To The Daily Sun,
I graduated from Gilford High School in 2008 and was a member of the English class that originally read "Nineteen Minutes" in 2007. At the time, Gilford High School had been selected as one of three schools to receive copies of the book prior to its public release. Students in the English class read and discussed the book, and were given an incredible opportunity to sit down with Jodi Picoult herself to discuss the issues raised in the book. We talked about bullying and social pressures in high schools, school shootings, and sexual aggression and violence among teens. I can honestly say that "Nineteen Minutes" was one of the most insightful, challenging, and valuable books I read as a student at Gilford High School.
The discussion that arose surrounding the content of the book was in-depth, honest, and utterly valuable to the students who participated. Bullying, school shootings, social pressures, and sexual aggression are issues that exist within and affect high schools across the country. To continue to sweep these issues under the rug, and not use "Nineteen Minutes" to open discussion about these issues all because a single passage describes a sexual encounter in a graphic manner is no excuse. Never mind the fact that this passage does not describe an "erotic love scene" or "pornographic romantic encounter" as some media have declared. The scene is graphic and uncomfortable to read because it describes an aggressive act of sex between two teens, one of which attempts to withdraw consent when the act begins to make her feel uncomfortable. Her request is ignored and the act continues. This scene, and this act in itself, is an issue that should be drawn to light — the presence of sexual violence and aggression among today's teens is a very real and ongoing concern, and only one of many addressed in "Nineteen Minutes."
Furthermore, before one attempts to remove a book from someone else's hands, people should educate themselves about what the book is truly about. A graphic scene that fills only a single page of a book that is more than 300 pages long is in no way representative of the book as a whole.
This book is a valuable and important perspective on bullying, school shootings, and social pressures that isn't supposed to make one feel comfortable — it is meant to invoke discussion about the significant issues within our high schools. If we judged every book based on a single page or passage within it, there would be hardly anything left in our libraries and schools to read. I urge you to take the time to read the book yourself, or at the very least, take the time to discuss it openly with your friends and children.
The issues that are highlighted in this fictional story are an unfortunate reality for many teens today. Let us talk about them, not run away because they make us uncomfortable.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 06:10
To The Daily Sun,
Over the last 10 years (2004-13) Sanbornton's average residence tax bill (including town, county, and school taxes) has increased 46 percent, but the town's portion of the bill has increased 100 percent. In other words, Sanbornton is taking an ever larger portion of a resident's total tax bill. This situation exists because town expenses have increased at a much faster rate than town growth which has been less than 1 percent per year over this same 10-year period. This situation, if allowed to continue, is unsustainable.
I am running for re-election to the Budget Committee in an effort to help stem the tide of ever increasing costs and rising taxes. My tenure on the Budget Committee coupled with the knowledge gained over 30 years as president of my own industrial distribution company has given me the necessary know-how to deal with the challenge of maintaining essential municipal services while at the same time looking for inventive ways to reduce costs.
Dedication to solving Sanbornton's rising costs problem by itself is not enough. It is also essential to be able to work constructively with town administrators and department heads who may have very different ideas as to what is necessary. The cordial rapport I enjoy with the Board of Selectmen as well as an excellent working relationship with fellow Budget Committee members demonstrates I have this ability.
If you believe, as I do, that rising taxes in Sanbornton are a serious problem in need of a solution, then I ask for your support and vote May 13.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 06:05
To The Daily Sun,
I am a freshman student at Gilford High School. I recently have been given a literacy assignment on the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult in my honors English class. This book depicts a shooting at a high school, and includes bullying and relationships within this school. There has been a big topic in the news these last few days that a parent found a page in this book that describes a scene in which intercourse is present. Although I usually try to steer clear of any drama that goes on in the news or on social media, with the topic being this book, I absolutely had to get my opinion out there.
To be completely honest, with no context to the rest of the story, Page 313 is very graphic, and if I were a parent I would be outraged as well. However, as a student who is reading the book, I understand how it impacts the rest of the story. The descriptions on this page and on many other pages explain how a teenage girl is being controlled by her boyfriend. The point of this passage was not to put descriptive images into students' heads, but rather to get the point across that the main character, Josie, was being sexually assaulted by her boyfriend, Matt.
I could go on to say that "High schoolers know what this stuff is," but I'm not going to. However, I do want my voice and other students' voices to count, and not just the voices of adults. I want people who are watching the newscasts and reading the paper to understand that the overall meaning of the story is not sex. It is a story about teenagers going through rough points in their lives.
