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Governor Maggie Hassan - Need temporary halt to accepting Syrian refugees

As the Governor of New Hampshire, my first and foremost responsibility is to protect the safety and security of our citizens.

In the wake of the horrific acts of terror in Paris, state emergency management officials and I have worked with federal Homeland Security, the FBI and local police departments to exercise extra vigilance, and I will continue to ensure that the state is taking necessary precautions to protect the safety of Granite Staters.

These heinous attacks were carried out on the streets of Paris, but the terrorists who committed these cowardly acts also targeted each of us — and the values we hold most dear — with threats of their savage violence.

As we see the images of both heart-breaking pain and incredible resilience in France, we know that these heinous attacks will only strengthen our collective resolve to defeat ISIS and rid the world of violent extremism, wherever it may be.

Protecting the safety and security of our people is the highest responsibility of government, and it's clear that we must do more to defeat ISIS.

Given that ISIS has proven that it can expand its violence beyond the territory of the Middle East, it is prudent to take a step back and make sure that every possible action is being taken to protect American citizens here at home.

That is why I have called for the federal government to temporarily halt acceptance of refugees from Syria until intelligence and defense officials can assure that the process for vetting all refugees is as strong as possible to ensure public safety.

This should be a temporary measure. The federal government can and must work in a timely fashion to conduct a thorough re-evaluation of every step in the screening process, including ensuring proper resources for departments responsible for carrying out these screenings.

When it comes to refugee resettlement, the federal government also needs to improve its coordination with state homeland security officials and local public safety officials. As governor, I know firsthand that the federal government does not do enough to communicate with local public safety officials about who is being resettled, what their backgrounds are, and how they have been screened – and that needs to change.

The Paris attacks also reinforce that it is not enough to simply slow the ISIS's progress or contain their territorial gains. We need to use every tool at our disposal, short of ongoing combat ground troops at this time, to defeat these terrorists.

To eliminate ISIS:

— We must intensify our efforts to destroy ISIS's command and control structure through both air strikes and targeted Special Operations raids where necessary.
— We must increase our coordination and support for moderate forces like the Kurdish fighters who have shown promising capability on the battlefield.
— We must strengthen both our intelligence capabilities and our ability to cut off ISIS's funding mechanisms by targeting its lucrative oil business and smuggling activities.
— And we must increase pressure on Russia and the rest of the international community to reach a political solution in Syria that takes into account who will fill the void that will be left after Assad.

And it also means that Congress should finally take up, debate, and pass a strong Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), and be honest with the American people about the fact that we are at war with ISIS. There is simply no excuse for Congress failing to do its constitutional duty, especially in the face of a threat as serious and evil as ISIS. Congress needs to hold hearings with military leadership on the necessary terms of a new AUMF, and then we need to be clear with the American people about what it will take to eliminate ISIS.

To truly defeat ISIS, we must also ensure that we do not give in to the fear these terrorists are trying to sow. We cannot allow them to undermine the fundamental values that make America the greatest country on earth.

We are a welcoming nation of immigrants, and we must always continue to be. Throughout our history, the United States has been an extraordinary force for good in the world, and as we work to protect our country and our allies, we cannot lose sight of the inclusive values of our founders or of our commitment to addressing humanitarian crises.

Part of the meaning of "Live Free or Die" and of our American values is a recognition that true freedom does not come without risk.

We cannot demonize an entire people or forever close our borders. We must recognize that if we don't remain a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse nation, then we will cease to be America. It's in the interests of our nation — both based on our values and our national security — to aid the vulnerable people, including women and children, who are fleeing from the atrocities and terror of ISIS.

After we re-evaluate and strengthen our security measures, we must engage in the process of addressing this humanitarian crisis.

We can wipe out ISIS and the radical ideology that feeds it. We can strengthen our security procedures to ensure the safety of our people while maintaining the values that make us strong.

And we can demonstrate to all who seek to do us harm that they can never defeat the resiliency and spirit that defines New Hampshire and the United States of America.

