Forum, March 14: There’s no question that the region’s labor shortage is real

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
There’s no question that the region’s labor shortage is real

In his recent Forum letter, Tyler P. Harwell argues that, in reality, there’s no labor shortage in Vermont (“Vermont’s ‘labor shortage’ is an artificial construct,” Feb. 22). I’m not sure which state he’s been living in. I encourage him to go ask any shop owner, construction contractor, retailer, etc., in Vermont to see if they are looking for workers. Then go across the river to New Hampshire and ask business owners over there the same thing. I doubt he’ll still have any doubts about our labor shortage.

Vermont and the entire nation have a severe labor issue, as do Europe and Russia. I know it is OK to feel that there are a lot of freeloaders out there, along with the drugged-out zombies the liberals love, but they have always been a portion of our society and yet we still had workers. Today, however, you see fewer and fewer of the welfare dwellers and, regardless of what you pay folks, there is a severe shortage of people in the workforce.

I might add that the legalization of marijuana has not helped this situation, because any credible employer that must meet federal standards still cannot employ folks who are smoking pot.


West Hartford

It’s disappointing that injured player was photographed

I am a Hanover High School student and I love going to Dartmouth College women’s basketball games. But on Feb. 16, one of the players got hurt and one of your reporters started taking pictures of her as she was receiving medical treatment on the training table that was just off the court (“Big Green’s tourney hopes take a hit,” Feb. 17). After people noticed that he was taking pictures of a hurt player getting treated, spectators asked him to please delete the pictures. He declined.

I am aware this all occurred in a public place. However, this was very disappointing. I understand that the reporter had a job to do, but at some point we need to respect each other and not worry about how popular the next headline will be.



We’re erasing our history

Today’s news is the outrage about a cross dedicated to U.S. veterans of the Great War. (“Justices hear arguments about cross on public land,” Feb. 28)

That it is a cross to me is evident. It was meant to heal any denomination, never to harm anyone’s feelings. In today’s climate of political correctness we have, as a country, acquired the temerity to edit out those chapters in our history that don’t quite fit our feelings today. Future historians will surely balk at this erasure and cover-up of history.

With no harm intended to the distinguished congresswoman from the 18th district of Texas, Shiela Jackson Lee, shall we request out of respect to all and to avoid hurt feelings that she perhaps change her name? Where does it end?



Politicians shouldn’t interfere in doctor-patient relationship

At its most fundamental level, what is the dispute about abortion all about? It’s one person interfering with another person’s doctor-patient relationship, isn’t it? Who would tolerate that with any other medical situation? What would you say if your doctor was prevented from giving you all the relevant information about your medical condition? You’d be outraged.

Leading medical groups such as the American Medical Association and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose political attempts to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship that prevent health care providers from giving their patients the best health care possible in an individual situation. That only makes sense.

H 57, a bill in the Vermont Legislature, puts into law the current state of Vermont practice, which has no restrictions on a woman’s access to reproductive health care services, including abortion. It ensures that women’s access to abortion stays the way it is — unrestricted — and gives women certainty under the law. It’s the first step toward ensuring that Vermont women have the same access to reproductive and abortion care that they have had for the last 46 years.

Don’t be confused or distracted by the focus on late-term abortions. They are extremely rare, involve severe fetal anomalies and serious threats to the woman’s health. And most fetal anomalies can’t be detected before 20 weeks. This is a non-issue.

When women have access to the full range of reproductive health care it helps them control their lives, health and future.

Guaranteeing a woman’s reproduction rights contributes to making a Vermont that works for all of us. And that surely includes treating all women like adults, capable of making their own decisions, not just those with resources to arrange special treatment or travel.

Support H 57. Call your state senator. Urge her or him to support this bill.


Springfield, Vt.

A CO2-filled greenhouse is not a good climate model

J.B. Sellers dismissed Norwich’s climate-change articles because he believes an increase in CO2 will lead to better crops (“Norwich climate articles are simply virtue signaling,” March 4). Here he repeats the climate-denier talking point that CO2 is “plant food.” To support this, he points to the practice of pumping pure CO2 into greenhouses to spur plant growth. While this practice is true, it is irrelevant. Despite the term “greenhouse effect,” the environment in a greenhouse is not a good model for our planet’s climate. Plants in an enclosed greenhouse not only receive the added CO2, but also abundant water, controlled temperatures and other nutrients such as nitrogen. In the world we live in, increased atmospheric CO2 may have some benefit for some plants, but the effects are far more complex.

For example, rising levels of CO2 from human activity are making staple crops like rice and wheat less nutritious. This could result in 175 million people becoming zinc deficient and 122 million people becoming protein deficient by 2050, according to research led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. CO2 also is changing the climate, and the effects of hotter summers, increased weather extremes and the salinization of soils from sea level increases will far outweigh any negligible benefits of a CO2 increase.



Don’t miss Terkel’s ‘Working’ at the Briggs Opera House

Working, the musical now at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, is a dynamite show with great songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Taylor and Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Wicked, Godspell, and other notable musicals. Presented by We The People Theatre, which brought us 1776, Working is based on the book by Studs Terkel, which chronicled the stories of working people, such as an iron worker, a teacher, a housewife, a mill worker, a cleaning woman and more. In a revue style, with amazing actors, professional choreography and a live orchestra, the show ranges from hilarious to poignant. Don’t miss it. The last shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $11.50 to $50. Visit www.wethepeopletheatre.com or call 802-295-7100.



The wrong approach to drugs

In his recent Forum letter (“Data shows marijuana danger,” March 6), Dean Whitlock misses the point: The system we have encourages more use by keeping it “cool.” It creates more addiction by criminalizing use and putting relatively innocuous pot users in jail, fining them, and causing them to lose their jobs, their livelihoods and their self-respect. Who wouldn’t be a mental case if they had to go through that to smoke dope?

Marijuana use and sale have been illegal for at least 70 years. Has it stopped usage? Has it stopped mental illness? Has it made the world a better place? The answer is no, and we all know it.

Legal cigarettes kill 500,000 people a year. Should we criminalize Marlboros? Alcohol kills 10,000 on our highways every year and many more in our hospitals. Should we go back to speakeasies and bathtub gin? Of course not.

Our narco dollars fund the creation of de facto narco governments, making our immigration woes worse. Stop living with your head in the sand. Legalize all drugs. Stop marginalizing people and problems.

Hug one another. Love one another. Heal one another. Love your Mother Earth and all of her creatures, plants and formations. And for God’s sake, make music.



Read it first, of course ...

This came to mind as I looked for an old copy of the Valley News recently and realized it had already gone up the chimney: A long time ago, a friend showed me how to use newspaper as kindling. You put two double pages of newsprint on your kitchen counter, oriented as if to be read. Fold over the bottom edge about an inch and then roll it all up like a sausage. Grab the roll, twist it and tuck one end into the loop to make a sturdy pretzel. Half a dozen of these will support a couple of decent-sized pieces of dry hardwood. Add some loosely crumpled up junk mail to get things started, light a match, supply a good draft and you are in business.

This can be a useful technique when the garage or barn are ungodly cold and you don’t want to go out there and saw and split waste lumber for kindling.