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St. Vincent de Paul hosted volunteer appreciation dinner

To The Daily Sun,

The Laconia Conference of St. Vincent de Paul held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner on Monday, May 16. The dinner also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the conference. The affair was hosted and catered by Contigiani Catering Services at Peasant Ridge Country Club. The Contigiani's excellent cuisine and service was appreciated by all of the SVdP volunteers.

Approximately 160 current and past volunteers who staff and manage the conference's four programs — thrift store, food pantry, financial assistance program, and the Children's Foundation — attended the annual recognition of the volunteer service.

As an all-volunteer non-profit organization, such dedication is essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of St. Vincent de Paul in providing needed assistance to some many in the region. In its 25 years of existence, St. Vincent de Paul has never paid any wages or salaries; so more of our donations of clothing, furniture, and cash go directly for community support.

Five individuals received service awards: Jeanette Buckley, Jo Carignan, John Peavey, and Erika Johnson for 25 years of volunteer service, and Sue Page for 20 years of service.

Many Lakes Region vendors provided "door prizes" for a raffle. We wish to thank Fratello's, Local Eatery, Prescott Florist, Whittemore's Florist, Laconia Bakery, China Gardens, the Common Man organization, Home Comfort and Lavinia's in Center Harbor, Patrick's Pub & Eatery, T-Bones Restaurant, O's Steak and Seafood, the Faro Grill in Weirs Beach, Laconia Car Wash, China Garden, Laconia Village Bakery, O'du's Hair Salon, Court Street Salon, and Bootleggers for their wonderful generosity.

On behalf of these many volunteers and the people we serve, I offer our sincere appreciation to all in the Lakes Region who have supported us. Most of all, I extend my thanks to all the volunteers who have donated so many hours of their time for the benefit of the Lakes Region over our 25 years of service. Many thanks.

Erika Johnson, President

Saint Vincent de Paul Society



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ACLU also put its muscle into preventing state support of Islam

To The Daily Sun,

Russ Wiles sure likes to tell tall tales. One of his latest is nothing more than a falsehood from the right-wing bubble. Russ paints for us, "While the ACLU is hell-bent on banning Christian prayers in schools, they fight to allow for Muslims to pray in schools." That's ridiculous.

Let me tell you about the Minnesota charter school, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA). In 2009 it came to the attention of the ACLU that TIZA was in violation of the First Amendment. The Wikipedia article states: "In January, 2009, describing the Academy as "in essence, a private religious school", Charles Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, announced that the ACLU would file a lawsuit alleging that the academy promotes the Muslim religion and that its directors illegally use a holding company to channel taxpayer dollars to a religious organization. The suit accuses the school of holding group prayers during school hours, including a 30-minute prayer session on Fridays, allowing teachers to post religious material on classroom bulletin boards, and enforcing Islamic rules on modesty of dress — including sleeves and skirts or trousers of a certain length, on female but not male students and teachers."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press put it like this: "The ACLU sued the charter school, the Minnesota Department of Education and the charter school's sponsor Islamic Relief in 2009, claiming leaders used taxpayer money to finance the teaching of religion, directly in violation of the establishment clause that separates church and state."

So once again, Russ spins a tale but runs out of yarn in the face of the facts. That is the right-wing way — to make stuff up. Russ cries a river about Christian persecution, but what it amounts to is right-wing Christians throwing hissy fits when their religion isn't allowed to usurp the establishment clause. The Constitution isn't the Bible. In fact, it never mentions God, Jesus, Christianity, or the Bible. They deliberately did that to separate themselves from England and the 1600's theocratic colonial order which fundamentalists miss so much.

The ACLU, People For The American Way (PFAW.org) and Americans United For the Separation of Church and State (AU.org) will take to court any taxpayer supporter school that promotes any religion whether is be Christian, Muslim, or Jewish.

Just this week, the ACLU won a major appellate court case in New Jersey, where Gov. Christie had granted state funding to religious schooling. The ACLU page states, "The ACLU of New Jersey, national ACLU, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State successfully challenged New Jersey's grants of $10.6 million to Beth Medrash Govoha, an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in Lakewood, and $645,323 to Princeton Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary, both of which are dedicated to religious training and engage in discrimination." PLONK!

So here you see that the ACLU put its muscle into preventing state support of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. This is what the ACLU does when it comes to the establishment clause. And this one is just for Russ: Another victory just today is that Catholic hospitals in Illinois can no longer withhold complete medical information and options to women seeking reproductive health care. That was done by the Illinois Legislature. Winning!

James Veverka

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