To The Daily Sun,
In light of the recent negative press associated with Gilford High School, I would like to clarify that the GHS currently being depicted on the news is not the GHS I know.
GHS could not be further from the "poster child for why you should home-school your children" (Fox News). Thanks to the support, resources, and knowledge provided by the administrators and teachers of Gilford High School, the students at GHS have accomplished some remarkable feats.
The school Literary Magazine, Obsessive Image, has been named the Most Outstanding High School Literary and Artistic Magazine in America three years in a row. The play, "Almost Maine," made it to the prestigious New England Drama Festival. The athletes at Gilford High School won the 2013 Sportsmanship Award from the NHIAA. The Robotics team received national exposure at the 2013 World Competition. The Math Team finished third in Division M. The Art Department was recognized by the New Hampshire Scholastic Art Association for the outstanding work of over two dozen students. And the breadth of achievements and successes of GHS students spans far beyond only the few previously mentioned.
It saddens me that these examples of remarkable accomplishments by GHS students are not what is making national news. They attest to the remarkable work of the faculty and its affect on students. I'm not here to speak to the issue inundating news stations, except to say that I feel it has been blown out of proportion. What matters is that in the midst of all this negative attention, I acknowledge and appreciate that GHS has provided me and thousands of others with the tools and knowledge to succeed in all areas of life. I ask that as you witness the attacks on GHS, you take an objective view of the situation and remember all the outstanding accomplishments GHS has made possible for its students.
I would like to thank Gilford High School, the faculty, the administrators, the community, and the student body for fostering a community that has allowed me to grow and excel as a learner and leader.
GHS Class of 2014
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 07:56
To The Daily Sun,
Great parents know that it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to raise healthy and happy children. Parents' lives become focused on caring and guiding their children so that they will become well-adjusted and contributing members of society. Great parents are willing to be insulted, arrested or even killed in order to protect their children, and they are the true unsung heroes in our society. William Baer is one of those heroes.
Former Gilford students have stated that they felt that they were fine with the reading material that was presented to them while they were in school. They had to be. Their grades depended on it. We can't expect a young man or woman who is just starting out in life to understand the viewpoint of one of their elders who has seen more of life. Nor have they become a parent who is trying to protect the innocence of a teenager. They will naturally learn about that as they progress through the different stages of life.
I believe that most people will agree that there is something very wrong with American society. We are producing children who, without a care or a thought, will gun down as many of their fellow classmates as their ammunition will allow. Just a few decades ago, we never would have ever conceived of such a thing. Yet, we keep doing the same things with our children. We keep focusing on the evil that exists in the world, and we keep putting that in front of our youth. We need to ask ourselves why.
The schools in Gilford need to offer reading material that inspires our children to become upstanding citizens and that teaches them to constantly strive to better themselves throughout their lifetime. There are an endless number of books available that can help create that mindset.
Instead, books with pornographic passages have become commonplace, and the Gilford School Board's requirement of asking for parents' permission has been somehow overlooked. We must do far better than that.
My husband and I chose to home-school our two children. Many times people would say, "Why would you home school in Gilford? Gilford has the best school system around."
I am happy to report that both of our children are happy, well-adjusted, contributing and well-liked members of society. They both are now college students, and both maintain a constant 4.0 grade point average. Yet, they never were exposed to the book that has become a much talked about piece of literature in Gilford — or anything like it.
My answer to those who asked us that question is, "Yes, we chose to home school — even in Gilford."
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 07:51
To The Daily Sun,
I was shocked to learn how the Gilford School Board permitted a concerned father of a Gilford High School female student to be arrested and handcuffed for defending his parental rights.
He was not loud. He was not disrespectful. He was not violent. He was being a responsible parent, just doing his God-given job of protecting his children.
If a parent can be arrested for disorderly conduct, acting out of a natural instinct to protect his offspring, I would think educators who deliberately allow pornographic material in the classroom have committed a greater offense.
The School Board's decision to now permit parents to accept controversial material or opt out in advance is a little too late for the students exposed to the material and for the man arrested.
