To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to the community of Hill:
My name is Tom Seymour and I am announcing my candidacy for the open seat on the Hill Board of Selectmen. As a New Hampshire native and life-long resident of the Lakes Region, I love the small-town atmosphere in Hill. I want to help preserve all that makes Hill the town my wife, Lisa, and I enjoy. Our grandchildren love to visit because the town is friendly and safe. They especially love playing at the town park. Lisa enjoys taking her regular runs through the town's streets and we can often be seen walking together in town — especially on warm summer afternoons. There is a real sense of community in Hill. We know our neighbors, we know our community, and we pitch in to help one another.
Small town life is attractive, but it can be difficult to maintain. I have witnessed changes in other small towns over the years that diminished the sense of community and belonging. Demands on town services, such as police and fire protection, highway improvements and maintenance continue to increase. Continued well-controlled, well-planned growth and spending will assure Hill remains the town my wife and I have come to enjoy over the last 12 years. Progress may be inevitable — even necessary; but making smart, affordable choices can assure effective and efficient town operations and growth.
A graduate of Winnisquam Regional High School, I completed my degree work with Lakes Region Community College and Southern New Hampshire University (MBA). I am employed by EPTAM Plastics, the largest precision plastics fabricator in the United States, in Northfield, NH. As Quality manager, I also oversee Continuous Improvement, Information Technology and their respective budgets. I also participate with other senior management staff in setting policy, creating fiscal plans, and strategic planning. As vice president and member of the board of directors of the Granite State Animal League, overseeing the operation of the Franklin Animal Shelter, I also help establish budgets and fund raising events.
I believe my professional experience and education will serve the town of Hill well and I am excited about the opportunity to represent the citizens as a member of the Board of Selectmen. I ask for your vote on March 11, 2014.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:31
To The Daily Sun,
I'd like to respond to the concerns raised by Carole Polony in her January 29th letter: "Can't face somebody waiting on me and earning just $2 for doing so." Since Carole sounds like a great customer of T-Bones & Cactus Jack's, I wanted to take the time to ease her fears by explaining our service wages. The N.H. minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $3.27 per hour. This is what we currently pay most of our service staff. Since the IRS requires our employees to report their tip income to our payroll, we know that these tipped employees claim an hourly rate that is generally between $16 and $22 per hour, depending on experience and individual ability. This falls right in line with industry norms throughout our state and our nation, as these are highly-skilled service specialists who rely on the generous tips of our valued customers. Hopefully that is not surprising news to anyone. After all, the Department of Labor designates "tipped employees" and legislates their wages separately for a good reason. All of our non-tipped employees make substantially more than the state and federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The vast majority of T-Bones & Cactus Jack's employees work full-time, year-round with benefits and a healthy income. We also employ some part-time workers with other jobs, as well as students that we hire seasonally. Many of these students even stay on part-time after they graduate and find a position in their field of study. This is because the hourly pay of waitstaff is tough to match with a starting salary in many other professions. I was once one of these young people. When I graduated college and accepted a marketing position with a telecommunications firm, I remained on as a part-time bartender at Cactus Jack's. It did not take long for me to realize that only one of the two companies I worked for was fostering a fun, healthy work environment where employees were both valued and generously compensated. I quit my "real job" to continue my career in food service with Great NH Restaurants, and have spent the last decade working hard to uphold those values.
As a customer of our restaurants, I'm confident you'll notice how this appreciation of our employees is reflected in the quality of service our guests receive. Not unrelated, you may consider reflecting on how that designation, "tipped employee" also plays a significant role in your service quality, where ever you choose to dine. Thank you for your business and your thoughts, Carole.
Jay Bolduc, Managing Operator
T-Bones & Cactus Jack's of Laconia
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:25
To The Daily Sun,
Gilmanton Cub Scout Pack 242 recently participated in the Gilmanton School PTA Craft Fair where they raised $250 to help scouts attend an upcoming event. A special thank you to Gilmanton Corner Store, the (Gilmanton) Iron Works Market, Coca Cola, and Jim Gosselin for their donations.
