Art up close

New pieces brought to Meredith Sculpture Walk

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — The Meredith Sculpture Walk, started four years ago, has turned into an unqualified success for the village of Meredith as well as a valued opportunity for sculptors across New England. All this month, a team of volunteers has been working with artists to install their work in places where residents and visitors can get a close-up look.

When the installations are done, the walk will include 33 sculptures placed along Main Street and in Mill Falls Marketplace, Hesky Park and Scenic Park. The Sculpture Walk, an initiative of the Greater Meredith Program, is organized and facilitated by volunteers, and the artists receive a $150 stipend for displaying their work in the year-long, outdoor exhibit. Bev Lapham, chairman of Sculpture Walk Committee, and one of the founding organizers of the walk, said that the program has been a resounding success, though some pieces provoke occasional disfavor.

"Public art is like that, you get emotions going," said Lapham. Overall, though, the program gets rave reviews from community members and visitors.

"It's got to be unique. There's not many of these. When you put public art in a town, it raises the profile of a town. It says to visitors, this is a town that cares about the arts," Lapham said.

After three years of the Sculpture Walk, word is spreading about Meredith, especially within the New England sculpture community. That's a relatively small circle, said Kevin Duffy, a sculptor from Arlington, Massachusetts. Duffy had one piece featured in last year's Walk, and has had two pieces selected by the anonymous, three-person jury for the 2017 walk. On Wednesday morning, Duffy and a team of volunteers were working to install his pieces for this year, "Sun and Clouds" and "Falling Faces," both of which were carved out of granite.

Duffy said the Sculpture Walk is a "great opportunity" for artists to publicly display their work in a picturesque town visited by thousands of people each year. The chance to submit an item for a limited public display is rare, he said, let alone a year-round exhibit with room for 33 sculptures.

"The opportunity on this scale, all throughout the town, aren't available. There's not too many communities that dare to do this," said Duffy.

He continued, "I think it's a great thing ... I think the community should be really proud of it. It's an honor to place my work out here."

 

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Volunteers for the Meredith Sculpture Walk, Bill Gartner, Dan Feddersen and Fred Huntress, install "Sun and Clouds" by Kevin Duffy, while Bev Lapham looks on. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Legislature advances discussion on electronic poll books

