The Manchester Board of School Committee will meet tonight and there’s a bunch on the agenda. The controversial Manchester Academic Standards are back on the agenda, this time in final form with a table of contents and arguably uniform format of presentation. The document, which standards expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky told me in an on camera T V interview should be thirty to forty pages long, was two hundred seventy five pages, including fifteen pages of English reading documents, and was released with the agenda for tonight’s meeting. I was unable to find it on the district’s Web site outside of the agenda. Since they’ve already approved the standards, this is probably informational, though it is expected that questions and maybe a challenge or two might come at them. The board will also received details on a so called STEAM Ahead Junior program, targeted at forth graders with the help of U S FIRST, the organization that sponsors the annual robotics competitions. Mayor Ted Gatsas gave us a preview of that initiative in an interview on July fifteenth. We’ve linked to it. Also on deck are changes to the city’s Dirvers Ed. program. Expect fees to go up by fifty bucks per student and administrative hours to be cut as the program tries to dig out of a deficit and break even. If all goes as planned, the program, which has seen declining enrollment numbers, will cost five hundred seventy five dollars, which officials say is still the lowest cost in the region.
School starts for many communities this week and police departments throughout the region are posting bulletins, urging folks to be more careful on the roads, especially around school buses. Students will start classes tomorrow in Bedford and Londonderry, on Wednesday in Bow and on Thursday in Hooksett.
The West Manchester Neighborhood Watch Group, know as The Rimmon Heights Community Group, surprised Manchester Police Department personnel who were on hand for an ice cream social they’d been invited to by presenting them with the group’s Neighborhood Champion Award. Leader Diane Lavigne, called the chief and his officers to the front of the room and specifically thanked Police Chief David J. Mara and members of the Community Policing Division for their continued neighborhood support over the past year. Community Policing Officers regularly attend their monthly meetings and otherwise support their efforts. If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch group or having an officer liaison for your existing neighborhood group, please contact Officer Mark Ampuja at 7 9 2 5 4 3 1.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Things are heating up in G O P primary battles across the state as election day is but two weeks from tomorrow. In the G O P race for governor, entrepreneur and conservative activist Andrew Hemingway and former B A E C E O Walt Havenstein squared off in a debate over the weekend, sponsored by the Republican committees of Exeter and Rockingham County, as well as the Seacoast Republican Women. The two had sharp differences on a number of issues, including the economy, global warming and voter fraud. In statements bound to further roil conservatives, Havenstein agreed that climate change, a k a global warming, was scientifically proven. He also asserted there is no significant proof of existing voter fraud, which he qualified by saying that voter fraud hasn’t been proven in a court of law.
Hemingway strongly disagreed on both counts and reiterated his criticism of Havenstein’s proposal to cut the Business Profits Tax by ten percent as something that would primarily benefit the state’s largest employers, like the one Havenstein used to run, and fail to stimulate the economy because it did little if anything for the small businesses that employ more than eighty percent of our state’s employees. Hemingway pitched his own overhaul of the tax code which would essentially eliminate the Business Profits Tax, while raising the Business Enterprise Tax and applying it to a broader base of businesses, including some not for profits that are currently not taxed, like the hospitals. Havenstein’s campaign released a post debate statement declaring victory in the debate saying quote “Republicans want to take back the Governor’s office and will nominate Walt as the only person who can do that.” End quote.
Former Senator Bob Smith announced the endorsement of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition in Washington, DC. The Coalition consists of seventy veterans organizations and veterans advocacy groups, which represent over a quarter of a million veterans. In their letter of endorsement, Coalition Chairman John J. Malloy said Smith’s quote, “experience, leadership, and patriotism are especially needed in the Senate at this particular time in our history when our beloved country is at risk, not only from foreign terrorists, but also from domestic advocates of extreme social and economic ‘reform’ and the weaklings who fail to confront them.” End quote. As a congressman, Smith served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee for six years and served twelve years on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Smith, a Vietnam Veteran who saw active duty in the Navy, said he was extremely honored and pleased to receive the endorsement.
Meanwhile, the campaign of former Bay State Senator Scott Brown was busy about the business of trumpeting a new poll showing he’s lopped ten points off incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s once twelve point lead. Down by two, a statistical dead heat, Brown’s folks are using it as evidence that he has the best chance to beat Shaheen in November. Brown also recently received the endorsements of the Nashua Telegraph and the NH Sunday News and The Union Leader.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large Hour ___ is straight ahead.