Friday, October 30, 2009

Media coverage of the city council, school board forum

The Concord Monitor, WKXL, and Concord TV were all present for Wednesday's city council and school board forum.
Here is the Monitor coverage:["Candidates tout fiscal restraint"].
WKXL has audio on its Web site.
Concord TV will be playing its coverage but I'm told it won't be posted online so there is no way to link it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

City Council/School Board forum Wednesday, Oct. 28

The Concord Taxpayers Association will be having another municipal election forum from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, on the other side of town, at the Beaver Meadow Golf Course Club House, 1 Beaver Meadow Drive.

From 7 to 7:45 p.m., the four candidates vying for two at-large city council seats – Jim Baer, Rick Cibotto, Michael DellIacono and Dan St. Hilaire – have again been invited to meet and discuss the issues facing our city and will answer questions submitted by you. At 8 p.m., the two candidates running for the one 1-year seat on the school board – Tom Croteau and Bill Glahn – will talk about why they are running and answer questions from attendees. I’m told the clubhouse will still be serving beer and wine so it might be nice to have a drink too.

Please note: The LWV/Walker-Kimball PTO school board candidates night scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled. So our night on Wednesday will be the only opportunity to see the two school board candidates answer questions from the public.

There was a nice turnout to last night’s event, including a number of elected officials and CTA supporters. The candidates answered numerous questions about why they were running. The Concord Monitor sent a reporter and photographer. You can see their coverage in today’s print edition or here online:

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Council debate on for Wednesday

Just a quick reminder that the Concord Taxpayers Association [CTA] will be holding a city council candidate debate on Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The four at-large city council candidates and two Ward 7 candidates will debate at the West Street Ward House, located at 41 West St. at the corner of Badger and West streets, in Concord. All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate and most have confirmed their attendance. They will be allowed opening and closing statements and will receive questions from the attending audience.

The Ward 7 candidate portion of the forum between incumbent Keith Nyhan and challenger Steven Sawyer will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. The at-large portion of the forum, featuring incumbent Dan St. Hilaire and three challengers – Jim Baer, Rick Cibotti, and Michael DelloIacono, will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The CTA has secured the Beaver Meadow Golf Course for a second debate between the at-large candidates for Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. Recently, the Ward 3 challenger in the race backed out so we will not be holding a Ward council debate that evening.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

County Dems meet Tuesday

The Merrimack County Democrats will be meeting to elect new leaders on Tuesday night in the wake of the resignations of Alex Lee and Brenda MacLellan after fundraising and loyalty oath spats, for lack of better terms, between the leaders and other committee members. The meeting will be held at the NHDP HQ at 105 N. State St.
Interestingly though, at 5:30 p.m., three potential Congressional candidates for CD2, John Dejoie, Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett, will be in attendance to strut their stuff. The governor also may be stopping by, according to rumors.
Former Republican turned Democrat Jim MacKay, a former legislator and mayor of Concord, will also be speaking to attendees. MacKay is running in the special election for Wards 4, 8, 9, and 10, against Lynne Ferrari Blankenbeker.
In an email to local Dems, acting chairman Eric Tolbert called Blankenbeker "an extremely conservative and very organized opponent."
"It is an immediate priority of the County Democrats to help Jim and keep this seat in good hands," he wrote.
Ah, politics makes such strange bedfellows.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community outreach on elementary school consolidation

The architects hired to come up with different schemes for the elementary school consolidation projects will be meeting with the public on Monday, Oct. 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., to discuss their latest mock schematics.
According to an email from Matt Cashman, director of Facilities and Planning for the school administration, they will present "several options and layouts" for the Broken Ground, Conant, and Kimball school sites.
"These options will reflect all the input that the architects have received from the teachers, building principals, administrators and community members who helped in the development of the Educational Specifications for Concord," he wrote.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the architects will hold another meeting showing the latest revisions to designs based on the community input received on Monday.
School board members and administrators will be in attendance to answer questions as well.

After finally catching up on email this morning, I sent Cashman a note about the meetings. In it, I stated that administrators continuing to have meetings on Monday and Tuesday nights, during the dinner hour, limits the attendance of both parents of elementary school age children and people like me who work into the early evenings. These meetings should not be just about being convenient for administrators, board members, and architects, but the people who actually have to live with the buildings. How come not a Friday evening? A Saturday or Sunday morning? Or a Thursday morning during business hours over coffee? Why is it always Monday or Tuesday nights, during supper hours, when parents of elementary school aged children are feeding them and getting them washed up and into bed?
And while I'm thinking about it, how come there hasn't been a mailer sent to parents weeks in advance of this meeting? No ads in the newspaper or online?
Diversifying the dates and times doesn't seem like an unreasonable request. Getting decent notice to everyone in the community - parents, taxpayers, stakeholders, and others - would only seem proper. I mean, if you can spend $800k to design buildings that may never get built, surely you can spend a few hundred dollars to mail people a notice.

