To The Daily Sun,
One of the best kept 'secrets' that is allowed to exist in the entire United States is that our voting system is totally broken. If you doubt this, do a little research.
The Bipartisan Commission on Election Reform is a commission in place that was formed to simplify our national, state, city and town voting process. One of its primary recommendations — voting should not take more than one half hour to complete. Since it was created almost nothing positive has been done to improve the efficiency, or ease, or fairness of the way Americans vote for the people on any ballot.
Sounds farfetched. Well ... sad to say it's not.
What could possibly be the problem with the system of voting? One thing stands out: the way that states' rights have been misused. The same way that they were used as a justification for secession, segregation, and suppression of equal rights.
We may be an advanced country in many ways, but our voting process is on par with third world countries.
Happy about this? I'm not.
What can be done to bring about the much needed change?
Simple-call, write, and email your elected officials. Start with your representatives and senators both on the state and national levels. Let them know that you support the president's initiative to fix our voting system in a uniform manner once and for ALL of us. The vote is a fundamental right of each and every American citizen. It is not something to be controlled and manipulated by the privileged, PAC's, secret money, special interest groups or any particular party.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:26
To The Daily Sun,
The residents of Franklin are still wearing their wool scarf around their eyes. Let's review the political year. Former coach Greg Husband starts the petition, with the mayor's blessing, to remove two elected school board members. They later changed this to hold a public hearing when it became apparent the courts would not uphold a removal of duly elected officials by the mayor's posse. This cost the taxpayers of Franklin in REAL dollars. The board had to hire an attorney to defend their legal and rightful actions.
Don't forget, Greg Husband doesn't have a job, so he has nothing to lose by time. Next, Greg Husband files an unfair labor practice claim with the N.H. Department of Labor. HE lost, even though he claims they were biased against him. He ragged on them for failing to believe his disciples but the DOL was not swayed. Let me repeat: HE LOST! He complained to the Attorney General. They ignored him. He filed a complaint with the Department of Education, yes the same department where the mayor of Franklin and the newly elected board chair of Franklin are employed. The DOE did an investigation and found nothing substantial to Greg Husband's claims. He lost again! Are you sensing a pattern here?
He gets elected to the school board. His election platform: get Franklin schools back on track, take care of the budget, get teachers raises. Let's see: Franklin Schools have improved in all areas in the past three years, with a 20 percent teaching turnover, not 50 percent like he claims, and the budget is transparent and in the black (can the city say the same?). Get teachers raises — yes. Finally something to agree on. So Greg Husband has cost the school district about $50,000 so far in legal fees to defend against his personal vendetta against board members, NHIAA, administration. I wonder what that equals in teachers raises? Are we done? No. He continues to file suits.
His latest is against the former superintendent. Does the think that anything has changed in the past year? Has he convinced someone to lie for him? Did he share any of this at the last board meeting? Did the newly elected board chair have to leave the board table to ask her husband what to say next? Have any council members expressed a concern over Greg Husband's continued cost to the taxpayers? Yes, this one is costing the taxpayers. An estimate you say. Forty to fifty thousand dollars for this one suit would be a conservative estimate. Question: What is the the total cost to the residents of Franklin to massage on person's ego? Answer: Somewhere between seventy and a hundred thousand dollars.
The newly elected school board won't be sharing this information, but you can find it under Right to Know requests from the Department of Labor from the New Hampshire Court System, or from any honest board member that has real integrity. Check Greg Husband's history. He files suit or threatens to file suit against anyone and everyone who disagrees with him (attorney's, Executive Director of NHIAA, former spouse, school administration, board members). Maybe it is time that Greg Husband took that sage advice someone offered months ago. Put on his big boy pants and truly put the children of Franklin and their welfare before his own ego. Residents of Franklin, please take the wool from your eyes and looks at what these people are doing to our community.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:22
To The Daily Sun,
Why all the resistance to an energy alternative that makes sense?
It fascinates me that people put so much energy into obstructing things that on the surface look beneficial to the community as a whole. I want to qualify this opinion by stating first that everyone has a right to an opinion no matter how selfish it may seem. Personal interest drives many of our social and political issues where there may be otherwise little or no support or discussion.
