Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Art exhibition Kaleidoscope: Showcasing the Quality and Scope of Student Artwork from New Hampshire University Campuses on view July 3 – August 22 at Castle in the Clouds; Gallery Reception July 5 at 5:30 PM.

Castle in the Clouds opens it second art exhibition of the season, Kaleidoscope, on Thursday, July 3rd, and welcomes the public to a gallery reception on Sunday, July 5th at 5:30 PM at the Carriage House Art Gallery.   Experience this exciting contemporary exhibit while getting a glimpse of the rising stars of the New Hampshire art scene. Each work displayed in this second exhibit of its kind was hand selected by our Exhibition Committee.
We welcome the public to a Gallery Reception on Sunday, July 5th at 5:30pm. Enjoy complimentary wine and crudités as you speak with some of the artists whose work is displayed.  Most works of art in this exhibit will be for sale, with proceeds supporting the artist and Castle Preservation Society.  Entrance to the Carriage House Art Gallery is via Ossipee Park Road.
This exhibition and gallery reception are generously sponsored by Bank of New Hampshire and Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, PA. 
Castle in the Clouds is located off Route 171 (455 Old Mountain Road), Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Take Route 25 into Moultonborough, then south on Route 109 to Route 171 and follow the signs to the Castle entrance. Castle in the Clouds is a not for profit organization owned and managed by the Castle Preservation Society and dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the historic Thomas G. Plant Estate. For information about Castle in the Clouds visit the website at www.castleintheclouds.org or call 603-476-5900.

Jennifer Belmont-Earl
Public Programs Coordinator
Castle in the Clouds, Historic Lucknow Estate
Phone: 603-476-5410

Monday, June 29, 2015

Moultonboro MIlfoil Committee Receives Award of Excellence from Lakes Region Planning Commission

At tonight's Lakes Region Planning Commission Annual Meeting, the Moultonboro Milfoil Committee was recognized for it's work in eradicating milfoil with an Award of Excellence.
Accepting the award on behalf of the committee was Chair Karin Nelson from  LRPC Executive Director Jeffrey Hayes (left) and LRPC Chairman Warren Hutchins ( right).

Moultonboro News

Yes indeed there are still things going on here in Moultonboro.
You may have noticed that the sidewalk survey work was underway in the village last week. This was part of the warrant article approved at Town Meeting this past March. 
The Master Plan process continues .There was a joint School-Steering Committee-Planning Board on June 24th. Another is scheduled for July 29th. 
The CIPC has also been meeting weekly and the department presentations have been made. The next step is a site visit this Thursday to the Life Safety Building to view the slab and the parking lot, both on the list for capital repairs. 
The potential gym lease at the Immaculate Conception School in Center Harbor is a work in progress. It is expected that we will have a presentation to the joint School Board/BoS meeting on August 11th. 
The TA search is nearing an end game. A total of 37 applications were received from thirteen states: New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, Ohio, Delaware, California, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. Phone and panel interviews will occur in July and as discussed at last Thursday's work session, the BoS will interview three finalists on July 25th. 

"Texas is wide open for New Hampshire Business"

Office of the Governor of Texas: Thursday June 25th 2015
Texas is wide open for New Hampshire businesses looking to escape the restrictive tax burdens solidified by Governor Hassan’s unfortunate veto of the state budget,” said Governor Abbott. “Fortunately for those businesses, the Lone Star State offers a chance to thrive in an economic environment free of overregulation and over-taxation that limits their success. In Texas, we are cutting the burdensome business franchise tax by 25 percent, freeing businesses to invest more in new jobs, higher wages and stimulating the Texas economy. And with Texas already offering one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the nation, with no corporate income tax, no individual income tax and no property tax at the state level, I welcome the opportunity to meet with any company considering a move to our great state to explore all that Texas offers.”

