To The Daily Sun,
Belknap County's Commission is a three-member board (as mandated by N.H, Statute RSA 28) comprised of part-time elected officials responsible for overall supervision, custody and care of all county departments, buildings and land, and have budgetary oversight of all county expenditures with approval of the Executive Committee of the Belknap County Convention.
Unlike the Convention/Delegation or its Executive Committee, no provision for a commission vice chair exists, nor does the law describe the duties of the vice chair.
Following the November General Election of a majority (2 of 3) of Belknap County Commission and the subsequent resignation of Commissioner Nedeau, at the commissions' first meeting of 2015, as mandated by law they chose "from their number a chairman and a clerk". Absent a resignation or removal by the court for misconduct of a member, no changes in the legally organized commission shall take place until the next election.
However, what took place was the election of Richard Burchell, chair of the commission and David DeVoy as "vice chair". The position of clerk, held by Mr. Nedeau, was not addressed.
What is problematic is that unlike the Convention/Delegation or its Executive Committee, no provisions for a "commission vice chair" exists, nor does the law describe the duties of the vice chair. Therefore, by default David DeVoy summarily is the clerk.
With the appointment of Hunter Taylor no election is allowed, as the makeup of the county is complete — chair, clerk and the third commissioner.
Until such time as a new member(s) of the County Convention is or are elected at a statewide election, no election shall take place amongst the three commissioners. The Legislature made no provision for conducting re-election regarding the makeup of the county commission for any non-election reason. If the courts would implement a free-for-all every time a two-out-of-three majority vote changed as to who was the chairperson and who is the clerk, based on personalities, political ideology or dislike, there would be no consistent administration structure of county government.
Accordingly, the county brouhaha is another black eye for Belknap County. Clearly the court will find that the composition of the commission, subject to a death, resignation or Superior Court removal for official misconduct, Richard Burchell is the chairman, David DeVoy is the default clerk and Hunter Taylor is simply commissioner.
Furthermore, the implementation of an all-day meeting of a public body regarding its annual budget, clearly results in a circumvention of the public's right to observe the actions of government.
Thomas A. Tardif
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:40
To The Daily Sun,
This past Sunday was the annual Take a Kid Fishing tournament hosted by the Belknap County Sportsmen's Club on Lily Pond in Gilford. This continues to be a great event as I witnessed many children with smiles catching fish.
However, this past Sunday I was quite dismayed by the actions of some members of the club. I am part of a group of people that rides our motorcycles on the ice. We spend many hours and a good amount of money to plow tracks as well as access to the pond and for the last couple of years we have plowed the "parking area" on Airport Road which is used by many as it is neither town or state maintained. We plow two tracks both encompassing a total of less than 20 percent of the farthest end of the pond.
On Sunday morning I showed up at 9:15 a.m. only to find our access routes to either track completely blocked by the Sportsmen's Club trailer and registration booth. We plowed plenty of room for them to set up without having to block anything. I unloaded my ATV to go scrape off the tracks and as I passed the club's trailer I noticed I was getting some, shall we say, "unwelcoming looks" I proceeded to the first track only to find multiple holes drilled into it. I was quite shocked as the tracks were well away from where most people were fishing. One of the holes had water bubbling up out of it leaving that area unusable. Sadly, this was the track the kids ride on to keep them away from the faster moving adults. I approached the club's trailer and calmly asked who drilled the holes in the track and got a blank stare from five men. Finally one responded saying, "They were here when we showed up." I knew this wasn't true as it was wet all around the holes and the temp was 10 degrees.
As the day went on some parents expressed interest in the bikes and studded tires and approached me at my trailer. Two different parents said the men at the Sportsmen's Club trailer "don't like you very much" and "had nothing nice to say about you." These parents expressed disappointment in the club's attitude and they said, "They probably wouldn't return." Funny thing is some of the guys I ride with and me have always been a supporters of the club. by buying raffle tickets, etc.
At noon they packed everything up and left. No one from the club policed the area for trash. I took it upon myself to collect trash that was left scattered around and brought home a bag full. The damage had been done. We couldn't let our kids on that track for fear they would hit the holes that were now frozen piles of ice and get hurt.
So with the lack of communication and frankly respect for others that we received from the club I have to say I was highly disappointed with the Unsportsman like conduct shown by the Belknap County Sportsmen's Club. As a result a number of people, as well as me, will no longer support anything that has to do with this club.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:36
To The Daily Sun,
Two petition warrant articles have been placed on the Gilmanton ballot that would remove properties that are inside and part of the Meetinghouse Historic District. It is important to consider the unintended consequences of these petitions.
The "district" will become a list of properties not tied with a common border. In the future, will anyone who doesn't like an Historic District regulation petition for removal from the district? Will efforts to protect the historic buildings in the districts from incompatible development cease?
The voters of Gilmanton established two Historic Districts in order to preserve and safeguard the historic nature of Meetinghouse and the Corners areas. A Historic District Commission was formed with the authority to see that ordinances and regulations approved by the voters were enforced. Over the years, the commission, with town approval, has refined these. The regulations reflect what would have been appropriate during the designated time period of the districts, 1790-1840.
