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To the editor:
On Monday, July 21, I notified the staff of Echo Lake State Park by phone that someone had dumped a load of garbage on a down sloping stretch along the shoulder of Cathedral Ledge Road, and that I saw a bear at that site picking through the mess.
I was assured by an earnest sounding staff person that someone would be quickly dispatched to clean up the mess, which was, after all, attracting bears, and constituted a public safety issue.
I returned to the site on Wednesday, July 30, only to find that the mess was essentially intact, only more spread out.
This mess should be cleaned up, and the staff involved should be disciplined accordingly.
Peter G Boucher
North Conway and Berlin, Conn.

To the editor:
For several years now, the American population has seen a rapid rise in violence as connected with mental illness. Not just violence against others, but violence against oneself and the tragic suicide of Robin Williams is just the latest in this long line of terrifying and heartbreaking events. In the last many years we have paid so much attention to the vile acts of violence against others that have been committed by individuals that happen to suffer from mental illnesses like asperger's syndrome, antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia, etc. (ie Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Elliot Rodger, just to name a few). This drives the conversation into a very narrow space where mental illness is violent and angry and dangerous. The mentally ill are perceived as threats to the public and shouldn't be trusted — shouldn't be afforded the same rights as "normals" and deserve extra scrutiny in nearly everything that they do.
Problem is, mental illness is a far greater danger to the ones who live with it than those that live around it. I have lived with bipolar disorder since I was 14, though only have been correctly diagnosed as such within the past year. I am 31 years old, grew up in this area and in younger years was an extremely active member of the political community. I have had to confront the idea of self-harm in some of my darker periods — but the idea of hurting someone else, however, has never and would never appeal to me, but it makes me genuinely sick to my stomach. I am not a danger to society. Most who live with mental illness of any kind, aren't.
Robin Williams in his diagnosis was far from alone, especially in Hollywood. Other incredibly celebrated artists, musicians, directors, actors, etc., live lives of similar duality — great humor, life and character in public; privately in a tormented state of flux. Stephen Fry addressed many of these people in his documentary, "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive," in which people like Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss expose themselves as (what 'normals' may call) unstable. The one thing none of them are, are dangerous to anyone but themselves. These are creative and intellectual geniuses — high IQs, great understanding of comedic success, and an ability to empathize and tap into emotion that can touch us all. Mental illness often can create the most caring and compassionate of attitudes in people, and yet this nation, this culture, has been all too quick to categorize the mentally ill (as of late, especially) as a threat to the national stability. I, however, beg to differ.
When someone of prominence dies, the nation inevitably spends time rallying together, to fight the common cause of what would have brought down such cultural or political titans. When Philip Seymour Hoffman passed, the conversation focused on fighting heroine and addiction and seemed to put his bipolar disorder on the back burner — it was a side note and irrelevant to his overdose. With Robin Williams, his life (according to big media) was a series of very sad times split up between periods of addiction and the fact that he, too, lived with bipolar, hasn't really been the headline — and these gentlemen aren't alone in having become fatal victims to their own mental illnesses. Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, (likely) Cory Monteith, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Jonathon Brandis, Hunter S. Thompson ... the list can go on and on.
It is as though admitting that people we love, respect, admire and idolize have mental illnesses would somehow diminish the quality or the power of their work. For me, as someone who can understand living with a mood disorder, it makes their successes all so much more powerful. It makes their success despite great expectations, public criticism, demanding schedules, high stress situations, all the more inspiring even in the wake of tragic events like overdoses and suicide.
So what do we take from all of this, this time around? It seems irresponsible to me to continue walking around with our heads in the sand, convinced that celebrities don't really suffer from mental illness — it's always the drugs and the booze that broke the camel's back, at least it would seem big media would like for you to believe that — and the people that do suffer from it are nobodies that are inevitably going to threaten the lives of the average American in one way or another. We attack mental illness as though it is a defect in the poorest-of-character among us. Mental illness has become a point of shame that should be kept hidden from view, as though it were under the control of those who live with it, and in doing so it makes it near impossible for celebrities to be truly honest about the severity of their conditions, their need and frequency for treatment and that it's not a defect, but rather a facet of personality that can be a positive, albeit complicated, driving force in one's life if we allow it. Forget being just another average person in our community — admitting to having flaws that are psychological illness, that we don't have control over in any way, often can be social death in, and of itself.
Enough is enough with vilifying those of us who live with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, autism spectrum disorder and every other developmental disability and mental illness that exists.
None of us are the same as the others. We are not a collective danger. We are not a collective threat. We are humans who were born as we are. We do not choose our paranoia and insecurity. We do not choose our self-loathing or our grandiose self image. We do not choose to be different from anyone else, we just are. We can live with that. It's time for everyone else to learn to do the same.
Molly Campbell
North Conway

