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Gilford parents can now appeal use of material they find objectionable to school board

GILFORD — The School Board has made some minor changes to a few instructional material policies that could make a big difference for parents who want to know what is being taught to their children.

The first change adopted by the board in early September was to give parents an opportunity to the to appeal the use of specific course material to the School Board.

"This is not required by law and gives more local control to the parents," Hemingway said.

The basic procedure remains the same as it has since 2011. If a parent finds some specific material objectionable, then they must notify the building principal in writing, using the written procedure form, and request the student receive alternative material. No reason for the objection need be given and the cost of substitute materials, if allowed, will be borne by the parent.

The principal's decision can now be appealed to the School Board — a move Hemingway said goes beyond the recommended policy as suggested by the N.H. School Board Association.

Hemingway said the district made it much easier for parents to know which instructional materials are being used by incorporating two additional links on the individual schools' Websites.

A procedural change, Hemingway said they reviewed how other schools provide access to parents about instructional material and incorporated it into their own Website.

"We are trying to be a thorough as possible," Hemingway said.

The first is a link that lists all of the books and movies that could be assigned to students broken down by grade category with freshman and sophomores in one group and juniors and seniors in another.

The link focuses on social studies, English, wellness, and health.

A second link leads to an independent assessment of each book or movie from the American Library Association, the N.H. State Library, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Internet Movie Database.

The links can be accessed by going to the Gilford High School Website, clicking on curriculum and clicking on movie list or movie link list.

In response to an outcry last school year from a parent who objected to a specific novel being taught to his freshman daughter, the board implemented an "opt-in" policy.

Hemingway said that at the beginning of this school year, the district implemented the policy by sending to each parent a list of reading materials and movies to be included in each each of their children's classes.

If a parent has a particular objection to instructional material on the list, then he or she doesn't return the opt-in form and addresses it with the administration under the procedure outline above.

Hemingway said yesterday that he does not believe that any parents have objected to any of the course materials assigned to their children this year.

The School Board also made some minor changes to materials available from the school libraries including that the members of a review committee must read the objectionable material before rendering a decision.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:49

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Shaheen salutes women-owned businesses during visit to Laconia

LACONIA — On the heels of the endorsement by the National Association of Women-Owned Businesses, Jeanne Shaheen yesterday brought her campaign another six-year term in the United States Senate downtown to Vintage Row, where she was hosted by Jeanne Howe Compton, who owns and operates New England Porch Rockers.

The first woman from New Hampshire to be elected both governor and senator, Shaheen, a Democrat, finds herself in a tightening race against the challenge from Republican Scott Brown, who served one term in the Senate from Massachusetts.

Introducing the senator, Donna Gaudet Hosmer, a principal of the AutoServ Dealer Group of Tilton, expressed her pride in the four women — Shaheen and her Senate colleague Kelly Ayotte and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster — serving the state in Washington.

"We have very smart voters here," Shaheen remarked.

Hosmer, calling herself a "registered Republican," recalled that as president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association, she found Shaheen "at the tip of the spear" when businesses appealed to their representatives for assistance. "She was always responsive, personally and passionately," she said. Hosmer called the election "the most critical" Shaheen has ever faced, with especially high stakes for women.

Shaheen, who polls indicate leads Brown by double digits among women while trailing him by a comparable margin among men, highlighted their differences over providing economic opportunity and appropriate health care for women. She explained that about two-thirds of those earning minimum wage in New Hampshire are women while nationwide women earn 78 cents for every $1 earned by men.
"Discrimination against women doesn't just affect women," she said. "It affects families."

Brown, Shaheen said, has opposed raising the federal minimum wage and twice voted against the Fair Pay Act providing equal pay for equal work while she has favored both as well as co-sponsored the "Lily Ledbetter Law," strengthening worker's capacity to challenge wage discrimination.

