To The Daily Sun,
After reading Bob Greemore's letter to the editor in the Saturday, Aug. 9, Sun I have to say he nailed it when stating that Michael Kitch was very biased in his writing about the conflicts between the commission and the county delegation. This is not an unusual occurrence when you consider that 90 percent plus of people in the news media today are registered Democrats. You have to wonder what is taught in journalism school today. It certainly isn't reporting the facts no matter what your personal feelings are on an issue.
I also agree with Rep. Greemore's assessment of the commission, with good reason. First let's go back to Obama's "shovel ready stimulus plan." The commissioners spent over a half million dollars of the grant they received on refurbishing their offices and meeting room and had a gym erected for their use, plus almost $18,000 was spent on signage. This money was spent while the roof on the nursing home wing was leaking and while they watched the jail deteriorate. When questioned about the use of the money, Deb Shackett answered with an evasiveness that wasn't an answer at all. Keep in mind the commissioners also wanted to spend a large amount of money on bulletproof glass for their offices. The way they've conducted themselves I can understand why.
They attached themselves to the Ricci-Greene proposal for the jail at the jaw-dropping price of $42.6 million. This is a company that stated that almost nobody accepts their first proposal. My question is: "Why the heck do you present it?" Commissioner Philpot has stated that they had no intention of going with that plan. Yeah, right. If the members of the convention, along with the public, hadn't intervened the construction would be ongoing at this time. Administrator Deb Shackett while, exiting a meeting, stated, "We're going to get our jail." I guess with her it's personal.
Now let's move on to legal decisions this commission has made. They filed a lawsuit against the Register of Deeds in an attempt to force her to deposit the receipts from her office into the general fund, which is clearly against state law. They lost. The only reason I can come up with for this move is so they could play with the money during the month until it had to be paid to the state. They also filed suit against the convention, again to gain more power which by law wasn't theirs. They lost again. Now keep in mind that Commissioner Philpot is a practicing attorney and the lawsuit against the convention was brought with the assistance of a retired judge. They had to know they were wrong going in. Another law they disregarded was making annual reports to the N.H. Attorney General on conditions at the jail as required by law. He must be proud of his fellow attorney.
Sheriff Wiggin, in a letter to the editor, stated that he feels competent to offer an informed opinion on the jail, and I agree with that statement. I also understand that he wants the best possible working conditions for the staff at the jail. The problem(s) I have is the concern that a lot of people involved in this issue have for the inmates. Before you send out your hate mail let me say I don't want the county to bring back chain gangs and bread and water diets etc. Remember these people broke the law and the last I knew jails were supposed to be a form of punishment and not a tuition-free college.
I read where the commission voted to apply for a grant for poetry reading for the inmates. Weren't there any grants for Zumba and yoga? They said it was a way for them to cope with their anger, loss, sadness, loneliness, grief and frustration. Gee, I thought that was what jail was supposed to cause so that they wouldn't want to come back. The saying comes to mind, "I can do that sentence standing on my head." We shouldn't be fostering that mindset.
Let's elect pragmatic people to the commission who will use federal guidelines for prisons as their objective while keeping the taxpayers of the county as their first priority. If this means breaking off with Ricci-Greene, so be it. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.
To the residents of Laconia I say, "You're going to shoulder the largest tax burden of this jail so when you vote vote your pocketbook and do your homework." I also think it's time for a new administrator who won't let personality guide her/his decisions and I would hope the new commission will seriously consider that move.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 10:53
To The Daily Sun,
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a very moving ceremony at our Statehouse in Concord.
Our state representative from Meredith and Gilford, Lisa DiMartino, was among the honorees by the Governor's Commission on Disability. Lisa was recognized as the legislator most dedicated to the issues facing the differently-abled community. We are lucky to have such a tireless and principled legislator representing Meredith and Gilford and this special population in Concord.
As I looked around the room and as I listened to honorees' stories, I pinched myself at my own good fortune. A random accident, an unforeseen health outcome; all of us could see our lives or that of someone we hold dear change in an instant.
I credit Lisa, all the honorees, and many of those in attendance at this ceremony for their boundless energy on behalf of loved one, those in their care or those to whom they provide opportunities.
And I congratulate Lisa on a very deserved recognition.
Kate Miller, Chair
Belknap County Democrats
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:22
To The Daily Sun,
I would like to express my appreciation to the Laconia School District for allowing me to serve the district and it's youth for the past 12 years.
Recently, due to significant physical health issues, I needed to submit my resignation as a custodian to the district. I am most grateful to have been able to serve the District in this capacity, and as well to have been involved in several extra curricular activities, mainly at LHS. I truly loved being involved with the student community for many years. I consider this to be the top milestone in my life.
As I write this I am being overwhelmed with cherished memories. Winning seasons, losing seasons, dances, proms, bus rides to Con-Val and Fall Mountain. It's all there hopefully to never be forgotten.
I attempted to know as many students names as possible. Even nicknames: Cheesecrakers, Phatty, Sonar, Patchy, and Chief to name a few. But it was the friendships that I will remember from the students and parents. I am very proud to have served all of your over the years, and I wish you all well, and may you continue to live decent and productive lives.
I would like to express my appreciation to the faculty of LHS and LMS for all of your understanding and wisdom over the years, again, a pleasure to serve you.
