To The Daily Sun,
On Feb. 1, 2015, we lost our town icon and agricultural superhero, Mr. Bert Southwick. We feel very privileged that we were able to get to know this dear sweet man, and work alongside him this past summer at his farm. He sure was hard to keep up with.
We organized three very successful workdays at his farm, and many, many thanks to those who came and worked hard. Some of the jobs were dusty, dirty, and often times were done in the sweltering heat and humidity of summer. Looking back, it was meant to be, that we were able to rally and organize the community to come and give a helping hand to this dear man who had helped so many, before he passed away. It meant so much to Bert to know that the community hadn't forgotten him.
We convinced him to be in the T-N Old Home Day Parade, what a beautiful day that was. He was met with so many cheers and love and applause along the parade route as he pulled the big old decorated hay wagon with his old Massey-Ferguson tractor. All of us who were on that float got choked up as we saw the reception that Bert got along the way. And who would have known that it would end up being his last time in the parade.
He was very blessed by each and every one of you who came to the workdays to help, you all made him smile, especially all you teenagers who took the time to come to the farm and work hard, unloading the hay wagons and stacking those bales in the hay barn, stacking 10 cords of wood in his basement, and working with him out back on that old PTO wood splitter of his.
Bert was as strong as an ox, and as sharp as a tack, at 91 years old. He was one hard working man, right up until the time he fell ill and passed. His work ethic was second to none. We are very thankful that we had the opportunity to learn many wonderful life lessons from Bert at the farm ... listen more, talk less, work hard, help those in need, have a good sense of humor, be generous — not selfish, enjoy your favorite foods, share what you have, live simply, spend time in nature, and pay attention to nature, to name a few.
Being the private man that he was, he did not want an obituary or a funeral. There are plans in the works to honor him with a beautiful celebration of life at his beloved Southwick School this summer. Details will be announced when plans are confirmed. There are also wonderful opportunities that have come about to honor his legacy of agriculture and caring for his community.
There is a Bert Southwick Memorial Scholarship fund being established at Franklin Savings Bank. We have had an anonymous donor come forward and offer to match contributions for this, up to $10,000 to honor Bert's legacy. That is wonderful.
We are deeply grateful for the times we spent with this dear humble kind old farmer, and we are proud to continue to honor his legacy with these efforts.
Carolee & Cheyenne Longley
Neighbors and Friends of Bert
Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2015 09:48
This morning, as I was pondering possible subjects for my next column, across the TV screen came a news report about how the president is considering an executive action to raise corporate and other taxes. That report set off alarms as such an action would be in direct conflict with the responsibilities and authorities defined in the Constitution.
Article 1., Section 7 of the Constitution begins with these words, "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills."
That same section goes on to say that if the president approves the bill ". . .he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have been originated . . ." That continues on to the procedures necessary for the House of Representatives to reconsider, and possibly vote to override, the president's veto.
If the President is permitted to independently impose a change in the tax laws, or any other kind of law, the consequences of such an action would be enormous as it would destroy the Separation of Powers and take a quantum leap into a dictatorship.
Originally, when budgets were approved, each state was taxed for its proportionate share of that budget, based on its resident population. On February 3, 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, changing from essentially billing the states, to billing the individuals. It reads, "The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or remuneration."
The Sixteenth Amendment essentially took away the power of the states to challenge the federal budget. It became much easier for the federal government to expand its bureaucracy by raising taxes on individuals and businesses. Previously, the collective power of the states had some muscle and could challenge federal growth or usurpation of rights given to the states by the Tenth Amendment. That challenge potential was severely diluted as the new amendment unleashed the full power and resources of the federal government against individual citizens.
Another negative impact to our form of government came two months later when the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified, on April 8, 1913. Up until that time, two senators from each state were ". . . appointed by the legislatures thereof". While this amendment may seem noble, what it did was create the "professional politician". Every one of the longest serving senators in our history have come after that amendment was ratified.
