To The Daily Sun,
Election Day is Tuesday, March 11, and I ask you to join me in voting for Mike Cryans to represent District 1 on the Executive Council.
Many folks are not quite sure what the Executive Council does and what they do not have the authority to do. The Executive Council manages the affairs of the state, alongside the governor, each acting as a check on the other. The Executive Council is not part of the legislative branch -- they do not make laws.
The best executive councilors, like Ray Burton, work in a non-partisan way and do what is best for the state of New Hampshire. For six years, as a member of the Grafton County delegation, I have worked with Mike Cryans in North Haverhill, our county seat, where he serves as county commissioner — a post that he shared with Ray Burton for 16 years. When it came time to elect the chairman of the Grafton County Commission in 2009, 2011 and 2013, Ray Burton nominated and supported Mike Cryans. Mike has worked for the people of Grafton County to provide services, improve facilities at the county and do it in a fiscally responsible way.
Whether visiting residents of the nursing home, dining with employees in the county cafeteria, or braving the elements on a blustery November day touring conservation lands in Grafton County, I have found Mike to be a person who is genuinely interested in the goings-on of the county and who connects with his constituents and truly cares about them.
Ray Burton's siblings have endorsed Mike Cryans, saying in their letter of endorsement, "I have no doubt that he (Mike) will put the needs of his constituents first and come to Concord to provide full services as a public servant for the people of District 1."
Join me on March 11 and elect Mike Cryans — born and raised in Littleton and a lifetime resident of Grafton County. He will fight for the North Country and the needs of all of District 1.
Rep. Suzanne Smith
NH House of Representatives, Grafton 8
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:48
To The Daily Sun,
I've been thinking about the taxpayers being asked to fund a $4 million project for the Alton Central School, with a large chunk of this money going to centralize the administration offices.
In the past few years all we've heard about is the safety of the children, which I agree should be a priority. However, with this latest request for millions, we'd model an elementary school after a corporate business, and put all the administration offices in one end of the building?
We've spent many thousands of dollars for cameras and special keyless entries because of the high level of safety concerns for the children. Wouldn't it make sense that the administrators should have their offices at each end and in the middle of the building, to further ensure the safety of those whom they are supposed to be responsible for, the children? It would seem that by having all the offices at one end of the building, it would leave three-quarters of the school unattended by an administrator.
I think this part of the request takes money away from the children, who should be the sole focus of any spending in this economic environment.
When you consider it was the superintendent and administrators who carefully controlled any, and all participation in the renovation planning, it's interesting that the administrative offices have become a priority. Evidently, the superintendent has control over our School Board, too, because they're in agreement.
Furthermore, under this plan, we'd be paying an architect who, I feel, is responsible for the $1 million warrant article for the High School roof repairs. Apparently the School Board agrees with me, as this architect is not involved in its repair.
Lastly, my husband suggested $4 million last year to prove the lack of planning for the amount of spending the School Board always wants to incur. The amount is getting more reasonable, but here we are again, asking if their plan is a viable one.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:43
To The Daily Sun,
The Alton Town Warrant has three ill-conceived petition articles that should be rejected by the voters.
Article 42 would have the town not pay the approximate $7,000 membership fee to the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC).
Of the 30 towns in the LRPC area, many have a similar mix of lakeshore versus non lakeshore land use as does Alton. It makes sense for our Planning Board to have easy access to data from all of these towns and knowledge of what approaches they have taken to similar problems. Your elected board members are responsible for using, or not using, such input to best meet Alton's needs. Why circle the wagons and operate in a vacuum?
The LRPC also sponsors the annual Hazard Household Waste (HHW) collections for member towns. For Alton and Wolfeboro, LRPC originally helped organize our successful two town HHW facility. LRPC also inventories and does traffic counts on area roads and provides the local prioritized input to the State's 10-year transportation plan.
In 2001, as chair of the Alton Planning Board, I spoke at the Town Meeting in favor of joining the LRPC, which passed. I just can't see how withdrawing now would be good for the town.
