Bill Dwyer - Time for a change

To the editor:

I see the mayor was touting his accomplishments in the paper. I wonder how he can explain why a design firm didn’t learn from their previous screw ups with the bump outs. Why make an already narrow road more narrow? The one at the end of Eighth Street is as bad as the other ones. Maybe if his son wasn’t working for them, we would have gotten a firm that knew better and learned from their previous mistakes.

And what’s with all the trees? Why plant trees on the west side of the road directly under power and phone lines. But what should we expect from this administration? Time for a change to get new blood in. My vote is for Mattos, as yours should be.

Bill Dwyer

Berlin

 

 

Gaye Ruble: GRS Withdrawal Study

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the letter written by Dennis Tupick in regard to the Gorham Randolph Shelburn Cooperative Withdrawal Study.

In his letter, Mr. Tupick expressed concern over the workings of the committee charged with reviewing whether or not it is practical for Randolph to withdraw. Furthermore, Mr. Tupick claimed that neither I nor Selectman John Turner “have provided any input whatsoever to fulfilling the charter Randolph residents imposed on the cooperative — to conduct a thorough study inclusive of alternatives to the present obsolete and costly cooperative agreement.”

This simply is not true. The entire committee is fulfilling its obligation to conduct a comprehensive study as to the feasibility and suitability for Randolph to withdraw from the cooperative, in accordance with N.H. RSA 195:25.

I moved to Randolph in December 2013. I have no history or emotional investment, pro or con, regarding the cooperative agreement. I never have nor ever will have children attending school in Coos County. However, I am a veterinarian who fully understands the importance of a high quality K-12 education and the tremendous impact this has on one’s future, in terms of college and beyond. I am an objective participant in this study.

Mr. Tupick made many claims in his letter to Randolph residents that are not backed up by data.

During our study, which has been underway since May, the committee has gathered a plethora of data regarding the costs to educate our children. Despite numerous discussions during our meetings, Mr. Tupick continues to be fixated on only one number: the cost per student. School boards negotiate tuition agreements, and he is correct in that Randolph could negotiate these with various SAU’s, including SAU 36 (White Mountains Regional School District) and SAU 3 (Berlin). But those costs, which are now as much as $18,000 per student, are only tuition costs. Randolph also has SAU and transportation costs, and these will continue regardless of the outcome of the withdrawal study. While our cost per student is $20,503 for Fiscal Year 2017, this is almost exactly what it was in FY 2014. So Mr. Tupick’s “conservative estimate” of student cost escalating to $30,000 in five years if we remain in the cooperative is not based on any data.

Furthermore, our committee reviewed the numbers, and if Randolph withdraws from the cooperative, our cost per student will increase, regardless of which school the students attend.

Mr. Tupick is also focused on “fairness.” In his opinion, it’s not fair that Gorham’s per student costs are about half of Randolph’s per student costs. This is due to factors out of Randolph’s control.

Gorham, as well as Berlin, Lancaster and Jefferson, all receive significantly larger adequacy grants than Randolph. This additional revenue lowers their per pupil costs. What he fails to mention in his letter is that Randolph’s school tax rate is significantly lower than Gorham’s.

In fact, it has been steadily decreasing since we joined the cooperative. This is not simply because we have fewer students, as our numbers have fluctuated up and down by as much as 25 percent. The bottom line is that focusing on comparing our costs to Gorham’s costs is a waste of time and not relevant to this study.

School choice is a hot button issue and is relevant to this discussion. The committee has assessed the programs of dtudy at Berlin, GRS Cooperative and WMRSD. There are some programs offered at Berlin and WMRSD that are not offered at our vooperative, but the converse is true as well.

Mr. Tupick laments the fact the “SAU 20 services have diminished considerably and now lack in-house vocational study.”

The GRS Cooperative offers an incredible number of academic classes, especially given our small enrollment (approximately 230 for the middle/high school). The strength of our academic program is demonstrated by strong SAT scores, which are higher than the state or national average; negligible dropout rate; and the large percentage of graduating seniors enrolled in two- to four-year colleges.

