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City allowing Memorial Park diamond to just fall apart; it's a disgrace

To The Daily Sun,

American Legion Baseball is still being played at Memorial Field in Laconia's South End. This is baseball that equals the Muskrats in energy and skill. Yet, not too many people know about it or even care. Two games were played Saturday without a lot of even parental support. Eighteen players from the Lakes Region are rostered, but only about 15 people were there to cheer them on. Seven of those people were there for the same player. Where was everyone else?

They played Plymouth and there were at least three to four dozen supporters on hand to support them a rainy holiday. My thanks go out to coach Joe Dee for his many years of running the program, rain or shine.

Nearly three years ago the press box was removed. I heard that it was a safety issue, but I am not convinced. Most of the bleachers were also removed and we got other parks' leftovers. Wires to the scoreboard were cut but not tagged and it doesn't seem that anyone knows how to fix it.

When the Parks and Rec supervisor was asked, I got a response that there was nothing in the budget to fix it. My question is, "Then why did you break it?" I don't even know if they have the box from the old press box.

The bottom line is, it is hard to support your team without seeing the score displayed. Asking the coach for the score is not the answer. He is too busy trying to win a game.

Hundreds of thousand dollars have been put into Robbie Mills complex and into the high school athletic fields, but there is no money to fix what they broke. Coca-Cola no longer supplies scoreboards, so that is not an option. Perhaps some benevolent businesses could get together and once again bail-out Laconia.

Memorial Field's diamond used to be the jewel of parks in Laconia, but it is being let fall apart and that is a disgrace. Just my opinion.

Earl Beale


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Froma Harrop - Bernie has never been one to get his hands dirty

Back in the 1960s, Bernie Sanders burned hot as a civil rights activist. He led sit-ins against segregation and participated in the 1963 March on Washington. A few years later, he joined the exodus of countercultural lefties from the cauldron of New York City to the bucolic hills of Vermont — the whitest state in the nation.

That's Sanders in a nutshell. The senator from Vermont, now running for president, is a lovable talker, but talk is almost all he's ever done. Other liberals found purpose teaching at inner city schools. Sanders hung around coffee shops in picturesque Burlington, arguing the finer points of the socialist paradise he intended to create in a place that was already half there.

Shortly after arriving, Sanders and his then-wife bought 85 rural acres with the thought of living off the land. "I don't think Bernie was particularly into growing vegetables," a friend told Mother Jones magazine. Well, many a Vermont field went unplowed in those days.

During an early run for state office as a Liberty Union Party candidate, Sanders proposed ending compulsory education in Vermont. As he put it, Vermont schools "crush the spirits of our children".

In fairness, Sanders did hold a serious executive office as mayor of Burlington. And he's mellowed into pragmatism. Despite his anti-war views, Sanders has supported Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet, ignoring the hundreds of billions in cost overruns. It meant jobs in Vermont.

And he's done some updating. In railing against the villains of the oligarchy, he's replaced "Rockefeller" with "Koch".

To his credit, Sanders never disavowed his socialist leanings. (He refers to himself as a "democratic socialist.") Nor has he scrubbed the Brooklyn from his voice, another honest touch.

Dressed in the rumpled suit of the prairie populist, Sanders has tuned his rhetoric to resonate with middle-of-the-road Americans worried about growing economic inequality. The crowds enjoy him, and he's doing surprisingly well in the polls.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat also running for president, is understandably irked by the attention Sanders garners. Portraying himself as the true liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton, O'Malley notes his success in raising his state's minimum wage and legalizing same-sex marriage. Asked at a rally in Iowa how he differed from Sanders, O'Malley responded, "I've actually gotten these things done."

Part of Sanders's retro charm comes from his refusal to rewrite his story. But the story as he tells it is incomplete.

Writing in The Vermont Freeman back in the '70s, Sanders explained his decision to leave New York City as follows: He couldn't bear holding a "monotonous" office job among "the mass of hot dazed humanity heading uptown for the 9-5."

No mention of what were probably the stronger motivations — the muggings, the racial tensions, the bodies sleeping (or dead) in the subway stations. The New York of the '70s was a hard place for working people of all colors. As writer James Wolcott memorably put it, New Yorkers lived with "the sense that much of the social contract had suffered a psychotic break."

Today, Gotham's humanity is as dazed as ever and if anything, hotter, yet the city has become a magnet for young, ambitious, creative people. The difference is that New York has become an amazingly safe city — thanks in large part to the New Yorkers who stuck around to fix much of what went wrong.

It's one thing to fight in the fray of urban disorder and another to shadowbox in the gentle hills of northern New England.

Say this for Sanders, though: He puts on a good show. Stagecraft may be where his greatest talents lie.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)


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