"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sad News About John McCain

We often speak of heroes and in the case of John McCain, few are more deserving of that honor.
From the news reports, it appears that he has a very aggressive form of cancer for which there is no cure.
I may disagree with his views politically, but never would I question his character or integrity.
I saw this on Twitter written by his daughter Meaghan and thought it worth sharing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Vote by Mail- It's Fast and Easy??

Great- except NH is not a vote by mail state. That doesn't seem to be a problem for NH GOP Chairperson Jeannie Forrester. NH does have an absentee ballot, but it is supposed to be for those unable to make it to the polls. This portion of a mailer was sent out on behalf of a republican candidate in a special election for the NH Senate.

When is an absentee ballot allowed?

"Any person who is absent on the day of any state election from the city, town, or unincorporated place in which he or she is registered to vote or who cannot appear in public on any election day because of his or her observance of a religious commitment or who is unable to vote there in person by reason of physical disability may vote at such elections as provided in this chapter. For the purposes of this section, the term “employment” shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation."

The mailer should have stated the process and qualifications for obtaining an absentee ballot. It didn't and implies anyone can vote by mail.
If the NH GOP is in support of voting by mail, perhaps in the future they should put forth legislation to truly allow it instead of continually opposing it.
Lastly, just because something is not "illegal" as Ms. Forrester stated in response to this mailer, doesn't mean it is honest.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Small-Town Police Officer’s War on Drugs

(The following was published in the NY Times Sunday Magazine. NH is at the epicenter of the opioid crisis and the nation is taking notice.)

New Hampshire has the second-highest rate of drug overdoses in the country. Eric Adams in Laconia (population 16,000) has been assigned one task: to stop them.

Eric Adams is a handsome, clean-­shaven man, almost 41, with a booming voice and hair clipped short enough for the military, which once was an ambition of his. After high school, he tried to join the Marines but was turned away because of his asthma. He needed three different inhalers then, plus injections. Today he has outgrown the problem. He is 5-foot-10, weighs 215 pounds and can dead lift 350.
Adams has worked in law enforcement for almost two decades. He began as a guard at the New Hampshire state prison, where he asked to work in maximum security, then left to become a police officer in Tilton and was soon recommended for the Drug Task Force, a statewide operation against narcotics dealers. Adams grew his hair long and arranged undercover buys, a Glock 27 concealed in a holster beneath his jeans. Later he would return wearing a bulletproof vest, surrounded by fellow officers, to kick in the door with his pistol drawn.
Laconia, where Adams works today, is a former mill town in central New Hampshire surrounded by lakes. In midwinter, Laconia is home to 16,000 residents, though in summer that number swells to 30,000. Those are gleaming, sun-­dappled days. Then winter falls on New England like a gavel.
A blight in the region is especially acute. Of the 13 states with the highest death rates from drug overdoses, five are in New England. New Hampshire in particular has more per capita overdose deaths than anywhere but West Virginia. In 2012, the state had 163 such deaths, a majority of them (as elsewhere in the country) from heroin and prescription opioids. In 2015, the state had nearly 500 deaths, the most in its history. In Manchester, its largest city, the police seized more than 27,000 grams of heroin that year, up from 1,314 grams a year earlier. In certain neighborhoods, a single dose of heroin can cost less than a six pack of Budweiser. Waiting lists for treatment programs stretch as long as eight weeks.

French-Taylor Building Open House. Who Was James E. French?

Another open house was held this past Saturday at the town owned Taylor building, to allow interested members of the public to walk through the property and learn about the history and features of the building. It was hosted by the Moultonboro Heritage Commission.
The property is being billed as the French-Taylor building in honor of James E. French ( 1845-1919) who owned the building and made numerous changes to it , including the addition of a second story,  around the turn of the 19th century.

