6.5.13 Letter to the Editor

Hiker’s Writings Raise Concerns

By Jon Wolper Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, June 1, 2013
(Published in print: Saturday, June 1, 2013)

http://mobile.vnews.com/home/6721478-108/hikers-writings-raise-concerns

Begin forwarded message:

From: Nichole Hastings
Date: June 5, 2013 7:28:56 AM EDT
To: “newseditor@vnews.com”
Subject: Re: AT register entries

Dear Valley News Editor,

My colleagues of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and I conferred yesterday about last Saturday’s article in regards to the graphic register entries, fellow leaving them, and Mr. Wolpar’s mis-representation of the facts. In spite of what community members, Trail Angels have said, Mr. Wolpar’s gross mis-prepresentation of the Appalachian Trail is troubling.

Essentially Mr. Wolpar painted a picture that this sort of unusual behavior is typical on the trail and that ‘worrisome’ people may be regularly found traversing the A.T. Neither of those are true. I speak not only for myself as the Dartmouth Outing Club’s Appalachian Trail Monitor Coordinator, a Corridor Monitor for the Green Mountain Club but also as a representative of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. These graphic entries and this fellow disturbing other hikers is A-typical and highly unusual. In fact, it’s almost unheard of which is why I and the organizations I represent spread the word quickly through the trail community, local communities and notified the authorities.

I am confused as to why Mr. Wolpar chose to present this story in such a ‘sensationalized’ way and on the words of folks who are not official representatives of the Appalachian Trail. I am confused on how Mr. Wolpar thought that painting such a dark picture of an isolated incident on the trail benefits a community and their perception of the hundreds of thru-hikers that will soon be passing through West Hartford, Norwich and Hanover. I hope that this letter will be shared as to correct this unfortunate error on Mr. Wolpar’s part and his misrepresentation of the trail.

Best regards,
Nichole


Nichole Hastings
Appalachian Trail Monitor Coordinator
Dartmouth Outing Club
Robinson Hall, Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
Email: doc.at.corridormonitors@gmail.com
DOC AT Boundary Program Schedule: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~doc/appalachiantrail/
Twitter ID: @DartmouthOuting @HAFoAT

Press Release: “Trail Time? Not Quite”

As Always, Mud Season Beckons Caution

By Jared Pendak

Valley News Staff Writer

Thursday, April 18, 2013
(Published in print: Thursday, April 18, 2013

Elm Street AT Kiosk

Nichole Hastings received a disturbing email recently.

As a volunteer Appalachian Trail corridor monitor , Hastings was alerted to the sight of a mountain bike’s tire treads on the AT in Norwich, off of Cossingham Road. As a designated National Scenic Trail, the AT is meant for foot travel only and is subject to National Park Service regulations prohibiting bicycle and motorized travel of any kind, as well any use by riders of “pack animals,” i.e. horses, mules, goats and llamas.

The AT crosses Cossingham Road, a Class IV road near the intersection of Bragg Hill Road and Happy Hill Road that is popular for use among mountain bikers and horseback riders.

“The AT passes over the road, north-to-south,” said Hastings, who coordinates the Dartmouth Outing Club’s trail monitor program and also volunteers with the Green Mountain Club, which maintains the Appalachian Trail from Norwich to Woodstock. “It makes it convenient for ATVs or mountain bikers to go onto the trail, if they’re using that road. What some people don’t realize is that the trail is part of the National Park Service, and that keeping vehicles, including, bikes, off the trail is federally mandated.”

Read more here.

Press Release: February 10, 2013

Snowpocalypse Not: Upper Valley Dodges Brunt of Monster Winter Storm

Randy Hill, of Hanover, smooths a part of his snow sculpture, which represents Rapunzel’s tower, on Occom Pond in Hanover yesterday. Hill has been creating sculptures at locations around Hanover during Winter Carnival since 1987. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Randy Hill, of Hanover, smooths a part of his snow sculpture, which represents Rapunzel’s tower, on Occom Pond in Hanover yesterday. Hill has been creating sculptures at locations around Hanover during Winter Carnival since 1987. (Valley News – James M. Patterson)

By Jon Wolper Valley News Staff Writer

Sunday, February 10, 2013
(Published in print: Sunday, February 10, 2013)

Hanover — The winter storm that walloped much of the northeastern United States largely spared the Upper Valley, whose residents saw the snowfall as business as usual.

“It’s not 3 feet of snow,” said Nichole Hastings, who was sculpting a pair of hiking boots out of packed snow. “It’s not even a foot of snow. I’m just happy that it looks like the proper season.”

At any rate, it was enough powder for construction. Hastings, of Norwich, was one of several builders yesterday at Occom Pond, sawing and chiseling at large mounds of snow. It was also enough powder to get several trucks driving up and down the pond, plows affixed, clearing the snow from the iced-over body of water.