There are some non-period buildings in the districts. When an application for a non-period building is presented to the HDC, the goal is to see if the project can be done and remain in compliance with the regulations. Changes can be made to non-period buildings so that the change is not in conflict with the regulations.
Decisions of the HDC are made on a case-by-case basis reflecting the ability of the project to comply. Past owners and the HDC have found solutions that comply with the regulations.
The persons that are petitioning to have their properties removed from the Historic District bought them with full knowledge that their properties were in restricted neighborhoods bound by regulations passed by the voters of the town. This is not unlike buying a condo or settling into a 55-and-over community. Both petitioners have met multiple times with the Historic District Commission in an effort to accomplish their goals within the confines of the regulations. Despite accommodations offered by the HDC, both petitioners chose not to comply.
There is an expectation that the rules will be followed for the benefit of all members of the community. Voters of Gilmanton decided to protect its historic assets and expect that the governing body of the town would enforce the regulations that have been set forth.
These petitions have the potential to undermine the purpose of the HDC. The HDC believes these warrant articles are not in the best interests of Gilmanton. We do not recommend these petitions. The Planning Board has voted "not to recommend" these petitioned articles.
We ask the voters of Gilmanton to vote "No" on Warrant Articles 5 and 6.
Deborah Chase, Ernest R. Hudziec, Allen Everett, Matt Grasberger
Gilmanton Historic District Commission
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:32
To The Daily Sun,
On Tuesday, March 10, the voters of Gilford will go to the polls to decide how their tax dollars will be appropriated. As a former Gilford resident and member of the Genesis Behavioral Health Board of Directors, I ask my fellow community members to vote "Yes" on Article 22 to support emergency mental health care for all Gilford citizens.
Genesis Behavioral Health (GBH) is the community mental health center serving Belknap and southern Grafton Counties. A private, non-profit organization founded in 1966 by Dr. George "Pete" Harris, a Gilford pediatrician who recognized the critical need for mental health services in the community, GBH provided behavioral health care to 3,642 Lakes Region children, families, and adults in Fiscal Year 2014.
GBH served 167 Gilford residents in Fiscal Year 2014 and provided $23,453 of uncompensated care — care the organization provided but for which they will not receive reimbursement. Forty-six Gilford residents used emergency services in FY14.
This critical, safety net organization asks all 24 towns in its catchment area to contribute to the Emergency Services (ES) program, using a formula based upon the town's population to ensure fairness. ES provides any resident of Gilford experiencing a mental health emergency with access to a Master's Degree-level clinician and psychiatrist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, regardless of their ability to pay. Services are provided through a 24-hour hotline, in person or via telemedicine to ensure rapid access to care.
We know from the headlines that the mental health crisis in New Hampshire is real. The National Institute on Mental Health reports that one in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
Without proper treatment, mental illness affects one's ability to work, participate in school, contribute to the community and maintain relationships. The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States, causing unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives. Reduced access to mental health care leads to increased demand on many of the systems in our community, including emergency rooms, law enforcement, first responders, courts, corrections, schools and municipalities.
GBH not only helps those in need, but its services also reduce costs for our town and improve the health and safety of our community.
ES is often the gateway into services for people in need of mental health treatment. Access to behavioral health care was identified as a top priority in the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health's 2013 Community Needs Assessment. Mental health related emergency department visits/observation stays in the Lakes Region are significantly higher than the overall New Hampshire rate (1,541.5 per 100,000 vs. 1,409.9). The need for crisis intervention in our community is evident.
Thank you for supporting GBH for the past five years. Any one of us, at any time, could be in a position to need their services. I am confident that the people of Gilford will, once again, choose wisely and continue to appropriate funds to this worthwhile organization.
Dr. Kelley J. White
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:59
To The Daily Sun,
It might be time to open that closed mind, Mr. (Patrick) Wetmore. You remind me an old football coach from the 1950s in your analysis of our president. His team was up against one of the best in the nation that Saturday so he had his game planned out. His team was to receive the kickoff and the plan was to run three plays and punt. So, they ran the three plays but were stopped at the opponents' 1-yard line. Only one yard for a touchdown but the game play was to punt on fourth down so he punted.
Obama seems very transparent to me, even though you don't like what you are seeing. In case you might not realize it, situations change daily in life so we have to change with them. You also might not have noticed that our Obama has had little, if not any help from day one from your GOP. Not okay to have the N.Y. Times as backers, but it is okay to have the Koch Brothers and big oil along with thousands of big-moneyed backers? Both side have this cash and the cash is flowing like BP in the Gulf. But Holder sending journalists to jail? To quote Holder from Oct. 14, 2014: "I will not send a journalist to jail for doing their job," a reference to James Risen of the Times.
Damage done to our country you say. Does that include shutting the government down and while threatening to do it again, 50-60 votes to repeal the ACA, voter suppression, the Keystone Pipeline fiasco, GOP filibustering their own bills, and more and more again? It's okay because it's our tax dollars that pay for all this.
The GOP is just cashing in on another free lunch. But the GOP will always have Reagan for guidance more tax increases and Iran Contra with those nasty rebels in Central America. As far as Reagan goes, he tried but got caught.
However we had the team of Bush/Cheney to save us. They never did anything wrong, illegal or get prosecuted for their crimes at least not yet.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:56