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Giuda & Gallagher bid to succeed Forrester in District 2 in primary


LACONIA — A pair of closely matched conservatives — Bob Giuda of Warren and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton — will square off the Republican primary Sept. 13 in Senate District 2 for the chance to succeed Jeanie Forrester, who stepped down after serving three terms to run for governor.

Bob Giuda

Bob Giuda is resuming a political career that was interrupted when he retired from the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2006 and stalled when he lost a bid for a congressional seat in 2010.
A graduate of Pittsfield High School, Giuda earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, and after graduation served as a fighter pilot and flight instructor with the United States Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of captain in 1985. He flew with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before embarking on a career in commercial aviation in 1986 with United Airlines. Nearing retirement, has has most recently flown Boeing 777s on international routes.

Giuda began his political career in the 1990s as a selectman in Warren, and in 2000 was elected to the first of his three terms in the House, the last of which he served as deputy majority leader. In 2010 he ran for Congress, placing a distant third in a field of five in the Republican primary in the Second District behind Charlie Bass and Jennifer Horn.

Brian Gallagher

Having worked for three decades in public finance, Brian Gallagher is reaching for a seat in the Senate after serving one term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Raised in Johnston, Rhode Island, he graduated from Boston College with a degree in political science and later earned his master's degree in business administration from Plymouth State University.

Gallagher spent 12 years in the budget office of the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services, which provides fiscal, budget and administrative oversight to all state departments and agencies and another eight years with the administrative office of the courts, which prepares the budget for the judicial branch and oversees its human resources, information technology and security. After leaving state service, he served as the first business manager of the Newfound School District, where he designed the budgeting model for the cooperative school district of seven towns. Taking the same position in what was the Windham-Pelham School District, he managed a budget of more than $90 million and oversaw construction of a new high school.

Fiscally and socially conservative, the two are cut from the same bolt of cloth. As a lawmaker Giuda backed a constitutional amendment to forever ban an income tax and legislation to introduce a state spending cap. Gallagher refers to "fighting against a sales and income tax" and curbing wasteful government spending as immediate challenges in Concord, together with budgeting without new or higher taxes. However, he allowed when revenues are strong revenue sharing and rooms and meal tax proceeds withheld from cities and towns should be incrementally increased.

For both Giuda and Gallagher, accelerating economic growth and expanding employment opportunities are high priorities. Giuda noted that rankings of business friendly states by the American Legislative Exchange and CNBC placed New Hampshire 38th and 48th among the 50 states respectively.

Both favor reducing business taxes, both the business profits tax and business enterprise tax, and relaxing business regulation. They claim that lower taxes will enable businesses to increase employment and raise wages, which will in turn will expand the tax base and generate more revenue from lower tax rates.

"It's classic supply-side economics," Gallagher said, likening the beneficial effects of lower taxes to ripples on a pond.

Likewise, both favor a voucher system that would provide parents choice in schooling their children and call for tailoring the secondary education curriculum more closely to the aptitudes and skills needed by employers. Giuda said that the education provided by the public school system has become "detached from the requirements of employment in the real world." At the same time, Gallagher said, "Everyone does not need to go to college," noting that any number of essential skills that support well-paid jobs can be learned and developed at regional technical centers and community colleges.

Giuda also stressed the need for investment in transportation infrastructure and high-speed internet, as well as lowering the cost of energy and worker's compensation. For his part, Gallagher said that the state should work more closely with businesses seeking to locate operations in the state, particularly by assisting in finding suitable sites and navigating local regulations. A champion of right-to-work legislation, he said that companies prefer to locate where the law has been enacted and projected "it would turn the exodus into a migration."

Like Forrester who was a staunch critic of the Northern Pass project, Gallagher and Giuda insist that the project should not proceed unless the the entire length of the transmission line is buried. Gallagher added that New Hampshire should get a greater share of the power. "Bury it and leave more power power behind," he said.

Although the two march to the same drumbeat, Giuda has chided Gallagher for sponsoring legislation to forbid women from going topless in public places, a matter he said, not entirely correctly, is addressed by local ordinances. In any event, when reminded of his bill, Gallagher said, "I think we can have a good laugh on that one. It's part of our changing culture, I guess."

Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium gets new seating


MEREDITH — The Inter-lakes Community Auditorium is getting a long-awaited seating facelift, thanks to a renovation project that began on Monday. The project is budgeted to cost $550,000 between the school district maintenance trust fund and the balance of the school district's account from unallocated funds. Construction is planned to be completed around Thanksgiving.
The current seating, installed when the auditorium at the high school was built in 1989, was meant to be versatile and retractable so the space can be used for multiple purposes.

