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I am humbled by your vote & will keep moving our county ahead

To The Daily Sun,

I want to thank the thousands of voters in my district who re-elected me as their Grafton County commissioner for another two years. I am gratified and humbled by your vote and will continue my efforts to keep moving our wonderful county ahead in many arenas. This will include advocating for increased mental health services in our northern regions, supporting programs that keep our elderly safe and healthy in their own homes, encouraging the development of supervised residential homes for our youth-at-risk, and continuing to oppose the Northern Pass and the siting of industrial wind projects in our region.

It's also time to seriously increase planning for our aging demographics and its many implications for both our county and state — this has huge consequences for town budgets, facilities and trained workers to accommodate this group, as well as our local civic groups losing their members and leaders.

Our young people are leaving the state for "greener" and younger "pastures" and this drain will also affect our economy, educational opportunities, and especially the job market which must adjust itself to creating a vibrant setting to attract this group.

We should all appreciate anyone who runs for public service and to that end I commend my opponents, Paul Simard and Allan Monica, who ran good campaigns. Best wishes to them as they hopefully continue to give back to their communities in civic endeavors.

Let us all move ahead after a long campaign season and use that energy to make Grafton County and New Hampshire even better and stronger. Thank you all again for your support and please contact me whenever I can be of help.

Martha Richards

Plymouth

Grafton County Commissioner, District 3

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:50

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A Christian nation should acknowledge its duty to serve the poor

To The Daily Sun,

I am tired of reading letters to this forum that paint Democrats and liberals as anti-God and anti-American and that portray conservatives Republicans as the only true Christian patriots. Despite what many right-wing "Christians" might have you believe, there are millions of Christians who refer to themselves as liberals, progressives, Democrats or any number of things other than "conservative Republicans."

The most fundamental difference between liberal progressives and conservatives is the question of which side you are on. Conservatives believe that the rich and powerful get that way because they deserve to be, that society owes its prosperity to the prosperous, and that government's job when they have to make a choices is to side with those businesspeople who are doing well because all good things trickle down from them.

Progressives on the other hand, believe it is the poor and those who are ill-treated who need the most help from their government.

When you are in the political world, decisions have to be made daily about who you will help and who you won't. These political decisions are generally not win-win. Instead one group of people wins and one group of people loses. It is the nature of politics, and you can't take politics out of politics.

Jesus was not primarily concerned with politics, but for what politics he did have, it is virtually impossible to argue that he was anything but a progressive liberal thinker. The Gospels make it clear that Jesus' main concern was for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast. They also reveal His scorn for the wealthy and powerful.

Webster's dictionary defines a liberal as, "one who is open minded, not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional or established forms or ways." Jesus Christ was a pluralist liberal who taught that one need not conform to strict and orthodox views of God, religion, and life. He rejected greed, violence, the glorification of power, the amassing of wealth without social balance, and the personal judging of others, their lifestyles and beliefs. Jesus clearly sees a pure love of God and for our fellow human beings as the bottom line for being a Christian. His philosophy is embedded with the central importance of taking care of others. There is nothing in the Gospels about poor people being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, how we shouldn't help the poor because it weakens them, and nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person's spirit.

As humans, we shouldn't have to believe in Jesus Christ to feel that it's important that we help the sick, feed the hungry, accept each other, not judge one another, and treat people with kindness, not apathy.

If we are truly a "Christian" nation, as we claim to be, and neglect the poor and the oppressed, we must either pretend that Jesus was as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy, without condition, and then admit that we just don't want to do it.

L.J. Siden

Gilmanton

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:44

Hits: 336

Join me in celebrating Jack Terrill at Church Landing tonight

To The Daily Sun,

On Tuesday November 18th, there will be an event at Church Landing in Meredith to recognize Jack Terrill for his countless contributions to our community. Jack Terrill is the former President/CEO of the Lakes Region United Way and current SVP of Community Impact for Granite United Way. But we are all losing Jack's impact in our collective communities as he will be relocating to Naples, Florida at the end of the month.

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Jack for over 12 years, when I was a volunteer for the Lakes Region United Way. I saw first-hand the depth of commitment and dedication that he gave to the social needs of our region. Jack is a visionary. He challenged me, the board and the community leaders to be bold in our thinking. Jack helped to make certain that the United Way was relevant and impactful to our community.