(Democrat Maggie Hassan is serving her second term as governor of New Hampshire.)

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So many people & groups to thank for success of Spelling Bee

To The Daily Sun,

We, at Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation, are so grateful to everyone who participated in our 15th annual Community Spelling Bee. There are so many people and groups to thank.

The Laconia High School Chorus, led by Debbie Gibson, opened the event with an uplifting rendition of the National Anthem. Master of Ceremony, Pat Kelly; Enunciators, Rhetta Colon and Rick Crockford; Judges, Marcia Hayward and Marilyn Lynch each added a special flair to the bee.

The Laconia High School administration and facility crew provided us with all the support to make the venue inviting and workable. Photographer, Steve Loughlin, Tim Cox from Lakes Region Public Access TV (courtesy of station manager, Grace McNamara); The Citizen of Laconia, the Laconia Daily Sun and the Gilford Steamer, all worked to provide coverage for the event.

A big thank you also goes to all who attended the event to cheer on the spellers and purchased 50-50 raffle tickets. We were able to raise over $8,300 this year to benefit our Friends of the Foundation Operating Fund, which helps us cover the expenses associated with administering our scholarship program.

The Spelling Bee would be nothing of course without our teams of intrepid spellers. We would like to recognize a few of these teams for special achievements:

Congratulations to the Winning Spelling Team: LHS Class of 1977! Team members Judy Ball, Ruth McLaughlin and Sherry Weeks were able to score a "hat trick" for their team, bringing home the trophy for the 3rd time, a win not only for the team, but for their long time sponsor the Belknap Landscape Company Inc.

Each year prizes are also awarded for best costumes. The costume winners for the student teams were: First place – the Holy Trinity Social Butterflies (Piper Dion, Emily LeClaire, Kaylee Smith) sponsored by Dana S. Beane and Co, second place – GHS Interact Teenage Mutant Ninja Spellers (Jillian Barton, Clara Jude, Sienna Remick) sponsored by Gilford Rotary Club, third place – LHS Noteworthy Nerds (Lizzie Davis, Emily Huckins, Colleen O'Brien) sponsored by Boulia-Gorrell Lumber Co. and fourth place – GHS Super Spellers (Brendan Bergman, Olivia Harris, Connor McKenna) sponsored by Thom Francoeur-Allstate Insurance.

The costume winners for the adult teams were: First place – LHS Humanities Bee Witched Teachers (Ashley Connolly, Nate Kaplan, Natasha Reiner) sponsored by Bank of New Hampshire.

In addition to the above mentioned teams, the rest of the field included: the Hip-Bees (Lisa Bianco, Jackie Gogolen, Karen Soucy) sponsored by Bianco Child & Family Services; the GHS Word Herd (Maya Rabuck, Nick Sasseville, Shane Sharps) sponsored by Gregg and Sandra Caufield; LHS A "chording" to Jazz (Taylor Gagne, Mariah Hawkins Gladdy Spitz) sponsored by Granite State Credit Union; Third Time's a Charm (Finnian Mousseau, Noah Mousseau, Sullivan Mousseau) sponsored by Mary B. Orton; LHS All About that Bass (Josh Follansbee, Marcus Hubbard, Tim Maczko) sponsored by F. Andre Paquette in honor of Margaret Rose Paquette.

Also: GHS M&M's (Lauren Camella, Allie Nault, Marion Pacheco) sponsored the DeCamp Team at Morgan Stanley; Laconia Librarians (Randy Brough, Jamie Dalton, Natalie Moser) sponsored by Bob Merwin-State Farm Insurance; GHS Saved by the Spell (Nate Boutwell, Will Crowell, Shae Therrien) sponsored by Civil Takeoffs, LLC; LHS Belle Tones (Amanda Brunt, Mika Haddock, Gabby Melvin) sponsored by Meredith Village Savings Bank; Martin, Lord & Osman Team (Joe Driscoll, Kristin Fields, Candace Steenebeke) sponsored by Martin, Lord & Osman, P.A.; The Three Wise Women (Brenda Bouton, Martha Clement, Alida Millham) sponsored by the Congregational Church of Laconia; LHS Key Club (Abby Bailey, Josh Chandler, Bryden Wright) sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Laconia.