This counter point ( and then some) from Colin Van Ostern was in most of the major papers in NH:
(I was not able to find the actual press release mentioned below from  Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Shawn Jasper,so I cannot verify what was actually stated

My Turn: Should New Hampshire be more like Texas?
Heads turned sharply in Concord this week when New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Shawn Jasper both shared a press release inviting local businesses to relocate from New Hampshire to Texas. It was sent out originally by the governor of Texas to New Hampshire political reporters on Thursday, “Inviting New Hampshire Businesses to Seek New Opportunities in Texas.” All because Gov. Hassan won’t approve an unbalanced state budget that, among other problems, creates special corporate tax giveaways without paying for them.
I can’t imagine a public policy dispute with a member of the other party that would cause me, as an elected official, to actively invite businesses to leave my state as Sen. Bradley and Speaker Jasper did this week. But let’s look past the backward priorities and political gimmicks – on the substance, are they right? Should New Hampshire try to be more like Texas?
Taxes? It’s true Texas has low corporate taxes. To keep them low, they rely on a hefty sales tax – which New Hampshire does not have. An Austin businessman pays an extra 8.25 percent on every supply he buys. So taken on the whole, the Tax Foundation found this year that Texas’s overall business tax climate ranked 10th in the nation. Not bad, but still behind New Hampshire at 7th.
Workforce? I’ve managed a $100 million business for a local manufacturer and currently work in a leadership role at our state’s fastest growing large employer – and I can tell you unequivocally that the most important resource for every great business is its people.
In New Hampshire, 91 percent of adults have a high school degree – the fourth highest state in the country, with high rates of bachelor’s and advanced degrees as well. Texas is dead last – 50th of 50 states. More Texans work at the minimum wage than almost any other state. Only one in three adults in Texas have health insurance; again, 50th in the nation.
Quality of life? New Hampshire famously ranks as the No. 1 state in which to live, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. No. 1 in the country to find a home. No. 1 state to earn a living. No. 1 safest state. On those rankings, Texas scores 38th, 47th, 25th, and 30th. And yes, our unemployment rate is 3.8 percent versus Texas’s 4.3 percent.
Welcoming and inclusive to all? New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to embrace marriage equality; in Texas, a state constitutional amendment bans this basic human right. New Hampshire town meetings are famous. Our voter turnout leads the nation; Texas – well, you get the idea (47th).
The point is not just to compare brag sheets. New Hampshire succeeds because of a smart, balanced and forward-looking portfolio of unique competitive advantages: our world-class workforce, best-in-the-nation quality of life, inclusive community and uniquely low taxes. The ideologically driven approach to state budgets that the governor of Texas, Jeb Bradley and Shawn Jasper are pushing would undermine our workforce, weaken our high quality of life and add a $90 million hole in the budget.
It’s simply not worth spiking in-state college tuition, threatening to kick 41,000 New Hampshire citizens off newly expanded health care, undermining safe roads and bridges, and passing a deeply unbalanced budget that would result in even more cuts or tax increases later in the year, all to draw high-fives from conservative Republican governors in the Deep South.
Texas is a great state and it certainly has competitive advantages of its own (its beef brisket is admittedly hard to deny). But when it comes to our overall tax climate, our workforce, our communities and our quality of life – well, don’t mess with the Live Free or Die state. That goes for Texas governors and lawmakers here in New Hampshire alike.
(Colin Van Ostern represents 49 towns across the state on New Hampshire’s publicly elected Executive Council, including Rochester, Dover, Concord, Franklin, and Keene.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What a Mess : Carroll County

Since the " What a Mess" was such a fun topic, let's try another mess: Carroll County.
  • There remains a $1.5 million budget deficit. The " good" news is that the auditor may be able to expedite the audit and be done sooner than expected. We just don't know if we have the money to pay them. 
  • The total cost to remove  two wings on the old nursing home was $513,000. The Commissioners thought that $1 million had been put aside to cover all the demolition. The problem is that is was paid out of the balance of the nursing home bond rather than taxation. So the real amount paid for a $513,000 demolition over the 20 years will be $1,026,000. The $ 1 million "put aside" doesn't exist. This topic came up as Commissioner Miller investigated deferring demolition of the remaining wing and using the approximately $500,000 left to cover part of the $1.5 million projected budget deficit.
  • At the June 10th Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Sorensen presented a chart of total expenses and revenue (2009-2014) and the amount each year from surplus to offset taxes. The total was $7.9 million, but... the county did not have this much in surplus. The Delegation approved each budget, but it is unclear as to who if anyone knew that the money wasn't really there. The Delegation has claimed that they worked with numbers provided by the Commissioners. The Commissioners believe that the Delegation approved the budget anyway. 
  • The nursing home wants to obtain a request for proposal directly from seven providers and save advertising  cost. Commissioner Sorensen said the County bidding policy should be reviewed “if we have one." Commissioner Sorensen has been a commissioner for more then a decade. He should know this answer by now.
  • To save money, there was some discussion of cutting $80K from the budget for the new County Administrator position. It was wisely rejected. 
  • The Business office, the County Delegation, the Commissioners and the State budget numbers apparently don't all agree. One Commissioner suggested it had to be a "typo." I'd say that about sums it up. 
In all fairness, Carroll County is the only NH County that does not have a County Administrator running the day to day business. It also may not be much of a stretch to surmise that the Aisha Kenney show the past four years was such a distraction that not enough attention was being paid to the county finances. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Moultonboro Women's Club Bake Sale July 4th

