Quote: “As 40 peaceful days of prayer, fasting, vigil and outreach draw to a conclusion, we will meet at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester on November 1 at 11:00 am to rejoice in the victories that God has accomplished,” said Jennifer Robidoux, who is coordinating the 40 Days for Life campaign in Manchester. Quote: “We want to conclude this effort by sharing stories about what 40 Days for Life has meant for Manchester and to offer thanksgiving for this opportunity to point out the harm abortion has done – and continues to do – to our city,” said Robidoux. “We pray that these 40 days will help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our community.” Speaking at the 40 Days for Life closing event will be Ovide Lamontagne who joined the leading national government affairs team, Americans United for Life after being defeated in his bid for governor in two thousand twelve.
The woman who beat Lamontagne just might beat herself. The most recent poll on the race has G O P Challenger Walt Havenstein behind by just three tenths of one percent and closing fast on incumbent Democrat Governor Margaret Wood Hassan. The poll done by the New England College Polling Institute was conducted last Friday and included more than eleven hundred respondents and has a two point nine percent margin of error. Havenstein once trailed by a healthy double digit margin. The poll also showed former Bay State Senator Scott Brown holding a point and a half lead over incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, Health Care Queen. Former First District Congressman Frank Guinta now has about a seven point lead over incumbent Democrat Carol Shea Porter and G O P challenger Marilinda Garcia continues to trail incumbent Democrat Ann McLane Kuster by the same seven points. Election Day is one week from today, so expect an intense week, especially given that Havenstein’s closed the gap and Brown’s maintaining his lead. We’ve linked to the poll for your convenience from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
Not a great day for traffic accidents in the Queen City yesterday. A dump truck on Dunbarton Road took down three utility polls and blew a transformer near the intersection with Straw Road. The morning got off to a rocky start for the Manchester Police Department as two cruisers were involved in accidents shortly after nine o’clock. One accident was right outside home base at the corner of Maple and Valley streets, the other was at the corner of Maple and Webster streets. The department hasn’t released the details of either accident, yet, but the one at Maple and Webster reportedly involved heavy damage to both vehicles and neighboring property.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Despite having nothing other than a health insurance utilization report from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, a report on retiree health insurance and a personnel report on their agenda, the Manchester Board of School Committee addressed its English Language Learner program, a substitute teacher shortage, the so called “hands off policy” and the law that underlies it, the test’em until they can’t stand it anymore “assessment program,” and changes to its Drivers Ed program. All of this came under the agenda item know as “Superintendent’s Communications.”
So, what did we learn last night.
Well, despite some positive usage trend lines, we learned that Manchester teachers’ health plan is, by far, “the most generous in New Hampshire,” with an average per member premium cost that’s, get this, fifty four percent higher than the rest of Blue Cross’ book of business. That bombshell fell before teachers took to the microphone to urge the board come back to the table with an open mind to negotiate a fair contract.
We learned that the district isn’t alone in having trouble finding substitute teachers. Funny thing about what we learned is that teachers we heard from had some different reasons why it was tough to find subs than the administration. We’ll get into that later.
We discovered that Manchester has forty percent of all the kids whose native language is not English in the state of NH and that the program’s classrooms don’t have more than seventeen kids, at least until the kids of another thirty to forty refugee families are settled here by the Feds in the near future without any funding to provide for them.
The district’s “Hands Off Policy” engendered quite a discussion. Mayor Ted Gatsas said he’d read the law and that it made no sense. We also learned that the law is going through the rules making process and will have some kind of public hearing in January. Apparently, districts across the state are having trouble with this law. There was also a discussion about proper placement of students with Ward 6’s Robyn Dunphy referencing our report about the kid at Parkside who jumped off the school’s roof to wonder how things can get to that point before the schools determine that maybe the four walls of a traditional school building aren’t well suited to the kid.
The district’s testing, sorry, assessment program came under fire as Kelley Tambouris spoke at the public comment session. Administrators urged patience as this is a pain of change. Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said, and I quote, “Assessment drives instruction.” This from a guy who denied the district will teach to tests. Great furor came over the idea that children are being tested on items they hadn’t been taught somehow provided useful data. The district said it will help identify when early intervention is needed.
Looks like the Driver’s Ed program will be privatized. The initial price, of course, was to be $5 bucks more than the five seventy five they balked at. Gatsas is going to try to swing a deal to swap classroom space to drop the cost by fifty five bucks. John Avard got permission to meet with the buisness administrator to review a contract proposal he cooked up over the weekend and OOOHHH sooo much more. We’ll have a LOT of discussion about last night’s meeting during this morning’s show.
That’s all the news I can stand from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.