To The Daily Sun,
There has been a lot of recent discussion surrounding the current U.S. Senate race and the People's Pledge. I am writing to encourage Scott Brown to sign the pledge and run a campaign worth of the people of New Hampshire.
Senator Shaheen, who has been loyally serving our state since 1997, has made clear she will listen to our needs and concerns by signing the Pledge. Scott Brown owes it to his newly adopted state to do the same.
It is difficult for me as a longtime New Hampshire resident to see Brown coming into our state and refusing to play by the same rules he created in Massachusetts. As someone who should be making an extra effort to respect our viewpoints Brown's current hypocritical position is disconcerting.
Senator Shaheen understands that her constituents deserve to know who is behind campaign advertisements. She is making sure that her campaign is accountable to us, not to outside interests and dark money. It is time Scott Brown held himself to the same standard.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:56
To The Daily Sun,
Fortunately for Belknap County residents, the Republican majority on the Belknap County Delegation has been considering taxpayers and fighting to ensure that needed county services are provided effectively and efficiently.
And, wow! Listen to the special interests squeal. They aren't used to anyone daring to question and oversee government spending or slow the flow of hard-earned taxpayer dollars into their coffers.
The squealing, the lawsuits, the personal attacks, the threats, the loud complaints are just the tools of the special interests and their protectors to try to make our representatives approve their spending demands.
During these last several economically stressful years, the private sector has been hurting, with most private sector workers earning flat or declining incomes. Senior citizens on Social Security have received small, and rare, increases.
Despite the financial stress on Belknap residents, the county commissioners recommended significant increases this year and last year. County employees have done well, most getting decent raises and enjoying benefits rarely, if ever, available in the private sector.
Considering the volume of the hysteria you might think that the delegation was demanding huge cuts in county spending, services, and jobs, but they are not. The delegation is evaluating new funding requests and pursuing efficient and cost-effective delivery of needed county services.
Remember last year's demands for a $42 million prison with its high operation costs? Remember the outrage and hysteria leveled at Republicans who rejected that plan and demanded that it be reconsidered?
Now the commissioners say the prison cost is under $30 million. Thank you Republicans for saving the taxpayers at least $12 million (more like $24 million when including interest).
With further consideration, hopefully the cost can be reduced much more because even a $30 million prison will add $4-5 million to county costs annually (for debt service and additional operating expenses) which would increase the amount to be raised by taxes (i.e., your county taxes) by approximately one-third.
The Republican majority, and mostly Chairman Worsman, has been hysterically and viciously attacked for simply considering the taxpayers' burden while fighting to deliver needed services effectively and efficiently. They deserve the thanks of Belknap County residents, especially struggling taxpayers.
Note that these Republicans, who are fighting so hard to provide a quality, responsive, efficient and affordable county government, are fighting just as hard in Concord to make our state government provide its services in a quality, responsive, efficient, and affordable manner.
Thank you Colette Worsman and the Republican majority. Please keep up the good work.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:52
To The Daily Sun,
I wanted to share the amazing experience I had at the Interlakes Animal Hospital on March 22. I brought my indoor cat, "Jack", in for his checkup and when I was walking across the parking lot to leave, the crate door on my cat carrier opened and "Jack" escaped.
For over three hours in the cold, snowy weather the entire team at Interlakes stayed late, crawling around in the snow, on the cold ground doing everything they could think of to catch "Jack". With perseverance and patience we were finally successful.
The kindness and compassion of Dr. Julie, Dr. Chris and their entire team was without a doubt the most unbelievable act of going above and beyond what is expected. How blessed we are in the Lakes Region to have such wonderful, competent, compassionate people to care for our much loved furry family members.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:46
To The Daily Sun,
Franklin, don't miss a great upcoming opportunity to satisfy the community stakeholders desire to improve public education.
The recent Franklin city elections have indicated that the community wanted changes in public education. Faster student improvement and a better "work-together attitude" seems to be a general goal.
There are a number of new, energized School Board members and a generally strong City Council. The mayor is also a strong supporter of public education. I also believe that an increasing number of parents are more comfortable with the school staff in helping to solve student issues by working with the parents.
