Forum for Feb. 20, 2024: New Hampshire’s bridges

Published: 02-21-2024 4:37 PM

NH cares not for its bridges

Wonderful. The State of New Hampshire is closing another bridge across the Connecticut River, this time between Springfield, Vt., and Charlestown (“Repairs to close Connecticut River bridge,” Feb. 9). We should not forget that the bridge between Lyme and East Thetford remains closed, now for the second winter.

It was in 1934 that New Hampshire won the U.S. Supreme Court case that awarded ownership of the Connecticut River to New Hampshire, and ever since then New Hampshire has demonstrated that it cannot maintain the bridges between the two states.

At the same time, New Hampshire cheers on the relicensing of the hydro-electric dams on the river, the operation of which cause tremendous erosion. I have three surveys by licensed surveyors that show that I have lost 40 feet of farmland since 1960 along my ¾-mile river frontage.

Maybe New Hampshire officials should pay more and regular attention to the bridges that it is legally responsible for and also to the loss of valuable farmland in both New Hampshire and Vermont that is caused by the operation of the dams on the river that New Hampshire claims ownership of.

John Mudge

Lyme

When Dartmouth
went ‘woke’

Randall Balmer contrasted the initial actions of Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock with those of her predecessor, Philip Hanlon (“The Unforced Errors of First-Year College Presidents,” Feb. 3). While I have no quarrel with how Beilock seems to be handling the predicaments bequeathed by her predecessor, I do take issue with Balmer’s assessment that Hanlon’s presidency was “generally considered successful, but during his first year he capitulated to a small chorus of ill-informed voices who demanded that he rescind the appointment of an African bishop and civil rights activist as dean of the Tucker Foundation.”

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That action, which was the beginning of the “woke” era on campus, put him in a real bind between that bishop’s native culture and ascendant campus culture. It could be considered the beginning of purging the college of spiritual and religious symbolism. First a controversial weather vane was removed from atop Baker Library; next, the college logo was “simplified” to remove elements that bespoke Judeo-Christian heritage, and has anyone recently read or heard the phrase “Vox Clamantis in Deserto” (a Biblical reference to John the Baptist) associated with Dartmouth?

I had great hopes for Hanlon when he arrived. What’s not to like about the University of Michigan provost who opted to continue teaching mathematics? Sounded like a real down-to-earth guy.

However, #MeToo eventually caught up with Dartmouth, as several female graduate students and teaching assistants in one department brought sexual harassment charges against multiple male senior faculty members. While the scandal preceded Hanlon’s arrival, it embarrassed his administration. Then there was the 10-foot error in siting a Thayer School of Engineering building which wasn’t discovered until after the foundation was poured.

Unlike other university presidents, Sian Leah Beilock seems well vetted, and I wish her well. Leading a college in the current era is an unenviable task, and as I previously wrote, integrity in academia, media, business, government, and religion is essential, but increasingly scarce.

William A. Wittik

Hartford