To The Daily Sun,
Just a few words to say how much there was (and is) to celebrate in Sanbornton.
Thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make the day fun and informative. There are many ways we can continue to keep our town vibrant, from serving on committees to hiking our trails. One of them is to keep our roadsides clean. If you pick up trash when you walk our roads. Remember that there are free trash bags to use when you bring those cans and bottles and other "jetsam" to the recycling center. You can pick them up at either the town office or the library.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 05:54
To The Daily Sun,
Voters should know a little about Kathy Lauer Rago, who is challenging Andrew Hosmer for the state Senate.
Kathy has no interest in the Lakes Region. She is a rubber stamp for the Tea Party in Franklin. When she was on the school board there she tried to dismantle the school system. She would do the same if she were a senator and decimate funding and education in New Hampshire. I personally got to know Ms. Rago while I lived in Franklin and she was a closed-minded bully. We don't need more bullies in office. We need people willing to work responsibly, across the aisle, able to work with others to enable New
Hampshire to move forward, not backward. Old failed policies are inadequate for this decade. We need intelligent policy and bright ideas on how to teach our children and to help the elderly, the sick and people that need jobs.
This letter may sound like a personal attack, but she attacked my family (and all LGBT families in New Hampshire) while she ran for state representative. She is an opportunist looking for a stepping stone to advance her personal agenda, not looking out for the interests of the people of Laconia and the Lakes Region.
Where was she when Franklin had a job fair? The only candidate I saw looking to help people and to make sure that he was there to facilitate problem-solving was Andrew Hosmer. Andrew has a proven record and has worked for all New Hampshire families. He is reachable. I don't know a person that he has not helped when they needed it from him. We need world-class leaders, not minions for a narrow agenda.
A vote for Kathy Lauer Rago is a vote to dismantle New Hampshire and the progress we have made as a community. It is a vote to bring the extremist circus to Concord. I cannot in good conscience or with any concern for my state vote for
someone so lacking in vision and the qualities required of a state senator. I urge all voters of District 7 to reject a return to the bad old days.
Please vote to send Andrew Hosmer back to Concord where he will continue working for all of us.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 05:51
To The Daily Sun,
I wanted to respond to the letter to the editor that was titled, "5-year-old kept from One Voice cast because parents aren't married." Grace Capital Church was mentioned, yet we do not have any leadership or oversight with the ministry called One Voice.
I do not know what took place between One Voice and this family, as there are always two sides to any story. I do know that the heart of God is for our kids and our families in the Lakes Region.
God is always about restoration. His heart is to see broken lives restored, hurting marriages renewed, and fractured families healed.
I know we live in a culture today where it very common to experience hurts and brokenness. Many times this is complicated and out of our control and many times this comes with a process to know how to move forward.
I know with confidence that Grace Capital Church is a place where people can experience love, acceptance and forgiveness as we explore how God wants us to live our lives.
All of us have experienced hurts in our lives and I am thankful that Jesus brings restoration.
BTW ... I am still a work in progress.
Mark Warren, Pastor
Grace Capital Church
Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 05:48
To The Daily Sun,
I am writing to respond to the letter by Donna Page, in which she regrets the decision of One Voice to keep a 5-year-old boy out of their Christmas program because his parents are not married. She thinks the decision is unkind and that it contravenes Christ's message of love and forgiveness.
I disagree with her, first of all that, the action of this group is unkind. I think what is unkind is bringing children into the world without getting married first. All statistics show that on every measure of successful adulthood, children without fathers come out on the losing end. Yes, I know the child in this case has an intact family with two parents who live together. But that is not the usual case. Usually children of unmarried parents grow up without their father. So it is not kind to condone unmarried parentage, because in most cases, it works against the interests of children.
The Lord gave us rules for living. Getting married before cohabitating is one of them. His rules exist for a reason. He made us and he knows our nature and what is good for us. The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12) I see a lot of children and young people these days who seem cold-hearted and calloused and disconnected. I believe this modern trend of having babies outside of marriage is part of that because the children don't have the strong family structure in place to give them the emotional foundation they need.
As for Jesus' message of forgiveness. Yes, the Lord is all about forgiveness. But forgiveness implies that something was done wrong. And that repentance should follow. In John 5:14, the Lord heals a lame man. Then He says, "Go and sin no more lest something worse happen to you." He healed him but didn't give him a blank check to keep doing wrong. If you are Christian and you think the Lord's forgiveness entitles you to sin with impunity, you're kind of crucifying him all over again, aren't you? What did he go through that torture for if you are just going to throw it back in His face?
It is not the group One Voice that has created hardship for this child, but his parents. Since they have been together for over eight years, love each other, own a home and have jobs, if they are so concerned about this and possible future ostracism of their child, there is something they can do. They can get married.
I commend this group, One Voice. I think the stand they took is courageous and life affirming. The Bible says, "Choose Life." (Deuteronomy 30:19) Living and affirming God's laws is choosing life.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 05:44
To The Daily Sun,
In a recent letter to The Daily Sun, I criticized the dishonesty of our county commissioners in their fabrication of an alleged budgetary crisis. What started out as an immediate $617,872.20 problem, turned into a $455,500 problem, and whatever problem there was got solved by a $10,000 transfer. But in the process, the "crisis" lie was told to the executive committee of the convention, the public and finally to the court before which the commissioners had taken their crisis.
