01-14-2014 News

Manchester Police are alerting the elderly to phone scams that have cost their peers in the city a lot of money.  A seventy seven year old Calef Road woman coughed up cash to scammers who called and said her nephew crashed  his car in Mexico and needed cash for repairs.  She reported the incident to police after learning her nephew wasn’t there.  An eighty seven year old Maple Street man fell victim to the same scheme, only the callers claimed it was his grandson who was involved in an accident.  The funds were wired to an address also believed to be in Mexico.  A ninety two year old man on Highview Terrace really got the business.  His call came from a woman impersonating his granddaughter telling him she’d been arrested and needed bail money.  Additional phone calls came from another woman and a man impersonating police officers corroborating the not-granddaughter’s story.  This time, the cash went to Arizona.  The scammers called him again saying more money was needed.  Were it not for the alert store manager at the Rite Aid on Mammoth Road, who remembered the man’s first visit for money pack cards and encouraged him to contact the police fearing a scam, he would have sent the additional dough.  We’ve posted the police department’s press release with the details of how, when, where and why all three scams went down.  The cops are looking for any information the pubic can supply and warning folks that before they send cash to help a loved one, check to see if they’re really in need first.

Governor Margaret Wood Hassan has waded into the court battle over whether or not the state’s law allowing privately funded scholarships to financially disadvantaged K thru 12 students should be allowed to be used for tuition at religious schools.  Not surprisingly, the woman whose husband is Headmaster of Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the nation’s most exclusive private high schools, said no, asking the State Supreme Court to uphold the ridiculous ruling by our favorite former political activist Judge John Lewis that said parents choosing to use privately raised and granted scholarship funds for religious affiliated schools violated the constitution.  State G O P Chair Jennifer Horn blasted the governor’s petition saying quote “Governor Hassan’s attempt to destroy this worthy program displays an elitist and callous disregard for the most vulnerable students in our community.”  She also said the time using zip code to determine educational outcomes had come to an end.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

The Manchester School Board met last night in its first real meeting of the new term.  The sound of silence from Ward 9 Committeeman Arthur Beaudry was noticeable.  He did catch an error on the personnel agenda which was corrected, but it wasn’t quite a perfect night for Beaudry as he went after Superintendent Debra Livingston for not disclosing information referenced in a letter from Hooksett Superintendent Charles Littlefield, sent in response the city’s letter demanding compliance with the tuition contract legal settlement.  Beaudry said had he known that information, he would have voted against sending the letter.  Mayor Ted Gatsas defended Livingston acknowledging the two superintendents did talk, but that no numbers were given as required and that he’d believe their own superintendent over Littlefield saying he hoped the rest of the board would do the same.  In other business, Livingston told the board the budget was well underway and that a redistricting plan was forthcoming.  There was an update on the development of The Manchester Academic Standards, which landed sharp criticism from detractors in my inbox.  Parent Chrissy Simonds asked the board to revisit its no hitting policy after recounting how her nine year old son was suspended from Parker Varney Elementary School for punching back twice at a kid who’d hit him five times with keys in his hands, causing him to fall down the stairs due to dizziness.  She didn’t seem to think the defender should be punished the same way as the aggressor and was not satisfied with the response of Assistant Principal Kevin Henry who said there was nothing he could do because his hands were tied by the policy.  The board debated whether or not to send the entire twenty two million dollar list of desired capital improvements to the aldermen, which it did with Gatsas and Ward 3 Committeeman Christopher Stewart opposed and it  recognized the achievement of the Memorial High School Academic Challenge Team.  They won the National Academic Challenge Championship at a recent battle of the brains competition in Denver, CO and they did it without tuition students.  Imagine that!  Maybe one of them should be the assistant principal at Parker Varney.  Ward 10 School Committeeman John Avard noted that two of the five Francis Wayland Parker Scholars of the Month chosen from across the state have come from West High, as did the Hooksett Town Council‘s first Youth Achiever of the Month award winner.  Mayor Gatsas said the city welcomes competition with other school districts for Hooksett’s students, saying it offered an education and opportunities second to none.  He told administrators they needed to aggressively woo Hooksett students and parents, emphasizing he believes a lot of parents will be particularly interested in the STEAM Ahead initiative at West so their kids can graduate high school with a year of college credits under their belt at not cost to them.  He asked the administration to share its plan to market the city’s schools to Hooksett with the board.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!