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'Coach Bob' Champlin has been amazing educator and leader

To the editor,
I am quite certain that this is only one of a large number of letters you will receive concerning Bob Champlin's retirement letter, read to the School Board the other night. Reading the story caused me to reflect on my relationship with Bob.
I first got to know "Coach Bob" when I became involved in the Lou Athanas Youth Basketball League. You could immediately tell that this was a man dedicated to the youth of the community. He gladly accepted any task I asked him to help with and during my tenure with LAYBL he helped me run the High School Girls Division of the league.
I remember a series of incidents being instigated against my daughter by a particular student at the Middle School that required police action. Former Principal Rice was refusing to take action and within a day of being notified of what was going on, Bob Champlin had satisfactorily rectified the situation. We didn't have to harangue the superintendent's office to get them to respond. My wife merely sent a short e-mail to Bob. My daughter was safe and I am still grateful to this day.
I also remember when my oldest daughter graduated from LHS. Graduation day was very hectic and quite rough on us and not only because of the weather and the ceremony being moved into the old MMS gymnasium. My mother-in-law, my daughter's grandmother was in the hospital. The ceremony went without a hitch except for the dire heat everyone was experiencing in the gym. My daughter wanted to go visit her grandmother in the hospital with her cap and gown but they were supposed to return them after the ceremony was over. I remember approaching Bob to ask if she could return the cap and gown later but before I could say anything he told her "go visit your grandma. She needs to see you dressed up and you can drop the cap and gown off at the school on Monday."
This is an example of what made Bob such an amazing educator and leader. I don't know how many people know that Bob not only knows the names of every student in his district but also knows details of their lives. He has proven that he is a man that not only wants them to become the best they can be but is also willing to protect and defend them at the same time.
I have no doubt that Bob will overcome his current health challenges but I do have a concern that the citizens of Laconia will have a school superintendent who is as capable, compassionate and caring as the one they have right now.
Best of luck to you with what the future brings, Coach Bob. You will always have my support and respect wherever life takes you.
Greg Knytych
New Hampton

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:20

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Michael Barone - College bubble bursts after decades of extravagance

Markets work. But sometimes they take time. That's the uncomfortable lesson that proprietors of America's colleges and universities are learning.
For many years, market forces didn't seem to apply to them. There was a widespread societal consensus that a college education was a good economic investment. Politicians gave lip service to the idea that everyone should go to college. No one should be stopped by a lack of money.
There was historic precedent. The G.I. Bill of Rights vastly expanded college populations and helped build prosperous post-World War II America. Putting even more through college would make us even more prosperous.
So Congress passed student loan and grant programs to make it easier for people to pay for college and university tuitions. That increased potential higher education revenues.
Surprise! Over the last three decades, tuitions rose faster than the economy grew.
For a long time, that didn't seem to be a problem. College still seemed like a good investment during the quarter century of low-inflation economic growth from 1982 to 2007. You could pay off those loans with earnings increased by your degree.
Meanwhile colleges and universities — and not just the highly selective ones — competed for students whose test scores would improve their ratings in the U.S. News College Guide by giving "scholarships" that actually were discounts on the tuition list price.
To attract these students, the educational institutions built fancy dormitories, gymnasiums and student centers. And they vastly increased the number of administrators, to the point where colleges and universities had more administrators than teachers.
Government helped to produce an ever-increasing demand for higher education. So higher education administrators saw no need to compete on price. Higher tuitions just gave your school more prestige.
Now the higher education bubble has burst. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that that the average "tuition discount rate" offered incoming freshmen last fall by private colleges and universities has reached an all-time high of 45 percent. At the same time, their "sticker price" tuitions have increased by the smallest amount in the last dozen years. Tuitions for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities also increased by the smallest amount during that period.
Applicants are negotiating bigger discounts than they used to. Market competition has kicked in.
What has happened is that in a recessionary and sluggish economy, potential customers have been figuring out that a college diploma may not be a good investment — particularly if it entails six-figure college loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
The Millennial Generation that voted so heavily for Barack Obama — 66 to 32 percent in 2008, 60 to 37 percent in 2012 — has had a hard time finding jobs, even with diplomas in hand. Especially if their degrees are in gender studies or similar fields beloved of academics.
In even worse condition are those students who never get a degree, a disproportionate number of whom are blacks and Hispanics admitted under affirmative action programs who prove unable to keep up with the pace of instruction at schools where most students enter much better prepared.
We see in higher education something like what we saw in housing. Government programs aimed at increasing college education and homeownership, particularly among minorities, turn out to hurt many of the intended beneficiaries.
The intentions of the people who created these programs were good. The results — well, not so much.
Home ownership is a good thing generally, but it's not good for everybody. The young and transient, for example, are often better off renting.
Higher education is a good thing generally too, but again not for everyone. People whose talents are more artisanal than academic are often better off getting a job or vocational training than seeking a degree that guarantees them student loan debt but not a job.
College and university administrators are not used to being disciplined by market forces. For years, they thought they were above all that. Many got into the habit of producing a product that didn't serve their consumers' interests well. In a prosperous and growing economy, there seems to be no penalty for doing so. In more straitened circumstances, they are discovering that, sooner or later, markets work. Their old business model is no longer working.
Colleges and universities have been doing a good job of meeting their administrators' needs. Now, in the new normal economy, they're scrambling to serve society's needs, as well.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Big thank you to these professionals, who make such a difference

