Valley News Forum for March 23, 2023

Published: 03-23-2023 5:39 AM

Thanks for supporting teachers union

The Mascoma Valley Regional Education Association would like to express our gratitude to the voters of Dorchester, Orange, Grafton, Canaan and Enfield for your strong support of both the teachers’ contract and the district budget. We thank you for entrusting us with your children’s education, and we are honored to serve this wonderful community. Your support will help us to retain and attract first-rate teachers so that we can continue to provide great educational opportunities to the children of the community.

Skip Chalker

president, Mascoma Valley Regional
Education Association

Fight for flavored tobacco

Vermont’s plans to ban flavored tobacco but promote flavored cannabis have me confused.

As a small business owner who has invested in selling legal products that my customers want to buy, I’m extremely concerned about the state’s plans to now make it illegal for me to sell them. SB 18 will ban flavored tobacco such as menthol cigarettes, mint and wintergreen snuff, e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and more. They say they’re banning flavored tobacco because people like flavors, and taking the flavors away will stop people from smoking or using tobacco.

At the same time, they’re promoting businesses that sell flavored weed! How does this make sense? The hypocrisy is astounding, and I haven’t heard one good explanation of why my neighbor with the cannabis dispensary down the street can sell Strawberries and Cream pot and candy-flavored THC gummies, but I can’t sell menthol-flavored cigarettes and wintergreen snuff?

I feel betrayed by my representatives who are proposing this law, especially when 30-40% of my combined store sales rely on the regulated and legal sales of flavored tobacco. Customers who buy cigarettes also buy groceries and gas. If they no longer stop into my store to buy these items, they will simply head over to New Hampshire to buy these same things — no problem.

Between the state raising the minimum wage every year, property taxes, personal taxes, state income taxes, utility bills, maintenance, property insurance, and workman’s comp, business owners like me are struggling to keep our heads above water. Now, they want to take away products that bring people through our doors and help pay our bills, pay our employees, and pay our taxes. Are they trying to put us out of business altogether? If so, this plan to remove adult products from our shelves just might do it.

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Freddy Bouyounes

owner, Penguin Market
Springfield, Vt.

Companies do not start wars, governments do

The column titled “War criminals and profiteers abound,” by Narain Batra on Page C1 of your Sunday, March 19, edition, is filled with emotional slogans and misunderstanding of how the world works.

Let me clarify. Companies do not start wars, governments do. Authoritarian governments like Russia wantonly invading Ukraine, and democratic governments like the U.S., fighting in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for dubious reasons.

Governments need weapons to conduct these wars, and companies produce them, to their profit of course. But to condemn them for “windfall profits” and “corporate greed” is putting blame in the wrong place. Further, these companies are conglomerates. They produce numerous products besides weapons, and their overall profit margins and stock prices are not exceptional, but on par with companies in other large industrial groups.

Yes, war crimes occur, and it is good that Putin and his group are being pursued for them. But why not also pursue the crimes of others in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Arabia?

Bangladesh has suffered along with most countries from the Ukraine war. But it is adapting. Overall it is very resilient compared to its neighbors India and Pakistan. It is a vibrant democracy, and economically is moving from being a poor country to a middle income country. Main problems are that the government of Sheikh Hasina has authoritarian tendencies, and does not crack down on corruption. Elections next year may mollify that.

Raymond Malley


Raymond Malley is a retired global business executive, and a retired career diplomat of the State Department who served in Bangladesh.

Teevens crash follow-up article much improved

Yesterday, I addressed concerns about the initial Valley News article reporting Dartmouth Football Coach Buddy Teevens’ bicycle accident. Today, I would like to thank Tris Wykes and the Valley News staff for the follow-up article “Teevens suffers ‘serious injuries’ ” (March 21) which was comprehensive and informative.

Barbara Fildes