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Gilmanton tempest over chief's schedule can be traced to 2003 letter

To The Daily Sun,

As we prepare for contentious budget sessions and hearings surrounding a new jail, which would add an estimated 5.5 million dollars annually to the county budget, I would like to thank Mr. Donovan (12/20) for publicizing that they can be viewed on a local public channel. Anything which results in an informed and engaged public can only be a good thing: tune in and come to a county meeting if you can.

As to the tempest about what constitutes a working fire chief, the Gilmanton Selectboard traced its history to a letter in 2003 and an agreement between the town and the then chief. In seeking to uphold that definition, it is not my observation that the Selectboard acted in any other than a professional manner.

I apologize for identifying Ms. Hempel as the current chief's wife when in fact she is his mother. Especially at this time of the year, we all need the support of our loved ones. It does seem to me that when the selectmen are misrepresented as being rude to county officialdom that residents of the county should know that the writer may have a biased position.

Rep. Richard B. Burchell
Belknap 5 - Gilmanton

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 11:44

Hits: 231

Mayor Seymour & 2 councilors will be on radio with me this morning

To The Daily Sun,

Due to late notice, I ask The Daily Sun to alert their readers that this Saturday morning in the 10-11 segment my radio program, guests will be Mayor Mike Seymour, Councilors Hamel and Lipman.
Another issue is the change to Christmas tree disposal being the responsibility of the apartment/homeowner to one of the locations within Laconia. For those who ask "how will I get my tree to that location" I would ask, "How did you get the tree to your home?" There are many duties that need to be done. During that time PWD was riding around trying to pickup a handful of trees during January. Perhaps clearing some hydrants that the LFD cannot get to.
Keep an eye on those recyclables numbers, increase, increase, and save us all from buying those bags!
Thank you, and perhaps our new Mayor Ed Engler will grace us with his presence during my show at EZS. I am sure we will survive each other, since I think we are friends.
Merry Christmas to all.

Niel Young


Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 11:37

Hits: 273

Fox News says you can buy food stamps on eBay but they're wrong

To The Daily Sun,
The GOP is up to its old games again. If you have something it is to much, so they want you to give most of it back before you get spoiled. For some reason, being fiscally responsible people, they would rather give you some form of welfare or food stamps than a fair wage. They can control the welfare or subsidies and cut it at any time they want to. They also can control the loopholes for corporate CEO's tax purposes. This is a win-win when it comes time for PAC donations. By the time all the voting districts are re-drawn there will be no stopping them. Once they get back in power it will be REAL hard to get them out. So, if you actually feel the GOP will help you then Gov Christie has a job on his bridge for you.

The GOP has been drooling over the entitlement programs for years. They would love to get control of that. But . . . hopefully with the budget bill signed something good will come of it. The vets get shortchanged with their benefits and all those out of work have lost unemployment compensation. Who will win the reinstatement of benefits race first? The GOP has already said it will fight against extending unemployment because, as Rand Paul read someplace, 26 weeks is long enough. Anytime longer than that takes all the incentive to eat away. Then there is the farm bill that still hasn't passed yet. Outside of trying to cut billions from SNAP — its that eating thing again — there is also all that extra cash given to members of Congress. It's about $238K given to 15 members of the House and Senate. Thirteen are R's and two are D's. I also read someplace that 74 percent of the subsidies go to 4 percent, while 60 percent get nothing. The farm bill would be easy to pass if both SNAP and these extra payouts were taken out.

Fox News says you can buy food stamps on eBay but as usual they are wrong. At least you can't buy any usable food stamp coupon or cards but only expired, or empty booklet or tokens. They are collectable somewhat like postcards or any other novelty. They have no cash value as far as food goes but some are quite valuable as a novelty item. So, instead of believing all Fox says, do like Reagan said — trust but verify.

On another note, you might want to beware what the GOP BIG THREE write in every week. I'm talking about Ewing, Earle and Boutin, who probably get e-mails every week from Reince and the Koch Brothers along with a paycheck. In reality all you have to do is change every D to an R and the reality begins. The truth is usually the opposite of what they say.

Jon Hoyt


Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 11:35

Hits: 407

Problem is chief has never been challenged by past boards

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing today in response to Bill Donovan's letter regarding a recent Gilmanton selectmen's meeting, which I attended. Mr. Donovan felt it necessary to single me out in his writings, but I do wish he had admitted he was stating his opinion rather than facts. Being someone who attended the meeting, he certainly didn't pay much attention. I would like to point out that Mr. Donovan is not a member of the Fire Department or Fire Association and to my knowledge never has been. I, on the other hand, have been involved with the department for over 30 years and an EMT for 14 yrs. For some reason, Mr. Donovan was reluctant to mention what I actually spoke about at the meeting, only pointing out my question as to why the group had come to the meeting as association members rather than department members. I think I am the only department member who is no longer an association member. When I left the association it was because I was unhappy about the way they wanted to spend their money. It also bothered me because I had previously gone to Joe Hempel as it had become obvious to me that someone had been taking money. I asked for an audit but he declined to agree as it would be an embarrassment to the association.