Wind energy as a green energy alternative has been embraced by many countries and the U.S. as a viable alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear generated options. With the Gulf of Mexico accident and other significant oil spills (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills), Nuclear disasters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_nuclear_disasters_and_radioactive_incidents#Main_lists), airborne elements from fossil fuel/coal fired plants causing mercury and acid rain levels to rise, especially in the Northeast, (http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/pdf/final300report_10072008.pdf), and the destruction of thousands of acres of forest for wood fired plants (http://www.nrdc.org/energy/forestsnotfuel/), the need for less damaging alternatives to energy production is critical. The fossil fuel industry would have us believe that all these side effects are relatively moderate compared to the minor damages caused by wind farms, hydro-electric, solar or geothermal options and in fact, whatever option threatens its hold on the market share, it goes after with a vengeance (i.e. Wind energy farms in New England).
With the proposed Wild Meadows wind farm in Alexandria and Danbury, we have an opportunity to bring jobs, revenue and modernization to the northern parts of New Hampshire which has suffered the most in the economic downturn. With stimulus and federal funding drying up for our municipalities and public schools, states are looking for creative options to fund these shortfalls. Unfortunately, NH's limited solution is to put the burden of shortfalls on the backs of the property owners — in NH's case the farmers, loggers and long standing landowners who have worked the land for generation and are now struggling to survive. Danbury and Alexandria, two of the poorer communities in N.H. have the most to gain from the implementation of The Wild Meadows Wind farms (Over $800,000 with increased annual adjustments between them). However, the wealthier surrounding communities are trying to dictate to Danbury and Alexandria and passing off outsider influence as local opinion.
You have probably heard the not-in-my backyard (NIMBY) statement from some of your neighbors but if this mindset won out in other venues we would not have airports around the state, cell towers on our mountains, highways through our natural resources and yes, houses on the shores of our lakes and beaches! There was opposition to all these moves but ultimately the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. A community or state cannot compete with other communities or states if it does not have the modernization to attract business and residents to support its municipal, county and state infrastructure. We are not where we need to be but we have better mobility via our highways, communication (albeit not perfect in the North) via our cell tower, accessibility via our airports and increasing residents because we allow development around our lakes and beaches which has attracted over 27,000 millionaires into NH (in addition to being a tax haven for the wealthy).
A storm of very vocal and well funded anti-wind turbine advocates (with national help) have bullied the communities of Danbury and Alexandria into believing it is a town position. A recent vote indicated a 2-1 anti-wind turbine position in these towns but there is more to the story. Nearly half of the registered voters in these towns did not vote, many of them laying low because of the uncontrolled insult shouting matches at the town meetings, some fearing reprisals from neighbors, and the fact that the vote occurred during a winter break with many residents traveling out of area.
There are legitimate questions that need to be answered — truthfully! Here are some of the concerns I heard from the devoutly opposed and in the order of most common:
1. It will take away my views.
2. It will lower my property values. (If you are selling your property in the next two years possibly a minor set back but the Whittemore School of Business at UNH found no effect on Lempster property values after the development of the wind farm.)
3. I don't like the color and/or I don't like the idea of a strobe or flashing red light in my window. (It would be nice if there was an alternative but FAA safety prevents this but there is an alternative light being developed right here in NH that will only go on when a plane is in the area of the towers)
4. I rent property to out-of-staters and this will kill my demand. (People visit NH for numerous reasons; history, foliage, hiking, skiing and boating to name a few but most wouldn't think twice about the turbines. Wind turbines have become an attraction in California, Vermont and Europe with many locations allowing recreation around the turbines)
5. I've heard that the sound and vibrations are a health risk and I'm very sensitive to sound and vibration. (There are some studies that suggest that this may be a concern but you would think a nation like Germany that has 22,000 wind turbines in a country the size of Montana and a population of NY and TX combined would have identified major health risks if they existed. There are far greater health risks to fossil fuel/wood burning carbon emissions and nuclear power)
6. It's a foreign company and I would support it if it was an American company. (They are a foreign-based company that has a U.S. affiliate and hires Americans. It also has a history of building state of the art energy alternative wind farms and American companies haven't rushed to NH! If this argument was valid those same Americans would no longer drink Budweiser because it is now owned by a Belgian company)
7. I've read that they are subsidized by federal grants and I don't like subsidies (What isn't subsidized? Our roads, airports, schools, etc. are all subsidized and in fact fossil fuels and fossil fuel extraction processes like the controversial "fracking" and steam methods are subsidized)
8. It will destroy our mountain tops and habitat for many animals, kill birds and bats and I've heard other countries are curtailing this method.