When Jack joined the United Way, he quickly recognized that we needed to make changes to ensure the organizations sustainability. This did not happen overnight. Slowly, over several years, mindsets were changed, revenues were increased and the focus of the local United Way evolved from being simply a fundraising to a catalyst for change and cooperation. Eventually, monies raised eclipsed $1 million annually and non-profits in the greater Lakes Region were collaborating together. Redundancies were identified and eliminated, information was shared, efficiencies were created and new stakes were placed in the ground. We were challenged to achieve more than we thought we were capable of doing.

In fairness, Jack did not do this alone. There have been and are many passionate, hardworking individuals and companies who have joined together in this effort to address the three focus areas of the importance of education, the significant need to address poverty and increase income opportunities within our neighborhoods and the overall benefits of Healthy Communities. But make no mistake; it was Jack's vision and leadership that directed this change. Jack earned a master's degree from SNHU in Community Economic Development, applying that education and his heart to improving the lives of those in need.
So many events and accomplishments that I will not attempt to name them all here. But it was Jack who recognized that Whole Village in Plymouth was an important asset to that community and those less fortunate. As a volunteer board member there, he recognized the need to ensure their sustainability. It was Jack who also recognized a grass roots group in Carroll County who had a small group of committed volunteers, grand visions and plans but again limited long-term resources to ensure their longevity to reach all of their goals. Jack convinced the Lakes Region United Way board to collaborate and merge with these organizations and in a short period of time, they thrived.
Just when we seemed to be hitting the tipping point ourselves, it was Jack who recognized that for the betterment of the organization, our community and to some extent putting himself at risk, he suggested that our board consider merging with the ever growing Granite United Way, a statewide organization. But it was Granite United Way that recognized that what Jack helped to create in the Lakes Region was the model for the other regions.
Despite so many successes the work is not complete and never will be. Jack is leaving for warmer climates to be with his lovely wife Diane and while he will most certainly be missed the efforts to continue in the direction that Jack helped to form will continue. This is his legacy and he should be very proud of his accomplishments. I speak only for myself, but I am a better person for having the opportunity to know and work with Jack. I am proud to have been able to be a part of his legacy to a small degree and am happy to call him my friend.
Best of luck to Jack and Diane! Naples Florida is gaining a true asset to their community!
Please come out and join me in recognizing Jack and help us thank him for all that he has done for the Lakes Region!

John Malm

Morrisville, Vermont

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:41

Hits: 275

How would arming the social studies teacher make kids safer?

To The Daily Sun,

The National Rifle Association's reaction to the tragedy of school shootings — to put more in guns in schools — is so fatuous as to defy rational comment. Think back to our school days; how would arming Miss Smith the social studies teacher make you safer? Imagine Bob Montana's Mr.Wheterbee with a Glock in his shoulder holster.

I suppose that calling the NRA's solution counter-intuitive will be off-putting to red staters, but there is a positive proof that the asinine desire to arm school teachers is not the answer to gun violence in public schools. 

On September 11th of all days Michelle Montgormey, a teacher in Utah elementary school, accidentally fired her (legally licensed) pistol in a faculty bathroom (Utah not only being a red state but also noted for its high crime rate). Fortunately the only casualty was a toilet. 

Please notify Wayne LaPiere

Paul Frohock 

Laconia 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 10:39

Hits: 128

The County Nursing Home deserves a competent administrator

To The Daily Sun,

As spouses of the Belknap County Nursing Home residents, we watched the back and forth game of the nursing home administration with what could only be described as horrified fascination. Administrator Mathew Logue was fired for dishonesty, insubordination and lack of cooperation. In any private enterprise this would be grounds for dismissal, however, the Belknap County Personnel Committee consisting of Representatives Colette Worsman, Bob Greemore and Dick Burchell ignored these grounds and reinstated Logue. This had a devastating effect on staff morale, and reflected back to unease and uncertainty among the patients. Mr. Logue was subsequently placed on paid administrative leave. Recently the incoming commissioners wrote that they did not plan to pursue the appeal issue of Mr. Logue to the courts because of costs concerns. Does this mean that the nursing home is getting Mr. Logue back as administrator or that they intend to keep Mr. Logue on paid leave?

