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Coin collectors will want one of the new White Mountain quarters

To the editor,
The U.S. Mint has issued the first of 2013 and 16th overall in the America the Beautiful quarters program. It is a follow up to the state quarters program.
The newest quarter is a tribute to New Hampshire. It is the White Mountain National Forest quarter. The quarter shows a very familiar scene. It is Mt. Chocorua. I believe the scene shows the mountain as seen from Sandwich.
It is a beautiful coin, which I expect many collectors will want.
It is very disappointing that none of the banks in Laconia are getting them. I would like to know why.
I have made inquiries at every bank in the city and the only response from tellers is that they don't know.
Gordon D. King

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 00:50

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We can all play a role in preventing teen dating violence

To the editor,
This February, New Beginnings would like to invite the community to join us in taking a stand against teen dating violence. February has been designated as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month since 2010, and this provides an excellent opportunity for us as a community to call awareness to the specific ways intimate partner violence affects teens.
Statistics collected by the National Resource Center for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month are alarmingly high. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. One in three girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse or sexual assault committed by an intimate or dating partner.
In addition to the pervasiveness of abuse among teens, there are several research findings that illustrate why a focus on teens is so important. About 72 percent of eighth and ninth grade students are dating. Violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12 and 18. Young women ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average. The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
These numbers are even more problematic considering the lack of awareness and education of dating violence. 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit that they don't know if it is an issue. While 82 percent of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating violence, a majority of parents could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.
The good news is that we all can play a role in preventing teen dating violence. Three of the essential things adults can do are: learn more about teen dating violence, model healthy relationships and talk to teens in our lives about abuse and healthy relationships. As with all efforts to protect our teens, it is important that adults start the conversation rather than waiting for teens to come to us. Start young and keep the conversation age-appropriate. Teens have a crucial role to play, too. They can promote healthy relationships among their peers, learn techniques for safe, effective bystander intervention, and join New Beginnings' Youth Advisory Board to help raise awareness of dating violence.
New Beginnings serves all of Belknap County and is devoted to ending domestic and sexual violence and stalking through education, prevention, and services to those whose lives have been affected by violence. We offer educational workshops for teens and adults about teen dating violence. These presentations are free-of-charge and can be adapted for teen, professional, and parent audiences. If you are interested in having New Beginnings present to a group of teens or adults, call (603)528-6511.
If you think you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship call 1-866-644-3574 to speak with a trained advocate. There is no minimum age to call a crisis line. Services are free, confidential, and available 24/7.
Kitty Kiefer
New Beginnings

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 02:10

Hits: 418

Inter-Lakes proposal to retain unspent funds is a scary idea

To the editor,
A conundrum has arisen in the Inter-Lakes School District that I just can't figure out, no matter how many meetings I attend or questions I ask. In full disclosure, however, I admit that I'm not great with numbers and formulas.
The proposed budget, if everything is passed at the Annual District meeting on Wednesday, March 6, includes $138,609 for the Support Staff agreement, $562,761 of operating budget increases and $499,319 of operating revenue decreases, for a net assessment increase of $1,200,689. No, that's not even the conundrum — when has the school budget ever not included big increases, despite declining enrollment?
What has me most bothered right now is the page in the packet entitled, "WHAT DOES THIS BUDGET MEAN FOR MY TAX BILL?" Evidently, it is projected, that for every $250,000 of property value owned in Meredith, the school taxes will increase by $197.24. For the same property in Center Harbor, the tax bill will go down by $27.57 and folks in Sandwich will see a decrease of $124.95 for every $250,000 assessment.
In looking through the last 15 years of annual reports, I can't find a time when the residents of only one town paid for all of the increases — there have been various combinations of two towns paying up and one getting a decrease, but the burden has never been put on one town. You're welcome, Sandwich and Center Harbor! This begs the questions, "Why?" and "If there is a surplus returned to the towns at the end of the year, will it all go to Meredith?" I bet not.
Also, a big concern is Article 7 on the School District Warrant: "To see if the District will vote to authorize, indefinitely until rescinded, to retain year-end unassigned general funds ...at 2.5 percent of the current fiscal year's net assessment..." This means that if there is a surplus, this year more than $400,000, it can be put into a fund balance, collected indefinitely and used in the future to pay for emergencies or reduce the tax rate.
I think that is one scary idea. it would probably be fine if we were a one town district, because towns retain general funds all the time, but it could create a real unfair balance within a school cooperative, especially for the timing of future returned money to reduce a tax rate. The Inter-Lakes School District has Expendable Trust Funds already in place for emergencies, wish list encumbrances already come out of end of year surplus funds, and usually something left over has annually been given back to taxpayers. We don't need Article 7.
Please come to the meeting on March 6 at 7 p.m. in the I-LHS gym for information and voting, and also to welcome our new superintendent and say goodbye to long time board member Jack Carty!
Karen Sticht

