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Gilmanton has chance to establish an Agriculture Commission

To the editor,
Over the past few months a group of Gilmanton citizens have explored the benefits of establishing an Agricultural Commission in the town. The first task was to find out exactly what an agricultural commission is and why it would be a good idea for the Town of Gilmanton.
The legislature has authorized towns to establish Agricultural Commissions in RSA 674:44-e. If approved by the town at Town Meeting, the selectmen appoint members who then work to implement the purposes of the commission.
First of all, it is important to understand that Agricultural Commissions do not have any enforcement powers or regulatory authority. Their role is to advise other town boards and advocate for farming.
Agricultural Commissions serve as an information bridge between farm businesses and the non-farm public. For example, the Planning Board may draft an amendment to the town zoning ordinance regulating signs. The Agricultural Commission can advise the Planning Board of potential impacts on farm businesses, and recommend ways the ordinance could be written to assist farm businesses, such as allowing temporary signs for seasonal crops.
Contributions an Agricultural Commission can make to farming in the community include:
— Advise and work with other boards and commissions on issues facing farming in town;
— Conduct inventories of agricultural resources;
— Conduct inventories of historic farms and buildings;
— Educate the public on matters relating to farming and agriculture;
— Serve as a local voice, advocating for farmers, farm businesses and farm interests;
— Provide visibility for farming;
— Give farmers a place to go for help;
— Help resolve farm related problems or conflicts;
— Help protect farmland and other natural resources.
The warrant article authorizing the selectmen to appoint an Agricultural Commission is #39 on the March 12 ballot.
Carolyn Baldwin

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:42

Hits: 460

I thought I was an honest American – turns out I’m a ‘gun nut’

To the editor,
Until I read Mr. Ververka's letter to The Laconia Daily Sun on February 9, I had no idea that I was a "gun nut". For over 40 years, I have managed to have a job, go to work, pay my rent and bills and simply thought I was an honest, working American who went about living my own life in a peaceful and honest way. In short, exercising my constitutional right to pursue happiness. But now, I learn that because I own firearms and have a permit to carry one, I must be a "gun nut".
Since as he used the term "gun nut" no less than three times, in his letter, apparently referring to firearms owners in general, I can only assume he thinks that anyone who owns a gun must be a nut.
What I found most interesting was his disbelief that criminals will find a way to get guns regardless of what laws are passed. With just a few minutes spent searching the Internet, I was able to find numerous reports from sources such as The New York Times, PBS Frontline, ABC News, and others that all disagree with his claim that it was a "ridiculous assumption" to believe that criminals can get guns and, in fact, the aforementioned reports state that it is relatively easy for a criminal who wants a gun, to get a gun, (hint: criminals don't care about the laws, that's why they are criminals).
For future reference, a little research goes a long way before writing to the newspaper.
Michael G. Shanks

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:37

Hits: 352

What can homeless people do in the freezing cold of winter?

To the editor,
I am an 11-year-old. I am writing to you as a citizen of the City of Laconia. I am writing to you about a concern I have. The concern I have is about homeless people. I think that there should be a free shelter that people should not have pay so they can have warm clothes and a family. I think that they should do that because in the winter they get freezing and they could get hypothermia. The homeless people sometimes don't have money for food or clothes. If the homeless people don't have a mattress they could have to sleep on branches and they could get hurt because they're sleeping in the nature. They can't keep themselves physically strong because they don't have the proper health to.
I also know that there is the Carey House. What can the homeless people do if they can't afford to get into any of the places that they can stay and be warm.
Adam Michalewicz

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:32

Hits: 552

Deterioration of Smith Track is a terrible shame for all in Laconia

To the editor,
As I read the article in Friday's Daily Sun, I really had to scratch my head and I have some questions. The Smith Track was completed in 1998 and in the course of the last 15 years of use, I do know after a lot of usage things wear out, However, this track has been resurfaced three times and now we need to redo the complete track, as I read, from concrete/drainage/and a total resurface.
What is wrong with this picture? Where is all the prior results of the tracks past records? Was anybody reviewing this deterioration? Also, I read other tracks around the state are having the same problems. Is there any collaboration out there? I feel we the taxpayers are blind sided by this. Why was there no money or a contingency plan over the past years to absorb this cost? This lack of oversight will cause more pain for all taxpayers. The worst of all it will be affecting school activities this spring and summer. What a terrible shame for all.
Marty Neylon

