To The Daily Sun,
This past June. Strafford County Superior Court Judge John Lewis ruled that the state's education tax credit program could not provide scholarships to students to attend religious schools, calling that portion of the program unconstitutional. I would like to challenge every parent who would like to send their child to a Christian school, every legislator, every judge, every person who is concerned about liberty, and applying our state constitution appropriately to reflect both its spirit and its letter to take a closer look at this case. The state should appeal this case to the N.H. Supreme court, and the ruling should be overturned.
Judge Lewis bases his decision on what is called the Blaine Amendment to Article 83 of our state Constitution. Article 83, established in 1783, is the one that encourages the state to cherish private and public education. The "Blaine" Amendment to this article, passed in 1877 says: "nevertheless, that no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination." Quoting professor Charles Clark Judge Lewis says, "the amendments purpose was simply the protection of the public school system and prevention of diversion of funds away from it." and again "that a discernible major purpose of the No-Aid Clause, when enacted, was to promote and sustain public schools, which, were, over time losing their protestant orientation."
Couched in this vacuum of historical information, the question that needs to be answered is: is Judge Lewis' ruling based on merely constitutional grounds or is there some other bias shaping his decision?
The Blaine Amendment, an amendment that failed to pass as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution was taken to the states in various forms to amend various state constitutions. Though there was an element pushing for the purpose quoted by Judge Lewis above, to pass this amendment in N.H. it was necessary to frame the debate for it, in a manor in which the N.H. voters perceived that what they were protecting was what they considered to be the "nonsectarian" protestant nature of public education in N.H. They were presented that the maintaining of the protestant nature of education, which they believed was essential to maintaining a free society — this view had been prevalent since the founding of our republic. You can see its influence in Article VI of our state Constitution. George Washington exhorted the grandparents of these post Civil War N.H. residents on the importance of this type of education for our republic, in his farewell address, and the people of N.H. where still practicing and protecting it some 90 years latter — was being threatened by the growing Catholic community's desire to have their schools receive public funding. The amendment would not have passed in N.H. unless it was understood in this way. In their view the protestant form of education that was the moral essence of their schools was "nonsectarian". That a judge should now make a ruling that strains to find a constitutional imperative to deny the ideological, philosophical and spiritual descendants of these N.H. voters — for public education in N.H. has come to be anything but protestant and espouses atheistic values at its core — from receiving aid, provided freely to them by donating companies, to enable them to exercise their RIGHT OF CONSCIENCE, as magnified in our state constitution, is sinister indeed.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:49
To The Daily Sun,
What a beautiful day! Old Home Day has always been special for us, though for the last four years we were not able to attend because of "Cravings". Our crew really came through for us this year allowing us to be in the parade with Connie and Rick Moses and their horses "Gilford" and "Glendale". What a wonderful treat, thank you!
In the afternoon I was able to run the show at the Woodsman Competition. Last year I came up with the concept, worked with Belknap Landscaping company, set it all up and could not do the show. Folks enjoyed it enough that they requested it to be a yearly thing. The people that I talked to this year said "the event made a great addition to Old Home Day". We are already working on next year to make it bigger and better. I would like to thank the businesses that helped this year and we will be looking for sponsors for next year also. No matter when I walk into the following businesses, the owners are always ready to help out. It's important that we let them know we all appreciate them. The following gave gift certificates for prizes for the competitors: Ellacoya Barn & Grill, Lyon's Den, Patrick's Pub, Sawyer's Dairy Bar, Junior's Crush House, Fireside Inn and Kitchen Cravings.
I have to thank Andy Howe and crew from Beans & Greens for delivering the hay bales we borrowed for the Birling Pond. Also, Fay's Boatyard for the shrink wrap, Gilford Fire and Rescue for all the water (only one fill this year). For two years they have done this and the 20-feet around pond is a great success which was enjoyed by all ages this year. Thanks to Gator Signs for the letters and numbers to change the signs they made last year. Gilford True Value and Stihl Saws returned with the Champion of the Day prizes, a new Stihl chain saw, chaps and helmet. They also supplied the matched saws for the saw cut, yours truly taking a 3rd place. Thanks to Polly Rouhan and the great kids from Gilford High School Environmental Club for helping keep score, pulling fence and other tasks. Several of the boys competed and won some prizes. We wanted this to be a "local" event and this year a lot of locals entered in.
Thanks again to A.J., Woodsman Team Coach from UNH, giving his time and equipment is invaluable. We all really enjoyed the motors on display by Ian Davis & Sons of Meredith and others from the Maine Antique Power Association. Jim Colby, Neal Flaherty, Fay's Boat Yard brought great old cars, boats and motors. Thanks to Geoff Ruggles again for being records keeper. Dee Chitty, Jim and Sheldon (GPW) for help with fence (up and down), to the Tree Care Industry Association and Gilford Rotary for their support. Thanks to Gilford P.D. for chasing our climbing pole through town. Dale Squires, I can't say enough about him and Hayden (owner of Belknap Landscaping company) for allowing Dale to promote this event. He worked all year to keep this event alive and to make if a better event. Belknap again milled all the wood to specks, delivered it all, put up the climbing pole, helped with everything and were wonderful competitors. Thank you all so much. Hopefully I did not miss anyone. With all the excitement this year, next year looks to be an even better event with food, porta-potties and many more interesting things to see or do.
In partnership with Belknap Landscaping
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:45
To The Daily Sun,
I was absolutely SHOCKED by the pithy letter written by Laconia House Representative David O. Huot of Laconia concerning the recent death of a real patriot — former House Representative Bob Kingsbury.
Mr. Huot said, "Although some of us did not think it wise that a person with his views should serve in public office ...."
