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Jim Finnigan worked hard & set the tone for N.H. body politic

To the editor,
With news of the passing of retired Manchester Union Leader editorial writer Jim Finnegan last weekend, brings to mind a letter I wrote some 18 or so years ago to Mrs. Nackey Scripps Loeb, then president and publisher of a great newspaper.
Some of what I wrote to Mrs. Loeb applies just as much today, as it did then. I wrote, in part:
Jim Finnegan joined the paper in his late 20s, and for almost 40 years carried the torch — with others — of conservative opinion in the Granite State's largest newspaper.
As a former newspaperman, myself, I was always amazed at Finnegan's output: three or four editorials each weekday. In the old days, this kind of volume was common. Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, Ernie Pyle, Hal Boyle would write daily news columns, laced heavily with humor and opinion. That's what made them stars. Jim Finnegan was a star, cut from the same mold as these great scribes from the golden days of newspapers.
Writing opinion is hard work. It's more that a relaying the news of the day or quotes from other people. This kind of writing has to come from your own gut. To pull it out of yourself means there has to be something there to begin with. Finnegan had it.
Jim Finnegan worked hard, was consistent, and set the tone of the body politic in New Hampshire. That tone was a traditionalist, up-front, conservative, take-no-prisoners brand of newspapering. Like his late mentor, William Loeb, Finnegan made you think. He made thinking about certain matters unavoidable. His writing for decades launched many a hot jaw session at luncheonettes, bars, and breakfast tables across the state of New Hampshire. Presidential hopefuls, governors, bureaucrats, back-bench politicians alike turned to him every morning.
Now that's a newspaperman, and one who has been long missed.
Dean Dexter
Concord/Meredith

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 00:18

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It's time we started a safe path through Moultonborough village

To the editor,
Every day, students from Moultonborough Central School and Moultonborough Academy leave school and walk up Rte. 25 through Moultonborough's village area. They are walking home, heading to the library or after school program at the rec center. More often than not, they walk two or three abreast, on the wrong side of the road, and are forced to cross busy Rte. 25 wherever they're able.
As the weather warms, cyclists begin to appear on the narrow shoulders through the village, competing for space with traffic that includes logging trucks and 18-wheelers. If you live in town and haven't barely avoided a collision with someone who refuses to wait patiently behind a cyclist and instead crosses the yellow line into your lane, it's a good bet that you don't drive here in the summertime.
It's time we started to take real steps toward creating a safe path through the village for pedestrians and cyclists. Moultonborough's Master Plan Survey (2006) and Master Plan (2008), Safe Routes to School Report (2009) and Village Charrette report (2012) all reflect committee recommendations and community support for a safe pedestrian route through town. Seven years after the latest master plan survey, however, there has been absolutely no movement toward discussing or planning such a route.
On Saturday, March 16th, voters will have a chance to finally start the conversation about a plan for sidewalks in the village area. I urge voters to consider approving Warrant Article 27, which provides for the surveying, planning and engineering of a sidewalk through the village, to be presented to the town for approval at the 2014 town meeting.
A yes vote on Article 27 is a vote to begin a discussion about a subject that has repeatedly been put off, despite strong support and recommendation as demonstrated in the town's own reports and surveys.
Please consider beginning the process of improving the safety and infrastructure of the village area by voting yes on Article 27.
Kim Prause
Moultonborough

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 00:15

Hits: 380

I'm so glad people are expressing outrage over ugly wind turbines

To the editor,
Though I do not live around Newfound Lake, I have been there to swim many times over the years. I even hiked up Cardigan Mountain once with my family and almost got blown off the mountain. It is a beautiful area that folks have expressed deep apprehension about scarring with monstrous and ugly wind turbines. To commit such a potentially devastating undertaking should be debated long and hard even if there is a clear economic and environmental benefit. Based on the concerns of many letter writers, one has to wonder if that is the case.
I wonder if anyone has checked into the failed wind turbine operations in Australia? Viv Forbes has some interesting facts derived from that expensive and misguided boondoggle down under.
(1) Unreliable because gentle breezes create no power and high winds necessitate a shutdown to prevent damage;
(2) Winds start and stop suddenly creating network instability plus they create electricity, not when people need it, but when the wind blows;
(3) Back-up gas and coal fired systems must always be idling ready to resume full power. A waste of fuel, labor, land and capital;
(4) Low energy density = large area of land peppered with wind turbines and networks of roads and transmission lines;
(5) So costly that it is highly subsidized with costs passed onto consumers in the form of skyrocketing electric bills;
(6) Even if reducing CO2 levels is an attainable or sensible goal, gas is a far cheaper way to achieve it;
(7) Wind turbines are noisy and dangerous = they kill birds and bats and cause brush fires;
(8) They leave behind a huge decommissioning cost at the end of their short life.
Viv assures us that it wastes community resources and did not benefit the climate or the environment in Australia. Just wondering how thoroughly the pros and cons have been measured before deciding to destroy the scenic beauty of this area? Heck, has anyone bothered to check in with T. Boone Pickens to get his take on how well spent were the millions he poured into wind farms?
As we contemplate placing more of these "giants" throughout this picturesque portion of the state, let's hope we're not chasing some Utopian fantasy in the manner of Don Quixote. Yes I know, he chased windmills that he thought were giants while we chase the wind with giant turbines, convinced we can harness the fickleness of mother nature. Sancho Panza finally anointed Don Quixote as "The Knight of the Sad Countenance". Let's hope that common sense prevails and we don't irretrievably damage our countryside chasing some elusive, far away dream. I'm so glad that so many people are expressing their outrage, unwilling to countenance another sad chapter in the environmental movement gone bad in our own little corner of the world.
Russ Wiles
Tilton

