To The Daily Sun,
A library is one of the cornerstones of a healthy community, together with schools and churches. Those in the Gilmanton community that are familiar with the resources and programs that the Year-Round Library provides are more than likely to say that our library is important. It reflects the diversity, character and the needs of our wonderful town, while at the same time building community and supporting local culture in exciting ways.
Most know where the library is located, but unfortunately, some have formed negative attitudes toward the library based on rumor and "he said" "she said" conversations. Because of these ongoing misunderstandings, these individuals are unfamiliar with all the services the library offers. The people I've talked to, representing both sides of the Year-Round Library issue, who have visited and may have used the library, say they have had a positive experience and observed that it was "a welcoming, friendly place," a "nice, pleasant space to be." People will often times go to the library looking mainly for information, but they will find each other there.
Although the Year-Round Library collects a percentage of its operating revenue from fundraising activities, private sources, and grants, these revenue streams can never fully support the many functions the library performs. I would ask the budget committee, selectmen, and most importantly the voters of Gilmanton, to please make a commitment to our library and to the many services it provides for all.
Our Year-Round Library communicates to the public our underlying values: that strong community connections, information, education, and shared community space matter.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 10:17
To The Daily Sun,
It's almost time to go to the polls and vote again and I'm wondering if we will really be getting what we vote for this time. Remember last year a "Yes" on the 18 million dollar Alton Central School bond would only cost 34 cents per 100,000 dollars in property valuation? That was to be achieved by factoring in the high school bond being paid off. (The bond payment was about a million dollars a year in taxation).
A "No" vote, which is what happened, should've produced a .68 cents per 100,000 dollars of valuation in tax relief on our last tax bill. What happened to that money? The average property owner like myself, should've had their tax bill reduced by $200 or more with this savings.
Speaking of the high school, there will be a request for a bond this year for 1 million dollars to fix yet another problem with the building. It seems our "50 year roof" only lasted 10 years. Sounds like another engineering problem to me, but knowing the history of decision making by our school boards, they will again make the taxpayers pay to fix it and give the engineering company a bonus for overseeing the fixing. That's what happened with some of the other problems in the past 10 years.
With that in mind, let's look at ACS. The first proposal for fixing the problems was for 21 million dollars. One year later it was 18 million dollars and now the request is down to 4 million dollars. Maybe one more "No" vote and we can get it down to 2 million or maybe we could trim the budget and we could save enough to offset the cost of a bond for ACS. Of course they'd actually have to have a real plan of action to get my vote. Do we really need one staff per five students and two superintendents and an engineering firm on retainer? Some members of our community say I'm anti-education, but that is not so. When I educated my children I paid extra for a private school education for them, which by the way, cost less than what it cost me per student to support our public school, but I digress. My point is, I think this school board has an addiction to money and no matter how much they get, it's never enough, which brings me back to my question, where did that million dollars in tax relief go?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 09:54
To The Daily Sun,
I wrote this six months ago, not knowing if I should send it, but now seems to be the time.
It is time to look at some alarming facts and to understand the underlying threat to our way of life but remembering that it is NEVER too late to do something to change course.
While the center of this piece may reference seniors, it is not a piece just for seniors. It is used to show what is happening on this one level and how it is also spreading to all levels of society. Many of you are getting there soon. It is also for the unemployed and underemployed, and families struggling to survive.
I recently heard a supposed pundit declare on national TV that the "greatest generation" was a load of crap and they should come out of the 50s and get with the program. Times have changed he charged. No kidding! Maybe everyone should go back to those times when values and morals still prevailed. The new way of doing business doesn't seem to be working out too well.
Today's seniors grew up in a time when the words Republican and Democrats were not dirty words or an insult. Most of us had nothing but it didn't make us jealous or hateful of those who did. It made us strive harder for that better life. We went to school each and every day and learned from dedicated teachers the history of our country, the basic tenets of reading, writing, and arithmetic. We knew when we graduated from high school, that we could go out into the world armed with the tools needed to succeed or at least make a decent living. And we did. We can't say that today.
We survived the Great Depression. Bad as that was, it was a character builder. We went without a lot of things but we still had a good life with friends and family as we were all in the same boat. We were brought up to listen and obey our parents, teachers and other role models. We were taught to respect and enjoy each other. We learned to fend for ourselves. If you wanted something grand like going to a movie, you worked for that dime. I shoveled sidewalks and driveways to get that dime and a nickel for candy at the movies. Brothers cut grass in the neighborhood and we all walked over a mile to get to that movie and that walk was fun too. We walked to school a half mile further. Our diet was simple, no fast-food places, but there was a bakery on the way and often it got my lunch money for a donut or cream puff.
We endured World War II, built the biggest manufacturing structure in the world during the war, lost hundreds of thousands of our young brothers, fathers, sons, and loved ones. All, so we could not only survive but be able to build upon it to become a better place and enrich our lives. So, remember that today's seniors are yesterday's engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, machinists, councilors, senators, bankers, and on and on. Many are still functioning and their knowledge and wisdom shouldn't be tossed aside as being out of the main stream. The main stream today is pretty deplorable. Think of them as having paid their dues, contributed to the world and are still here with a world of knowledge and willing to do what they can. They are a vast majority of volunteer workers.
We should think about them when we cut programs in medicine and budgets and realize their leadership, their paying into the system for more years than most have lived. We are always funding programs for the kids, welfare recipients, prevention and rehabilitation programs, but the first place to get those funds from seems to be cutting senior programs or not having programs, at the city, state and federal levels. Don't forget seniors were not paid cost of living increases for two years in a row to help with revenue problems at federal level, and at the same time paid increased Medicare and supplemental insurance rates. Seniors are not against sacrificing for the good of all, but ALL should be sacrificing.