What:    Moultonboro Women's Club Bake Sale
When:   Saturday, July 4th, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where:  Moultonboro Library (near the Library's Book Sale tents)
The bake sale is a scholarship fundraiser for the MWC. This year $8,000 in scholarships were awarded.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What a mess

Perusing the local papers this morning, I was reminded that there is a plethora of problems in New Hampshire and Washington. Everyone who wrote letters and columns had a solution, but yet the problems still persist and in fact, keep getting worse.
Here is a sampling:
  • NH doesn't have enough money to pay it's employees.
  • As of yesterday, we don't have a new budget. 
  • Businesses taxes are not the major factor in not attracting new business to NH, but rather high energy costs, lack of an educated workforce, infrastructure and real estate costs. Yet Concord is proposing a reduction in business taxes to attract business.
  • We have a heroin epidemic and yet we continue to underfund treatment and prevention
  • The median income of renters in NH is $37,326, the median gross rent for a to bedroom unit is $1,157 , 37% of gross median income.  With a 1.2% vacancy rate, there is simply not enough affordable housing. 
  • Yet our esteemed legislators in Concord have time to override a veto and allow baby pictures on beer bottles on a bill  sponsored by Republican Rep. Keith Murphy, the owner of a Manchester bar who wants to sell the beer by the bottle. 
  • One piece of good news: the SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act. 30,000 citizens of NH will continue to be able to afford health insurance and not shift the burden back to hospitals and providers.
Bipartisan bickering continues on all these issues and due to the political posturing, no one tries to truly find a compromise. In the case of our Governor, State Senators Forrester and Bradley and  some others, there can be no compromise as it would hurt their political aspirations. If we continue down the path that one side is always right and the other is always wrong, as a State and as  Nation, solving our many problems will be very difficult if not impossible. There is a related and excellent Op-Ed piece in today's Citizen by Megan McArdle that I would encourage all to read. We have very real problems, and as the author writes "...the more divided we get, the more vitally important it is to have common institutions that both sides agree to abide with, however much it may chafe at certain moments."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Conservation Commission Proposing to Purchase " Lee's Pond Preserve.

Representatives of the Conservation Commission presented a plan to purchase a 37 acre parcel they have named the "Lee's Pond Preserve"to the CIPC last Thursday morning. The majority of the funds would come from fundraising and the Con Com plans to work with the Lakes Region Conservation Trust in that endeavour. The Con Com is looking for $50,000 of taxpayer support in the 2017 capital year, with the balance coming from fundraising efforts. An appraisal has been completed and an offer has been made on the property and as such, the final price  ( listed at $335,000)  is not yet known.
According to the Con Com web site
"The Lee’s Pond Preserve, map lot 76/4, is 37 acres of undeveloped land along the Red Hill River and Lee’s Pond marshland.  Offered for sale by a private trust, it is located in a high-priority conservation zone.  The property provides diverse wildlife habitats and corridors, borders sensitive wetlands and has historical value.  Located in thriving 1800’s village of Moultonborough Falls, historic photographs show a number of buildings along a dirt road, and cleared land that is much different than what we see today.   The conservation commission is leading the effort to raise funds to buy the property, and put it into the hands of a conservation organization that will guarantee protection forever. "