There was a notice in my son's school packet this week after all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Charter Commission seeks citizen input

By Rep. Rick Watrous

Tuesday night, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m., there will be a public hearing concerning the Concord school district charter. Concord citizens are invited to the City Council Chambers at 37 Green St. to provide input to the school district charter study commission.

Our duties, as stated in the law (HB 319) that created the commission, read:

"The commission shall study the historical relationship between the general court and the Concord Union school district and evaluate whether and in what manner the present legislative school district charter should be preserved, amended, or terminated in favor of a new school district charter."

The key phrase here is “legislative school district charter.” Concord’s school charter is unique in that it exists in legislative chapter law and can only be changed by action and approval of the state senate, house of representatives, and the governor. Currently neither the school board nor the voters of Concord can change their school district charter without a law being passed by the state house.

The commission is studying how well this unusual arrangement serves the public, and whether and how it should be changed. We have heard from the secretary of state, the school district attorney, and an assistant attorney general. Now it is time to receive vital input from Concord citizens.

As the Concord state representative appointed to the commission, I invite interested citizens to attend and offer testimony on this important subject. A report is due from the commission by Dec. 1.

Rep. Rick Watrous represents Concord Wards 5, 6, and 7 in the Legislature.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

School board candidate forum scheduled

According to an email I received over the weekend, the Kimball-Walker PTO and League of Women Voters have organized a Concord school board candidate forum for Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Concord High School auditorium.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CTA to hold first of three 2009 municipal election forums

The Concord Taxpayers Association [CTA] has booked the first of at least three municipal election forums for the 2009 campaign season.

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the four at-large city council candidates and two Ward 7 candidates will debate at the West Street Ward House, located at 41 West St. at the corner of Badger and West streets, in Concord. All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate. They will be allowed opening and closing statements and will receive questions from the attending audience.

The Ward 7 candidate portion of the forum between incumbent Keith Nyhan and challenger Steven Sawyer will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. The at-large portion of the forum, featuring incumbent Dan St. Hilaire and three challengers – Jim Baer, Rick Cibotto, and Michael Dell Iacono, will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The CTA is attempting to secure locations and dates for two other debates: One between the Ward 3 and at-large candidates to be physically held in Ward 3 and one between all of the candidates running for school board.

The public is invited to attend and media outlets are more than welcome to cover this and any of other events scheduled before Election Day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Charter commission meets Thursday

The Charter Commission analyzing the School Board's charter will be meeting again at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8, in the city council chamber. Secretary of State Bill Gardner will be testifying and should have some interesting things to say about the current situation.
So far, the commission has had two hearings, one, to elect officers and establish its role and charge, and a second, analyzing the current state of the charter.
The Monitor covered the first meeting. Concord TV recorded the second meeting but is only playing it a few times and is not posting it online. I have made a formal request to have it posted online but so far, it hasn't been. I'm told that future meetings will at least be recorded and broadcast.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Page to Stage continues at the Audi

From the inbox:

“Page to Stage”, a theatre project fostering new works by New Hampshire playwrights, announces Goffstown resident Les Rosenthal will be the featured author at the
opening of the series’ second season on Sunday, October 4, from 3-5pm in the Concord City Auditorium reception lobby. The Friends of the Audi host the event, which is free and open to all as a Sunday afternoon salon with dramatic desserts.
Mr. Rosenthal will present a staged reading of GIDEON, a new four-character one act play, followed by an audience Q&A. “This play is set in the present,” he says. “There is no place beyond the room. All else is the madness inherent in a society which throws away its elders and castigates those who show brief flashes of individuality in other than professional sports or politics.” He adds with a grin, “this project was originally conceived in a hotel bar with three other writers in 1998.”
A well known member of the state’s theatre community, Mr. Rosenthal served as State Director of the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Association during a 20-year career in educational theatre. Currently he works in computer support while continuing as a writer, radio host, and actors’ tutor.
The New Hampshire Page to Stage project is sponsored by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Its 08-09 premiere season presented six performances of new works, with three going on to receive honors at the Heartland Competition, the Boston Theatre Festival, and the NH Theatre Awards, and one, Rebecca Rule’s CROSSCUT, being chosen by the Walker Lecture Fund for a staged production at Concord City Auditorium on March 24, 2010. The project welcomes submissions of new works for the stage which will be considered for presentations ranging from readings to full productions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

State Reps. to hold food drive

From the inbox:

The New Hampshire House of Representatives will sponsor a food drive on its next session day, Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The session known as Veto Day, the time when the House takes up the bills which have been vetoed by Gov. John Lynch, will begin at 10 a.m.
Members are being asked to bring non-perishable food items to the State House. Food collected that day will be donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank, which distributes statewide.
“This is a good way for us to reach out and help our fellow citizens, particularly in this tough economy,” said House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth. “With winter and the holidays approaching, this is an opportune time for us to come to the Food Bank’s assistance.”
The New Hampshire Food Bank is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It serves more than 390 agencies around the state, including 19 soup kitchens and 148 food pantries.
Among the preferred items sought on Oct. 28 are canned goods – vegetables, fruits, meats, soups and stews, and boxed pastas and cereals. A room in the State House will be the designated drop-off point.