Also: BHS Spelling Three (Veronica Harris, Carol Lipshultz, Asia Merrill) sponsored by Marcia Hayward; the LHS Pica Print Proof Readers (Steve Bouffard, Cameron Gifford, Garret Shore) sponsored by Steve Hodgdon LHS Class of 1955; Gilford Rotary Team (Nancy Carsen, Tom Lacy, Chris Ray) sponsored by Gilford Rotary Club; LHS NHS Dipthong Scholars (Natalie Compton, Jackson Lawrence, Kayla Menard) sponsored by Dana S. Beane & Co. PC; Huot Careers in Education (Miranda Bushnell, Robin Friend, Taylor Sullivan) sponsored by Thom Francoeur-Allstate Insurance.

We have been very fortunate over the years to have a handful of corporate sponsors without whom the financial success of this event would not be possible. We would like to recognize these very generous donors: Belknap Landscape Company Inc., Meredith Village Savings Bank, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and F. André Paquette in Honor of Margaret Rose Paquette.

In addition to our Corporate and Team sponsors, we give thanks to the following donors who sponsored ads in our program or donated gifts-in-kind:

Advanced Orthopaedic Specialists, All My Life Jewelers, Janet D. Allison, American Eyecare, Applebee's, Beane Conference Center, Belknap County Sportsmen's Assn., Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild, Bianco Child & Family Services, Judy Bissonnette, Boulia-Gorrell Lumber Company, George E. and Barbara H. Brixner III, Michael & Janet Brough, Gloyd & Janet Calley, Capitol Center for the Arts, CBH Landscape Contractors, The Common Man, Contigiani's Catering Service, Corporate Images, Denoncourt, Waldron & Sullivan CPA, East Coast Welding, Edgewater Academy of Dance, The Ellis Family, Thom Francoeur - Allstate Insurance, Fratello's Ristorante Italiano, Funspot.

Also:, Claire Giguere, Gilford Hannaford, Granite State Credit Union, Florence Guilmett, The Hair Factory, Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant, Hermit Woods Winery, HRO Plus, Hither Creek Press, Irwin Automotive Group, Kiwanis Club of Laconia, Laconia Lodge of Elks, Laconia Police Department, Lakes Region Builders & Remodelers Assn., Lakes Region Community College, Lakes Region Floral Studio, Laurent Overhead Door Systems, Paulette and Steve Loughlin, Malone, Dirubbo & Company, PC, Market Basket, Martin, Lord & Osman, PA, Atty. Scott D. McGuffin, Melcher & Prescott Insurance, NAPA Auto & Truck Parts, New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Ninety-Nine Restaurant.

Also: Normandin, Cheney & O'Neil, PLLC, O'dus LLC, Mary B. Orton, Patrick's Pub & Eatery, Pike Industries, Inc., Pizza Hut, Katherine Reardon, ReFresh Salon, Salome Family, Salon Amara, Shaw's Supermarket Gilford, Squam Lakes Science Center, Stafford Oil Company, Inc., Joni Stover, Tanger Outlet Center, Taylor Community, T-Bones, Tilton Trailer Rental, Travel Health of NH, Uno Chicago Grill, VISTA ShurFine Supermarket, Water Street Café, Wedbush Securities, John and Patricia Weeks, Whittemore Florist & Greenhouse, and Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Crematorium.

If anyone would like a copy of our 2015 Bee program, please contact us at 527-3533 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We also wish to remind co

llege-bound students that our 2016 scholarship applications will be available by mid-January on our website: www.lrscholarship.org and also at the guidance department of our local high schools. The deadline is April 1, 2016. 

Paulette Loughlin, President

Joan Cormier, Executive Director

Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation

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