The recount requested by defeated Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig will take place today at the Carol M. Rines Center on Elm Street. That’s the home of the city’s Health Department. I guess they want to be prepared for any contingency. The recount will begin promptly at nine and go until it’s done.
Mayor Ted Gatsas prevailed in the hotly contested race by eighty five votes. Craig, on Thursday, filed for the recount after saying on Wednesday she wanted to make sure every vote was counted. Girard at Large was unable to confirm information about an attempt to count absentee ballots received after the deadline by which they had to arrive in order be counted. Other speculation has centered around the one hundred forty four blank ballots cast in the race. Those ballots may contain votes for either Craig or Gatsas, but may not have been properly marked and, therefore, weren’t read by the scanner to be counted. Well, they’ll be seen and counted today and by the end of it we’ll know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who the next mayor of Manchester is. Any bets on this one?
The Manchester Board of School Committee convenes tonight for its first post-election meeting. On the agenda is a presentation from the third graders at Parker Varney Elementary School. They’re doing a follow up to the presentation made by last year’s third grade class about their school lunches. Since the third graders last appeared, an outside vendor has been chosen to provide meals to the school’s students. Mayor Ted Gatsas has raved about the food and he says the kids have, too. We’ll find out tonight. We’ll find out whether or not the district’s School Food and Nutrition staff has eaten at the school, yet. Program Director Jim Connors has, at two previous meetings, said he hadn’t yet eaten at the school, so he couldn’t comment on the menu or the food’s quality. He also said he wasn’t sure, but that he thought participation in the school’s lunch program was down two percent versus the same period last year. That claim was questioned by Gatsas and later disputed by Principal Amy Allen. We’ll see what we get tonight.
Also on the agenda is ratification of a contract with a new union in the district, made up of certified instructors. It looks like they got a deal that’s every bit as sweet as the teachers. Based on the financial projections provided with the contract, which refreshingly is on the agenda, the district’s on the precipice of granting nearly fifty three thousand dollars in salary increases, which includes increases in social security taxes and retirement payments, to save an estimated seventy eight hundred fifty dollars in health and dental insurance costs.
In a related, item, the board received notice from Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis that it needs to notify the paraprofessionals’ union of its desire to renegotiate their contract by December First, or it will automatically renew for another year.
Also on the agenda, in search of ratification, is Board Vice Chair Sarah Ambrogi’s letter to the Hooksett School Board telling them their tuition contract proposal is quote “unacceptable” and chastising them for their unwillingness to modify their position and rejecting Manchester’s offer, which contained several changes in response to Hooksett’s last offer.
Not on the agenda is anything about the board’s directive to choose an elementary school to pilot having a second recess period to see if it improves student behavior and testing in light of the whole “wiggle wiggle walk walk,” so called “recess in place” thing that district administrators wants to try. Who knows, maybe it will come up under the “Superintendent’s Super Secret Agenda,” which, again, has nothing listed for public consumption.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Former Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore, speaking at the 2nd Annual Red Rally in Dover over the weekend, said the people of New Hampshire have told him that one of their primary concerns is the growing use of heroin. Quote
“Unlike the current President, I know the people who sell narcotic drugs…are criminals,” said Gilmore, a former prosecutor and attorney general. “It is like murder for hire. They are enslaving and killing people and I consider this a violent crime. I will have a really tough policy against drug dealers when I am President.”
In the midst of his fourteenth trip to New Hampshire in the past year, Gilmore also took aim at the FOX Business Network for excluding him, among others, from tomorrow night’s debate. Quote: “I dont need to ask anyone in Washington for permission to stay in this race. The only people who need to give me permission to run are the people…of New Hampshire.” Gilmore will be our guest this morning in the seven o’clock hour.
Also on the G O P presidential campaign front, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum issued a statement following the decision by the current occupant of the White House to block construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would bring lots and lots of oil from Canada, our friendly neighbor to the North. Said Santorum, whose campaign, quizzically, was the only Republican one from which we received a statement on the topic, quote:
“Today’s decision by the Obama Administration is another betrayal of the American worker, American manufacturing, and American security. Workers are struggling and our enemies are on the march. More than 15,000 manufacturers and 2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, jobs that require cheap, secure energy sources. Yet President Obama has decided to again abandon them and our security to appease the fringe environmental Left.” Santorum vowed to pursue an energy policy that would quote “make our nation energy secure so we will not be held hostage by rouge regimes and radical groups with access to energy resources.”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, praised the decision, issuing a statement saying quote:
“Climate change is a global environmental crisis of huge magnitude. It is insane for anyone to be supporting the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fuel on earth. As someone who has led the opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Day 1, I strongly applaud the president’s decision to kill this project once and for all.”
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!