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Forum, Nov. 6: Ruling on Newbury detention center

Published: 11/7/2022 1:55:10 PM
Modified: 11/7/2022 1:54:43 PM
Newbury ruling should be a warning to Vermont towns

The Environmental Court’s ruling siding with the Scott Administration in their cynical deception that a short term “detention center” is somehow a “group home for the mentally disabled” overturns Newbury’s DRB decision and forces the town to grant a permit. However, this decision in no way changes that the detention center was brought to Newbury by an administration proposal and legislative approval based on deception.

The “reasonable person” test now fully understands this is less about facts and law, and more about expedience and politics, and that “the ends justify the means.”

The Scott Administration reneged on its commitment to respect Newbury’s local autonomy, and then put the full weight of state resources and taxpayer money to fight our town on behalf of a private nonprofit. All their legal fees and privately owned property upkeep have been paid by our taxes. This outrageous government overreach, based on duplicity and deception, should not go unchallenged. Newbury must not simply capitulate in the face of such a consequential ruling.

In choosing to take an aggressive and adversarial approach toward the town, DCF and Becket have all but eliminated any chance of goodwill should the project move forward. Not only is it an inappropriate location with a complete lack of necessary services, it is difficult to see how this could ever be a successful “community based” solution in Newbury.

It would be prudent for all Vermont municipalities to pay close attention to what they actually achieved here relative to local control, and be especially vigilant when private entities partnered with the state come to your town with proposals. The abhorrent decision eviscerated our local zoning ordinance and town planning, setting a disturbing precedent for the future of local control for Newbury, and for all Vermont towns.

The cynical misrepresentations by DCF to force this project through are astounding; and that it is condoned by the administration and the Legislature is truly disturbing. One can’t help but wonder what is really behind the administration’s fixation on sticking with Becket’s Newbury site and forcing a facility into a town that denied it a permit.

Tony O’Meara

Newbury, Vt.

NATO must defend merchant ships

Reports of renewed threats by Russia to attack grain ships leaving Ukrainian ports, and of the response of “world leaders,” including our own, leave me with nothing but a sense of anger, disappointment and frustration.

Bulk carriers leaving Ukrainian ports are registered in many different countries. Some are very weak, and can not be expected to defend their merchant fleets. Some are NATO members. Though the U.S. Merchant Marine is small, because it is not competitive, some very easily could be U.S. flagged vessels. All that is required for that is lawyers, and money. And during the Iran/Iraq War, Ronald Reagan had tankers plying the Persian Gulf reflagged as U.S. vessels, in order that our Navy might protect them.

The response of “world leaders,” I read, has been to implore Russia to reconsider its decision to pull out of the UN-sponsored grain shipment deal. The response by NATO countries should be defiance, by continued shipment by NATO flagged vessels, protected by NATO nations. In the past, we and they, have gone to war many times to defend our merchant fleets. Shall we convey the message to Putin now, that we are not willing to do so in this case? Does not Ukraine have ports on the Danube, along with a half dozen NATO member states? To hell with the UN.

Tyler P. Harwell


Stories we’ve missed,
including Windsor football

I have become increasingly disappointed with the Valley News. First of all, what is supposed to be a daily paper frequently arrives every other day. Secondly, the front page is devoid of national or international news. Septic system problems, Halloween decorations, and certainly the resolution of a decades old hideous crime, are all newsworthy, but there are events around the world and around our country that are important to and critical for all of us, and deserve more attention in our newspaper.

And finally, it seems that you are unaware of Windsor High’s remarkable football team. Hartford, Woodstock, Hanover, and of course Dartmouth, garner big headlines on the sport pages, but Windsor? A day after completing an undefeated season, trouncing every team they played, Windsor, one of the smaller high schools in the state, is the champion in their league. But there was no mention of this in the paper. And their PAT kicker, a girl who has probably set a record this season for the number of kicks she delivered through the uprights, has never been acknowledged. This remarkable athlete deserves a whole article on its own!

Hoping that the newspaper delivery system gets improved, that more prominence is given to national and international news, and that Windsor and its fine high school teams get appropriate coverage.

Elvin Kaplan


‘Fur’ continues to fly

Following the enlightened precedent set by providing litter boxes for students of the feline persuasion, New Hampshire public schools will soon be equipping their cafeterias with salt-licks, for those who identify as deer or moose. I don’t remember where I heard this, but it must be true.

Rich Blair


Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


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