Letters to the Editor
Not acting in the best interest
As a student in the Milford School District years ago, I learned that when you give someone your word, you honor it. It is a bond. When you sign a contract, you live up to its terms.
Recently, we learned that Superintendent Jessica Huizenga and a majority of the members of the school board do not subscribe to that core philosophy.
Dr. Huizenga requested a mid-term amendment to her employment contract increasing the buyout for termination without cause from 6 to 20 months. Although the Board had no legal obligation to re-open the contract, much less actually agree to any amendments, the Board did exactly that.
According to the contract, Dr. Huizenga’s base salary was $145,690 in year one of the deal followed by 3, three percent annual salary increases. Currently in year 2, she is earning $150,067, and in year 3 it will be $154,563. If she were terminated without cause on March 1, 2020 under the old deal, it would have cost the District approximately $75,034 in salary plus the cost of accumulated personal days and health and dental insurance. If she is terminated without cause now, under the new contract provision, it will cost the District up to approximately $253,852 in salary plus the cost of the additional contractual benefits.
Dr. Huizenga’s reneging on the original contract she signed, and demanding this change, demonstrates to me that she, and the majority of the Board that voted for it, are interested only in her self-preservation. As such, I no longer believe she or the majority of the board are acting in the best interest of the District or our children.
By her conduct as the “chief educational officer” of the District, Dr. Huizenga (and the majority of the Board) has taught our students a very different lesson than the one I learned here – her word is not a bond. She does not believe she has to live up to the terms of her employment contract.
Adopting this contract amendment, making it financially impractical for a newly elected Board to terminate the superintendent without cause, this Board has put a target on her back for just cause termination as the only other viable option for Milford to move on from what has become a toxic relationship.
Just-cause termination, under the contract, will not cost the District anything in the form of buyouts etc. It may, however, given the rhetoric attributed to the superintendent and chairman of the school board, cost the District in the form of litigation and settlement. Matters that could have simply been avoided by both parties honoring the original deal.
For all those reasons, I no longer support Dr. Huizenga as superintendent.
I no longer support the majority of the board.
I am asking all candidates for school board running in the next election to specifically address this topic and tell the voters what they will do to remedy this situation. Do that, and you may earn my vote.
Vote for Buschmann
We’re writing to endorse Ralph Buschmann for a 3 year term on the Wilton Select Board. We know & are supporting Ralph because he is a sincere person whose attention to Wilton’s future is well thought-out before making up his mind. I’ve seen this happen as he regularly attends select board meetings, as well as ZBA, conservation, school board & planning board meetings. Ralph & I were also part of a volunteer sub committee researching a town matter that was decided at the 2018 town meeting. Ralph is a thoughtful listener to all who speak about issues & so therefore will be a true representative for Wilton residents.
Felice Fullam and Peter Sullivan
Not true socialists
I am already getting emails from conservative-Republican candidates calling all Democrats “socialists” when I don’t think that any of the national Democrats are truly socialists at all. None. To me, they are all “liberals” and “progressives” who are NOT advocating for the abolition of our market-based capitalist economic system and who simply want to develop a more “HUMANE” capitalism which has more new federal government social programs to help people.
They want the USA to be more like Canada, western Europe, and Scandanavia. I don’t consider these countries to be “socialist.” These countries do not consider themselves to be “socialist.” Only USA conservative-Republicans do. People like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are not true socialists.
Rochester, New York
And Pence speaks only to God
Trump has proven that he does not take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. He has muzzled medical advisors such as the eminently qualified and non-political Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dissemination of information must now be processed through the political folks in the White House. Ultimately, we will get our information from VP Pence once he consults with God.
Should the Police Benevolent Assoc be endorsing Trump?
Donald Trump is the most lawless president in US history. He has attacked defenders of law and order at every turn. He has attacked any law enforcement official or agency that points out his illegal activity: the FBI, members of the Department of Justice, Judges. He is also the most untruthful president in history: the Washington Post has documented more than 16,000. He is also a crook. For example, the millions he had to pay back for the fraudulent Trump University, his veterans scam and his fake Trump charity.
So, it was truly disturbing to see that the New England Police Benevolent Association was endorsing this man. As the first-line protectors of public peace, the arbiters of the laws, such an endorsement goes against everything police are supposed to stand for!