WHAT? Tell me Mr. Huot, what are the views one must possess to serve in public office in the kingdom you would control?
Your comment is outrageous. It's disgusting. It's frightful. It's soaked and steeped in control.
Let me understand your position, and correct me if I'm wrong. You feel the views of certain people in the community should never be spoken from up on the dais.
We live in the USA, Mr. Huot, not in the People's Republic of Huotland. Mr. Kingsbury was fulfilling his God-given right of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a document that you seem to feel is just a set of recommendations.
I've got one last question for you Mr. Huot. Are you related to George Orwell by any chance? Your comment about the Honorable Mr. Kingsbury convinces me you'd fit right in wallowing in the barnyard with a few of the animals in one of his books, the ones that feel they're more equal than other animals.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:40
To The Daily Sun,
Following a forum on workforce housing on Sept. 18, hosted by the Alton Business Association, concerned citizens will have a chance to hear another side of the issue on Sept. 25th with a second forum, also hosted by the Alton Business Association. Both forums are open to the public and begin at 6 p.m. at
the Gilman Museum in Alton.
Many citizens are understandably concerned and confused by terms like "Sustainable Communities Initiatives," "Granite State Future," "Fair Share Housing" and others that have become buzz words for unwelcome changes in towns all across the country. Learn what these terms mean, how workforce housing ties into the plan and how the federal government, using regional planning commissions with unelected officials is reshaping our towns, undermining our property rights and redefining how New Hampshire residents will live and work.
From Main Street to rural areas, these changes will affect everyone.
Sept. 25th's forum will feature several speakers. Ken Eyring will discuss the negative impacts of workforce housing, the programs that promote it, and the hidden costs to our communities. Mr. Eyring will explain how it is tied into other government programs that ultimately diminish property values and local control of planning and zoning.
State Rep. and Alton resident Jane Cormier will discuss the Lakes Region Planning Commission.
Ric Perreault, business owner and property owner in both Alton and Rochester, will discuss the impact of workforce housing in Rochester. Mrs. William French, journalist and resident of Alton and Littleton will briefly discuss workforce housing's impact on the town of Littleton. A question and answer period will follow.
Get involved, get informed, be there Sept. 25 and learn what can be done at the local level to restore and preserve our property rights under the U.S. and state constitutions. We hope our planning and zoning board members along with our town selectmen make the effort to attend.
Phil & Chris Wittmann
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:37
To The Daily Sun,
We have ushered in September, a month of traditional sights and sounds that capture both our attention and our interest. It is also a month of thought-provoking contrasts: saying goodbyes yet bidding hellos, wishing our sons and daughters success in college yet experiencing the loneliness of empty nests, assessing beautifully completed work but seeing many unfinished chores, vowing a more productive day's work yet realizing the wisdom of slowing our pace, hailing newly constructed buildings but lamenting the closings of many others, anticipating prudent solutions to national crises yet recognizing the folly of hastily made decisions.
For some of us, September is a month of quiet reflection — a time to evaluate former commitments and perhaps to start new ones, an opportune time to express feelings that may be long overdue. Personally I see it as my time to do just that.
As a former member of the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund committee, I remain very proud of the work that this Fund has accomplished for many, many years. Dating back to the impressive leadership of such dedicated individuals as Jan Adams and Jane Kiah (both deceased) and the stoic guidance of June Plummer, Pauline Fournier, and the Meredith Public Health staff, the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund has been a beacon of hope and promise to Meredith and Center Harbor, the two communities it serves at Christmastime.
My personal contacts with the Fund have been both pleasant and rewarding. I have thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and the closeness of these individuals and groups who have always answered the Fund's clarion call to adopt families at the Christmas Seasons: Mr. and Mrs. Paul Buck, Mr. and Mrs. David Detscher, Elan Publishing Company personnel, Mr. and Mrs. David Kuether, the Hart family, Mr. and Mrs. David Reid, Mr. and Mrs. John Hanaway, the Inter-Lakes High School National Honor Society members and their advisors, and the Inter-Lakes High School Student Council members and their advisors. For several years I received complete support from the Inter-Lakes Junior High School students and their teachers. Their rather arduous task was to donate and/or to purchase appealing and cost-effective stocking stuffers. Under the initial guidance of Mrs. Trudy Powers and Mrs. Nancy Watt, and later from the combined efforts of Mrs. Missy Manville and Mrs. Wendy Taylor, the annual 'assignment' was always completed
with an impressive competitive excitement. With fondness and with sincere gratitude, I acknowledge the willing hands and the compassionate hearts of all these many individuals and groups. Their sense of purpose and commitment, as well as their good-natured joy of remembering others, remain outstandingly memorable. I have seen the generous outpouring of support from our many, many businesses, civic organizations, individuals, church members, school children, teachers and parents, Scouts, police departments and special Lakes Region groups. They, too, have invested their ALL in the
Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund, making generous monetary contributions and filling children's stockings and decorating family trees with just the grandest array of Christmas toys and clothing. To all of these very kind people, I extend heartfelt appreciation. So selfless, they always went those extra miles to fulfill the joyful aspirations of others.
Even though we are in the early days of September, we will soon hear from the Inter- Lakes Christmas Fund committee. Their planning starts early. Through media coverage, we will read about their structure and strategy, any new plans they are advocating, established dates for parent/guardian input, as well as cordial invitations for you readers to become active participants in what is truly a grand organization.
To present members of the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund committee, I extend every best wish for your continued success. You nurture your Fund's strong mission; you dedicate yourselves to your work; and through the collaborative efforts of your many co-workers, you enthusiastically welcome the fruition of your annual heartwarming and phenomenal
Christmas Day project — an amazing project that brings holiday joy and cheer to both children and to senior citizens.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:33