To The Daily Sun,
I have been following the news regarding the Meredith Senior Center with considerable interest. I am one of those Meredith taxpayers and voters who hopes that the presence of the Senior Program in the Meredith Community Center can yet be sustained.
It appears that the future of the Meredith Senior Center has been jeopardized by the inability of CAP and the Meredith Selectboard to reach agreement on a reduced rental fee. At the Oct. 21, 2013, Selectboard workshop, CAP stated that it had lost federal and United Way funding, hence the need for reduction in rent. According to The Laconia Daily Sun's April 24 article on the Senior Center, CAP proposed that rent be reduced from $1,200 a month ($14,400 a year) to $600 a month ($7,200 a year), and the Selectboard responded with an $800 a month ($9,600 a year) offer. The Daily Sun's May 6 article on the same subject gave somewhat different figures: Current annual cost = $14,400, CAP's proposal = $8,000, Selectboard's counter-proposal = $12,000. I gather that the Selectboard's offer was not acceptable to CAP, thus they decided to close the Senior Center.
Regardless of what the true numbers are, I wonder why the negotiation seems to have been aborted without further attempt to reach compromise. Both parties have valued the Meredith Senior Center. I doubt that the Selectboard's proposal was a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Perhaps the board expected CAP to continue the dialogue if necessary, and selectmen were as surprised as the public was by CAP's decision to close the Senior Center. I hope the discussion will be reopened by the parties. Dickering is as American as apple pie and motherhood.
I appreciate the initiative Robert Franks has expressed regarding volunteers serving senior lunches, but I believe the Senior Center will have a stronger future if administered by CAP. Should the Town of Meredith require a volunteer program to pay a rental fee, where will those funds come from, and how sustainable will they be year-to-year? We don't want a Gilmanton Year-Round Library brouhaha to unfold here in Meredith.
As it stands now, the Town of Meredith will lose $14,400 in annual revenue if the CAP-sponsored Senior Center is terminated. If the Community Center building is closed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the school year, there will be some cost savings, but the town's budget will still take a significant hit from loss of the Senior Program. Closure of the Community Center during those hours would be a loss to Meredith residents.
When the Senior Program moved to the Community Center, it was a vibrant program with able and charismatic leadership. The relocation of the Senior Program was one of the selling points for the funding of the Community Center, which seniors supported. The space was designed to accommodate the Senior Center, and it was anticipated that the Senior Program would be housed there indefinitely. I believe it is one of the finest Senior facilities in New Hampshire. I was elected to Meredith's Selectboard the year that voters approved the Community Center warrant article, and I served on the board while the center was constructed. I distinctly recall that some of the interior space was designed for optimal use by the Senior Center.
At the 10/21/2013 Selectboard workshop, CAP reported that the number of lunches served daily by the Meredith Senior Center had decreased from an average of 58 to 12 within the past year. Assuming that the quality of the food had not significantly deteriorated, the most likely explanation for this is a decline in leadership. That is regrettable, if true.
Considering that the leading edge of the Baby Boom tidal wave has crested age 65, this is a most inopportune time to be shutting down a Senior Center. This vastly increased senior population will impact all aspects of American society. The Town of Meredith is as unprepared for this senior explosion as all municipalities in the United States are. But because Meredith, like many Lakes Region towns, is a retirement destination community, the effect of aging Baby Boomers will be felt more intensely here.
Some of the consequences, such as an insufficient number of doctors, hospital beds, and assisted living facilities. are predictable. Reduced Social Security and Medicare benefits seem probable. As these seniors move money from growth funds to lower risk securities, there could be profound impact to investment funds, the stock market, and seniors' net worth.
Those seniors who remain affluent enough to pay for some degree of in-home care may encounter a shortage of hirable workers due to an insufficient workforce. Meredith will be competing with other localities for those workers, who are much more likely to live in Ashland, Bristol, Tilton, and Laconia because housing is cheaper there. Because seniors' life expectancies have increased, and because there will be so many more widows and widowers than ever before, there will be a need for those workers. As it stands now, Meredith will not be able to provide for itself in this regard.