The other negative impact is that direct election took away any semblance of control over the Senate by the states. Previously, changes in local and statewide elections could result in a change in the Senate appointments. Senators more closely represented the then current attitudes of their states. Once Senators were not tied or committed to their home state legislature, the need to raise money for the next election from a variety of "special interests" came to the forefront. Ergo, the tenured "professional politician" and the never-ending fund raising.
The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments opened up the proverbial Pandora's Box, resulting in unfettered growth of federal bureaucracies. In his book, "The New Road to Serfdom", Daniel Hannon, a member of the British Parliament warned of being ruled by the "non-elected". He used the formation of the European Union as an example of how bureaucrats, who are shielded from the public and not subject to election, are able to make rules that citizens must obey, but they, the bureaucrats, are not accountable for the consequences of their decisions.
To give you an example of how we, too, are being ruled by the non-elected, here is a look at the PPACA (aka Obamacare). The law itself contains 381,517 words. While that is an incredibly large number of words to absorb, just imagine what employers, individuals, and insurers must go through to be sure to comply with the "regulations" that have been written concerning that law. Are you ready? The number of words in the "regulations" amount to 11,588,500, 30 times more words than in the law itself.
Now, if that isn't absurd enough, it has been reported that the president has arbitrarily made over 27 changes to the law. Mind you, the Supreme Court decided the law was "legal", because it was, essentially . . . a tax. As noted above, any changes to a "tax law" needs to be originated in the House of Representatives. In order to eliminate being ruled by the non-elected, we, the people, should insist that regulations that have the force of law, should have to go through the same rigorous process as the law upon which it was founded . . . passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.
The only way to restore the integrity our founders intended for our government, is to ratify two new amendments to essentially restore the original federal tax apportionment to the individual states, and to return the appointment of senators to the state legislatures. To not do so leaves us with a Hobson's choice battle between being ruled by a dictatorship or a bureaucracy. Neither is acceptable.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun,
I have read some interesting articles in regard to health care and nursing homes recently. There has been much talk of funding for non-profit nursing homes by many different groups of people, especially the baby boomer generation.
These are the children of the "greatest generation of America", according to many Americans.
Lately, they have been quite vocal in regards to health care in this country, and it's by no coincidence, as many are reaching the age where they will need advanced health care. I wanted to inform folks of a disturbing misconception about how unfortunate our elders are in this country.
We know this by the recent passage of the ACA and the buzz regarding the Expanded Medicaid portion. From here on, I will refer to the boomers and their parents (and mine) as "my elders" because they are my elders.
For example, my elders had access to health care as equally as the rest of the people in the country in their time. This has changed dramatically since. We also know health care costs currently are extremely more over-inflated compared to economic times of past. My elders also passed legislation to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 65 to 66 to 72 and whatever it is now. However, most of my elders were able to retire at age 55 or soon after. Many were stay-at-home moms. Many who did work were able to have one job their entire lives, if that is what they preferred. Most of my elders had better opportunities when things weren't so complicated.
Most of my elders watched their property and possessions multiply in growth and worth. Most of my elders watched their stocks; retirement funds, etc multiply in growth and worth. My elders received pensions. As a matter of fact, the elders own 80 percent of the wealth in the world at this time. The elders also receive a multitude of tax breaks and discounts.
Most of my elders had the opportunities to have decent careers and work their way up and become leaders of business by gaining experience. They had several weeks of vacation, usually taking at least one trip a year. There were raises, bonuses and did I mention pensions? Much different than the single-parent world of today. Working class people today are unable to be "hippies" or draft dodgers like my elders. My elders were able to find resources and time to fight for woman's rights and civil rights.
Now, my elders are concerned about losing their nursing home privileges. I have my own opinions on nursing homes based on years of experience and would love to share them with anyone who is interested. Doing away with non-profit status by lowering business tax would create revenue from business tax as well as property taxes. Imagine the money we could "find" from doing away with people and businesses not paying taxes.