There is a movement in D.C. now for "chained CPI" which will cut COLA payments to seniors, and the longer you have been receiving Social Security, the more you will be cut. Saving money on the backs of seniors to support new entitlements for those who do not contribute is not right or fair.
Changes have to be made in our entitlement programs but they should not be the only source of securing revenue. All programs must be overhauled, especially the tax code. Funny, when they mention entitlement programs, they say, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid but they don't mention Obamacare which is fast becoming the biggest entitlement program and costing higher insurance rates and jobs, as well as hurting the quality of medical care.
As a result of natural exercise and playing outside each and every day, summer and winter, our bodies and minds were strong. Without gadgets you did what came naturally and that made you healthy, bodily and mentally.
Then, came World War II and our friends, brothers, sweethearts went off to war and rationing entered our lives as well. Those at home did their part but it was the young men who fought this Great War that paid the ultimate price and those who came home had a lot to deal with.
That period while it seemed to be best of all things was in fact the beginning of what has happened to society and our way of life.
All those years of going without and then the war, made us more determined to get our share and get ahead. Education was more available due to GI Act and women were now working and raising children and keeping the house as well. Now, we could give OUR kids things we never had, and let loose of the parental reins a bit more because we had so much on our plates. It wasn't as noticeable at first what we were doing, but by that time the kids were living in the 60s and in the rock and roll world. We all know what happened and their generation really turned things around. Rebellion was the word of the day, not respect or following the golden rules. They were not brought up with the parent in charge. They were in charge. There was no accountability for their actions. No punishment.
You have probably heard enough but what it comes down to is, we ALL have to start working together again for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and for our country. One person or two can't do all the lifting or influencing our decisions. Lately, I do notice more opinions being expressed through the Letters to the Editor columns and that is good. We need more of that, but be positive. Most importantly, turn out to vote in EVERY election, not just the presidential one. In November 2012, Laconia had 92 percent percent turn out and vote. Two years ago at the city elections, my ward got 3 percent of registered voters at that time. I want to see that 92 percent percent turn out you gave to the presidential election, which will show who and what you want in your local government. Local government affects you right here immediately. When city government does something wrong, it is too late to complain after it has been done. Your voice is heard at the election booth.
Get involved with your government. Volunteer for positions on the Planning Board, Park Commission, Library Trustees, Zoning Board, etc. and run for elective office. Attend Council Meetings. Write to the papers and express your opinions on every subject that comes along. You will gain from it personally, not spend too much time, and help bring about change to the things you want changed, and new ideas to help your city.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4 - Laconia
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 09:51
To The Daily Sun,
The local Knights of Columbus councils, in Belmont and Tilton, wish to give thanks to the patrons of the Tilton Market Basket. Market Basket management has allowed the K of C to place a food drop box, at the inside entrance of the Tilton store for the past several years. Customers can drop off non perishable food donations and they are collected weekly. These donations provide much needed assistance for less fortunate and struggling families in our local communities. The towns helped include, Tilton, Franklin, Belmont, Northfield, Gilmanton, Cantebury, Iron Works, and Loudon.
During the months of November and December, more than 5,000 pounds of food was collected and distributed to food pantries, which help those in need. We are so blessed to have such loving and caring people in our communities, especially during these difficult economic times. So many among us are struggling, even more around the holidays. It seems like people always find a way to give to help out others in need, especially during Christmas time and the holidays. We see so many families who are helped by their thoughtful giving.
The Knights of Columbus wishes to extend this public thank you to all who donated food during the recent holiday season. We are so appreciative and thankful to the folks at Market Basket for allowing us to have the food drop box at their store. It has given us a way to reach out and give help to our neighbors in need. We look forward to a long and ongoing partnership with them as we continue to serve those, who are in need.
In addition to the food drop box, Market Basket allows the Knights of Columbus to conduct two major food drives each year. These events have always been well supported by the shoppers and local community. Thanks again, everyone for all of your giving. Thanks to you, we are making a difference every day.
Leonard Campbell, Program Director
Robert Leroux, Knights of Columbus
Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 10:10
To The Daily Sun,
As per Mr. Whalen's letter as to fairness: he is certainly entitled to his own opinions but not necessarily his own fuzzy "New" math. Would Mr. Whalen please furnish us with a five year compounded history of his Social Security payment percent increases and then also those of Sanbornton town employees? It is so easy to compare apples to oranges? The New Hampshire Retirement System is at a 60 percent funded ratio with a $4 billion dollar underfunded status as of 6/30/13. Town workers getting modest wage increases as compared to the giving away of the store as 20 years ago is certainly warranted. They too have to pay $1.20 per gallon more for heating fuels and gasoline than three years ago.
According to Wall Street there is no inflation if you substitute pork for beef until you try and buy a pound of bacon. The current Legislature is hardly going to do anything as to capping pension distributions until the trust fund that assures these employees their pensions in retirement reaches a sustainable 80 percent funding ratio. The reverse Robin Hood will continue as the top 20 percent of annuitants in distribution sizes will continue to take PLUS 50 percent of the NHRS trust funds' annual gross distributions. They earned them but their contributions as relates to the actual rates of returns on them in the NHRS Trust Fund did not! As the lesser paid town employees get raises in pay now, their current pension contributions are effectively being confiscated by the NHRS and the state legislators who refuse to act to protect them from the top 20 percent annuitants' plundering their contributions. Are these employees really getting a raise if what they are paying towards their retirements is being fed into a Ponzi scheme? With the 2 1/2 percent salary increase they are at least getting something now, that is more than a flimsy sanguine future promise if you just trust in the NHRS trustees.
Mr. Whalen seems worried about some relatively small change vs. what the total N.H. tax bases are liable for as their portions of $4 billion!
Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 10:07