To The Daily Sun,
The winter holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family, friends and co-workers. Holiday parties are often a highlight of the season, but they also give young people more opportunities to misuse drugs and alcohol. This is a concern, and unfortunately the holiday season can be a time of risk for young people. On an average December day, more than 11,000 young people, aged 12 to 17, will use alcohol for the first time. Some of these young adults will not make it to the New Year, as nearly 400 young people under age 21 die from alcohol-related causes every month.
The holiday season is often a blur of family gatherings and celebrations, and more often than not, alcohol is present. The fridge and the liquor cabinets are stocked, parents are distracted by relatives and dinner preparations, and older siblings or college-age friends are around. The result is an increase in drug- and alcohol-related tragedies. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), at least 50 percent of all deadly car crashes that take place during the holiday season involve alcohol. Creating a safe environment and encouraging healthy behaviors saves lives.
The widespread availability of alcohol at holiday parties gives our teens and pre-teens many opportunities to sneak alcohol when no one is looking, or convince a relative to let them enjoy "just one" alcoholic beverage. And some parents may be more inclined to let their teenagers have an alcoholic drink to share in a family toast or otherwise share in "the holiday spirits." On a local level, 47.8 percent Franklin Middle School students who ever had a drink of alcohol say they obtained it by having someone give it to them.
Where's the harm in that? Let's take a look.
• The younger a child is when he/she starts to drink, the higher the chances of having alcohol-related problems later in life.
• Alcohol use by teens affects still-developing cognitive abilities and impairs memory and learning.
• Teens who drink are more likely to commit or be the victim of violence (including sexual assault) and to experience stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
There are some simple things that you can do to lessen the exposure of your children to holiday substance abuse. Consider these holiday celebration tips:
• At your holiday gatherings, offer plenty of non-alcoholic foods, drinks and activities.
• Model responsible behavior by making sure that guests who have been drinking do not drive.
• Let your child know what to expect. Tell your child that adults may be drinking during the holidays, but under no circumstances is a child allowed to drink alcohol.
• To lower the risk of alcohol poisoning, be sure to throw out partially empty alcoholic drinks. Children love to imitate adults, and if they have access to leftover drinks they may be tempted to taste the contents. Children are much more sensitive to alcohol than adults.
Alcohol is found in beer, wine and distilled liquor, such as vodka, whiskey, rum or bourbon. It is also in perfumes, aftershave lotions, and mouthwashes. Did you know that vanilla and almond extracts also have high alcohol content? Make sure to keep all of these products out of the reach of children.
• Parents, grandparents and babysitters should also be extra cautious during the holidays. Visitors often leave medicines on a nightstand or in the bathroom, making them easily accessible to children. Medications given to seniors often do not have child-resistant closures, allowing children to open them with very little difficulty. Also, purses of visitors may contain medicines and other potentially dangerous items. Remember that the homes of friends and relatives may not be poison-proof, particularly if children do not live there.
Each year, about 4,700 people die as a result of underage drinking. Data from a national survey of high school students shows that teens who receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely unacceptable are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages. It is crucial for parents to have ongoing, intentional conversations with their teens — talking honestly about alcohol and drug misuse can have a real impact.
We all want the best for our families, so why not create some substance-free holiday traditions for your family? It's a great way to show your child that you can have fun during the holidays without alcohol or drugs. For tips and tools to help start the conversation about drug and alcohol misuse with your teen, click on the link for the Franklin Mayor's Drug Task Force at www.franklinnh.org.
Wishing you a safe and wonderful holiday season.
Franklin Mayor's Drug Task Force
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 10:12
To The Daily Sun,
This letter will serve as an update on the attempt to save the Gale School in Belmont.
Just when it seemed we had hit yet another wall that stopped us dead, and as the Shaker School Board is taking bids on the demolition of the building, a gentleman (who wishes to remain anonymous at this time) contacted us with an extremely generous offer. He has offered to donate all the site-work preparation when/if another location is found for the school. He is also spearheading an attempt to find donations of necessary gravel, sand etc. that will be needed, as well as possible concrete that will be needed for the foundation.
To be honest, I had given up hope that this perfectly sound, historic Belmont icon might be saved. The town has been adamant that they do not want another building that will need to be retrofitted and restored. The Shaker School District views the building as "in the way" and not important to them. This put our little group between a rock and a hard place when attempting to acquire possible grants and donations. This "orphan" had no place to go, nor did it have any value to the Town or the School District.
This recent development has revived our hope, that someone would step up and donate such an important and costly construction step, as well as try to locate others who might also want to take part in such a worthy goal is nothing short of phenomenal.