One of our local representatives wrote a letter stating that "82 percent of Medicaid recipients are able-bodied and childless". I find that hard to believe and I am sure someone skewed those numbers. Society is overwhelmed with taking care of children and the elderly, as well as the medical coverage for the incarcerated.
There are plenty of parents working that have kids who are covered by Medicaid. Many even have their own business or work under the table. College students are on Medicaid when they should have insurance through school tuition. Some of us "able-bodied" actually suffer in silence and have no one to help us. As a homeowner (and taxpayer) we have to clear snow, maintain the home, make repairs, etc.
Over my life, I have donated countless sums of money and time to help others in need. Now, hear my story. At the age of 47, I began to experience serious grand-mal seizures. During this horrific journey, I was diagnosed with adult on-set epilepsy. I am still experiencing seizures, just not as horrible, because of a cocktail of meds. The seizures are out of my control. They occur when and where they want. I have been denied disability benefits by the Social Security Administration, which I will be appealing.
I am trying to stay positive, but all indications seem to be pointing to some type of permanent impairment. If it was not for Expanded Medicaid, I quite possibly would not be alive to write this letter. I worked for more than 34 years and now I have to fight for everything, while I see all these other "needy" folks getting by just fine. I am faced with challenges like maintaining and repairing my home, home and auto loans, auto repairs, dealing with my illness and two other disabling conditions, not having an income and other life crisis challenges at this time. I wish that I was receiving the same compassion and support as our children and elders. The one benefit I am receiving is love and encouragement from a select few.
I feel fortunate that there is a program to help folks like me that have their life suddenly altered. I do not feel entitled. However, I do feel that I have spent the majority of my life paying my dues. There should be programs for all Americans that do their part in society day in and day out.
I only wish that some people could see outside their little world and think of others. There are other groups of people that need to have their voice heard as well as the children and elderly. My girlfriend and I had a recent discussion with someone and their partner who had no idea that my girl and I had lost some of our rights as a couple because of the "same-sex" marriage laws now in place. They had no idea that others had to lose something for them to get what they wanted.
It seems like that is the norm for society these days. Everybody wants their piece of the pie, but others should not go hungry for certain groups to get their way. Certain groups always getting their way and others consistently going without is discrimination. We need to have better vision, do more research and not shoot from the hip.
Our representatives need to read the entire content of the bill or proposed law, question its pros and cons, and discuss it before passing it.
In conclusion, I am asking my elders to step up and look out for future generations as well as themselves. I have always respected and looked up to my elders. Now, they have an opportunity awaiting them. I want to thank you for reading and I want to thank my girlfriend for typing most of this letter due to my illness. I can only hope that this letter makes people open their minds and think about things a little more in depth.
Remember, it is not your intent that counts, it's the results that do.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 10:55
To The Daily Sun,
I thank the voters in Gilford for returning me for a full term on the town's Budget Committee.
I am especially thankful to my supporters, and to those voters who did not support my candidacy, I hope to earn your trust and respect over the coming years.
Norman J. Silber
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 10:42
To The Daily Sun,
I want to congratulate Ray Moritz and Bev Lapham in their win for the two open positions on the Board of Selectman in Meredith.
I want to personally thank all those who voted for me.
I really enjoyed the campaign, meeting the other candidates, and the three forums I attended. Even though six of us didn't win, it still was a victory for Meredith. Having eight people putting their names in the race, makes me proud that we still have people who care and are willing to give back to our town.
Before this election I never knew Mike Pelczar, but I was really impressed. A young man running a family business that has been in Meredith for generations. Even with his busy schedule, he is willing to give back to his hometown and has all the qualifications for the Board of Selectmen.
I hope he applies for the two appointed positions that will take place in the weeks ahead. I am willing to try help him if does. I also think most of the 320 people that voted for him would do so again.
Thanks to everyone for making the election interesting, fun, and making some new friends.
L. Michael Hatch
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 10:38