For the students and alumnus that I have so proudly served I wish that you live well, do what is right, have a good work ethic always, be kind to others, and always remember your time at Laconia Schools by what Coach Kozens says, "Good people first, good players second". Live by this standard and you will have lived life to the fullest, and a profound thank you from Coach "T", just a simple man, who does what he feels right.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:17
To The Daily Sun,
2014 marks the tenth year of the Meredith Library Public Garden. The garden was started in 2005 as part of the America in Bloom competition. Its first year it received first-place honors in the competition. In 2013, the library garden came in third in the Landscape Design Contest. This is the 10th year that it has been designated as one of the All-American Selection (AAS) Display Gardens.
The display gardens are dedicated to growing AAS Winner plants in an attractive outdoor setting that is open to the public. Each year since 1932, AAS has conducted trials and selected winning flower and vegetable varieties as a way for home gardeners to learn which new varieties are truly improved.
This year the garden was supplemented by stepping stones created by teens at the library in an activity led by youth services librarian John Locke. The Greater Meredith Sculpture Walk also added a metal dragonfly sculpture to the front of the garden space.
Throughout the growing season, volunteers from the Friends of Meredith Library weed and water the garden to maintain its pristine condition. Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of the Meredith Library may visit the library website at www.meredithlibrary.org or call the library at 279-4303 for more information.
Thank you to all the parties that made this year's garden possible: The Greater Meredith Program for donating the plants and for adding the sculpture, the Friends of the Meredith Library for purchasing the materials for the stepping stones and maintaining the garden, and the library teens for creating the stones.
We at the library hope that the entire community and visitors to the area have an opportunity to come and enjoy this year's lovely display.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:14
To The Daily Sun,
Tony Boutin's latest attempt at misdirection is one of his usual tries at making us believe that up is down or that black is white. His verbal scam was perfectly described by Abraham Lincoln when he said that an opponent was trying to make his audience believe that "a horse chestnut is a chestnut horse."
He mentioned me in that letter, and I think it might be useful to share our families' experience because you want us to believe that many"'Americans are now constantly at Supreme Court to defend liberties."
Everyone in the United States is entitled to "due process rights" under federal law. There was a time when we as parents were involved with getting one of our children an education within the public school system. Our son has a handicap that required intervention at school and other ancillary services.
These were covered under Federal Law: PL 94-142. (PL stands for Public Law). In part the law stated that states and in particular public schools were to provide an appropriate education in the "least restrictive environment" for children with physical and emotional handicaps.
To make a very long story short, after years of non-compliance by the school system with both state and federal law, we reluctantly chose to go through the courts. From numerous mediation meetings (at the COH, otherwise known as the Committee on the Handicapped) on school level all the way up to a Supreme Court case, we were able to win our lawsuit. In conjunction with our case there was a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of this particular group. The law and subsequent ruling allowed us to place our son in a private school setting (his least restrictive environment) at no extra added expense to parents. The group's education was to be paid for by the school district via state and federal funds specifically budgeted for this purpose.
The private school we sent our son to for a couple of years educates children with this disability up through high school. The school is world renowned and is able to successfully educate young people from many states and foreign countries.
Because of our right to due process under federal law, he is very successful in his field of endeavor. But alas, there is a very sad ending to this story.
I should mention that our attorney won many cases for her clients as a result of PL 94-142 being in place. The Supreme Court at that time ruled in favor of the parents being able to send their children to private schools (saying that these placements would be the students Least Restrictive Environment) at no extra added expense to the families enjoined in this class action lawsuit.
Alas, public school administrators were not happy with this ruling. They did not want to "set" a precedent by having to send children with this particular type of handicap to private schools. They traveled to D.C. and had meetings with administration officials in the Reagan White House to plead that PL 94-142 be watered down or totally abolished.
Then our attorney was "summoned" to the Reagan White House where she was told to 'back off' and not take any more cases of this nature.
There were also Republicans in Congress who were more than willing and then proceeded to change or alter the wording and intent of PL 94-142 (sound familiar yet, Mr. Boutin?). In the same time frame many public school administrators and state Departments of Education took their case to the Court of Appeals (the next highest court in the land under the Supreme Court) to appeal the Supreme Court ruling.
The three judge Court of Appeals overturned the Supreme Court ruling stating that parents had to go back to their home school districts and basically start all over again in trying to work with administrators to get their children the education and services needed.
It goes without saying that this ruling was the death knell for all of the progress and hard-won fight on the part of these parents. Parents were tired, drained of resources and sick of fighting the system, only to be sent back to their home school districts. Those parents who had the resources were able to place these children in the appropriate private school setting at their own expense.
This is but one example of why we must never take our due process rights for granted. Nor should we lead people to believe (as you state in your letter) that "government would not only have to intrude, but in many cases make a mockery of the first four freedoms."
It is sad that you believe that a government that will protect people is "more expansive and more expensive, but most importantly, much more controlling and intrusive." Many times, people need government to protect them from being subject to others' personal beliefs or simple convenience.
Public schools and public companies have always had to recognize the rights of people of different beliefs than their own. That is part of being a member of the public. Your twisted use of personal liberty arguments are the same ones used by restaurants and bus companies in the 1950s to refuse service to black Americans. Personal liberty is not the same thing as the liberty to enforce one's personal beliefs on the rest of society.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 08:52