The impact this book has had on me and many of my peers is phenomenal. For the first time, the issue of bullying has been discussed intently in the classroom. It has really opened my eyes and I now see the views that other people have on subjects such as bullying and violence. Even outside of our English classroom, students have been discussing the contents of "Nineteen Minutes." With this understanding of bullying from the story, hopefully kids will become more tolerant of people who are different than them.
Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my opinion.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 06:01
To The Daily Sun,
Once again the Workforce Housing Law is rearing its ugly head, this time in Sanbornton. This intrusive law is hanging over the head of every town in the state, and most town boards, our own included, try to subdue it with band-aids instead of working with their elected representatives and senators to get rid of a terrible law that includes price fixing as a component.
Some towns, such as Bow, Rindge and Goffstown, are at least fighting back against this federal and state government overreach into how we run our towns by refusing federal funds. With the help locally of the Lakes Region Planning Commission (a group of people who have access to federal money without first going through Concord), unelected people are trying to tell us how we will live, build, travel, use power and deal with water in the name of fighting so-called man-made climate change.
This needs to stop in order to preserve our freedoms and property rights, things that the Granite State Future program sees as an obstacle to their plans.
There will be an informational meeting at the Sanbornton Library on Thursday night, May 8, at 7 p.m. There will also be a public meeting on Saturday, the 10th, at 10 a.m., also in Sanbornton. Citizens need to learn about threats to their property rights through the Workforce Housing Law and other rules, regulations and laws coming down from the state and federal government, and yes, even the U.N.
The information is out there if town officials all over the state will take the time to research it, as many citizens have. They shouldn't be offended when citizens bring this information to them. They should be grateful as it will help them do their jobs and protect the New Hampshire way of life.
Phil & Chris Wittmann
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 05:56
To The Daily Sun,
If you attended the advertised public informational meeting of the Sanbornton Planning Board on May 1, you then heard it introduced by Planner Bob Ward as a workshop meeting of the Planning Board instead.
Not many questions were asked in the two hour period. Almost none was answered with clear direct answers. No pertinent information was given, and some of the "public" (state Rep. Jane Cormier), were not allowed to speak. (She was allowed a few words at the close of the meeting, where she offered to return, if we asked, to share her knowledge and experience on this topic. She further commented that she has traveled to five different communities across the state on this issue and has lots of information to share. In her travels to share and help New Hampshire citizens, she had never been received or been treated like this).
Sanbornton, we should be ashamed of such behavior, from a few among us, to a visitor willing to offer us knowledge and help with such an important issue. On behalf of the citizens of the town of Sanbornton, I offer my heartfelt apologies to Rep. Cormier.
If another farmer/gardener had learned a way to avoid potato blight, wouldn't we want to listen and learn from him, even if he wasn't from Sanbornton?
It seems that those in power do not want Sanbornton citizens to truly know and understand what this program is all about and the true impact it will have on our taxes and property rights.
The one direct/simple question asked: " How will this impact my taxes?" received a direct and emphatic answer by a Planning Board member, "This program (workforce housing) will not impact your taxes. It will not raise your taxes." If you can believe that, then I have a "bridge to nowhere for sale!"
Now, if you are interested in learning the facts about workforce housing and how it will impact our life and taxes in Sanbornton, please attend a meeting set for May 8, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Town Library which is open to the public.
The presenters will be state Reps. Jane Cormier (who was not allowed to speak), and John Burt, along with Susan Olsen will provide information and answers to your questions. They have vast experience with workforce housing in New Hampshire and have been successful in helping citizens understand the true facts and origin of the program; as well as defeat it in their communities. For example, Goffstown turned the program down/canceled the grant after receiving the grant.
They will provide us with the exact documents our town signed, including the terms and conditions of the $30,000 grant. Such terms included the outreach/informational meetings which they failed to do in the last year, until pressed by citizens.
Reps claim to also have evidence of a statement by the Lakes Region Planning Commission, and HUD (Housing and Urban Development, a federal agency) that states, we have to break the strong belief/attitude in property rights that New Hampshire holds, and change the zoning laws so feds can change the landscape.
If you cannot attend, you are urged to educate/arm yourself with the true facts. Go online (if no computer, visit the town library, they have them), and read about the workforce program. It is another top-down program.
Visit: #1 Granite State Futures, the Real Facts, #2 Agenda 21, the U.N. program that President Clinton signed into effect by executive order #12852.
That "Pass it now and read it later to learn what is in it" thing of Nancy Pelosi is happening now in Sanbornton. Reading it later will be too late.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 09:49