It is not at all clear how many or what percentage of New England or New Hampshire police supported the endorsement. In his intemperate comments attacking Portsmouth Police Commission chair, Joe Onosko, the executive director of the Benevolent Association, Jerry Flynn obfuscated this information. I still have high hopes that a large number of police, perhaps a majority, opposed this endorsement.
The Portsmouth Police Department has gone through some difficult times in the last few years and has emerged stronger for it. Mr. Onosko has been an important part of that process. Mr. Flynn’s histrionic remarks, intemperate attacks on our elected Police Commissioner and threats to Portsmouth businesses, demean police officers everywhere.
Milford voters beware
Milford faces a tough choice on March 10th. In addition to the town and school budgets, voters have before them many warrant articles asking for additional monies with which to fund projects. Some, like Warrant Article 3, calling for renovation and addition to our library, are reasonable and contemplative and are worthy of our support. Others, like Warrant Article 4, conceal hidden agendas and mask what the real cost will be.
When 28 voters signed a petition putting Warrant Article 5 on the ballot, the amount of bonding for Milford taxpayers was $1.2 Million: half the proposal in Warrant article 4. At the deliberative session, advocates of Article 4 moved and amended this amount to $3.5+ Million in order to make Article 4 seem more reasonable by comparison. Let’s examine how reasonable Article 4 truly is.
According to a pamphlet produced by its proponents, Article 4 proposes to spend up to $500,000 on building an addition to the police station – a building for which we are still paying. The addition will be 19’4″ x 18′. This totals 347.99 square feet; the size of a comfortable living room. If half a million is spent constructing this addition, it represents a construction cost of $1,436.78 per square foot. According to Cummings cost estimator, the average cost per square foot for single story commercial construction in the highest price region of the country (San Francisco) for 2019 was between $364 and $437 – less than a third or more! If only $400K is spent, that still puts the sf cost at $1,149.45 (more than 2.5 times the San Francisco estimates).
Under Article 4, Milford will leave the association it has maintained for 35 years with neighboring towns, leaving those communities in the lurch. Milford Area Communication Center (MACC Base) has served the emergency telecommunications needs of Milford from its inception. Milford contributes only 71% of the financing of that institution, yet it consumes more than 90% of its resources according to Milford authorities. With the new bureaucracy created inside the Milford Police, Milford taxpayers will have to pay 100% of the costs, plus forfeit all the money that it has contributed to the MACC Base infrastructure.
In addition, the Article 4 scheme is dependent upon a 175-foot antenna tower being erected behind the police station, with an additional 20-foot antenna mounted on top. That’s the equivalent of placing a two-story antenna on top of a seventeen and a half story building right in the middle of town.
Voters should be leery of Article 4. This isn’t about better service to emergency responders, only different service under the control of different entities. Had Milford been working properly with MACC Base over the past ten years, had their agencies been properly maintaining the own equipment, the predicament in which Milford’s emergency services find themselves would never have emerged. I urge a “no” vote on Article 4.
Paul D. Bagley
Support Paul Armstrong
I am writing in support of Paul Armstrong for Selectman in our town of Hollis.
Previously Paul had been appointed to complete a term for selectman. He has operated the television camera that televises the selectmen’s meetings for over ten years. Through this service, he has gained experience, knowledge, and insight into the operations of various departments and the responsibilities that this office entails.
He has worked the polls on voting days as an assistant moderator for 5 years. He and his wife, Maureen, have lived and actively participated in town for over 19 years.
Until retirement, Paul had owned an electrical business, Dunwell Electric, in town for over 25 years. Due to this, he has gained knowledge and experience in the physical care of most town buildings. Owning his own business has provided him with the opportunity to understand the complexity of running a business, staying within budget, and communicating with professionals, as well as the public. Being one of his customers, I know that he is honest, thorough, and listens to individuals concerns.
He thoroughly researches unfamiliar topics and seeks resolutions by contacting individuals with experience in the appropriate field. Paul is knowledgeable, has the ability to professionally support his opinions but also be respectful of differing opinions.
Paul is an honest man who is cooperative and displays common sense when resolving issues.
Paul takes pride in supporting local service organizations, the schools, elderly, and youth while living/working in our town of Hollis. He appreciates and values the unique, rural character of Hollis and hopes to encourage responsible development while maintaining our rural character.