A vibrant Senior Center with forward-thinking leadership can help Meredith prepare for this impending future. Many wonderful things can be accomplished by a Senior Center, in addition to serving nutritious lunches and offering fitness classes. Even as bodies deteriorate, minds can stay keen and productive, and seniors can experience rewarding fulfillment to their dying breath with encouragement and imagination.
By intending to serve all ages of people and bring them together under one roof, the Meredith Community Center embraced a priceless vision of community. The elderly are at considerable risk of age segregation. But most elderly people want to stay involved with younger folks because of their youthful optimism and the future they represent. The Community Center is a natural way to bring old and young together. The Senior Program can facilitate this and all the other objectives I have mentioned. Thus I hope that CAP and the Meredith Selectboard will resume discussion of how to perpetuate the Meredith Senior Center.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 09:21
To The Daily Sun,
On Sept. 9, we will vote on the many candidates who have been campaigning all through the summer for the U. S. Senate and Congress, for the N.H. House and State Senate, and for many local offices, such as county commissioner, etc. This is called the Primary Election.
Before we can vote in the Primary Election we have to select which party we want to vote with because there is a Democrat ballot and a Republican ballot. You can only select one. So here is a bit of important information.
If you wish to change the party you are now registered with, you have until June 3, 2014, to do so with the Supervisors of the Checklist.
For instance, you may not come to the Primary Election as a registered Democrat and ask for a Republican ballot. You must declare yourself a Republican or Democrat or Undeclared no later than June 3. The only exception to this rule is if you are now registered as Undeclared.
Before checking in with the ballot inspectors to vote, you must choose to vote as either a Republican or Democrat by going to the Supervisors of the Checklist first. However, after you have voted, you may revert to Undeclared status by returning to the Supervisors of the Checklist before you leave the polls. If you do not choose to revert to Undeclared, you will remain with the party you have selected.
In November, at the General Election, this isn't the case. You will receive one ballot. There will be opposing Democrats and Republicans on that ballot. No matter which party you are registered with you may vote for anyone on the ballot. Write-in candidates are allowed on all ballots.
See you at the polls.
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 09:02
To The Daily Sun,
I read in The Sun that the Sanbornton Conservation Committee has proposed putting 100 percent of the land use change tax into their land conservation fund. Gilford has been doing that for years, now, and it is because our voters had the foresight to agree to a similar article that we have been able to protect approximately 1,000 acres of our key natural resources while assuring our goals to keep our rural character.
Pretty obvious that the price of land is expensive and will only escalate in the future, so voting in favor of this proposal will give much needed funds to help meet Sanbornton's desire to also remain a rural community. The money comes from large parcels that landowners have enjoyed significant tax breaks for years because they have been held under current use. When land is pulled out of current use for development, the tax is 10 percent of the value. Towns have recognized that it only makes sense that with major losses of large tracts of land to development, it is imperative to put that small amount of tax money into their land conservation fund to try to protect critical natural resources without asking for money from taxpayers. The other plus for for putting 100 percent of the money into the land conservation fund is that it can be used as required matching funds for important land conservation grants, thereby doubling the purchasing power.
There aren't many avenues where we can help provide a lasting and important benefit to this world, but land conservation is certainly right at the top.
To Sanbornton voters, please support your local Conservation Commission's efforts to receive 100 percent of the land use change tax so they will have the much needed funds to protect your most critical natural resources and help maintain that beautiful rural character that make Sanbornton such a beautiful scenic community.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 08:24
To The Daily Sun,
It was very disheartening to read another example of Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley using half-truths and fear-mongering to pander to the extreme right wing of his party. In order to garner votes in November he has cynically criticized Bill Duncan's nomination to the New Hampshire Board of Education.
