To The Daily Sun,
As voters go to the polls to determine how tax dollars will be spent, Community Action Program, Belknap/Merrimack Counties, Inc. (CAP) is asking the voters of Gilford to support article 20 on the town warrant and appropriate $8,236 to support the local area center office located in Laconia.
Last year CAP programs provided Gilford residents with more than $351,208 of services, returning $42.64 of service to Gilford residents for each dollar spent in support of the Laconia area center. This request is not for any social service program but solely for the operations of the area center. Staff salaries are the major budget expense.
The area center serves the residents of the City of Laconia and the five surrounding towns. We ask the city and each town we serve to share the expense of maintaining the office so that, when residents experience a hardship and find themselves unable to obtain basic needs such as food, shelter or fuel, the area center staff will be there to help them access resources for these basic life sustaining elements.
CAP works in partnership with local town and city welfare offices to assist residents in need using resources other than local tax dollars. We are awarded contracts by the State of New Hampshire to administer programs to provide basic necessities to New Hampshire residents. We are also entrusted with grants from many businesses and individuals to provide needed assistance to residents seeking help in their time of need. All of the private funds donated to our agency are used exclusively for assistance. No administrative costs are provided, therefore we ask for the city and towns to share, with other federal and state funds, in the support of the area center so that staff will always be available to assist families and individuals in need.
Last year the staff provided over 138 residents with over 1,242 meals from the emergency food pantry. More than 240 Gilford households were provided with $180,960 in fuel assistance and 233 Gilford households receive a discount on their electric bill because of the work of the area center staff. Another $68,820 was spent weatherizing 15 Gilford homes and $1,064 was provided to residents facing a utility shutoff. Without the CAP area center these residents would have sought assistance from the town welfare office and local tax dollars for assistance which the town is required by law to provide. CAP provides other resources and not local tax dollars to help the town meet its legal commitment.
As a Gilford resident I encourage town officials to seek out resources other than my tax dollars to provide basic life needs assistance to local residents.
I hope the residents of Gilford find the work of the staff of Belknap/Merrimack Community Action Program worthy of support from their town.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 11:18
To The Daily Sun,
I am very pleased to endorse Rosemary Landry for Meredith selectman. Rosemary is a tireless worker for safety, individual rights, and effective, efficient government.
Two or her recent efforts are her work to bring attention to the need to repair the Meredith Neck Road and her efforts to ensure full evaluation of the three traffic circle proposal. The evaluation of the three traffic circle proposal disclosed that, despite some potential benefits, it would delay the responsiveness of our firefighters in an emergency, disrupt Meredith traffic for several months during construction, wouldn't solve the Meredith congestion problem, and would most likely delay a real solution to Meredith's congestion problem.
Rosemary has been a regular at selectmen's meetings, occasionally providing input to the board, and informing the public when needed.
Considering that four of the five Selectman positions need to be filled, it is a relief to know that at least one candidate is up to speed on town issues and ready to contribute.
Please join me on March 10 in voting for Rosemary Landry for Meredith selectman to ensure the smooth continuation of town business.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 11:12
To The Daily Sun,
Less than a month ago, I was selected by the Belknap County Convention to fill the vacancy for representative of the 3rd District on the Belknap County Board of Commissioners. At the time, I believed my appointment would end my two-year career as a letter writer/critic of county government.
While not eager to give up the joys of retirement time, I undertook the appointment with enthusiasm.
I campaigned hard for both Dick Burchell and Dave DeVoy and I considered Dick Burchell a close personal friend. I looked forward to joining their team, chaired by Dick Burchell, and seeking with them to improve our county government. Unfortunately, I very quickly discovered there was no team.
One of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Commissioners is to prepare and propose a budget to the County Convention. This is the important first step in the process whereby the convention, after reviewing the commissioners' proposed budget, prepares the final budget for the county.
When neither Commissioner DeVoy nor I would agree in advance of the process to cutting certain employee positions Commissioner Burchell wished to cut, he refused to participate with us in the budget process. Our deliberations started with the convention's substantial trimming and refinement of the original budget proposed by the former commissioners; Commissioner DeVoy and I then proceeded from the former commissioners' proposed budget as modified by the convention. Mr. Burchell is now critical of the proposed budget that our deliberations produced, but he neither heard the deliberations nor contributed his thinking to the process. In short, the commissioner who had been selected to chair the Commission refused to be part of the team in addressing its first important responsibility.