 In a time when the NH Legislature was controlled by the larger and more prosperous cities to the south such as Concord, Manchester and Nashua, French was able to gain unprecedented power and influence representing a small community in the Lakes Region as the oldest serving member of the legislature having been sent back to Concord year after year by local voters. He also served as a NH State Senator. In addition to having served on many important committees, he was also the district collector for the US Internal Revenue Service for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

He was also a mover and shaker in Moultonboro. According to this article from the Moultonboro Historical Society  James E. French Jr. was born in Tuftonboro in 1845, and moved to Moultonboro at age six. He was educated in the “common schools” of our town and at the New Hampshire Conference Seminary in Tilton, the predecessor of Tilton School. He was “engaged in the mercantile business at Moultonborough” from 1869 to 1884, when he retired to pursue politics. He continued to own the store, however, and it operated under the management of Hamlin Huntress. He was elected town clerk in 1870, and was both moderator and treasurer for 40 years, and chairman of the school board 18 years. He was postmaster from 1873-1884. He was also a Mason, a member of the Grange, and attended the Methodist Church. He sold insurance, and was a Justice of the Peace.

James E. French

French-Taylor Building Circa 1870.

Taylor Property Today.

As I walked through the property, the first thing I noticed was that much of it looks as it did around 1900, with unpainted beautiful wood trim and flooring throughout. It was not pristine of course, but in remarkably good condition. 

Bedroom on second floor 

View onto Whittier Highway from second floor.

Numerous examples of these old light fixture throughout the house as well as " antique" door knobs and hardware.

Beautiful claw foot tub in upstairs bathroom.

Built in cabinetry in upstairs bathroom

Very old stenciling in a bedroom closet

Entry Hall

Exquisite glass window on front door. Unfortunately, the other side of the front door was
 missing a sister window which was broken during a recent Moultonboro Fire Department training exercise.

Stairway to the second floor
What will ultimately become of this property is still an unknown. I am not a fan of the arbitrary 90 day deadline imposed by the BoS to the Heritage Commission to decide it's fate. There is no rush and no pressing need to do anything with the property. The roof damage was covered by insurance so repairs, while not perhaps aesthetically pleasing, would keep the building water tight.

Moultonboro has traditionally taken a slow approach to just about everything and the future of this historic property should be no exception.  Lets get it right.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Kraine Meadow Park Dedicated

Moultonboro's Playground Drive recreation area would not be in existence today,  if not for the generous donation of 16 acres of land by Peter and Rose Kraine back in 1977. The area has evolved over the intervening 40 years with the addition of dozens of recreation program for all age groups.
Today, in honor of the Kraines, the facility was officially renamed as  Kraine Meadow Park.

After a lesson on the history of Moultonboro Recreation department by Recreation Director Donna Kuethe, Phil Bryce, Director Division of  Parks and Recreation State of NH DRED, spoke briefly and offered congratulations to the Recreation Department and the town.

Jim Nigzus, Peter and Rose's nephew, reminisced about his uncle and aunt, and shared a number of stories about them and how they helped shape his life

Vice Chair of the BoS Jean Beadle read two proclamations. One was recognizing July as National Parks and Recreation month and the other was the formal dedication recognizing the newly named Kraine Meadow Park.

A representative of Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter was present and a letter from US Senator Jean Shaheen was read.

After a conceptual design for a new sign to be placed on Rt. 25, the ribbon and cake was cut by Jim Nigzus and family and everyone present was given a tee shirt with the new Kraine Meadow logo and a " Thank you Pete and Rose" on the back.

40 years on, the park continues to be revitalized with plans for the future to ensure that it will continue to meet the needs of Moultonboro for many years to come.

