Valley News Forum for Feb. 18, 2023: The heat is rising

Published: 2/18/2023 6:00:06 AM
Modified: 2/18/2023 6:00:06 AM
The heat is rising

Where is winter? Today’s high temperature was over 50 degrees and snow in the valleys is largely gone. According to Washington Post reporting, January saw record warmth in seven New England states and in 2022, as reported by the Associated Press, New England’s coastal waters were the second-warmest on record. In 2022, there were 18 weather disaster events in the U.S. with losses exceeding $1 billion dollars each, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, causing 3.4 million people to be temporarily displaced by hurricanes, floods, fires and tornadoes, as reported by CBS News.

Climate change demands our urgent attention. We are running out of time to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis and must take dramatic and immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Effective legislation can be a great tool in this fight.

In Vermont, legislators have been hard at work on the Affordable Heat Act. As the act moves through committee discussion, the focus should remain on equitably reducing energy consumption and relieving the energy burden of Vermonters, and increasing energy efficiency through weatherization and moving to ground-source thermal and electrification of heating. Ideally, the act will avoid importing combustible fuels for heating including biofuels and renewable natural gas.

I am grateful to our legislators who are working to offer Vermonters affordable, cleaner solutions to home heating, to help fossil fuel heating providers transition to less polluting services, and to make some meaningful progress in greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Dee Gish


‘Now’ is not the time for Claremont school reorganization

At the Feb. 15 Claremont School Board meeting, the administration gave a large screen presentation: charts, graphs, year-to-year comparisons. The point being the school reorganization must occur “now.”

Some board members said this plan had been in discussion for some time; fact sheets were distributed at the deliberative meeting. Observers replied that the public is confused; that the ‘plans’ were not widely circulated until after the $1 million cut from the January proposed budget. One parent asked if teacher surveys had been conducted anonymously to test consensus. No answer was given.

We need research to support all elements of the reorganization, particularly moving the fifth graders into middle school and the eighth graders into high school. This is a major undertaking and should be carefully planned, not executed “now.”

I have been through facility moves and reorganizations in my work life. Even when carefully laid out, there were unexpected issues. And we were all adults, being paid to participate!

A school reorganization of this scale requires that staff, teachers, parents/guardians and students be on board for the changes. This is not the case “now.” And consider that this plan is proposed “now” with the summer vacation schedule just ahead — most students and many school personnel will not even be in attendance! Further, if this plan begins “now” without broad consensus, what will be the effect on teachers and students for the rest of this school year? Certainly, students will not benefit from an atmosphere of confusion among unhappy, disaffected teachers, and parents/guardians.

What confounds me is that some School Board members and the administration are willing to risk their reputations, and perhaps jobs later, if this reorganization goes badly “now.” If it is worth doing, why wouldn’t everyone want to take the most care for accomplishing the best results?

The Feb. 8 budget should be approved on March 14, assuring teachers much needed raises. The School Board must represent the community and insist that the reorganization be tabled until further research with due consideration can be presented clearly to the public ... not “now.”

Stephanie Harris


Unnecessary firearms

Americans need rifles to teach their children to hunt, and guns and shotguns to protect their homes. But there is no rationale for Americans to have assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and the only reason they are still being sold is because the NRA peddles fear to our populace and congressmen. I’d say the lives of our fellow citizens and our children are more important.

With a nod toward Bob Dylan: How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

Barry Wenig


What’s so bad about being ‘woke’?

Could someone please explain why it’s wrong to be “woke”?

Someone named Vivek Ramaswamy is considering running for president with his primary qualification being that he’s the so-called “C.E.O. of Anti-Woke Inc.” Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and another presidential want-to-be is proudly proclaiming Florida is “Where woke goes to die.”

As I understand it, being woke means being respectful to those who have different backgrounds or orientations. Does “anti-woke” mean being intolerant of people who are not white heterosexual conservatives? Can we call ourselves a free nation when everyone is expected to heed to a narrow definition of acceptable behavior?

David Allen

White River Junction

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