Snowfall in Lebanon reached 16 inches, according to National Weather Service meteorologists. Orford, by contrast, received only 6 inches. On the Vermont side of the Upper Valley, snowfall ranged from 8 inches in Wilder to 15 inches in Thetford Center.

And in Hanover, there was plenty of snow to play with. The sculpting and plowing yesterday was in preparation of the annual Occom Pond Party, which will take place at the pond today, from noon to 3 p.m. The theme of this year’s party, like the Dartmouth Winter Carnival — the two events are spiritually connected, if not directly so — is “A Grimm Carnival,” based on the famous fairy tales.

So Hastings’ boots were symbolic of both The Boots of Buffalo-Leather, one of the tales, and the group she was representing: the Hanover Area Friends of the Appalachian Trail.

Read more here.

Two feet of snow!

Two feet of snow!

This image was not included in the Valley News article but was taken by another Pond Party volunteer.  It’s of the Hanover Area Friends of the Appalachian Trail sculpture and Nichole Hastings at the 16th Annual Occom Pond Party.

Press Release: Valley News – Mail Call Grows Fainter: Post Office to End Saturday Delivery

 

In her home at Rogers House in Lebanon, Betty Abbott, 89, talks about the decision of the postal service to no longer deliver mail on Saturday. “The big dogs get paid too much in the Post Office, just like the Congress and Senate and all of them,” she said. “They are setting their retirements and all of that, and they don’t give a damn about the little man. ... It just bugs me when these young squirts can’t understand what they’re doing to their country.” (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)In her home at Rogers House in Lebanon, Betty Abbott, 89, talks about the decision of the postal service to no longer deliver mail on Saturday. “The big dogs get paid too much in the Post Office, just like the Congress and Senate and all of them,” she said. “They are setting their retirements and all of that, and they don’t give a damn about the little man. … It just bugs me when these young squirts can’t understand what they’re doing to their country.” (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck)

By Maggie Cassidy Valley News Staff Writer

Thursday, February 7, 2013
(Published in print: Thursday, February 7, 2013)

Lebanon — No more mail delivery to homes and businesses on Saturdays: That’s the plan announced yesterday by officials from the financially troubled United States Postal Service, who said the agency will continue delivering packages to street addresses once regular mail service on Saturdays ends mid-summer.

Post offices currently open on Saturday will remain open, officials said, and mail will continue to be delivered to post office boxes on that day.

The Postal Service expects that curtailing Saturday service — which goes into effect the week of Aug. 5 — will save about $2 billion annually, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said in a statement.

“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

The announcement was not unexpected as email takes over snail mail: The agency in November reported a record $15.9 billion loss in the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.

Nevertheless, some Upper Valley residents reacted to the news with dismay yesterday, expressing concerns about mail accessibility for the elderly and finanically disadvantaged, and fears that yesterday’s announcement could signal a slow dismantling of one of the country’s oldest institutions dating back to the 18th century. Norwich resident Nichole Hastings, an activist who has long worked to in opposition post office closings and cutbacks, said the move brings into play “an interesting economic and spatial disparity” in that if people can’t access a post office box because of lack of availability or cost, “they lose out.”

“Most people that have a (post office box) have money to afford the service,” she said in a Facebook exchange to the Valley News. “Post offices can only house so many (post office boxes), so if folks wanted to change over, some folks would be able to and would take on the service and fuel charge for the box and driving to the box. … Quite simply, it’s unfair to everyone and perpetuates a class/economic divide between those that have money and those that do not.”

 

Read more here.

Journal Entry: July 7, 2010 – An Unexpected Delight

Last night, I had a lovely evening, dinner wine excellent conversation, with a good friend. I got back to the domes to an unexpected delight. A hot air balloon frolicking in the sky. I stood on the rail, eyes fixated, hand waving ‘hello’. The two people aboard waved back. They made their way from the backside of the domes, along the river and then quite precisely landed in the small parking area at the end of Old Bridge Road.
Some cars had pulled in and parked, lights flashing, doors left ajar. Maxwell and I ran down to join the other people captivated by the sight of the balloon. Strangers and friends, of the two men alike, worked together in releasing the hot air and gathering the balloon. A marvelous sight.
Many who had stopped to see the flight, left, their faces flush with happiness, their eyes a-glow. A man called out my name in a gentle greeting. A gentlemann from Tanzania, a friend of the balloonist was coiling up the annchor line.
I was invited to join in the celebratory champagne and toast, a toast to another successful flight and landing.
We stood in a small intimate circle, sharing ourselves and some stories. Two of the group were fellow hikers. One of whom had hiked the 100 Mile in her youth, another a travel writer for the Valley News. They invited me to join their hiking expedition of the Schemin, this September. I shared my plans to continue hiking on to Springer Mountain in Georgia, hopefully reaching it in mid-November. We exchanged our names and information and went our separate ways. A fortuitous and happy meeting of old and new friends.