Letters to the Editor
Pipeline compressor station could affect local races
To the Editor:
The southern New Hampshire and Monadnock region has many excellent local foot races. Nearly every town has a 5K. There are many choices of beautiful half marathons with Keene’s DeMar being the classic marathon in the fall. Running races in the Monadnock region are always enjoyable because the races take you on country roads through farmlands and quaint New England towns. People travel to the Monadnock region from cities all over the country to enjoy our refreshing local races.
The Temple, New Ipswich and Greenville area has a number of foot races. Namely the upcoming Mascenic Viking 5K Road Race in New Ipswich on Saturday, September 19, the Friends of the Poor Run/Walk in Greenville on September 27 and of course the Temple Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5K on New Years Day. These races support great local causes.
I have a concern that the NED export pipeline 41,000 HP compressor station that is slated to be at the corner of New Ipswich, Greenville and Temple, will have negative impact on runners in the area. Texas and Pennsylvania studies of compressor station emissions found that "Short-term exposure can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, fatigue, loss of coordination, allergic skin reaction, nausea, and memory impairment." Depending on the chemical or pollutant, the effect varies. Some of the studies can be found at: www. environmentalhealthproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/compressor-station-emissions-and-health-impacts- 02.24.2015.pdf.
As a runner, this doesn’t make me comfortable running around a fracked gas compressor station. Why would runners take the risk with their health? These local races are as close as two miles from the proposed New Ipswich compressor station site. Emissions could affect runners. Many runners are decidedly health conscious. If you were a healthy runner, would you want to potentially expose your eyes, nose, throat and lungs to the risks of emissions of an extremely large fracked gas compressor station? Runners may avoid these races due to health risks. Reduced attendance at races means reduced financial contributions to the charities these races support.
If the compressor station is built in the Monadnock region, I hope it will not affect local races. If the compressor station is built, I also hope that the exhaust, blowdowns and fugitive fracked gas emissions won’t be as toxic as they appear to be in Pennsylvania. I really hope that our governmental and elected officials save us from having to endure the NED export pipeline and its effects on the Monadnock region. The good news is that some local officials are stepping up and strongly stating we don’t need this export pipeline. Unfortunately, we need more help. Stopping the Federal Government and Kinder Morgan will take more public resistance. Please get involved.
Clinton is only candidate with an education plan
To the Editor:
A college education has become a catch-22. If you go to college, you may leave with large debts and with all the problems, financial and emotional, that come with being in debt. If you don’t go to college, you may lose the large and tangible advantages, personal and financial, of going to college. With a college degree you are more likely to find a good job and can expect a higher lifetime income – $570,000 more on average.
Of all the current candidates for President, only Hilary Clinton has laid on the table a comprehensive plan for making college affordable. I won’t describe features of the plan, the New College Compact, for it is published and every reader can look it up.
Republican candidates have sniped at this plan, but not one has put forward an effective plan of their own to make college more affordable. It costs $10,000 to $40,000, or more, per year to go to college. These are enormous sums to most American families. Yet the main suggestion of Republican candidates has been to offer income tax credits or deductions for college expenses. This would put a band aid on a gaping wound. And how would it help the 28 percent of wage earners who don’t make enough to owe taxes? As usual, the Republican party prefers to give money to those who less need it.
This is one reason, certainly not the only reason, why I’d be voting for Clinton.
Open letter to Shaheen regarding Iran deal
To the Editor:
Dear Senator Shaheen,
As an independent voter in the "live free or die" state of New Hampshire, it is troubling to see how politics come first and not the welfare of the citizens you serve.
With the information surfacing that the IAEA has reached a separate agreement with Iran to allow them to self monitor and self inspect some of their nuclear facilities, how can you say we are "not trusting" Iran to monitor itself.
How can you think that giving Iran, one of the greatest financiers of terrorism access to hundreds of billions of dollars to funnel to Hezbollah to use against our interests and those of our loyal ally, Israel, is a sound idea.. And what isn’t talked about enough, lifting the arms embargo. How does this ensure our future security.
This is not an agreement this is total capitulation. This is not "trust but verify." If you believe that Iran will abide by this agreement, you must still believe in the tooth fairy. This agreement is not about the future security of the United States but is about President Obama’s legacy.
And our allies in the Middle East, they see the writing on the wall and are turning to Vladimir Putin as is exhibited by visits to Russia by leaders of Egypt and Jordan. Where does that leave Israel – they do not have any place else to turn.