The chairman needs both to be part of the team and to have the temperament to lead the team through the differences of opinion that inevitably arise.
For this reason, with considerable disappointment and regret, I will, at the next commissioners' meeting, move to reorganize the Belknap County Board of Commissioners. If that motion passes, I will nominate Dave DeVoy to chair the board.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 11:04
To The Daily Sun,
I am one of eight people running for the open positions for selectman in Meredith.
Although I have never owned a business, been a manager or had a high-profile job, I feel I could do a good job as selectman.
I am willing to listen, learn and do the best job that I can. I have tried very hard to do that during my working career.
Since I decided to run, the two questions that I hear the most is "Why am I running?" and "Am I qualified to do the job?"
Reasons for running: As a native of Meredith and living here for 73 years I would like to give back to my hometown. I have no agenda except to keep the taxes down so our children can afford to live and raise a family here.
To make decisions that keep Meredith going in the right direction, I feel it is very important that we need to look to the future and plan for the many projects that will needed to be done in the next few years. One of the most important things I want to do, is listen to taxpayers and work for them.
As far as qualifications, I served four years in the Navy during the Vietnam era as a hospital corpsman, four years as post commander of our local American Legion Post, Parks and playgrounds commissioner, Community Center Committee and many other functions within the town.
After my wife passed away three years ago, I have retired for the second time and I have the time to do the job. If you're looking for someone who has all the answers, I am not your man.
One thing I think that is very important and that is to try and learn something new every day.
I would appreciate your vote.
L. Michael Hatch
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 11:00
To The Daily Sun,
The subject of personal fireworks has reared its ugly head again in Gilford. A personal fireworks ban is the last warrant article to be voted on March 10.
Please keep in mind that this article does not prohibit professionally run fireworks programs offered most weekends around the Gilford area. It is strictly aimed at the disturbing noise at all hours of the night, potential for fires, and risk of personal injury to the user, but also to their family and guests as well.
In order to understand how we got to this point, we need to go over the history of personal fireworks in Gilford. The use of personal fireworks had been against the law since 1988. However, the law never had any penalty attached. Almost two years ago, the penalty aspect was brought up to the Board of Selectman for its review. Two of the selectman at the time, realizing their responsibilities for the safety, security, and serenity of the citizens of Gilford, initiated penalties to protect the citizens of Gilford from all the risks involved. It was still against the law. However, soon after the last election, our newest selectman brought fireworks up to the board once again and made the motion to overturn the entire ordinance. Again, by a vote of 2 to 1, personal fireworks, against the law since 1988, were now legal. Not only was there a concern of quickly overturning a decision made by a previous board, but quickly changing an ordinance in place for more than 20 years on the whim of a newly elected selectman is questionable at best.
There are reasons why fireworks are against the law in a large number of states and/or regulated in many cities and town in New Hampshire. If you don't think there are hazards from fireworks consider that nationally in 2011 there were 17,800 fires from fireworks, $32 million in property damage, hospitals treated 8,700 injuries from fireworks and recently, reloadable mortars were legalized in New Hampshire.
That couldn't occur in this area? Consider the horrible fireworks accident in Pelham in 2012 where 11 people were seriously injured, including five children — with "flip flops blown right off their feet." Consider the recent Lakes Region accident where a lighted sparkler set fire to the clothes of a young girl causing severe burns. You could say that if you do the math, the risk to Gilford is minimal — unless it happens to one of your family members. All these tragedies need is one mistake.
The arguments for legalized fireworks are somewhat silly. One was, if a personal display was set off on an island, how could we enforce it? Another was the wear and tear of police response vehicles and their time involved. One citizen said that at a large personal fireworks party he has every year, only less than six beers were consumed. Actually, he then mentioned that he's sure alcohol and inexperienced fireworks users are probably used in town but his is very safe.
But the big one was if fireworks are legal in New Hampshire, why should their use be limited. The answer is simple and easy: Guns are sold, but it's against the law to go around shooting them off, cars are sold but there are many laws to protect others, pools are sold but there are laws to install fences, and, finally matches are sold but you need a fire permit. The list can go on and on.
A quote from the National Fire Protection Association is "safe and sane personal fireworks don't exist." And, "the few seconds of enjoyment are not worth the risk of injury, permanent scaring, or even death" and the offensive explosions at all hours of the night.
Please vote to restore the ban on personal fireworks to keep Gilford safe and serene.
John T. O'Brien
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 10:46