In the name of all that is good and decent, the School Board owes Mr. Baer a public apology, at the very least, and should move to have the charges against him dropped.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 10:38
To The Daily Sun,
On Tuesday, May 6, I and the local multitudes who read The Laconia Daily Sun headline on that day, were horrified to read that the Gilford School Board is being ruled by a tyrannical dictator who has suspended the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in her school board meetings. You know the one, the one ratified into the 'law of the land' way back in 1791, that became part of our "Bill of Rights," that deals with our right to free speech!
The issue is the assignment by the Gilford High School teacher of the ninth-grade honors class of a book that has questionably pornographic material in it for children of that age. The School Board even admitted that in previous years, when the same book was assigned to students to read, parents were warned about it ahead of time, and given the chance to opt out. But this year someone from the government messed up and forgot to warn parents about this, before the fact, and before the damage was done.
Those parents;' rights were violated in this instance, pure and simple. That fact alone is enough to demand the school board cut everyone a little slack who objects to this inappropriate material, and adjusting the meeting rules accordingly. To not do that was arbitrary and tyrannical, and on top of everything else, for that School Board chairman to order that Mr. Baer be arrested and hauled off to jail, was abuse of power, and she must be removed from office immediately.
Mr. Baer (one of the parents of one of the children involved) and others have every right to be upset, because he and his family were denied the opportunity to prevent his daughter from being exposed to this kind of very inappropriate material before it happened. The board chairman exercised extremely poor judgment in setting such restrictive rules, when she should have known this issue was going be a hot topic.
Obviously, any charges against Mr. Baer will be thrown out of court, even by the most incompetent judge. In America, school board chairmen are not kings. In monarchies, where kings rule, the people serve the king. That's the way they do things there. However, here in America, all government officials serve the people. That's how we do things here.
Our local school boards are executive ruling bodies, but they work very well when they operate the closest to the people. But many times they forget who they work for. They don't work for the teachers, they don't work for each other, they don't work for the unions, and they don't work for the governor. They work for the people, and in some larger jurisdictions, those taxpayers pay their salaries. If any public officials aren't comfortable serving the public, and be the servants they are hired to be, they should resign or be removed from office immediately.
And the policeman involved, Lt. James Leach, of the Gilford Police Department, should be ashamed of himself for arresting a fellow citizen who was simply exercising his rights. You didn't uphold the law, mister, and you didn't protect the rights of anybody. You symbolically violated the rights of every citizen in this country who has ever been arrested trying to exercise their right to redress their grievances. I shudder to imagine what you might do, or what might happen if an over-zealous Army general were to issue an illegal order to you, demanding that you shoot unarmed protesters that might be disobeying some arbitrary ruling by a power-hungry politician.
This kind of tyrannical behavior by self-appointed governmental dictators is increasing every day, at every level of government, and it must stop now. There may not be many of us who are willing to put our lives on the line, but, for the future of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there more than enough of us. And we can make a difference.
Think about it — we surround them. And there are thousands more of us than there are of them. There are enough of us to make a difference. But we don't have much time left.
However, as long as government is going to continue to violate our First Amendment rights to free speech, to peaceably protest, and redress our grievances, we shall continue to thank God almighty for the Second Amendment. Don't doubt me.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 10:34
To The Daily Sun,
By now most of you have heard something about Workforce Housing, (WFH). The state enacted a law in 2008 that all municipalities look at their current housing and rental stock to ensure that their towns are not falling short on providing their fair share of WFH. The law states that if a municipality's existing housing is sufficient to accommodate its fair share of the current and reasonably foreseeable regional need for such housing the municipality shall be deemed, "in compliance" with the law.
I agree that the way it's worded could have been much better but, what do I know? I'm just a bottom feeder just as most of us are living outside of the government.
Anyway, that's the law. It's also asking all towns to look at there regions, (In our case, Belknap County) to see if "The Majority" of their region meets WFH, or do they need to make changes to comply.
Sanbornton's existing housing stock is 71.60 percent per U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Belknap County. (2014). I think we are "In Compliance" with the law and will be for several years to come.