From your response, I see a US Senator bowing to the political pressure of the White House. Is that what the citizens of New Hampshire sent you to Washington DC to do?
Open letter to Mont Vernon neighbors
To the Editor:
This past June our Board of Selectmen selected several volunteer members of the community to serve on a Building Use Study Committee. This committee is charged with assessing current conditions, uses and future needs of our town buildings and departments. Included in our assessments is how best to address our aging town owned buildings, more specifically the Town Hall and the McCollom Building. Our committee report with recommendations is due to the Board of Selectmen by September 28, 2015. This is very forward thinking for a smaller community such as Mont Vernon and the Selectmen should be commended.
This committee’s purpose is not to make final decisions about town facilities or departments. We are looking at many issues and we will present thoughtful and researched recommendations to the selectmen and ultimately, the tax payer to decide what will make the most economic sense for us all.
I first met each member of this committee on our orientation night and must admit there were a few reservations whether we could accomplish all that we need to. Most of us were pretty far apart of what we believed the community needed. I am impressed by the open minds and concerns of each member of what is the best value for all of us that will "foot the bill" to maintain essential services to Mont Vernon.
Since July 9th the committee has held weekly public meetings. We have toured town buildings, met with department heads. Department heads have completed surveys to have a better understanding of current deficiencies and future needs. We have begun to prioritize our recommendations of building and department needs. In the coming months there will be the opportunity for all citizens to help determine the priorities.
As a community we have come to a crossroad and we need to work together and improve the way we dedicate resources to maintain our town buildings. Significant decisions will need to be made and we are committed to making recommendations that we feel add long-term value and benefits while maintaining the beauty of our unique hilltop village. These recommendations will have associated costs and as a community we will bare these costs.
Please take the opportunity to educate yourself. In the weeks to come we will bring some of our findings to you in various ways. If you cannot wait for the condensed installments, I encourage you to review the full meeting minutes at the Town Hall or at the Town of Mont Vernon Website http:// www.montvernonnh.us.
Mont Vernon Facility Use Study Committee
Be open-minded, opinions change
To the Editor:
This week I attended a workshop on Excel Dashboards. I’ve used Excel for decades and consider myself expert at spreadsheets. Having never heard of "dashboards" in Excel I was curious. What I learned was amazing, it will save hours in creating and formatting reports for my company. I recognize that I had become complacent in learning the new features that were at my fingertips.
A few years ago a neighbor served me sautéed kale. It was okay but I stuck to my chard and spinach. A couple of years later at the farmers market I read "kale, the new carrot." In discussing diet with friends I learned they include kale in their smoothies. I did research and learned kale is a nutrient dense food with substantial health benefits. It is now a regular item on my grocery list.
This year I read the Natural Resources Inventory on the Brox property. In conversation with the scientist who studied the property I found his enthusiasm for his discoveries contagious.
He described the property as a "mosaic of unique natural habitats" he explained the value of not dividing the habitat, the whole being more than the sum of its parts. My image of the property was no longer a flat map with power lines dividing it with the north called industrial and the south called community lands.
I presented the Natural Resources Inventory to the Board of Selectmen in May 2015. I also presented a warrant article to give the selectmen the ability to sell the northern property to a conservation group. There was discussion that more information would be needed and it was acknowledged that the voters may favor conservation in the environmentally sensitive north. We agreed I would return in the fall to present the rational in both sense and dollars.
I ask the citizens of Milford to be open minded, investigate and learn about your property.
One of the original purposes in the purchase of the Brox property was conservation. Conservation area has never been defined. We are better educated today than we were in 2000 when the property was purchased. Let’s draw some new lines on the map that meet everyone’s needs; the taxpayer, the ballplayer and especially the rare, threatened and endangered species whose existence depend on human advocates.
My opinions change with new information. I hope yours do too! Consider writing to the Selectmen and let them know you want a say in happens to your land.
Chairman of the Milford Conservation Commission
2014 Brox editorial is true as it ever was
To the Editor:
The Milford Cabinet’s Oct. 2, 2014 editorial "Fournier worthy of appreciation" is as true now as it was then.
"Fournier is an environmental activist who wants to hold Milford to the highest possible standard and, to that end, she sticks out her neck whenever she believes it necessary to point out what she believes are the errors of official ways." The editorial continues, "It’s possible she isn’t terribly popular with some officials, although they treat her with respect, as they do anyone who comes before them. But it takes courage to be the point person for an issue, especially when, for the most part, you are out there alone."
