John Gralenski: Rhubarb root travels the world

To the editor:
I like rhubarb. Evidently, so did the old New Englanders. About the time we bought this old farm—it was built in the 1870s—I ran across an article talking about the days back when Easterners were headed to the mid-west or farther to homestead. According to the writer, every emigrant family took with them, a slip of lilac and a root of rhubarb, Well, I thought, where is that all important rhubarb on this old farm? I looked and looked and finally found a few tiny sprigs out in the woods. It was overgrown and stunted, struggling to survive. I carefully dug it up and planted it in my newly dug vegetable garden.
Years went by, and the root prospered. Then it began its traveling. First, I became friendly with a fellow who built a new house down the road. It didn't have any rhubarb so a few of the roots from my patch went there. That wasn't very far.
A few more years went by. Our youngest boy moved to Idaho, where there was also no rhubarb. On one of his visits, he packed up a few roots and now there's a colony in Sun Valley. That's a lot farther, but there was much more to come.
Some more years went by. We made friends with another family that moved into town. They, too, loved rhubarb. Enough so that they used it to entertain a relative visiting from Italy. She had never heard of the stuff but fell in love with it at once. She wanted to take some back with her, but the prospect of going through the bureaucratic procedure of acquiring permits to import a foreign plant were daunting. The solution was simple. Before she left, she stuffed some roots into her bra, boarded the plane, and flew home to Italy. And there, to this day, it grows, having traveled thousands of miles.
And what's next? They're talking about going to Mars. Hey, there's no rhubarb there. Who knows?
John Gralenski

Bill Dwyer: The citizens of Berlin want the skate park back

To the editor:

I think it's funny that the people who criticize me either don't pay taxes or live in Berlin or both. I live in Berlin and pay taxes and just want to get my money's worth. Why is that so wrong? And as far as the skate park if I was involved in the theft of the old one I would step right up and help replace it. But I wasn't the one who sold out and gave the old one away. I mean it's been almost ten years and the citizens of Berlin are still waiting. If it had anything to do with ATVs it would be installed and be used by now. The citizens of Berlin want their skate park back.

Bill Dwyer


Glen Supernor: City not listening to what people want or need

To the editor:
So apparently, Mayor Paul Grenier lied to the residents of Berlin when a few years ago he stated the biomass, once fully functional, would reduce every ones electric bills. Yet in Saturday's paper, it states every one's electric bills actually went up considerably because of the biomass!
Yet the city council and mayor want to purchase the hydro? Who is going to maintain it?
We can't even get a second street sweeper or pay Gorham to borrow theirs to get the streets clean!
Business downtown keep closing; a small one is trying to open but already getting delayed because of the city!
But, hey, let's talk about heated streets and sidewalks? It seems the mayor and city council are drinking some damn good Kool-Aid!
Too bad they don't listen to what the people want or need. There's no reason a small town — the poorest town in N.H. — is paying the second highest property tax rate in N.H., and it's going up yet again — no, not by much, but still going up!
Glen Supernor

Bill Dwyer: Visitors need more than festivals to keep them coming back

To the editor:
Well, another business is closing in Berlin's downtown, and our city leaders fiddle.
When I first moved here 11 years ago, there were buildings downtown instead of an empty lot. When the buildings were torn down, there was talk of putting a hotel in. But nooo. We expect to bring people here for our festivals and outdoors activities and don't provide them with a place to stay. Not all visitors want to camp out in tents; some like to shower and stay in an air-conditioned room. What sense does that make? In order to bring in more outside dollars, there needs to be beds for them to lay their heads.
When you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, that's a sign of insanity. Something needs to change in Berlin, because the results are dire and getting worse.
When I first moved here, there was a paper mill, a Shaw's, a KFC, a Pizza Hut, a Quiznos Subs, a IGA, a Walgreens, a skate park and a bustling downtown. Now we have a Super Walmart, a co-generation power plant that was supposed to bring our electricity down but hasn't yet and a few struggling local businesses. But our city leaders know what's best for us, right? Heated street, and now they want to buy a hydro-plant? That's the best you all can come up with? And who's going to run this hydro?
Bill Dwyer

Elizabeth Ruediger: Little efforts can lead to big results

To the editor:

In response to Bill Dwyer letter of Tuesday, May 16, about the condition of the roadways in Milan and the roadways in Berlin.

Again, Bill, a little education goes a long way in the complaint department. First off, the roads you were traveling on are owned by the state of New Hampshire. They have their own equipment and their own schedule of task completion separate from the municipalities of Milan, Berlin and Dummer.

We hire out to an independent contract (small business owner) in Vermont to sweep the sand from our town-designated roadways. And due to scheduling, we have to sit and be patient for this entrepreneur to fit us into his very busy, seasonal schedule. He was here last Wednesday and has not returned to finish. We, as kind residents, will remain reticent awaiting his return.

As for the skate park: What have you done to allow this project to come to fruition? I know there has been money designated by the city for the project, but I suspect it is not enough to implement, thus requiring actions by a community-oriented committee to partner with the city.

As Paul Grenier and I recently discussed, words are one thing, actions are another. If you want something done, many times you have to be the catalyst and the elbow grease in the process, not just the squeaky wheel. I recently saw volunteers out painting the retaining wall on upper Glen Avenue (thank you, Tristen Robertson, Heather Piche and friends!).

I manage the Heritage Garden at the Brown Co. House, which is owned by Tri-County Community Action Project, with no budget. I have made improvements in Veteran's Park, Community Park and happily assisted with the great initiative to clean up Dead River Park. Where were you? We, as a family, just finished an improvement project at the Horne Field Tennis Courts that required a budget of under $500, community support and determination to get it done. I can't wait to see you out hitting some balls. The point is that it takes little effort to get big results.

On Friday, Berlin will once again host its Downtown Day of Caring. I hope you will join us, but this is not the first time I have invited you to put your money where your mouth is and join in on the rejuvenation and beautification of Berlin.

I am on a personal journey to leave no park in Berlin untouched with some of my tender loving care. Rather than establishing goals for everyone else to accomplish, try setting some goals for yourself. The greatest compliment would be to have "fiercely outspoken" and "not lazy" on my tombstone, but I have work to do before I succumb to perpetual recline. What will your epithet read?

Elizabeth Ruediger