Forum, Nov. 8: Hanover Must Act on Cyclists

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Hanover Must Act on Cyclists

The recent death of an elderly resident of Kendal who was struck down by a bicyclist on the sidewalk resulted in the cyclist, a man from Hanover, neither being charged nor fined nor even named by police. Are cyclists here given special exemptions? Biking on often- crowded sidewalks with unsuspecting pedestrians, who may wobble, not see or hear well, alter direction unpredictably or have dogs or little children with them, is obviously another accident waiting to happen.

I learned that few records nationally are kept of the numbers of pedestrians who are either injured or killed by bicyclists, but the New York City Police Department did record 309 such accidents in 2013, as noted in The New Yorker, “A Bicycle Crash Kills Another Pedestrian in Central Park,” by Samuel Freedman, Sept. 23, 2014.

Hanover does have a town ordinance that prohibits riding on the sidewalk for everyone over 12, but breaking this law is punishable only at an officer’s discretion, from a warning up to $500 fine. Since the town is considering stricter enforcement, more signage and education, pedestrian safety would better be served by a policy of both mandatory arrests and significant fines for riding on the sidewalk. Nothing would produce a faster educational result! Children too ought to be prohibited from riding on the sidewalk, at least in the central district.

If the town drops the ball on this and continues with a laissez-faire approach, pedestrians will continue to be injured and the next collision may bring a hefty lawsuit against both the cyclist and the town.

Cecelia Blair


Trapping Season Is Here

Trapping season in Vermont started Oct. 28. Please be careful when walking your dog or if you have an outdoor cat.

In a 2017 trapping report published by Born Free USA, Vermont received a “D” grade. In Vermont, there is no requirement to use only padded or offset legholds with leghold traps. Trappers are not required to report the catching of non-targeted creatures, including dogs and cats. There are no bag limits on vulnerable species, such as otters and bobcats. These are just some of the reasons why Vermont received such a low grade.

Trapping is often seen as a “tradition” — what an outmoded notion. Sometimes it is done as recreation or for small monetary gain (fur prices are down). Some people do it because they enjoy it.

Is this really what humankind has come to — legally inflicting pain on innocent, sentient animals by totally cruel and inhumane practices?

Please contact your legislators and ask that they work on putting an end to trapping, whatever sort of traps are used.

Rosalind Finn

South Strafford

No Differences Inside

I am writing in regard to the Oct. 31 column “What Should Providers Do When Patients Are Bigoted?” by Dorothy Novick.

Novick tells of a nurse who read on a care plan that a father requested that “no African-American nurses” attend to his child at a Flint, Mich., hospital.

 Somehow Homo sapiens has carried out the dislike of others way beyond the territorial imperative. Around the globe there are groups that take on an “us’’ identity, relative to what should be eaten, bodily coverage, style of hair and beliefs. Those who do not fit the description can be rejected and persecuted for the above criteria and many others, including the shade of their skin.

My father, Tech. Sgt. Paul R. Holbrook, was on Utah Beach in June 1944 as a surgical nurse in a Mobile Hospital Unit (later known as a MASH unit). He and the doctors and staff heard several times from wounded servicemen, “Don’t put any of that ‘N-word’ blood into me.” Dad, or the doctor would say, “Don’t worry, we won’t,’’ and pick any bottle of the patient’s blood type.

 A blood specialist can tell us that basically all human blood is the same. The wrong blood type in a transfusion can be very harmful, but it’s not due to the skin color, appearance or beliefs of the donor. To my knowledge, we humans are all the same color inside.

Dick Holbrook


National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the challenges family caregivers face when loved ones need long-term care, often around the clock. Family caregivers are the backbone of our long-term care system, helping thousands of older Vermonters and those with disabilities to remain at home where they want to be.

Currently, about 12,000 Vermonters have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and approximately 30,000 Vermonters provide unpaid care to family members with dementia. Family caregivers are at an increased risk for emotional and physical health problems. As a member of the Governor’s Commission on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD), I am tasked with helping the administration and Legislature better understand the challenges that come with Alzheimer’s and dementia and provide recommendations to better serve this population. The commission recognizes that an important first step is to hear directly from caregivers. A statewide study was conducted and the final report identified several top concerns shared by caregivers, including balancing work and caregiving responsibilities, and paying for long-term care. Key challenges include: dealing with behaviors related to ADRD, time and responsibility related to caregiving, feelings of isolation and grief or loss. The report’s recommendations include: providing more affordable care, increasing respite care and streamlining access to information and assistance for family caregivers.

As a minster/chaplain serving several communities in the Upper Valley, I have witnessed how critical it is to have solid information and support for caregivers. Vermont has a dedicated network of organizations making a difference for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but there is so much more that we can and must do as we move forward, including providing the financial resources to meet the growing need for respite, and developing and supporting a skilled, compassionate caregiving workforce. We cannot ignore these issues. The time to act is now. To find out more about family caregiver support in your region, contact the Vermont Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119. For specific questions or support around Alzheimer’s and dementia, contact the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Rev. Constance Moser

West Windsor

Good Deed at the Food Pantry

Thank you, local Pack 279 and bear den leader Joel King for all your hard work on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Scouts’ annual food drive is the reason our food pantry shelves are stocked this year.

Collected donations will help make a difference in the lives of some of our most frail and vulnerable adults living in our community, many of whom struggle with having to make choices between medication, fuel, rent or food.

Keep up the good work, Scouts.

Jill Vahey

Upper Valley Senior Center