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In telephone poll, 91 percent supported senior housing

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing in response to comments made by Mr. Bill Whalen in a news article written by a Sun reporter. This article reported on the outcome of a public hearing dealing with an ordinance dealing with senior housing in Sanbornton. I was a bit surprised to see Mr. Whalen's comments at the end of that article since we was not present at that meeting.

In regards to the two senior housing projects that were shot down, I believe the major reason was because of location. There were other reasons for that failure. Since I was heavily involved in the Dr. True Road project, it pains me to admit with hindsight that the site was not the best. I am now personally glad that it failed. Senior housing per se was never the main issue.

Mr. Whalen commented in the article that there was no evidence that people in town wanted senior housing. A number of years ago the Grange in town conducted a phone survey asking 102 seniors over the age of 65 about their opinions concerning the need for senior housing here in Sanbornton. The result was that 91 percent agreed to the need. The majority felt that seniors not having to leave the town of Sanbornton was the most valuable reason. Sixteen people said they knew of someone who was ready to move in. This result was made public at the time.

I suspect that Mr. Whalen has not had the opportunity to mix it up with many seniors int he communiy. Please forgive me if I am wrong. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity because of the type of work that I do. Many seniors could at one time do their own work in and around their property, but because of their age no longer can. Some folks can afford to hire someone, while others cannot. Some will be able to move in with relatives, while others cannot.

In regards to Mr. Whalen's comments about the existing ordinance being repealed a number of years ago, he is correct. The vote in favor of repeal was 396, and against 339., according to the 2005 Town Report. However, I hardly consider that an overwhelming majority as he stated in his comments. Many, no doubt, voted for repeal simply because the Planning Board recommended it. I have done that myself before, and I know others who have. I also know that some folks did not like some of the provisions in the ordinance. Some residual anger probably existed from the project on Dr. True Road.

Finally, in regards to Mr. Whalen's remarks about Article 13 in the 2014 Town Meeting, unlike what was said in his comments, there is no mention of using the five-member group to develop an ordinance. That, I understand, is normally the duty of the Planning Board and the Town Planner. I abstained when the vote came up, feeling that a better approach was needed.

I hold no personal animosity toward Bill Whalen. My suggestion is that he try to be a bit more accurate with the facts that he presents to the newspaper. It might also be wise to try to attend public hearings that deal with topics that he is interested in. Finally, in all sincerity, peace be with you.

Dick Leclerc


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Students in Plymouth were wrongly turned away from polls

To The Daily Sun,

Among the many rights we as Americans are granted, one stands above the rest – the right to vote. There is no force more powerful than the ability to choose the construct of one's society, and subsequently one's life. With the first-in-the-nation Primary Election behind us, it is important that our state learn from that experience. While the media focuses on the outcome of the Primary, what has received far less attention is the fact that many constitutionally eligible voters — in particularly student voters — were unjustly denied the right to cast their ballot on Tuesday.

On Primary Day, several Plymouth State students reported that they were wrongly turned away from the polls. They were told by apparently ill-informed poll workers that they could not vote either because they lacked identification, did not have a passport or birth certificate, or because they had out-of-state driver's licenses. Ultimately, the Attorney General's office had to dispatch an employee to Plymouth to monitor the situation and remind the poll workers of their legal obligations. There is no way of knowing exactly how many students were denied their right to vote before the Attorney General's office intervened.

A number of the students who were wrongfully turned away on Tuesday were disheartened and distraught by an experience that should have been one of empowerment and civic engagement. As a student trustee for the University System of New Hampshire, I have seen students endeavor to vote despite the barriers of recent years. Yet with all their passion for exercising their right to vote, students still need support from their community as they develop healthy voting habits and a sense of civic responsibility.

As one of the most influential actors in students' lives, universities are part of a student's support system but not the only influencers. Students need the support of the rest of their community stakeholders. Local and state governments are important players in cultivating students' strong civic engagement as they exercise their right to participate in the electoral process. If we expect students to develop into civic-minded and informed adults, we must encourage voting and impress upon our students the importance of civic responsibility.

Why is there such opposition to the student vote, and who has taken it upon themselves to violate student voting rights?

Student voting should not be a red or blue issue, yet many individuals take exception to students voting in New Hampshire. Many students relinquish political or social investment in their home towns and instead look to New Hampshire. They spend the majority of their four or more years here, held accountable under our laws and adding to our economy and social fabric. They are just as much a part of our society as those of us that claim New Hampshire as our residence and should be treated as such — we should all remember that come November. We must ensure that what happened in Plymouth on Tuesday never happens again.

Lincoln Crutchfield

Concord and Durham

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