I recently read an article about an older women living in Florida who had chosen to live "off the grid." For those who are not familiar with the term, it refers to living without using electricity from the power company and water/sewer from the local municipality, somewhat like our great grandparents did when our country was young. Without any physical inspection or warning of any kind, the city she was living in plastered an eviction notice on her front door, ordering the woman to vacate her home because they determined her home to be uninhabitable.

Flash to Georgia, Vt., several days ago, when almost the same situation was discovered by two Vermont State Troopers on what is known as a "wellness check" on an elderly woman who was living alone. Upon finding that she was living without heat on a freezing cold day, the Troopers went to the woman’s garage and found a sack of wood pellets and began to start a fire in the wood stove. Then the troopers called a local fuel oil company, which donated 100 gallons of oil to keep the woman warm for awhile. This is what makes Vermont: our troopers and all first responders. Vermont’s citizens make the great community we live in. May we never lose our humanity and our concern for our fellow man.

JOHN ZINK

Bennington

Thanks for gifts to Dartmouth-Hitchcock and regional partners

Imagine a community where children are active and healthy, not burdened by obesity; where those with diabetes, congestive heart failure, and other chronic conditions receive the support they need to keep them out of the hospital; where cancer patients receive state-of-the-art care close to home; and where high quality healthcare is accessible and affordable.

This is the vision that Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and our partners are pursuing for our region.

We are joined in this work by more than 36,000 donors who have contributed to Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine this year. Your gifts -- to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Annual Fund, the Fund for Geisel, CHaD, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and many other programs -- are an investment in the health of our region, touching people’s lives today and in the future.

During this season of joy, reflection and humility, please remember those who are in need, and know that we are committed to serving our community with world-class health care.

On behalf of all of us at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine: thank you.

Happy Holidays!

SKIP LEONARD

Vice President of Development

Dartmouth-Hitchcock/

Geisel School of Medicine

Lebanon, N.H.

Loss of Yankee hurts Vermont’s environment

A December 2013 Vermont Agency of Natural Resources study finds Vermont’s electricity-related carbon emissions "have been increasing slowly over the past few years, despite effective energy efficiency programs and an increase in in-state renewable generation." The report attributes the rise in carbon emissions to "a greater reliance on higher GHG-emitting regional market power in Vermont’s electricity contract mix." In other words, when we stopped buying virtually zero-carbon Vermont Yankee power in 2012, we ended up replacing our own in-state generated energy with out-of-state fossil-fuel power -- a healthy mixture of natural gas, coal, and oil. Despite all of the renewable rhetoric and taxpayer investment, efficiency and renewable power haven’t begun to offset the low-carbon power we lost when we rejected a low-cost, instate, tax-paying, salary-paying power manufacturer.

Vermont may be just one grain of sand on a long beach. Yet, it is our grain of sand, and we have the power and thus the responsibility to make the future better or worse. We talk big about global warming when it serves our interests, but faced with hard choices, we let politics and parochial interests carry the day. Our actions declare, "Global warming is not our problem." The truth hurts, but how else to interpret dismissing a virtually zero-GHG producer in favor of the fossil fuel du jour? And this is why I dismiss Montpelier’s calls for citizen sacrifice of our mountaintops, and other treasures, on behalf of climate change and say, "You first."

HEATHER SHEPPARD

Cambridge