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What a relief Obamacare has brought — sign up by March 31

To The Daily Sun,

As we come to the end of the open enrollment period for Obamacare on March 31, I am thinking of some folks I know who have signed up for health care coverage and are delighted.

My self-employed nephew in Montana knew that he needed health insurance. He had had a serious biking accident when he was younger. Last fall he successfully navigating the federal website www.healthcare.gov and found that his income level qualified him for a subsidy. His plan covers the basics and he can afford it. What a relief.

A New Hampshire couple got a letter last fall saying that their insurance plan would be canceled at the end of the year. It didn't meet the new standards because it failed to cover so much. That plan was later extended for another year, but meanwhile they discovered that they could get a far better deal through the Exchange. The new plan they signed up for had better coverage, greatly reduced their yearly deductible and the premium was way less than the old plan. They felt lucky that Obamacare was in effect.

Another acquaintance, long uninsured, got sick last year and finally had to go to the emergency room. The bill was over $10,000, the money he needed to live on while his seasonal work left him without income. He promised that he would go to one of the agencies like ServiceLink that are signing people up for affordable plans and get enrolled.

I sure hope he did that. But in case he didn't, or in case you are still uninsured, I want you all to know it's not too late! You have until March 31 This coming Saturday, March 22, agencies all around New Hampshire are having enrollment fairs. You can find a list of places and times at www.nhcitizensalliance.org or call ServiceLink at 528-6945. If you can't make it Saturday, sign-ups are happening several places around New Hampshire every day between now and the end of March. There are wonderful folks ready and eager to help you get the health insurance you need.

Anne Rogers


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 10:28

Hits: 249

LRCC auto program to grow from 7,100 sq-ft space to 21,000

To The Daily Sun,

Lakes Region Community College serves the Greater Laconia area with high quality, affordable academic programs that prepare students for careers and for transfer to continue their post-secondary education. We greatly appreciate the strong local support and interest in the college. We are excited about LRCC's future, working in partnership with local public officials, local schools and area businesses.

Recently, LRCC hosted an event to update regional elected officials on developments at the college. We would like to correct some inaccuracies in an article published March 11 following this event. Much of the article outlined future plans for the college facilities, including new construction and renovation. The correct information is:

LRCC will break ground this spring on a new 21,000-square-foot facility to house the college's automotive programs, which include a program affiliated with General Motors and a general associate degree program. The new, larger facility will also enable the college to increase its in-service training for local automotive technicians.

The 7,100-square-foot space that will be vacated once the auto programs move is earmarked for future use by the culinary program, although LRCC will first undertake design work ahead of any request for funds to do the renovations necessary to re-purpose this space. In the meantime the program will continue to operate at its present home at Canterbury Shaker Village, where LRCC operates classes and a restaurant.

The CCSNH Board of Trustees has approved a capital request that would, if funded, enable the construction of a facility at LRCC for mobile diesel and marine engine technology. The $5 million request will be part of all State of New Hampshire capital project requests considered in the 2015 legislative session. The decision to seek funding to relocate the program to LRCC was generated by input from employers in the heavy-equipment industry that the program could better meet industry need if located more centrally. This information was shared at the event by LRCC President Scott Kalicki, and not board Chairman Paul Holloway who was not in attendance.

LRCC's newest facility, the Health and Science Building, houses the nursing and fire science/fire protection programs as well as chemistry, physics and biology labs that are part of LRCC's commitment to increase STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Construction of this facility enabled LRCC to use space in its adjacent Center for Arts and Technology to house a new advanced manufacturing program, which was developed in partnership with more than 20 area employers to strengthen the workforce pipeline for advanced manufacturing companies in the region as part of a statewide initiative to strengthen and increase advanced manufacturing training opportunities and pathways to careers.

Thank you for the opportunity to correct the article and add needed context to some of the information presented. Lakes Region Community College is committed to serving the needs of its region and to partnering with high schools, area industry and four-year colleges and universities to support student success and a strong New Hampshire economy, and we deeply value to connections we enjoy with the communities we serve.

Shannon Reid

Director of Communications

Community College System of NH


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 10:24

Hits: 122

Year-Round Library will continue to serve the needs of GIlmanton

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to Gilmanton residents:

The Board of Directors and Library Staff wish to thank Gilmanton voters for their support on March 11. The Library will continue to serve the community because of the successful vote.