The respect that town officials showed Fournier in 2014, regrettably, has devolved into a smear campaign designed to discredit her role as Coordinator in the reputable work of Brox Environmental Citizens. I refer the interested reader to the Facebook site for Milford residents at www. facebook.com/groups/ Milford.03055/ and begin reading the comments posted Aug. 21.
This social media resource for Milford citizens has degenerated into a dumping ground for some individuals’ baseless and hateful comments about Fournier and disparaging slurs intended to defame her reputation and the work of the grassroots conservation organization.
What disturbs me most about this state of affairs is that a Milford town official and citizen volunteers on the Milford Planning Board have freely contributed to the attack frenzy. There is not even an attempt at impartiality on the part of the public officials.
Milford’s Community Development Director Bill Parker, writes: "She [Fournier] has literally wasted many hours of town staff time and your tax dollars with her cause… Beware and extremely skeptical of anything she and her organization say and write in letters to the Cabinet. Her communications are filled with untruths and information deliberately taken out of context."
In another post he says: "We’ve been waiting for some situation to bring the actions of this organization’s leadership out in the open and expose its misdirected efforts to promote reasonable and balanced conservation and enjoyment of the Brox property for all without fear of harassment."
Who is the "We" to whom Mr. Parker refers? Other town officials? In fact, Fournier actually advocates for enjoyment of the Brox town lands by all law-abiding citizens. Mr. Parker may protest that he opines as a private citizen, yet he, like the other town representatives identified in this letter, uses inside knowledge of town business obtained in their roles as town representatives to give authority to their misguided opinions.
Janet Langdell, vice-chair of the Milford Planning Board, is more straightforward in proclaiming what gives authority to her own posts: "As a longtime member of the Milford Planning Board and other community boards and organizations, I appreciate having the facts." Ms. Langdell goes on to vilify not only Fournier but BEC: "Milford citizens would be appalled by the number of hours and dollars that the Town and Boards have had to expend in dealing with her and this mystery ‘group’ she purports to represent."
Ms. Langdell should know better than to listen to just one side of a story, one set of "facts." Brox Environmental Citizens is no "mystery group" as Monday night’s (8/24/15) well-attended Board of Selectmen’s meeting demonstrates. Most of those "hours and dollars," by the way, have gone into bringing town dealings out into the sunshine, a benefit to all in a democracy.
Tim Finan, another citizen volunteer on the Milford Planning Board, attempts to use his influence to denigrate Fournier when he writes, "Suzanne has been harassing town officials, local developers and (as we now know) random citizens simply trying to use OUR land," which led to this amazing comment by a Milford resident: "I’m surprised to hear that she’s threatened the BOS." Has Fournier really threatened the BOS? Certainly not.
Notice how the word "harassment" is liberally summoned whenever Fournier holds town officials, local developers, or citizens to "the highest possible standard." On the Milford residents’ FB page, stories are half-told, facts are misrepresented, and fictitious actions attributed to Fournier or BEC are simply accepted as true without being checked. A reasonable person will find the character assassination attempted as pretty uncivil, and the negative qualities of character attributed to Fournier as quite untrue, especially for people who know her.
I, like Fournier, think Milford town officials and citizen volunteers ought to be held to a higher standard than they apparently hold for themselves. I expect them to be more aware of their motives and show greater impartiality in the views they publicly post regarding town affairs. I expect them to demonstrate greater responsibility, wisdom, and professionalism in how they address the concerns of people, like Fournier, who point out "the errors of official ways."
True still are the closing words of the 2014 editorial, which states: "We are grateful, and hope you are, too, for people like Fournier who are not afraid to take their concerns public in a public forum… We hope in the future she has more support… It is still much better to have the issue[s] discussed than to just assume all is well. As long as Fournier is around, there’s no chance of such assumptions, we are glad to say."
Brox Environmental Citizens member
Where are our nations leaders?
To the Editor:
Leadership! Everyone is talking about "leadership" yet nobody is doing anything about leadership.
The NH budget is now two months overdue; languishing as a ping pong ball does bouncing back and forth between two paddles, going nowhere.
By her actions and statements, Governor Hassan seems to have an inexplicable dislike of business, and wants to tax it; the Republican "Leadership" seems to resting on its laurels that they have stopped the inflated budget.
And there it sits.
Now is the time for some LEADER to get off his/ her chair, to walk across the aisle, to sit down with their colleagues and to hammer out an agreement, then to force it on the "non-leadership" of their respective parties.
Where now are our true leaders?