Vote no on New Castle purchase of Coast Guard property for $5.125 million
April 21 — To the Editor:
The town of New Castle Select Board is proposing to raise $5.125 million at the upcoming Town Meeting to purchase the 1-acre oceanfront Coast Guard property in town. Wednesday night they held an informational meeting, which I attended. I went with an open mind, seeking to understand everything people had to say.
I understand that there is some enthusiasm for this proposal, but I left the meeting shaking my head over the shocking lack of detail offered to voters concerning the ultimate use of the land, the costs associated with that and so forth. Although the purchase possibility emerged over a year ago, these critical details have not been addressed while we are expected to vote in just over two weeks.
A $5 million land purchase is a huge outlay for our town. Yes the land is attractive, but expecting us to approve this with no plan or concrete indication of future costs and use is just not the way our public affairs should be managed, so I am a “no” vote on this.
Reduce waste, Skip the Stuff
April 21 — To The Editor:
As Earth Day 2023 approaches, new posters are appearing in the windows of some of Dover’s most forward-thinking restaurants and cafes. The Skip the Stuff posters indicate that the restaurant has joined a national campaign with the goal of reducing the billions of unused straws, utensils, napkins, condiment packets, and other accessories that are included in restaurant take-out and delivery orders and just thrown away, often without being used. Most restaurants provide these accessories for take-out meals even if the customer doesn’t need or ask for them.
Restaurants and cafes that join the Skip the Stuff campaign will only provide accessories upon request, rather than by default. If customers need foodware accessories, they can request them. If they don’t need them, business owners and customers can prevent waste and reduce costs by exercising their right to Skip the Stuff.
Look for Skip the Stuff posters in your favorite restaurants and cafes in Dover and other Seacoast towns. Thank those businesses that are participating. If your favorites are not on board, encourage them to join this collaborative effort to reduce waste.
UPSTREAM’s National Reuse Network launched Skip the Stuff which is being led in NH by the Surfrider Foundation NH Chapter and in Dover by the Dover Plastic Reduction Group. The Dover Plastic Reduction Group is an independent, nonpartisan organization that works to reduce single-use plastic in Dover. They are an Affiliate of the national Beyond Plastics project working to end single-use plastic pollution. For more information, contact Kristine Baber (email@example.com), Dover Plastic Reduction Group, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-chair, Dover Plastic Reduction Group
Only vote for those willing to reform gun laws
April 21 — To the Editor:
I have been interested in following the thoughts of local people in your editorial section in response to the increasing gun violence, especially as it hits close to home with threats on Portsmouth and Rochester schools. Dr. Miller is right on the money. The biggest changes we can make are with our votes and any candidate not willing to reform gun laws should not be supported by those who care about ending mass shootings and school shootings.
To Steve Maloney who wrote that the solution is to arm teachers, I can tell you have never worked in a school. That is the last thing a teacher needs to worry about! Weapons in schools should only be on a well-trained police officer. Teachers have their plates full without having to worry about where their weapon is or if it will fall into the hands of an angry student, students who think it would be funny to snatch it, or a disabled child who is dysregulated.
Let’s stop this problem at the source and follow the wisdom of countries like New Zealand, UK and Japan that ended gun violence by regulating guns.
The importance of religious faith and guns in America
April 21 — To the Editor:
I take exception to Dr. Fieseher’s characterization of the roots of our country’s foundation. To say the values and principles of 17th and 18th century philosophers served as the cornerstone of the Founding Fathers’ quest for independence and eventually the formation of the United States doesn’t tell the whole story.
While the founders’ fight for independence was certainly influenced by the likes of John Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu, it was not this kind of singular non-secular view that formed our nation. Sure, the belief laws, and not men (or any religion) should be the final arbiter didn’t necessarily mean faith played no role in the creation of our country. Not all the Founding Fathers were philosophers, but they were all from religious backgrounds, most being Christian.
George Washington wrote in his farewell address, “Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” As we see God stripped from the public square, we have seen moral decay accelerate within our society. There seems to be a lack of basic human respect which binds our nation’s people. Our children are bombarded with violence through video games and Hollywood movies. A healthy level of shame, which tells us we’ve crossed a line, is being replaced with coddling and a reassurance that bad behavior is caused by some injustice done to us from an external force.
It’s clear guns don’t fire on their own. Just like a person who takes their car and plows into a crowd of people, it takes intent however that intent is derived. Blaming guns and those who have the right to protect themselves by mocking them as if they aren’t intelligent or because they may have strong religious beliefs says a lot about the accuser.
The right to bear arms is well explained in The Federalist Papers: No. 29. Now, whether it’s guns or pitchforks, people have a right to protect themselves even if it is from their own government. And in an age of defund the police where we see law enforcement agencies struggling to find people willing to serve and protect or a district attorney unwilling to prosecute certain violent crimes, don’t we have the right to protect ourselves and our families by any means?
A call to action on school shootings
April 23 — To the Editor:
It takes a village to raise a child, an African proverb popularized by Hillary Clinton, means that we adults are responsible to provide a safe, healthy environment for our children to grow.
Just recently, Portsmouth experienced not a hoax, but a very real shooter threat. The prompt decision-making of our police and school officials not only saved lives, but saved all of us from becoming another grieving community. We owe much to them. What do we owe to our children?
Can we enhance safety measures? School Board Chair, Nancy Clayburgh, is requesting further discussion to better fortify our schools.
Mayor McEachern has suggested we budget for Student Resource Officers as we have already done in the middle and high schools. Yes, please.
Today the New York Times Magazine published an article about the Sandy Hook crime scene investigators. It’s a haunting account of the reality they lived, and we don’t ever want to experience. Sandy Hook occurred in 2012. Did you think then that the unthinkable would continue to happen?
There is much we can do. Given national statistics and what we just narrowly escaped, how can we not? The guns are out there. There is no political appetite to change this. We are on our own. Yes, it will be costly, but not as costly as losing our children and teachers. I truly hope we come together to support whatever measures are recommended. Each and every child deserves no less.