Cameron A.J. Hamel
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:07
To The Daily Sun,
In an e-mail that I sent to the Gilford Selectboard, dated January 29, I urged the selectmen to make a public statement about the upcoming potential demolition of Kimball's Castle. I can now thank them for doing so. I also thank them for delaying the demolition of the castle several times. In doing so, they afforded town residents the time to explore possible alternatives. However, in the same e-mail, I urged the selectmen not to make a final decision on the fate of the property until the residents of Gilford had been fully informed of the options that are available to the town.
It is important for the residents of Gilford to know that there has been a very small group of individuals that has been working behind the scenes to explore the possibilities of preserving the Kimball property. For months, we have been respectfully working with the town in order to produce viable solutions. We have found that there are options.
In the fall of 2013, Kimball's Castle was named to the Seven to Save list of the N.H. Preservation Alliance. A property that is given this designation first has to be nominated and then carefully considered by a panel of preservation experts. These individuals look at the property from all angles, and in the case of the Kimball property, there are many. A property that is placed on the Seven to Save list has to meet at least two requirements: it must first have its own historical significance and the possibility of preservation must be present. If a property is placed on the Seven to Save list, it is given priority over other preservation projects in the state. It receives the careful attention and treatment of the N.H. Preservation Alliance, and if appropriate, it also receives priority for LCHIP funds offered through the state. This year, LCHIP has been fully funded.
The historical significance of the Kimball property has been proven. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982; its placement there is because of its historical value not only to the state but to the country as well. The castle was built by railroad magnate, Benjamin Kimball; his contributions to the state and the nation's railway system are well documented. His many contributions to the state go far beyond that of the railroad.
On January 9th at 10 a.m., a meeting was held at the Gilford Town Hall. In attendance was Maggie Stier, field representative for the N.H. Preservation Alliance, Town Administrator Scott Dunn, Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee Chair Sandra McGonagle, myself, and my daughter, Sarah. During the meeting, we discussed a broad spectrum of solutions for the Kimball property. We first agreed that unless millions of dollars could be raised, the castle most likely could not be restored. From there we came up with a number of viable solutions for the residents of Gilford to have before them.
Solutions included having the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee first have an appraisal completed on the property and then apply for 50/50 matching LCHIP funds that could be coupled with private donations. In doing so, there would be no expenditure of taxpayer funds for the purchase of the property. The most logical solution to dealing with the decaying castle would to immediately fence it in and let it fall as a ruin. There are specific guidelines offered by the National Park Service on preserving historic structures as ruins. The entire acreage could then be added to the Kimball Wildlife Forest as conservation land. A far more drastic solution would be to purchase the property with LCHIP/private funds, raze all the buildings on the property to alleviate any liability issues, and have the entire parcel of land become part of the forest. It was suggested that a kiosk be constructed to inform visitors of the history of the property. After the meeting, Scott Dunn had an informative telephone conversation with the executive director of LCHIP about funding possibilities.
To summarize, there are viable solutions and alternatives to turning the Kimball property into a single family property. We cannot forget that when the town sold the Kimball property, there were easements placed on it, and the property was sold with the understanding that the castle would be preserved. Had the people of Gilford known when it was sold that the castle would be left to decay and someday demolished, I wonder if the vote to sell it would have been different. Additionally, when the property was disposed of by the town, there were far fewer options, funding sources, and organizations that could assist and fund its preservation at no cost to the taxpayers.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:04
To The Daily Sun,
The two candidates for Executive Council agree on one thing: no one can replace Ray Burton!
But the two candidates, Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans and former State Senator Joe Kenney, hold differing views on the issues which will come before the Executive Council. Each are running for the seat which Ray Burton held for over 30 years in a special election to be held on March 11.
The Executive Council plays a critical role in N.H. government: reviewing and approving all state contracts over $10,000 and nominations to all agencies and judgeships, managing the state's 10 year highway plan and maintaining fiscal oversight of the state's treasury.
Please take time to meet the candidates and hear how each would perform the duties of Executive Councilor at a Candidate Forum to be held Tuesday, February 11, at the Meredith Community Center. Jointly sponsored by the Belknap County Republican and Democratic Committees and the Lakes Region Democrats and moderated by the N.H. League of Women Voters, the forum will give voters an opportunity to ask questions of each candidate. The forum runs from 6-7:30 p.m.
Please take time out of your busy schedules to learn more about these candidates prior to voting on March 11!
Kate Miller, Chair
Belknap County Democrats
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 10:58