Learn about the ‘invisible obstacles’ faced by people with disabilities
March 5 — To the Editor:
March is Disability Awareness Month, and we are a group of advocates on the New Hampshire Seacoast working to make our communities better places to live for people with disabilities. As members of ABLE NH’s Seacoast chapter, we take action to break down the systemic barriers faced by people with disabilities which we are aware of everyday as we encounter them in our lives, but many people don’t even know about.
A few years ago, I noticed a need for better accessibility for pedestrians with mobility-related disabilities in downtown Dover. I began meeting with leaders in Dover about the issue, even walking through the downtown area with Dover elected officials and staff from Congressman Pappas’s office to point out areas that were inaccessible. Thanks to the relationships formed, members of New Hampshire’s disability community now have a voice in Dover’s downtown redesign process.
The Seacoast is known for being an inclusive place to live, but there are still remaining obstacles to people with disabilities that we want to see addressed. For example, one of our Seacoast ABLE NH members who does not drive because of their disability was recently browsing area city job postings. All of the job postings required that the applicant have a driver’s license, even when driving was not part of the job’s listed duties at all. Additionally, our members report that due to transportation barriers and physical inaccessibility of the locations, it can be challenging for them to access the New Hampshire Seacoast’s natural beauty, including its beaches.
During this Disability Awareness Month, we ask our neighbors to learn about the “invisible” obstacles that people with disabilities experience in our communities. Want to join the rewarding work of breaking them down? Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seacoast ABLE NH Chapter Chair
Sen. Hassan fighting to protect NH women’s reproductive health
March 2 — To the Editor:
With access to abortion and reproductive rights under attack by Republicans in New Hampshire, I could not be more thankful to have Sen. Maggie Hassan fighting for Granite Staters’ right to make their own health care decisions. This week, Sen. Hassan voted to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect access to abortion and women’s fundamental right to control their own destiny.
While Sen. Hassan is fighting for reproductive freedom, all three of her Republican opponents have lengthy records of trying to roll them back or end them completely. Chuck Morse was the architect of the first abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history — a ban that included no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly. Kevin Smith led an organization whose mission was to ban abortion completely and authored his own abortion ban when he was a state representative. Don Bolduc has called to defund Planned Parenthood and has campaigned with anti-abortion rights groups dedicated to making abortion illegal.
I’m so grateful to Sen. Hassan for always fighting to protect the reproductive rights of Granite Staters and Americans across the country. Thank you, Sen. Hassan!
If you live in a condo or HOA beware of NH SB 324; it’s ‘unrealistic’ legislation
March 3 – To the Editor:
I assume that the sponsors of NH’s Senate bill SB 324 are well intentioned. They must have seen examples of egregious violations of the rights of condo or HOA owners. Though I own, and have owned, a cooperative and/or condominium in three states, I have never seen a situation that would necessitate such unrealistic and crushing legislation on HOAs and condominiums. Such as “No homeowners’ association board member shall serve subsequent terms unless and until every other member of the association has served on the board.”
It is quite a transition from private home ownership to communal living. It is not for everyone. Not every condo owner has read the governing documents they are provided when they purchase and they sometimes find themselves unhappy with restrictions that are now imposed upon them. There are rules and regulations that dictate things you formerly took for granted. No, you maybe cannot change the color of your own front door. No, you maybe cannot have an 80-pound dog.
If I understand this bill correctly, it proposes that New Hampshire have a dispute resolution board of 12 members including governor appointees and NH Bar Association representation. This dispute resolution board who would have authority to determine if fines assessed to a unit owner are “fair” and if a condo board decision is “subjective or unreasonable”.
I have served on condo boards and with few exceptions worked with earnest team players striving to enforce their condo bylaws in a fair and impartial way. In my experience, on the rare occasion when a matter cannot be resolved between an owner and an association, the courts are the remedy.
If you live in a condo or HOA, read this NH Senate proposed SB 324 and share your thoughts with your state senator. (District 21: Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, 603-271-2104.)
Threatening NH education laws will only make teacher shortage worse
March 3 – To the Editor:
In the midst of the constant intrusion into the privacy and rights of teachers throughout the state regarding the hot topic of critical race theory, it becomes harder and harder to convince myself and my fellow students to stay in the state of New Hampshire to teach. I love this state, and consider it to be my home, but with the constant barrage of misinformation regarding how topics like racism and slavery are covered in schools, it makes me wonder whether the love I hold for this place is returned.
Some people in this country say they just want to stop critical race theory from being taught but then pull books by Black authors off library shelves, try to ban Martin Luther King speeches, and give parents the ability to pull students out of any lesson if they find the curriculum to be inappropriate. Would they ever let someone pull a kid out of calculus because they had a moral offense to it? What does it even mean to hold a diploma if learning the material is optional?
It never was about CRT specifically — In New Hampshire, legislation that threatens draconian administrative oversight over teachers results in a working environment even more unwelcoming for educators than it was before. If any state legislators that push for laws like this question why there is a teacher shortage in New Hampshire, send me a letter and I will gladly buy a mirror for them.
Putin and Trump are both cancers on their respective countries
March 3 – To the Editor:
Since the war on Ukraine began to unfold days ago I, like others, have contemplated sending my commentary along to the Herald. Doing so has caused me to wonder how worse conditions could get between the the time I click on the send arrow and when and if my offering is published.
I shudder when I think of the images we all see on daily live broadcasts from the war zone; a young child sitting in s subway station, clutching her two pet cats. A mother with baby in arms saying a teary farewell to her husband who is returning to join the fight against the oppressor. The scene at the Polish border where as of March 3 over one million refugees seek refuge and as I write an estimated 4 million will follow suit. As it is with the Holocaust, we must never forget.
The letters in today’s Herald, March 3, speak for many of us. A heartfelt thanks to Michael Frandzel, Donna Theeoibald and Bill Kingston. Years ago, Sen. John McCain pretty well pegged Putin when he described him as a “thug and a bully.” I would add that Sen. McCain might now wish he had added Trump’s name. It goes without saying that Trump and Putin have much in common. Let me add the following: They both are malignant cancers on their respective countries. In their cases, there is no cure other then for them to fade into the dark backwaters of history.