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 00:08

Hits: 345

N.H. Liquor Commission keeps up with modern marketing

To the editor,
In 1933, the N.H. General Court (House and Senate) established by law the N.H. Liquor Commission to regulate the manufacture, possession, sale, consumption, importation, use storage, and transportation and delivery of wine, spirits and malt or brewed beverages in New Hampshire (RSA 176:1).
The Commission is comprised of three members who are appointed by the governor with consent of the Executive Council to six-year terms. Their task and responsibility is to produce a significant boost to the revenue side of the N.H. state budget each year.
It is my observation over my 35 years on the Council that this agency has been effectively run, dispersing wines and spirits through 74 stores in New Hampshire with some 10 million customers visiting these stores — with $559,114,050 sales annually with a net profit of $139.6 million to the State Treasury.
The Commission is to be commended for keeping up with modern ways of doing business in today's markets.
The 2012 Annual Report of the N.H. State Liquor Commission was accepted and placed on file by the governor and Council. If anyone would like a copy of this document please contact my office anytime.
Ray Burton
N.H. Executive Council - District 1
Bath

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 23:57

Hits: 463

Alton School's weapons policy is standard boilerplate for N.H.

To the editor,
Contrary to an opinion in the March 4 edition of The Laconia Daily Sun (by Steve Miller, Alton), I am not a proponent of weapons on school grounds and feel it necessary to correct what was written about me and to reassure our community.
At a recent board meeting, we were asked to approve a Weapons Policy. A member of the board, Steve Miller, requested that we have a "Gun Free School Zone", which I considered but then questioned if it was truly enforceable and questioned if we had the right to search for a weapon that was legally secured in a vehicle. Other instances of things that could be perceived as weapons were also discussed. I requested to have an officer from the Alton Police Department at our next meeting because I wanted their professional opinion on the proposed amendments to the policy.
Chief Heath met with us and advised the board on what he knew was an enforceable, reasonable, and appropriate policy for the Alton School District. He advised us that we (a school district) did not have the right to search non-student adults for a concealed weapon absent reasonable suspicion, as I had felt was most likely true at our earlier meeting. To do so, would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. A concealed weapon permit is for a handgun or revolver; not a rifle or long gun. It would not be legal to carry a long gun concealed, as what was stated by Miller in his piece. Our board approved the Weapons Policy, with the recommendations of Chief Heath, and it was I who made the motion. The meeting is on DVD at the Alton Library, the meeting minutes are online, and the meeting was also reported correctly in the February 7 edition of this paper by Tim Croes. Contrary to statements made in The Baysider, The Laconia Daily Sun, and at the Alton Town Deliberative Session, this policy does not allow concealed weapons of any type in our school. Our board voted four-to-one for the policy. This same policy is in effect by many school districts in the state of N.H., as it is "boiler plate" — a template policy — that is from the New Hampshire School Boards Association. Policies have to be within the laws, not above them, to be effective. Although we may, at times, not agree with the laws, we still cannot change them at the school district level — that would be something accomplished at a state or federal level. We have to set policies within the law.
Here is an excerpt from our policy (in italics):
WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY
Weapons are not permitted on school property, in school vehicles or at school-sponsored activities. This policy applies to students, faculty and staff and members of the public alike. Student violations of this policy will result in both school disciplinary action and notification of local law enforcement authorities. Faculty and Staff may face additional disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension and termination. Members of the public who violate this policy will be reported to local law enforcement authorities.
The first paragraph of the policy makes the intent of the policy very clear. The only exceptions are as follows:
a. In the possession of a law enforcement officer authorized by law to carry a weapon.
b. When a legally owned weapon is properly secured and out-of-sight in a vehicle driven on school property by a non-student adult.
c. When a principal approves weapons to be brought into school for educational purposes (weapons that are unloaded and properly secured).
d. When professionals are using required tools and implements of their trade.
e. When provided by the school as part of a course of study.
f. In the case of non-student adult carrying a legal knife (such as a Leatherman or Swiss Army pocket knife).
g. When groups have authorization to use school facilities, and weapons or other implements described in this policy are used in conjunction with the activity.
I wish to thank our Police Chief for his professional advice and guidance in this process, as his number one concern is the safety of our citizens in Alton. I care very deeply about the safety of all of the students at Alton Central School, as my own children are also students at the school.
Krista Argiropoli
Alton

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 23:53

Hits: 520

 
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