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Only 20% of HHS dollars go to clients in form of direct services

To The Daily Sun,
I am writing in response to a letter from Susan Michaels Gunther, which was printed on April 23. I would like to say that I understand her angst over having to advocate repetitively for a loved one's disability services. Ms. Gunther shamed the House of Representatives and accused them of "trying to eviscerate the state" because of the lack of funding for services to the disabled. This year, the House of Representatives appropriated a total amount of $5.5 billion dollars for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the 2016/17 biennium. This represents an increase to the total funding for DHHS of $141 million over the current biennium! Where does all that money go? Not to those with disabilities you say, Ms. Gunther? Well you're right. I was told about 20 percent goes to direct services for those living with disabilities and an estimated 80 percent goes to salaries, benefits, retirement, raises, vehicles, cell phones, and the list goes on and on.

The people "eviscerating" the budget are those who are employed to ensure people with disabilities get their services! The taxpayers are paying handsomely to be helpful to those in need. I don't know any taxpayer who would delay funding to those who are truly in need. Both the taxpayers and the people with disabilities are seeing the short end of the stick. When you think about $5.5 billion dollars being allocated and all the while people are on wait lists for funding to get their needs met, it's beyond awful. Ms. Gunther, you are correct that something is drastically wrong however, the fault does not lay at the feet of the House of Representatives.
Barbara Howard
Alton

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:14

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We should expect Forrester to engage in honest conversation

To The Daily Sun,

Let me start with what might be a surprising revelation. I voted for Jeannie Forrester in the last election.

I voted for Senator Forrester with the hopes that she would be a senator in the great Republican tradition of Walter Peterson and Warren Rudman, where thoughtful moderation was the hallmark of their service. So I voted for her. I suspect that many voters made the same decision.

I've chosen to speak out now because I'm deeply troubled by the kind of senator she has actually been, choosing to ally herself with those for whom compromise is scorned and partisan grandstanding is the norm.

You may have read, in these pages, that Senator Forrester is fighting the Department of Health and Human Services' decision to forego a rate increase for nursing homes. She is making a lot of hay over a problem that she herself helped create.

In 2011, Forrester voted for the infamous "O'Brien" budget that included a $30 million cut to nursing homes. And in the most recent budget, Forrester pushed for vague across-the-board cuts to Health and Human Services, without specifying which services should actually be cut.

This was a dishonest attempt to cut the budget without facing up to the pain those cuts would create and now she is trying to protect the nursing home owners from the consequences her actions.

In effect, Senator Forrester opened the door for the horse to escape from the barn and now she is standing on the rooftop screaming for someone to stop the horse.

Hypocritical and dishonest political stunts like this mislead our seniors and do a disservice to her constituents and to our state's public discourse.

Whether you agree with the policies of Forrester and her Senate Republican colleagues or not, surely we can all agree that it's time for us to demand that political leaders like Senator Forrester face up to the challenges and propose real solutions not political stunts that avoid a serious conversation.

As a former state senator, I fully understand that disagreement is an inevitable — and important — part of our democratic process.

We do not expect that our legislators in Concord will always agree with us.

What we do expect, however, is for our legislators to engage in a thoughtful and honest conversation about the issues that matter most to our communities and our state.

Unfortunately, Senator Forrester does not seem to be up to that task.

Wayne D. King
Rumney
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:10

Hits: 374

An unhappy man who just want others to be in the same boat

To The Daily Sun,

Once again, we have been enlightened by Mr. Veverka's "knowledge" of Christianity, a subject that he seems to care deeply about. But when we read what he actually has to say, it becomes obvious that he only cares about casting dispersions and public ridicule on people who actually do have a deep understanding of it, but with whom he disagrees. It is very sad because it's seems that the only reason for him to engage in this discussion, or any discussion on most any subject, is to attempt to impress the larger world of how smart he is, and if we would only listen to him, and learn from him, the world would be a much better place. But it soon becomes quite clear to most of us that Mr. Veverka not only is quite ignorant on the subjects he writes about, but he also must be a very unhappy man, and only wants others to join him in that unhappiness.

I appeal to readers of this newspaper, who know Mr. Veverka personally, as well as all Christians, and people of faith, to pray for him. Although he won't believe that "... the fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16 NKJV), the rest of us know that they do. I am not going to try to convince him of the errors of his thinking, or to even speculate as to the motives for his extreme cruelty and name-calling toward people of faith. And that's because I don't think he will even read this letter very carefully, but if he does, it will only be to arm himself to respond in a unkind way. And that is also very sad indeed.

Frankly, I feel very sorry for Mr. Veverka. Why would he even care if you or I believe in God, the God of creation, and the God of the Bible, and the author of the "Eternal Plan of Salvation"? Your and my beliefs regarding God don't affect him in the least, nor are they, frankly, any of his business. Why is he so militant in his rhetoric, so negative and insulting toward people of faith? I doubt that it's because he cares about our well-being.