The Mill was saved and now serves as a centerpiece to the recent revitalization project in the Village. Belmont has few historical buildings left. The Gale School was also an important part of our town's history, and provided the education of many Belmont students over the years. It is our hope that this is the start of its preservation. It will be a tragic waste if it succumbs to the wrecking ball.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 10:09
To The Daily Sun,
Here I sit at my computer just six days before Christmas and I find myself compelled to write a letter. Why, you ask? Because I can.
That is something we need to teach Kim Jong-un. He and his ancestors have stopped their citizens from speaking out but they cannot do that to us. We have a Constitution adopted more than 225 years ago for which American men and women have fought and died to uphold ever since.
Sony, do not let a dictator dictate to you and us, the viewing public, what we will or will not see and hear. Please do not fall for their scare tactics. Let us Americans decide what we want to do.
Remember the following poem written by a prominent Protestant pastor who became an outspoken foe of Adolf Hitler. He himself spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me."
I wish every person living in America a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy, healthy, New Year.
Let's go to the movies.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:57
To The Daily Sun,
Each day, it's more murder, rape, lies and hurt. The next the same as the last, more threats and dug-up dirt.
If we heard the news and live as the world does live, we may become angry, downhearted, less willing to give.
A portion of our blessings, to others in need. But, we should share, even our faith, plant a seed.
The Bible says, "We must walk by faith, not by sight," Humble ourselves, admit we are weak, and look to God's might.
Often we put up a false front and a fake smile. But we should believe Jesus' virgin birth, without guile.
Mary and Joseph were just ordinary folks. Both trusting God, not wanting to be the brunt of jokes.
Obediently raising up Messiah for God. Joseph working with wood, Mary a mother and wife, not so odd.
Well, I'm just a simple man, looking to Jesus for hope. And this Christmas, instead of just trying to cope,
I'll ask the Lord to fill me with joy and continue on as I must, But look to Jesus as author and finisher of life, in God I'll trust.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:54
To The Daily Sun,
SAU 2 is made up of Ashland, Center Harbor, Sandwich and Meredith. Ashland is a separate school board from Inter-Lakes. For towns to get into the SAU they have to petition the SAU, and all towns have to accept them, then the state has to approve the new configuration. To get out of the SAU you have to meet the requirement of RSA 194.C:2 and the state has to approve. Ashland's share under the formula is that they pay 9.6 percent of the revenue for 13.3 percent of the students which means they pay about 27 percent per student less than Inter-Lakes' towns.
To get into the school district you must petition and be accepted. To exit, a warrant article must pass in each town by two-thirds vote and the state must approve. The applicable RSA is 195:25. The towns in the Inter-Lakes district break down by number of students, Meredith 78.5 percent, Center Harbor 9.9 percent, Sandwich 11.6 percent; by revenue contributed, Meredith 68.8 percent, Center Harbor 14.8 percent and Sandwich 16.3 percent.
On Monday, Dec. 8, I went to a SAU 2 public hearing at the Humiston Building in Meredith. All the elected School Board representatives were present, Mary Ellen Ormond Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Special Education, etc. Lisa Merrill was chairperson. Ms. Merrill is a Meredith School Board representative. The budget description of the account was 2320 Executive General SAU. The hearing was about the proposed budget for 2015-16.
Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond thanked the board for increasing the salaries in accordance with the industry standard and other SAU boards. I like to know what the other board levels are? The meeting was quick with little input on the line items cost and how the dollar amount was derived, especially the line items with increases. The increase in the SAU budget is $12,404 for 2015-2016. 20014 being $880,500, and 2015-2016 =$892,904. Net increase of 1.5 percent.
Superintendent Ormand ($117,000) was permitted to disperse her $3,500 raise to individuals she deemed special because of their effort, which was evidently discussed in non-public, because the board went into non-public session and came out to vote on an amended budget, supposedly with the same bottom line. The public in attendance thought the non-public discussion dealt with upcoming benefit costs, but upon voting, the board kept the benefit costs as they appear in the budget and now the merit pool for SAU employees will evidently be augmented by the $3,500 superintendent's raise. Is this really legal? What is that all about?
What are the Medicaid services? Where do the federal funds go — $225,000? What are the indirect costs? I have never seen a budget hearing where discussion was limited on the budget line items. Inside the discussion there was no mention about the citizens (middle class, workers, and retired) and their finances in this troubled economy, but the budget increases to $892,904. The townsfolk have no say about the increases, but are forced to fund them. Is this logical? Something needs to change!
At the end of the meeting, when dates were set to begin budget talks for each School Board, I was astounded to hear that the meetings for the Inter-Lakes Board would start at 5 p.m., when the elected school board members who actually have jobs announced that they could not come until 6. Why not change the time to 6 p.m. when everyone can participate? Every school board member should be present. They do volunteer and are elected representatives.
The video can be found and watched at GraniteGrok.com
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:49