Donna Kuethe presenting the history of the park and recreation department

Jim Nigzus talking about his uncle Peter and aunt Rose

Jean Beadle presenting proclamations

Ribbon cutting

Friday, July 14, 2017

Heritage Commission Receives Grant for Town Owned Taylor Building

Heritage Commission Chair Cristina Ashjian advised the BoS last evening that the Heritage Commission was approved for a $3,500 grant from the NH Preservation Alliance. The money is to be used for a professional building assessment report of the town owned Taylor building,  including a structural evaluation. She also noted that the grant was a matching grant and that the Heritage Commission is also requesting $3,500 from the town.
As they are operating under a very narrow time frame to provide recommendations as to the future of the building, the money was needed right away so that the building evaluation can be started very soon.
Not mentioned and the question never asked, was who is doing the evaluation and what will it cost?  The town does have a Competitive Bidding Policy and for purchases between $5,000 and $15,000, requires at least three quotations from at least three vendors. This can be waived by the BoS, but no motion was made to do so, only a 2-1 vote ( Jean Beadle and Joel Mudgett yes, Russ Wakefield no) to approve the $3,500 matching grant funding.
I would expect that for a cost that appears to be $7,000 or so, there would be any number of qualified firms that could undertake this evaluation. Selectmen have an obligation to ferret out this information and ask these questions, before approving these requests.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Local Residents Thanked for Time And Expertise To Support Historical Society

Nice letter in today's Laconia Daily Sun thanking Scott Lamprey and Ken Oxton for their support of the Moultonboro Historical Society. I quote from the letter: " Scott took the initiative, after the spring storm, to check on the museum and noticed that several shingles had come off the roof. He took it upon himself to repair the roof at his own cost. Likewise, Ken has taken care of the museum grounds, cutting the lawn and plowing the driveway. He has also done this at his own cost." 

History is important. Heritage is a thing to be valued and not tossed aside casually. At a time when we are about to lose a nearly 200 year old landmark, we should be grateful for citizens like Scott and Ken who step up to do what needs to be done to keep important pieces of our past viable.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Drug education needs to start early

For the MonitorSunday, July 09, 2017 

New Hampshire had one of the highest rates of opioid-related fatalities in the country last year. Communities across the state are reporting that there is a surge in grandparents raising their grandchildren because of both the chaos and tragedy the crisis has had on families. 

Most New Hampshire citizens know at least one person affected by the opioid crisis, and so there is emerging public support for prevention. Unfortunately, most discussions about prevention look at intervening in middle school at the earliest. While prevention in middle school is important, we have to set our focus much earlier in children’s developmental trajectories if we are to effectively prevent the kind of crises we are now experiencing. 

Science tells us that brains are built over time, and from the bottom up, with simple circuits and skills providing the scaffolding for more advanced circuits and skills that develop later. Early experiences literally shape the architecture of the developing brain, and skill begets skill. We also know that experiences such as abuse, neglect and exposure to violence can cause toxic stress responses in the brain, with lifelong consequences in health, learning and behavior. The active ingredient in healthy brain development, and the very thing that protects against toxic stress, is children’s engagement in relationships with their parents and other caregivers in their family or community.

 That is why effective early childhood programs and services can protect against a range of problems later in life – including substance misuse. In addition to buffering toxic stress, early childhood programs also help to link children to the services they and their families need. 

Intervening early can shape developmental trajectories by piling on protective factors and minimizing risk factors – even for children most at risk. Programs like evidence based home visiting, and high-quality child care, preschool and Head Start can help promote the development of cognitive and social skills which are protective factors against later substance use. These programs teach children to manage their own emotions and cope with adversity, and can help parents and other caregivers develop the skills to be supportive in ways that steer children away from substance use.

(Laura Milliken is director of Spark NH and Nick Willard is Chief of the Manchester Police Department)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Public Hearing on Private Road Plowing August 24th , 6pm

After reviewing the private roads in town, the DPW has compiled a list of 350 or so roads that would qualify to be designated as emergency lanes and thus can be plowed and sanded in the winter. 
The public hearing ( probably to be held at the school) is required to afford anyone opposed to having the town continue to maintain their roads in the winter an opportunity to object. Notices need to be mailed to every property owner on those roads and all abutters. 
It is unknown how many from the public will show up for the hearing and if there will be any objectors to the town following this process or if those not on the list will be there to register their complaints. I would suspect that the latter group might be quite vocal.