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2006 warrant article specified 'site for future town office building'

To the editor,
I take exception to the article I read in the Winnisquam Echo written by Patsy Wells. In the article one item concerns the land that was purchased by the town of Sanbornton behind the town buildings. Patsy says that she "does not want to see a modern office building smack dab in the middle of that".
Patsy was selectman in 2006 when the town voted by town warrant (article 9 purchase of land) to purchase the land "for the purpose of protecting the horizons behind the three historic buildings and PREPARING A SITE FOR A FUTURE TOWN OFFICE BUILDING. Our assessing assistant had to jump through hoops to remove the land from current use, which actually protected the horizon. I voted in the affirmative because I thought it a good idea for the town to have the option of land for its town building future growth. One thing that I did not know until last year was that a hidden part of that purchase was a grant giving away a right of way to another parcel of land abutting the purchased piece. The given right of way was over the town hall septic system and nearly over the front steps of the town hall itself. Last year the town purchased the abutting piece which negated the possible future threat of construction on that land and the resulting traffic over the septic.
If Patsy does not want a building on the parcel, why was the article to purchase for future building presented to the town? Why was the information about the right of way not in the article? And, who says that any proposed office building would be "modern" in appearance and not fit in with our historic buildings?
Another point in Patsy's article is the subject of the sidewalk from the school to the library. The past Selectboard and the Town Administrator have worked on the sidewalk construction. The Winnisquam School District was asked if they could contribute to the costs. The school district would not agree unless they were presented with DES and engineering studies. Our highway department, under John Thayer, had estimated that they could do the work for around four thousand dollars, but the school district said no. DES and engineering studies are terribly expensive.
Now I'm wondering if I should have voted yea on article 9 in 2006.
Sharon Dugan
Sanbornton

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:34

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Convention has made process as uncivil as possible

To the editor,
The letter to the editor from Belknap County Democrats attacking, once again, Colette Worsman is disingenuous and very misleading. When I became a member of the County Convention, it was not with the intention of instigating a conflict with the County Commissioners, none of whom I had met. It was my intention to be guided by good public policy decisions and not by political expediency.
None of the delegates to the Convention lobbied me to vote for any particular candidate to chair the Convention but I do support the actions taken by the chair and many constituents have voiced their support as well. The Democrats fail to mention that the Commissioners
proposed a nine percent budget increase at a time when Main Street is struggling to survive. I never go to a gas station, dry cleaners or country store without asking "how's business?". The answer is, usually, not very encouraging. I am very decidedly not anti-worker, whether that worker is in the employ of the county, the state or my home town of Gilmanton. Most are hard working and I do not believe that the majority are overpaid. I do think that the small retrenchment for which the county delegates voted was appropriate given the difficulties being encountered by the private sector which funds public salaries.
The antagonism evident by the commissioners may be the result of their perceived self-importance which was jostled by a majority of the convention seeking to rein in what had been unchecked governance. Whatever their motive, they dishonestly characterized a simple caucus, in which no arms were twisted and in which there was vigorous debate, as illegal. For those who do not know, Republicans and Democrats routinely hold caucuses and there is nothing sinister about it. The commissioners should have known better than to attempt to intimidate the delegates with this rather crude tactic.
Every step along the way, the delegates who do not agree with the majority of the Convention have attacked the chair and made the process as uncivil and difficult as is within their power to do. After making a shambles of the process, they then proceed to complain about its unseemliness. I will conclude by saying that side of the issue for which I might advocate in the House of Representatives loses very regularly; I do not throw a public temper tantrum both because I respect the institution and because the speaker would rightly see that I was removed if I were to so disrespect the public trust.
Rep. Dick Burchell
Gilmanton

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:31

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How much firepower does ordinary citizen need to protect home?

To the editor,
Dear Mr. Earle:
Just a reminder that our serious gun violence epidemic is not a Democratic, Republican or any other political party problem. It is ALL of our problem. Gun violence cannot be given a label other than outright disregard for human life.
We continue to turn a blind eye to the FACT that gun manufacturers made sure that they will NOT be held culpable for gun deaths, no matter the circumstance. If states and the federal government were able to sue gun manufacturers for producing lethal weaponry which is being marketed and sold to the public at large, our country would then be on the road to less pointing fingers in every direction but where it rightly belongs.
Ask yourself if we wouldn't be in a safer state of mind if the type of weapons purchased by ordinary citizens has to be the same kind used by the military in the theater of war? How much "fire power" does any ordinary citizen need to protect home, hearth and family?
Instead of pointing your finger sir, why don't you be one of many who understand that death by lethal weaponry is wrong?
Bernadette Loesch
Laconia