While we may not have vocational classes in-house, we partner with Berlin so that those types of classes are available to our students, and we adjust their academic schedules accordingly. The cooperative also uses White Mountains Community College's offsite program for non-traditional studies. In addition, we have a school-to-career program, whereby we partner with local businesses to expose our students to various vocations in our community. Finally, Gorham High School also offers some online classes for students with interests outside the school-offered curriculum.

Mr. Tupick failed to mention the fact that ALL of the SAUs are cutting programs. Educators in the North Country are facing huge challenges, and all SAUs are being forced to make difficult choices. Budgets are decreasing as our population base and school enrollment shrinks. No one wants higher property taxes and thus all SAUs are doing everything possible to manage costs.

This requires us to work together, and these types of discussions are ongoing. This is not the time for Randolph to be exiting a cooperative, as then we will have no input into these discussions. Currently, Randolph has a say in the program of study, quality of teachers and administrators hired, and the technology and extracurricular activities available to our children attending school in the cooperative. If we exit, we lose our voice. Some may argue we would have a voice via “choice,” but given current projections, our options will be more limited than they are today, and it is unlikely that any school will offer the breadth of programs everyone wants for their children.

At our last meeting, the committee voted that it was not feasible for Randolph to withdraw from the cooperative. As a Randolph citizen and taxpayer, as well as a mother, grandmother and a woman with a strong academic background, I strongly agreed with this decision.

Gaye Ruble, DVM, MPH
Randolph
School Board Member

 

Emma Birt Carroll Garneau: Fond memories of Class of '37 school days

To the editor:

I read with interest the letter from Donald Enman, “Blessings from the Class of 1937.” In his letter, Enman mentioned looking back with fond memories of his school days at Berlin High School. He mentioned that he believed that only two classmates were “on deck.” I would like to let him know that I am one of the people he mentioned as a member of the Class of 1937 – Emma. I remember Donald and Adeline and other members of our class. I too remember fondly our school days. To Donald and others, I say hello and hope that life continues to bring happiness and good memories.

Emma Birt Carroll Garneau
North Conway

 

Frank LaFerriere: What makes Chrisitan theocracy better than Muslim one?

To the editor,

So Della, mimicking Donald Trump's fake news lies, eh? Well, Della, all of my information I wrote about in my last letter is not fake news. I got my information by watching Trump's interviews and his recorded and videoed words. I got my info from my research of all the cases brought against Trump by the N.Y. Attorney General's office, as well as the U.S. Attorney General's case files on him. I got my info from the Mueller investigation and the new investigation started by the N.Y. Attorney General's office against Trump. You can all call this fake news, but that again means you are in fact living in the Twilight Zone.

So, you talk about Christian morals? I guess my morals are much higher than Christian ones then.

See, my morals will not allow me to support and defend treason against the United States perpetrated by President Trump and the Republicans. But I guess yours and your fellow defenders of Trump do.

They will not allow me to support a person who thinks, because he is rich, he has a right to sexually assault any woman he comes upon. My mother taught me to respect women, and she would roll over in her grave and come back and slap me in the face if I supported Trump and his outrageous misogyny against women.

My morals will not allow me to support a person who has surrounded himself with admitted racists, bigots and white supremacists like Stephen Bannon. Or neo-Nazis. See Della, we fought Hitler and his Nazi Positive Christianity movement as he called it, and millions died in his death camps and real brave men and women gave up their lives fighting this evil during World War II. To support Trump and his neo-Nazis would be a slap in the face to each and every brave man and woman who died fighting the Nazis and all those who died in his death camps.

You talk about the innocent Christians who are being killed by Islamists? I have studied the true history of your religion for almost 40 years now — the history that Christians love to either deny or minimize, or justify or lie about. Christianity, in my opinion, is no better than the Muslim religion, and I thoroughly condemn them both. Crusades, Inquisitions, genocides of pagans and Native Americans, and yes, Muslims. Torture tools used by Catholic and Protestant Christians against their fellow human beings. What about modern times? In the last five years in the United States alone, Christians have murdered hundreds of LBGTs, atheists and pagans. In Nigeria and Uganda? Christians there are butchering LGBTs, atheists and those whom they proclaim as witches. Christians committed unwarranted genocides in such countries as Bosnia, Rwanda, Croatia and other countries.