"They're really stadium seats; there's no cushion in them, it's a piece of cardboard with fabric over it," said auditorium manager Jason Cornelissen. "It's just the nature of that type of system that was purchased 26 years ago that is designed to be a versatile seating. We're looking for comfort at this point. People want to come to a show and be comfortable."
Assistant Superintendent Trish Temperino said, "It will certainly make the space more welcoming, inviting and comfortable. They've certainly given the district a lot of faithful years of use but they were no longer comfortable."
Although the seating is the primary focus of this project, other changes will be made to the auditorium to make it more accessible, as well as bring it up to code by installing railings going up the aisles. Facilities Director Chris Wald said, "The entrance will be revised. The're going to do some (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements to our sidewalks so folks can enter with a wheelchair. The doors themselves are going to be replaced with aluminum storefronts."
One of the other bigger changes coming to the auditorium is the addition of a cross aisle. "In most auditoriums there's two ways to enter: you can enter from the bottom and walk up or you can enter from underneath the seats and walk up through the stadium and that will enter onto a cross aisle," Wald said. This traffic flow can be distracting if people need to leave the auditorium during a performance.
This project encompasses the most pressing renovations needed for the auditorium. However, school officials hope to make added improvements in the not-too-distant future.

"I was trying to sell some other things that we could incorporate into the project to make it all one package," said Cornelissen, "but the price tag just kept going up and up, and out of respect to the taxpayers we decided that we didn't want to do that all at once."

Some of these ideas were the construction of dressing rooms off of the theater, upgrading lighting systems and increasing storage space.
Though there is more work to be done in the future, the current plan is a source of excitement for the revitalization of a critical auditorium.

"It's a big part of what the Lakes Region is. The arts are really alive," Wald said, explaining the impact these renovations will have for the community auditorium.
"Because we have a summer theater in there during the summertime, the new seats and layout will be much better for the folks who like to use the summer theater as well as for our students during the school year," said Temperino.
"We're excited about it," said Cornelissen. "It's definitely going to add a whole new look to the actual facility because they're going to be much bigger seats and a little more stylish. Any of those people who in the past have been to a show and haven't had the greatest experiences as far as sitting in the seat we're hoping that this is going to entice them to come back and enjoy a show in a comfortable seat."
The auditorium is scheduled to be up and running for the school district's winter concerts come December.

08-31 I-L auditorium old seats

These are the seats that have been torn out of the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium as of Monday. They will be replaced with larger, more comfortable seats. (Brooke Robinson/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

08-31 I-L auditorium platforms

After the first day of demolition, all that that was left were the platforms that the seats were on. These platforms were retractable in order to make the space more versatile, but this was determined to be unnecessary, so these platforms are being torn out and the stadium seating in the auditorium will stay in place instead of being moveable. (Brooke Robinson/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Gilmanton Year-Round Library doing survey to explore funding methods


GILMANTON — Town residents should be getting a questionnaire about the future of the Year-Round Library in a few days and the director of the board of trustees, Chris Schlegel is encouraging people to fill it out and return it.

Schlegel said that since the funding question failed at last year's annual Town Meeting ballot session, she and her board members have been trying to dig down deep and find out why.

"We had some community conversations after (the vote) and learned that many would support it if it was town owned," she said.

Right now, the Gilmanton Year-Round Library is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on grants, fundraising and the occasional generosity of town voters, who have approved some operating money in past year's budgets.

She said that for years she and other board members thought this was the financial model that the townspeople preferred, but has recently learned that many people feel otherwise.

"We're trying to flesh that out," she said, noting that in her conversations with the state librarian and others in the field she has learned there are other financial structures that could be used.

She said they directed her to the UNH Survey Center who help design the survey and is taking care of the mailing, collection and data analysis. Schlegel said there is a grant and some donations to be used for strategic planning.

"If people prefer we become town-owned, then we'll be able to prepare for that," she said. "There are other models and if that's what people want, then we'll look at some of them."

She said the second purpose of the questionnaire is to learn what services the library provides that people like and what services people would like them to provide that they currently don't.

She said the that since its inception, the library has maintained records on a number of things like usage, the types of books, audio books, and movies that are checked out, and computer usage so they didn't ask a lot of questions about the things they already know.

Schlegel also said that she and Deb Chase, who is the head trustee for the Gilmanton Corner Library, are planning on talking about how each library can help the other.

"We're real excited about this," she said.