To The Daily Sun,
I am writing today in response to Bill Donovan's letter regarding a recent Gilmanton selectmen's meeting, which I attended. Mr. Donovan felt it necessary to single me out in his writings, but I do wish he had admitted he was stating his opinion rather than facts. Being someone who attended the meeting, he certainly didn't pay much attention. I would like to point out that Mr. Donovan is not a member of the Fire Department or Fire Association and to my knowledge never has been. I, on the other hand, have been involved with the department for over 30 years and an EMT for 14 yrs. For some reason, Mr. Donovan was reluctant to mention what I actually spoke about at the meeting, only pointing out my question as to why the group had come to the meeting as association members rather than department members. I think I am the only department member who is no longer an association member. When I left the association it was because I was unhappy about the way they wanted to spend their money. It also bothered me because I had previously gone to Joe Hempel as it had become obvious to me that someone had been taking money. I asked for an audit but he declined to agree as it would be an embarrassment to the association.
I would like to be clear that I never challenged the association's right to speak or the general public's right to speak. I for one think public input should be open from start to finish at the meetings. I raised the question for this reason: by the group attending as associaiton members it would preclude me from speaking, as I was no longer an association member. Had it not been for Mrs. Donovan speaking out of turn, the chairman never would have opened public input early. But in order to allow Mrs. Donovan her opinion he did it as a courtesy, therefore I was also given the opportunity to speak when it was my turn.
As Mr. Donovan stated, my husband is a selectman. I'm not quite sure what bearing this has on my right to ask a question. I attended selectmen's meetings long before he became a selectman and probably will continue to attend when he gives up his seat.
I would ask Mr. Donovan to do a little bit of research before his next writing as he didn't have all of the information needed to give a clear picture of the actual situation with the fire chief. To put it in a nutshell, the Gilmanton taxpayers are already paying for 184 man hours of FULL-TIME Fire Department personnel per week to staff a minimum of two full-time employees, seven days per week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (which was presented and voted on in 2004). This could be done with 168 man hours IF Chief Hempel would adjust his own work schedule. This would still allow him an additional 16 hours to do his administrative duties as well as reduce the part-time budget. But more importantly it would reduce the burden on the Gilmanton taxpayers. INSTEAD he is opting to hire part-time people to cover a Sunday shift at an ADDITIONAL $29,000 cost to the taxpayers. This increase means the taxpayers are now paying for 208 man hours per week for only 168 hours of coverage. What the CHIEF'S LACK OF COOPERATION boils down to is; the taxpayers are paying twice for Sunday coverage all because the chief himself does not want to cover two shifts per week even though it would not increase his 40 hour work week. I would also like to mention that when the chief comes out after hours it might be because he gets a very nice stipend to do so. I guess Mr. Donovan wasn't aware of that either.
The selectmen are only doing what they have been elected to do which are to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. In my opinion, the problem is that the chief has never been challenged by any past boards of selectmen and that's why he keeps throwing around the RSA about the board not being able to "tell him what to do". From what Mr. Capello, the town administrator said at the meeting, the board has already gotten the opinion from legal counsel as to the warrant article they are putting forward regarding the chief being a "working chief".
Since Mr. Donovan neglected to mention what I spoke about, here it is: When the association's rep. said something to the effect of, the chief not having time to perform his administrative duties should he become a "working chief", I felt I had to correct him. Before Chief Hempel became chief for the third time, he called me at my home and asked me to support him becoming a part-time chief rather than a full-time chief. He went on in detail as to why Gilmanton only required a part-time chief as we were such a small community the position did not require a Chief to be full-time. He tried very hard to convince me because he wanted to keep his full-time job and just be a part-time chief. I told him I was not for this idea. The next thing I knew he had been hired as the full-time chief, yet again. The reason I wasn't for the idea wasn't because I didn't agree with him, it was only because I didn't want him to be chief for a third time. And as it turns out, I still stand by that opinion.
I would not have been writing this letter had it not been for the inaccuracies by Mr. Donovan. I would however like to thank him for giving me a reason.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:49
To The Daily Sun,
Last week, I wrote a letter describing how the Laconia schools are in decline. Probably, by now, I have been branded as a crackpot by the School Board.
I want to tell you there are some very good and wise people in this world, and some very wise thinkers. Today, I received an e-mail Christmas greeting from a very good friend in Israel. In return, I wished him a nice Hanukkah. The subject turned to education. In as many words I told him that I went to school, things were not so politically correct, and we openly discussed the Christian Christmas and the Jewish Hanukkah with mutual respect. If the rest of the world could do this we might have peace.
