WOLFEBORO — The Poets in the Attic monthly meeting and open mic gathering will be held at the The Country Bookseller, on Thursday, September 25 at 7 p.m. Wolfeboro Community Television records the first hour to broadcast later, and then the poets continue their open reading for another hour.
“We had two of my favorite readings this summer,” said host Gordon Lang. “Once in the Durgin Stables courtyard and once at Azure Rising. But as the weather starts getting nippy, I’d rather duck in to the Bookseller and have a nip of coffee.”
Local poets also use this as a chance to socialize, to try out new material, and even to discuss their craft. “It’s not a workshop,” Lang said, “but we do talk about what we’re trying to do and how we might go about it. Every now and again I throw out a prompt to work on for next month. They call it homework."
Anyone can drop in at a Poets in the Attic gathering, whether to read or play a song, or just to enjoy the good work. The Country Bookseller is on North Main Street in the Durgin Stables complex of shops. Free off-street parking right next to the store is available via Mill Street.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:26
PEMBROKE — Pastor Mark Warren, who was been serving as the campus pastor for the Laconia location of Grace Capital Church will be appointed the new lead pastor for the entire congregation, which also has campuses in Manchester and Pembroke. The announcement was made Sunday in conjunction with word that founding Pastors Peter and Lisa Bonanno will be stepping down from their position of church leadership after 18 years.
Grace Capital Church belongs to a larger denomination known as the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. It has grown from a living room containing 12 people (1996) to the largest Foursquare church in the Northeast. Thirteen hundred people now attend services at one of the three campuses.
The church's extensive Laconia campus is located in the downtown parking garage building.
Under the leadership of the Bonannos, the church has sent out missionaries, planted other churches, built a church facility in Pembroke and raised up many leaders who are in full-time ministry today.
In a letter to the congregation, Pastor Peter Bonanno stated, "You may ask, why would someone choose to leave when things are going so well, but actually, isn't that the best time? When there is a strong vision, great opportunity and capable leaders, the most courageous thing for someone to do is to let others rise to the occasion."
More information regarding the future steps of the founding pastors is expected to be announced later in October. A celebration of Pastors Peter and Lisa Bonanno will be held at the Pembroke campus, Saturday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend their send-off party.
For more information, please visit http://www.gccnh.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:24
LACONIA — After the Belknap County Commissioners met with county department heads yesterday the fiscal crisis threatening operations eased somewhat despite the refusal of Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court to compel the executive committee of the Belknap County Convention to consider transfers of funds before next week.
Last month, O'Neill prohibited the commissioners from either spending in excess of any line-item appropriation made by the convention or transferring more than $300 from one line-item to another without the approval of the Executive Committee. When appropriations for wages of part-time employees, overtime and medical expenses were exhausted, the commissioners feared for sufficient line-item budget room to staff the nursing home, county jail and sheriff's department and to provide inmates with required medications.
Anticipating that without transferring funds the staff of the nursing home would have to be halved at 11 a.m. on Friday, the commission asked the court to compel the executive committee to meet Thursday to approve the transfers. Yesterday morning O'Neill denied the request. However, he closed his order by reminding the convention and the commission that both are obliged "to responsibly fund the essential services at issue in this case.'" He went on to say that they can "work in concert" and offered to approve any agreement between them to transfer the funds required until September 29 when the executive committee meets to consider the commission's request for transfers. The commissions, then, would not be in contempt of the judge's order for transferring budged amounts between line items without them officially being approved by the executive committee.
In response, Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the executive committee, said last night that in response to concerns about providing medications to inmates, he has convened a meeting of the committee at noon tomorrow to address "this one particular item. It is an emergency," he continued, "and we recognize that." He said that he has contacted four of the seven members of the committee, who would constitute the quorum required to act.
In denying the commission's request, O'Neill questioned whether, in light of the separation of powers, a judicial officer could compel a legislative body to act in a specific way. Moreover, noting that the executive committee has scheduled a meeting on Monday, September 29, the judge found no indication that it has acted in bad faith so as to warrant direction by the court.
Likewise, O'Neill declined to relax his original order and allow the commission to transfer enough money to fund essential services until the executive committee meets on Monday. He said that the commission was unable to specify just how much was required to fund services through the weekend.
When the commission addressed what they called "the imminent and dire consequences" of the court orders with department heads yesterday, Commissioner Ed Philpot of Laconia said that "we have been told we cannot do our job," but insisted "we can't violate the court order in letter or in spirit."
Commissioner Steve Nedeau of Meredith agreed, saying "I don't know what we can do other that follow the order of the court."
John Thomas, the third commissioner, was traveling abroad and unable to attend the meeting.
Charlotte Flanagan, administrator of the nursing home, said that the full-time employees of the nursing home have volunteered to work overtime and assured the commissioners that adequate staffing can be funded until Monday. "I'm very grateful to our staff," she said.
However, Dan Ward, Superintendent of the county jail, remains concerned, especially about his ability to provide inmates with medications and treatment ordered by the court, which Tilton has agreed to address for the short term. He said without the requested transfers of funds he cannot ensure inmates, at least one with diabetes who requires regular insulin and others needing cardiac medications, will receive the medical services and supplies they need. He reminded the commissioners that the medical needs of inmates changes almost daily with the jail population. Failure to provide medicines, he said, represents "gross negligence" and the first person refused medication could appeal to the federal court.
