Julia Vigue: Valedictorian's speech was heartwarming

To the editor:

Anyone attending Berlin High School’s graduation this year was met with a most pleasant and heartening experience when the school’s Valedictorian invited several other students onto the stage to speak with her, allowing others to share their thoughts and inspiration with the audience. I am not from Berlin, but I have to say that I have never before witnessed this level of generosity from a Valedictorian, and I have attended a great many high school graduations in my lifetime.

All of the speakers were wonderfully well-spoken, conveying obviously heartfelt connections to their mentors. This was an amazing testimony to the professionals associated with Berlin High School.

I offer my congratulations Berlin High’s Valedictorian Myra Arsenault, to each of the speakers who joined her on stage, and to the entire Berlin High Class of 2017.

I also offer my congratulations to the parents of Ms. Arsenault for raising an extraordinarily open-hearted young woman in an age when self-centeredness has become a way of life.

Julia Vigue
Waterville, Maine

Robert Theberge: New VA Transportation Program

To the editor:

Let the Veterans Administration (VA) do the driving. The new program, Veterans Transportation Service (VTS) provides enrolled veterans with free transportation to and from your home in Coos or northern Grafton Counties for any healthcare appointments either to the VA Hospital in White River Junction or to the Community Based Outreach Clinic (CBOC) in Littleton.

Options may include:

• Door-to- Door rides in wheelchair accessible vans;

• Door-to-Door transportation for veterans who are unable to drive because of vision impairment or medically challenges issues.

Veterans may travel with a companion, if space is available after contacting the VTS scheduler. For program information, contact the White River Junction VTS by phone: 1 800-941-8387 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The purpose of the VTS is to assist veterans with travel to their appointments with the goal in mind of free transportation back to their residence ASAP in conjunction. VTS works, where possible, with private and public transportation services.

Rep. Robert L. Theberge
Coos, Dist. 3. (Berlin)
State Veterans Advisory Committee

Eileen Rooney: Hats off to Berlin's valedictorian

To the editor: 

My hat's off to my grand niece, Myra Arsenault, 2017 Berlin High School valedictorian, who stepped aside from the conventional and chose with some of her classmates to laud and applaud her teachers, who are often critized instead of being praised. My one regret is that I did not give her and her classmates a standing ovation. 

Eileen Rooney 

Berlin 

Elizabeth Ruediger: Investments in community require real conversations

To the editor:
With regard to the proposed skate park, I'm extremely curious as to how many residents are interested in such an investment and how many would actually use it. This cannot be based on "rumors" that Mr. Dwyer has sifted through his community connections. It requires real conversations with those in positions he seemingly would like to eliminate, as an effort to lower his tax burden.
I may not own property in Berlin, I may not pay its municipal taxes, but I still care. Berlin is an economic hub for the local communities, like Milan, Dummer, Randolph and Shelburne. We are Berlin's employees. We contribute in many ways through volunteerism and philanthropy that keep Berlin progressing and building its economic base. Please do not discount those community members who work to make the area's offerings beneficial for all. We must be diverse and that includes a variety of tourism and industry.
In the last five years, many positive changes have occurred. Bob Chapman's investment in the Jericho corridor will have lasting benefit. The success of the ATV festivals also help the area accommodation businesses to sustain themselves. I can't imagine a skate park being an equal economic generator. But, let's (that means you and me) come together and create a coalition with a plan for a new skate park born out of knowledge and an understanding of just how many residents would be served by a formal investment in developing such a hyper-focused recreational opportunity. Otherwise, this earmarked money should be re-invested in a more appropriate venue that will offer recreational opportunities for all of the area's residents, rather than a select few.
Tim Cayer, former city council member, worked tirelessly to develop a new skate park. Let's not re-invent the proverbial wheel, but review and understand why this prior initiative failed to come to fruition. But all of this verbal frothing at the mouth generated in the editorials of the Sun will ultimately get the project idea nowhere. I understand Berlin's position with regard to its tax base. It is a struggle to provide a multi-faceted platform of services to its residents efficiently and intelligently. However, projecting an air of entitlement for those services is detrimental to the process and undermines the city's sense of pride.
Berlin is experiencing a rebirth of community investment. It is up to area community members to help guide the rebranding of the North Country, rather than throwing its catalysts under a bus.
Elizabeth Ruediger
Dummer

Donald Enman: The good news outweighs the negative

To the editor:
It's easy enough to criticize, and it seems hard enough for others to look on the bright side. Here is my "take" on both sides.
First, the good news in Berlin: Well-kept school buildings and campuses, scholastic programs always moving ahead, excellent athletic programs, great parks, playgrounds and athletic fields, The Moffett House Museum and Brown Company barns, the antique steam fire engine, Mt. Jasper trails, Mt. Forist trail parking area, Nansen Ski Jump and Wayside AreaCates Hill scenic drive, Bisson's Sugar House, Berlin Municipal Airport,top graded AVH, Coos County Nursing Home, St. Vincent de Paul Nursinq Home and Rehabilitation, assisted living centers, senior housing and programs for the elderly (we lead the state in retired and elderly residents), St. Kieran's Art Center, White Mountains Community College, Public LibraryHeritage Park and Brown Company House and gardens, community and botanical gardenscut stone walls on East Milan Road, historic churches, Jericho Lake Park, excellent sewer and water departments, well trained and equipped fire department, police department and ambulance service, Main Street and Route 16 upgrades, Berlin Fish Hatchery, Kilkenny White Mountain National Forest, nearby Lake Umbagog and numerous other ponds, hiking trails including Appalachian Trail, most private land is open for foot travel, bird watching, andother recreational activities.
I consider this an impressive list of accomplishments, and I'm sure you can think of more.
Now for some negative looks: the neglect of the Wurlitzer Organ in the Middle School, the razing of the historic Brown mansion, the disposal of the priceless World War I German artillery piece (donated to the city by an Act of Congress), jungle on the East Side north of the biomass plantmany streets and sidewalks need rebuilding or upgrading, losing the vibrant Main Street of yesterday, monopoly by one party of city hall, losing city-sponsored nurses, no skate park, lack of financial support from people of means (you can't take it with you), the drug, alcohol and vandalism that plague the city.
I believe the good news outweighs the negative, by far. What do you think?
Donald J. Enman
Berlin