Government help was started because churches coudn't keep up

To The Daily Sun,

Regarding a letter that churches, not the government should help the needy, a local church has been asking for help to keep its food pantry open, obviously not able to help unless a large donation is made to them from the public.

As a former fundamentalist Baptist, I often heard from the pulpit a disregard for those who do not work and take care of their families. Every day on the radio, I hear conservative talk shows bashing the lazy bums that receive a government handout.

Most religions are conservative in requiring others to do their part in order to please God and not be a burden to others. Certainly there are many churches that help a few in the communities that they live in and they are also usually asking for donations from the public. Churches cannot miraculously produce 5,000 fish and bread to feed the needy as Jesus supposedly did. They ask for donations.

Government help was started because charitable organizations, including churches, could not or would not help all of those in need. Conservatives, many of whom are religious, are always complaining about having to pay taxes to support the lazy bums that won't work for themselves. I receive SSDI (Social Security disability income) and I regularly get insulted by others.

I know churches would not be capable of providing for all of the needy in their communities and would pick and choose their favorites to help, leaving out the ostracized, such as me, to fend for ourselves. Pity isn't it.

Louise Sargent

  • Category: Letters
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Brett Currier is pro taxpayer; he should be choice for selectman

To The Daily Sun,

As a citizen and longtime taxpayer of the Town of Gilmanton, I attended the last three selectmen's meetings.

The first meeting had to do with non-public information leaking to the public (old news). One of the selectmen resigned after that meeting. (More old news.)

At the second meeting I attended the selectmen took applications to seat a replacement to fill the vacant seat. Two of the three candidates were present. The chairman read the applications and some other letters from the special interest groups. (Not much got done.)

The third meeting however got interesting. Everyone knows the players looking to fill the open seat.

Rachel Hatch — Pro library, Pro management, Pro special interest.

Brian Forst — Chairman of the Budget Committee, Pro library, Pro capital reserve, etc.

Brett Currier — Pro taxpayer.

All candidates are ex-selectmen. My problem is not with the candidates running, but with the difficulty to seat (one).

My choice is Brett Currier. He isn't against the library but wants it to remain its own warrant article on the ballot and not be hidden in the town's operating budget. He isn't against the Fire Department, just wants them to work within their means. Has anyone been to the Fourth of July parade? We have more fire apparatus than a town three times the size of ours. And he isn't for an overabundance of capital reserve funds. He would rather see the money in taxpayers' savings accounts rather than sitting in the town's savings accounts.

My real problem is Mike Jean. At the beginning of the third meeting Mr. Jean's boss, Fire Chief Joe Hempel, had to leave the meeting and respond to a fire call. I'm sorry. Did I mention Mr. Jean is a call fireman. The meeting continued on and I watched Mr. Jean. He seemed to be a little nervous and bewildered not to have his boss in the audience. He made a motion to delay deciding on a candidate and instead wanted to discuss general business. Why? Finally his boss returned to the meeting and stood in the doorway at the back of the room. Mr. Jean seemed to be relieved that he was there.

Now comes the bigger problem. The two selectmen cannot come to an agreement. Chairman Don Guarino chose Brett Currier. Mike Jean, after making strong eye contact with his boss, Chief Hempel, and doing some considerable paper shuffling, chose Rachel Hatch. It was a stalemate. They couldn't agree.

After more paper shuffling and more eye contact with Chief Hempel, suddenly Mike Jean changed his choice to Brian Forst. It is clear to me and should have been clear to anyone in the meeting, Mike Jean did not care who he chose as long as it wasn't Brett Currier. And again it was a stalemate.

As a concerned taxpayer I personally think Mike Jean is up to his eyeballs in with the special interest groups in this town. The fairest unbiased method of choosing should be just like they did it the last time. The second-place vote-getter should get the seat.

Checkmate Mrs. Gianni. At least I attended the meetings and didn't base my letter on hearsay.

Just my thoughts.

Glen Lines


  • Category: Letters
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Far from true that Weirs Beach to Lakeport RR is rarely used

To The Daily Sun,

I'm responding to Jennifer Bailey's Aug. 3 letter about making better use of the railroad corridor between The Weirs and Laconia/Lakeport.

I'll start by saying I have a small dog in the fight. I'm a part-time conductor on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.

Jennifer's comment about the corridor having "admittedly seasonal and very rare railroad usage" is far from true.

The train starts to run in the middle of May each year. Then, after the fabled Laconia Bike Week, when we shuttle many, many people from Lakeport to The Weirs along the line Ms. Bailey wants to rip up, we operate a daily schedule from the middle of June to just after Labor Day. Often there are special charter dinner trains that operate after 4:30 p.m. during the summer season.

Three times a day small children and people of all ages wave to us on the train as we travel the nine miles from Meredith to Lakeport/Laconia. The train brings great delight to tens of thousands of people in the area.

The season extends into late October when tens of thousands of people ride the train to enjoy the fall color along the corridor.

I'd say this is not rare railroad usage by any stretch of the imagination.

I can tell you firsthand the train is a major tourist attraction, pumping untold dollars into the Laconia and surrounding communities. Each day before I load passengers I ask them where they're from. People come from all over the USA to ride the train. Just yesterday I had a family on the train from England and another one from Spain. Last week Italians and Puerto Ricans were on my train.

