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A Year In Review: Upper Valley Image & Beyond

Dec 13, 2016 09:19AM ● By Victoria Pipas
For the Upper Valley, 2016 was a year of transitions. The turnover in leadership positions this year means that we will soon have to say goodbye to familiar presidents, one in our nation’s capital and another in our renowned local hospital. Yet no matter what forms of newness come our way, the Upper Valley continues to be defined by what matters most: people and their passion for every nuance of this place, from its classrooms to its unique eateries and shops to the great outdoors. This year, we remember that change and the rotation of things new and old are what make life interesting.

February: The New Hampshire presidential primary, the first in the nation, took place on the 9th of this month. Donald Trump took the vote for Republican candidate with 35.2% of the Republican voting body, while John Kasich came in second with 15.8% and Ted Cruz third with 11.6%. In the Democratic arena, Bernie Sanders dominated with 60% of the vote, while Clinton finished with 38.3%.

March: Meanwhile across the river, Vermont held its presidential primary on the first of this month on “Super Tuesday,” the day the Green Mountain State and 11 others nationwide held primaries or caucuses. The two candidates from the major parties were the same as those chosen in New Hampshire a few weeks earlier. Vermont Republicans selected Trump as their candidate, allotting him 32.7% of the vote, while John Kasich was a close runner-up with 30.4% of the vote, and Marco Rubio took third place with 19.3%. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won his home state by a predictable landslide, garnering 86.1% of Democratic votes, while Clinton was far behind with 13.6%.

April: The Upper Valley welcomed three new restaurants this spring, providing locals with even more opportunities for culinary adventures. Nazy’s Deli and Bakery opened in West Hartford. This family business puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients to deliver outstanding traditional fare; you’re sure to find tasty and dependable sandwiches, muffins, and other midday munchies here. Hanoverians now have another Thai option; Kata Thai Kitchen offers efficient service for busy residents, students, and travelers. And the Santorini Taverna now offers frequenters of the Lebanon Village Pizza and Cave Bar a more formal menu of traditional Greek fare including dolmades, Greek salad, braised lamb, and salty orzo.

May: On Saturday, May 28, Kimball Union Academy graduated its 200th class. At the bicentennial ceremony, valedictorian Ethan Kable from Norwich used his time at the podium to advise his classmates to welcome diversity into their lives with open arms. He reminded them that their futures would hold moments of unfamiliarity and discomfort, but that these would also be moments of learning and growth if they sought to understand rather than resist. His words of wisdom were followed by a speech from commencement speaker Joe Williams, who was also departing after 19 years there with his family. He advised the class never to lose good old habits like saying thanks and cracking a joke now and then, even as they acquire new habits. Local graduates of the class of 2016 hail from Meriden, Claremont, Enfield, Fairlee, Hartland, Hanover, Perkinsville, Hartford, Cornish, Newport, Lebanon, Warner, Norwich, Plainfield, Sunapee, Quechee, and Randolph. 


July–August: Opera North’s Summerfest 2016 wowed audiences from July through August this summer, providing more than a month of musical entertainment. The mainstage shows at the Lebanon Opera house were Puccini’s Tosca, Rice and Webber’s Evita, and Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment. Tickets were affordable, providing locals with the opportunity to experience impressive operatic talent without having to travel to larger cities such as Boston or New York. The Summerfest also included a concert series around the Upper Valley, with performances at such locations as the Lebanon United Methodist Church, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion, and the Enfield Shaker Museum.


October: This month, the town of Bradford, Vermont, and the Upper Valley Trails Alliance celebrated the opening of a new trail up Wright’s Mountain. The Wilderness Trail is 1.58 miles and offers a more rugged route up the mountain than the other trails. The trail was completed in the summer months of 2016 by the hard labor of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance’s Summer Outdoor Odyssey High School Trail Corps and the volunteer efforts of groups from Tuck Business School’s summer program and employees of Hypertherm. The route had been flagged by members of the Bradford Conservation Commission five years earlier, and a huge thank you is owed to Nancy Jones, chair of the commission, for her tireless dedication to the project. (Our 2016 article on Upper Valley Trail Alliance.)

December: In recent local news, Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President Dr. James Weinstein announced his retirement from the position. He will step down in June 2017 at the end of a two-year contract. Jim has been in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system since 1996 and has served in his current role since 2011. Under his leadership, D-H has seen system-wide expansions to health care centers around and beyond the Upper Valley, and Jim’s focus along the way has been on achieving measurable outcomes and making D-H a national leader in health care. His retirement has been well timed, for such large-scale systematic changes have left some employees of the hospital with low morale. Many are grateful for the vision he provided to the system and look forward to seeing how this vision expands under new leadership in the coming years.

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