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Transparency Forum to highlight government efforts to conceal info

Telegraph photo by CASEY JUNKINS Dean Shalhoup, senior staff writer for The Telegraph, works diligently at his desk in the Nashua newsroom. Shalhoup will participate in a panel discussion regarding transparency in New Hampshire government, March 10 at Nashua Community College.

NASHUA – From the State House, to the courthouse, to City Hall, just how transparent are governments in New Hampshire?

Dean Shalhoup, senior staff writer for The Telegraph, will be among those participating in a forum to discuss this topic from 5-8 p.m. March 10 at Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst St. The event is free and open to the public.

Every year, we in the media honor Sunshine Week to celebrate access to public information in our democracy and what it means to you and your community. For this event, the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, Nashua Community College and the New England First Amendment Coalition will co-sponsor “How Transparent is NH Government and Why It Matters” at the college in Room 150.

Organizers will host a meet and greet from 5-6 p.m, with the panel discussion to follow from 6-8 p.m.

In addition to Shalhoup, those scheduled to participate in the discussion include American Civil Liberties Union – New Hampshire Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette, First Amendment attorney Rick Gagliuso of the Bernstein Shur Law Firm, and founder of the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism Nancy West and New Hampshire Director of Emergency Services and Communication Mark Doyle.

This panel is geared to members of the public, municipal and state workers who deal with Right-to-Know requests and high school and college students.

Bring questions March 10 or email them before to nancywestnews@gmail.com.

This will be an informal gathering and organizers make time to answer questions and provide light refreshments to attendees.

Although the event is free, those wishing to attend are asked to register for free tickets by going to: www.eventbrite.com/e/how-transparent-is-nh-government-why-it-matters-tickets-95871296629.

The Panelists

• Dean Shalhoup is a Nashua native and 1972 Nashua High School graduate who has worked for The Telegraph newspaper in various capacities for 47 years.

He is currently a reporter/columnist. His chief beat as a reporter is covering crime, police matters and courts, although, like the other reporters, is also called upon to cover stories outside of that beat – which, of course, includes identifying stories for which filing Right-to-Know requests could be part of the research. Shalhoup writes a weekly history-oriented column on Nashua people, places and things, which he has been doing for nearly 20 years.

• Gilles Bissonnette is the legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire, where he leads a team of three civil rights lawyers. He has litigated cases on the criminalization of poverty, voting, police and government accountability/public records, the First Amendment, immigrants’ rights, and criminal justice issues. While at the ACLU, Gilles has testified before the New Hampshire legislature on over one hundred bills impacting civil liberties and represents the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism and six newspapers in their public records lawsuit to obtain the names on the “Laurie List” of dishonest law enforcement officers that is now before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

• Nancy West is the founder of the nonprofit New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, which publishes online InDepthNH.org to hold the powerful accountable and provide indepth reporting on state house matters and complex issues that affect New Hampshire people. She worked for many years as a reporter and editor at the New Hampshire Union Leader and has taught investigative reporting at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s summer program at Boston University. She is passionate about government transparency and the future of news.

• Rick Gagliuso is an established construction law authority, media attorney and civic activist who is a shareholder in the Bernstein Shur Law firm in Manchester. He represents media outlets throughout the state and serves on the board of directors of the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism. He also serves on the board of directors of the New England First Amendment Coalition and is a fellow with Construction Lawyers of America, a member of the Diversity Law Institute and Trial Law Institute and serves on the hearings Committee of the New Hampshire Attorney Discipline System.

• Mark Doyle became the director of Emergency Services and Communication in June 2017 after retiring as chief of police in Merrimack, where he spent his 32-year law enforcement career. He oversees the operations of the division, which include the Enhanced 911 system; state of New Hampshire Radio Communications; Homeland Security and Emergency Management communications support; database management; and, mapping/addressing in support of E 911. Mark received his associate’s degree in criminal justice/law enforcement from Middlesex Community College; B.S. in business management from Franklin Pierce College; MBA in leadership from Franklin Pierce College; graduate certificate in criminal justice education from the University of Virginia; and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.