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N.H. Community Rights Amendment headed for full vote in House

To The Daily Sun,

Language for a state constitutional amendment was drafted in October of last year by the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) with the assistance of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The Community Rights Amendment CACR 14, adding Article 40 — Right of Local Community Self-Government — to Part First of the New Hampshire State Constitution gained bipartisan sponsorship from prime sponsor, state Rep. Susan Emerson, and co-sponsors Suzanne Smith, Mary Cooney, Steve Darrow, Wayne Burton, and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester. If passed, the proposed amendment will empower towns throughout New Hampshire with the authority to enact local laws to protect individual and community rights, and their natural environments, free from state pre-emption and corporate interference.

The path leading to its legislative introduction began in town meetings across the state, where Community Bills of Rights laws, drafted by communities in partnership with CELDF, have been introduced as warrant articles. Nearly a dozen communities in New Hampshire have enacted these rights-based local laws to protect their drinking water, human and animal health, local economies, rural aesthetics, and the sustainability of their natural resources as well as their communities, from violation of their rights by a long list of corporate harms, including large groundwater withdrawals, fossil fuel pipelines, high voltage transmission lines, and industrial wind turbines.

For the first time in the United States, a state legislative committee held a public hearing on a community rights state constitutional amendment. Last month, in the presence of corporate lobbyists representing Kinder Morgan, Eversource, EDP Renewables, the Business Industry Association, and Americans for Prosperity, residents from across New Hampshire testified before the House Legislative Administration Committee in support of the measure. With standing room only, residents spoke of their rights to protect the places where they live from harmful projects proposed by the very corporations represented by the lobbyists in the room.

Instead of representing residents, the real people of New Hampshire, committee members represented corporate interests by recommending unanimously to kill the rights-based state constitutional amendment.

Now the N.H. Community Rights Amendment CACR 14 is headed to the next House session for a vote on March 9 or 10. Visit www.nhcommunityrights.org for information on how to reach out to your elected officials encouraging them to support CACR 14.

Michelle Sanborn
NHCRN Coordinator
New Hampshire Community Rights Network

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Daughters of Bill Martel offer heartfelf 'thank you' to Ralph Langevin

To The Daily Sun,

As you all may have heard our father, Bill Martel, passed away on Feb. 12. Our family would like to tell of the kindness that the owner of Martel's Bait Shop, Ralph Langevin, extended to us.

When we went to tell Ralph that Dad had passed, the first thing he said was, "Whatever I can do, please let me know." He repeated that statement several times as we walked out of his bait shop with tears in our eyes. We knew that Ralph meant what he said as he said it with such resolve.

As the week went on and funeral preparations were being made, we ran into a glitch. We learned that the church hall was not available to hold a lunch gathering after the service. All of a sudden the most perfect solution came to us. "Why not hold the luncheon at Martel's Bait Shop?" It made sense. Our dad began his journey at Martel's when he was a young teen, and it seemed only fitting that we end with a a celebration of his life there. So we hopped in our cars and caravaned to the boathouse to pose the favor to Ralph. Without hesitation he said, "Absolutely. The place is yours for the weekend."

That was the first of many kindnesses Ralph extended to our family. Ralph cleaned up the shop and rearranged his merchandise displays to accommodate the setup of tables and chairs, as well as the buffet and refreshment line. He mounted signs and bulletin boards of family photos and displayed dad's handcrafted bob sticks and memorial charity donation buckets. He cooked up a batch of delicious pulled pork and ordered a full sheet cake decorated with a picture of the old bait shop.

So our entire family wants to say, "Thank you, Ralph, for going above and beyond. Thank you for your generous gift of allowing us to say goodbye to our dad at your shop. Thank you for being a man who is true to your word."

We would also like to thank Ralph's wife and employees who helped make our dad's send-off a very special memory. Most of all we are grateful to the many people who came out that day to celebrate the amazing man and the extraordinary life of Bill Martel. He truly was a beacon of light to the world. We know that his final words to you would be, "I love you all, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Bill Martel's three D's

Debbie, Diane and Donna

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