To The Daily Sun,
This letter will serve as an update on the attempt to save the Gale School in Belmont.
Just when it seemed we had hit yet another wall that stopped us dead, and as the Shaker School Board is taking bids on the demolition of the building, a gentleman (who wishes to remain anonymous at this time) contacted us with an extremely generous offer. He has offered to donate all the site-work preparation when/if another location is found for the school. He is also spearheading an attempt to find donations of necessary gravel, sand etc. that will be needed, as well as possible concrete that will be needed for the foundation.
To be honest, I had given up hope that this perfectly sound, historic Belmont icon might be saved. The town has been adamant that they do not want another building that will need to be retrofitted and restored. The Shaker School District views the building as "in the way" and not important to them. This put our little group between a rock and a hard place when attempting to acquire possible grants and donations. This "orphan" had no place to go, nor did it have any value to the Town or the School District.
This recent development has revived our hope, that someone would step up and donate such an important and costly construction step, as well as try to locate others who might also want to take part in such a worthy goal is nothing short of phenomenal.
The Mill was saved and now serves as a centerpiece to the recent revitalization project in the Village. Belmont has few historical buildings left. The Gale School was also an important part of our town's history, and provided the education of many Belmont students over the years. It is our hope that this is the start of its preservation. It will be a tragic waste if it succumbs to the wrecking ball.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 10:09
To The Daily Sun,
Here I sit at my computer just six days before Christmas and I find myself compelled to write a letter. Why, you ask? Because I can.
That is something we need to teach Kim Jong-un. He and his ancestors have stopped their citizens from speaking out but they cannot do that to us. We have a Constitution adopted more than 225 years ago for which American men and women have fought and died to uphold ever since.
Sony, do not let a dictator dictate to you and us, the viewing public, what we will or will not see and hear. Please do not fall for their scare tactics. Let us Americans decide what we want to do.
Remember the following poem written by a prominent Protestant pastor who became an outspoken foe of Adolf Hitler. He himself spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me."
I wish every person living in America a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy, healthy, New Year.
Let's go to the movies.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:57
To The Daily Sun,
Each day, it's more murder, rape, lies and hurt. The next the same as the last, more threats and dug-up dirt.
If we heard the news and live as the world does live, we may become angry, downhearted, less willing to give.
A portion of our blessings, to others in need. But, we should share, even our faith, plant a seed.
The Bible says, "We must walk by faith, not by sight," Humble ourselves, admit we are weak, and look to God's might.
Often we put up a false front and a fake smile. But we should believe Jesus' virgin birth, without guile.
Mary and Joseph were just ordinary folks. Both trusting God, not wanting to be the brunt of jokes.
Obediently raising up Messiah for God. Joseph working with wood, Mary a mother and wife, not so odd.
Well, I'm just a simple man, looking to Jesus for hope. And this Christmas, instead of just trying to cope,
I'll ask the Lord to fill me with joy and continue on as I must, But look to Jesus as author and finisher of life, in God I'll trust.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:54
To The Daily Sun,
SAU 2 is made up of Ashland, Center Harbor, Sandwich and Meredith. Ashland is a separate school board from Inter-Lakes. For towns to get into the SAU they have to petition the SAU, and all towns have to accept them, then the state has to approve the new configuration. To get out of the SAU you have to meet the requirement of RSA 194.C:2 and the state has to approve. Ashland's share under the formula is that they pay 9.6 percent of the revenue for 13.3 percent of the students which means they pay about 27 percent per student less than Inter-Lakes' towns.
To get into the school district you must petition and be accepted. To exit, a warrant article must pass in each town by two-thirds vote and the state must approve. The applicable RSA is 195:25. The towns in the Inter-Lakes district break down by number of students, Meredith 78.5 percent, Center Harbor 9.9 percent, Sandwich 11.6 percent; by revenue contributed, Meredith 68.8 percent, Center Harbor 14.8 percent and Sandwich 16.3 percent.
On Monday, Dec. 8, I went to a SAU 2 public hearing at the Humiston Building in Meredith. All the elected School Board representatives were present, Mary Ellen Ormond Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Special Education, etc. Lisa Merrill was chairperson. Ms. Merrill is a Meredith School Board representative. The budget description of the account was 2320 Executive General SAU. The hearing was about the proposed budget for 2015-16.
Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond thanked the board for increasing the salaries in accordance with the industry standard and other SAU boards. I like to know what the other board levels are? The meeting was quick with little input on the line items cost and how the dollar amount was derived, especially the line items with increases. The increase in the SAU budget is $12,404 for 2015-2016. 20014 being $880,500, and 2015-2016 =$892,904. Net increase of 1.5 percent.
Superintendent Ormand ($117,000) was permitted to disperse her $3,500 raise to individuals she deemed special because of their effort, which was evidently discussed in non-public, because the board went into non-public session and came out to vote on an amended budget, supposedly with the same bottom line. The public in attendance thought the non-public discussion dealt with upcoming benefit costs, but upon voting, the board kept the benefit costs as they appear in the budget and now the merit pool for SAU employees will evidently be augmented by the $3,500 superintendent's raise. Is this really legal? What is that all about?
What are the Medicaid services? Where do the federal funds go — $225,000? What are the indirect costs? I have never seen a budget hearing where discussion was limited on the budget line items. Inside the discussion there was no mention about the citizens (middle class, workers, and retired) and their finances in this troubled economy, but the budget increases to $892,904. The townsfolk have no say about the increases, but are forced to fund them. Is this logical? Something needs to change!
At the end of the meeting, when dates were set to begin budget talks for each School Board, I was astounded to hear that the meetings for the Inter-Lakes Board would start at 5 p.m., when the elected school board members who actually have jobs announced that they could not come until 6. Why not change the time to 6 p.m. when everyone can participate? Every school board member should be present. They do volunteer and are elected representatives.
The video can be found and watched at GraniteGrok.com
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:49
To The Daily Sun,
In Response to L.J. Siden's comment on death panels: I believe it's called The Independent Payment Advisory Board.
To Jon Hoyt: I'm glad the ACA is working for you. My wife also is on it and it works great for her now. The problem is even with Ponzi schemes the early-comers make out all right for a while.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 09:38