have found him to be perceptive, compassionate and extremely diligent and hardworking. I know as state representative he will be receptive to constituent input and supportive of state efforts to reduce prescription drug costs, increase and stabilize funding for Grafton County Meals on Wheels, and work to ensure that local schools continue to receive their fair share of state school aid, as well as continuing to combat the opioid crisis.

These are just a few good reasons why I’m supporting Ed Rajsteter to be the next state representative for Grafton 15, and I hope you will vote for him.

JAMES E. GRAHAM

Woodsville

Root-Winchester strong on health care, economy

Rural Vermont needs strong representation in the Legislature. This fall, residents of Newbury, Groton and Topsham will elect a new state representative. Here are some of the many reasons Kelsey Root-Winchester is the perfect choice:

First, one can’t help but admire her energy. A small business owner who’s raising two kids and a nephew, she makes time for an extraordinary array of volunteer activities, including the Blue Mountain Union School Board, Little Rivers Health Care board and Wells River Action Program.

It’s telling to look at the nature of those organizations: health care, local economy and education. Her experience with these complex issues gives her a strong foundation for service in the Legislature.

Let’s vote for Kelsey Root-Winchester this fall so she can take her energy and commitment to our community to Montpelier.

FAY HOMAN

Newbury, Vt.

Alford-Teaster leads with energy and principles

This is my first letter to a newspaper on behalf of a political candidate. I have, however, been so impressed with Jenn Alford-Teaster that I feel compelled to support her publicly.

She is a New Hampshire native from a working class family. She left home as a teenager to be totally self-dependent, worked multiple jobs to put herself through college, and continued her education to earn two master’s degrees, in geography and public health.

She is currently a senior research scientist at Dartmouth College, using all that she has experienced and learned to make the path she has taken easier for others. She leads with her intelligence, energy, enthusiasm and principles to ensure that others also have a path to success.

Please learn all you can about her. Ask her questions — she is available and transparent.

I encourage you to vote for Jenn Alford-Teaster in November. I strongly believe she is the better choice for Senate District 8 and New Hampshire.

ART BOBRUFF

Springfield, N.H.

Rules, regulations won’t make schools safe in pandemic

The rules and regulations to make it safe for students to return to school are not worth the paper they are written on.

We are right in the middle of a pandemic unheard of in our lifetime. Almost 200,000 people have already died in the United States; that’s enough people to fill Fenway Park five times.

A lot of people are listening to President Donald Trump instead of professional medical doctors. Trump does not care for you. If everyone had done what the medical professionals had said to do we would not be worrying about our health. Sure, some children are less vulnerable to COVID-19, but they can truck this virus home to their parents or grandparents.

So don’t listen to these Republican rules and regulations. Listen to the medical doctors and the scientists — and dump Trump!

ROBERT POLLARD

Enfield

Putting ‘PSU’ in its proper place

In reference to the recent Associated Press article by Mike Schneider and Anita Snow (“College towns fret about count, loss of federal money,” Sept. 10): The Pennsylvania State University is geographically located in University Park, Pa. State College is the saprophytic town next door, containing mostly apartment buildings occupied by students and a multitude of greedy merchant’s shops.

Additionally, when Plymouth State College was renamed Plymouth State University, the first people to contact them were Penn State lawyers, reminding them that “PSU” was the trademarked and copyrighted abbreviation for The Pennsylvania State University, and the use of “PSU” by Plymouth State was illegal without “Plymouth State University” written beside or under the abbreviation to clarify that Penn State was not involved.

The Valley News frequently refers to Plymouth State as “PSU.” Please cease this illegal and obnoxious defamation of Penn State.

CHERYL KRING GRABE

Plainfield




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