To the editor,
On Friday, May 3, the Belmont Fire Department arrived at our home and office on Gilmanton Road to fight a fire in the woods that we were not even aware of. It was spotted by the Belknap Fire Towers, reported to the Fire Department, and responded to immediately.
We wish to publicly thank our fire department. We are very fortunate to have, in the Town of Belmont, highly professional firefighters who are also caring individuals. Were it not for their quick response, the fire could have been much worse. We have no idea how the fire started, but we urge anyone using the woods during this dry season to be careful when discarding cigarettes or any other flammable material.
We also wish to commend the people who operate the fire spotting towers in our area. They are responsible for discovering and relaying the location of the fire to our responders.
A big thank you to these professionals who make such a difference in our lives when they are needed. Please support your local and county firefighters.
The Condodemetraky Family
By Susan Condodemetraky
Belmont

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 11:59

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Froma Harrop - Bangladesh and us

You know a corner's been turned when someone in a legion of foreign sweatshop workers is given a face. That's happened in Bangladesh, home of hideous factory conditions — as seen in the ruins of Rana Plaza, a former eight-story work warren. Death toll: over 600.
And the face has been given a name, Shaheena. Deemed unworthy at birth of a last name, Shaheena became a national symbol of endurance. The world watched as her body, trapped but alive for several days, finally gave out in the smoke set off by rescuers trying to free her.
Sensitive Americans now reconsidering their purchase of an $8 made-in-Bangladesh T-shirt should think carefully. They should first hear Shaheena's story.
Age 38 and sole provider for her son, Shaheena moved in with her sister's family. She needed $25 for her share of the advance on rent in a new, cheaper apartment — no easy feat for one making $100 a month toiling till midnight. So she worked all the time in dismal surroundings. She worked past warnings that the factory building had developed dangerous cracks.
A brutal life, it sounds to us. But this factory job gave Shaheena the wherewithal to leave an allegedly abusive husband while pregnant. And as awful as the pay and working conditions seem to outsiders, these jobs were a step up for the many women whose only other option was rural destitution — all day outside, scratching the soil for even less money. In this poor, mostly Muslim country, women factory workers have become labor leaders. Theirs are the first female voices being raised.
Bangladesh is home to 3.5 million garment workers, most of them women. Other Asian countries started off as sweatshop nations, then moved onward and upward. Taiwan, South Korea and China are examples. Their low-wage advantage fueled their economic growth, eventually empowering the workers themselves.
Today, the millions of Chinese emerging from poverty tend to live in the manufacturing coastal cities. The rural interior remains dirt poor. Rising wages in China are now prompting some manufacturers to leave for cheaper places, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
If Bangladesh follows this pattern, its workers' status will rise. But what might consumers do in the meantime? Should we be buying preppie polos and Western jeans — sold at Wal-Mart, Sears, H&M and Gap, among other retailers — made under these horrible circumstances?
After all, we'd be helping a government that has neglected to enforce the most basic labor and safety laws — laws already on its books. This government has ignored harassment, even murder, of workers trying to unionize. Factory owner families apparently control 10 percent of the seats in Bangladesh's parliament.
But if we don't buy products from Bangladesh, we send workers like Shaheena No-Last-Name back to non-personhood.
Change must come at the hands of Bangladeshis, and a series of workplace tragedies already has them in the streets. When arrested, Rana Plaza's owner needed a human shield of guards and a police helmet. Otherwise, angry crowds might have torn him apart. A Bangladeshi court has seized his money.
Still, it's not without qualms that one goes through the stores, seeing fashion carefully marketed to avoid the place of manufacture. You see labels saying "styled in France" or "fabric from Italy." Or you see local logos and Americana prints. I spotted a retro apron, with a down-home print and made-in-China label. It was being sold in, of all places, Whole Foods.
But this sort of trade is what moves countries and their people out of economic misery. In the end, it creates better lives for them and new consumers for us. No one said progress was pretty.
(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.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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In the beginning was the Word, before that the fossil evidence is clear

To the editor,
Thank you for publishing Mr. Hanley's recent letter. It was certainly an extraordinary one. It's quite reassuring that the editor is open to and willing to publish all different points of view, no matter how extraordinary.
Some of us are old enough to remember having prayed in public school and know first hand as to why it was a really bad idea. Darwinism is alive and thriving in the modern world. If you had attended the LHS 2009 commencement ceremony you could have heard the valedictorian give a very chilling to the point assessment as to the Darwinian world her fellow students were launching off into. So maybe Mr. Hanley has some valid point as to faith and hope being part of the human experience. In the beginning was the Word. Before that the fossil evidence is quite clear. On the basis of the content of his letter it seems Mr. Hanley may at some point be eligible for a nomination for a Darwin Award of his very own.
Timothy Sullivan
Gilford

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 09:35

Hits: 355

 
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