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School District needs to be honrest about what's really important

To The Daily Sun,

In the fall of the 1982 school year, the Huot Vocational Center was nearly complete, and the newest gem in the state technical system for high school students was set to open for Lakes Region students. Jack Nelson was the new director, and I was brought in to be the coordinator, or dean of students if you wish. My number one task was to fill the seats with students from the six surrounding school districts, as well as Laconia. As a recruiter, it was my responsibility to see to it that Huot Center programs were running at full capacity, and stayed that way.

I had two basic selling points to work with, and I used them as much as possible. First off, we had a terrific set of instructors, who really knew how to give our new students a great experience in not only the academics of their particular area, but also a wonderful real-life practical experience in their chosen field. This brings me to my second selling point which I used extensively, and that was the Huot Center itself. It was a magnificent set of programs with a beautiful, practical facility that basically sold itself. When I toured groups of students through the center, they would be absolutely stunned at the multiple state of the art program areas and equipment. Yeah, the Building Trades Center was overwhelming, the Food Service restaurant warm and very appealing, the Power Mechanics shop was massive and very technical in design, but the gem, the cornerstone of the whole project was the absolutely alive Day Care Center, a beautiful home to a dozen little children and the day care students.

It was what everyone came to see, and seemed to epitomize all that we were trying to accomplish in our technical world of preparing students for the workforce. In the 13 years that followed that I helped run the Huot Center, the Child Care Program, and Child Care Center continued to be the most popular and sought-after programs we offered, fueled no doubt by the wonderful opportunity to learn directly from the little ones who were attending the day care center.

My deceased son Nathan, when he was 4-years-old, attended the Huot Day Care Center, and had an absolutely wonderful experience. You do away with this program, how are you going to sell your center, and then, what's next?

In times of budget deficits like this one, it is important to be honest about what you need and really do not need. In my 32 years as an educator in the Laconia School system, it always seemed that Laconia was very top-heavy with administrators, yet willing to cut direct service staff and programs.

Why does Laconia need a $140,000 superintendent, and why continue to have an assistant superintendent who practically does very little. The present, average student in Laconia needs all the help that can be generated through hard work and caring instructors, and programs that work, such as the Huot Center Day Care program. Please do not be shortsighted. It will cost you in the long run, (and cost you) dearly.

Jim Babcock


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Storm that is gathering is much larger than any other in history

To The Daily Sun.  

Frank hailed from Kentucky. His family owned an estate there for generations. He was a kind man who rescued Kentucky race horses and gave them a home in Center Harbor. Quite often, if I was not already at his home he would give me a call to "come over, I want to introduce you to someone."

I cannot recall all the people Frank introduced me to but a few come to mind. A sister to his wife from England visited. They talked about their experience in the war. (Probably World War I). Franks wife drove an ambulance. A man who worked at Annalee Dolls. Another man had visited who worked with Frank during World War II.

These and more were wonderful experiences. I am glad that I learned from many who were part of history — Frank included. As a middle teenager I found it more enlightening to learn about history than doing what most teenagers did, chase girls, "vedge" out on music or other wasteful pursuits.

Frank informed me that in some parts of the world a man can marry by simply saying " I marry thee, I marry thee, I marry thee" three times. He also informed me that a divorce is conducted much the same way. " I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee." He mentioned that adoptions could be the same way. So he said to me, "I adopt thee, I adopt thee, I adopt thee." From that point on I addressed Frank as Uncle Frank.

Uncle Frank had a slightly crippled hand. One day I got the courage to ask, "Uncle Frank, what happened to your hand?" He was silent for what seemed like a minute. Staring into what seemed like a void. Then he looked at his hand, eyes becoming moist.

"Well! I was in a trench during World War I." I thought that was going to be his entire comment when he quietly said, "Sitting in the trenches was close to hell, it was musty, fear of death hung over everyone, the thought of poisonous gas was in everyone's mind, I was sitting in the dirt, leaning against the bank " Uncle Frank grew silent. I waited. "And then a shadow overcame me, I looked up as a German soldier was baring down on me with with his bayonet, I had no time but to grab the bayonet. A soldier then shot him." And then Uncle Frank changed the subject. I did not know why, but this was a lesson I would need to learn on my own later in life.

Uncle Frank and I would sit for hours talking about history. He was fortunate to have many old papers and documents to back up his lessons, as I grew to call them. We talked about slavery and its terrible sin on mankind. He showed me some old papers that included names of slaves. His grandfather had inherited these poor humans. According to the documents some were sent to college. One was sent to a university to learn agriculture so he could manage the estate. I did not breach the subject of which side his grandfather fought on during the Civil War. He seemed to understand my hesitance and remarked, "My grandfather was a southern Democrat". This response did not mean much to a young teenager.

"While the French and English were fighting the Germans, President Wilson promised that if he was elected, he would not send our boys to war." Uncle Frank unexpectedly spoke up. My look of "What?" seemed to open the door for another bit of historical truth. "Right after he was elected on that promise he began working on the draft." And not long after my mentor found himself in the trenches in France.

Thinking back of our many visits, I recall how this former dough boy emphatically stated, "None of us wanted to fight, often we would play cards with the Germans in the trenches, our leaders nearly drove us to fight, it started with the civilian leadership and went to the commanding officers."

My thoughts then were "what a chaotic principle." Things were winding down then and suddenly a new force was thrown in on the side of the French and English. The Versailles treaty in its harshness devastated what was left of the German economy. A tangling alliance that benefited no one but the financiers and one-worlders. Most likely, one and the same. From this time onward we disregarded council from our Founding Fathers.

At the time that Hitler was being financed by the West, Uncle Frank was working for General Electric. He was there for quite some time. The subject of spies came up. I was shown a citation from Franklin Delano Roosevelt that was awarded him for assistance in apprehending two soviet agents. This was at a time when agents were flooding the nation in order to steal everything they could on our war technologies. Much of it was given free and clear anyways. And then they used it against us in Korea. The Russian tank was designed from our Caterpillar factory we gave them. Ford truck factory allowed them to build military trucks.

The United Nations was a progressive (Soviet) invention. It aided the Russians and Koreans during the Korean War. The Vietnam War followed suit. At that time it appears that the State Department was crawling with Soviet agents, according to former Under Secretary of State J. Reuben Clarke.

It appears that there is another storm gathering. Much larger than any in history. Warnings from those who man the watchtowers have gone unheeded by those who pull the strings. Or is it part of the plan?

We may very well be under an illusion when we think we have a choice. Wars! Shouldn't we unite and find out where this ideology originates? Or are we under the spell that George Orwell summed up in "1984" perpetual war for perpetual peace."

Gene F. Danforth


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