The train also has a fantastic collaboration with the MS Mount Washington cruise ship. We have people ride the train for 90 minutes, they get off to ride the grand lady of the lake and then we have the passengers ride the rails back to Meredith to end their day.

Ms. Bailey also forgets one very important thing. The rail line is a spur line to Lincoln. If you tear up the tracks between Lakeport and the Weirs, how is it the railroad gets rolling stock and new locomotives up to Meredith? Do you just wave a magic wand and a 140-ton locomotive levitates down to the tracks from the sky?

The railroad tracks are used by thousands during the winter as an active snowmobile route.

In closing, I suggest that Ms. Bailey attend the next homeowner's association meeting of South Down Shores and share the details of her proposal. I believe that will make for an interesting evening.

Tim Carter

  • Category: Letters
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Better use of that RR corridor would be active recreational trail

To The Daily Sun,

I recently saw a picture of two young girls walking along the railroad tracks on Paugus Bay and then read with interest the letter from John Robinson who is the state coordinator of NH Operation Lifesaver.

There are clearly some safety concerns about active railroad tracks that are used on a regular basis for commercial use. However, I am wondering how much better use there would be if the state-owned land along that stretch were to be converted into an active recreational corridor for the benefit of the residents and tourist population of our community.

I am a regular user of the WOW Trail and other rail trails that have been established throughout New Hampshire in other communities as it provides safe, free, and scenic access to our great natural resources. A recreational corridor offered by the WOW Trail providing people the opportunity to walk, run, roller-blade, and bike in the summer as well as cross-country ski and snowshoe in the winter along a beautiful stretch of Paugus Bay would be a terrific resource for our community and great little City of Laconia.

It appears to me that the current railroad in use from Laconia to The Weirs by the Winnepesaukee Railroad is certainly very seasonal and rarely in use. A recreational corridor along those track beds providing access to our beautiful natural resources and community assets of Laconia and Weirs Beach would benefit many year-round.

Scott Davis

  • Category: Letters
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County is managed by team of pros whose work in scrutinized

To The Daily Sun,

To the residents of Belknap County:
I don't like to respond to letters in the newspaper, but there is a point where I believe an answer is appropriate. I am responding to the letter written by Gordon Blais about me and the management of Belknap County.
I don't provide a direct public service like many of my co-workers in the nursing home, jail, county attorney's office, Restorative Justice, Registry of Deeds, or sheriff's department. What I do is oversee the financial, organizational and administrative services. I provide the elected officials with information, prepare reports, assist them with budget development and management and recommend best practices; I facilitate discussions, and make sure their policies are implemented. I have received at least "above average" performance reviews from all of my employers throughout my career. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with department heads, employees, and our counterparts in other counties to discover better ways to provide services or protect taxpayer's money. I enjoy meeting with members of the public, although we don't get many visitors at the commissioner's office, and I try to make myself accessible to anyone who has questions or seeks information about the county.
The county is managed by a team of professionals. Even in the face of political turmoil and nasty letters to the editor, we work together, support one another, and make sure the job gets done. We are a large organization; approximately 250 employees, with well over $50,000,000 running through our accounting system. We provide services that are not glamorous, but are necessary in our society. Along with these services come payroll, accounts payable, treasury and banking, receivables, budgeting, capital improvement planning, risk management, and human resources; together, these make up the county's administration. When you need county services, you expect them to be managed by professionals — and they are. We are fully accountable to the public, through the county commissioners. The commissioners hold the managers accountable and poor performance is not tolerated.
Our work is highly scrutinized; I've been challenged by people far more respectful and knowledgeable than Mr. Blais, and enjoyed the opportunity to improve. Regardless of the continued comments that have never been backed up with any credible information, and have actually been proven to Mr. Blais to be wrong, he seems to enjoy regurgitating the same false information.

I was found to be qualified for my present position when I applied for it. The commissioners who hired me conducted a fair and impartial recruitment. It was widely reported on at the time. I have enjoyed a very good professional reputation in the Lakes Region, where I have worked in the local government field for 25 years. There are no secrets, there is no conspiracy, and there is no secret agenda. I work hard for Belknap County, just as I did for the Town of Gilford, and the Town of Bristol before that. I'm proud of my record of public service and all the professionals I've learned from along the way.
It is difficult to focus on work (and my work is highly detailed and highly scrutinized, as I mentioned before!) with the distraction of a former employee's husband misdirecting his anger and threatening to "take up his musket to continue his fight". He has been directed by my attorney to stop his slanderous writing. He has been told by two Boards of Commissioners that they find no merit to his accusations. His continued yelling in anger at public meetings is very distracting, rude, and yes, personally scary.
We do not need a clean sweep. We're in the midst of one. We've lost more excellent managers and employees in the past year than most organizations would be able to sustain. Remember, this organization is yours. There is too much hard earned taxpayer money at stake, to continue dismantling this well managed and efficient operation.
The county remains an excellent employer. In spite of the politics, in spite of the accusations, and the hostilities that unfortunately exist in the public arena, Belknap County employees including the county administrator, come to work every day and do their jobs; serving the public in a conscientious and caring way.

Debra A. Shackett

Belknap County Administrator

  • Category: Letters
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