To The Daily Sun,
I recently saw the obituary for Steven Selig in the Sun. I only met Steve briefly at a mutual friend's house one evening a couple of years ago. We discovered that we had been serving in Vietnam at roughly the same time. It was a social gathering, so we did not talk too much about our experiences. Steve mentioned that he had flown over 250 missions in B-52s. This is a staggering number of missions especially when you consider the MiGs and anti-aircraft fire the North Vietnamese used against them. As grunt infantrymen we were grateful to have the awesome power of B-52 strikes on our side. There was usually nothing left standing in the area of a B-52 bombing. "Like walking on the moon," one of my platoon members described going into an area after a bombing.
Although we did not get a chance to share too much of our feelings that night, I feel I have walked close enough to Steve's shoes to have an idea of how he felt. He had to have felt a great deal of pride in carry out so many missions successfully under extremely difficult circumstances. I am sure he had many stories to tell. I am sure he felt the stress of putting his own and others lives on the line so many times. As bad as one day might have been, the next might be much worse, and possibly THE day. The stress of doing such a dangerous job so often for so long had to be incredible.
Finally, having to deal with the destruction he was asked to do for his country had to be quite a burden. These feelings and the realization he had to go back and be in the middle of this again had to weigh heavily on him when he had to come back for his father's funeral during his tour.
Discussing his trip back and what it was like to come home then is what struck me most about our conversation that evening. I am so happy that the men and women fighting our recent conflicts have been greeted with gratitude, appreciation, and respect. However, I have to hold back a tear every time I see one of those commercials showing returning service men and women being spontaneously applauded as they come through an airport after a tour overseas.
I think of all the guys I served with, the tremendous things they did, and know that most threw their uniforms in the garbage upon landing in the U.S. rather than be identified as a soldier. Steve did tell me about his being pelted with rotten tomatoes at the LA airport as he kept his uniform on while making connections to come back to New Hampshire to mourn his father. I had hoped to resume our conversation assuming we would see each other at the golf club we both played.
His obituary gives me an idea why our paths did not cross again. Since I did not get the chance to speak with him again, I am writing this as a way to say thank you for your exceptional service, and welcome home, Steve.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 08:45
To The Daily Sun,
Two hallmarks of a leader are being able to prioritize requirements, and anticipate the consequences of one's actions. Gov. Hassan recently provided us with a great example of bad leadership. By failing to prioritize and anticipate consequences, she applied for a $5.7 million federal grant made available to promote Obamacare in New Hampshire. Setting aside the fact that she intentionally chose to bypass/ignore the legislature (there are questions being asked whether she operated illegally in doing so) in this case, she received the money on behalf of the state and then used it for a completely different purpose.
Gov. Hassan spent this grant money on advertising for our state's Medicaid program. The all-too-predictable result: 11,000 Granite Staters saw the ads for free services and signed up. Sadly, the Hassan administration didn't anticipate this cost increase and didn't have a plan for the impact on our state budget. Boom! Instant hole blown in the budget, $37 million deep.
Conservatives in our state saw this coming and warned against it. Gov. Hassan did it anyway. We deserve a better governor. One who has proven he can prioritize and anticipate consequences. One who will follow the law. One who will allocate our money wisely and understands that federal dollars always come with strings attached.
I'm supporting Andrew Hemingway for governor.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:23
To The Daily Sun,
Two weeks ago I sent a letter to the management at Hannaford. Hannaford is not owned by people In Maine, as most people think. It is owned by the Delhaize group, a large, multibillion-dollar corporation headquartered in Belgium.
I thought my letter might serve as a wake-up call to Hannaford. I explained they needed to lower their prices. Now seemed the perfect time to speak out. I was sure they had received a huge surge of business from the high drama playing out at Market Basket (MB), their main competitor. If they wanted to keep that business surge, they needed to lower prices.
I explained that MB got 90 percent of my food-shopping dollar. The other 10 percent went to them. If they wanted to keep 100 percent of my business they could by matching MB's prices. I shop MB for one reason, price, as do tens of tens of thousands of others. That is especially true given MB's extra 4 percent off everything until year end. I pointed out just about every product I buy at MB's cost less by several cents, often by several percent. In fact many items can be 20 percent less or greater for a single item at MB.
It seems Hannaford agrees with my letter. They will lose all their new-found business if MB reopens. Hannaford's is now acting aggressively, but not in the way I recommended. The Delhaize group is now trying to buy MB to eliminate its biggest competitor to gain even greater pricing advantage. There will be no lowering of prices to match MB. In fact the elimination of MB assures Lakes Region shoppers will experience even higher food prices across the board.
