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Leading parade down Disney Main Street was amazing beyond words

To The Daily Sun,

At a time when there are negative issues and the weather is dreary, it is good to know that the Laconia School District can be proud of their students who have passed through their school doors singing and playing their instruments.

This past week, your Marching Sachems, Jazz Band, Concert Choir and Symphonic Band received excellent and superior ratings at Festival Disney in Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Students were praised for their performances and behavior.

Our Symphonic Band received the Best in Class for concert band. You should have seen Head Drum Major (LHS Valedictorian) Taylor Gagne's face when he was presented the award. I cannot measure how elated those students were and proud of themselves and others in all of the groups. All the way back to the bus after the awards night and dance, our students were chanting, "Hey band, how do you feel," singing our school fight song, chanting "Sachem Nation," and doing the "get down." No other school was that pumped.

Marching down Main Street as lead in the Disney Main Street Electric Light Parade was amazing beyond words. Students were speechless. They were all given honorary Disney staff status and a set of festival Disney Mickey Mouse ears. The Marching Sachems also marched through Epcot for their competition parade.

One women from Ohio, a trainer for Festival Disney, sought me out to say how proud and impressed she was that a small school from as far away as New Hampshire promotes excellence in their school music programs and make opportunities like this available for their students. She couldn't stop talking, she was so impressed with the program our school district offers.

I want to continue seeing these opportunities for students of Laconia and making sure our band programs are set in place. Our administration has asked me to "think outside the box" to seek ways to make things possible, of which I will continue to do for our students and school district.

Thank you to all who support your kids, this program, as the many other programs, they make a difference in our students' lives. Laconia offers all students a whole education. As I say at each concert, "Thank you for supporting the three A's, Academics, Athletics and the Arts!"

As a bonus, I got a hug from Mickey Mouse.

Debbi Gibson

Music and Art Department Head

Laconia High School

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Gilmanton selectmen: please fix your minutes & pay better attention

To The Daily Sun,

Would someone please tell me what's going on in Gilmanton? I mean, honestly, I consider myself a fairly observant and relatively intelligent person but I have no clue.

At the April 13 selectmen's meeting, the posted minutes read: "On a motion by Selectman McWhinnie and seconded by Selectman Bishop it was voted unanimously to freeze Fire Department chief, Police Department chief and Road Agent pay, including COLAs, for two years, for the years 2016 and 2017. (3-0 Voice Vote – Chairman Jean -ye s, Selectman McWhinnie - yes, Selectman Bishop – yes)." Okay, so then there's a footnote added that states: "These motions were made on this date and rescinded on the following selectmen's meeting on April 18, 2016 which will be reflected on the minutes of that meeting." So, I thought it would be informative to read those minutes to, you know, just get an idea of why they were rescinded. Well, wouldn't you know, there are no on-line posted minutes for April 18. This is May 4. Three weeks, and no minutes? I suppose I could complain and remind the selectman of their responsibility under RSA Section 91-A:2 "Minutes" . . . but why bother. After the poorly handled "Gilmantongate" minutes debacle of the April 4th selectman's meeting, who knows how they would respond.

While I'm on the subject, though, I wanted to share that I'm relieved that I will never have to vote again. Why bother! I voted for those COLA wage increases and the selectman rescinded my vote. Mine and 640 others. Of course they eventually rescinded what they rescinded but is it wrong for me to point out that even a 4th grader knows enough about the democratic process that you just can't take away the public's vote? Honestly, I understand that two of the selectman have absolutely no experience in governing a town, but to go against a legal vote? There's no excuse for that.

The big question though, is: Was this really just a mistake, or was this board and town manager maybe publicly flexing a little political muscle and testing the waters for, let's say, other pursuits? What I'm asking is, what other issues that were legally voted for, or against, does this board intend on undermining? When a warrant is drawn up and is voted on . . .  that's it! If the majority of the voters say no . . . it's no. If yes . . . it's yes. Just as an example, there was a particular warrant article this year that required a super-majority vote. It lost. Are we in Gilmanton to expect then, that when the majority (super-majority, in this case) vote no on something four people have the right to push it through irregardless, without giving it to the voters again? I'm sure the selectmen and town administrator wouldn't be foolish enough to do that, but really, who knows after this COLA flip-flop and the April 4 mess.

So, I'm asking the Gilmanton selectmen and town manager: Please fix your minutes, and pay better attention to the not-so-complicated rights that embody a democratic vote.

Al Blake

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