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Don Guarino was invited to Nov. 23 meeting but he didn't attend

To The Daily Sun:

I am writing in response to the letter from Don Guarino that was published on Dec. 15. The letter was in response to a joint meeting held at the Gilmanton Year-Round Library on Nov. 23.

I wish to clarify some issues. Don stated that the Board of Selectmen was represented by Rachel Hatch and Michael Jean. I would like to clarify the fact that all the selectmen were invited to participate in the meeting and it was posted on the town website. Don chose not to attend.

I requested to be on the agenda at the Oct. 19 selectmen's meeting for two reasons. First, I updated the selectmen on library activities and statistics. Secondly, I stated that we wished to have a discussion about the town-funding issue. I provided the selectmen with a written summary of the information I provided that evening. I did include the fact that we were looking at options that included creating a single or multi-year contract or agreement between the GYRLA and the Town. I also stated that we would be reaching out to the selectmen to meet and discuss the issue.

On Nov. 1, I sent an email to each of the selectmen with our budget information. I mentioned that we were targeting the end of November or beginning of December for a joint meeting. The date that was selected was shared with the selectmen via email on Nov. 9 from the Town Administrator. He requested confirmation from the selectmen that they would be able to participate.

The meeting was officially posted on the town website.

GYRLA Board members tried to call each of the selectmen prior to the meeting on the 23rd to get feedback on the options for town funding. The board member trying to reach Don went to Town Hall and left a message for him since he was unable to reach him by phone. The call was not returned until an hour before the meeting.

Participants at the joint meeting on the 23rd included the town administrator, two selectmen, nearly the entire town Budget Committee, School Board members, and GYRLA Board Members. There were members of the general public there as well. The discussion was positive and productive.

The proposed agreement between the town and the GYRLA is an "agreement" and not a "contract." All residents should know and understand that they retain voting rights and abilities to make their voices heard. This is clearly stated in the proposed Agreement. The SB-2 process, including the Deliberative Session, will provide residents with the opportunity to demonstrate their support. This agreement still needs to be discussed by the selectmen as a board and they will take a formal vote.

The GYRLA and the Town of Gilmanton are attempting to move forward in a positive manner. This is being done in public forum meetings with full transparency and willingness to work as a team toward a common goal. Please feel free to address any questions you may have about this process to the GYRLA or your selectmen.

Chris Schlegel

GYRLA Board of Directors


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What has become of the sanctity of long-celebrated holy days?

To The Daily Sun,

At a time of the year that is usually reserved for joy, peace, and love, we witness a world that seems to be captured by misery, war, and hatred. War in the Middle East, terrorism in Paris, Beirut, and numerous other world locations. Gun violence in American schools and cities. Discrimination against Christians, Muslims and Jews. Refugees fleeing harm and persecution seeking safety for their families.

Has the world lost its mind? What has become of the sanctity of the holy days long celebrated during this season? Are there no respites of encouragement to those suffering in the world?

In the midst of such desperation and fear, I think the Lakes Region of New Hampshire stands like a beacon of light to the world. Rather than shunning the poor and desperate, the people of our small community have a long history of rendering assistance to those in need. Rather than building walls to keep out those who are "different," we have accepted, welcomed and assisted the "refugees" from the rest of New Hampshire, the rest of the United States and, even, the world.

I certainly can speak of such from the almost 25 years involvement with the Laconia Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. The amount of food, clothing, furniture, household items, financial assistance with rent, heat, utilities, car repairs, dental work, and Christmas gifts can only be explained by the support the people of the Lakes Region send to us. Not only your food and clothing donations and financial help, but the many hours rendered by a wonderful group of over 125 volunteers.

On behalf of all the people at St. Vincent de Paul, I ask for your continued generosity. If you would like to join our volunteer team, give me a call at 524-5470 or stop in at our offices on Union Ave. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Peace on Earth and good will to all men and women,

Erika Johnson, President

St. Vincent de Paul

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