Howie Wemyss: Apology for traffic delays caused by ATV day

To the residents and visitors in our neighboring community:

On behalf of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and the New Hampshire ATV Club, we offer our sincere apology for the tremendous inconvenience caused by the NH ATV Club – Gerry Pomerleau Memorial Ride, a special annual event that took place on Sunday, June 26.

The popularity of this event far exceeded anyone’s expectations. With the arrival of hundreds and hundreds of ATV-carrying trucks and trailers in a very short period of time, traffic on Route 16 was tied up for hours as we did our best with nine parking crews working in six different parking locations, to get vehicles off the highway. With little turnover at the base area, due to folks extending their stay at the summit in ideal weather conditions, combined with the quantity of new arrivals, we quickly ran out parking availability.

In the interest of safety, we quickly decided to close until 2 p.m., to allow the parking situation at the base area to improve, upon which Auto Road staff, assisted by local and state law enforcement, were dispatched to communicate that message to event attendees waiting in traffic, and to facilitate the movement of through traffic on Route 16.

We understand that despite our best communicative efforts (both in months leading into the event and on event day), the traffic scenario that resulted was confusing, upsetting and greatly inconvenient for our neighbors, guests and visitors to our area. While we cannot do anything to change what has already occurred, we offer our assurance that we will make the changes necessary to ensure this scenario does not repeat itself, should we choose to continue this event.

We would also like to offer our tremendous gratitude to the Gorham Police Department and N.H. State Police for helping us manage this unexpected situation in the safest way possible, for all involved.

Again, we apologize for the traffic delays and confusion caused by this event. Hopefully this will also serve as a portent for those currently planning the September ATV event in Berlin which is said to draw four times as many people as we had here.

Howie Wemyss

General Manager

Mount Washington Auto Road

Kimberly Callinan: Advance directives: A first step — but not enough

My grandmother died feeling betrayed, frightened and utterly powerless in a bleak hospital room.  She’d completed an advance directive about her end-of-life goals, preferences and values, including a do not resuscitate order. But when an emergency landed her in the hospital, the emergency room team ignored her advance directive and resuscitated her back to “life” just long enough for her to realize they had ignored her documented wishes. She died shortly after being resuscitated, but not before she let the health care team know she was angry.

Unfortunately, my grandmother is not alone in her life ending so tragically. In conversations with supporters of the end-of-life choice advocacy organization that I work for, Compassion & Choices, I often hear similar tales of an end-of-life health-care system that has failed to meet their needs. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that advance directives alone are not enough to ensure that people’s end-of-life goals, priorities and values are honored.  Below are some of the shortcomings:

• Lack of participation: Only one in four Americans (23 percent) have an advance directive in place, according to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

• Lack of coordination: The dying person and health-care proxy often have not discussed the patient’s goals, preferences and values. In fact, fewer than 3 in 10 people have actually talked with their loved ones about end-of-life care, according to a survey conducted by the conversation project.

• Lack of relevance: Since advance directives are by definition written in advance — sometimes many years in advance — they often lack relevance to current events and decisions near the person’s end of life.

• Lack of access: It is an all-too-common scenario that the advance directive along with the DNR order is locked away in a desk or safe when a life-threatening emergency arises, leaving family members and medical providers unsure whether an advance directive even exists.

• Lack of enforcement: Doctors are not held accountable for following advance directives. Until they are enforced, physicians are unlikely to follow them because they are trained to do everything possible to keep a terminally ill person alive, regardless of whether the treatment only prolongs an agonizing dying process.   

Federal policymakers need to address the growing demand for reform by passing legislation that advances the delivery of person-centered care. A good first step would be for Congress to pass the bipartisan Care Planning Act (S. 1549), sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). The legislation would require providers to include prominently in the patient’s medical record the content of an advance directive. In addition, the bill gives patients the option of signing a “portable treatment order” to give providers specific instructions about patient preferences in receiving care. Medicare-certified providers would be obliged to comply with these orders in any care setting, including the home, that could stop unnecessary and unwanted medical treatments.

The bill also would require Medicare-certified health-care providers to comply with a patient’s verbal and nonverbal treatment instructions. When a patient lacks decisional capacity, the provider must adhere to a patient’s advance directive. In the absence of a directive issued in the state where care is being provided, the provider must respect an advance directive signed by the patient in another state to facilitate the ease and adherence to advance directives across state lines.

If the Care Planning Act had been in effect when my grandmother was dying, it would have increased the likelihood that her end-of-life wishes were honored. It’s too late to help her now, but it is not too late to pass this legislation to ensure that we honor the end-of-life wishes of millions of Americans in the future.

Kimberly Callinan is chief program officer of Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest end-of-life choice advocacy organization with 450,000 members nationwide.  She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. This oped originally was published in The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot.

Roberta Webster: We shouldn’t have to pay to dump wood

To the editor:

I am very angry and upset to think we had to pay to drop off a little bit of wood at the transfer station. We have seen others droppig off wood and I am sure they got away with it.

We pay very high property taxes, and that includes using the landfill. This is called double dipping and I think this is an unfair practices. It is getting hardera nd harder for natives to stay in the Conway are.

Perhaps we should have thrown it on the river bank.

Roberta Webster


Joe Keller: I get my facts and advice from the experts

To the editor:

Another week, another armchair “expert” talking about the non-economic recovery and “real” unemployment rate at 10 percent, and also refuting what 97 percent of real climate scientists have said about climate change and the reality of renewable energy sources.

I’m not a scientist, so when I want real facts I listen to what most of the scientific community says.

When I need medical advice, I go to a real doctor, not to the local carpenter (no offense).

I don’t get my climate advice, economic and labor statistics or anything else from Fox News because I know they misrepresent (lie) about 67 percent of the time. Do they mention that gray, cloudy Germany gets 80 percent of its electricity from renewables and is on course to deactivating the last of its nuclear energy plants?

Check out what the devastation fracking for natural gas and oil has caused to local water sources. Not good. This is a real problem and must be faced by real facts from real sources, not from Koch Brothers-funded talking heads.

Just my opinion, I may be wrong but I don’t think I am.

And no, I am not the local Communist Party representative as I was accused of a few years ago on hand-written, handmade postcards.

Joe Keller


Martin Call: Sad that Be Kind Festival was canceled

To the editor:

I was sad to hear that the Be Kind Festival has been canceled.

The last couple of years, it has brought in much-needed tourist dollars while also promoting a positive image for the valley.  Most likely, something could be organized for later on in the summer or early fall.

Theere are many open weekends that have nothing major going on. At least that’s my take on it.

Martin Call

North Conway