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The day election officials will be able to move their voter checklists from paper to computer tablet is getting closer with House passage of Senate Bill 113, allowing for the trial use of electronic poll books.
If the Senate accepts a House amendment reducing the trial period from 10 years to 5, New Hampshire would become the 34th state to allow electronic poll books — a move many election officials say would reduce the long lines at the polls and make it easier to update voter lists.
If the Senate objects to the amendment, the bill will go to a committee of conference to resolve the difference between the House and Senate versions.
“In concept, if done the correct way, it would be a step in the right direction,” said Laconia City Clerk Mary Reynolds, “but all parties need to be in agreement, and everyone is working toward that end.”
“It’s kind of exciting that we’re moving in this direction,” agreed Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan, “but it’s something we have to do in a deliberate, measured way to ensure there are no problems.”
That level of agreement is in sharp contrast to their relationship last year when the Secretary of State’s office filed a Right-to-Know request for records concerning conversations the Laconia and Manchester city clerks had regarding electronic poll book technology. Reynolds and Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand thought they were being singled out for having expressed support for an earlier proposal for e-pollbook pilot programs in several communities — something the Secretary of State’s office opposed.
Scanlan said his office objected at that time because the attempt to establish a trial program came at the end of a legislative session when there was not enough time to address concerns about poll books, including the security of the system.
“Subsequent to that,” Scanlan said, “we pulled together an ad hoc working group made up of local election officials, legislators, and members of our office — a good 30 participants — that discussed those issues and followed the proposal through this session. It got strong votes in both the House and the Senate. We think it’s workable, and we’re moving forward with the provisions of the bill, anticipating it will become law.”
He said the working group will continue to meet as needed to address issues that may arise.
With Russia’s alleged hacking of electronic voting machines in the news, Scanlan said security remains a priority for the state, and officials are putting together the criteria to make sure the data cannot be compromised.
“In the short term,” he said, “for the purposes of this trial, the poll books will only communicate on the day of the election within the same polling place.”
During the trial period, participating towns would maintain a backup system to ensure the accuracy of the information. The communities also would be responsible for the costs of the poll books.
Prior to Congress’ passage of the Help America Vote Act, the municipalities maintained voter checklists in their own formats, some on spreadsheets, some on hand-written sheets. The new law required a centralized voter database, so the state had to come up with standard format. Scanlan said towns continue to maintain their own databases and, after an election, they transfer that list through a secure connection that provides access to only their portion of the state database.
“As voters move around — say from Holderness to Moultonborough — their name will be on the checklist until it’s picked up by the town that registers them,” Scanlan said. “Soon after the election, the other town will become aware the voter has registered in another place, and remove the name. If a voter votes twice, that information will be picked up very soon after the election.”
In order to use poll books, that transfer of information would have to remain secure, he said.
“Any time you use a system that is potentially hooked up to the internet or the cloud, there are very real justifications to be concerned about the integrity of the voter information,” he said. “Any electronic poll book system would not utilize the internet or the cloud. We would even be concerned about wireless technology in the polling place.”
Scanlan said his office will be discussing what is realistic and practical to address those concerns, and will approve an organization capable of deciding whether devices are acceptable. Once certified, vendors would be placed on a list for towns to consider when making their decisions.
Only after determining that poll books work at the local level would they be used statewide, Scanlan said.
Reynolds said the House, in approving the Senate bill on June 1, amended the trial period from 10 years to 5 because there were concerns about whether vendors would commit to such a long trial, especially since technology changes so quickly.

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Paul Migliore takes campaign for District 9 seat to Alexandria

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
ALEXANDRIA — Looking to stand out in a crowded election, District 9 House candidate Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater compares himself to a pig.
“When it comes to breakfast, the chicken does participate, but the pig is committed,” he said.
Appearing before the Alexandria Board of Selectmen on Tuesday evening, Migliore stressed his commitment to serve, noting that, while other candidates have expressed opposition to the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project, he is the only who asked to testify in opposition before the state’s Site Evaluation Committee on June 15.
Migliore opposed spending money for a special election to fill the vacancy created by the abrupt resignation of Jeffrey Shackett, R-Bridgewater, but after Ashland selectmen voted to call for the election, he filed, along with Paul Simard and Burton Williams of Bristol, Timothy Sweetsir of Ashland, and Tom Ploszaj of Grafton.
Migliore told the selectmen he is ready to serve after retiring from a long working career, and cited his experience on the Newfound Area School Board and the Bristol Economic Development Committee.
In addition to opposing Northern Pass, he opposes a broad-based sales or income tax. He favors statewide kindergarten, but advocates a 50-50 split on funding, “because I believe strongly in local control, and to avoid putting the state into additional future unfunded mandates.”
On drug addiction, he said, “we must have a multi-faceted investment in working toward a solution that is a social crisis brought about by big pharma; which means there is no simple answer. There’s an area where it will take some decent experience and maybe even some wisdom to properly and fairly address it. Platitudes will get us nowhere.”
Migliore said lowering state taxes is the best way to foster controlled growth which, in turn, would lower property taxes.
He also said he would introduce a bill preventing a single town from forcing other towns in a legislative district to spend money on such special elections.
Each of the towns in Grafton District 9 — Alexandria, Ashland, Bridgewater, Bristol, and Grafton — had decided against seeking a special election because of the cost and the fact that, by the time a new representative could be seated, most of the legislative work of the session would have been completed. Ashland later reconsidered its position and petitioned the state for approval of the special election.

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Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater reads from prepared remarks at Tuesday's meeting of the Alexandria Board of Selectmen. He is a candidate for the Grafton County District 9 seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. (Courtesy Photo)

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