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Delegation needs to take the same tour selectboards are taking

To The Daily Sun,
I would like to thank the County Commissioners, Deb Shackett and the staff at Belknap County Corrections for a very informative and educational tour on Thursday.
In past years the commissioners would go out to towns and present updates called "County Conversations" to selectboards around the county.
This year your selectboards were invited to go to them and see what the different departments actually do, what we have accomplished with infrastructure and programs and what our needs are going forward. Which was a great idea; I personally learned new things about county and observed some interesting things.
We met at the court house and stopped at the several areas including Youth Services, County Attorney, Register of Deeds, and the court room.
The Youth Services gave us an update on new programs that they are implementing with a 68-77 percent success rate for adults and Juveniles. Great news!
We observed thousands of books dating back to the 1700s to book #1 at the Registry.
We also toured the exterior, new roof top heat pump units (viewed from the ground!), new windows and a new composite roof that has a 50 year warranty, all of this being paid with federal stimulus money. (I can hear two guys ranting "it's not free")
We then drove over to the County Complex. Starting in the administration wing which was renovated to allow those staff to work in a secure environment, we walked through the entire building.
We then had a tour of the Sheriff Dept. and dispatch area which was also very interesting.
Last stop was the corrections facility. Commissioner Thomas informed us that the building has had a span of construction projects which range from 1890 to 1988. Entering from the sheriff area, we walked down a long hallway and up a narrow set of stairs to "the old crutch factory" where there are 13 or so cots to house the women. Also up there is a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. It was also very hot. The women had been recently been moved to the "gym" because of the temperature in the crutch factory.
The rest of the facility was also viewed and I will simply say that the conditions are unsanitary, unsafe and unacceptable for the employees and for those incarcerated. I could go on for 20 pages describing what I observed but that is not the intent of this letter. The unacceptable behavior in the county arena has to change. The duty of the County Commissioners, which is the oldest form of county government in America, are to approve budgets, oversee spending and hire county employees, among other duties. The County Delegation seems to want both jobs. First off, the county budget is the responsibility of the commission, Second, how in the hell can the delegation control the budget when they have no idea what they are dealing with? For example, I asked how many delegation members had taken a tour like the one we had and the number was three — back in 2008. Really?! I suggest that the delegation schedule the very same tour that the selectboards are taking, I know they will learn something.
The situation with the county corrections facility is to a point where the answer is not yes or no, but rather how. There is a big difference between liberal and humanitarian and there is a big difference between spend and investment.
Selectman Carla Horne
Meredith

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:21

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Stay a safe distance away from fireworks to protect your hearing

To The Daily Sun,
As schools let out for summer and vacation gets into full swing, I urge readers to protect their own, and their children's, hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss cannot be reversed.
Summer brings a chorus of sweet sounds. But it also brings noise that can be harmful to our ears. Prolonged exposure to the roar of lawn mowers, power tools, motorized recreational vehicles, target shooting, concerts, loud sporting events, and fireworks all can wreak havoc on our hearing. In fact, the single bang of a firecracker at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant, making it forever more difficult to hear the subtler sounds of summer.
While many noisy recreational activities are part of summer's delight, it is extremely important to take precautions to ensure that these activities do not damage our hearing.
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss; both the loudness of the noise and the length of time you're exposed to it matter. However, by taking some simple measures, people can protect their hearing while still enjoying their summer activities.
Do all you can to limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. When you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet. When you know you will be exposed to loud sounds, use earplugs. Disposable earplugs are typically available at local pharmacies. We also offer custom ear protection which will ensure a proper fitting mold, further reducing the risk of unwanted noise exposure.
When watching fireworks displays, stay a safe distance away, where you can enjoy the colors and lights, but not expose yourself and your family to loud noises. To protect your hearing, make sure you are wearing earplugs and that they are securely in place before the show begins; and, be sure to keep them in for the entire show. Even firecrackers pose a risk to your hearing as they produce sounds starting at more than 40 decibels above what OSHA considers unsafe which presents the risk of irreversible ear damage.
When listening to smartphones and MP3 players, keep them at a low volume. This can be a tough thing to monitor with children and teens but it's important to limit their volume with the use of headphones and ear-buds. If they can't understand a conversational-level voice at arm's length away, it's too loud.
Protect against swimmer's ear by making sure to dry ears completely after swimming. Do your best to drain any residual water from your ear canal. Also, monitor the bacterial count when swimming at the beach. Many beaches post signs. Stay out of the water on the days that the bacterial counts are high. If you are still concerned, a few drops of white vinegar in each ear canal will help reduce troubles.
We often take our hearing for granted, but the truth is that hearing loss, especially when left unaddressed, affects our quality of life. Hearing is a significant connection to the world, and we should do all we can to protect it.
The cells of the ear that are the first to be damaged or die are those that allow us to hear higher-frequency sounds clearly, like the sounds of birds singing and children speaking. Ironically, these are the sounds my clients report missing the most.
Repeated exposure to loud noise, over an extended period of time, presents serious risks to hearing health as well. If you have to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within arm's length, the noise is probably in the dangerous range. Warning signs include pain in your ears after leaving a noisy area, ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears immediately after exposure to noise or you suddenly have difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise (you can hear people talking but cannot understand them).
Please enjoy your summer, but not at the risk of your hearing. Family gatherings, visiting grandchildren, attending summer's many concerts and the sound of summer song birds are the things you will miss one day if you don't take measures to protect your hearing today.
Laura Robertson
Doctor of Audiology
Laconia