The Belknap County Nursing Home experienced serious staffing issues under the administration of Mr Logue ,who was employed in December 2012 and fired in September of 2014. Normally, 21 months is sufficient time for a qualified employee to get up to speed in a new job.

When asked to provide a nursing staff analysis, Mr. Logue decided to submit one.
When Mr. Logue was asked to submit a new budget for the upcoming year, he chose instead to recycle last years budget by just changing the year on the form.
When asked for employee evaluations, he responded that he only had one more to finish, however, the Human Resources director testified that he had not turned in any completed evaluations. These are fundamental administrative duties necessary for the proper running of any organization and as a result he received a written warning and was then dismissed.
Mr. Logue appealed his dismissal to the Personnel Committee and many of us, previously unaware of the details of his termination, sat through several hours of testimony where Mr. Logue was questioned regarding the above issues by attorney Broth and attempted to justify his lack of cooperation in completing his duties. Later that week, we were stunned to read the following.

The Personnel Committee findings dated 10/10/14, to reinstate Mr. Logue with the following decision:

"As described above, the Personnel Committee accepted Mr. Logue's credible testimony that he delayed performing his budget, staffing analysis and employee evaluations because of his sincerely held beliefs regarding the appropriate administration of the nursing home. Therefore, the Personnel Committee discussed and concluded that these failures do not constitute willful insubordination."

Should we hope that the superintendent of corrections does not develop a sincerely held belief of an "open door" policy?

Frankly, the nursing home deserves a competent administrator who completes the necessary administrator's duties. Mr. Logue's job was to administer the "county" nursing home, his sincere beliefs are secondary to his job requirements. His decision not to provide up to date information resulted in budget and staffing issues for the nursing home.

Mr. Logue did make decisions regarding expenditures on equipment regardless of what was requested by the nursing staff. In one case he determined that new chairs for the nurses stations (not requested but look good) were more important than the purchase of a new patient lift. The lifts are used to move severely disabled patients in a sling from their chair to their bed. Recently a lift broke suspending a male patient (one of our husbands) four feet in the air and a serious accident was avoided only by the quick thinking and strength of two LNAs, one who held the patient in the air while the other prevented the machine from toppling over until help came. These women could have been seriously injured along with the patient resulting in workman comp cases or legal action against the county.

Fortunate for all of us, Charlotte Flanagan, who was working out a notice and preparing to take another position elsewhere, had not yet left so she stepped up, at her own expense, to take over. Since Mr. Logue's suspension, the nursing home has run smoothly under the capable administration of Mrs. Flanagan, who has the necessary accreditation in addition to being an RN, and nearly 10 years experience working in various positions in the Belknap County Nursing Home. It was under Mrs. Flanagan's supervision and the incredible dedication of the staff, that the nursing home was able to function during the crisis created by the financial limitations imposed by the court injunction. She negotiated with full-time workers to work double shifts and permanent part-time workers who agreed to put their personal, family, and school commitments on hold to become full-time (without benefits) until the staffing issue could be resolved and their part-time positions funded. Many full-time positions remain open while the employees continue to work without a contract for the past two years.

At the recent finance committee meeting Representative Worsman questioned the additional money needed for the administrator's job, she seemed surprised that someone had been hired to fill Mrs. Flanagan's previous position. Obviously she thought that Mrs. Flanagan should do both jobs. She didn't question the fact that Mr. Logue was collecting his salary at home. She also questioned the auditor's decision to allow the application of 2014 health insurance premium refunds to avoid the default of the county's obligation to pay its portion of the employee health insurance premiums which would have resulted in court action against the county.

It is time for the Personnel Committee to back off and allow a competent nursing home administration to take charge. The Personnel Committee may find Mr. Logue credible in his excuses but they don't have to work under his poor leadership or trust their loved ones to survive his decisions. While he is paid sitting at home, Mrs. Flanagan is doing the job but for how long? Her loss would be a terrible result of their decision. Whatever message the "voters" were sending, it wasn't to continue the employment of, or to reinstate, incompetent employees. If the incoming commissioners are concerned about the cost of this mess to the county, please set Mr. Logue free to find other employment (perhaps for one of the Personnel Committee members), and get to work solving real issues.

Thea Aloes, Gilford; Stan O'Neil, Laconia

Pam Child, Gilford; Catherine Albison, Laconia

Dick Labbe, Laconia

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 10:28

Hits: 478

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