"We can't put someone in a life-threatening situation," interrupted Sheriff Craig Wiggin. "If it comes down to a question of public safety, I'll do what has to be done and worry about it later.
"We're not going to let anyone die," Philpot said.
Ward told the commissioners that although he expects the jail can be adequately staffed, "I can't hang a 'no vacancy sign on the door," and cautioned that changes in the number or mix of inmates could place severe pressure on available personnel. He explained that if necessary the jail would be locked down by curtailing visitations, suspending programs and confining inmates to their cells. He said that he has notified both the county sheriff and Laconia Police to be prepared to provide assistance and said that in the event of a significant emergency he would summon the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group.
Wiggin said that lack of funding for overtime is weighing on the ability of the Sheriff's Department to provide dispatch services, but he does not expect they will be interrupted or curtailed. He also is short of funds for vehicle maintenance, but anticipates no immediate problem. Neither Barbara Luther, Registrar of Deeds, nor County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen foresaw urgent funding issues.
Philpot said that during the court proceedings the day before he sensed "an undercurrent that the county was badly managed" in that the requests for transfers reflected the failure of department heads and commissioners to accurately project operating costs. He said that the costs change with the changing populations of the nursing home and jail and cannot be projected with precision.
"If they want someone to blame," Philpot said. "Blame me, but let's get past the blame and get on with providing the services we're here to provide."
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 September 2014 01:09
by Thomas P. Caldwell
BRISTOL — The Newfound Lake Wind Watch page on Facebook is abuzz with complaints about Governor Maggie Hassan's nomination of state Senator Bob Odell to one of two "public" seats on the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee, which reviews energy proposals for the state. Not only do they see it as hijacking the grassroots voice on the oversight committee, many think Odell's previous support of a wind project in Lempster proves he would not be an impartial voice.
The group, now known as New Hampshire Wind Watch, is mobilizing to kill the nomination when it goes before the Executive Council for confirmation on Oct. 1. By calling, writing, and e-mailing the governor and members of the Executive Council, members hope to convince them that Odell is not the right person for the job.
The N.H. Legislature, in redefining the SEC though Senate Bill 245, reduced the size of the panel from 15 to nine members, of which two were to be members of the public — and one of those must be an attorney. Hassan has not yet named an attorney but she nominated Odell, with Representative Amanda Merrill as alternate, to the other "public" seat.
"New Hampshire Wind Watch is appalled by the governor's selection," said Lori Lerner, president of the nonprofit organization. "It was evident throughout the many hearings and committee meetings leading to SB-245's passage that the Legislature wanted to invite greater public involvement of those who ultimately must live with the decisions of the SEC. We need fresh eyes on the SEC and the sense that the 'public' is really being represented. Senator Odell's nomination flies in the face of that intent."
Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, who was a sponsor of SB-245, agreed. "While I have a great deal of respect both for Sen. Odell and Sen. Merrill, both of whom I have served with, the intent of the legislation was to have the public interest represented."
The SEC originally comprised the heads of 15 state agencies. SB-245 recognized the impracticality of having department heads serving as judges on the energy projects being proposed for the state. Instead, under the bill, the departments would continue to provide the critical information needed to make decisions, but seven individuals nominated and vetted through the same process used for senior agency leaders would be used to appoint the panel. An additional two members would represent the public.
During the hearings, the lack of representation by the municipalities affected by the decisions was an important consideration. While the SEC has the authority to overrule local planning and zoning laws in deciding about the greater public good, the towns had no seat at the table during the discussions. SB-245 addressed the problem by requiring regional representation by two members of the public, one of which would be an attorney capable of reviewing the legal issues involved. The other public member also would be charged with considering local zoning ordinances and municipal master plans in reaching a decision on whether the project is in the public interest.
According to an analysis of the bill provided by Lerner last spring, Odell had asked Commissioner Tom Burack of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services whether the bill made "too radical" of a change. "Burack replied that it was 'evolutionary' change warranted by the changing energy marketplace and by the budget realities facing all state agencies."
In addition to changing the makeup of the panel, SB-245 requires an applicant to hold pre-application and post-application public information meetings, followed by a public hearing to give members of the public an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the process. It also requires applicants to pay a fee to cover the SEC costs associated with the project, including the cost of a staff director to manage the SEC's work.
Forrester said, "One of the things we heard throughout the process of all these pieces of legislation, starting with SB-99, was the lack of trust people had with Concord and the feeling that legislators, with the lobbyists and business community and developers, were not really acting in their best interest. So we thought really hard about the importance of having someone on the SEC that would put the public interest into the process; so there would be someone from the public.
"It started out with many more members of the public," she said, but they reduced the number to keep the panel manageable. "But the intent was to have someone at the grassroots level, like a planning commission member, a selectman, a zoning board member, who would represent the communities' best interest."
Addressing the stipulation that one of the public representatives be a lawyer, Forrester said it was not something she supported but "I was only one person, and you have to make compromises to get something passed."
She concluded, "Clearly what you're going to be hearing from the public is they are not happy with the governor's choice because it is truly not what they — or I — envisioned."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:58
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