Bus practices raise safety issues
To the editor:
Recently, there was a School Board meeting in Londonderry. Because it’s a new year and the parents discovered that some new policies are not working, it would be presumed to be a good place to discuss these issues. Unfortunately, the board refused to let me, a parent, speak. As a result, I’m forced to choose another venue to be heard.
Not going into the cul de sacs and smaller side streets for the elementary school children is not working. It is a safety issue. The children have to walk two-tenths of a mile just to reach the bus stop which is an intersection of a busy cut-through road at the bottom of a hill. The bus driver ends up approximately 4 to 6 feet over the stop sign line. This is particularly dangerous once it’s icy if the driver can’t stop the bus and the children are too young or too startled to get out of the way.
Recently, I took pictures of both the children standing on the blind corner and the bus pulled up over the stop sign line. Four cars passed the area in the 10 minutes I was standing there. It only takes one to hit a child on the blind corner.
Another case in point, one mom was quite distressed when the bus driver directed her child to a car outside the Senior Center. Even though the child stated that she did not know what her sister’s new car looked like, the bus driver dropped her off and left. The car did not contain her sister, who was running from the house to the bus stop. Now the child doesn’t want to ride the bus and I think every parent can sympathize with the child’s fright.
In light of these safety issues, I believe the school district should reconsider its new policy and find a better solution, especially since it received over 70 complaints. The parents want to be heard.
Now I ask the School Board, “Can you hear me now?”
Working to expand food labeling law
To the editor:
In an effort to keep my constituents updated on my activities in the New Hampshire House, I would like to share some of my recent work. I am serving on the subcommittee of the Environment and Agriculture Committee for HB 660, which would allow for labeling of genetically-engineered content in the food we buy in New Hampshire. Our group has invited scientific and other experts to review this bill.
Maine and Connecticut have already passed similar legislation, and a bill is currently moving through the Vermont legislature. Let New Hampshire become one of the leading New England states in this debate over the consumers’ “right to know.”
From a historical perspective, HB 660 is continuing a tradition of providing more comprehensive food information to consumers. It has been over 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln established the first food oversight board. It has been over 50 years since President Kennedy proclaimed a Consumer Bill of Rights which included the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose and the right to be heard. HB 660 is working to fulfill the right to be informed — what I call the right to know.
In the 1980s, the United States instituted labeling for both nutrition and content, and there was great resistance from food producers. We see reluctance today regarding the labeling of genetically-engineered foods.
The same multi-national corporations protesting the U.S. proposals for GE-labeling are providing more than 60 nations worldwide with this simple bit of information. Every country in the European Union has labeling, and each nation has a separate language! Yet every package of food carries the required information on genetically engineered foods.
Do we believe in the basic right of the consumer in our state to know what is in the foods they buy?
I believe that New Hampshire consumers have the simple rights to be informed and to make choices on their own behalf. I believe that HB 660 will continue a tradition of providing relevant and important information for our New Hampshire families.
Additionally, I was honored to stand in for the governor at a presentation of the I Will Act on Climate Change Bus Tour and read her letter of appreciation to the gathered guests and speakers.
I am very interested in Medicaid expansion, and have attended numerous sessions of the Medicaid Expansion Study Commission over the summer. I was able to attend the stakeholder/public input session in Representatives Hall last Tuesday with a number of Londonderry residents and hundreds of supporters.
Additionally, I recently met with UNH President Mark Huddleston and UNH research staff at the Proven Winners facility in Loudon to tour that site. Last week I visited the UNH Field Research Facility at the Woodman Farm in Durham, and reviewed numerous field trials. Londonderry resident, Bob Rimol, addressed the group and described the innovative greenhouse he donated which expands our limited growing season for horticulturalists. It has been a busy summer and we made have progress.
For further information, please visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LisaWhittemoreStateRep2012?ref=hl
Lisa I. Whittemore
Londonderry State Representative