In the next several weeks the School Board will start interviewing prospective superintendents to operate the Franklin School District for the next few years. The great opportunity is that our School Board members will be able to hire someone who understands and supports the School Board's vision for public education representing all of the community stakeholders.
The School Board needs input from the community as soon as possible because it is very important that the board have an approved community-supported Education Vision before the superintendent interviewing starts. Having a community-supported (stakeholders) Vision for public education is one of the primary responsibilities of all public school boards.
A few examples of possible vision statements for the community:
A. The reputation of our entire community improves as graduation rates improve significantly. An increasing percentage of our students are academically prepared to lead full productive lives.
B. The reputation of the entire Franklin community will increase significantly as the average level of students' performance level rises in all key (reading, math) subjects to 80 percent or better. (That would probably be in about the top 15 percent).
C. The Franklin school system will achieve a significant improvement level of students testing proficient or higher in key subjects.
D. The Franklin School District will ensure that every student with a low or failing performance level will have access to an (IDP) Individual Development Plan including one teacher or staff member and one parent and the student.
These are just a few possibilities.
Call your three School Board members (three in each Ward). Tell them the education vision you have or you would like for our community and ask them what they think. Call your School Board members soon as it is very important for them to have your input and then they can better determine the correct choice for superintendent. We all do not want our School Board to hire a superintendent before the board has at least a good idea of what the direction and vision that the stakeholders can and will strongly support. It is really important to determine the vision for the district before we start to interview for a superintendent.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 10:15
To The Daily Sun,
After reading the letter from Ms. Comtois in a recent edition of The Laconia Sun I have to say she's very observant. I don't attend meetings of the county commissioners due to the timing of them, but I do follow them in the news and I get the same result as Ms. Comtois. I've said this before and my feeling is still that the commissioners have for too long felt as though Belknap County, and especially the complex, was their own little fiefdom that they could run any way they pleased without any oversight. Now that they are being watched and taken to the woodshed when necessary they respond like teenagers that have had their cell phones taken away.
I chuckled when I read a statement by Commissioner Philpot that it was the commissions intention all along to dramatically reduce the price of the new jail from the $42.5 million that it originally presented. I believe Mr. Philpot definitely should get one Pinocchio for that one. Let's face the facts. If there hadn't been such a public uproar and the convention putting its foot down there would be the construction of a memorial to the present commissioners and the administrator going on at this time.
A while back, Commissioner Nedeau stated that if the staff at the complex weren't given raises in their salaries and their health care that, they wouldn't be able to keep or hire employees. I would ask Mr. Nedeau to do a survey of all the nursing homes in Belknap County and the surrounding area and find just one that has a higher package of salary, health insurance and pensions than the county facility pays. I would be willing to make a little wager that he can't. I think if he did a survey of employees that leave the county he'd find that it isn't because of the money. But of course then he'd find out the truth and that doesn't seem to interest him.
In Ms. Comtois' letter she brings up how and where the stimulus money was spent by the commissioners and she was correct. A question was asked of the county administrator, Ms. Shackett, by the Laconia Citizen, of what the cost was to remodel hers and the commissioners' offices and to replace the sign at the front of the complex. She gave a definite answer on the cost of the sign, $16,000-plus, but she claimed that the office makeover was minor and the cost couldn't be broken down. She said that $522,000 of the stimulus was spent to upgrade two wings and the offices were included in that number. One could conclude from her answer that the two wings that she mentioned were wings of the nursing facility or the jail but that is not the case.
As Ms. Comtois states in her letter that $522,000 was spent on the offices, office furniture and a gym for the administrators. I would call that lying by omission. This overhaul of the offices etc. was done while the staff at the nursing home had to spread out pails in the residents' activity area when it rained. So much for priorities.
I would suggest that when the present commissioners and their lackeys in the convention come up for re-election that they be given the boot and people elected that will be responsible to the taxpayers, not be looking to have their names engraved in brass, or maybe in this case gold, for the good of all.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 10:11