Christians love to persecute others under their moral code of the Christian religion, yet when anyone dares stand up to their crap? Why they cry how we are persecuting them. Funny, the persecutors crying persecution because we will not allow them to bring back their Dark Ages theocratic nightmares of death and brutality, because we will not allow them to turn our secular government and destroy the separation of church and state and put their theocratic government in place. Christians scream against Muslims installing Sharia law here, but have got no problem with installing their version of Christian Sharia law in the United States. What makes Chrisitans any different than Muslims who wish to do this? There is no difference, they are both the same. I know how you Christians do not like the truth or the facts, but too bad, so sad, because I will never stop speaking the truth or the facts about your religion or the Muslim religion.

In closing, Della, my morals are in fact, much higher than those of Christians, Trump or Republicans. My morality means I must fight this, tooth and nail, exposing it and standing up to it.

Yes Della, you and your fellow Republicans and Christians do in fact, live in the Twilight Zone if you think I or people like me — who are the true patriots and fight to keep the words of the Founding Fathers, of freedom and justice for all, of equal rights for all, of each and every person's right to their own pursuit of happiness — are going to lay down for Christians or Muslims. We will not allow the separation of church and state rules of the Founding Fathers to be violated any longer by Christians either.

Yes, Della, my morals seem to be way much higher than yours and your fellow Republicans and Christians, who absolutely do love living in the Twilight Zone of denial and ignorance.

Frank LaFerriere
Berlin

 

Della Cartier: We must work to become an exceptional Godly person

To the editor: 
Response to Frank LaFerriere:
I found myself saddened by a recent letter written by Frank LaFerriere and couldn't help but wonder: What ghosts are walking in his shadow? What is the cause of the meanness in his heart? Why the abject bitterness that serves no good or purpose directed.
Mr. LaFerriere, I do not live in a Republican Twilight Zone, nor do the people I know. We share common concerns and worry about the future of our country and world for our children and grandchildren. We are living in a dangerous and insane world. A world where good and godly menwomen and children are murdered and run down by evil Islamic terrorists in the name of Allah. A world where people are homeless, hungry and can't afford life-saving medical care. A flawed and failed educational system that has no respect for family values and morals. A society where no one has been untouched by the loss of loved ones from the drug and opiate crisis. We are living in a world of self-absorbed madness and shallow and nihilistic people. Crazy dictators with fingers on nuclear weapons waiting to start the third world war. It is an American divide that keeps getting wider when individuals such as yourself spew the hatefulness aimed at your neighbors and fellow citizens.
I chose not to point to paragraphs full of misinformation, accusations, mean rhetoric and the useless opinions that are none of my business. It would be a waste of my valuable time. Time better spent praying that God grant wisdom to our leaders to keep us safe in an unsafe and uncertain world. Time better spent to do good deeds for those less fortunate. Time to pray for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma who need our heartfelt prayers and help.The untold stories of heroism that we will never hear about as the media gasps and gapes at the ridiculous and vile antics of hollow college snowflakes demanding that historic statues be torn down and destroyed and that conservative values and morals be trampled on.
We like to think that in this day and age of the Internet, 24-hour television news, and other social media communications that we know everything that is happening in the world minute-by-minute. That everyone is an "expert" on the current crisis. We worry and concern ourselves with it when the time could be given to our spouses, children and neighbors. We do not unplug from the noise and never-ending opinions of the so-called experts. Then we argue. It never ceases. We argue with our spouseschildren, family members, friends and even people we do not know. However, the real truth is that we — none of us — are experts, and little is in our sphere of influence or control. Opinions are nobody's business, yet we continue to allow them to harm our relationships and alienate us from doing the better good.
I look around and see the good and loving deeds fulfilled with virtue and valor by neighbors and fellow countrymen for those less fortunate. If we cannot be decent as a collective society, then we must be decent individually.
If our country is to survive as an exceptional nation, then each and every one of us must work to become an exceptional Godly person. Love him or hate him, our President needs all of our collective support. Instead of useless ranting, practice the tenants of Hope, Faith and Charity. The world and our country needs this now, and our only chance is to become it if we are to survive. 
Della Cartier 
Loudon