The Franklins: 100 years of age and 77 years of marriage

MEREDITH— Almost a year after his wife of 77 years Agnes celebrated her 100th birthday on election day, George Franklin this week also celebrated reaching the century mark with ice cream, cake and song at the Meredith Colony Club.

Franklin grew up on a dairy farm in Jefferson , New York, but when tuberculosis claimed the herd the family moved to Johnson City, near Binghamton, where he worked at the Endicott-Johnson Corporation (EJ), the country's largest manufacturer of shoes and boots, then became a toolmaker at the IBM plant in nearby Endicott, where one of his innovations spared the company $1-million in unnecessary costs.

The Franklins first met at a Baptist church service. Agnes, who came to America from Belfast as a girl of 14, served as a housekeeper to one of the executives of EJ. Franklin's sister spotted Agnes at church and told her brother there was girl there he might fancy. Agnes recalled that a week later he came to church and kept looking at her while George insists she had her eye on him, but confessed to winking at her.

"He married me," Agnes remarked, explaining the couple's secret to long life, and "I put up with him all these years," she added, explaining the longevity of their marriage. The Franklins have two children, five grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, nine of them boys.

Their son, Don Franklin of Hebron, said that his parents lived in Endicott, in a house his father all but built and carefully maintained, until three years ago when they came to Meredith after George suffered a stroke and a fall. Although the assisted living units are designed for one person, he said that a doorway was opened to join two units so that the Franklins could live together as one as they had for three-quarters of a century.

Hassan nominates Sanbornton man for judgeship

SANBORNTON — Michael Garner of Sanbornton, who has served as a marital master for the past 15 years — primarily in the Laconia Family Division — has been nominated to serve as a judge on the Circuit Court by Governor Maggie Hassan.
Garner, a graduate of Colgate University who earned his law degree at Cornell Law School, began his career as an assistant district attorney in Rochester, New York. From 1986 until 2000 he operated a private practice in Meredith with family and municipal law his strong suits.
As a marital master, Garner's recommendation that a ten year old daughter of divorced parents attend public school at the wish of her father but over the objections of her mother, who home schooled her child in both academic subjects and religious beliefs, sparked litigation arousing heated controversy about both home schooling and religious freedom that drew national attention. His recommendation included the finding that the girl's "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs . . . suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." Garner's recommendation was accepted by Justice Lucinda Sadler of the Laconia Family Division and appealed by the girl's mother to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, where it was unanimously upheld. In its opinion, the Supreme Court held the issue was not about either religion or home schooling, but instead strictly about a dispute between parents with equal rights who disagreed about the education of their child. The justices concluded that " the evidence concerning daughter's experiences in her home school and public school settings, along with the evidence demonstrating the impact of her religious convictions upon her interaction with others, including her father, provide an objective basis for the trial court's decision and we cannot say that it is unreasonable."

On standardized science tests, gap between Gilford & average narrows

GILFORD — Fourth grade, eighth grade and eleventh grade students performed above the state average on the science tests administered by the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) in May 2015, but below levels reached by their predecessors in the Gilford school system. Moreover, as results in the Gilford schools have declined the gap between them and the state average has narrowed.

The scores were presented last night to a meeting of the School Board.

More than 40 percent of fourth graders at Gilford Elementary School scored proficient or better to narrowly exceed the percentage achieving this level throughout the state. However, in 2011 more than 70 percent of students at Gilford Elementary School score proficient or better. The 2015 results represent an improvement over 2014 when less than 40 percent fo Gilford fourth graders score proficient or better.

Less than 30 percent of Gilford eighth graders scored proficient or better while less than 25 percent of their counterparts throughout the state achieved that level. But, in 2010, 40 percent of Gilford eighth graders reached proficient or better.

While 40-percent of eleventh graders scored proficient or better, compared to 32 percent through the state, more than 50-percent of Gilford students did so in 2014 and 2012.

The Gilford School District is in the process of transitioning to the "Next Generation science standards" (NGSS) based on a framework for science education developed by the National Research Council. As a result, the science curriculum will be marked more by relatively more depth and relatively less breadth and some redundancies, such as teaching the earth's systems in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, will be eliminated, School Board members were told.