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:24

Hits: 353

I’m a fiscal conservative & pro-reform in regards to education

To the editor,
My name is Mark Billings and I am running for the Inter-Lakes School Board as a representative from Meredith. I am running for the open seat resulting from the retirement of Jack Carty. These are big shoes to fill and we all owe Jack our sincere gratitude for his years of service on the board. The children, the families and the three communities in our district have all benefited greatly because of Jack's commitment to educational excellence.
I believe I bring a number of qualifications that will serve the board and all the constituents in our three communities.
My wife Martha and I have lived in Meredith for the last 12 years and have raised three sons, now in their thirties. We have always been involved in the public schools in the communities where we lived. Martha was an elementary school teacher in Mill Valley, California during the eighties and nineties while I coached youth sports for many years. We both believe our public schools lie at the heart of who and what we are as communities and that our most important responsibility is the preparation and education of our children.
I am the proud product of a small town regional school system and will be forever grateful for the wonderful education I received. That school district, now in its fiftieth year, has consistently ranked in the top three in Massachusetts. That is my vision for Inter-Lakes.
I am uniquely prepared for this position after having attended every school board meeting, budget workshop, public hearing and district meeting for the last three years. I am currently a member of the Inter-lakes School District Strategic Planning Committee and for the last 15 months have been working with teachers, administrators, students, parents and community members in the drafting of the Core Value Statement, the Vision Statement and the Mission Statement. That work and my participation continue as five subcommittees are now working towards action plans designed to achieve the goals outlined in the Core Value, Vision and Mission Statements.
I don't come from a background in public education as the majority of the board does. My background is in the financial services industry as a financial analyst and economist. Because of that different skill set, plus my current position as treasurer for the Town of Meredith, I would bring to the board a strong understanding of both municipal and public school finance and budgeting. I believe this would be value-added to the Inter-Lakes School Board.
As a member of the Meredith Conservation Commission I have actively promoted greater collaboration between our public schools and the work of the Conservation Commissions. We are blessed with our natural resources and the phenomenal life science laboratories we have in our own backyard. I played a small role in the awarding of a $5,000 "Green Grant" to the Sandwich Central School to enhance their Environmental Studies program. I then had the wonderful experience of serving as an adult assistant for a field trip by the three upper grades of Sandwich Central School out to the Cold River where the school's new scientific testing equipment was used to enhance the curriculum lead by Mr. Hillger and Mr. Chapman.
My Education Philosophy:
I believe every child is unique in how they learn and that the educational resources available today allow us to personalize each student's education in ways that will have a positive impact on student achievement.
I believe in flexible, anytime/everywhere learning — learning beyond a traditional school day, school year or building. Education should include online or blended learning, hands-on opportunities, and instruction offered by a range of teachers, experts, or technologies.
I believe in early education/intervention and that the investment made in our pre-school children has the largest return by all societal measures.
I believe in a student driven, competency-based education, not the antiquated "industrial age" production line approach based largely on date of birth.
I believe our teachers, administrators and support staff are the most important resource we have in determining the quality of the education we provide our children and that hiring and retaining great talent is critical. I also believe we have amazing educational resources in the residents in our three communities that needs to be embraced and utilized as mentors, advisors, coaches and where appropriate instructional adjuncts.
Politics has no place in our communities school system; it is divisive and damaging to all constituents. Our children, our schools and the three communities are best served when the school board represents the differing perspectives within our communities. Yes, I am a fiscal conservative; I believe we owe the taxpayers our best efforts in making sure every dollar we spend is appropriate and necessary. I am also progressive and pro-reform when it comes to education. I see no conflict in those two philosophies and strongly believe we can take our school system to the top and better prepare our children for success in the twenty-first century. Please come to the Meet-the-Candidate events, call or email me with your questions. I will answer them honestly so that you can best determine if I would be the right choice for the Inter-lakes School Board. The first Meet-the-Candidates event will be Thursday February 21, at the Meredith Community Center at 6:30 PM.
Mark Billings

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 01:20

Hits: 642

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