Of course there are many unanswered questions that all of us humans have, regarding the profound nature of the world and the "whys" that seem to have no answers. I know I will always have some questions that I will never know the answers to. Our human pridefulness keeps many of us from thinking outside of ourselves, beyond ourselves, or to respect others who may have different points of view. Why is it so important for Mr. Veverka to get so worked up about what others think about this, or anything else, for that matter? He obviously has very little regard for the rest of us, and our dignity as human beings. Aside from the self-entertainment value that he might receive from his insulting comments, why does he even bother? His arguments seem only meant to demean and belittle.

My response to arguments like his is only to try to set the record straight, for all people who are still searching for some meaningful answers, and to share some rock-solid faith-based solutions to life's most important questions. The Bible teaches us that instead of relying on ourselves, we need to rely on God and His plan for our life. He created us, after all! And He cares deeply about us.

Not withstanding what Mr. Veverka says ...

Jim McCoole

Laconia

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2015 09:33

Hits: 148

$800M deficit claim made by GOP is false; check with Politifact

To The Daily Sun,

I don't always respond to a letter writer who responds to a letter to the editor that I had originally written but I do want to clear some of her statements up. The letter writer is Hilary Seeger, whose letter appeared in this paper last week.

Hilary herself concedes that Senator Forrester voted for cuts to nursing home rates in the O'Brien budget, to the tune of $30 million dollars, proving my point that Senator Forrester's phony outrage is extremely hypocritical.

My second point was that while Forrester says that these nursing home rate increases were promised, the truth is that Forrester and the Legislature promised more than state agencies could actually deliver; they made back-of-the-budget cuts without specifying which services should be cut — and leaving it up to state agencies to actually make the tough choices/deliver the bad news.

The O'Brien budget that slashed funding for nursing homes by $30M also cut cigarette taxes. O'Brien budget showed what GOP priorities are — cutting cigarette taxes while slashing funding for higher ed and nursing homes.

Hilary also stated that, "While it is true that the 2010/2011 budget to reduce funding nursing homes it was because there was an $800 million deficit facing the state — a deficit created by the Democrats over-spending. Our law requires a balance budget and Republicans were faced with difficult choices to meet the law's requirement. However, in the 2014/2015 budget, even though Governor Hassan tried to continue cuts to nursing homes, the Senate Republicans restored funding AND put in a budget footnote to tell the governor she could not use those funds for any other purpose."

The $800M figure that she cites has been rated "false" by Politifact.

A sign posted in the Nashua area during that election cycle written by the New Boston Republican Committee made a simple, 11-word statement, describing the difference between recent Democratic and Republican legislatures.

"NH DEMOCRATS $1 BILLION DEFICIT," the sign reads. "NH REPUBLICANS UNDER BILL (House Speaker William) O'BRIEN BALANCED BUDGET."

PolitiFact decided based on that statement to do some research as to its truthfulness.

I do hope interested citizens like Hillary Seeger and my favorite Republican Mike Hatch will go to the link below and read the whole story.

To read the comprehensive article please go to: http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2012/jul/29/new-boston-republican-committee/new-boston-gop-says-dems-left-deficit/

Paula Trombi
Meredith

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2015 09:30

Hits: 121

St. Vincent Food Pantry has received $5k grant from Charitable Fund

To The Daily Sun,

The Laconia Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society wishes to acknowledge the receipt of a grant from Meredith Village Savings Bank Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Fund to support our Food Pantry.

Established in 1962, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is driven by a vision for a stronger, more just, and resilient Granite State. In pursuit of this vision, the foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; connects donors to effective organizations, ideas and people; and leads and collaborates on important public issues. Annually, the foundation awards nearly 5,000 grants and scholarships totaling $30 million. Based in Concord, the foundation roots itself in communities across the state through its staff, board of directors, and eight regional advisory boards. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is one of the largest in the state of New Hampshire. The pantry provides food for approximately 370 households and over 1,000 individuals each month. In addition, the pantry also provided over 800 turkey baskets last Thanksgiving.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society in Laconia has been active in the Lakes Region since 1991 and will mark its 25th anniversary in 2016. In addition to its Food Pantry, the Laconia Conference also operates a Thrift Store that provides about $20,000 annually in free clothing and furniture, a financial assistance program that helps with over $110,000 in direct assistance, the Children's Foundation that provides school related to area children , and a prison ministry. The conference is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit. In its entire history, it has never paid any wages or salaries. For more information or to volunteer, please contact me at 524-5470 or visit their website at http://www.stvdplaconia.org/.

Erika Johnson, President
St. Vincent de Paul Society - Laconia Conference

Laconia

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2015 09:24

Hits: 154

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