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:17

Hits: 540

U.S. was and is founded by Declaration as a Nation Under God

To The Daily Sun,
The three most important documents relating to the foundation of our republic are the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Constitution (1787) and the Bill of Rights (created 1789, adopted 1790). The most familiar and most often quoted section among these three organic documents comes from the Declaration and is as follows:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The true source of our two most important rights, life and liberty, are singled out and identified in our nation's founding document, the Declaration of Independence. The true source of these rights is not man nor the writ of man nor is it the Declaration itself or the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The source of these rights is also not vested in Congress or the courts or any government agency or functionary. The true source of our rights to life and liberty is our Creator God. This self-evident truth as applied to our nation cannot be changed because, unlike the Constitution, the Declaration cannot be amended. It was not intended by the founders to be amended. The statement that legally founded The United States of America is found within the last paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and is as follows:
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World (God) for the rectitude (making right) of our intentions (to found a new nation), do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states: that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliance, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent States of right may do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence, (superintending protection of God) we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
A founding statement is not to be found in the Constitution and it should thus be self-evident that the Constitution does not stand alone without the Declaration. The Declaration is a binding founding contract and, unlike the Constitution, has no provision for amendment. To deny the self-evident truth that we are a nation founded under God is to reject and nullify the Declaration compact, and this would leave us with a Constitution with no founding article or covenant. The Constitution superseded the Articles of Confederation but did not nullify the Declaration. We first had to have a nation in order to contract laws for that nation. It cannot be the reverse. That is obvious when looking at the Constitution itself: The Preamble begins, "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..." The inclusion of "more perfect..." implies the Union was already formed. The clincher is in the last sentence of the Constitution:
"DONE in convention by the unanimous consent of the States present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth." Eleven years as a functioning United States of America put us into the twelfth year.
Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the principles presented here does not matter. Their inclusion in our non-amendable founding document is an undeniable matter of fact. Even if our federal government, all civil authority, and/or the courts deny the existence of these principles, take away our First Amendment rights to exercise and express these precepts, and prosecute us for even mentioning them, they still cannot erase the fact that The United States of America was and is founded by the Declaration of Independence as a Nation Under God. Otherwise, explain why have we been celebrating the forth of July as the date of the founding of the United States of America since 1776?
George Brunstad
Meredith

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:13

Hits: 312

90% of American people want gun background checks; 'of the people'?

To The Daily Sun
"...and that government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish..."
Ninety percent of the American people want background checks for gun buyers, but this failed to get through Congress.
Game over? I hope not.
Dick Devens
Center Sandwich

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 08:53

Hits: 273

Convention could not borrow because it had not yet appropriated

To The Daily Sun,
Why do those responsible for enforcement or interpretation of laws ignore the affairs regarding Belknap County? The misdeeds are many, one of which is the Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs) for FY 2013.
The need for additional money to sustain county services surfaced because the convention had not acted upon the appropriations for the ensuing FY 2013 annual budget.
On Feb. 4, 2013 at 4:30 p.m., the Executive Committee motioned to authorize the county treasurer to borrow an amount not to exceed $10 million in TANs. Flaws:
1. Treasurer Michael Muzzey can only borrow money "upon the order of the commissioners" and accordingly was only able to explain the process in support of a request to borrow. However, he was unable to make an official request. (RSA 29:8 Borrowing)
2. On Feb. 4, 2013 at 4:30 p.m., at the Executive Committee's meeting, the only commissioner present was Stephen H. Nedeau. Therefore, the vote by the Executive Committee is automatically VOID.
3. On Feb. 4. 2013 at 5:06 p.m., the convention at its meeting discussed the Tax Anticipation 10 million dollar borrowing to "keep the whole delegation informed". However, no delegation vote was taken.
4. On Feb. 4, 2013, absent any kind of recess or adjournment of the convention's meeting, a commission meeting occurred. The quorum of "Commissioners Edward D. Philpot Jr., John H. Thomas (via conference call) and Stephen H. Nedeau", authorized the county treasurer to request borrowing of up to $10 million in Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs). (Motion carries) Motion by M/Philpot, S/Nedeau to adjourn at 5:06 p.m.. Unanimous. Motion carries.
5. The Executive Committee prematurely voted to approve the borrowing, without the county treasurer possessing the commission's order. Flaw. (RSA 29:8)
6. The approval of the county convention for such borrowing must be secured, unless the convention has not acted upon the appropriations for the ensuing year. No vote regarding 2013 TAN by the convention has any validity prior to the adoption of the budget.
7. On Feb. 19, 2013, a vote by the convention was taken to "authorize the county treasurer to issue an amount not to exceed $10 million in TANs for FY 2013 for Belknap County". Motion carried. This vote has no validity because the convention had not acted upon the appropriations for the ensuing year.
Moreover, on February 8, 2013 a Right-to-Know petition, per RSA 91-A:7, was filed with Belknap Superior Court. The courts shall give proceedings under this chapter high priority on the court calendar. Our challenge has neither a date for an oral/evidentiary hearing, nor a substantive order for over 143 day since filing. Why should plaintiff have to motion the court to place this suit on the trial calendar (SC Rule 13)?
On April 1, 2013, the Petition For Declaratory Judgment Per RSA 91-A:7 was transferred to Grafton County Superior Court regarding the use of secret paper ballots. Our petition, a challenge of the use of paper ballots in open meeting, in effect, is a challenge that any action by Belknap County's Convention and its Executive Committee since December 2012, 2012 are null and void.
Thomas A. Tardif
Laconia

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 08:42

Hits: 234

 
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