Bradley is quoted in a Concord Monitor article Tuesday, May 6, saying, "Duncan is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the business tax credit that gives scholarships to students who attend private and religious schools, and he opposes charter schools." What Bradley fails to include in his limited information statement is that there is a good chance the NH Superior Court will find the business tax credit (passed by the Republican controlled Senate and House in 2012) unconstitutional just like the Medicaid Enhancement Tax was in April 2014.
Now some of those same Republican legislators are dancing as fast as they can to figure out how to compensate for the multimillion-dollar hole they created with their votes, Bradley being one of them. Who knows what further financial damage will be done to the state budget if the thinly disguised business tax credit (a voucher system in reality) is also found to be unconstitutional.
I am glad the Executive Council saw fit to approve Gov. Hassan's nomination of Bill Duncan. New Hampshire students, families and taxpayers need a knowledgeable advocate who will protect every child's right to a quality, standards-based education, taught by caring and qualified professionals.
Kay M. Anderson
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 08:21
To The Daily Sun,
After attending the most recent meeting of the Gilford School Board, I have three basic observations and a few other random thoughts.
1. What we have "hee..AH"..... is ah Failure ta, communicate!''
2. I would suggest that the School Board completely reject the book "Nineteen Minutes" from being included in any future curricula for any grade level in the Gilford public schools. Instead they should consider Mr Lambert's suggestion as to using subjects of valid English literature and substitute Keat's "Ode on Melancholy" and Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" into the curriculum in lieu of such distasteful to the community standards un-vetted, "contemporary" American/English literature. In addition the School Board might take note of Coleridge's "Epigram," and perhaps glean something from that.
3. I too, as Doug Lambert, have some favorite Bible passages. So the community, righteous in our indignation, might pause to read some of 1 Corinthians 7:7. The School Board members might want to contemplate Mr. Baer's situation in relation to 1 Timothy 5:8. We do wish, as did St, Paul, that the community have some patience and grant a bit of forbearance to those who are not fully committed to common decency, and may be less strong in the faith than ourselves, but that not withstanding. are well meaning.
Certainly the School Board must have been well meaning when fully apprised that they had a budding "soap opera" on their hands, they sought to handle such by suppressing the inevitable displays of indignation and outrage. Reactions by the School Board in admitting to some oversights certainly support the sense of outrage that some parents displayed at the meeting. School Board Chair Sue Allen is recently quoted as having used the term "ridiculous" to describe this statewide airing of a public "soap opera" turned into a public political scandal.
I have attended several Gilford School Board meetings over the years. I can remember one where the discussion of a Belmont football merger went on so long I deemed it not an appropriate time for the sake of not further lengthening the meeting to speak at that meeting to a different agenda item. So it was ridiculous to attempt to stifle and suppress the public comment at this meeting for the sole purpose of not wanting to take the full heat of the outraged on this curriculum issue.
While I'm widely regarded as a RINO and would have seen this text as possibly appropriate for juniors after the Christmas break or seniors in their last high school year, I agree it was wrong to make it part of the curriculum for high school freshmen. I agree with those who believe this book could be properly made available in the high school library and our public library.
I thank Mr. Wernig for his politically motivated remarks in support of his political allies of the government education industry and their empathizers. If not for his remarks suggesting book banning outside of the public school curriculum was at issue, which clearly rubbed salt into the wounds of Mr. Baer, Mr. Baer may not have gotten himself so further incensed and then arrested in front of the TV cameras of WMUR. Often times it is more valid to: "Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice."
In their attempt to save themselves some embarrassment, to limit the amount of proper rebuke they were due, and to limit the timeframe of the meeting for their own convenience, the Gilford School Board helped create and escalate this "ridiculous" situation to an airing of our dirty laundry "soap opera" across the entire state. There actually was film at 11 and on the television news again the next day. Many of us hope these "ridiculous" charges are dropped against Mr. Baer. Prosecuting him will just be more of the same in escalating the sense of outrage so many of the voters of Gilford are feeling on these issues.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 08:18