8-1-2013 News

Tonight’s meeting of the Manchester Conservation Commission has been cancelled by chairman Jane Beaulieu because, well the commission no longer exists.  Technically it does exist, but it only has one member and Beaulieu isn’t it.  Beaulieu’s term ended August 1st two thousand twelve as did the terms of three other members and all three alternates.  Add two preexisting vacancies from the term that ended on August 1st two thousand eleven and the seven member commission is left with just one member.  That hasn’t stopped them from meeting, though.  Girard at Large has obtained a list of ten meetings that have been scheduled since last August and, after a Where’s Waldo search for agendas and minutes, has made a Right to Know Request for those documents as well as any and all letters sent by the commission, among other documents.  In an interview with Girard at Large, Beaulieu claimed that neither she nor any of the other five expired members knew their terms were done.  She stated that while she’s responsible to know when her term ends, the fact she didn’t was the Planning Department’s fault saying they’d failed not only to alert her to the end of her term, but also to find new nominees for those who can’t be reappointed because they’ve been term-limited out.  Planning Director Leon LaFreniere said that while his department does provide assistance to the commission, it is an independent body over which the department has no oversight responsibility.  He said they’ve never tracked members’ terms.  Beaulieu admitted they are responsible to call their own meetings, create their own agendas and keep their own minutes and that department staff hasn’t ever provided any sort of ongoing staff support.  This situation came to light as a result of a dispute the commission has with a condo association on Madison Way.  Seems the condo association alerted city officials to the status of the commission’s membership.  We’ll have more on this during the show.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

The tuition contract settlement between Manchester and Hooksett may have provided Manchester with an unforseen benefit:  The ability to assign Hooksett students to West High to ease crowding concerns at Central.  After further analyzing the contract, Girard at Large noticed that the restrictions governing the circumstances under which Manchester could assign students to one school or the other no longer existed.  Mayor Ted Gatsas confirmed our understanding of the new contract.  In his interview yesterday, Gatsas said he expected that many of the students whose parents have chosen to send them elsewhere very well may want to return to the city’s schools to take advantage of what he called cutting edge educational opportunities he expected will soon be available.  While Gatsas was non-specific in dropping that not so subtle hint, we have a feeling his proposal will be squarely aimed at West High, which Gatsas and school officials have publicly and privately said presents an opportunity for various academic magnate programs.  Also in yesterday’s interview, Gatsas said city regulators are closing in on an improved code enforcement paradigm and said the reformation of the city’s economic development office should designate a person who will coach businesses through the system.

Republican state lawmakers are holding a Budget Roundtable at Manchester City Hall at Noon today.  The group will consist of Republican state legislators from the New Hampshire Senate and House discussing the state budget.  Questions from the audience will follow.   In attendance will be Senate President Peter Bragdon, Senator Jeb Bradley, Finance Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Morse, Rep. Ken Weyler and Rep. Lynne Ober.

Girard at Large begins a series of interviews designed to examine Common Core today.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the English Language content expert who, despite being paid by Common Core, refused to validate their so called standards will launch the series in the 8 o’clock hour of today’s show.  Girard at Large decided to reach out to national authorities on the issue given what can only be termed as the disturbing dismissal of local parents, activists and educational experts by members of the Manchester School Board.  Because the board, through its Curriculum and Instruction committee, will finally have a policy discussion on what, if any parts of Common Core to implement in the district, we decided we’d inform the debate with experts whose credentials they can’t so easily dismiss.  Stay tuned, this is going to be interesting.

That’s NEWS from our own back yard, Girard at Large hour ___ is just 30 seconds away.