PRESS RELEASE

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Habitat for Humanity Indoor Yard Clearance Sale

Mount Washington Valley Habitat for Humanity will be conducting its final
giant indoor yard sale of the season at Attitash Bear Peak lodge on Friday September 5 from 3 PM to 7 PM and on Saturday September 6 from 8:30 AM to 2 PM. The lodge is located off route 302 in Bartlett on the entrance road to Attitash Grand Summit Hotel (4.4 miles west of the routes 16 & 302 intersection in Glen).

Many items are marked 30% off the original price.

The lodge is filled with good quality furniture, appliances, and building materials. There are more than 20 couches, including sleep sofas, several love seats and upholstered chairs. Hardwood furniture includes several bureaus, cabinets, bookcases, file cabinets, end and coffee tables, bedroom sets, headboards, bed frames, dining sets, desks, chairs, several mirrors and framed pictures. Appliances include refrigerators, an upright freezer, stoves, washers & dryers, and microwaves. Building materials include high-end kitchen cabinets, toilets, sinks, vanities, interior and exterior doors, medicine cabinet, lamps and lighting fixtures, and various hardware items.

This is a good opportunity to purchase furniture and other materials for students who will be headed off to college and need various items for dorm rooms and apartments.

A new option for this sale is the opportunity to view and pre-by selected items on www.mwv-habitat.org. All items are sold as is and must be paid for in cash or by check and taken away by the new owner during the sale or soon thereafter.

People wishing to donate items for future sales should call the Habitat office at 603-356-3832 and leave a message. Each caller will be contacted to arrange a pick up of the items on a Saturday that is convenient for the donor.

All proceeds for each sale are used for the purchase of construction materials to enable Habitat to build affordable homes for qualified MWV neighbors. To learn more about becoming a Habitat homeowner, call 603-356-3832 or visit www.mwv-habitat.org

To the editor:
This is my first letter to the editor and I felt the need to write my opinion regarding Scott Brown.
Last year my wife and I moved to the Mount Washington Valley from Massachusetts. We fell in love with North Conway when we first vacationed here in the early eighties. It was always our goal to retire here and we are now semi-retired. The move was made earlier than originally planned because of our need to leave a state where too many politicians were being indicted. The last straw was when Scott Brown lost his senate race to someone we feel was not qualified to be a U.S. Senator. One of our other reasons was due to the fact that our property taxes became astronomical for our small home.
A few years ago Scott Brown came to visit the veterans at the Soldier’s Home on Veteran’s Day. My 90 year old dad was a World War II vet and a resident there at the time. Scott was warm and genuine with all the veterans, I was struck by his sincerity. While Scott was in the U.S. Senate I found him to be true to his promise to vote based on what was best for the people and not necessarily along party lines. I am not a Republican but an Independent voter. I vote for the candidate I decide is best for the job and I do believe Scott Brown will do what is right for the people of New Hampshire.
Sadly, I have heard New Hampshire referred to as “Massachusetts North.” Many of you may agree that we need to keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire. It is my humble opinion that Scott Brown will help achieve this goal. Let’s have a balance of power in this state.
Don Schaaf
North Conway

To the editor:
On Sunday, August 10, my husband and I observed two people in a golf cart type vehicle spraying the grass along the sidewalk by the entrance to Settlers Green on Route 16.
I called the Conway Town Offices on Monday and was told that Monsanto’s Round Up was being sprayed to kill the weeds!
Round Up (and it’s main ingredient, glyphosate) has been linked to cancer, liver damage and the death of bees and aquatic life.
We walk on these sidewalks with our children, grandchildren and dogs.  The run off enters our fragile aquifers! Surely something less toxic can be found to remove grass and weeds?
I, for one, do not want this toxic chemical being sprayed anywhere ... we and our environment are too important to be put at risk this way.
I urge you to contact the town offices and voice your opinion and to make businesses and all members of the community aware of what is being done. Research into the safety of Monsanto’s products is available on the Internet.
It has also come to my attention that something has been sprayed around the small bridges in Madison ... it will be interesting to find out what that is!
We are all responsible.
Kate Willis
Albany

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