He replied with the following comment, "I think that one of the main reasons why peace cannot be achieved is because of the education system... did not see the real target of education: humanity, and turned the human kind into a kind of 'machine terms'. Make more money, be first on the road. Developing the killer instincts in the battlefields, in movies, in games. Sorry I don't have time for you, can't see you I'm busy. Playing now on my cellular..." This won't change tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade — unfortunately.
Perhaps, this is the underlying problem with Laconia schools and schools throughout America. Children are being taught the wrong things and the wrong behaviors. And they are acting out with the disrespect and detachment that we see in our schools today.
Walter F. Kalin
Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:46
To The Daily Sun,
We would like to respond to Representative Burchell's letter which responded to a Dec 18 letter from Meg Hempel. There are many issues in his letter that should be clarified.
First it should be noted that Meg Hempel is not the wife of the fire chief and since her letter concerned only the county commissioners' statements, there was no need for her to identify herself as being related to the fire chief. The fire chief was not the topic of her letter, but only the reaction of the selectmen to the presentation by the County Commission.
At the selectmen's meeting on Monday Dec 16, the selectmen were rude in their speech and body language. We agree with the statement of the fact that one selectman was in fact rude in keeping his hat on during the meeting, which is his regular practice. His demeanor is one of total disrespect.
With regard to the Fire Department and the chief, in that discussion the selectmen, led by one in particular, are creating problems where none exist. They are attempting to micromanage the Fire Department when that is not their responsibility. They refer to past chiefs' performances, which are irrelevant in 2013.
We feel that the Firemen's Association had every right to arrange to be on the selectmen's agenda and speak to the issue of the "working chief" that affects them quite a bit. They are a team and that's what they need to be to do their job. That cohesiveness is being disrupted by selectmen trying to interfere where they are not needed.
The selectmen have even proposed a warrant article defining the chief's duties. In our experience, when you hire someone to do a job, you give them the tools and then let them do the job. This warrant article should be defeated by the Gilmanton voters if it is presented at the election on March 11, 2014.
As you can see, there are many issues involved here and Gilmanton taxpayers need to be informed.
Frank & Joanne Gianni
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:42
To The Daily Sun,
I read with interest the recent article regarding the fortification of the Laconia Airport with a "safety fence". An eight foot high, chain link fence with barbed wire outriggers will surely go a long way towards preventing those pesky aircraft/animal collisions.
Oh, wait, there have never been any. A search of the NTSB accident/incident archives back to 1963 does not reveal a single incident between an active aircraft and a deer, bear, moose, otter, bobcat, coyote or any other fur bearing critter at KCLI. Ever. So how did this become an issue of "human safety"?
Turning the airport into a prison-like compound, disturbing local wetlands and destroying it's friendly, rural appearance is a bad idea. Spending $700,000 to solve a problem that does not exist is even dumber.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 10:38
To The Daily Sun,
During this festive and holy season of Christmas it is fitting that we reflect, for at least a moment, on the content of wars we have pursued these last 12 years. To use the word war is, in itself, incorrect. No war has been declared in any country we occupy in the Middle East. Therefore our military presence there is illegal and criminal! Pakistan, for one country, hates us and wants our removal immediately. Our drone attacks recently killed a four-year old girl. I'm sure we paid the family blood-money and apologized.
Americans accept military aggression by this country as justified. The logic extolled says these people are dangerous and we must weed out terrorists and pursue a vigorous policy of punishment — almost always by deadly assault. We have killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children while this country looks on dispassionately, for the most part! Our elected representatives have turned their backs on moral and military law for the sake of lucrative weapons contracts. They have sold their soul, hiding the sin in lengthy debates! After 12 years the military is still on duty in Afghanistan although we deny it repeatedly. Leaders in at least two countries have hinted they might have talks with the Taliban: who we hunt down and kill as dreaded enemies.
Wall Street is bulging with money, (where did it come from?) My guess it is war profits. So far, we have spent six to seven trillion dollars to slaughter people alien to our way of life! It was never justified, legal or moral according to every law and Christian value we have honored for two centuries! Shame on us to let this killing continue, even one more day! Pray to God, no matter His name, to forgive us for these crimes!
The purveyors of war have immense powers to blind our sight and deaden our ears if we refuse to speak out strongly and forcefully against policies of death and destruction pursued by the military. Bring our soldiers home safely. Save our lives and those thousands who happen to be in the way!
Leon R. Albushies
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 December 2013 11:58