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:25

Hits: 287

'Coach Bob' Champlin has been amazing educator and leader

To the editor,
I am quite certain that this is only one of a large number of letters you will receive concerning Bob Champlin's retirement letter, read to the School Board the other night. Reading the story caused me to reflect on my relationship with Bob.
I first got to know "Coach Bob" when I became involved in the Lou Athanas Youth Basketball League. You could immediately tell that this was a man dedicated to the youth of the community. He gladly accepted any task I asked him to help with and during my tenure with LAYBL he helped me run the High School Girls Division of the league.
I remember a series of incidents being instigated against my daughter by a particular student at the Middle School that required police action. Former Principal Rice was refusing to take action and within a day of being notified of what was going on, Bob Champlin had satisfactorily rectified the situation. We didn't have to harangue the superintendent's office to get them to respond. My wife merely sent a short e-mail to Bob. My daughter was safe and I am still grateful to this day.
I also remember when my oldest daughter graduated from LHS. Graduation day was very hectic and quite rough on us and not only because of the weather and the ceremony being moved into the old MMS gymnasium. My mother-in-law, my daughter's grandmother was in the hospital. The ceremony went without a hitch except for the dire heat everyone was experiencing in the gym. My daughter wanted to go visit her grandmother in the hospital with her cap and gown but they were supposed to return them after the ceremony was over. I remember approaching Bob to ask if she could return the cap and gown later but before I could say anything he told her "go visit your grandma. She needs to see you dressed up and you can drop the cap and gown off at the school on Monday."
This is an example of what made Bob such an amazing educator and leader. I don't know how many people know that Bob not only knows the names of every student in his district but also knows details of their lives. He has proven that he is a man that not only wants them to become the best they can be but is also willing to protect and defend them at the same time.
I have no doubt that Bob will overcome his current health challenges but I do have a concern that the citizens of Laconia will have a school superintendent who is as capable, compassionate and caring as the one they have right now.
Best of luck to you with what the future brings, Coach Bob. You will always have my support and respect wherever life takes you.
Greg Knytych
New Hampton

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:20

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Michael Barone - College bubble bursts after decades of extravagance

Markets work. But sometimes they take time. That's the uncomfortable lesson that proprietors of America's colleges and universities are learning.
For many years, market forces didn't seem to apply to them. There was a widespread societal consensus that a college education was a good economic investment. Politicians gave lip service to the idea that everyone should go to college. No one should be stopped by a lack of money.
There was historic precedent. The G.I. Bill of Rights vastly expanded college populations and helped build prosperous post-World War II America. Putting even more through college would make us even more prosperous.
So Congress passed student loan and grant programs to make it easier for people to pay for college and university tuitions. That increased potential higher education revenues.
Surprise! Over the last three decades, tuitions rose faster than the economy grew.
For a long time, that didn't seem to be a problem. College still seemed like a good investment during the quarter century of low-inflation economic growth from 1982 to 2007. You could pay off those loans with earnings increased by your degree.
Meanwhile colleges and universities — and not just the highly selective ones — competed for students whose test scores would improve their ratings in the U.S. News College Guide by giving "scholarships" that actually were discounts on the tuition list price.
To attract these students, the educational institutions built fancy dormitories, gymnasiums and student centers. And they vastly increased the number of administrators, to the point where colleges and universities had more administrators than teachers.
Government helped to produce an ever-increasing demand for higher education. So higher education administrators saw no need to compete on price. Higher tuitions just gave your school more prestige.
Now the higher education bubble has burst. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that that the average "tuition discount rate" offered incoming freshmen last fall by private colleges and universities has reached an all-time high of 45 percent. At the same time, their "sticker price" tuitions have increased by the smallest amount in the last dozen years. Tuitions for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities also increased by the smallest amount during that period.
Applicants are negotiating bigger discounts than they used to. Market competition has kicked in.
What has happened is that in a recessionary and sluggish economy, potential customers have been figuring out that a college diploma may not be a good investment — particularly if it entails six-figure college loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
The Millennial Generation that voted so heavily for Barack Obama — 66 to 32 percent in 2008, 60 to 37 percent in 2012 — has had a hard time finding jobs, even with diplomas in hand. Especially if their degrees are in gender studies or similar fields beloved of academics.
In even worse condition are those students who never get a degree, a disproportionate number of whom are blacks and Hispanics admitted under affirmative action programs who prove unable to keep up with the pace of instruction at schools where most students enter much better prepared.
We see in higher education something like what we saw in housing. Government programs aimed at increasing college education and homeownership, particularly among minorities, turn out to hurt many of the intended beneficiaries.
The intentions of the people who created these programs were good. The results — well, not so much.
Home ownership is a good thing generally, but it's not good for everybody. The young and transient, for example, are often better off renting.
Higher education is a good thing generally too, but again not for everyone. People whose talents are more artisanal than academic are often better off getting a job or vocational training than seeking a degree that guarantees them student loan debt but not a job.
College and university administrators are not used to being disciplined by market forces. For years, they thought they were above all that. Many got into the habit of producing a product that didn't serve their consumers' interests well. In a prosperous and growing economy, there seems to be no penalty for doing so. In more straitened circumstances, they are discovering that, sooner or later, markets work. Their old business model is no longer working.
Colleges and universities have been doing a good job of meeting their administrators' needs. Now, in the new normal economy, they're scrambling to serve society's needs, as well.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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