Shahen said that she has also worked with the Small Business Administration to expand access to credit for women who own and operate businesses. At the same time, she said she has joined bipartisan legislation to lift the bar against women bidding on sole source contracts with federal government agencies.

Referring to an incident in Conway, Shaheen chided Brown for expressing support for the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case upholding the right of business owners to withhold insurance coverage for contraception on religious grounds, "when they finally got him out of the men's room", where he apparently sought shelter from a reporter. She recalled that when the New Hampshire Legislature mandated insurance coverage for contraception the vote in the House of Representatives was 120 Democrats and 121 Republicans in favor. "There is broad bipartisan support for contraception," she said, adding that as a Brown voted for the so-called Blunt amendment that would have entitled employers to deny heath insurance reasons of conscience.

Shaheen said that she is pleased with the progress of her campaign, which she explained consists primarily of contacting individual voters either by canvassing door-to-door or by telephone. She noted while she and Brown have each expressed respect for the other without disguising their political differences, significant expenditures by independent groups has lent what she described as "an ugly" tone to the race. She said that she was disappointed by Brown's refusal to limit such expenditures.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:44

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Governor pulls SEC nominations from Executive Council

by Thomas P. Caldwell

ALEXANDRIA — Recognizing that she does not have the votes necessary for the confirmation of her nominees to the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee, Governor Maggie Hassan dropped the item from Wednesday's Executive Council agenda.
Lori Lerner of Bridgewater, president of New Hampshire Wind Watch which has been lobbying for the defeat of the nominations, said the Executive Council has received hundreds of letters from citizens who object to the naming of state Senator Bob Odell, and Representative Amanda Merrill as alternate, to represent "the public" on the committee which reviews energy proposals for the state.
District 1 Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney reported only one constituent being in favor of the governor's choices. "People just don't feel that Odell can represent the public," said Lerner.
There was a similar sentiment among those attending the Alexandria selectmen's meeting on Sept. 30. The consensus was that the governor made a big mistake in thinking a retiring state legislator could reasonably be considered a member of the public.
"It should be someone who is totally neutral," said Alexandria resident Bob Piehler, adding that, as someone who opposes wind energy projects, he would not be right for the job, either.
Many residents connected with N.H. Wind Watch feel Sen. Odell's previous support of a wind project in Lempster proves he would not be an impartial voice on the panel.
Lerner said Gov. Hassan pulled the nomination from the agenda but that she has not changed her mind on her nominees. She simply needs to "work the Executive Council" to convince more members to support her position, Lerner surmised.
Press Secretary William Hinkle on Friday issued a statement saying, "As Governor Hassan works to diversify our energy sources, improve reliability and reduce energy costs, she remains committed to strengthening efforts to ensure that the voices of local communities are heard throughout the siting process ... As well-respected, retiring legislators, Bob Odell and Amanda Merrill have invaluable experience representing the views of the public on the important issues that face the SEC, including their work as members of energy and environment committees. Governor Hassan believes that their experience, temperament, and commitment to fairness will be assets as we pursue an energy strategy that will reduce costs and pollution, create jobs and improve reliability and diversity while protecting the natural resources that define us as a state."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:40

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Meredith to host Lakes Region Energy Fair on Oct. 18

MEREDITH — The Energy Committees of Meredith and Center Harbor will host the Lakes Region Energy Fair on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Inter-Lakes High School.

Ken Colburn, who chairs the Meredith Energy Committee, said that the event has been scheduled to coincide with the advent of colder weather. There is no charge to attend and everyone — home and business owners, as well as anyone interested in reducing the volume, cost and environmental impact of energy consumption.

The fair will feature an array of vendors. In addition there will be more than a dozen sessions on energy efficiency and conservation throughout the day. Chris Johnson of the Center Harbor Energy Committee said the fair will offer "something for everyone," from information about alternative technologies to financing opportunities.

For more information visit the Lakes Region Energy Fair on Facebook or contact Angela LaBrecque, Meredith Town Planner, at 677-4228 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 01:27

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