Article 43 would eliminate the employment position of Town Planner, replacing such with contracted hiring. I personally experienced periods on the Alton Planning Board with contracted planner support. Some were good, some less so. All were expensive, and their stays in the position limited in duration. Most never got to know the town and their approach to applications was never consistent from one contracted planner to the next. This makes life difficult both for applicants and board members. The Planning Board members are your elected officials, we should leave it to them to determine how best to meet their needs.
Article 44 would eliminate the employment position of Town Assessor, also replacing such with contracted hiring. I was a member of the Alton Board of Selectmen in 2004 when Tom Sargent was hired as full-time Town Assessor. Prior to that a revolving door of contracted "assessing agents" continually came and went, and they were expensive. None stayed long enough to get to know the town. None was able to get ahead enough to deal with town-wide imbalances. This often resulted in sudden revaluation changes and the ensuing long lines of irate taxpayers. Tom has gotten to know the town well and has stabilized the process with small annual changes based on prior-year sales. He also introduced on-line tax cards in Alton which vastly cut the office administration load.
I personally worked with Tom for several years when I was an Alton selectman, and I can vouch for his knowledge and integrity. Paying more money to return to the revolving door of expensive contract hires would be insane.
All three of these petition articles are bad deals for Alton and should be voted down.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:28
To The Daily Sun,
The Alton Teachers' Association is a part of the community that values public schools and learning, despite the many obstacles to successful education. Some of these obstacles include a gridlocked political arena, perpetually constrained time, and the challenges of a global economy.
Another important challenge is the aging infrastructure of the Alton Central School campus. The Alton School Board has been relentless in its attempts to begin needed upgrades. The town needs to come together and support the renovation warrant article so we don't, for instance, have to send the students home again for fear of the roof collapsing due to some snow as we did a few years back. It is also disruptive (at best) to have to move classes around the building when sewage-type odors are released into the already-overcrowded building's atmosphere. These are but a few examples of the unpleasant – possibly dangerous – events over the last several years directly related to the aging physical plant.
Time and again, a majority of the voting citizenry has delayed fixing this problem. And in spite of it, the educators of SAU 72 have continued to work with professionalism and integrity. We ask voters to support the proposed renovation.
We also ask voters to approve the new, two-year agreement for teachers, as the current one expires in June. It is supported by both Alton's Budget Committee and School Board. It asserts positive and predictable working conditions while being fair to both Alton faculty and citizenry. The Alton Teachers' Association encourages all voters to participate on March 11. We ask for the community's support so we may surmount together the many obstacles to successful education.
Richard Brown, President
Alton Teachers' Association
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:24
To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to Gilmanton voters:
Please vote "yes" on Article 30 which protects our current level of Fire Department services. Public safety matters. This warrant article is needed to stop the attacks by the selectmen on our Fire Department. We encourage you to send a strong message to keep our current mix of full- and part-time Fire Department staffing and not eliminate one of our full-time positions.
Here is what has happened. One selectman thinks he can run our Fire Department better than the fire chief. He has been relentless in attacking our chief about department scheduling. There have been no complaints about the chief's performance or the Fire Department.
We are fortunate to have a well run department. Even the selectmen said we have a good fire chief and department. Why do they want to micromanage our Fire Department when they don't have the training to do so?
How do we know their latest position is not sincere but an attempt to micromanage? On Jan. 3, behind closed doors, they passed a policy directing the fire chief to stop using part-time staff on Sundays. They put their recommended budget to bed and did not recommend cutting a full-time position to two part-time positions. A warrant article was submitted by the voters to support current staffing. In reaction to the petitioned warrant article, the selectmen all of a sudden do not have a problem with "part-timers" filling even more shifts, since they are now proposing to eliminate one full-time position.
The voters in 2004 added a full-time position. Let's not turn back the clock a decade on our Fire Department services. This is not an increase in spending, but level-funding.
Please protect public safety by voting "yes" on Warrant Article 30.
Bill & Terri Donovan
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:22