Please consider supporting Paul Armstrong for the position of Selectman on March 10th.
Nancy P. Morey
Tony Labranch for school board
I am a current senior at Souhegan High School. I’ve lived in Amherst for six years now. Before moving here I was a Nashua resident, spending the majority of my childhood there. I grew up in a single-parent household. This has made me respectful and grateful for my mother and for my community that has supported me in becoming the responsible person I am today. I am also a cancer survivor as I was diagnosed at the age of ten. This battle and journey has taught me much about the appreciation for life and being a good person, even when it seems like everything is against you. It has made me more grateful for the positivity that a community can bring and has inspired me to give back and help my community here in Amherst.
Since I started running for Souhegan Cooperative School Board (SCSB), I have been asked many questions, all getting at one idea: Why am I running? The simple answer is that I am running for School Board because I believe it is fitting and good stewardship to give back to my community that has treated me well, improved my life, and afforded me a great education. Souhegan is like no other high school. Souhegan’s teaching styles and student leadership opportunities have contributed to my successes as a man, and I am grateful for that too. In the past four years at Souhegan I have had the opportunity to experience and embody the Souhegan six and the values of respect, trust, and courage, from being on Community Council for all four years to being the Chairman of the Constitutional Interpretation Committee.
In my time here I have also seen things that have concerned me. Since I moved here, Souhegan has declined in the rankings.This should be a concern for students and parents, and for those who own property in this town as property values and good schools go hand in hand. This could mean a drop in property values. I know that the reason my mother and I moved here was primarily based on educational value, as Souhegan was a highly respected highschool.
While data on school performance is easily available, finding out what student life is actually like is virtually impossible unless you are already a student. As a student, I have seen that Souhegan has lost its focus on the things that matter most. While Souhegan can give their students one to one laptops, they often leave their more advanced students doing busywork, rather than giving them opportunities to further their learning ahead of traditional pace. I have seen some of the brightest minds stuck doing busy work due to the bureaucracy that surrounds going outside the required curriculum. We should be letting our brightest kids grow and pursue their passions, so compete with the best of the best, and become the leaders of tomorrow.
Another issue that we must address is the lack of maintenance into our facilities. As a student and a member of the Souhegan 2.0 Task-Force I have seen the state of our school, and it\’s high time we address this. How is it that we spend upwards of eighteen million dollars a year on our school yet we have climate control issues, safety issues with science labs, and we have non-functional team based classrooms. Where is the money going? As a member of Task-Force, I have seen the costs savings that these repairs and updates would benefit our school. We have great people living in Amherst. We can and must do better for our students and community.
Like most of you, I want Souhegan to be even greater. I know we can do this with less cost and greater efficiency. Thank You for your consideration, and on Tuesday, March 10th , please vote for Tony Labranche for Souhegan Cooperative School Board.
What is truth?
Governor Sununu often relies on untruths to justify his position on issues. “I’m a Trump guy through and through,” he once said.
The truth is NH has inadequate school and UNH funding. Posters in Boston’s South Station proclaim University of Maine tuition for out-of-state students to be the same as UNH’s in-state tuition.
The truth is property tax rates are too high, affecting those on fixed incomes and renters wanting to live and work in NH.
The truth is, unlike neighboring states, NH’s minimum wage is inadequate. Sununu is against increasing it.
The truth is Sununu puts corporate campaign donors’ interests above citizens’ interests.
The truth is Sununu cares more about his NRA approval rating than citizen safety. He vetoes bills proposing reasonable gun safety measures.
The truth is NH has high electricity rates. Eversource makes campaign contributions. The Koch brothers and Eversource persuade the governor to veto net metering bills.
The truth is Sununu ignores climate change. He claims expertise as an engineer. He’s never held an engineering license in any state.
The truth is Sununu likes gerrymandering. He vetoed the 2019 bill establishing an independent advisory redistricting commission. His veto message showed he either did not read the bill or he misrepresented it.
The truth is Sununu’s 57 vetoes in 2019 demonstrated that he does as he pleases rather than furthering interests of NH citizens. How many bipartisan bills will he veto in 2020?
Sununu isn’t making our lives safer or better. Let’s vote him out in November.