Edelblut: Robotics proposal gets backing

District Seventeen State Senator John Reagan, Republican from Deerfield and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has put his clout behind a proposal by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to expand robotics programs to schools across the state.  Edelblut’s proposal is currently before the Senate Finance Committee.

Reagan: Backs robotics proposal

In a release issued yesterday, Reagan said robotics programs that pique kids’ interest in science and math are imperative for the state’s booming high-tech industry, which needs growing numbers of competent, well educated and skilled professionals to fill job vacancies.  Saying he’s been a judge at robotics competitions, and seen firsthand how they engage kids, he said such programs are proven to attract them to STEM fields.  Saying it would be to the benefit of the futures of both the kids and the state, Reagan said quote:

I urge the Finance committee to support Commissioner Edelblut’s proposal to expand robotics programming to our schools so that each child in New Hampshire has equal opportunity for exposure to engaging STEM related programs.

Another rate hike coming

Electricity prices in New Hampshire are on the rise again.  In a price forecast filed with state regulators, Eversource said its Energy Service Charge will increase to 1 1. 6 0 cents per kilowatt hour from 11.17 cents, an increase three point eight percent, effective on July 1st.  In making the announcement, the utility said it had a variety of energy efficiency programs that can help reduce energy costs.  It also reminded consumers that they have the right to purchase energy from an independent supplier instead of their regulated utility.  We’ve linked to the list of registered energy suppliers available on the P U C Web site from this news read at Girard at Large dot com.

Trump: Religious Liberty?

As you may know, last week, President Donald Trump signed executive order on religious liberty.  It seems to have disappointed some who have raised red flags about exactly what it means and does.  Among them is Cornerstone Action Executive Director Shannon McGinley.  In a statement issued last week, McGinely said the executive order was quote

a small step in the right direction after the hostility of the previous Administration.  Even so, the limited scope of the President’s order is a disappointment, and therefore we hope it is the beginning of a process and not the end of one.

McGinley went on to say it would be a mistake to view the President’s order as a special accommodation to any person or group.  Quote: 

Religious liberty is not something to be granted as a favor.  It is something to be acknowledged and respected by leaders in all branches of government.

Not so fast

She took issue with the President’s remarks before signing the executive order, which she said included an unfortunate reference to “freedom of worship.”  Quote: 

That’s merely the right to exercise religious beliefs in a certain location at a certain time – a house of worship during scheduled services, for example.  Religious liberty, however, means being free to exercise one’s religious beliefs at all times, in all locations, without government influence.  It’s our hope that the President is truly committed to that.

McGinley said the order appears to offer protection from I R S harassment of ministers who are bold enough to speak in their houses of worship about political matters.  She said that was good news, but called on legislators to address the issue in a manner that will prevent the policy from being rescinded at the whim of a future President.

McGinley: Let’s hope it’s a beginning, not an end

She also questioned Trump’s declaration that the signing of the executive order brought to an end the ordeal of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who’ve sued the federal government over the requirement they offer contraceptive services in their health insurance plan.  She noted that the order actually says departments of the government quote: 

shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.

In response, McGinley said, quote:  

Telling a department to ‘consider issuing regulations’ is a long way from protecting religious liberty.

She concluded her statement saying quote:

The President expressed commendable sentiments in his comments today before he signed the order. We hope those sentiments translate into iron-clad commitment to defending religious liberty if his order is faced with a legal challenge.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Family Fun Day:  Art
competition announced

The Rotary Club of Merrimack announced art and photography contests will be held at their annual Family Fun Day on July 4th!  Artists and photographers are encouraged to submit art and photography work that is framed and ready to hang with wire.  We’ve linked to the entry form, which includes submission instructions, from this news read at Girard at Large dot com for your convenience.

For more information about the July 4th Family Fun Day, the pancake breakfast, how to volunteer or become a sponsor, visit this news read at Girard at Large dot com. We’ve got the link.

Household hazardous waste day in Manchester

The Manchester Department of Public Works is holding a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event this Saturday from 9 to 2 at the Dunbarton Road Drop Off Facility.  This is an opportunity for Manchester residents to dispose of household hazardous wastes they can’t toss in the regular trash, safely, legally and free of charge.  For a list of items that may be dropped off, visit this news read at Girard at Large dot come.  We’ve got the link.

Open House coming

The Merrimack Police Department’s Open House is this Saturday from 10 to 2 pm.  Residents are invited to enjoy the displays, demos, and tours!  They will be joined by Nashua Bomb Squad, N H Liquor Enforcement, Manchester Police Department’s Mounted Unit, N H Fish and Game Wildlife Trailer, Anheuser Busch Clydesdales, with which you can have your pictures taken and pet, N H State Police, canine demos by Merrimack police dog “Dallas” & NH Fire Marshall’s dog “Pal” and OOOHHH sooo much more!  Be sure to stop in!

Comey: He’s FIRED!

Finally, this morning, in case you missed it.  President Donald J. Trump has fired F B I Director James Comey.  He said that Comey could no longer effectively lead the vaunted law enforcement agency.

That’s NEWS from our own backyard!  Girard at Large hour ___ is next.