Staff is committed to offering programs to meet the needs of Gilmanton residents. Suggestions for new programs are always welcome. Call or stop by the library to talk to the staff. And if you still don't have a free library card, please call or stop by the library.

The Board of Directors is organizing fund-raising efforts and community activity events for the spring and summer. Please watch for information on how you can volunteer for one of the events. Information will be posted on the website, Facebook and in the newspapers.

Board meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month. Meetings are open and we welcome community participation. The budget is reviewed each month so if you have questions, concerns or suggestions, please join us. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. at the library.

Again, thank you for your support.

GYRLA Board of Directors


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 11:07

Hits: 188

County commissioners vented their spleen in an unfortunate way

To The Daily Sun,

Reading the news that four long term employees at the Belknap County Nursing Home were handed their walking papers brings to mind the cynical observation of Rahm Emanuel: "Never let a crisis go to waste."

In order to make the case that the 2014 county budget was inadequate, the administration imposed painful staff reductions in the hope that the resultant controversy would redound to the detriment of the convention and not to itself. The real story takes a bit more research. Anyone who compares the county executive staff of five years ago to today will have to concede that the administration has grown greatly in size and salaries. At the same time, some county departments are left with scant resources.

Even though the county was presented with evidence of the cost-effectiveness, and necessity, of adding correctional officers to the jail, the word has already been passed that those officers will not be hired. Incidentally, the salary and benefits for those additional officers were completely funded in the county budget led by a conservative core of Republican delegates. The chair of the convention stated publicly that it was a primary goal to make the jail a priority when crafting this year's budget. In union with the commissioners, the Democrats voted for a budget which did not include this needed jail staff.

The Belknap commissioners have vented their spleen in a most unfortunate way. Their anger at a convention that was determined to take its Chapter 24 responsibilities seriously has resulted in unnecessary layoffs. While the public will be able to cast its vote this fall for a new direction for the county, it is greatly too bad that the current slate of
commissioners retains the power to so distress the lives of hard-working people. With specific reference to the nursing home and jail, the commissioners should take another look at their responsibilities and chart a different course.

Rep. Dick Burchell
Belknap 5

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 11:02

Hits: 221

MetroCast’s fees go up 5% each year while quality languishes

To The Daily Sun,

I would like to comment on the recent article regarding the new 10 year "monopoly" contract with MetroCast by all the local towns in the area. This is in addition to the letter to the editor by the gentleman from Gilford who also wrote regarding the same contract — to which I agree.

My major analysis of MetroCast over the last 10 years are that they annually increase their fees by a minimum of 5 percent a year, constantly move and eliminate channels and basically offer very little in quality improvements. They support their price increases based on their cost increases for programming which includes free broadcast stations, extended cable stations that are increasing their commercial content to the level of on-the-air stations and corporate bundlers who force useless channels as part of a package.

I realize that some of this is true, but where is the push-back by the cable operators and the towns? Are not these providers getting huge revenues from all the commercials they sell to advertisers and then expect us to pay higher and higher cable fees to watch these commercials? Talk about double-dipping. It was bad enough watching all those commercials when we used antennas, but at least the programming was "free."

My understanding is that the city of Laconia has some latitude in negotiating the contract, but customer pricing is not one of them. So they negotiate primarily to get the best possible franchise fee. How about getting the cable company to offer better packages? I suggested a few years ago to offer a video and internet only package? They only offer packages that include VOIP added in or overpriced premium channels.

How about packages like the satellite companies offer with less channels for less money since most of us only watch less than 10 channels anyways? How about improving the quality so that when we watch important events we do not get drop-outs and audio failure even in good weather? How about reducing redundant stations that broadcast the same thing on three different channels? How about getting different programming on PBS Channels 2 and 11 so I can watch the "Nightly Business Report" and "This Old House" like I used to get two years ago or as you call it "two price increases ago"? How about getting a decent TV Guide channel that doesn't take 10 minutes to find out what's on and is used for 50 percent advertising?

I have called and written on these issues in the past, but monopolies very seldom listen to and take action to the end-user.

If I didn't get my point across, how about the fact that technology is changing and if cable companies do not get their act together and keep increasing prices every year well beyond the rate of inflation, the paradigm is going to shift and soon we may all have a better and cheaper solution.

I can't wait. But in the meantime, I think the city and towns can do a lot more, especially if the customer base speaks up and demands value and better options.

Robert Richard


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:47

Hits: 188

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