I would like to be clear that I never challenged the association's right to speak or the general public's right to speak. I for one think public input should be open from start to finish at the meetings. I raised the question for this reason: by the group attending as associaiton members it would preclude me from speaking, as I was no longer an association member. Had it not been for Mrs. Donovan speaking out of turn, the chairman never would have opened public input early. But in order to allow Mrs. Donovan her opinion he did it as a courtesy, therefore I was also given the opportunity to speak when it was my turn.

As Mr. Donovan stated, my husband is a selectman. I'm not quite sure what bearing this has on my right to ask a question. I attended selectmen's meetings long before he became a selectman and probably will continue to attend when he gives up his seat.

I would ask Mr. Donovan to do a little bit of research before his next writing as he didn't have all of the information needed to give a clear picture of the actual situation with the fire chief. To put it in a nutshell, the Gilmanton taxpayers are already paying for 184 man hours of FULL-TIME Fire Department personnel per week to staff a minimum of two full-time employees, seven days per week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (which was presented and voted on in 2004). This could be done with 168 man hours IF Chief Hempel would adjust his own work schedule. This would still allow him an additional 16 hours to do his administrative duties as well as reduce the part-time budget. But more importantly it would reduce the burden on the Gilmanton taxpayers. INSTEAD he is opting to hire part-time people to cover a Sunday shift at an ADDITIONAL $29,000 cost to the taxpayers. This increase means the taxpayers are now paying for 208 man hours per week for only 168 hours of coverage. What the CHIEF'S LACK OF COOPERATION boils down to is; the taxpayers are paying twice for Sunday coverage all because the chief himself does not want to cover two shifts per week even though it would not increase his 40 hour work week. I would also like to mention that when the chief comes out after hours it might be because he gets a very nice stipend to do so. I guess Mr. Donovan wasn't aware of that either.

The selectmen are only doing what they have been elected to do which are to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. In my opinion, the problem is that the chief has never been challenged by any past boards of selectmen and that's why he keeps throwing around the RSA about the board not being able to "tell him what to do". From what Mr. Capello, the town administrator said at the meeting, the board has already gotten the opinion from legal counsel as to the warrant article they are putting forward regarding the chief being a "working chief".
Since Mr. Donovan neglected to mention what I spoke about, here it is: When the association's rep. said something to the effect of, the chief not having time to perform his administrative duties should he become a "working chief", I felt I had to correct him. Before Chief Hempel became chief for the third time, he called me at my home and asked me to support him becoming a part-time chief rather than a full-time chief. He went on in detail as to why Gilmanton only required a part-time chief as we were such a small community the position did not require a Chief to be full-time. He tried very hard to convince me because he wanted to keep his full-time job and just be a part-time chief. I told him I was not for this idea. The next thing I knew he had been hired as the full-time chief, yet again. The reason I wasn't for the idea wasn't because I didn't agree with him, it was only because I didn't want him to be chief for a third time. And as it turns out, I still stand by that opinion.

I would not have been writing this letter had it not been for the inaccuracies by Mr. Donovan. I would however like to thank him for giving me a reason.
Brenda Currier

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:49

Hits: 598

Perhaps kids are being taught wrong things & wrong behavior

To The Daily Sun,

Last week, I wrote a letter describing how the Laconia schools are in decline. Probably, by now, I have been branded as a crackpot by the School Board.

I want to tell you there are some very good and wise people in this world, and some very wise thinkers. Today, I received an e-mail Christmas greeting from a very good friend in Israel. In return, I wished him a nice Hanukkah. The subject turned to education. In as many words I told him that I went to school, things were not so politically correct, and we openly discussed the Christian Christmas and the Jewish Hanukkah with mutual respect. If the rest of the world could do this we might have peace. 

He replied with the following comment, "I think that one of the main reasons why peace cannot be achieved is because of the education system... did not see the real target of education: humanity, and turned the human kind into a kind of 'machine terms'. Make more money, be first on the road. Developing the killer instincts in the battlefields, in movies, in games. Sorry I don't have time for you, can't see you I'm busy. Playing now on my cellular..." This won't change tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade — unfortunately.

How profound.

Perhaps, this is the underlying problem with Laconia schools and schools throughout America. Children are being taught the wrong things and the wrong behaviors. And they are acting out with the disrespect and detachment that we see in our schools today.

Walter F. Kalin


Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:46

Hits: 221

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