It is estimated MB is (or was) worth $3 billion to $3.5 billions. Its value drops every day their customers go someplace else to shop. The Demoulas family members are all wealthy beyond imagination. The conflict, as always, is about ego, control, greed, and arrogance. One thing is certain, the egos of the Demoulas family notwithstanding and the blind, self interest by MB employees shutting down MB stores notwithstanding. This conflict could produce the absolute worst nightmare ending for every Lakes Region food shopper. That is, Hannaford buys MB.
The Lakes Region shrinks from three competitors to two, where the low-cost seller is taken out. That blows the doors wide open for Hannaford and Shaw's. Those two competitors are now savoring the blood feud at MB. They love the employee strike and protests. They can already taste the higher prices and great profits with a vanquished MB. I guarantee higher food prices are on their way from both Hannaford and Shaw's with MB gone. It is as certain as night following day.
So praise the MB employees and the old MB boss all you want. Just understand, as both owners and employees at MB pursue their best interests, they may be burying yours in higher grocery prices if the stubborn egos allow Hannaford the opening to win the end game. The person who has the most to gain, will pay the most. That, my friends, is Hannaford. The person with the most to lose in this confrontation of egos? You.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:20
To The Daily Sun,
It's amazing to me the impact that GOT Lunch! Laconia has on this community. A few weeks ago I was selling raffle tickets for the drawing to win a 2014 Sea Doo Spark 3up and trailer donated by Irwin Marine, when a young adult came up to me and thanked me for the food that was delivered to her house a few years ago. She said, "I was a part of that program. Thank you, it meant a lot to us." While selling raffle tickets at a Muskrats game, a young girl maybe 6-years-old, came to our table and, with the biggest brown eyes, peaked over the table and quietly said "Thank you for the food!" and gave us the sweetest smile.
In the years that we have been doing this program I have come to realize that this program is bigger than just delivering food to children. It shows children and families that this community cares about them, really cares. Just knowing that others care, helps to build resiliency and bring a sense of hope that they aren't alone. It has brought so many diverse community members together who never would have known each other and built a sense of community and pride.
Here are two comments by parents about the program from our end of the year survey:
"Thank you for sharing such a wonderful program with our community. We've had a lot of struggles in the past several years and every kindness shared helps more than you know!"
"Thank You! I don't know what I would have done without it. It is humbling to be in a place of needing to receive this gift as I have always been a giver. I pray this program continues. Your energies are appreciated greatly."
Over 272 volunteers this year, $66,000 raised; people touching the lives of children and making their lives a little better; it doesn't get any better than that! We see the gratitude and appreciation every week and we wanted the community to know just how much the effort is appreciated.
Thank You, Laconia!
The Rev. Paula Gile
Advisory Board Member
GOT LUNCH! Laconia
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:15
To The Daily Sun,
Much discussion and controversy has surrounded our county jail in recent months. As a candidate for state representative from Laconia I decided to visit this facility and tour the inside.
The jail is made up of a "hodge-podge" of several additions constructed over the years, making it a difficult place to process and house inmates. The jail was not designed for women, but about two dozen women are housed there — in the gymnasium. The jail was not designed for the mentally ill or drug and alcohol patients. The present jail does not meet the needs of housing the current population and providing space for essential rehabilitation programs.
One of the positive aspects of the jail's policies is to provide programs and activities to help ensure that inmates will not return. For example a GED is required of all inmates who have not graduated from high school. The jail does not simply "house" inmates. Programs are in place to rehabilitate inmates and make them useful in society.
The Belknap County correctional facility does not meet codes and standards that are available to make the facility safe and efficient. For example, this old facility does not meet nationally recognized standards for correctional facilities. It does not meet fire safety codes. As a former New Hampshire State Fire Marshal, it was my job to enforce the Life Safety Code. My consulting practice also focused on understanding and interpreting this major fire code. Special chapters in the Life Safety Code are devoted to detention and correctional occupancies. Our jail does not meet these provisions.
Also, the facility does not meet the provisions of the ADA — Americans with Disabilities Act.
A major problem with not meeting known codes and standards is that should something happen, Belknap County could be sued and might have to pay large amounts of money.
All of New Hampshire's county jails, with the exception of Belknap and Coos counties, have up-to-date, modern correctional facilities. Other counties have addressed and solved this problem. Why haven't we?
To me an obvious problem exists with our current jail facility. It should be easily addressed and discussed with an acceptable solution arrived at.
The question is clear and with a common-sense approach a solution should be easily reached. Of course, this would require that all commissioners and the convention truly understand the problems with the jail facility and are willing to solve the problem.
I would urge any new county commissioners and delegation members who have not seen this building to tour the jail to see for themselves the conditions of this facility before government work begins in January 2015. Superintendent Ward is more than happy to give tours.
Knowledge and cooperation are the keys to his current dilemma. I would like to promote this climate and help solve the jail issue.
Dr. Thomas Dawson
Candidate for State Representative
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:10