Letter Box


Friday July 13, 2012

Continued discussion on Komen and politics

Editor of the Reformer:

In response to Patience Merriman’s letter ("Playing politics with women’s health," July 12), there are a few things that need to be stated.

First, right wing or left wing, Komen is the largest single funder of breast cancer research outside of the federal government. Many of the major breakthroughs in breast cancer treatment in the last 30-plus years have come through Komen-funded research. Currently, just in our region, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., is working with a three-year $600,000 grant looking at triple negative breast cancer, the most difficult breast cancer to treat. If it weren’t for Komen, that research would not be happening and someone would have to tell one of my board members currently battling triple negative breast cancer why not.

Second, I’m glad the writer acknowledges that helping breast cancer patients in Vermont and New Hampshire is important and there’s a survivor from Putney who can attest to that. She got her truck fixed with VT-NH Komen Emergency Fund money and has also received gas and food cards to keep her going during her treatment. It is essential to note that Komen is the only national organization whose local affiliates distribute 75 percent of the money raised within their own region; we granted $500,000 this past year. The remaining 25 percent goes to research.

I appreciate the writer’s thought about re-organizing as an independent organization but in February, when the Planned Parenthood issue arose, the Vermont-New Hampshire board voted to give the parent organization the time to undertake the reforms it has promised to the 120 affiliates across the country.

Please don’t let politics keep you away on July 28.

Debbie Peretz,

president, Vt.-N.H. affiliate

of Komen for the Cure, July 12

The Waypoint Center’s purpose discussed

Editor of the Reformer:

I was surprised to see a quote in the Reformer in May about the Waypoint Center in Bellows Falls that was recently reported as fact in another article on the same topic ("BF’s Waypoint Center a beacon of information," July 7-8).

It was said that the Waypoint Center was originally intended to serve as an intermodal center for the downtown. That simply is not true.

As the Town of Rockingham’s Historic Preservation Coordinator in the late 1990s, I participated in the formation of the Connecticut River Byway, an affiliation of Vermont and New Hampshire downtowns stretching from Brattleboro to St. Johnsbury. The Byway’s purpose was to promote tourism in the downtowns for travelers interested in recreation and history.

Later, serving as Rockingham’s Community Development Director -- along with a host of individuals representing the Town, the Village of Bellows Falls, the Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Society -- I participated in developing the design of the building and its interpretive materials as well as a partnership agreement for the use and enjoyment of the facility by residents and the traveling public.

The Waypoint Center was competently operated by the Chamber of Commerce until its board voted to move its office to The Square. From the time of its conception until the Chamber moved out, the sole intent of the building was to serve Bellows Falls, the surrounding communities and the Byway as an information and promotion site for local and regional tourism.

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Neither the building nor the site are suitable for use as a intermodal center that could accommodate passengers waiting for buses, trains and taxis. The unique and award-winning design of the building and the arch -- evoking Bellows Falls’ railroad history as well as the demolished Arch Bridge -- came at the cost of functionality. The building has a very small footprint, lacks accessible private office space, has no waiting room, is short on room to store things and has only one bathroom. If the parking area needed to remain open for buses to pull through, events such as the Bellows Falls Farmers’ Market could no longer be held there.

It was never intended to be an intermodal center and is not suitable for one.

Richard Ewald,

Westminster West, July 12

Nuclear storage
issues explored

Editor of the Reformer:

Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Appeals instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to more fully analyze the environmental impacts of storing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel at 104 nuclear reactors around the United States, including Vermont Yankee in Vernon. Nuclear opponents immediately concluded this decision can be used by the Vermont Public Service Board to deny the 20-year renewal of VY’s operating license.

This sort of tunnel-vision is indicative of the "win-at-any-cost" agenda of the anti-nuclear lobby. The safe storage, disposal or recycling of spent nuclear fuel should be of paramount importance to us all. Concerns about nuclear safety should supersede all other concerns. Simply shutting down a single nuclear generating plant like Yankee will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of safely handling spent fuel.

The reason spent nuclear fuel is being stored at sites like Yankee is that the Department of Energy and Congress have totally failed in their responsibility under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, passed in 1982 to construct a national spent fuel disposal facility and begin removing spent fuel from plants like Yankee. The Act set a deadline for the DOE to begin removing spent fuel from nuclear sites by 1998 -- 14 years ago. This Act mandated that the first shipment of spent fuel was supposed to have left Yankee in 1999.

The feds spent more than 20 years and $5 billion developing a waste site in the nuclear weapons testing range at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The Yucca Mountain project was killed two years ago by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after he became president of the Senate. And who loudly and joyfully supported Sen. Reid in his NIMBY-driven quest? It’s the very same anti-nuke lobbyists who are now clamoring for the closure of Yankee because there’s no centralized federal disposal site for spent nuclear fuel.

Jim DeVincentis,

Vernon, July 12

Roberts shows his independence

Editor of the Reformer:

In these politically polarized times, Chief Justice John Roberts’ breaking ranks with conservative tradition by upholding the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality is proof of his judicial independence and integrity, essential qualities in a Supreme Court justice.

John McLaughry ("The Future of the Affordable Care Act," July 12) values rigid political ideology above individual conviction when he condemns Roberts’ opinion as an act of "apostasy."

Mimi Morton,

Guilford, July 12


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