When you look at the previous concerns I've mentioned (1-7 are the leading responses) you would think that number 8 should be the primary argument because it is the least selfish and looks at the environment and community as a whole. Fossil fuel carbon emissions, "fracking", deforestation for wood burning plants, nuclear and oil accidents, and an additional note pollution from old septic systems around NH lakes and coast cause far greater damage to the environment and the surrounding communities. I don't see the same level of vocal opposition to these issues. Health risks from fossil fuels, deforestation, and elements like sulfur and mineraloids like mercury are being introduced into the atmosphere from coal burning plants and are a far greater risks to children, bird and bee populations, fish and humans in general. Also, why would Germany (a "Green" nation with a Green Party), after building 22,000 wind turbines and placing them in a country the size of Montana, finally come to the realization that it is not viable? For those that don't know, Germany is one of the greenest , most technologically proficient and one of the major income earners for the European Economic Union! They are curtailing because they've reached maximum distribution and are now emphasizing other green alternatives.
Why should we embrace this energy alternative?
1. It is a back-up to energy alternatives that could be affected by environmental, economic or weather conditions. If you can't get wood or oil to a plant because of weather, the turbines will continue to produce. Both fossil fuel and green alternatives need back-up under certain conditions.
2. It will bring revenue into the state and support some of the most depressed areas through payments in lieu of taxes. In Danbury's case it could off-set nearly 50 percent of the municipal budget and provides a fund that could potentially reduce or stall tax increases. It could buy much needed town equipment and infrastructure (i.e. fire truck, police car, community recreational upgrades, utility upgrades, school programs, etc.).
3. Brings temporary construction and administration jobs into an area where unemployment and poverty is high. Additionally, several long term maintenance and management positions will remain beyond construction phases!
4. Off-sets the demand from carbon emission producing plants. The same amount of KWH producing fossil fuel plants spill tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, water and soil. This does not include the spills and other accidents that leach impurities into our food supply and drinking water.
5. It is an alternative that benefits the needs of the many and not the self interested few!
These are just my thoughts and I'm sure will generate discussion and disagreement but ultimately I am a advocate for those that need this the most (the poor and middle class) and the environment. It is the future, it is a greener and better alternative than fossil fueled sources and has the potential of helping NH's north country become more economically self sufficient! I could go on, and I am sure I will have many more conversations about the wind farm over the next few months. This is too important an issue to let a few outsider influenced-fossil fuel supporting obstructionists dictate the outcome! It is time the supporters become vocal!
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:18
To the Editor,
Well, now that the Christmas season is over, we can look forward to spring and the rush to buy Valentine's gifts for our loved ones. Me, I am going to be busy looking for a Valentine Tree.
I was sitting outside Lens Crafters in the mall waiting for my friend to have her eyes examined and happened to look down at my hands. Dumb move. I should have brought a book to read. Well, what a shock that was!! Where did this extra skin come from? I don't remember my hands shrinking. I could actually grab my skin. What's with that. I wanted to check other parts of my body but realized I was in the Mall and could not do that right at that moment. I was thinking maybe I should have liposuction on my hands. I had asked my doctor to do that while he was operating on my colon but he didn't. I have lymphedema in one arm and have to wear a sleeve. I was hoping that maybe I could purchase a leg sleeve, stretch this sleeve over both legs, over my thighs and get rid of the spare tire somehow. Well, wouldn't you know it, they don't come that BIG. Now I go to have PT and find out one leg is shorter than the other. When I give my height information, I have to say 5 feet 6 inches on one side and 5 feet and 3/4 inches on the other side.
I am not complaining mind you. I am just stating a fact. It looks like I came into this world wrinkled and I am going out the same way. Something to look forward to. Happy Valentine's Day and hug someone everyday. Treasure everyday with your family and friends for you never know what the next day will bring.
Barbara J. Perry
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:11
To the Daily Sun,
It has been an exciting and fun year working hard raising money for Pub Mania and the WLNH Children's Auction. It is an amazing feeling to help so many kids and do so much good for our community. Our team is a very special group. We work hard, have fun and truly care about this cause, and each other. The compassion from not just my team, but all Pub Maniacs is heartwarming.
This year we held several fundraisers beginning in March. We hosted Peter Mamos Master Hypnotist, Juston McKinney Comedian, and Shana Stack Band. We also were Celebrity Bartenders and held a Pampered Chef Party. We do several challenges within our team throughout the year. Each member also raises money personally.
With your generosity our team raised $20,015.00! Pub Mania raised $177,545.00 and the Children's Auction totaled $510,801.00! This money raised goes back to help out kids and families around the Lakes Region throughout the year. For more information go to Patrickspub.com giving back page.
It is amazing what a small community, such as ours, can accomplish. We could not do it without wonderful, generous people like yourself. Thank you with all of our hearts! Have a Happy Healthy New Year!
Brenda, Tony and the Cafe Deja vu Pub Mania Team
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:07