In this letter, my criticism is of equally serious misconduct. Rather than through misrepresentations that proved to be grossly untrue, the fact of the misconduct was revealed by an apparently honest statement by the county administrator in an interview that was featured in the Oct. 2 Daily Sun. Ms. Shackett explained what she had done, with commissioner approval, with a substantial settlement check previously received from the county's health insurance provider for 2013 overcharges.
It is important to note that the fact of a settlement generating money to Belknap County was not made known to the public until it was first mentioned at a meeting of the executive committee of the convention on Sept. 29. Until that time, it was a secret known only to the commissioners and their inner circle.
At the time the check was received, a suit by the convention against the commissioners was pending.
The relief sought in that suit was an injunction to stop the commissioners' practice of moving appropriated money from the line item to which it had been designated by the convention to any line of the commissioners' choice so long as all affected line items involved the same department. To illustrate, for example, the commissioners' position was that they could move money allocated to the nursing home as they pleased so long as the moves were all within that department.
At the time the suit was brought, the commissioners had already altered the convention's budget, changing the convention's appropriation for employer contribution to health insurance premiums from $2,594,925 to $2,832,579, an increase of $237,654.
Ms. Shackett's account of how the settlement check was treated is revealing. She candidly admits that when the check was received, she and the commissioners were concerned about the outcome of the pending lawsuit, which is understandable for anyone who has read the applicable state statutes. So the commissioners and their administrator set out to use this check to preserve their changes in the convention's budget allocation for health insurance premiums in case it became necessary to get around an unfavorable court decision.
From the fact that they did not deposit this substantial check, it is obvious that they realized that if it were deposited, the proceeds had to be classified as unanticipated income as the refund had not been included as an expected revenue item during the budget process earlier in the year. As such, the proceeds would become part of the county's general fund, and thereby usable only as part of a future appropriation by the convention. Depositing the check would not allow them to control the money represented by the check and to circumvent an unfavorable court decision, if necessary.
At some point not made clear in Ms. Shackett's interview, they contacted the health insurance provider and were told that if they returned the check, they could have the amount of the check credited to the county's 2014 employee health insurance premium bill.
We have not been provided with the timing of the next important event in the sequence, but in my opinion, it should not make a great deal of difference. Either fearing an adverse court decision or, after such decision was rendered in the form of the issuance of a preliminary injunction on Aug. 28, the check was returned.
By returning the settlement check, the commissioners and their administrator had, in actual effect, spent more in county funds for employee health insurance than the appropriated amount contained in the convention budget. If you have any doubt that unappropriated county funds were used by the commissioners and the administrator to purchase health insurance coverage in excess of the amount appropriated by the convention, ask yourself two simple questions:
1. After returning the check what is the dollar value of the health insurance they now have at their control? — the dollar amount of the convention appropriation plus the dollar value of the credit obtained by the return of the check.
2. If the check had been deposited rather than returned, what would have been the effect? The county's general fund would have been increased by the dollar amount of the check. It is sophistry to suggest that additional health insurance is not being purchased with county funds.
Thus, it is fair to say that rather than misusing appropriated money by moving it from the designated line item to a health insurance line item, the commissioners and the administrator misused unappropriated county funds by returning the refund check to pay for health insurance in excess of that amount of coverage which was authorized by the convention's appropriation. Rather than follow the statutory formula for additional needed money and request a supplemental appropriation, the commissioners have attempted to hide their actions behind a cloak of confusion, arguing that a credit is somehow not the same as money when in fact the check that was returned to obtain the credit could have been deposited and thereby have been turned into cash in the county's general fund.
Again the commissioners have displayed a total disrespect for the convention's statutory responsibilities in the budget process along with an arrogant disregard for the role of our courts in the governmental process. The scheme to use the settlement check to obtain a credit to be used to pay for more health insurance than the amount authorized in the budget has been admitted by the administrator to have originated as an idea to circumvent an anticipated adverse court decision in the convention's suit to require the commissioners to follow the line-item amounts of the budget. With a lawsuit pending over their actions with regard to the budget process and use of appropriated monies, one would expect the commissioners and the administrator to seek judicial guidance before taking on such a bold appropriation function with the settlement check. Instead, the commissioners have committed three wrongful acts in an effort to have their way:
1. They used a check issued to the county which represented unanticipated 2014 income to purchase "credit" which has been turned into additional employee health insurance.
2. The credit amount which has been added to the convention's budget lines for employee health insurance has produced an increase of those lines over the amounts appropriated by the convention without the statutorily required approval of the convention's executive committee.
3. The failure of the commissioners to advise the court of their plan concerning the settlement check and to request judicial approval of its appropriateness in light of the pending litigation concerning the county budget process was a contemptuous and arrogant display of disrespect for the court and its role in resolving disputed issues concerning the county budget process.
If good government is to return to our county, dramatic change must occur. We must have commissioners who recognize that the convention has an important role in the determination of how money is spent in the administration of our county and commissioners who recognize and respect the role that our courts have in resolving questions of law. It is clear from recent events that our current county administration is seriously lacking on both points. A new type of leadership is very much needed.
We need commissioners who recognize and respect the function of the convention regarding matters of spending and we need representatives who can work together as a convention without unnecessary bickering and unproductive distractions.
The two bodies, the commissioners and the convention, should form a team which acts together to produce the best county government we in Belknap County can afford. Hopefully our collective efforts as voters in the upcoming election will give us a new team and a new style of county government.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 05:40