Now, you need to also take in consideration the rest of the towns in your region as they also contribute in the equation. OK, look at them, see where they are and make adjustments accordingly, if needed, and at the end of the day if your town meets the percentage needed for regional need, 51, 52, 55 percent, etc., done.
If your housing stock is sufficient, you are in compliance with the law and need to do nothing else. Not add, change or alter your existing town's amendments for fear of a lawsuit? Is there a fear of lawsuits? Yes. There always is. You can't escape that. Sorry. All you can do is try to be reasonable.
Why are we here? There were a few towns in the state, mostly southern New Hampshire, that the average working family could not afford to live in resulting in long commutes for the folks that worked in the Walmarts, Home Depots, etc., the same towns the planning boards throughout the state are using to scare the townspeople of possible lawsuits. So, along came RSA 674:58-61.
Sanbornton voted to accept a Federal Grant in 2013 to look at WFH and make changes if needed, at least that's what most folks thought when it was voted in. Turns out that was incorrect, the WFH grants were broken into two parts. One was offered in 2011, to complete the study to see if your town already complied, which we do and Sanbornton decided not to participate in. The second round of grants, offered in 2013 was to assist if your town fell short of compliance. I would think that somewhere down the road at least some members of the board became to realize this. To be compliant with the second grant, you needed to a few things, one was to hold information meetings throughout the purposed changes you would create, and Sanbornton did not. Another was to enact amendments. Our board created the amendments, accepted them, and now, in the 24th hour, had a couple of meetings to be compliant. The sad part is we really do not need them at all. We should have done the study.
Why is the Planning Board asking for the changes, because they have to for compliance with the grant, not because we need them. Do not get me wrong, I know how hard it is to be on a board in any town. It's the most thankless job one can do. I sat on the Budget Committee and got beat up regularly. Goes with the territory, nothing personal. I respect all the members on the Planning Board. They made a mistake, we all make em. I've made more than I'd care to admit. It's human.
I and a small group of neighbors were alerted of this recently and are just trying to get the word out as the ramifications of these amendments will be very costly to the taxpayers of Sanbornton if passed. An earlier article was correct, there are only two WFH amendments on the ballot, 5 & 6. Amendment 3 & 4 change the existing cluster housing? The other problem is the grant money accepted to create all the amendments was flawed. We're asking that you consider voting all the amendments down, for now, complete the study for compliance of RSA 674:58-61, draft a letter if we comply, which we do, or, I'll play devil's advocate, if we do not, try a different approach. If we did need to address multifamily dwellings, not rip up the current cluster housing that is allowed in Commercial and General Residential (zones), change it from three to five units, but add a five-unit WFH dwellings constructed per the ordinance, low cost materials, etc. Allow it in commercial, General Residential and if needed, into selected areas of our Agricultural zoned areas as some towns have done, keep control, not just open up the complete zone?
Talk about lawsuits, the board is going to have fun if these pass as purposed. It's like opening up the barn door and letting the animals out with no fences built? Anyway, just a thought.
We’ve been called a NIMBY for our concerns on this issue and all I can say is, yes I am a NIMBY & proud of it, which means, Not In My Back Yard. As is every citizen that goes to the polls, local meetings, etc. Incidentally, all of our back yards make up our town. What I truly am in this case really is a concerned citizen. I fear that as proposed, these amendments could allow our town to develop much faster than it needs. Bottom line, we do not need to change any of our zoning now to accommodate RSA 674:58-61. Let’s complete the study.
I know the reason I am being called a NIMBY is because a developer owns a 33 acre parcel next to me. Incidentally, it has only eight useable acres. I guess developers will be able to include un-useable land in the equation to squeeze in the multi-unit dwellings? Some folks think I am most worried about that. Wrong. If there was the slightest chance that he could build, he would have already had an application in with the Planning Board, especially as the board pointed out how vulnerable we are for lawsuits without the amendments to save us. He would make sure that he has it in prior to the vote.
We comply with the RSA.
Thank You for your time, and please vote "No" on Amendments 1-6 on May 13, 2014.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 10:29