Former Manchester Superintendent of Schools Tom Brennan passed away yesterday after battling esophageal cancer discovered shortly after he retired last June. Brennan served as superintendent for five years during tumultuous times of change marked by tightening budgets and fractious school boards. During his final interview as superintendent, which happened to be right here on Girard at Large, Brennan said he wished he’d been able to accomplish more during his tenure. He also said he believed that as he was stepping down the district was headed in a good direction, having made some difficult and necessary changes over the previous years. Among the items credited to his legacy are the transformation of the Manchester School of Technology to a full four year vocational technical high school and the establishment of the STEAM Ahead N H initiative that has begun the transformation of West High. Brennan championed the establishment and expansion of so called extended learning opportunities and challenged the bureaucratic orthodoxy that said only work in a classroom deserved educational credit. He advocated fundamental reforms, often saying the box needed to be blown up as the public school system was beyond tinkering around the edges. Asserting that discussions about education had become more about the adults in the buildings than the kids they were there to educate, Brennan raised eyebrows when he identified teachers unions as a key stumbling block to needed reforms. Despite his observations, he was always congenial, never caustic, always approachable and willing to talk and always focused on what he believed was best for kids. Tom Brennan didn’t just wear a Kids First lapel pin on his jacket every day, he carried Kids First in his heart and was determined to affect changes to prove he meant it, no matter the pounding he politely took. Kids have lost an advocate. Education has lost a reformer. Manchester has lost a leader. And many, including this show and myself personally, have sadly lost a friend who took it like a man and deserved better than he got. He leaves behind his wife Wendy, four daughters, and four grandchildren, including the two year old grandson, Jack I believe his name is, that caused his face to beam whenever he talked of him.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen Health Care Queen pays the women on her staff thirteen percent less on average than she pays the men according to an analysis of her staff salaries published by local attorney and blogger Ed Mosca. Mosca came to this discovery by tallying all the publicly available information on individual salaries of female and male staffers in Shaheen’s office and doing some simple math. What he found was the average woman’s salary was just shy of fifty five thousand dollars while the average man’s salary was just over sixty three thousand dollars. Not to worry, though. Shaheen supports any and all legislative initiatives that will cause her to be more fair to the women who work for her. What kid of organization is she running anyway? We’ve linked to Mosca’s article from this newscast at Girard at Large. It’s actually an interesting read.
Rolling Thunder Inc. has announced that it has placed another P O W Chair of Honor in a public venue, this time in Salem’s Town Hall. Rolling Thunder New Hampshire Chapter One has been placing the chairs in public venues as a reminder of the more than ninety two thousand who went to war, but whose whereabouts and fates are unknown. Other homes for the chairs include major sports arenas in Massachusetts, Holman Stadium in Nashua and Gill Stadium here in the Queen City. Goffstown and Auburn and several Massachusetts communities have erected memorials in their town offices or on town owned properties as well. Salem will dedicate its chair at seven o’clock on Monday during its board meeting. We’ve linked to our interview with Bob McGuigan of Rolling Thunder so you can learn more about the project and the organization.
The Goffstown Public Works Department has commenced with pothole and road repairs in multiple locations around town according to a notice issued by the Goffstown Police Department. That means motorists should expect traffic delays between the hours of seven to four thirty.
Police in Auburn have issued a Black Bear warning. Seems the hungry creatures have been stalking the area around Hooksett Road and Maple Farm. Residents are urged to secure bird and other wildlife feeders and trash cans so as to not entice Yogi and Boo Boo to come to their homes. They recommend visiting the N H Fish and Game Web site for safety facts and other info.
Finally this morning the Bedford and Merrimack police and fire departments have announced that they will be running flood evacuation drills and that folks in southern Bedford and Northern Merrimack will see a lot of public safety vehicles and even a helicopter in the area along the river from the Manchester border into Merrimack between the hours of one and five. Neither department wants the public to be concerned as it is just a training exercise.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!