Forum, Aug. 9: Signs of a Police State

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Signs of a Creeping Police State

Last week, an event happened that I find chilling.

Agents of the Department of Homeland Security — Border Patrol — boarded a Greyhound bus in White River Junction and requested that the 20 passengers provide papers documenting their legal status to be in the United States. It occurred at 2 in the morning on a northbound bus originating in Boston and headed to Montreal.

Why a northbound bus? If an illegal or undocumented immigrant were trying to sneak into the country, shouldn’t the federal government check southbound buses closer to the Canadian border? Or, better yet, check buses originating in Mexico and traveling to our southern states?

Was the federal government seeking to capture Hispanics seeking jobs on dairy farms in Vermont and New Hampshire? Without these workers, the dairy industry would collapse, yet there is no program such as guest worker status that would legitimize their presence in our communities. We need these guest workers.

Let’s not accept as normal these signs of a creeping police state. Instead, let us demand from our congressional representatives that they work for a comprehensive immigration policy as a national priority and seek bipartisan cooperation. We need a program for guest workers on our farms, we need a “pathway to citizenship” for young people brought to this country as children (DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals— is only a partial solution). We need a program that will not tear apart families.

Let us remember: Our ancestors were once all immigrants seeking a new life and America promised a haven from religious discrimination, economic depravation and political coercion. Let us welcome undocumented immigrants in the 21st century with the same spirit inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. My grandparents, and no doubt yours as well, were guided to this country by that same spirit.

Shawn M. Donovan


Teacher Can’t Be Replaced

There is going to be a hole in the Hanover’s Ray School fourth grade this coming year that cannot be filled. A true icon of teaching retired at the end of this past school year, after teaching at the Ray School for 35-plus years.

Pamela Force has been a true champion for the children lucky enough to pass through her room over the years. She has had an uncanny ability to identify struggles and make necessary adjustments to promote success for all in her charge. There has been no teacher as dedicated to her students as Mrs. Force, spending many hours coming up with new and innovative ways to reach them. I have heard so many parents over the years tell me how their child “made it” because of Mrs. Force. Pamela Force is a wonderful, loving woman, mother and grandmother, and her whole family is so proud of her. But then I may be a bit biased — she is my mom.

Scott Hunt


The Pipeline and Climate Change

There are a couple of important events coming up that I’d like to highlight. There is a proposed natural gas pipeline for Hanover and Lebanon by Liberty Utilities. This would be liquid natural gas (LNG) that would be trucked in down the already congested Route 12A to a regasification plant just south of the Lebanon Solid Waste and Recycling facility.

The LNG would be turned back into gas and piped through a pipeline running from the plant north on Route 12A, down Route 4 east, then north again on Route 120 and into downtown Hanover. This pipeline is not in keeping with Hanover’s vote to try to achieve 100 percent renewable energy, nor is it in keeping with Lebanon’s energy plan.

The Public Utilities Commission will have a hearing on Sept. 7 to decide whether Liberty Utilities will be granted a franchise to move forward with the pipeline. Let it know you oppose it by writing or emailing the PUC. Reference Liberty Utilities docket DG 16-852, and send it to Executive Director Debra Howland at executive.director@puc.nh.gov. Sign your name and include your town.

If you want more information and/or want to pick up a sign to show your opposition to this project, come to the No Pipeline Here Rally in Lebanon in Colburn Park from noon to 2:30 p.m on Saturday. There will be music, speakers, food vendors, information booths and opportunities to fill out postcards and petitions to the PUC.

The second event is a must-see film at Dartmouth College’s Black Family Visual Arts Center on Tuesday, Aug. 15 called Tomorrow. It is a rarity these days — an uplifting film about climate change. It shows what communities around the world are doing to prepare and become more sustainable. So often we are told we can’t do this, or it is not possible. Well, these people are doing it. I saw this at the Green Mountain Film Festival a few months ago and I can’t recommend it enough.

Darla Bruno


Credit for the Co-op Changes

Phil Pochoda’s letter recognizing the improvements in employee rights at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores is much appreciated (“Co-op Is Moving Forward,” Aug. 1). It was kind of him to list me as the moving force on the board behind the change, but the credit should go to board member Victoria Fullerton, whose commitment to co-op employees has been strong and steady throughout her term and who ably chaired the board committee that worked with Ed Fox (general manager) and Lori Hildbrand (human resources director) to accomplish these important improvements.

Pochoda’s letter also underscores the significant difference between the co-op and other grocers in our area: Like any business, we may not always do the right thing, but you can trust the co-op to make it right. Trust is our most important commodity.

Anthony Z. Roisman