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 02:03

Hits: 438

The President's plans are reasonable – tell Congress to act

To the editor,
It is time to support the President in his battles for social justice and his efforts to help the middle class. We need to contact our senators and representatives and call for a vote. The president needs our help!
We need an immigration policy that will get eleven million people paying taxes to the United States and get them contributing to our society. President Bush and President Obama agree on this issue. Let's get it passed!
It is time for sensible gun laws. There are several issues that need to be voted on as soon as possible. Congress is having an undeserved ten day vacation. We need to tell them we want a vote on the gun issues!
The president has a reasonable plan to get America back to work by increasing manufacturing jobs and repairing infrastructure. Tell Congress we want action!
Nine dollars is a reasonable minimum wage. It would put the income for a 40-hour week over the poverty line. It would encourage people to choose work rather than handouts. It would give people hope for a better life.
The president needs our help! Take the time to send the e-mails and make the calls to our senators and representatives. Perhaps you could talk to them in person at their local offices. Tell then we want votes on these issues. Remember the opposition may be very loud but there are more of us. We are the majority and we need to make our voices heard!
Paul Bonneville
Lochmere (Tilton)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:58

Hits: 265

Ashland BOS has imposed a gag order on the general public

To the editor,
The motion picture "Network" produced one of the most memorable lines we hear even today: "I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore". This expressed my feelings when we learned the Ashland SB-2 meeting was not videotaped. There are many reasons a voter could not attend the meeting. Sickness, work or, even, indifference could stop voters from attending. It does not mean those who did not attend are not interested in watching their fellow citizens participate in the Democratic process. We again ask, why not? Why wasn't the meeting on PB Cam?
Is this yet another attempt by the chair of the Ashland Board of Selectmen to distance the voters from the machinations of that board? At the December 3rd BOS meeting, Madame Chair Jeanette Stewart, issued her infamous edict that the taxpaying public would no longer be allowed to verbally question any action of their elected officials. To skirt the law, all questions could be submitted in writing to the BOS and would be answered two weeks later at the next BOS meeting. An ineffective and inefficient remedy at best. At the December 3rd meeting, Madame Chair stated "she was following the advice of the town TA (town administrator), Paul Branscombe". We find this very difficult to believe that Mr. Branscombe, whose mother country gave the world the Magna Carta (a blue print for our own Declaration of Independence) and whose personal hero is Winston Churchill, would advocate such tyranny in his adopted country. If he did so advise the madam, Ashland would have been better served if the TA quoted Lord Acton: "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
We would like to bring to the reader's attention the "progression of suppression" since Ms. Stewart became chair after the March, 2012 election. Soon after the election, she told the voters that no question about past activities would be allowed, "the Board is too busy with present matters". Shortly after, Madam Chair moved the BOS work sessions to a time (8:30 a.m. weekdays) and place (conference room at the Town Hall), not convenient for the general public. Then she announced, the public would not be permitted to speak at any work session. This "gag" order was then extended to all BOS meetings, as stated at the BOS meeting December 3rd. At the December 17th BOS meeting, during the signing of the manifest, two adult women were in a quiet conversation at the back of the library. Madam Chair stated "would you like to leave? If not, please don't say anything. From that moment, all citizens of Ashland can be "seen and not heard". The oppression was and is complete.
Abuse of power is not limited to Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, or Saddam Hussein. However, it can be yielded just as ruthlessly by a priest, police chief, and, yes by a "Madam Chair".
Ashland is now a town that has no voice in dealing with our problems or concerns. We are not a 'Banana Republic'. We are small town America. Things have to change!
We are asking all who read this letter for your help. We intend to contact our state representatives to help restore our Freedom of Speech in our town. We will ask them to submit an amendment to the Right-t- Know Law or, if necessary, an RSA that mandates all selectboard agendas to include public comments and concerns, so the tax payers can have a say in their government.
If any reader has suggestions or even further concerns to convey to our state Legislature, please use these pages of a free and unfettered press (letters to the editor) to print your concerns. We will pass them on. If you have a computer there is a wonderful blog called "Ashland Speaks" that is also free an unfettered which could also take your comments.
This is not liberal vs. conservative, blue vs. red, or Democrat vs. Republican. It is not even an Ashland issue. It is an American issue. It is a Freedom of Speech issue.
Thank you. We are a member of the silenced majority
Joe & Sandra Coleman

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:53

Hits: 369

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